What I have been doing, Sierra Fan Game Conversions and more

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What I have been doing, Sierra Fan Game Conversions and more

Postby mouse_master » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:30 pm

Let me start by saying that I am in the process of converting a fan made game known as Space Quest: The Lost Chapter, over to the ST from the PC. It is basically 90-95% complete. I'm testing it now with a walthru, clearing about memory bugs. It will, however, only be HD installable as far as I can tell. Here is a site for more info on the game:

http://frostbytei.com/space/

I actually did most of the work 2 years ago and never finished.

After that, I plan on converting another fan made Space Quest game called Space Quest 0: Replicated, which has a site here:

http://wiw.org/~jess/replicated.html

These would both have an identical interace as the earlier Sierra games. As far as converting the games go, it is relatively painless for the most part, except for memory issues, typically the game will run short of about 100 bytes of memory available and crash, and to rectify that, I just hack the code and free some space, in creative ways in some instances.

In my work, I have come across an alternate version of Kings Quest 4, which could also be converted (I think). I wonder if there is any point to this. It is a more primative version (I believe) than the conversion we got from Sierra for the Atari, primitive meaning the graphics are smaller, but still quite similar.

I might find some other games in the same vein to possibly convert, but they might be on the back burner, as I am mostly doing the first 2 conversions to get more understanding of how Sierra made their games to try the next challenge.

That will be trying to move over Quest for Glory 2 to the ST (I have been told that it was actually ported, just was cancelled before release). I think I have a 50/50 chance of converting it. Problem is, I need to look at both the Amiga and PC versions of the game, which will make things a little more time consuming. If that works, these other titles have the possibility of being ported over:

Hoyle Official Book of Games - Volume 3
Jones in the Fast Lane
King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder
Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers

Graphics are easy, as everything is already 320x200 with 16 colors, it is sound which I need to figure out. And these titles are a coin flip (changes in the way Sierra made the games might make it harder to hack them to work on the ST)

Castle of Dr. Brain
Conquests of the Longbow: The Adventures of Robin Hood
EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus
Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work
Mixed-up Fairy Tales
Police Quest III: The Kindred

The last item I am eyeing, which is not a Sierra item, is Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (Adventure Version). I think it might be possible to get it running on the ST, but I really need to have a good look at the performance of the game on an Amiga 500, which means dusting the old machine off.

As with all of the above games, they are basically built with each machine having a interpreter to run data files on the platform. For early Sierra games you can take the SQ1 files from the ST, and they run on the PC or Amiga. For the later games, it is a little more complicated because of the way sound is handled. Quest for Glory 2 uses the same system as Space Quest 3 and Leisure Suit Larry 3.

As for LucasArts, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (Adventure) uses almost the same system as Fate of Atlantis, and tools exist for rebuilding the data files, which might make this conversion possible, but I have not yet looked at how the game was packaged for the ST, which I might try to do later today. I think this conversion has a 25% chance of happening (low percentage due to my current lack of knowledge), but you never know.....

I would have used a better subject, but did not want to put hopes into something that might never work out (or be lost due to lack of time).

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Postby ST Graveyard » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:37 pm

Hey Mouse Master,

This looks fascinating. The Spacequest game looks good!

However, about converting Kingsquest V and the others, that would be awesome, but I don't believe they were 16 colors. It was 256 on the pc and 32 on the Amiga.

Keep us posted on this.

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Postby mouse_master » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:53 pm

This is where some sloppy work put us in luck. When Sierra made these games:

Quest for Glory 2 to the ST
Hoyle Official Book of Games - Volume 3
Jones in the Fast Lane
King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder
Space Quest IV: Roger Wilco and the Time Rippers
Castle of Dr. Brain
Conquests of the Longbow: The Adventures of Robin Hood
EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus
Leisure Suit Larry 5: Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work
Mixed-up Fairy Tales
Police Quest III: The Kindred

They made both 16 color versions (EGA, with a 320x200 res), and 256 color versions. Now, I have only eyeballed it, but it appears they shafted the Amiga for Quest for Glory 2, and they got 16 colors instead of any graphic enhancements (screenshots look similar to the EGA shots, but I have not gone any further that that). From what I know (which is limited as far as the Ami because I have only been looking into the later EGA versions on the PC), Sierra did not give the Amiga the 32 color treatment until the next generation of games with Space Quest 5, etc, and they got 320x240 at 32 colors. For the PC, they had graphic drivers 'dumb down' the 256 colors and resulation for EGA, at least for the games they kept the support in.

I still need to locate some of the other EGA games, but I am not too concerned with that, since the Space Quest games are still my primary focus, need to finish at least one thing I start!

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Postby Goldrunner » Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:40 pm

Hi mouse_master

I remember trying to get those two fan made Space Quest games working with the old ST Sierra interpreter but failed miserably. Hope you succeed since it would be incredible to see these on the Atari ST :D

The very best of luck :!:

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Postby mouse_master » Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:05 pm

Goldrunner wrote:Hi mouse_master

I remember trying to get those two fan made Space Quest games working with the old ST Sierra interpreter but failed miserably. Hope you succeed since it would be incredible to see these on the Atari ST :D

The very best of luck :!:


Both games need major work on the title screens. I think the issue there is that the ST version of the interpreter is written figuring there is a max of 512k ram, while the PC versions is banking on 640k. I did alot of work to clean up the title screen of the one that is near complete, have not yet bothered with the other.

If you all like, I could zip up the current progress and post it. The game still crashes abdout 50% of the way through (and I have no clue yet if it crashes elsewhere if one is wandering and not just follwoing a walkthru). Also, I probably need to find a better version of a cracker sierra.prg to use. Currently using one that still requires a floppy in the A drive, so it is cracked, just not totally. But I am more concerned with that once I get the game mostly working.

I just took a look at the Amiga version of the Last Crusade adventure and compared it to the ST version. It appears some of the data files are almost identical based on file sizes, and when I started the games (ST prg with Ami files) it plays through some and then crashes, which could just be color issues, if LucasArts modified the Ami version to use 32 in some places.

Just playing around right now since I can't work on the Space Quest stuff at work.

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Postby ijor » Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:38 pm

mouse_master wrote:Also, I probably need to find a better version of a cracker sierra.prg to use. Currently using one that still requires a floppy in the A drive, so it is cracked, just not totally.


Only the earlier Sierra ST titles have on-disk copy protection. If you don't have a compatiblity issue, you could perhaps use later original loaders and interpreters.

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Postby Goldrunner » Thu Feb 23, 2006 9:10 pm

mouse_master wrote:Also, I probably need to find a better version of a cracker sierra.prg to use. Currently using one that still requires a floppy in the A drive, so it is cracked, just not totally. But I am more concerned with that once I get the game mostly working.


I did quite few of the fan made games a couple of months back, simply by transfering the files to an ST disk and putting the Sierra.prg on there also. The Sierra.prg I used worked flawlessly on these games since I completed all them with walk-throughs, the one I used is not cracked or doesn't seem to be.

I have attached Uri Quest - The Freshman Encounter so you can have a look at the Sierra.prg that I used.
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Postby mouse_master » Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:10 pm

That version of the interpreter does not work well (at least for me) with the SQ game, it freaks out for some reason, constant disk access while trying to move the character.....

Anyway, here is a semi working copy of the game, the save game on the disk is about 10 rooms away (I think)from the current bug I am working on. Following the walkthru, when Roger enters the room for the next action (to pick something up) ram is exhausted, so either the code did not clear the stack, or too much is going on. I'll get it fixed, just a matter of how long til I get a good chance, since going through the data is a little bit challenging....
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Postby Goldrunner » Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:25 pm

Hi mouse_master

Just had a quick play and must say I'm very impressed. The game is just as good (if not better) than Sierra Space Quest games. Please keep going on this since we would all love to see this working fully on the ST.

The game could be packed (hopefully) to fit onto a 800K or 830K disk if we are lucky when finished :!:

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Postby mouse_master » Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:30 pm

It would be nice if it can be compacted. The Sierra.prg I am using goes down to 34k with UPX, I would not know which packer to use on the other files, but I'm sure others here would know. :D It looks like the zip file is just over an 82t/10s formated disk right now....

It might be possible to shrink the resource files a little once I get the game completely working, I am sure there are some items not being used to get a few k here and there....

And, from what I have seen of this game, it is larger than SQ2, and possibly larger than SQ1 (Not sure yet).

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Postby manicx » Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:05 am

Very impressive. Don't know how difficult it is but I am looking forward for this and I hope the best of luck.
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Postby simonsunnyboy » Fri Feb 24, 2006 8:17 am

As a fan of Hero's Quest, I'm really really interested in an ST port of Quest For Glory 2!!!!!!

Nice work for the rest as well!
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Postby Mug UK » Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:22 am

If memory serves, all the Sierra data files are random-access and therefore you can't pack them with a standard Trap #1 loader.

You might be able to lumpy-chunk pack them with Automation 5.01 but if you think it's accessing the data slowly unpacked, it'd be much, much worse lumpy-chunked.

Axe/Delight (or was it Jabba) seemed to specialise in hacking the Kings Quest series etc. so have a look at their versions of the games to see if they found a way to pack the data down by opening up the main data file in the interpreter... if it's packed, it won't be recognised by the Sierra programs.
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Postby lotek_style » Fri Feb 24, 2006 3:37 pm

WOW Mouse Master! Keep going and finish SQ :D
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Postby lotek_style » Sat Jul 08, 2006 2:59 pm

Any progress on the Space Quest game?
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Postby avenger » Sat Jul 08, 2006 3:17 pm

about Sierra files, once i extracted/depacked all the datas from Space Quest III and tried to repack it, it didnt pack much better than original :(

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Postby mouse_master » Mon Jul 10, 2006 4:48 pm

lotek_style wrote:Any progress on the Space Quest game?


While testing, I am literally stuck on a screen and can not get past it. I have been thinking about posting the game as is to see if anyone else can get past this part and then send me the resulting save game (or let me know what crashes and the secret). Basically, you move from one screen to the next, and must not touch the monster on the other side. Unfortunately, I have not figured out where to go to get past him, you basically touch him as soon as you appear on the other side. Walkthru's have been little help as well.

I'll at least try to get a screenshot up of the scene tonight.

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Postby mouse_master » Tue Jul 25, 2006 11:39 pm

Screenshots of where I am stuck with 'porting' (more like fixing) a fan made Space Quest game....

This first screen is fine, no problems....

Image

This is the next screen, where I am currently stuck. Basically, you are suppose to avoid the creature and get to the other side. I have tried doing what has been recommended to get past, but die no matter what.

Image

If I could get past that screen, I could easily go back to testing/fixing the game to run on the ST.

Falcon/CT60 people will be in luck in a few months, I think, all old school Sierra games and the fan made ones will soon run under ScummVM with Sarian (an AGI engine) being added in. I am assuming the port will not break horribly between now and then.

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Re: What I have been doing, Sierra Fan Game Conversions and more

Postby mouse_master » Thu May 31, 2018 2:04 am

Super necro post bump!

As my Falcon is currently not flying (tried everything except going back to stock from the CT60, have to find the original power supply which has been packed away for well over a decade), I put in a good 40 hours of testing/fixing 'Space Quest - The Lost Chapter' fan made AGI game in STeem for the ST.

While I can not say that it will not crash, I can say that the game can be completed, with a perfect score (which is earn 255 points twice). And, this game is hard! Save often. Pretty much this is a sequal to Space Quest ][.

And what causes the game to crash? The Sierra interpreter basically will only load 64k in assets in a room/scene, so loading more than that gets a memory error. I cleaned these up in the decompiled logic scripts, which basically was remove a sprite here and there to bring the memory usage down. The newer interpreters, such as NAGI and ScummVM ignore this issue.

Tested in STeem with TOS 1.0, and 1 Meg (but I would think 512k is fine). Disk size is a problem, as the disk is basically setup as a HD formatted disk, which does not work on the CosmosEX, but works fine in STeem. Can be installed to a hard drive, but needs a key disk, have attached the image which I used for that.

I hope to try to make a Youtube capture of a playthru of this game, but need to figure out the time to do that.

Walkthru of this game -> https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/917556 ... faqs/23519

3 files are attached.

Space Quest - The Lost Chapter R1.zip - Disk image, works with STeem
Space Quest - The Lost Chapter R1-files.zip - Just the files, can put on a Hard Disk, includes my save games from the testing.
Space Quest 2 - KCC.zip - I am using Disk image for the key disk for the Sierra interpreter's copy protection, if running from Hard Disk, just have this in A or B.

I might have tools to make this a 2 or 3 disk game, not sure yet, I was more concerned with wiping the bugs out first, rather than playing with dos utilities in DosBox.
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Re: What I have been doing, Sierra Fan Game Conversions and more

Postby leech » Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:43 pm

Awesome! And that's a pretty epic necro, probably the longest I've seen between posts, almost a full 12 years?

Looking forward to testing this out when I can. I never have played any of the Space Quest games, weirdly. Though I did love Zak McKracken and the Alien Mind Benders.
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