Dracula remake

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Goldrunner
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Dracula remake

Postby Goldrunner » Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:19 pm

This is a follow on from a previous thread about my remake of the CRL 8-bit classic Dracula: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=17164

I am quite advanced with this now and all the problems I had have been mostly ironed out, unfortunately, I still haven’t been able to find a way of using different colours for certain portions of text within STAC. However, it is not critical in writing the game and I'm still hopeful there may yet be a solution.

The original version of Dracula was basically text only with a few small graphic pictures of the players death. I decided to go mad on it and add graphics to all locations, however, the 8-bit death scenes will also be retained. Not being an artist I decided to grab scenes from old horror movies and then convert them for the ST. I decided against colour scenes since they normally look terrible because of the ST's 16 colour palette, the same went for greyscale since this uses only 8 shades. Instead I have used Duotone which gives the best of both worlds, it also allows the pictures to be tinted in a number of ways.

The example screens shots here are from the game itself, the ingame shot is a mix of low and medium resolution.

Anyway, I really hope you like the examples, if not, please be kind since I have never done an ST game before!
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby CiH » Sun Aug 09, 2009 8:40 pm

Nice use of Sepia, keep going! :cheers:
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby Jake/Depression » Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:02 pm

Wow! Cool!

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Re: Dracula remake

Postby DarkLord » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:33 am

I agree - I think the graphics look fine - add atmosphere to the text
story.
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby StickHead » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:02 pm

Looks lovely! Did you touch up the picture of the hallway by hand? It looks very neat and crisp. How do the 8-bit piccies look once ported to the ST?

It's a shame about the text colour - not a game-breaker by any means, but that would bug me too. Are there no uncompiled STAC example adventures out there that use this feature? Do the examples provided with STAC have different text colours?
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby Goldrunner » Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:21 am

StickHead wrote:Looks lovely! Did you touch up the picture of the hallway by hand? It looks very neat and crisp. How do the 8-bit piccies look once ported to the ST?


I used Photoshop's layer functions to blend one picture with another. I then resized the whole thing down to the ST's screen resolution; 320x200. At this point I added the text for my name using the other text as reference. The picture looked quite good at this stage, but it was still in millions of colours and it needed reducing to just 16.

To reduce to 16 colours I used the following method. First off I used Photoshops 'Replace Colour' to replace all very similar colours to just one without affecting the image. I then changed the image mode to index and used 16 colours with pattern differ. The image was then saved out as a 16 colour PNG. The final stage was to simply load it into GWS and convert it into a Degas image. Note, do not use differ with GWS since Photoshop already differed it, all GWS needed to do was to match Photoshop's 16 colours as best it could.

StickHead wrote:It's a shame about the text colour - not a game-breaker by any means, but that would bug me too. Are there no uncompiled STAC example adventures out there that use this feature? Do the examples provided with STAC have different text colours?


I have only found two uncompiled STAC adventures, I am sure there are more but finding them is no easy task. The two that I did find are just basic and did not include anything that I could use!

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Re: Dracula remake

Postby Mug UK » Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:35 am

Looks like we need a STAC decrypter creating then :) Will do a bit of digging as the STAC loader also needs to be fixed to:

a) load the .LNK file from the current drive and not force A:
b) allow the file-selector to work with multiple drives (it's a right mess when it's run off a h/drive)
c) probably other annoyances that I've long since forgotten about.
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby idolknight » Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:29 pm

This is a great idea, using movie stills and all. Its got me thinking about Infocoms Deadline and and stills from Mickey Spillane movies. :D

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Re: Dracula remake

Postby Goldrunner » Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:24 am

Here are another couple of screenshots of a setion i just finished. The section deals with the author and the development of the game and any influences it had. This section will be easily activated within the game by simply typing 'about', when finished you will simply return to the game where you left it. I have also added a map in the same way. I was going to have a menu at the beginning but changed my mind since it would have been over the top.
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby simonsunnyboy » Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:14 pm

Sounds really interesting!

There wasn't a proper text adventure release for ages on the ST. Keep working - new games are always great to see :)
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby StickHead » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:24 pm

That's a really great addition to the re-make, Goldrunner. It will be interesting to read about the original, and it seems fitting, seeing how your remake intends to homage the original - very respectful. Have you attempted to contact the original author about your project? It would be amazing to include a mini interview in your 'about' section (if it fits within the STAC limits). I've found that those developers that are reachable are often really chuffed that people are still enjoying their games and all too happy to exchange a couple of emails.
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby simonsunnyboy » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:31 pm

StickHead wrote:I've found that those developers that are reachable are often really chuffed that people are still enjoying their games and all too happy to exchange a couple of emails.


True! I just contacted SImon Phipps of Switchblade fame two weeks ago - and he happily responded with his support for STOT! Worth a try for sure to ask!
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby Grunaki » Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:18 am

StickHead wrote: (if it fits within the STAC limits).


May be taking this out of context, but the original came in 3 separate program files. ;)
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby Grunaki » Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:27 am

simonsunnyboy wrote:
StickHead wrote:I've found that those developers that are reachable are often really chuffed that people are still enjoying their games and all too happy to exchange a couple of emails.


True! I just contacted SImon Phipps of Switchblade fame two weeks ago - and he happily responded with his support for STOT! Worth a try for sure to ask!


And why not? They're just normal people like you and me, not 'superstars' or anything. That's one of the things I like about this board - you get people rolling up who actually worked on the projects and can give you inside information. I'm sure Mr. Phipps is happy that his game is still being enjoyed after all this time..
(It was always one I liked anyway...)
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby aktiv8 » Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:42 am

Loving the look of this remake/port/homage (Delete as applicable)...

Really looking atmospheric, and being a fan of the game on the Speccy and being a massive vampire/horror fan in general, cannot wait to play this updated version
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby Goldrunner » Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:52 pm

Many thanks for all the comments, I must say it is spurring me on to make this conversion as good as possble. Chapter one of Dracula is nearly complete, it will be released first since each chapter is basically standalone. When all three chapters are done then will brought together on one disk, actually it will probably need two disks!

Although the adventure is very faithful to the original I have made additions to adventure itself. In the original for example, you have just got off the coach outside the hotel, but you can't actually examine the coach! Also at the beginning, if you type inventory you are carrying nothing, and yet you can still pay the coachman with money you are carrying. These have been fixed for this version along with of host of similiar logic holes. When I have added text like this I have used to use Soker's novel for it, luckily there are internet sites where you can read the whole novel. Now when you type 'examine coach' you get:

A bit old but built of sturdy stuff. During the journey it had rocked on its great leather springs, and swayed like a boat tossed on a stormy sea.

I hope people don't think these changes ruin the faithfullness of the remakel, all the text of the original is still there, there are just additions to it. I actually believe if Rod Pike had the memory on the 8-bits he probably would have done all this himself.

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Re: Dracula remake

Postby StickHead » Sat Aug 15, 2009 4:46 pm

I don't think that spoils it at all. After all, if it was an untouched original that we wanted, then we would just be playing the 8-bit! Going back to the original novel for the text adds to the authenticity, and its perfectly logical for remakes to address these minor issues and still remain faithful to the original game.

Also, I didn't realise that there would be three installments! This adds to the excitement! :D
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby Goldrunner » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:43 pm

Another little update, hopefully my last before the release of the first chapter. This is mainly to tell you about finding away around the problem of having different colour text on screen, for example, when someone else is talking their text shoud appear in yellow, as the example screenshot shows. I got around this by editing the current font and using the unused areas to add another font (both upper and lower) in a different colour. Now when I want to add different colour text I simply press insert and type in the text, pressing insert again takes me back to the standard font.

I was really happy solving this because I thought it was important for the games readability. I still can't believe this feature wasn't built into STAC!
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby Desty » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:23 am

Goldrunner wrote:I got around this by editing the current font and using the unused areas to add another font (both upper and lower) in a different colour. Now when I want to add different colour text I simply press insert and type in the text, pressing insert again takes me back to the standard font.

That's a lovely little hack around the problem - nice one :)
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby nativ » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:03 am

Hi,

I almost thought this had something to do with the Lynx version. It was the sepia tones that did it. Not played the Lynx version though it was rated highly. Looking forward to this one, garlic at the ready!


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Re: Dracula remake

Postby Gibbersan » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:53 pm

The graphics look really good on this. I like the font trick, too.

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Re: Dracula remake

Postby Goldrunner » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:03 pm

Apologies for the delay on this!

The multiple endings of this first chapter are a nightmare, it all depends on what you eat and drink in the dining room, if you lock your window and door, and find a lamp, etc, etc. Anyway nearly there and then Muggy can cast his beady eye over my rubbish spelling while proof reading and beta testing. The last thing I want is to rush it out with any errors that will spoil everyones enjoyment.

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Re: Dracula remake

Postby Mug UK » Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:49 pm

Ready whenever you are sir
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Re: Dracula remake

Postby Steven Seagal » Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:14 pm

Goldrunner wrote: The last thing I want is to rush it out with any errors that will spoil everyones enjoyment.



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