Why no openness here?


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#1 hatfarm

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 07:16 PM

Hey, I was jut wondering why people here don't have notes readily availble for viewing so people can just look at it and see what they need. I mean, people are helpful and all but wouldn't it be nice if we could just go somewhere and look for what you need and if you can't find it then you could add something if you figured it out. Like I've just gone through the exe and found where the starting base info is, I wouldn't have had to reverse engineer that if it had just been available. That's what I'm trying to do on my site but my info is not nearly as decent as some of you have I'm sure. There's tons of stuff I want to figure out and I'm sure I will, but I think it would be a lot more efficient if I could just look that stuff up and then work on something new. I'd like to hear what people think.

-hatfarm

#2 Hobbes

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 07:39 PM

There's few things out here because most likely no one knows that information.  :P Some people have done a terrific job understanding some parts of the game and the file formats but, besides that, I guess most of its aspects are only known to its original designers. And also, since the game is copyright, I'd guess few people would be willing to discuss it in a public forum.
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#3 hatfarm

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 08:11 PM

But there's a good starting tutorial on this very site that has information about editting the game. I'm not just talking about the EXE either. I'm also talking about he DAT files. Maybe this is my misinterpretation but it seems like people are wanting to keep that stuff secret, why? That's what I'm asking, I mean I understand that you did the work and deserve credit for that but come on. Everyone would benefit from the shared knowledge pool. DAT file info is not a copyright problem to my knowledge as many companies have that information freely displayed on their site. I understand the need to not post ACTUAL VALUES, but you could list offsets and values that are available for putting there. Like this, this some offset info in UFO.EXE:

6F1DE - First offset for starting base facilities
6F201 - Last offset for starting base facilities
6F202 - First offset for days left on start base facilities
6F2225 - Last offset for days left on start base facilities
6F226 - Engineers you have at the start of a game
6F227 - Scientists you have the start of a game

Some things I'd like to figure out are:
The fixes made by XCOMUTIL, so I can put them in my editor as well. I'm also looking for info on names of craft. I realize some of this stuff isn't really known and that's fine but I just wish we could share information more is all. I think the bigger the common knowledge pool, the better. I realize I probably sound like a hippy, sorry.

-hatfarm

#4 Hobbes

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 09:25 PM

Well, you sound like everybody else on this site :P
Sometimes it's not that they want to keep things secret but simply because such matters are too technical and only a minority understands (or thinks) about them. Still, you are right, it's better if the info is there for everyone and there's a Modders section on the forums exactly for that propose. I could never have done my terrain mods unless several people had worked out before on how the maps work and I still had to figure out a couple things by myself. Only don't expect all questions to be answered or solved (I would still like a way to add new entries to mcd files, for instance).
Still, if you're interested on XComUtil's features I'd advise you to email Scott since he knows so many stuff about the original game.
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#5 hatfarm

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 10:01 PM

I have e-mailed Scott, no reply yet. What I'm saying is there should be a place on the internet, *winks at the webmaster*, that people send in the info and it's compiled into a list. I've tried using the search on this forum and never actually had it work. This way if you have question you can consult the info. This forum would then become more about specific questions as opposed to broad, "what does this file do?" types, which I am guilty of I know. That's why I'm compiling my list, but so many people know a lot more than me. It may still be limited, but it least it gives a good reference for everyone.

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#6 daishiva

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 10:04 PM

Its not a question of being open, ill tell you whatever i know. The stuff you have listed there, i did not know. On my website i have a document detailing the information that i DO know (image and map formats) because that is what i work with.

If you ask, the people that know will usually respond.

Scott would LOVE to make his program open source, but cannot due to legal restrictions. File formats/byte offsets i do not believe are covered under that, but you would have to ask him =)
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#7 Pete

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Posted 10 August 2004 - 10:29 PM

A central modding repository would be an interesting idea, but would a modding forum specifically for this knowledge (ie, somone posts their findings and other modders can add to it) be enough? It'd certainly keep it nice and separate from the other modding chat.
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#8 hatfarm

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 12:22 AM

I see what you're saying. What I meant was like opensource minus the source (though my editor is opensource). This information should be freely available, it's not illegal to put offset info on a website because I've seen it on so many websites. Just search for "how to hack x-com ufo defense" on Google and you'll find tons of sites with that info. I can't imagine that none of them would have gotten a cease and decist notice if there was a problem with it.

I don't really think this idea is right for a forum. It doesn't really need a tutorial, it just needs to be an index of pages.

ie:
X-COM: UFO DEFENSE -> Geoscape files: soldier.dat, craft.dat, etc.
                                 -> Battlescape files: wglobl.dat, geodata.dat, etc.

Then under those you would have information about those specific files. All the known information. That way people could have that info and start working on other files based on that knowledge. It's all gotta be related after all. The way you could collect that info would be in this forum, someone posts something they've found that isn't already there and then others check it out, if it checks out then add it to the info. I didn't start writing my program until last wednesday but I was searching for this info for about week ahead of time and all I found was a short file on GameFaqs.com about hex editting the game. I started with the info it had and then reverse engineered everything I could to add some more features.

I'm going to be posting a DAT compare program on my site which will compare two files and tell you the offset at which there is a difference. This is nice for either reverse engineering someone else's program (I've done it to xcomutil and CWE). As well as figuring out small changes to files I had questions about (that's how I figured out date and time info in saveinfo.dat). It will compare any two files really, as that's how I found out how to edit the starting base info (thanks to xcomutil).

I think Scott should make all the info he can available. A lot of that stuff probably wouldn't be against the law. I'm not gonna tell him what to do I guess, he can do what he wants but I don't see the point in not putting that up. It's obvious he's a genious and what would have happened if Einstein had kept his theories to himself? I'm doing that all so if I have to take a break, I can, and then come back and read what I've noted and pick up where I left off. At the same time other people can learn exactly what I've done.

I realize it's a hassle to type out all the stuff you learned a long time ago and don't really have it written or typed anywhere. Let people who do have that stuff somewhere start it off and then add to what they've got. I've said it before and I'll say it again. If anyone can add to what I've got, I'd love to hear from you because I want to know everything I can. I know that's not a specific question but at this point I wouldn't even know what to ask about when it came to graphics editting. There is some documentation out there about it, I'd like to see it centrally located and in a huge database format. Well, that's that I guess. Sorry to be so long winded, I just had to say all that so I felt I said exactly what I felt necessary.

-hatfarm

ps- thanks for caring.

#9 NKF

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 05:46 AM

Most of my notes are either derived from what I've learnt on this forum and notes already found in other places. I'm really working from scratch here.

I could probably help fill in any gaps if I can, but my notes are very minimal in comparison with what you can already find on the net.

I'm currently concentrating on understanding the temporary battlescape files, which aren't as long lasting as the geoscape files like the soldier, equipment, ships, research and base files. It's just a hobby for me, so my progress will never be constant.

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#10 hatfarm

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 02:54 PM

That's fine. It wouldn't be just one person, but you probably have a better understanding of some of the files than I do. Just a comprehensive list of what all the files do would be a good start for this thing. Then getting in depth into each file may take some time but this way everyone could be working on it. I'm sure different files interest different people.

Where are the other places you've found notes? I've been to that Russian site, that's it.

-hatfarm

#11 Munkeylord

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 02:30 AM

yes, like alien stats! i would like to finish my xcom mod sometime in the next decade......but without that info its just like pulling hair......

nkf......god......you know anything about them? i would like to adjust heigth and the amount of frames each alien uses for animations........probably hard to do

#12 hatfarm

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 07:45 AM

I've got all my notes up on my new website:

http://www.xcomufo.com/hatfarm/

I've got a little bit more stuff to add before I'm out of info. I'm researching a whole bunch of files and slowly but surely figuring stuff out.

#13 Zombie

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Posted 22 August 2004 - 06:33 AM

Dude, nice website! It really answers my question I posed a while back in the UFO forum.

I guess the reason that you do not see much "openness" is because very few people are working on game files at the moment. Just for giggles, I breezed through your website and happened upon the LOC.DAT file.  Offset 00 concerns things found in the Geoscape screen. You list the following:
Offset 00 - Object type - Possible Values = 00 - Pretty sure this is unsighted UFO (note: changing the value won't change what the item is, this is merely a reference).
                                                           01 - Alien Ship
                                                           02 - X-Com Ship
                                                           03 - X-Com Base
                                                           04 - Alien Base
                                                           05 - Crash Site
                                                           06 - NEED HELP - Any ideas?
                                                           07 - Waypoint
                                                           08 - Terror Site

I think that 06 is a UFO landing site (marked with a green X). I do not know what else it could possibly be, given you list everything else!  :P

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#14 hatfarm

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Posted 22 August 2004 - 04:19 PM

That's what  I thought too but when I had one on my map, I sent an avenger after it and saved it. I did figure out the destination offsets but it still showed a 01 as the value. I really can't imagine what it could be so they might have intended it to be something but it never came through but they kept the numbers that way. Who knows?

I'd really like to hear from anyone who knows any more of these files as I'm totally out of files I know. I'm working on purchase.dat now, I figured out each entry is 20 bytes. That's ALL I know however. I've taken a quick look at and figured out a few of the offsets. I'll probably post what I have. If anyone knows what offset 4 or 14 do, I'd love to know as they've got values I cannot place. I also have some information on the .exe which I might put up. I'm very interested in that but there are so many bytes in that that I'd like to have a little bit more info. I might steal some info from this site as they've got a bit. We'll see.

The reason I started this post was to get the people who know more than me to give me info, that didn't happen so I made my site and I guess I'm just gonna have to work at it until I figure it all out. I think more that people are lazy because they're doing this in their spare time (as am I) and don't want to take the time to write up info like I have. I think it's something that benefits everyone who looks at these files and that way we don't have people stuck on the same files, no one has to ask what's in these files anymore. They can go and see, if they can figure something out that I can't, that's great and hopefully they'll let me know.

Sorry for all these commas, I'm terrible at editting myself. If this was someone else's writing I'd be able to fix it.

In summation, I want to hear from anyone who has info on files I don't have up OR who has info on the files I do have up but don't have the offset figured out. I've thought of some stuff in soldier.dat which might be in some of the offsets so I might have an update tonight. I'll probably put up the limited info I have bglob.dat tonight at least.




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