Freescent - free Descent datafiles (*updated* D1 files too!)

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Megagun
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Freescent - free Descent datafiles (*updated* D1 files too!)

Post by Megagun » Mon Dec 10, 2007 12:18 pm

First of all, I have no idea where this belongs to, and since the subject of this thread concerns itself with different subfora, I decided to place this into the PTMC Café. Moderators: if you know where to place this, feel free to move it...

Anyways, we all know how great Descent II is, and that many great engines exist for it, and that a lot more people should be playing it. One of the reasons why I decided to start up a project similar to OpenArena and Freedoom, dubbed Freescent. A link to more information/discussion and some released files can be found over here: http://home.deds.nl/~megagun/freescent/

One of the goals of Freescent is to create a dataset oriented towards multiplayer gameplay, whilst still retaining Descent II compatibility (or trying to where such a thing is not feasible).

The project is currently in its very first stages, which aim to create a free 'basic' dataset: just enough to be able to play the game in multiplayer mode, and 'perhaps' enough to play the game in a dumbed down singleplayer mode (think of blocks and triangles in place of the nicely modelled Descent II enemy bots) with textures being rather absent and sounds being rather bleep-y, though able to be replaced by high-quality freeware textures and nice custom sounds if the engine used by the user supports custom high-res textures and sounds...

I've already got the textures and sounds 'done' for stage one of the project (released files: http://home.deds.nl/~megagun/freescent/datafiles/) and am pretty far done with the HOG file (only missing .256 palette files as those aren't free), so this thread is not about just some wild idea of someone... (and yes, I've made my own custom font. Go, XVI32!)

Basically, my idea was to get a fully-functional free dataset done, and only then post about it on various Descent-related forums and communities. However, I've ran into a few troubles over the course of the project:

1) the .256 files are palette files, and if I want to regain some form of compatibility with Descent II and its maps, I'd have to create my own version of it, which would then look exactly the same as the original Descent II .256 file.
2) the .HAM file contains aplenty of game data such as what texture-sequence a certain door makes, some robot and weapon constants and behaviour, and more of this kind of stuff. If I want to regain compatibility with Descent II maps, it is pretty vital that the Freescent 2's .HAM file matches the original Descent 2 .HAM file.... Additionally, the .HAM file contains Bot and player models, which have to be replaced too (probably with 'dummy models' in the first stages of Project Freescent). I know that the models might be replaceable fairly easilly, though. But the gamedata might be a severe pain in the behind.

I thought about asking the guys who decide these kinds of things for permission to use some specific gamedata (read: everything BUT the bot/player models, plus the .256 files inside the HOG files), but as I wrote them (them being the Volition guys in this case: note that I basically had no idea who to ask, so I figured I might ask them first) an e-mail, I figured I might as well just scrap my \"make first then make public to community\" idea and tell you guys about my troubles, to see if you had any idea on how to solve these problems, especially since I've only been part of a rather small fraction of the Descent community.

Also, noet that I'm open to contributions from the 'outside'. Got multiplayer maps you're willing to license under a 'free' license (general idea: non-commercial, share-alike, allow remixes/alterations), or perhaps have any other content Project Freescent could use? Feel free to contribute!

Thanks for reading, and I hope that relatively soon, we all can start inviting our friends into completely free Descent 2-like matches on all of the favourite Descent community multiplayer maps!
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d3jake
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Post by d3jake » Mon Dec 10, 2007 1:02 pm

I don't have time right now to read this whole thing, though it looks interesting. Head on over to ODF Its an opensource Descent foundation dedicated to helping people write open source programs and utilities for Descent1\\2\\3. Our main project is Open Descent. Which will hopefully be a more up to date Descent, with kewl graphics.
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Post by zico » Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:30 am

Very great project. I hope some day after finishing this you will also move to D1. Woudl love to see that in D1X-R as well. :)
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Post by Megagun » Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:46 am

Well, as far as I am aware, none of the Descent 1 sourceports allow for custom Descent 1 datafiles (as in: they crash/bug up whenever I try to edit any file)..

Also, I'm not sure wether a Descent 1 free dataset would be harder or easier to do when compared to a Descent 2 dataset...

EDIT: actually, due to the fact that D1 does not have a HAM file, it might be easier to make freescent for D1..
Also, guess I *can* edit D1 PIG files.. and HOG files (note the font!)
http://home.deds.nl/~megagun/freescent/ ... reed1r.png (EDIT: this is an old image - see below!)

EDIT:
Allright, Descent 1 texture and soundset is DONE.
See http://home.deds.nl/~megagun/freescent/datafiles/
Image
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Post by Megagun » Wed Dec 12, 2007 11:34 am

I really do not like doubleposting..

Anyways, looks like the progress I have done yesterday might have been done a tad too quickly, as according to http://descent2.com/ddn/specs/pig/#pigd1full14 the Descent 1.40a PIG files also contain the robot models.. Biggish problem being that no tool to extract and insert the robot models from these files exists yet.

Thus, the file I have uploaded yesterday is *not* free, and I guess I'll have to remove it sometime tomorrow...

Now, if I want to continue Freescent for Descent 1 (Freescent for Descent 2 is halted until I find a way to edit the HAM file properly) I'll have to figiure out how to extract those files, and put them back into, the PIG file. Big problem being that through hexediting my freescent pig file, and reading the format on http://descent2.com/ddn/specs/pig/#pigd1full14 I can *not* find the robot model data as described on that page...

Anyone willing to shed a light on this not-so-fortunate event? I fear that all my work on the datafiles have been for naught, as I might never be able to release these files, unless I get permission to distribute non-free data freely by whoever owns the original Descent files.. :/
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Post by DCrazy » Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:47 pm

This is awesome. Though I would recommend to any mods that this be moved to Descent Old Skool. Because I'm that anal-retentive.
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roid
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Post by roid » Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:23 pm

hahahaha that looks awesome man, i could imagine playing that

(MOD NOTE: THREAD MOVED TO - DESCENT OLD SKOOL)
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Post by Megagun » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:28 pm

Allright, uploaded the Freescent1 HOG file: http://home.deds.nl/~megagun/freescent/ ... /descent1/

Does not contain any singleplayer missions, so get your own!

Note that descent 1 (under the Rebirth engine) only requires a HOG and a PIG file. However, due to the robots apparantly being in the PIG file, Freescent 1 is not complete yet. I'll further look into the robots-inside-pig-file issue and try to get a proper release done sometimes.

Questions I currently have:
-Are robot models stored inside the PIG file (D1)?
-Is any other data (physics, general values, behaviour, etc) other than sound/textures stored inside the PIG file (D1)?

EDIT: I'd be grateful if you didn't distribute the released files to your friends just yet, because of the not-exactly-sureness of the legality of these files. Thanks. :)
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Post by Pumo » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:49 pm

Megagun wrote: Questions I currently have:
-Are robot models stored inside the PIG file (D1)?
-Is any other data (physics, general values, behaviour, etc) other than sound/textures stored inside the PIG file (D1)?
Yeah for both of them. The models are stored as .POF files (i think, although i'm not completely sure) inside the .PIG file and is also the robot data, as far as i know (but i may be wrong). D1 is a lot harder to modify than D2, but if you can achieve it will be wonderful. :)
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Post by Megagun » Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:58 pm

Thanks for the info. I'll take down the PIG file until I can get the non-free datafiles out of it..
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