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LBA Prequel The goal of this project is to make a prequel of LBA1 using the original engine. (homepage)

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  #1  
Old 2009-08-22, 14:13
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LBArchitect progress

In this thread I will post information about progress in LBArchitect development, and related information. The main Architect thread will be updated as always, when I make a public beta release. This thread is gonna be used for more detailed updates on the current development stage - for those who wonder if we're actually doing anything for the project .

Here we go:

1.0.0 beta 6 - (Released) major changes:
  • [Feature] Actor templates - you can now save an actor as a template, and then put it as many times as you want into the same or another Scene. References to the Actor inside its Scripts are maintained through the new SELF keyword, which, during compilation, will be replaced with the ID of the Actor, that the script belongs to.
  • [Feature] Textual LABEL names (by LBAWinOwns) - it is now possible to use textual names for the Track Script LABEL commands and reference them by these names in all other places (including Life Script).
  • Checking for broken Brick data has been added to both Builder and Factory. Factory shows list of indexes of broken bricks for easy repair.
  • And many bug fixes.
Direct download link: http://lba.kazekr.net/beta/LBArchitect_1.0.0_beta6.zip [1.7MB]
Mirror: http://www.mediafire.com/file/ixx2k2....0.0_beta6.zip

1.0.0 beta 7 - (in development) major changes so far:
  • [Bug] Builder crashes when using "select by layout" tool - resolved.
  • [Feature] It turned out that there was no easy way to make disappearing ceilings in LBA1, because the game crashed when trying to use such ceiling. The reason for that is the "Layout usage list" - a list contained in each Grid, that tells the game which Layouts from the Library the Grid is using, so the game engine doesn't have to load the remaining ones into memory. When trying to put a disappearing ceiling the used one of the "unused" Layouts the game displayed a wrong Layout, and sometimes crashed. This gave me an idea to make an option for filling the Layout usage list for Gird with all possible Layouts, so the game will always load them all, and this problem would be solved. I was wrong. The game then crashed every time, because it probably has some maximum amount of memory reserved for the Layouts, which has been computed from all the Grids (by checking which Grid used the most memory for Layouts) and hard-coded into the engine (in LBA 2 that value is stored in lab_bkg.hqr file), so Grids can't use all Layouts from a Library, simply because they won't fit into the limited amount of memory and the game will crash. This led me to another idea of an option to allow users to manually edit the Layout usage list for each Grid, especially to allow adding other Layouts to the list, but I don't like this due to couple of reasons. Main reason is that users would have to manually edit this every time they start editing a Grid. Not a pleasant thing.
    So finally I have come to this: I'm gonna make the disappearing ceilings (called Fragments, but they are regular Grids in LBA 1 (in LBA 2 they have different format)) editing "incorporated" with the main Grid editing. All Grids and Fragments related with each other will be opened in the program at the same time, so the program will know exactly what Layouts should be put into the usage list so that everything will run smooth. Currently the multi-Grid system is working in Builder; things that need to be adjusted to be compatible with it: opening and saving system, selection and copying between Grids. Screenshots will tell you more.
  • Scenario (*.HQS) file format have been changed in order to be able to keep any number of additional Fragments inside. Architect versions prior to beta 7 will bot be able to open Scnearios created with beta 7 and above. Factory and Stage Designer still need to be adjusted for compatibility.
Planned Beta 7 release: about two months from now (all the dates are likely to be changed in both ways).
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Last edited by Zink; 2009-11-21 at 21:29.
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  #2  
Old 2009-08-22, 20:27
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I think the Fragments concept is a pretty good solution and the execution is very user friendly (or so it seems). The "Copy selection to Fragment X" is a great option too. This is really great!

I'm now wondering if it's possible to increase the image resolution of LBA maps. Not sure if it's possible or if that's something for the Engine renovation rather than LBArchitect.
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  #3  
Old 2009-08-22, 20:33
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I think the resolution issue might not be so noticeable if we get improved/pixal lighting at some point.
-
Anyway, this is more utterly superb working.
Really getting some powerfull tools here.
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Old 2009-08-22, 20:57
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Nope, the maps have constant size of 64 x 64 x 25 cells (and each cell has constant size of 48x38 pixels) in both LBA 1 and 2. So nothing can be done without an engine modifiaction.
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Old 2009-08-22, 21:26
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Just gave it a play about with, and all seems pretty intuative.

I'm probably being stupid here though; I cant figure out how to add a new tile somewhere. I can copy, paste, move them about, add actors etc, but how do a paint/draw new landscape?
I'm probably missing something obvious :P
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Old 2009-08-22, 23:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkflame View Post
Just gave it a play about with, and all seems pretty intuative.

I'm probably being stupid here though; I cant figure out how to add a new tile somewhere. I can copy, paste, move them about, add actors etc, but how do a paint/draw new landscape?
I'm probably missing something obvious :P
In Grid mode, choose the third icon of the top bar on the right side, the one with a cursor and a brick shape in one image. Then you will get a list of layouts on the left you can choose to place around the map. Use the right mouse button to move the layouts along the Y axis.

@Zink: Great news, I never really looked into disappearing ceiling grids because they were too confusing too handle, and undocumented, too.
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Old 2009-08-23, 15:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zink View Post
Nope, the maps have constant size of 64 x 64 x 25 cells (and each cell has constant size of 48x38 pixels) in both LBA 1 and 2. So nothing can be done without an engine modifiaction.
So do you mean that you couldn't modify the LBArchitect to handle those bigger maps (more than 64x64x25) or is it just that LBA couldn't handle them?

Because atm Kobold and me are using the LBArchitect to modify and create maps for LBANet. I'm also using Rincevent's mapmerger to create bigger maps (like whole proxima islands e.g) but it would of course be easier to create those maps directly in architect.

Anyway great progress on the Architect.
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Old 2009-08-23, 20:46
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LBA wouldn't handle them. I can fairly easily make support for bigger maps in Architect (like it supports Fragments from LBA 2, which are smaller than 64x64x25), but there are issues with the map format. The format doesn't contain any information about the map's size, so LBANet won't be able to distinguish between regular and expanded maps. Also Library format probably should be changed, because now it can hold maximum 255 Layouts, and since bigger Grids usually contain more detail variety, 255 may become too little.
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Old 2009-08-23, 23:45
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Bigger map = need for a custom engine.
I think we should have a unified way to handle bigger maps through the different LBA projects, this could be integrated as part of LBAPI.
About the format, I'm sure we can find an unused byte somewhere to use as a flag to indicate normal or extended map. Or any other trick.
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Old 2009-08-24, 09:44
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nope, there are no unused bytes . But as LBA 1 map format is different from LBA 2, then why not develop our custom extended format?
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Old 2009-08-30, 20:04
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Is still possible to make the edition of bigger scenes easily? I'm asking not because LBA mods but it could be used for example in LBA Maps project to create an entire island detailed scene (used later to export into images only).
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Old 2009-08-30, 20:58
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Probably yes, but it's not a priority right now. Later, when I am fixing the support for LBA 2 Fragments (which have variable size) I will think about that. It is necessary that we think about the file format before though.
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Old 2009-08-31, 00:48
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Old 2009-09-08, 18:58
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1.0.0 beta 7 - (in development) snippet:
I have just finished fixing the modified/saving system. Unless it is bugged I shouldn't have reasons to touch it any more.
Remember the dialog that popped up when closing Architect with unsaved files?

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I have modified it to be more user-friendly and also informative. It now looks like this:

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Old 2009-09-08, 19:46
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Always great to see progress

I could perhaps PM this but I think it'll be interesting for others too.

What IDE are you using today? Still Delphi 7 or have you migrated to 2006?
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Old 2009-09-08, 21:24
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Still Delphi 7. I would prefer Delphi 2006, as it is far more convenient for me, especially there is the freeware Turbo edition, but it doesn't support third-party components in the visual designer and I'm using quite some of them. I would have to convert them to be created at run-time (they can be used only this way), which is doable, but requires much effort and decreases convenience in some parts. Even the simple SpinEdit is considered as non-standard component and can't be used in the form designer, and SpinEdit is used quite a lot in Architect. However, I plan to do the conversion some time in the future, when I have more time, because after all the pros of D2006 prevail over the cons.
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Old 2009-09-08, 21:42
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Yea if you're going to legally use IDEs I think you're doing the right thing staying with Delphi 7.

Also I got time over now to help out if you really need it. But I've always got some other thing to do (which is optional), and you seem to have no problem at all doing everything yourself. But if you really think I can be of any support just mail me.
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Old 2009-09-09, 01:28
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Aye, that's a whole lot clearer and user friendly. Good stuff Zink!
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Old 2009-10-13, 23:01
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1.0.0 beta 7 - (in development) snippet:
The following issues have been resoved now:
  • The main menu items for Fragment support. Specifically: opening Grids as Fragments (intended for use with the original LBA 2 Fragments which are in the same format as regular Grids), copying selection to a new Fragment, closing the current Fragment and closing everything - it restores the program to state like it have been just started.
  • Popup menu items for selection: Selecting everything, deleting the selection, and the meaning of "Copy sel. to..." and "Copy sel. the a new Fragment" have been changed. Now they don't copy the selection, but move it, deleting the selected part from the original. This change was necessary, because I realized that there were no way of doing it with the options working as "copy". This was because the selection is cleared while switching Fragments. Of course there is a possibility to copy instead of move by pressing Ctrl.
  • All opening ways are now working for both regular Grids and Fragments,
  • I have fixed some bugs,
  • And I have added list of recently used Scenarios to the File menu for quicker opening. You will probably get an impression that Scenarios are something like "projects" in other software - this is a good association, and in fact I'm aiming to make them as comfortable to use as I can.

You probably wonder why these little things took me so long. This have been caused by two reasons:
  1. I have less time recently. I can work on Architect only once per couple of days, and not for long each time.
  2. When implementing these things I have found many bugs and inconsistencies that I just couldn't leave that way. For example the selection moving feature didn't allow for putting the selected area below [0, 0, 0] position, so for example when choosing Select All and trying to reposition the contents one couldn't move the stuff "back" so a part of it would be off the rear wall. Even if there was some empty space between the contents and the rear wall - this in turn is caused by the fact that empty areas are also selected with Select All function (yes, it really selects all). Another thing was a bug that caused normal blocks being cut out while playing aroud with invisible blocks. There were some more, that I don't remember, and that took me quite much time to fix.

Not much to show this time: just a screenshot of the File menu after changes. It's getting quite big already.
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Old 2009-10-14, 18:16
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Great job Zink!
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Old 2009-10-14, 19:26
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brillent
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Old 2009-10-17, 09:44
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Sorry that I haven't been active here but I personally think the progress is really great. It is your free time after all and building menue items that actually work. This is starting to feel more and more professional and user friendly.

Keep hacking away at it Zink!
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Old 2009-11-14, 18:46
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good job! How long should I wait to play the demo?
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Old 2009-11-14, 21:24
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good job! How long should I wait to play the demo?
That game no. That progamme game make.
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Old 2009-11-15, 19:42
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good job! How long should I wait to play the demo?
We can't give any estimated time, because it highly depends on amount of our free time (and other factors), an this can vary significantly.
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