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Age of Mythology Heaven » Forums » Scenario Design » Invisable to Editor Scenarios
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Topic Subject:Invisable to Editor Scenarios
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TitanHeart
Banned
posted 29 August 2004 07:22 PM EDT (US)         
Hi.

Ensemble studios have their campaign, all the scenarios are there, but when you look into the editor, you cant see their scenarios.

How do they make them invisible to the editor?

Thanks in advance, TitanHeart.

AuthorReplies:
Auron_
Mortal
(id: auron 2)
posted 29 August 2004 07:49 PM EDT (US)     1 / 31       
get AoMed, set input data file to Scenarios.BAR, choose a folder, and read data file. all the scenarios of that campaign will appear in the folder you arranged the file to be extracted.

you would need to create some sort of .BAR file for the scenario, and i dont think it can be done unless replacing a scenario.BAR file that already exist. i think Aomplayer000 is trying to pull this out.


Auron: || Aurons Site || Aurons AoM:TT Creations || MY POETRY WEBSITE ||
TitanHeart
Banned
posted 29 August 2004 07:55 PM EDT (US)     2 / 31       

Quoted from auron 2:

get AoMed, set input data file to Scenarios.BAR, choose a folder, and read data file. all the scenarios of that campaign will appear in the folder you arranged the file to be extracted.

I know how to do that part already .

Quoted from auron 2:

you would need to create some sort of .BAR file for the scenario, and i dont think it can be done unless replacing a scenario.BAR file that already exist. i think Aomplayer000 is trying to pull this out.

I wonder how ES do it ?

AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 30 August 2004 07:00 AM EDT (US)     3 / 31       
Don't put too much hope in me, I'm quite sure I won't find a way... It's simple how ES' did it: They put all their stuff in BAR archives and told the game to load these archives when you start it up. Atm I can create these archives but not really load them.
Celer
Mortal
posted 30 August 2004 07:20 AM EDT (US)     4 / 31       
How did ES tell those files to do what they want? Did they teach them words and tell them what to do?
AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 30 August 2004 07:25 AM EDT (US)     5 / 31       
They're just like *.zip archives. First, they're simply there in their folders. Then, when you start the game, lines in the *.exe tell the PC to open these archives and make the files in it available to AoM. I guess it writes them in the RAM. Well, that's it. A simple archive, and a command to open and load it.

[This message has been edited by AoMPlayer000 (edited 08-30-2004 @ 07:26 AM).]

oddy
Mortal
posted 30 August 2004 12:15 PM EDT (US)     6 / 31       
Just a note, there are no 'lines' in .exe. (So don't bother to try to open it in notepad or something.)

A condition is not a trigger.
An effect is not a trigger.
A trigger is a combination of one or more conditions and effects.
It causes effects to happen if and when conditions are met.
Period.

[This message has been edited by oddy (edited 08-30-2004 @ 12:16 PM).]

AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 30 August 2004 12:30 PM EDT (US)     7 / 31       
I know. I already scrutinized it with a Hex Editor.
Auron_
Mortal
(id: auron 2)
posted 30 August 2004 12:45 PM EDT (US)     8 / 31       
hmm, i opened the scenarios.BAR with the hex-editor, and i think you just have to edit the last lines, and instead of ~aom_pgs_water.scn, i would put something like "hyrule_nomad3.scx" and the rest just delete it.

and of course, when you are going to replace the name, the name has to have the same amount of letters....doesnt?
and isnt possible to make a copy of the scenarios.BAr, the rename the copy to something like "scenarios3.BAR"?


Auron: || Aurons Site || Aurons AoM:TT Creations || MY POETRY WEBSITE ||
CheeZy
Mortal
(id: CheeZy monkey)
posted 30 August 2004 02:11 PM EDT (US)     9 / 31       
It's called Programming, people. They make their own progams and tools and file formats.

The .bars stand for binary archive. It converts all the files into one big file that the game can read much faster. That way the game loads faster and performs better.
It's the same with the XMB files, it stands for XML Binary.


CheeZy ex-HG Angel
WildFire Games - Artist, Lead Scenario Designer, Game Designer for 0 A.D.
"But really, stop fighting and listen to CheeZy when he says use good grammar." - Phantom_rider.
----Stuff I've Made----

[This message has been edited by CheeZy (edited 08-30-2004 @ 02:13 PM).]

AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 30 August 2004 02:22 PM EDT (US)     10 / 31       
Cheezy, do you know how to advise the game to load new BAR archives (besides the normal ones like anim.bar)?
Dnas
Mortal
posted 30 August 2004 02:28 PM EDT (US)     11 / 31       
It's definitely hard-coded into the exe.

Dnas
Wildfire games 0 A. D. texture artist.
Rest In Peace, Flipbizcut (1979-2005)

[This message may have been edited by Dnas (edited 49-92-4096 @ 42:93 PM).]

AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 30 August 2004 02:59 PM EDT (US)     12 / 31       
It is, I looked it up. Still, can someone think of a way? Perhaps via the user.cfg?
tbarak
Mortal
posted 30 August 2004 05:54 PM EDT (US)     13 / 31       
First off, ES creates a complex and great game (not to mention a proprietary engine), and you guys wonder how they hid files in a .bar? Seems to me these guys sorta know their way around programming.

In order to manipulate how the program treats the various files you'd have to get into the core coding within the game. Seems to me that would be pretty well hidden and hard to get at seeing its the intellectual property that's the company's bread and butter. Way beyond my meager knowledge but I would start sniffing around that magical ".exe" file. I've heard of people modding just about every other aspect of games but almost never heard of people changing the actual game .exe code. You'd probably ruin the game if you didn't know what you were doing. I think that's why they use some pretty exotic file types and extensions otherwise people could just steal and code.

[This message has been edited by tbarak (edited 08-30-2004 @ 05:55 PM).]

AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 30 August 2004 06:00 PM EDT (US)     14 / 31       

Quote:

and you guys wonder how they hid files in a .bar?


I know how to create bar archives.

About the exe file, I hope there's some kind of code or anything else for the user.cfg file (for example) to make the game load these archives. It only loads the existing ones like anim.bar etc yet. I hope I'll find a way, imagine how huge projects like King Jared's campaign or modpacks could be installed by simply placing one file in the AoM folder...

oddy
Mortal
posted 31 August 2004 11:55 AM EDT (US)     15 / 31       

Quoted from tbarak:

Way beyond my meager knowledge but I would start sniffing around that magical ".exe" file. I've heard of people modding just about every other aspect of games but almost never heard of people changing the actual game .exe code.


Like I said, there's no code in .exe that's readable by mankind. (Unless it's P-code, and that's pretty unreadable too.) But here's a tip I got from pharao: try opening the demo .exe file in a hex editor.

A condition is not a trigger.
An effect is not a trigger.
A trigger is a combination of one or more conditions and effects.
It causes effects to happen if and when conditions are met.
Period.
CheeZy
Mortal
(id: CheeZy monkey)
posted 31 August 2004 01:55 PM EDT (US)     16 / 31       
The game's exe is compiled into a binary (hence an exe), so that makes it unreadable. Furthermore it's probably encrypted too, making it even more unreadable. Developers do this because their precious game engine is in the exe, an engine that takes years to program and complete, they don't want other people stealing or messing with their precious work.

As for cfg files - theres an amazing ammount of things you can do with that, provided you know the commands. But since all the commands and their functions are stored in the exe, we can't really do anything.


CheeZy ex-HG Angel
WildFire Games - Artist, Lead Scenario Designer, Game Designer for 0 A.D.
"But really, stop fighting and listen to CheeZy when he says use good grammar." - Phantom_rider.
----Stuff I've Made----
AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 31 August 2004 01:58 PM EDT (US)     17 / 31       
We can. With a hex editor and special exes (like the demo one that oddy mentioned) it's up to us. Pharao even published a list with commands, but it's pretty short since he was too lazy to list everything...
Von Mackensens Hat
Mortal
(id: DrNick)
posted 31 August 2004 02:13 PM EDT (US)     18 / 31       
There are ways to hack an exe file. It's actually not that hard. DOS comes with a utility called "debug" which can be used to view the binary as machine language instructions which, while not for the faint of heart, is definately readable by human beings. I believe there is a windows version that comes with Visual Studio Products (I have one that came with MS-VC++).

I remember back in the old DooM days (the first one), there was a program called DehackEd which hacked into the exe and allowed modders to change all sorts of hard coded behaviors.


Dr Nick
I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception.

[This message has been edited by DrNick (edited 08-31-2004 @ 02:14 PM).]

Dnas
Mortal
posted 31 August 2004 02:41 PM EDT (US)     19 / 31       
AOMPlayer: A hex editor cannot hack an exe file. Period. You can possibly change a few strings but even that is risky. It's not possible. It's encrypted and compiled. One little value changed will change tons of stuff.
The demo exe is still compiled and encrypted. You can view the names of the commands, possibly, (I believe strings are stored as-is), but nothing else is sensible to touch.

You can hack bits of an exe file with a resourse hacker (Like the icons and images stored in it and a few strings), but never the core programming.
Unless you have a decompiler. Which I beleive is what DrNick is talking about. And then you'll need to be able to compile it again.

Recompiling the exe is illegal. Don't bother.

Also, it might not even be the installed exe. The games needs the CD to start up, right? It might be an exe on the cd.

Anyway, my point is that this is is way above anyone who doesn't do any programming. (Scenario design != programming)
BTW, != means not equal in programming syntax.

Besides, even if it was possible to hide it in a bar file, anyone could open it in AOMed anyway.


Dnas
Wildfire games 0 A. D. texture artist.
Rest In Peace, Flipbizcut (1979-2005)

[This message may have been edited by Dnas (edited 49-92-4096 @ 42:93 PM).]

[This message has been edited by Dnas (edited 08-31-2004 @ 03:41 PM).]

Von Mackensens Hat
Mortal
(id: DrNick)
posted 31 August 2004 04:22 PM EDT (US)     20 / 31       
There was a way to make the triggers in .scn files uneditable using AOMEd, but I can't seem to find a version that supports .scx files, so unless you want to go back to editing for vanilla, or have a conversation with ykkrosh even that isn't entirely possible right now.

Dr Nick
I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception.
Dnas
Mortal
posted 31 August 2004 05:56 PM EDT (US)     21 / 31       
Well he is at Wildfiregames rather often now. Maybe contact him there.

Dnas
Wildfire games 0 A. D. texture artist.
Rest In Peace, Flipbizcut (1979-2005)

[This message may have been edited by Dnas (edited 49-92-4096 @ 42:93 PM).]

AoMPlayer000
Banned
posted 01 September 2004 06:49 AM EDT (US)     22 / 31       

Quoted from Dnas:

AOMPlayer: A hex editor cannot hack an exe file. Period. You can possibly change a few strings but even that is risky. It's not possible. It's encrypted and compiled. One little value changed will change tons of stuff.
The demo exe is still compiled and encrypted. You can view the names of the commands, possibly, (I believe strings are stored as-is), but nothing else is sensible to touch.
You can hack bits of an exe file with a resourse hacker (Like the icons and images stored in it and a few strings), but never the core programming.
Unless you have a decompiler. Which I beleive is what DrNick is talking about. And then you'll need to be able to compile it again.

Recompiling the exe is illegal. Don't bother.

Also, it might not even be the installed exe. The games needs the CD to start up, right? It might be an exe on the cd.

Anyway, my point is that this is is way above anyone who doesn't do any programming. (Scenario design != programming)
BTW, != means not equal in programming syntax.

Besides, even if it was possible to hide it in a bar file, anyone could open it in AOMed anyway.


First of all: Calm down. I know that I propably can't change the exe, but that wasn't my intention. I wanted to read codes out of it that allow me to load a new *.BAR. And thanks for the != explanation, I knew that before, I already did some programming. Very little, but at least enough to know those basics.

And my intention with the *.BARs is not a copy protection, but an extremely easy installation. Imagine huge modpacks or even better; campaigns with huge modpacks (King Jared's LSA), installed or deleted with one file. Otherwise your folders get full of files, you completely lose the overview, and when you install other modpacks it gets even worse. Imagine every modder/scn designer simply distributes one archive to the community!

Centurion_13
Mortal
posted 01 September 2004 07:15 AM EDT (US)     23 / 31       
nah there might be two files, the .bar and the user.cfg (if thats the way you do it)
Dnas
Mortal
posted 01 September 2004 09:52 AM EDT (US)     24 / 31       
Yeah, I had thought about it as an acrhive.

But another problem you'll have is, the bar files have this freaky default.txt index file that's a bit freaky.

Quoted from textures.bar:


bar_aom
unknown01: 0 0 340a1601
num_files: 5521
unknown02: 274149
unknown03: 8


It's a bit confusing what in the world that means. At least for me.

But I strongly suspect it's on the CD. Because, once you've loaded the game, you can remove the CD, so you must need it during startup.

Basically, all AOM does at startup is unpack the bar files ad read the files. The info for reading the files can't be o the cd, it have to do that the whole time, so it would make sense if it was the bar files.

But a cfg file wouldn't be bad to look in.

But.... if you can't find the command in an existing one, you probably can't find it in the exe. Most of the cfg commands are debug things. ES doesn't need to add new bar files to debug.


Dnas
Wildfire games 0 A. D. texture artist.
Rest In Peace, Flipbizcut (1979-2005)

[This message may have been edited by Dnas (edited 49-92-4096 @ 42:93 PM).]

Ykkrosh
Mortal
posted 01 September 2004 11:12 AM EDT (US)     25 / 31       
The .bar filenames are hard-coded into the .exe file, like this -- it gives the filename and the directory (although the disassembler doesn't like Unicode, and says "t" rather than "textures\"), then calls some BAR-handling code ("calln file:00101F50") for each one. 00101F50 isn't referenced anywhere else, so it doesn't appear that any other .bars are ever loaded. I could, however, be very wrong about this, so I wouldn't trust me . Editing the .exe to load an extra file isn't hard, unless the program tries to stop people editing it (to avoid cheating) -- I've only got the demo version, and have never actually played it

In default.txt, num_files is fairly obvious, but the others are (as their names suggest) unknown, so I haven't got a clue what they mean. It should be possible to create a new .bar by just copying an old one, except for the difficulty in loading it.

It's much easier in 0 A.D., where you simply stick a zip file in the right directory and everything works [in theory] magically

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