GSoC 2019 mentor summit lightning talk

Following the participation of ScummVM to the Google Summer of code this summer we were invited to send two mentors to the Mentors Summit in Munich in October. I was selected to go with Arnaud (Strangerke).

While there I decided to make a short presentation in the Lightning Talk sessions. In those sessions we only have 3 minutes to present something, which is a fun exercise in conciseness.

Arnaud recorded this presentation and you can see it here:


And the slides are visible below:

The Longest Journey awaits

The Longest Journey Logo

The 20th anniversary of the release of The Longest Journey comes in a few days. As a present, the ResidualVM team offers the means to play the game on modern systems. Of course there is a catch, we need your help to find the last few bugs in the game engine before we can declare it stable.

To play The Longest Journey, get a fresh daily build of ResidualVM, assemble the required files from your game copy, and optionally install the HD mod. The HD mod was created by Faberman. It brings a welcome graphical update to the game through the use of a machine learning upscaler and a lot of polishing work. Please report the issues you encounter while playing the game on our bug tracker.

ScummVM 2.1.0 "Electric Sheep" has been produced.

"Animal sales was a profitable and prestigious business, since most real animals had died out after the Terran War; there were plenty of electric ones, though—" Oh, ahem, didn’t notice you there.

ScummVM Team is thrilled to announce the release of ScummVM version 2.1.0. This release is the culmination of nearly two years worth of work, adding 16 new games based on 8 engines, a Nintendo Switch port and nearly 500 bug fixes. All this done by the hard work of 147 contributors across 8,493 commits.

The newly supported games are:

  • Blade Runner
  • Duckman: The Graphic Adventures of a Private Dick
  • Hoyle Bridge
  • Hoyle Children's Collection
  • Hoyle Classic Games
  • Hoyle Solitaire
  • Hyperspace Delivery Boy!
  • Might and Magic IV - Clouds of Xeen
  • Might and Magic V - Darkside of Xeen
  • Might and Magic - World of Xeen
  • Might and Magic - Swords of Xeen
  • Mission Supernova Part 1
  • Mission Supernova Part 2
  • Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness
  • The Prince and the Coward
  • Versailles 1685

In addition, we enhanced the Android and iOS ports considerably. You will also notice the new GUI facelift, improved Roland MT-32 sound emulation, a new pixel-perfect stretching mode, Text-to-Speech support on macOS and Linux, and last but not least, support for synchronizing saves and downloading game data from cloud-based file services (see the up-to-date list of the platforms in our user manual)

As usual, we have improved many of the existing engines: added support for the 25th Myst Anniversary releases, fixed more than 100 original SCI script bugs that have plagued Sierra games for decades, added support for Amiga and FM-TOWNS versions of Eye of the Beholder, improved audio quality in Humongous Entertainment games and added lip sync to the newer LucasArts adventure titles, squashed tons of bugs in Starship Titanic and Bud Tucker. The list goes on and on, and you may see the comprehensive change log here.

Have no more tears in rain and grab this electric release. Windows and macOS users may get the auto-update when starting ScummVM.

Another game to test: Duckman

Duckman: The Graphic Adventures of a Private Dick is an obscure point and click game based on the TV show of the same name. You control the wise cracking detective Duckman as he attempts to regain his identity after being unceremoniously dumped from his own TV show. The game's release for Windows in 1997 unfortunately coincided with the TV show being cancelled, which limited the distribution of the game.

After a long time in development, the ScummVM team is happy to announce support for the game.

Make sure to grab a recent build and give it a try. Please report any bugs that you find to our issue tracker.

The English, German and Demo versions are supported. You just need the DATA/ directory from the original game to play.

We’re starting ScummVM 2.1.0 testing

The time has finally come to start the release cycle for ScummVM 2.1.0.

The release is going to be big, and these new games require testing:

  • Blade Runner.
  • Hoyle Bridge.
  • Hoyle Children's Collection.
  • Hoyle Classic Games.
  • Hoyle Solitaire.
  • Hyperspace Delivery Boy!
  • Might and Magic IV - Clouds of Xeen.
  • Might and Magic V - Darkside of Xeen.
  • Might and Magic - World of Xeen.
  • Might and Magic - World of Xeen 2 CD Talkie.
  • Might and Magic - Swords of Xeen.
  • Mission Supernova Part 1.
  • Mission Supernova Part 2.
  • Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness.
  • The Prince and the Coward.
  • Versailles 1685.

Also, with this release, we are finally enabling cloud support for save games and game data. So far, it works only on desktops, you may find a description of this feature in our User Manual.

The complete list of the games that require testing for this release can be found on our Wiki.

Please use a stable daily build of ScummVM for testing. In case you encounter any bugs, there is a place for them to be reported at our issue tracker. Additionally, please track your progress on the forum thread so we can cross the tested game titles out on the wiki. Make sure to follow our guidelines for release testing which can be found here.

It would be great if you could help with updating the ScummVM GUI translations. The description of the steps you need to follow is on the Wiki.

Recruiting for Mission Supernova

We need you! Join the Supernova crew for an unforgettable journey to witness the death of a star.

Have you ever dreamed of becoming an astronaut? Being abandoned on your own on a broken spaceship? Dying asphyxiated? Being electrocuted? Being shot at? Getting lost in a pyramid? Being caught stealing a dinosaur's head and being sent to prison? And if that is not enough you can even disable the improved mode in ScummVM and experience the frustration of clicking and pointing your way through a twenty-five years old computer game.

We are proud to announce that Mission Supernova Teil 1: Das Schicksal des Horst Hummel and Mission Supernova Teil 2: Der Doppelgänger are now both supported in ScummVM. In addition we have also translated both games to English and you can decide to play either in German or English. The games can be downloaded for free on the developer's website, so you have no reason not to play it!

Please help us test the games and report any bugs or translation issue you find on our issue tracker. You will need a recent version of ScummVM and the supernova.dat file (if it is not included in the ScummVM package for your platform). You can also see some basic information on the game controls on our wiki or access the game manual in game using the F2 key.

The Prince and the Coward goes supported

A long time ago, in 2013, Kamil Zbróg and Łukasz Wątka, a GSoC student, were working on support for the game The Prince and the Coward or Książę i Tchórz, as it was called originally in Polish.

The game engine sat in limbo, however, because we were trying to work on the English translation. Unfortunately, that work is only about ¼th done, and we need your help.

Nevertheless, we would like to announce support for this game. All released versions are supported, including Polish original, German release and the Russian translation. Take your copy of the game and give it a try. You will need a daily development build for that. As always, please submit the bug reports to our issue tracker.

Also, if you happen to know Polish, German, or Russian, you are welcome to help us with the translation. The short instructions are provided here.

Powodzenia!

GSOC: Concluding Remarks

The final evaluation round for GSoC 2019 has ended, and I would like to this moment to summarize the work that I have done for the past 3 months. In case you just want to look at the code, here is the PR link.

Hyperspace Delivery Boy

My project revolved around building a game engine for the Monkeystone game Hyperspace Delivery Boy. The project description for the same can be found here.

My early work on the project feels so long ago that is quite difficult to remember the exact steps I took, and the problems I faced through them. Thankfully, some of the more difficult ones are mentioned in this blog. To summarize, my work included building core systems such as AI, LuaScript, Map, Sound and much more that mimicked the interface and functionality of the original HDB source code.

Once the core functionalities were added, I used them to link the Lua scripts to the engine and define the in-game logic that was present in the engine. This included things such as enemy movement, hit detection, dialog rendering, map-loading, the save system and much more.

I took a STUB-oriented way towards the project, upon Eugene’s suggestion. Whenever I needed some functionality that didn’t exist yet, I would create a warning for it and come back to it later. It made the process of navigating and translating a large codebase much more linear, and simple to understand.

Changes Since Last Time

In my last update, I mentioned that a few bugs remained in the PPC version, which made it unplayable. Those problems have been rooted out, and the game can be completed with the PPC data files as well. In fact, from the playtesting that I have conducted so far, I can say that the game should be completable for all available platforms - Windows, Linux and PocketPC.

What’s next?

For now, I would like to work towards getting the project properly merged into the main ScummVM repo. There is also a scaling bug in the PPC version that still exists. It is far from game-breaking (in fact, some might say it makes the game easier) but I would like to rectify it in order to stay true to the original.

Once again, I would like to thank Eugene(sev) and Arnaud(strangerke) for their help and support throughout this project. I wouldn’t have made it even half the way here without their help.

GSOC 2019 Summary

Project description

During GSoC 2019, I was working on adding support for original versions of Red Comrades 1: Save The Galaxy (1998) and Red Comrades 2 : For the Great Justice (1999) games developed by S.K.I.F.

Goals achieved

Red Comrades Engine:

Pull Request

Engine branch

Red Comrades Demo is fully supported.

Red Comrades 1: Save The Galaxy (1998) and Red Comrades 2 : For the Great Justice (1999) are runnable, but are bugged due to no implementation of walking system.

During reversing I have encountered problem with walking system, because it is very large and complex. It uses more than 30 functions. For comparison, the dialog bytecode interpreter uses only 17 functions.

Advantages over original engine:

  • Low CPU usage. The original engine doesn’t have delay after each frame despite the fact that dirty rectangles are implemented in it.
  • All advantages which ScummVm offers(scaling, cross-platform, etc)

ScummVM’s library:

During GSOC I have improved INI reader class in ScummVM.

Future work

  • Make games fully playable
  • Maintain Red Comrades engine during its testing period
  • Add another engine to ScummVM

Code

The code for Red Comrades Engine is in the repo:

Engine branch

The commits that I made:

Commits

New Side Activity - Dark Things

As I never manage to stay calm and as I currently don't have an engine I'm actively working on, I started a couple of days ago a new side activity: Translating to French an indie game called "Dark Things - Detective Quest", which is available on Apple Store and Google Play.






This game caught my interest for several good reasons (an adventure game with big pixels, what else?). The chapters are quite short but they are fun and the scenario is pretty good imho.

At first, I essentially reported a couple of missing translations (the team is Russian), but I quickly proposed to work on the French translation and they accepted :) I guess during the process I'll also challenge the English translation which is perfectible.

The result is not yet visible as the team is currently focused on Chapter 4, but here is my progress so far:

Menu, character names, etc: Done
Chapter 1: First pass done, waiting to be able to test it in the game to fix the last issues
Chapter 2: Not yet started
Chapter 3: Not yet started
Xmas special: Not yet started