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> Game formats converter, Requests and game format research
Nyerguds
messaggio11 Sep 2017, 14:28
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I decided to make a thread for this tool, because everything related to it is always posted in the threads about the games I'm working on, and that's getting really messy. So here is one central place where all progress updates will be centralized.

The tool has been renamed to "Engie File Converter", as of v1.3.0!

In this thread, people can post requests, examples and specs of graphics formats for which there are currently no converters, and I can see if it's possible to implement them in my tool.

Wiki page on the shikadi.net modding wiki:
http://www.shikadi.net/moddingwiki/Engie_File_Converter

Download:
http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/projec...verter/release/
Just take the last file in the folder; it should always be the latest version

Source code:
http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/projec...eConverter/dev/

Screenshot:


Current list of supported file types: (as of 1.3.3)
  • Standard image types: PNG, BMP, JPEG, GIF. Anything else that is natively supported in the .Net framework (like certain types of TIFF) can also be opened, but not saved.
  • Windows icons, with specific support for viewing the different images in the file (which the .Net framework does not do natively).
  • Simple 768-byte VGA palettes in both 6-bit and 8-bit formats. The 6-bit type is used in a load of Westwood games; the 8-bit type is used by C&C64.
  • The image and tileset formats used in the Nintendo 64 version of Command & Conquer, though only the image format has save support.
  • The PC and N64 map format of Command & Conquer, with the ability to convert between the formats.
  • The Command & Conquer Tileset Format, an uncompressed tileset format representing a rectangular shape of terrain cells, with indication of unused cells in the grid.
  • Westwood Animation format (which uses their own XOR Delta compression), with support for four known versions, and the choice to embed palettes on saving. Used in a load of Westwood games.
  • Westwood CPS Format, with loading and saving support for all compression formats, and the choice to embed palettes. Used in a load of Westwood games.
  • Westwood Dune II SHP Format, with support for remappable frames.
  • Westwood Command & Conquer 1 / Red Alert 1 SHP Format.
  • Westwood Tiberian Sun SHP Format.
  • The LCW image type from Blade Runner, a simple implementation of an LCW-compressed 16-bit image.
  • The Westwood Palette Stretch Table format, a 64K file containing the best in-between colour for all possible colour pairs on a specific 256-colour palette. They are used to quickly upscale 8-bit images, mostly WSA animations and CPS images.
  • AdventureSoft item icons and VGA format (Elvira: Mistress of the Dark)
  • Dynamix BMP and SCR format, with compression support for RLE, LZW (reading only) and LZSS (reading only, though writing code is available and could be added later), and the Dynamix 8-bit palettes. Used in loads of Sierra/Dynamix games.
  • Kings of the Beach PAK Format, a simple RLE-compressed image type with the ability to save a partial file.
  • KORT Image format, a simple headerless image that is always 320x200, and of which the data is RLE compressed in simple Value/Length pairs.
  • KORT BMP Format, an uncompressed tileset format.
  • Mythos Visage Format, with full compression loading and saving support.
  • Mythos Visage Animation Format, with support for compression and for optimising data into chunks on save.


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Original post:
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I decided to make a thread for this tool, because everything related to it is always posted in the threads about the games I'm working on, and that's getting really messy. So here is one central place where all progress updates will be centralized.

Currently the tool is still called the "C&C64 File Converter", since I started it with formats from the Nintendo 64 ROM of Command & Conquer, but I'll probably change that name.

In this thread, people can post requests, examples and specs of graphics formats for which there are currently no converters, and I can see if it's possible to implement them in my tool.

Wiki page on the shikadi.net modding wiki:
http://www.shikadi.net/moddingwiki/C%26C64_File_Converter

Download:
http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/projec...verter/release/
Just take the last file in the folder; it should always be the latest version

Source code:
http://nyerguds.arsaneus-design.com/projec...eConverter/dev/

Screenshot:
-removed; see above-

Current list of supported file types: (in my current development version)
-removed; see above-

I worked on Dynamix BMP frames files too, but they are disabled in the tool until I actually find out how to uncompress the data.

I might disable the AdventureSoft icons list files type too; we found out that one icon is actually created from multiple frames from this file, each acting as a different colour layer, but there's no header of any kind to actually tell which images fit together. Also, since the file has no header, it identifies any file with a file size divisible by 72 as that type. I had to move it to the end of the autodetection list because of this n7.gif

I'm currently working on custom save options per type; for example, file types like CPS and VGS can be saved with or without palette, and CPS and SCR support multiple compression methods. So if you save a file as CPS, after selecting the save target, a popup box will appear with the checkbox option "Save palette inside file", and a dropdown list with the different compression types.

So far, the internal system works, but I haven't actually made the popup yet.

Messaggio modificato da Nyerguds il 26 Sep 2018, 11:39


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Command & Conquer Gold v1.06 - Upgrading C&C95, byte by byte...
 
Micartu
messaggio11 Sep 2017, 20:41
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Nyerguds, thank you for your help with Elvira, sorry if i write only now, but the last month sadly i had a lot of helath problem. Now they are almost resolved.
So thank you for your help, finally i will finish my translation. I've opened the project a lot of years ago.

Now... me and Ruler a couple of months ago were working on a little secret project. Obviously a translation. We completed the translation part (all the text was in the .exe), but we had problem with the graphic. I'll tell Ruler to explain better the project to you.
Maybe you could help us again with this new graphic format.


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Nyerguds
messaggio11 Sep 2017, 23:21
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All right. If it's secret, it can always happen in private messages blush.gif


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Command & Conquer Gold v1.06 - Upgrading C&C95, byte by byte...
 
Nyerguds
messaggio12 Sep 2017, 22:08
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1.1.3 released, with a load of internal changes and optimisations when it comes to handling frames.

Also, internally, the "save options" system has been implemented (well, it's in place. Only one type actually already has it fully implemented), though currently the UI for showing and actually changing the options isn't done yet, so they just revert to their defaults. None of that is noticeable as user, but internally it's all ready go blush.gif

Besides that, empty files are now handled better. When saving certain formats as frames (like the Elvira VGA frames) you get empty files to represent empty frames in the range, since there are no image formats that support 0x0 as dimensions. The tool now detects these empty files, and will skip the file type auto-detect for them, and will only use them to detect if they are part of a range of numbered frame files.

Also, I optimized all types that use run-length compression. I can't believe none of the devs back in those days seemed to realize that RLE gives better results when you only start compressing from the moment you find three repeating bytes. All RLE types I encountered become smaller when re-saved by the converter tongue.gif


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Command & Conquer Gold v1.06 - Upgrading C&C95, byte by byte...
 
TheRuler
messaggio13 Sep 2017, 02:26
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The EGA palette for "that" game doesn't seem to be the standard EGA palette. Here is the correct one for your tool.

CLAP CLAP Maarten. Your tool is growing faster and healthy!
Files allegati
File Allegato  EGA_palette.rar ( 186byte ) Numero di download: 5
 


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Nyerguds
messaggio13 Sep 2017, 09:20
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Oh, nice! Yeah, that does look better. But the one I had was pretty close blush.gif

I released 1.1.4, with some bug fixes on the latest implementations. One of these bugs could mess up the autodetection mechanism.

Messaggio modificato da Nyerguds il 13 Sep 2017, 09:20


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Command & Conquer Gold v1.06 - Upgrading C&C95, byte by byte...
 
TheRuler
messaggio13 Sep 2017, 09:23
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CITAZIONE (Nyerguds @ 13 Sep 2017, 10:20) *
Oh, nice! Yeah, that does look better. But the one I had was pretty close blush.gif

I released 1.1.4, with some bug fixes on the latest implementations. One of these bugs could mess up the autodetection mechanism.

You did it by hand? You missed only 2 colours IIRC. Impressive Maarten, you eat palettes at breakfast.
I took a screenshot with dosbox, imported the png into your tool and then saved the palette, so edited the ini.

Your tool did the dirty job, actually. ;-)


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Nyerguds
messaggio13 Sep 2017, 10:45
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No, no, as I said in my PM, I still had the palette in there from checking out images in the Dynamix game "F-14 Tomcat". Since it matched so well I assumed it was just a standard (or at least very commonly used) EGA palette.

Messaggio modificato da Nyerguds il 13 Sep 2017, 10:49


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Command & Conquer Gold v1.06 - Upgrading C&C95, byte by byte...
 
Nyerguds
messaggio17 Sep 2017, 01:14
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I just implemented a system that gives a basic type to all supported file types, and uses that to automatically filter out the choices in the "Save" dialog blush.gif

At this moment, the different types are 1-bit image, 4-bit image, 8-bit image, hi-colour image, C&C Map, and frames container. These types are used by each supported format to tell the system three things: the type(s) of the format, what input(s) the format accepts for saving to it, and, in case it's a frame container, what the type of the frames is.

Examples:
-if you load a 4-bit image, it will only show the types that can be saved from a 4-bit image, removing all file types that are specific to 8-bit. Note that high-colour formats can take any lower-bpp paletted format too, so they'll still be in the list.
-If you load a PC Command & Conquer terrain map file, it'll only allow saving that as PC C&C map file or as N64 C&C map file. It is a completely contained type not convertible to any other types. The graphical representation can be copied to the clipboard, though.
-if you load a range of 8-bit frames, the save types list will only show the types that are frames containers with 8-bit images in them, like the KORT bmp frames format.
-Since the Elvira icons-set save logic can convert any image to pure black and white by itself, and it can takes both a frame-set or a single image as input (it cuts it up into 24x24 icons itself), it will always show up in the save list of image/frames formats. Though if you choose to save as that format it'll still complain if the dimensions of an input image aren't a multiple of 24x24 pixels (or, in case of frames, exactly 24x24 pixels).
-The C&C1 tileset format is a frame containers for 8-bit frames, but it does show as single 8-bit image on index -1, so to save it as another type, it can act as both an 8-bit image and as frame container. However, at this moment the format only accept a single 8-bit image as save input (it cuts it up into frames itself), so it will not show up in the save list if you have frames loaded. I'll probably change that, though, but it takes some effort to implement.


Note that saving framed formats is distinguished from saving the single frames by going to the frame at index -1, though those formats that produce a preview frame at index -1 can also be saved as single normal image.

Messaggio modificato da Nyerguds il 21 Jan 2018, 20:13


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Nyerguds
messaggio19 Sep 2017, 15:22
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I'm very close to finishing the custom save options system now. All the classes and controls are done, and I just need to make a nice form that actually combines everything I made. I got kind of distracted by the fact I figured out the Elvira icons were 4-bit images, so I guess that delayed it all a bit, lol.


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Micartu
messaggio20 Sep 2017, 12:25
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Your tools is growing bigger and bigger every day, i'm really impressed.
Thank you.


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Nyerguds
messaggio20 Sep 2017, 20:51
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Progress update blush.gif



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TheRuler
messaggio21 Sep 2017, 01:20
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"Has errors", that's funny ghgh.gif


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Nyerguds
messaggio21 Sep 2017, 05:18
Messaggio #14



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I don't think it's funny... I got an LZW algorithm, and it works, but it messes up some colours in the image... and I don't know why :(

At least my RLE is more optimised than anything I've seen in any files so far tongue.gif

The method in the end was quite simple: compress (Repeat) from the moment you find 2 repeating bytes, but if you're already in the middle of a Copy run, only switch to a Repeat command if you find 3 repeating bytes. The only somewhat-exception to that rule is that if the maximum length that can be stored in one Copy command is reached (usually 127) and there's a 2-byte repeat detected at the end that would be cut in half by that, then it's cut off before that and the repeating bytes are saved as 2-byte repeat, since the copy command will end there anyway, and this ensures that, if it's followed by more repeat commands, the second byte won't be saved as additional Copy command for just one byte.

I'm really starting to like RLE biggrin2a.gif

Anyway. Here's a version without errors, though it's just shown on an empty image since it's saving a frames type, and you need to go to index -1 to save those:


There is no limit to the amount of options that a file type can give; if it's too large it'll just get a scroll bar blush.gif

Messaggio modificato da Nyerguds il 21 Sep 2017, 08:24


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TheRuler
messaggio21 Sep 2017, 08:37
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CITAZIONE (Nyerguds @ 21 Sep 2017, 06:18) *
I don't think it's funny...
but I thought you liked hard quests ;-)
CITAZIONE
I got an LZW algorithm, and it works, but it messes up some colours in the image... and I don't know why :(

Even with images without embedded palette? Have you tried with Elvira frames?
Let me get i t right, the compressed image is displayed correctly and the re-uncompressed one has colours messed up?
What if you compare bit per bit the original image and the re-uncompressed image?


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Nyerguds
messaggio21 Sep 2017, 11:24
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First of all, do realize that just like with RLE, all implementations of LZW seem to differ slightly, so all this is just specific to the Westwood LZW. Elvira frames use RLE, not LZW. LZW is a lot more complex.

CPS images are technically 8-bit, but they were used for 4-bit games too. On such a 4-bit CPS, the LZW decoding algorithm decoded some pixels as values higher than 15... so that was already suspicious.

Now, when resaving that same image with the LZW encoder, those same pixels got turned into yet another colour.

This means two things:
  1. The encoder and decoder I got, which use common code, clearly contain some kind of bug, since the result from the save is changed when reopening.
  2. The decoder either has a bug, or isn't 100% like the one Westwood had, because that image should not have had any indices greater than 15 on it. Another possibility is that the image itself simply has some colour corruption already saved in it... but that seems odd.

Note that analysis of WW LZW code did show they seemed to have some special exceptions in the "codes" that each little chunk is identified as in lzw, for example the value 999 was filtered out for some reason. So it's possible that a decoder without these specific exceptions won't decompress the data correctly. But even if that is the case, option #1 still holds true: my encoder and decoder aren't synced, because data saved with my own encoder is changed when decompressed with my own encoder.

Messaggio modificato da Nyerguds il 21 Sep 2017, 13:03


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Command & Conquer Gold v1.06 - Upgrading C&C95, byte by byte...
 
Nyerguds
messaggio21 Sep 2017, 14:28
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Found the problem. The C# implementation I copied stupidly read and wrote the bytes through an ASCII stream reader, meaning, all bytes higher than 0x7F probably got replaced by '?'. n7.gif

...and the 4-bit file apparently indeed just has some bad pixels in it.

Messaggio modificato da Nyerguds il 21 Sep 2017, 14:52


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Nyerguds
messaggio21 Sep 2017, 15:07
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Ooh, I just found out there is a type of Dynamix BMP files that uses the BIN/VGA format internally! This means we might be able to write those files after all, even if we can't read them...

Messaggio modificato da Nyerguds il 21 Sep 2017, 15:07


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TheRuler
messaggio21 Sep 2017, 15:39
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CITAZIONE (Nyerguds @ 21 Sep 2017, 15:28) *
Found the problem. The C# implementation I copied stupidly read and wrote the bytes through an ASCII stream reader, meaning, all bytes higher than 0x7F probably got replaced by '?'. n7.gif
azz.gif happened to me several times...
The oddity is that it's "partially" works!




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Nyerguds
messaggio21 Sep 2017, 19:08
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Well, the fact that actual specific colours seemed to change was a big hint. It meant that only certain values were corrupting, and not the actual decompression. Also, the corrupted result didn't corrupt further when re-saving it...

I'll allow opening the Dynamix BMP files even if the frames are compressed and unreadable; then you can still replace it with a blank version, and identify in-game which areas are affected by the replacement, so you can reconstruct the sprites from screenshots as we did with the SCR ones ;)

Of course, that is, if HOC and RotD actually accept the VGA/BIN version...

[edit]

HOC has some VGA/BIN versions! So it can certainly read them biggrin2a.gif

Now I just need to write the saving code... which won't be too hard blush.gif

Messaggio modificato da Nyerguds il 21 Sep 2017, 19:13


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TheRuler
messaggio21 Sep 2017, 21:16
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GOOD TO HEAR! It would require some trial&error but it wouldn't be so hard to skim by the filename and figure out possible frames with text in it.

At least, do you understood why those frames can't be decoded? Is it only the compression method unknown?
I bet we will sort it out in the future.


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Nyerguds
messaggio21 Sep 2017, 21:42
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This just got a bit more complex... there are multiple types of BMP files.

The classic one is just sprites. They seem to have an extra "OFF" chunk at the end with the X and Y offsets of all frames, though I haven't confirmed if that's what it actually is. Though DYNAMIX.BMP instead has a single value FFFF, probably indicating that the offsets are hardcoded in the exe?

Then there's BKGND.BMP. Ohhboy. This is actually not a frames file at all, but a single 640x130 image cut up into blocks of 8x13, and optimised in the same way as the Westwood fonts: it ends on a big "MTX" (matrix?) chunk that has the 80x10 block-dimensions of the final image, and then an 800-entry array of WORD values which refer to frame indices. By referring to indices multiple times this reduces the image from 800 needed frames to 704 actual saved frames.

Another one I found has an "SCL" section at the end, which was completely empty, so I have no idea what that means.

Messaggio modificato da Nyerguds il 21 Sep 2017, 21:47


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TheRuler
messaggio21 Sep 2017, 21:55
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I can't figure out why Dynamix decided to put so much image storing method into their engines... It's a damned mess, but you seem to have sorted it out the basics, at least.
Let me say, impressive nonetheless. Maarten.
I probably understood 20% of what you said. ghgh.gif


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Nyerguds
messaggio21 Sep 2017, 23:09
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Bah, the matrix one wasn't as simple as I thought... I think it's actually 10 different images, somehow...

Messaggio modificato da Nyerguds il 21 Sep 2017, 23:10


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Nyerguds
messaggio22 Sep 2017, 08:36
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Never mind, got it! biggrin2a.gif

It seems that the final matrix had to be interpreted in columns, not rows. Thankfully I just had to copy the Elvira switch-rows-and-columns code to make it work biggrin2a.gif



I'm adding it as different type. Thanks to my new detection logic, it can be loaded as Dynamix BMP, but will identify as the specific sub-type of Dynamix matrix image, and when saving will select the specific matrix image save option.

The same system works for normal images: you can open a png from type "image", but it'll still identify as the more specific type "png", and when saving the file, it'll select the actual png type in the save list (which contains all specific types).


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