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SOA Dreamcast Editor
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Fenix



Joined: 30 Apr 2006
Posts: 29
Location: Destination

PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, my main interest right now is in extracting the textures.

Augh… I found Cpack! in the PLAYER.MLZ file - so I guess that means it’s useless. Will this file be the one I always look at to determine its quality?

And again, I am grateful for everyone’s help and for putting up with my annoying questions. Once I get some things squared away, if you like, I’d love to show you guys my projects regarding SoA.
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ADnova



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2006 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can find most of the interesting texture files in the FIELD or BCHARA directories. Most have a .mld file extension. Chances are good that if one file is CPack!, then the rest will be as well. Note that you can actually replace Echelon versions of files with uncompressed versions and it works fine. Echelon just hacked the 1ST_READ.BIN so that when loading a file, it simply checks for "CPack!". If it's there, it goes to it's custom loader; otherwise it passes it back to be loaded normally.

In other news, I'm going to look into possibly using the GameCube version of SOA in the future. There is a GC emulator called Dolphin that actually has been updated within the past month. Considering Chankast hasn't been updated for nearly 2 years, it's probably not a bad idea to explore other options.
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ftr



Joined: 30 Mar 2005
Posts: 597

PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I imagine looking into the GC version wouldn't be a bad idea, you have your head screwed on nicely Smile

Fenix, I can't help you here, but I'm sure someone can. A possible suggestion would be to make a clean image of the DC discs, uncompressed and all that guff, and slap them onto a DVD as data and send the DVD your way for mounting as normal. I'd do it, but I no longer have my copy of Skies Sad I lent it to someone and never got it back... bastard.
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Kryslin



Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 241

PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 2:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GC version is cpacked, much like the echelon version for the DC.

Steve
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ADnova



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kryslin wrote:
GC version is cpacked, much like the echelon version for the DC.

Steve


Well, that sucks then. Laughing

This is all I've managed to figure out about Echelon compression over the past while:
Code:

Sections:
1: CPack! ID. Always 0x435061636B210100 (8 bytes)
2: Uncompressed file size. (4 bytes)
3: Always 0x00000100 (4 bytes)
4: Absolute address of compression type (?) (4 bytes)
The compressed data follows immediately after.
The value this points to is 1 or sometimes 2 bytes. Ignores nulls?
5: Address of... (next section? end of data? Always points to eof, or 1 or 2 bytes before eof) (4 bytes)
6: Compression type? This is the value referenced by 4 above (1 or 2 bytes)
Depending on the size of the file, there are a number of entries between #5 and #6.


Obviously more work will have to be done.
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Kryslin



Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 241

PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, Dolphin can probably still use it, because that was what I ripped right of my copy. cpack! showed up in the first few files I had looked at. Still, a little SH4 dis-assembly could provide the decompressor, off an echelon rip. they probably hacked the driver for the GD-ROM to do it. Of course, there has to be a cpack! utility out there somewhere...

Steve
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diablo2121



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is the SoA Editor 0.9 out for the public yet?
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ADnova



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

diablo2121 wrote:
Is the SoA Editor 0.9 out for the public yet?


Not yet. All I've got finished is the dialog and texture editors. I discovered a lot of data since 0.8, so it's going to take a while to make it all editable. Plus I have a job now, so time to work on it is quite limited. I can say that it will probably be released before a new version of Chankast though. Sad

Kryslin: The version I just got isn't CPacked. Actually, most of the data files are marked with "AKLZ", which if I had to guess is an LZ compression method that Overworks themselves made to get the game to fit on one minidisc. There are a few that aren't compressed however, and it's interesting how similar the data is to the dreamcast version.
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Fenix



Joined: 30 Apr 2006
Posts: 29
Location: Destination

PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, the game cube version irritated me somewhat. A lot of little details were cut out as well as the textrue and sound quality suffering.

But that's just my two cents. Wink
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diablo2121



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 2:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's just about everyone's .02 on SoAL. The sidequests and backstory make up for it though.
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Chilly0123



Joined: 17 May 2005
Posts: 28

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im a little confused, what is this cpack thing? is it that important that you need to use the gamecube version instead of the dreamcast one, because from what i know about gamecube emulation the only emulator that can run any games at full speed is the dolphin teaser. Has anyone acually got SOAL working at a decent speed on any emulator yet?
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Kryslin



Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 241

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cpack (or CPACK!) is the header used by the Ecehelon Warez people; It identifies that the file is compressed, so they could compress the game data that fit GDROM data onto a normal CDR. It is on-the-fly huffman compression, from what little can be found out about it.

Steve
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diablo2121



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The latest Dolphin Beta has no xactual speed increase but rather more of a compatibilty increase. Once things are more compatible, they can start to focus on speed. SoAL is still Intro to my knowledge. I couldn't get anywhere after the Sega logo at around 4 fps.
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ADnova



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

diablo2121 wrote:
I couldn't get anywhere after the Sega logo at around 4 fps.


Same here. I just wanted to have a look into using the GC version, that's all.
Right now it doesn't really matter what version I choose, both are unplayable.
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Fenix



Joined: 30 Apr 2006
Posts: 29
Location: Destination

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hawtt.
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diablo2121



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fenix wrote:
Hawtt.
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diablo2121



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn, I've been looking everywhere for this NTSC rip. No one seems to have it. It's driving me insane; I want to see those textures.
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diablo2121



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well alas, I don't think I'll ever find a copy of the uncompressed image.
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ADnova



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm releasing a preview version of the editor here: http://www.geocities.com/adnova2001/soa/soaeditoralpha.zip
All you can do is use the texture and dialog editors.
It's definitely alpha-ware, so expect things to behave in strange ways.

Requirements:
.NET framework 2.0 (sorry about this... I'm using Visual Studio 2005 now).
Some uncompressed (non-echelon) dialog or texture files.

You'll notice that you can now import standard image formats (png, bmp, jpeg, etc.). The code for this was mostly ported from some existing C code, written by Gil Megidish, called vqenc. Translating it to C# was easier than I thought it would be. Actually, the translation is so close to the C source that it even copies all of the bugs; so 256 x 256 size images won't import correctly, and neither will any image with alpha. I'm working on a solution for these problems, the first step was just to have it output the same data as the C vqenc program.
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Kyyp



Joined: 07 Aug 2005
Posts: 1007

PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pure Awesome.
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