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Welcome to the ScummVM planet - This aggregates the personal blogs of developers, teams members and active participants from all around the ScummVM community.
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June 23, 2017

Joseph-Eugene Winzer (Joefish) - GSoC

Summary -- Week 3

Unfortunately there won't be pretty pictures for this weeks summary but I finally released by blog on the graphics and animation of Supernova.
I've been working mostly on converting the game logic for the first act and extending the engine (e.g. renderText(), renderMessage(), save/restore of screen sections, ..)
More noteworthy commits were

This week I will be getting the engine in a 'coherent' state before the first evaluation on June, 26th. While rendering images and animations work, playing audio samples and the game logic for first act was converted, all those features do not yet play together.
The goal will be rendering the starting room with the ability to interact with objects in some form. If everything works fine that's how it will look like

by Joe Winzer ( at June 23, 2017 09:18 AM

Image Rendering and Animation

Let's hope not all humans are that ugly  --  probably some Axacutian

This post will be about the compression algorithm used for the graphics and how it plays into the animation system of Supernova.
The images consist of a custom palette of 239 colors and divided up into sections that define its size and a pointer to the image data. An exception to this are the newspaper articles, seen in the intro of the game.

Those bitmap images have dimensions of 640x480 and only monochrome colors, instead of 256-colors palettized 320x200. The difference in their encoding can be seen here in the code. So, for the mode 0x11 images I mask the bits of a byte and depending if the bit is set 0 (Black) or 11 (63% White) is written. It is safe to use palette colors as the first 16 colors of the default palette, defined here, won't be overwritten by an image's custom palette.

Mode 0x13 images that make up the rest of the game's graphics are compressed in a run-length encoding (RLE) and are 320x200 256-color palettized. The following describes the structure of the file format

The image decoding part can be found here. It works more or less like this:
The encoded image is read into a variable 'input' byte by byte

        - If input < numRepeat, write the next value read input-times
        - If input < numZw, write the (input - numRepeat)th value of 'twin-value
          array' twice
        - Otherwise, write input value directly

The success of this simple way of compression depends on how monotonous the image is. The less color changes happen in a scanline the better the compression.


Sections, as already mentioned, describe an image section that most of the time shows objects in different states of interaction, like an opened or closed door, by redrawing only part of the base image (section 0).
As you can see in the video, sections 7, 8 and 9 are the frames for the animation of the 'slide door' to the airlock. And that's the whole trick. Well, a door sliding open in 3 frames is not that impressive, so I composed a video with 3 scenes from the game that meet your expectations a bit more when you hear the word 'animation'

by Joe Winzer ( at June 23, 2017 07:25 AM

June 20, 2017

Arnaud Boutonné (Strangerke)

Another milestone reached

The past week has been spent on stabilizing the current code (on my side) and on contributing a patch to ffpmeg so it handles correctly the previously undocumented opcodes we encountered (that's for TMM). I also spent some energy on the user input, which is composed of several large hardcoded logic functions. After a couple of fixes this morning, a step has been reached: the game starts (no video player nor sound yet).

Main Menu:

First screen of the game:

Hopefully we'll have soon another milestone to announce! :)

by Arnaud Boutonné ( at June 20, 2017 01:01 PM

June 18, 2017

Simei Yin - GSoC

GSoC Week 4

GSoC 2017: Sludge Engine Week 4

Week task conclusion

Generally, this 3rd week of GSoC project was good: the input works and we are able to reallly “play” the game. Bugs are cleared for the game demo Verb Coins now and there are only z-Buffer stuff left to get it fully work.

Again, thanks to my mentors _sev(Eugene Sandulenko), t0by(Tobia Tesan) and all scummvm team members that has helped me on input and bug fixes during this week.


To make a brief conclusion about what we have and have not achieved for this week :

Tasks completed:

  1. game input
  2. freeze/unfreeze scene
  3. Add character interaction
  4. object inventory = dark screen effect + paste image to background

To resolve later:

  1. When setting opacity for transparent surface blitting, we need to modify the second parameter of TS_ARGB() instead of the first one, which is strange. Related line

What’s for next week: z-Buffer Image & new game

Tasks for next week :

  1. Get Z-Buffer up: it is used for different areas of a scene which can obscure character graphics, such as foreground silhouettes, doorframes and furniture.
  2. Add game fallback detection
  3. Add game Robin’s rescue and test

Some findings about sludge

Sludge input

Sludge input is using common sdl input functions

Freeze and unfreeze game scene

In sludge, whenever a dialog, reaction menu is popped up, the scene get frozen. The principle is that they make a screenshot of every thing on the background and copy interactive elements to a temporary variable and set them to null. Then, when we unfreeze, we restore them all.

by yinsimei at June 18, 2017 01:21 PM

June 17, 2017

ScummVM News Headlines

Hi-Res Adventures

Last year, we added support for three of Sierra's Hi-Res Adventure games: Mystery House (#1), Mission: Asteroid (#0) and Wizard and the Princess (#2). We're proud to announce that three more Apple II games are now playable in ScummVM and ready for testing: Ulysses and the Golden Fleece (#4), Time Zone (#5) and The Dark Crystal (#6).

For Ulysses and the Golden Fleece, we currently support the Load 'N' Go budget release. For Time Zone and The Dark Crystal we support the disk images that can be found on some of the Sierra collection CDs. The Datafiles wiki page has been updated with the required filenames for the disk images.

If you own one of those classics, grab the latest daily build and try it out! If you encounter an issue, please post a bug report following our testing guidelines. And while you're at it, please take some screenshots!

You may be wondering what happened to Hi-Res Adventure #3: Cranston Manor. Unfortunately, we still have not been able to locate a copy of this game after looking for it for over a year. If you own it, we'd love to hear from you!

by waltervn ( at June 17, 2017 06:00 PM

June 14, 2017

Joseph-Eugene Winzer (Joefish) - GSoC

Summary -- Week 2

Another week I have to start with an apology for delaying the blog post on the game audio. But I brought pretty pictures, so I hope we are even :)

As you can see lot of things improved since last week, most notably

Currently, I have been working on getting game logic into the game, starting with setting up the data for the rooms. Once I am comfortably ahead on that front I want to finally push out my articles on graphics and audio I'm sure everyone has been waiting for eagerly.

For the coming week my main focus will lie on implementing the game logic and wire it all up so some interaction may be possible. Despite wishful thinking I know there will be bumps in the road for me, so getting the data structures straight is what my attention is directed to right now.

by Joe Winzer ( at June 14, 2017 09:58 PM

June 13, 2017

Arnaud Boutonné (Strangerke)

After spending the last year (Yeek!) on the GSoC and on the cleanup of DungeonMaster, Lost Eden and the epic Plumbers Don't Wear Ties!, I'm now busy on a Top Sikrit project with TMM. TMM badly wanted to work on a FMV game engine, and I had (what a surprise) suggestions... :)

During the past two weeks, TMM made wonders on undocumented opcodes of the MVE format and I spent this time on the hardcoded logic, because I'm masochist :) In order to give an idea of the progress so far, I have reversed the logic group 1, 2 and 4 (out of 4).

We started an engine in a currently private branch a couple of days ago, and I even managed to fix my first bug in the common code (which I usually don't touch to avoid a disaster), in the IFF decoder :)

So the first screen of the game is now showing properly!

Don't ask me which game it is, I won't tell it. It's Top-Sikrit.

by Arnaud Boutonné ( at June 13, 2017 09:54 AM

June 11, 2017

Paul Gilbert (Dreammaster)

The player is finally home.. the long way round

It's taken so many nights spent slowly debugging the original executable versus my ScummVM implementation, but the final starfield puzzle of Starship Titanic is finally working.

I'm not 100% happy with how the starfield rotates to selected markers when you've locked them in, but frankly, given that I've spent multiple months on disassembling, implementing, and fixing just this one puzzle, I'm just happy at this point that it works at all.

So now with the starfield puzzle finally completable, I was able to initiate the endgame, and see the ending video and credits:
I have to say, there were times when I grew weary of implementing and testing all the matrix code that the puzzle required. But I guess I'm just too stubborn not to see it all the way through.

So what's happening next? Firstly, there are various minor bugs that I was aware of, but hadn't previously gotten around to fixing. I'm currently working into fixing them now For example, I fixed some jerking of text in the end credits, and some black boxes that briefly appeared over the flames in the canal. I've got some outstanding issues with NPC idle animations to look into. The Bellbot also won't currently bugger off if you tell him goodbye :) Once that's done, I'll give it another playthrough just to make sure before it's announced for public testing. So expect it to be soon. For those of you that don't have the game already, the current GOG sale has it discounted. So it's a very opportune time to pick it up.

On a final note, there are couple of things associated with the game that I don't have any immediate plans to spend time on:
* The QSound library the game uses for simulating sounds in a 3D space using standard stereo output. Many know my distaste of working sound code. So I'll leave it as a future exercise for someone else to work on. I've implemented the low level sound calls using mostly the same interface as QSound exposes, so it should prove convenient for anyone who chooses to do so
* The Indeo 4 decoder still doesn't handle cases where transparency information is embedded directly into the video frames, rather than as a separate video track. Since codecs are installed directly into Windows, I'm not even sure which DLL implements the decoder. I'll try and spend a bit of time trying to figure it out, but worst case, it may be something the game just has to live with. The game currently has "best guess" code that estimates what the transparencies should be. It's not perfect, but it's reasonably servicable for now.
* I don't have any near-term plans to do any further work on the German version. I'm simply too burned out over the game, and want to move on from it. I may return to it one day; I'd also welcome anyone else who wants to look into it themselves.


by Dreammaster ( at June 11, 2017 10:26 PM

Simei Yin - GSoC

GSoC Week 3

GSoC 2017: Sludge Engine Week 3

Week task conclusion

Generally, this 3rd week of GSoC project was good: milestone 1 is completed as we are able to display texts and play sounds(wav, ogg) now, although not all sound system works because of the need of implementing advanced module file decoders for XM, IT, S3M formats, which is not a small task at all. So we decided to leave it for later.

Again, thanks to my mentors _sev(Eugene Sandulenko), t0by(Tobia Tesan) and all scummvm team members that has helped me on texts and sounds during this week.


To make a brief conclusion about what we have and have not achieved for this week :

Tasks completed:

  1. Display texts in sludge
  2. Play wav/ogg sounds
  3. Loop wav/ogg sounds
  4. Loop a wav/ogg sound list

And :

  1. Some platform specific code removed, code compiles on all platforms now
  2. Replace sludge color conversion functions by scummvm PixelFormat functions

For later (They don’t have much effects for now):

  1. XM, IT, S3M decoders
  2. replace utf8 functions by common/ustr.cpp


A minor problem that may not have much effect:

  1. The way I implement “loop sound list’ doesn’t give the exactly same result for the particular case that several same sounds loop together at different time intervals. But I guess it’s something we’ll never really do in games.

What’s for next week: Cursor & Input

In order to have a playable game, we will move to input stuff next week :

  1. Get cursor displayed
  2. Replace sludge input event by scummvm ones, all of which are well covered

Some findings about sludge

How texts work

Every font is represented by a series of sprites for characters. Every sprite includes 2 parts:

  • the black background that gives a black border for texts: so all texts in sludge have black borders
  • a white overlay image, whose colors can be changed by shaders. This effect can be reproduced by changing input parameters of scummvm blit funtion

Screenshot from 2017-06-10 22-44-32.png

How audios work

There are 5 sound formats supported by sludge: .WAV, .OGG and .XM, .IT, .S3M. Every sound is played by a call in the game script:

  • playSound(…) for WAV and OGG
  • startMusic(…) for module sound formats : .XM, .IT, .S3M

We also have the possibility to loop a list of sounds in sludge, which is done by building a circled linked list beforehand and at the end-of-stream callback function, “the next sound” in the linked list is played.

by yinsimei at June 11, 2017 10:03 AM

June 07, 2017

Joseph-Eugene Winzer (Joefish) - GSoC

Summary -- Week 1

My start was bumpier than I hoped. Nevertheless, there is progress that I will show more regularly in the coming weeks.

Yes, sometimes progress shows in the most obscure ways. But after a day of segfaults, this felt gooood. It is supposed to be the title screen, that obviously got corrupted along the way. More bugs and a psychodelic strobe palette later I ended here:

Thanks to criezy and Strangerke the palette bug could be fixed that happened by using uninitialized values. Unfortunately, the palette is still not correct as the color fading code is yet to be implemented and text rendering is missing.
For now let's consider it modern art.

In the coming days I will focus more on implementing game routines so that I can iterate on basic functionalities once the most crude bugs are ironed out. An important decision yet to be made will be how the data structures will look in detail for either parsing the game logic or reimplementing it in the new engine.
Also, a blog post on audio samples in addition to criezy's post on the music will be released shortly.

by Joe Winzer ( at June 07, 2017 12:57 PM

June 04, 2017

Simei Yin - GSoC

GSoC Week 2

GSoC 2017: Sludge Engine Week 2

Week task conclusion

In general, the second week of GSoC project was quite good: all goals achieved one day in advance, though the work was not as easy as the first week. Again, a huge thank you to my mentors _sev(Eugene Sandulenko), t0by(Tobia Tesan) and all scummvm team members that has helped me on graphics during this week.

To make a brief conclusion about what we have and have not achieved for this week :

pasted image 1

Tasks completed:

  1. Get backdrop (background) reading and displaying work
  2. Get the sprite system up based on 1
  3. Get spritebank up to have animations and display transparent sprites

And :

  1. The segmentation fault caused by animation nullptr has been fixed
  2. scummvm can compile on windows

For later (They don’t have much effects for now):

  1. There are shaders used in graphics in scummvm waiting to be rewritten (normally we rewrite it by figuring out what they do and reproducing the same effects by c++ code)
  2. OOPifying the code should be something coming quite soon, as we still work with global variables now and it begins getting complicated. Maybe for next week or the week after if time permits

Some problems left to be solved :

  1. The code don’t compile for Mac yet

What’s for next week: Text & Sound

There is still some work before getting all sludge graphic features up, but I reckon that’s enough for now and we will add them later when we need. What we will move on to next week are:

  1. Get texts displayed (Graphics::FontManager and Font)
  2. Play sound (Audio classes)

And this makes the first game demo “Welcome” work completely. And we can see dialogues for “Verb coin”.

Problems encountered during week 2

As in this week, I was stuck several times with different problems (solved thanks to help from mentors and scummvm team members), I think it’s good to talk about them.

1. Graphics format

First of all, we need to determine which graphic format is used in Sludge to initGraphics.

As a result of lacking basic graphic knowledge, I was wrong about the graphic format because of the existence of palette structure in Sludge, which is actually used for transferring 256-color image (8-bit image) to 32-bit image.

There is a number of way to see the graphic format, for example:

In the graphic initialization code of the engine, there will be clues like :

if (SDL_SetVideoMode(realWinWidth, realWinHeight, 32, videoflags) == 0) {

The input parameter 32 shows that sludge is using 32 bit images.

Besides, if we can have access to specific image byte loading code like:

target = snapshotTexture + 4 * picWidth * y + x * 4;
target[0] = (byte)redValue(c);
target[1] = (byte)greenValue(c);
target[2] = (byte)blueValue(c);
target[3] = (byte)255;

We can clearly see that they are reading at an offset of 4 bytes, which also means that sludge uses 32-bit images.

Another funny mistake that I made during image loading is that I got wrong with PixelFormat and mixed up the channels, which gives an image like:

welcome_wrongwhich actually iswelcome_right

Just scrutinize the bit shift code of PixelFormat, there will be a clue.

2. Sprite loading error

pasted image 0

Another interesting problem is that I got distorted sprites at first when I tried to load them. We can see that all bytes of the sprites have been correctly read but to the wrong place. Normally, there is a sprite dimension error for such problems. It’s strongly suggested to log the sprite width and length of the image loading procedure to see if everything goes well.

In my case, sprites’ width and length were modified halfway by some improper manipulation.

3. Sprite flickering

I also met a sprite flickering problem due to multiple updateScreen() calls.

The entire screen is in practice updated when updateScreen() is called, so if there is image flicker then you’re presumably not producing the same frame consistently.

For instance, multiple updateScreen() calls are made for an actual frame, and some of those overwrite something that’s been previously rendered, then that could generate such errors, since you’re effectively producing as many frames as you have calls to updateScreen().

Some findings about sludge

  1. Graphics format used in Sludge is true color (32 bpp)
  2. Character animation is saved as a series of sprites and a looping sound
  3. Sludge has 3 versions of sprite image (version 0, 1,2 saved as 8-bit image, version 3 as png)

by yinsimei at June 04, 2017 11:26 AM

May 29, 2017

Thierry Crozat (criezy)

Mission Supernova - A look at the music

Earlier this month we announced two projects for this year Google Summer of Code to add support for the Sludge engine and for the Mission Supernova games in ScummVM. I am a co-mentor for the Mission Supernova project (the other mentor being Strangerke). We were lucky enough to be provided with the original source code for Mission Supernova (for which we have to thank the rights owner). With the coding period for GSoC starting officially tomorrow we spent the last month looking at this original source code. Interestingly, in addition to the source code for the game we were also given the source code for some tools. One of those converts a MOD music file to a game data file. And I though it would be interesting as a side project to reimplement it so that it works on modern computers, and to then extend it to perform the reverse conversion from game file to the original MOD file (which we don't have).

I thus spent a few days working on this in the past two weeks.

We have been asked not to share the original source code (and anyway you would have to be a bit of a masochist if you want to see C code from over 20 years ago). But I will show a small extract to give you an idea of the work involved. The original source code is in C and for DOS.

The source code for the mod conversion tool is very compact and starts with these two functions:

For anyone familiar with supporting both big endian and little endian platforms, what they do is obvious. They swap bytes to convert between big endian and little endian representations.

If you are wondering what big and little endians are, go read my first post in this blog on adding support for the mac version of Broken Sword (you can also read the third post in that series about fixing speech for some mac versions of Broken Sword).

Conversion between big endian and little endian should come as no surprise. The MOD format was originally developed for Amiga, which are (or at least were at the time) big endians computers. Looking at the specifications of the MOD format shows that it is indeed using the big endian convention. On the other hand the DOS operating system was working on little endian computers. Using a little endian format for the music in Mission Supernova thus made sense to avoid having to swap bytes during runtime. Every little helped at the time to get good performances...

Another thing visible in the code above and that should come as no surprise (at least for developers dealing with old platforms) is that an unsigned int is coded on two bytes (and not on 4 bytes as you would expect nowadays) and a long int uses 4 bytes.

The last point we can note is that functions and variables have German names. Fortunately for me I did study German at school and could understand most of the code straightaway without having to ask Google translate (or my German sister in law) for help.

The first step of my work was to rewrite the code of that tools so that it works on modern computers, whether they are using big endian or little endian conventions, and can be understandable by others.

  • I replaced the byte swap function from the original source code with code we already have in ScummVM that handles byte swapping depending on the platform on which the code is run (so that for example reading a MOD file would only swap bytes when the code is run on a little endian computer).
  • I replaced data types such as unsigned and long with types provided by ScummVM such as uint16 and int32.
  • I rewrote the code to use ScummVM Common::File API instead of the low level DOS file access code.
  • I translated variable and function names to English.
  • I objectified the code a bit adding a ModReader class.
At this point, without the original MOD file, I had no way to know if the code I wrote was correct. Writing this code however helped me understand the differences between the MOD format and the format used by the Mission Supernova game.

The two formats are very similar, but besides the different endianness, there are a few other differences. Actually the format for the two parts of Mission Supernova  is slightly different.

Here is a description of the MOD file header:

And one of the Mission Supernova part 1 data file header:

For the Mission Supernova part 2, there are only 15 instruments stored and not 22.

Note how some information is missing in the Mission Supernova data file. That means that we have to guess what that information should be when converting that data file back to a MOD file. Fortunately none of that missing information is really important. For example for the song name I just decided to use the name of the MOD file that was hardcoded in the original source code.

Some other information is just formatted in a different way, such as the Mission Supernova instruments data having a loop start and loop end instead of a loop start and loop length.

Also the Mission Supernova data file stores explicitly the number of patterns and the offsets of the samples data. Those have to be computed from other informations in the MOD format.

The other difference not seen above between the two formats is in the pattern data. Both are using 32 bit values, but they are not coded in exactly the same way. For details on the differences just look at the source code and comments in the rewritten tool.

This knowledge of the MSN music data file might be useful when we have to work on supporting the music in the game engine reimplementation. For now I used it to write some code to do the conversion the other way around: from the game data file to a MOD file.

This allowed me to check that the code is correct:
  • By checking that the converted MOD file I am getting is played correctly in a player supporting that format.
  • By doing a round trip conversion: converting from MSN data file to MOD and then back to MSN data and checking that I get back the original file.
My first round trip test actually resulted in the original and converted MSN data file having a one byte difference (every bytes were identical except one). The offset of that bytes indicated it was the second byte of the order list length value, coded on two bytes in the Mission Supernova format. And then I realised that  I was using a char variable  (that uses one byte) since in the MOD format the order list length is coded on one byte. Writing that variable on two bytes meant the second byte was garbage.

The final source code is available at At some point I might merge it in the main ScummVM repository.

Implementing this reverse conversion also allowed me to listen to the music without waiting for the games to be supported in ScummVM. And to let you enjoyed that music as well, here are recordings for the music of the first and second parts of Mission Supernova converted to MOD and played back in an OpenSource ProTracker clone.

Mission Supernova part 1 music

Mission Supernova part 2 music

by Thierry Crozat ( at May 29, 2017 04:32 PM

May 28, 2017

Simei Yin - GSoC

GSoC Week 1

GSoC 2017: Sludge Engine Week 1

Week task conclusion

In general, my first week of working for GSoC project was going smoothly. And a huge thank you to my mentors _sev(Eugene Sandulenko), t0by(Tobia Tesan) and all scummvm team members that has helped me during this week.

Due to my project plan, my task for this week was originally :

Task 1-1 Read game data file, initialization, timer , main_loop:

  1. Use Common:File to read and slice game data file to init game objects and get index of sources in data file
  2. Main loop: checkInput, playAnimation, handleInput, display, wait_frame
    1. Use TimerManager for timer
  3. Define macros and built-in functions

We have modified the plan, though, because it’s not to rewrite the whole engine bit by bit as I originally thought, but to add whole engine files at first and stub all the parts calling libraries and functions forbidden by scummvm, then gradually unstub them using scummvm functions, till we have the whole engine.

To make a brief conclusion about what we have achieved and changed for this week :

Achieved :

  1. Add all sludge engine files into the scummvm and make it compile under Linux
  2. Replace original data reading functions by Common::File/SeekabbleReadStream
  3. We are moving to make graphics work for sludge

For later (They don’t have much effects for now):

  1. Timer, input, …
  2. File writing stuff

Some problems left to be solved :

  1. There is an segmentation fault due to the incomplete data loading of image files and animations whenever animation or sprite variables are referenced, at not initialized yet.
  2. The code don’t compile yet for Mac or Windows at present

What’s for next week: Graphics

Generally, what we will do next week is :

  1. Get backdrop (background) reading and displaying work
  2. Get the sprite system up based on 1
  3. Get spritebank up to have animations

We have started a little on making graphics works, hopefully the “segmentation fault” could be fixed then if we would be able to load animations.

Some findings about sludge

How game data works

Find out how do they parse the game data file and try to adapt engine objects

Inner structure of .slg file:

A string here is composed of:

  • 2 bytes to indicate the string length
  • a series of chars for the string

A resource block is like: (same for text, sub, object, data)

  • Text is a string.
  • Sub contains functions used and defined by user
  • Object (items that can be put into inventory and combined and characters)
  • Data (image, audio, video)

In Sludge, we stock the beginning position of the index of resources (startOfObjectIndex, startOfDataIndex, startOfDataIndex) to access them.

Built-in function

In sludge, not only the events, but also all resources are integrated through built-in functions and everything except raw bitmaps and waveforms is handled through a constructor in the scripts. To take a simple script for example :

sub init () {

addOverlay (‘image.tga’, 0, 0);

playSound (‘tada.wav’);

pause (60);

quitGame ();


We can see that the background and sound are all added through built-in functions called in these game scripts.

The whole game interpreter is basing on a stack machine to work. For built-in functions as well. That is to say, when a built-in function is called, all its attributes will be pushed into a stack which will be pop() inside the function for using.

by yinsimei at May 28, 2017 01:08 PM

May 05, 2017

ScummVM News Headlines

GSoC 2017 projects announced!

GSoC Logo

Today Google announced the accepted projects for this year's Summer of Code. We are pleased to say that ScummVM will be mentoring two wizard students who will have one mission: casting the Super Sludge Nova spell. Effects include adding support for two new engines, and the cooldown period is 12 weeks:

  • Joseph-Eugene Winzer (a.k.a. Joefish) will be working on adding support for the Mission Supernova game.
  • Simei Yin will work on porting the Sludge engine to ScummVM.

We extend a warm welcome to our students for what we hope will be a productive and interesting summer! You can follow their progress throughout the summer on the ScummVM Blogs.

by Criezy ( at May 05, 2017 06:00 PM

April 28, 2017

ScummVM News Headlines

Blinding you with SCIence

Explore a haunted museum, hunt a serial killer, mop the floor, descend into madness, find your true love, find your “true love”, travel to lands below, solve the Voodoo Murders, rediscover a lost opera—or do it all! The first batch of 32-bit DOS/Windows Sierra adventures are now ready to be tested in the latest daily build of ScummVM:

The Datafiles page has been updated with instructions on how to install these games. If you don’t own some, go to our where to get the games page to buy them!

Before you start your test run, please read the instructions on our SCI testing page, and take some screenshots along the way.

(If you have been itching to play some of the earlier SCI games, please take this time to run through them again too, as changes to the engine may also affect some 16-bit SCI games!)

Have fun!

by snover ( at April 28, 2017 06:00 PM

April 01, 2017

ScummVM News Headlines

We are changing our name!

Update: we were unable to reserve the domain and thus, with a heavy heart, we decided to abandon our rebranding effort and go back to our old name. Long live ScummVM!

The issue of the name of ScummVM has been raised many times since we started to add engines for non-SCUMM games. Until now we decided to keep the original name. However, the addition today of an engine for Plumbers Don't Wear Ties changes everything. Due to its fame and reputation for being one of the best video game ever, it naturaly becomes the flagship of what we stand for. Thus we have finally decided to change our name. We are now PlumberVM!

We used the name ScummVM for over 15 years, and this is with sadness that we say goodbye to it. It is a well known name and we do not underestimate the effort it will take to get the same recognition for our new name. Thus we are calling on your help to spread the news. In the short term this will inevitably lead to some disruption and confusion. But in the long term we are convinced that this is the right decision. With your support we will conquer the world! Starting from the sewers.

With the change of name we have also decided to expand even more the scope of our project. Last year we decided to accept engines for RPG games in addition to adventure games. Now we are also accepting any games that feature a plumber. Work has already started on the little known Super Mario Bros., and we have big plans for the future. We will have a big announcement soon, so stay tuned.

On a final note, it will take time for us to update all the places where our name appears. We have started today with our main website and you will notice in the next few days the change spreading to our social media accounts, wiki, forum and the pages not yet updated on our web site. We are also working on releasing PlumberVM 2.0 with the addition of two new supported games: Plumbers Don't Wear Ties and Full Pipe. This will happen as soon as the last few bugs in our engines for Plumbers Don't Wear Ties and Full Pipe have been squashed. Hopefully we won't find mutant turtles during testing. Squashing those is a real pain!

by Criezy ( at April 01, 2017 06:00 PM

March 10, 2017

Alexander Tkachev (Tkachov)

GSoC: ScummVM site new look

I've posted this picture on IRC yesterday:

It inherits that green/white scheme of mine. The navigation menu from the side moved in dropdown lists on the top panel. ScummVM description is a bit shorter, shows an actual application screenshot and calls to download the newest version. Then goes the two-column layout, and the right column can contain not only screenshots section, but also Contribute and Donate sections.

Making of logotype & color scheme

As my original idea was to make a clean minimalistic look, not to change familiar colors, let me show you how exactly I came to what I have now:

So, let's try designing a logotype!

Step 0. Open an editor.

Step 1. OK, what's the most important part of ScummVM logo? Green "Scumm" and gray "VM" parts, for sure! As we're trying to achieve the minimalistic look, borders and stuff would be left out:

Looks good for me!

Step 2. So, the other part of logo is background color, which is familiar ScummVM orange:

Oh. Probably gradients did all the job. Or the borders. May be try different tones?

Not really better.

Step 3. OK, so they say that you could make a solid color scheme not only of complementary colors, but also of analogous. Let's try replacing orange with green:

Hey, it's not that bad. And it's not exactly green, it has some yellow tones in it. The closest to orange I could achieve =)

by Tkachov at March 10, 2017 09:00 PM

March 07, 2017

ResidualVM News Headlines

Welcome to Google Summer of Code 2017

GSoC 2017 Logo

We are happy to announce that we are participating in this year's Google Summer of Code under the umbrella of our sister project ScummVM.

Have a look at the list of ideas or bring your own idea!

If you want to participate or have questions about GSoC, come talk to us on IRC Freenode channels #residualvm or #scummvm.

by aquadran ( at March 07, 2017 12:00 AM

February 28, 2017

Alexander Tkachev (Tkachov)

GSoC: ScummVM new look (idea)

Recently I've thought to try designing a new fresh look for ScummVM. This is what I came up with:

As you might've noticed, it's a little bit inspired by Steam: games listed on the left and current game displayed on the right. Saves are available right from the very first screen.

Options dialog stayed pretty much the same, but tabs are replaced with a list. That allows to add more tabs without any scrolling and makes it look similar to main screen.

I was unable to add the familiar orange color into this scheme without ruining it, so I replaced it with pale green. The whole look is kind of minimalistic: no gradients, borders, rounded angles and such. The similar approach could be used to redesign ScummVM site.

These sketches show a 1024x768 desktop look, while not doing anything about platforms with smaller resolutions. I think it's OK to go with a simple skin for those, meaning the layout stays the same and only the colors/fonts/images change.

I worked with ScummVM GUI system, so AFAIK it wouldn't be too hard to change those layouts to correspond these sketches. That couldn't be achieved with a simple skin, because some minor changes needed to place saves dialog in main dialog or to replace tabs with a list.

P.S. It's not about GSoC, but my site is configured to show only those posts which has "GSoC" prefix in the RSS feed Planet is aggregating.

by Tkachov at February 28, 2017 09:00 PM

November 24, 2016

Sven Hesse (DrMcCoy)

xoreos Not-Thanksgiving 2016

xoreos is a FLOSS project aiming to reimplement BioWare’s Aurora engine (and derivatives), covering their games starting with Neverwinter Nights and potentially up to Dragon Age II. This post gives a short update on the current progress.

Note: This is a cross-post of a news item on the xoreos website.

And again a year is nearing its end. Like last year and the year before, I’d like to turn my gaze inwards.

A lot of things happened with xoreos this past year, albeit most of them hidden and “under the hood”:

  • I wrote about disassembling NWScript bytecode. The tasks I mentioned there are still open, too. If anybody wants to take them up, I’d be happy to explain them in more detail :).
  • We released xoreos 0.0.4, nicknamed “Chodo”. That was the only release of xoreos in 2016. xoreos 0.0.4 included some minor fixes and features for Neverwinter Nights, and the xoreos-tools package included the new NWScript disassembler.
  • In April, I reached a streak of a full year of daily xoreos commits. Due to some real life things, I had to take a break there, though. I’m now again at three months of daily commits, but there is a three-month “hole” between April and August.
GitHub contribution graph in April

GitHub contribution graph in April


GitHub contribution graph in November

GitHub contribution graph in November

  • Farmboy0 fleshed out the Jade Empire engine a bit, mostly in the scripts department.
  • Supermanu implemented a huge chunk of the character generator for Neverwinter Nights.
  • Farmboy0 fixed a glitch in the Neverwinter Nights animation system that has plagued xoreos for quite some time: the animation scaling in various creature models was off. This lead to, for example, the head and arms of elves detaching from the body during the yawn animation.
  • I then implemented a few more animation script functions, too, which is especially noticeable in the intro animation for Hordes of the Underdark. I also fixed a mistake in the keyframe interpolation. This takes care of another glitch in Neverwinter Nights: model nodes rotating the wrong way around.
  • smbas added support for Lua scripts in The Witcher. A lot of the initialization code that sets up the classes and functions The Witcher expects to find is still missing, so nothing obvious is visible as of yet.
  • Farmboy0 moved the window handling from the GraphicsManager into a new WindowManager class, making the code more readable.
  • I fundamentally restructured our build system, or at least the autotools part of it (xoreos can be built using either autotools or CMake). Previously, we used a recursive autotools setup, where make recurses into each subdirectory. This is, unfortunately, pretty slow, among other drawbacks. I changed it to be non-recursive now, with the top-level Makefile instead being created using (recursive) includes.
  • I then introduced various smart pointer templates into the codebase, making it easier to read and easier to keep track of memory allocations.
  • berenm added AppVeyor integration. Like Travis CI (which we already use as well), AppVeyor is a continuous integration service. This means that every single commit to the public xoreos repository will now be built on Microsoft Windows, using Microsoft Visual Studio 2015, in addition to gcc and clang on GNU/Linux (via Travis CI). This ensures that any compilation breakage on these systems is immediately visible and can be fixed at once.
  • GitHub added a new feature, “Projects”, that provide Kanban-like boards of tasks. I took the time to fill the xoreos Projects page with boards for tasks from our TODO list.
  • There were of course also various clean-ups, minor fixes and expanded code documentation.
Animation with glitch

Animation with glitch

Animation without glitch

Animation without glitch

Animations in the HotU intro

Animations in the HotU intro

Additionally, there are several tasks currently being worked on, among them:

  • Supermanu is looking into pathfinding.
  • mirv is still working on rewriting the OpenGL renderer.
  • I am currently writing unit tests for the xoreos codebase, using Google Test. I already found multiple issues, bugs, and corner cases while adding them.

From my side of things, my current plan is to make my unit tests branch public some time in December. I’ll write a small announcement here about it then. A new release of xoreos, 0.0.5, should follow early next year.

As always, this all wouldn’t have been possible without a lot of people. For them I am thankful.

  • Farmboy0, for various fixes, implementations and file format spelunking.
  • Supermanu, for his character generator work and pathfinding research.
  • mirv, for continuing to work on the OpenGL rewrite.
  • smbas, for his work on Lua and The Witcher.
  • berenm, for the AppVeyor integration and CMake knowledge.
  • TC01, for writing a Fedora specfile for the xoreos projects.
  • CromFr, for taking a stab at the walkmesh structure in NWN2’s TRN files.
  • clone2727, for invaluable ideas and corrections.
  • The folks at GamingOnLinux, who continue to be a great resource for all things related to Games on Linux.

I am also thankful for all the people who take the time to explain things to others, people who write interesting, useful or needed articles, and people who provide mentoring and help. Relatedly: a week ago, Stephanie Hurlburt published an article with engineers who are willing to mentor or answer programming/engineering questions. I for one think that’s a really great idea. Please take a look at that article.

And now, let’s see what the next year has in store for us. If you, however, found all this terribly interesting and would like to help with our little project, then please, feel free to contact us! 🙂

flattr this!

by DrMcCoy at November 24, 2016 05:31 PM

November 04, 2016

Paul Gilbert (Dreammaster)

There's been a Titanic amount of progress

Since my prior posting earlier in the year, there's been a great deal of progress in Starship Titanic. I decided to put aside the problem of reverse engineering all the Star Map classes until I had the rest of the game working better. In that respect, I've made great strides since, as of last weekend, I was able to complete the entire "prologue" of the game  That included using the computer, experience the crash, talking to the Doorbot, entering the ship, and viewing the Credits. Huzzah. \o/

I was going to prepare a video showing the intro, but with the most recent changes, there seems to be some instability showing up. It seems like something that was already present, just coincidental that the newer changes result in more frequent crashes. It's kind of hard to narrow down the cause, as there's also a problem with the implementation of the Indeo video decoder we're using for NPC videos like for the Doorbot, where it's reading past the end of the frame data. So it's difficult to track down the memory corruption, as warnings about the decoder are completely overwhelming everything else.

So for now, I'll present a screenshot of the amazing multi-color Doorbot :)

After thinking over matters, I've decided to keep progressing into the game, and come back to look at the problem later on. Part of the trouble I'd been having with the code was the sheer length of the intro as I got further and further into it.. requiring me to wait through several minutes of cutscene & conversation every time I made any changes or bugfixes. Even if the intro has suddenly become unstable, I still have savegames I made from beyond it, so I'm using them as a starting point to make further progress testing into the game.

Speaking of testing, I've had a major boon to my efforts to track down bugs in the code. I was previously stymied trying to test the original Windows executable in the IDA debugger, since it kept crashing on me. Plus running in compatibility mode full-screen didn't help either. And without the ability to see "valid" values in the original executable, I anticipated it would be difficult to track down errors in my code, since I wouldn't know whether values/state at any point in time were already wrong on not.

Luckily, though, I stumbled on a solution. Using the Visual Studio "Attach to Process" allowed me to attach to the game executable without it crashing, unlike IDA. At least, for the majority of the time. Though switching from the game to the debugger and back again caused severe corruption of the full-screen display. Luckily, though, there had been some previous discussions about running the game in a window - I was able to use a utility called DXWnd that intercepted the game's DirectX calls and forced it to run a window. The result wasn't perfect, in my opinion, for anyone wanting to play through the game, but it's worked well enough for my purposes, in conjunction with Visual Studio.

As a result, I'm now making much better progress than I had anticipated, and hunting down bugs is in general much easier than I'd anticipated. Let's hope that stays the case.. my next major gameplay milestone is to complete more extensive conversation with the Deskbot to get myself a room. The basic yes/no detection for the Doorbot worked pretty smoothly first time I tried it. The Deskbot, though, is using more of the conversation parser - I've already located and fixed some problems with it. Let's hope that there won't end up being too many.

On a final note, the one downside of my surging progress with Titanic is that I'm currently spending less time working on finishing my Xeen engine. I'd originally anticipated the frequent roadblocks trying to hunt down bugs in Titanic would have me growling in frustration, and switching to Xeen for awhile to unwind a bit. Now with the ability to debug the original executable, that hasn't really happened so far, and hopefully won't happen. I'll probably end up spending more time right now focused solely on Titanic, and see if I can't get the bulk of the game with the exception of the final starmap working by the end of the year. Then I'll be in a better position to alternate between working on Xeen and trying to disassemble the remainder of the Starmap classes.


by Dreammaster ( at November 04, 2016 05:11 PM

August 24, 2016

Bendegúz Nagy (WinterGrascph)

Alas, the end

And so it has come to this, all things must end. But it is nothing to be sad about for me, this has been a great addition to my experiences and I welcome the change for it has been something short of 3 and a half months that I've been working on DM. Not that I won't be working on it from now on, but I'm definitely taking a few days off, lest I come to dislike it for looking at the codebase for too long.

The pull request to merge the engine is due next week as it still doesn't compile with GCC (strangerke has been working on it relentlessly (think 127kbs of error log reduced to 9)). Relatedly, the code is not particularly compliant with the coding conventions at ScummVM (strangerke is working on it, I'll soon start feeling ashamed and will have no choice but to help him).

As for the future of this blog, it is possible that I will post updates for when something major gets incorporated into the engine (think support for other versions).

Almost forgot about the new stuff, if I remember correctly it's convenient loading/saving from the launcher and from the inventory. And also there are debugger commands like godmode, noclip, set pos/map and the aptly named, gimme, which spawns items. Entering the commands without arguments will output their usage, call 'help' for a list of them.

Gimme can be used like this: call 'listItems', if you are looking for something enter any part of it in caps like this 'listItems OF FEAR'. Once you found what you are looking for, call gimme with its name: 'gimme HORN OF FEAR'.

Setting the map is slightly broken. For best results, teleport to an adjacent map, then use pos to set your position next to some stairs and off you go. Avoid using noclip.

PS.: So long, and thanks for all the fish

by Bendegúz Nagy ( at August 24, 2016 08:34 AM

August 15, 2016

Alexander Tkachev (Tkachov)

GSoC: Project Summary

What I was working on during GSoC is Cloud storages support in ScummVM. Describing this feature in my proposal (mirror), I mentioned that it would include an API to interact with supported storage providers (which are Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and Box), saves syncing mechanism, functionality to upload and download games data, and, of course, GUI for all of these. Proposal also has some extra tasks mostly making user experience better.

Some things were rediscussed during my work, but the main idea remained intact. The work is done and pull request already awaits final review before getting merged. API for all four announced storage providers works fine, saves are syncing and games data could be easily downloaded. Not only described extra tasks were complete, but also some functionality not mentioned in the proposal was added.

Saves sync is probably the main reason why Cloud storages support is needed at all. It allows users to easily continue playing the game on another device by simply connecting both to the same storage and doing the sync. It’s automatically started on ScummVM launch, on games saving (including autosaves) and when user opens Save/Load dialog. This dialog was updated to show a progress bar while syncing and also to «lock» slots which are being synced. To indicate that there is a sync in progress, small Cloud icon is shown in the corner.

To use the feature, users must connect a storage first. To do so, they should navigate into Cloud tab of Options dialog, select a storage provider and press «Connect» button. It opens a special Storage Connection Wizard, which provides the instructions on connecting. It has different variations depending on set of libraries ScummVM was compiled with. In the most simple case it says users should navigate to a special short link (to, which redirects them to provider’s page. When they allow ScummVM to use their storage on that page, they are redirected back to, where the code is shown. This code should be typed in the wizard dialog. It’s used by ScummVM to connect to the storage and use provider’s REST API then.

ScummVM page makes the code that way so wizard could check that code has no mistakes in it. If there is a mistake, it notifies user where it probably is. If ScummVM was built with SDL2, pasting from clipboard is supported. Wizard also has «Open URL» button, which makes it easier to navigate to provider’s page on platforms where URL opening was implemtented (these are Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android — iOS and Symbian are coming).

But it’s much easier to connect a storage when ScummVM’s built with SDL_net support, because then ScummVM runs a local webserver. In this case users are not redirected to ScummVM site from provider’s page — instead, they navigate directly to webserver’s page. No code typing is needed then, because ScummVM automatically gets it from user browser’s HTTP request. This webserver makes connecting a storage really fast and simple.

Another thing Cloud storage might be used for is games data download. Users can put their games into storage and then easily download on all their devices. A special «Download» button in Cloud tab opens Download Dialog, where users can select a remote directory to download and a local directory to download into. It shows a progress bar there and automatically tries to detect a game when download is complete. Users are also free to run download in background: no detection will happen, but a message will appear on the screen to notify them of finished download.

Both storage connecting and game downloading are shown in a video I’ve recorded. I’ve also posted information about my progress in the blog every week. Feature is documented on the wiki pages, with some diagrams included.

And, finally, we’ve decided that I should do a big extra task. Local webserver, which I originally proposed to simplify storage connecting process only, has been extended to be used for «Wi-Fi Sharing» feature. It means that while ScummVM’s local webserver is running, one can use browser on another device to navigate through directories, download files, create new directories or upload files!

Users can specify server’s port and their ’/root/’ directory within the same Cloud tab. Only files under specified directory and ScummVM’s saves directory are available, so users secure data is safe.

by Tkachov at August 15, 2016 09:00 PM

August 12, 2016

Bendegúz Nagy (WinterGrascph)

Finest colours mankind has to offer

Yay! The color palette is FIXED once and for all! No more radioactive green snot on every object and champion and door and what not! The GUI looks fabulous with it's newfound colours, it's just so much more pleasant to click on it now.
Now, the original game uses copper to stretch those few colours the Amiga platform could offer at any given moment and given that ScummVM has no support for something like that (and why would it?) I shied away from even coming close to trying to fix it. Now as the end is nigh, it had to be fixed, and so it was! Phase one, double the palette and offset the pixel colours. Phase two ???. Phase three, profit!
Relatedly the engine is almost complete. What's missing is correcting some display functions, hunting down a few annoying bugs and making sure the game can be finished and then all will be well. The later, so I gather, is not yet achievable. The fluxcages spawned to trap Mr Chaos cannot be seen, because the function drawing them is missing, and that particular function happens to be in assembly (... ehh) and so I can't really test if anything is happening at all, gonna have to make it draw some dummy image.
As always, here's a nice GIF, basking in it glory:

by Bendegúz Nagy ( at August 12, 2016 03:04 PM

August 10, 2016

Bendegúz Nagy (WinterGrascph)

Nice cursor, nice spells

Cursor got fixed, seems like googling Amiga hardware sprites is all it needed. Also found the bug with the spell symbols, a petty toUpper call in the text drawing method, dunno what is was doing there in the first place. Long story short, dungeon looks a lot nicer now, palette needs a fix and then it will truly look splendid (sans some scrabbled textures). Here, have nice GIFshot:

by Bendegúz Nagy ( at August 10, 2016 09:45 AM


curved edge   curved edge