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  #1  
Old 2007-04-12, 02:03
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Infernox Infernox is offline
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Hello World! LBA1 Remodelling. Worth it?

First of all I would like to introduce myself to this well-established community. If you aren't interested right now/too busy and would like to skip to the point of this thread then please scroll to the next paragraph! Hello, I'm Siren, a new alias I have undertaken recently, departing from other projects and communities looking for something new, challenging and most importantly, something I will enjoy and love. Something like LBA! New community, fresh start! I grew up with LBA. It was one of the best games I ever played as a child. Nostalgia kicks in and I remember the days when I used to spend hours on exploring the world of LBA, thanks to its none-linear (almost) gameplay. After a decade or so I decided to play LBA again purely to get high on nostalgia again. After doing a bit of digging around trying to get LBA running on M$ WinXP I stumbled across Magicball Network. After two days of digging around here I've decided I'd like to take a stab at modding. You guys are truly inspiring.
Secondly, let me just express my gratitude and bags of respect to yaz0r, OBrasilo, alexfont, Zink and El_Muerte for creating and further developing their apps to such an extent that we're all blessed with such useful tools to create things that one would think were merely dreams. You've opened doors for people. I've never really seen anything like it, apart from a project I used to help and develop, which was a reverse engineered server emulator for an MMORPG, licensed under GPL of course. Sure, I've modded for games in the past but the companies usually dish out their own SDK's for the masses to play with.

Moving on, here are my ideas.
Ultimately, I plan to make some sort of LBA1 powered game variant which will somehow tie in with LBA series, much like LBA Prequel. Before I begin this I would like to experiment with what the LBA1 engine can handle. After looking at a lot of the sprite/brick work and the 3D models, you can really tell they've tried to keep it to a minimum on the polygon count.

Hypothesis 1: I plan on touching up the sprites/bricks for LBA1, more specifically things like the trees, grass to something more real and beautiful and verdant. I loved the LBA1 'theme' of the world objects, it but I would like to step them up a little. I'll probably export to bitmap and re-do them. Up to now I can't see much of a problem in this part. I'll probably use LBA Image Creator

Hypothesis 2: 3D models. Is it possible to 'enhance' the current models that LBA uses? My plan is to give Twinsen a better face, he really deserves much more! If so, what program would I use?

I tested LBAnimator Studio and LBA Model Manager, but from what I can gather, they can only modify existing polygons and points, etc. I want to add more to the models at first, little by little. First off I want to give them more detailed faces and then maybe later on I'll redesign the whole models, if possible. From playing around with LBAnimator Studio I'm guessing AutoCAD will be used to add to the models themselves?

If anyone has any experience with model editing regarding LBA1, I'd like to hear about it. My main questions would be: How far can you push it? i.e how many polygons can you throw at it? What programs did you use?

I also have a few newbie questions to ask, too. I've been searching and reading (I've spent over 2 days worth reading most of the threads) but I'd just like to clarify these:

1. How do I actually run my own custom-made scenes? Do I have to replace existing ones? Or is there a file somewhere to tell the client to read a specific map order. I'm guessing I'll have to replace an existing map because of the way the HQR file system works but I'm not completely sure, hence why I'm asking.

2. Same goes for sprites/bricks. Do I just replace existing files?

Last but not least, thanks for reading this and I apologize if I haven't been too clear - I'll try to explain myself a little better if needed. After many hours of searching and reading I feel as though my head is about to explode! I also apologize if I'm posting something that's already been asked. Again, I've searched around but didn't really find anything that answered my questions in enough detail or specifically to what information I seek.
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  #2  
Old 2007-04-12, 11:35
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1. Welcome too are great little (yet big) community
Its indeed wonderful the work so so many of our members have done too make the game modable and ripe for further development.

I am not an expert on LBA's code, so I can only offer educated guesses in the meantime, but however;

I would say its almost certainly possible too add polygons too LBA1 models in theory. Models in the game didn't have all the same number, and you can swap them around.
While the engine might have a limit somewhere, its almost certainly above that they did at the time. (which was working too hardware limitations).

Be interesting too see Lba1 with higher res models.
I'm not sure how it can be done with the tools available, however.
Id guess you'd need too export too a format a 3d program can use (dxf for autocad, which is a nice universally accepted format). Then import into the program, edit, export, then reimport back.
Not sure thats possible.
yet.
==
As for editing sprites, to be honest, Im not sure you could do much better unless resolution or colour depth restrictions were lifted somehow.
Adding detail can end up looking worse when you have a limited pallete.
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Last edited by Darkflame; 2007-04-12 at 11:42.
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  #3  
Old 2007-04-12, 13:36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siren View Post
Ultimately, I plan to make some sort of LBA1 powered game variant which will somehow tie in with LBA series, much like LBA Prequel. Before I begin this I would like to experiment with what the LBA1 engine can handle. After looking at a lot of the sprite/brick work and the 3D models, you can really tell they've tried to keep it to a minimum on the polygon count.
You wrote alot :O, I couldn't quote the whole thing :P
Only yesterday I planned to make the same sort of thing (although a bit less techy ) for LBA2.
I sort of understood your post, but others will be more helpful :P
All I can say is good luck
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  #4  
Old 2007-04-12, 17:52
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LBAWinOwns LBAWinOwns is offline
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Hi, my "good computer" with the latest LBA Image Creator codes and application crashed very recently and now i post from an "ghetto computer" nearby .

Please email me at [email address] before using Image Creator since it has 1 or 2 bugs with sprite creating, I'll send you the latest and better version .

If you do any LBA1 mods, please try expanding the palette, it can handle like 30 more colors I think.

The sprite files are easy to replace. You just need to replace the files with Zinks package editor after creating the files with Image Creator.
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  #5  
Old 2007-04-12, 19:42
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If it can handle 30 more colours you gotta be a bit suspicious as to why they wernt used.
Sure they arnt some "special" colours? markers or such?
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  #6  
Old 2007-04-12, 20:40
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Infernox Infernox is offline
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Darkflame: Thanks for your input, I will be careful when editing the tile/bricks and I'll try to stick closely to the LBA1 Theme. I'll just enhance them slightly to give the grass and trees a bit more life.

Depending on what I plan to do as a game, I might make a tech-demo to show off all the graphics enhancements once I'm finished with them - which might be a while at this rate since I'm still at the drawing board/theory stages. I haven't yet done any testing because I'm still unsure about things and I need to get into practice...

Before I can test I need to find out how to get LBA to run my maps! I don't really want to mess things up, so input here would be most helpful.

LBAWinOwns: I've sent you an email requesting this new update, thank you for letting me know.

Also, if anyone needs a decent host for their modification applications, (free hosts such as rapidshare aren't too great -_-; ) let me know - I'll gladly host them for you.
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  #7  
Old 2007-04-13, 10:38
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xesf xesf is offline
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Hey Siren,

First of all, welcome aboard in the Citadel Ferry Boat!!
Second, really thanks for the compliments
Third, lets answer your first post:

Hypothesis 1:
Its great what you want to do and you should see an huge task comming along, anyway, what you really want to do won't happen the way you want, unfortunetly.

LBA like DF said, have a colormap limited to 256 and this doesn't gives any possibility to give another and better aspect, even with that 30 additional colors we should add (which some of them we can't still use). The improvement could be so little that we probably can't see at first the changes. But I may be wrong , just make a simply try and we'll see if you came with what you expect.

Hypothesis 2:
LBAnimator Studio doesn't allow yet to include new points and anything else, but I plan in future to do it, but first I need to figure out somethings, unfortunately. A total new interface needs to be made. So this means you can't for now give a better face in Twinsen's model and can't use any other 3D like program to do it, since the LBA1 3D file format have a specific format for the game.

The AutoCAD exporter was only to give a chance to all fans a way they could use the models in another projects which will use 3D models, not with the intension of making the inverse and insert AutoCAD files into LBA. I had intension's to make such thing before LBAnimator Studio, but I realize it will be impossible to do due to the special format this LBA1 3D files have.
I really don't know yet the max number of polygons the engine could handle but I have a feeling that in LbaWin we don't have any kind of that restrictions.

Anyway, only tests could confirm that, but we can't make them at the moment . I don't think they give less detail models to all other characteres because the engine couldn't handle, but instead, because the schudules they had to accomplish the game. So they prefer to give a better look only in the main characters.

About the other questions:

1.

First we need to clarify some things before answer your question. There are two main scenenario things, the grid files (GRI.HQR for rooms and BLL.HQR for brick layouts) and the scene files (SCENE.HQR). Grid files contains the room or islands you see in game, the 2D isometric scenarios. In Scene files you have special actions the game could have in each specific scenario according with the correspondent room or islands. The game have an easy way to work, each index of GRI file coorespond an index of SCENE file.

Now to modify those two things you have the LBArchitech, to handle the GRID files (which also handles other files to build new bricks), and the LBA Story Coder, to handle the SCENE files (which you could make for example a new game story ). You can replace the existent ones with LBA Packaged Editor which is the best choice I recommend, even some of the programs have this feature available directly. The order which the game read the scenes is because the scenario definitions in each scene at SCENES.HQR file, but the game always runs first, the first scene.

There is now a new file type (not used in game) which handles this two main things together, the rooms and the actions. This file was create to help modding the game. In public there's only available in LBArchitech but soon I'll release my Story Coder version which already works with the same file type. The only thing missing at the moment, which in future will be made is to actually import this new files, with a new story, new room and new tiles/bricks into the game.
Anyway, this was only to make the things easier, you still can do new things and change them in the game .

2.

You can create bricks/layouts with LBArchitech Factory and Sprites with LBA Image Creator (don't mess up the things ). In Factory you can automatically save in the HQR, even you could make it by your own, and with Image Creator you will need the Packaged Editor to include in the game.

Well, I don't know if I made it clear, but feel free to ask something else, I'm here to help you if necessary.
The things could be like difficult at first to understand all the game files relationships, but really fast you will figure all out.
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  #8  
Old 2007-04-13, 14:18
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Quote:
Anyway, only tests could confirm that, but we can't make them at the moment . I don't think they give less detail models to all other characteres because the engine couldn't handle, but instead, because the schudules they had to accomplish the game.
System specs at the time probably couldn't.
Remember all the bits in LBA1 where you only had cardboard cut-out people?
(Disco, celebrations at the end ect).

Either way , I agree its unlikely too be an engine restriction
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  #9  
Old 2007-04-13, 16:51
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Yes, the systems at that time were indeed another block, but still think the schedule was another
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