Of Geishas and AdLib music

As I mentioned in Part I of what I half-jokingly called my “yearly update”, Geisha was only missing two hard-coded minigames, so it was kind of a low-hanging fruit to get supported. Unfortunately, as happens very often with me, I didn’t actually finish implemented those minigames just then, turning instead to other projects of mine.

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Yearly Update, Part I: ScummVM

Well, it’s been a year since you’ve last heard from me, so I thought an update on what I’ve been doing is in order.
As this will be a tad longer, I’ll do that in two parts: This here first post will cover ScummVM-related things, while the next post will talk about eos (which you might not have heard about yet).

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Fascination is alive!

In the previous post, I wrote that I’ll try to give some news about Fascination progress before the summer. I tried ๐Ÿ™‚

More seriously, the good news came very recently: in less than two weeks, with the impressive help of SylvainTV, all the versions of Fascination became playable and completable, or at least all the ones I possess.

The main thing missing currently, only used by PC versions of the game, is the AdLib player (and IMHO, the SoundBlaster sounds a lot better). There’s a wrong delay (too short) between rooms in several places of most versions. This seems to be caused by the delay required at the time to load from the floppies, and it’s easily patchable.

Last detail, the (rare) CD version still requires a tool for the STK extraction. joostp is cleaning it up, and will commit it when it’ll be in a good state.

Maybe it’s a good time now to grab your originals and send us some feedback on the game, specially if you find some of those too short delays!

Some more titles based on the Gob engine

During these last months, some titles have been added to the list of Gob-based games: Adi2, Adi4 (Addy4 in Deutsch), Adibou 2 and Playtoons games were identified as using the same engine, with various modifications of course. Documentation on the Adi educational games can be found in this wiki page.

Let’s focus on the Playtoons games! They can be separate in three categories:

Playtoons (5 titles) contain an interactive story, an intro of some other stories available andย  a construction kit. A bundle exists : it contains Playtoons 1, 3 and 5.

Playtoons Construction Kits (3 titles) contain an intro of the 5 stories and a construction kit

Bambou is… Bambou! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s some kind of Limited Edition of Playtoons developed by a subsidiary of Coktel (CUC Software International) and as far as I know only released in French (nevertheless we are still searching for localized versions). It contain no construction kit.

So far, the interactive stories are fully playable (when available), with some non-blocking issues (imperfect animated icons behavior, incorrect video behavior when skipped, text not showing in some part of the Playtoons titles), and Bambou is the less imperfect of all those titles.

Hereafter are some screenshots from ScummVM. Hopefully the story modes will be fixed soon, … the construction kit will be a bit harder/longer. Adi 2 too, by the way ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you want some other Playtoons screenshoots, just ask: DrMcCoy and I already bought all the French titles, 3 Deutsch titles and 2 English ones. Spanish and italian titles exist too but are either not for sell or far too expensive.

To give some other (old) news, Fascination plays now until the first screen, which is more or less playable but not achievable due to the missing implementation of the unique window system used. So it’s not hopeless, even if there was no progress during this last 2 months.

One last word concerningย  Myst/Riven in general and clone2727 in particular: clone2727 thinks that nobody (except me) is interested in his splendid in-game videos. Show him he’s wrong! Show him you care and add a video request here!

PSA: Real Name of the Gob Engine Found

For anyone following #scummvm, this is old news: Strangerke, who’s been in contact with the original Coktel Vision developers, has found out the real name of their engine. “DEV”.

Now, I happen to think that this is a bloody stupid name (no offence to the original team meant, of course). People around me seem to agree.

Also, I’ve gotten used to “gob” and this blog’s name wouldn’t work with “DEV” ;). Therefore, the engine in ScummVM will keep being called “gob”. For now, anyway ;).

More Beauties to Dither

This is just a quick follow-up to the dithering post.

Firstly: Yeah, it’s kinda late. Unfortunately, I have been busy with RL and didn’t have much time to work on Gob.

Secondly: Sorry Seldon, but I didn’t get much out of your posts. As far as I understood, it’ll only lead to a lookup that’s far too complex for my needs. The point is a bit moot now anyways, as you can see below. But thanks all the same! ๐Ÿ™‚

The actual reason reason for this blog entry is that I did fiddle with the code a bit, though. In some spare minutes, I’ve asked my coworkers/bosses about my problem and they’ve suggested using a more crude approximation of the distance function, namely
ABS(x1 – x2) + ABS(y1 – y2) + ABS(z1 – z2)
This would remove the need for the costly multiplication. Whether it still looks good is a thing to try out. Which I did, and it does. Continue reading