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Topics - dreadnaut

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Chat - Misc / Reverse engineering of other games
« on: May 11, 2022, 11:49:56 PM »
Found this piece on trying to understand how MicroProse F-117A generated certain missions. So many mysteries in old games :)

Stunts Related Programs / Explorer preview - This tool does not exist
« on: February 12, 2022, 09:58:54 PM »
ZdnBurns comment about generating multiple track preview (which could be done with phpStunts from the command line) reminded me of an old idea I have never put into practice.

Windows' Explorer supports plugin that generate previews for specific file types. If we had a preview generator in any modern compiled language, we could build a .dll that exposes the Preview Handler interface, and get previews straight in the file manager.

Attached a made-up screenshot of what it would look like. One can dream ::)

Competition and Website / Season standings
« on: February 06, 2022, 12:20:48 AM »
I'm working on updated seasons standings. The global ones are ready, and they sit now at a new addresses which look like /seasons/2022, mirroring /racèrs/..., /tracks/ZCT..., etc.

That made me think:
  • should the Amateur table appear on the same page, or a separate one?
  • what should be the address of Teams and Amateur scoreboards? should I nest them under /seasons/2022/...?
  • what would you like to see at /seasons/; possibly a summary view of all ZakStunts seasons?
Fire your suggestions!

Competition and Website / Team logos size
« on: January 29, 2022, 12:31:01 PM »
Most of the team logos on ZakStunts are 75×50px. They look good on the website, but you can't really scale them up, for example on an hypothetical "team page".

Do we have larger versions of historical logos around? At least 150×100, or even 300×200?

Competition 2021 / Closing thoughts and feedback
« on: December 31, 2021, 11:45:13 AM »
I think we're done with season 2021 - dries forehead. I quite enjoyed this season, many interesting tracks and challenging races. I chose to spend less time on racing, and that showed on the scoreboard, but I had fun! A few new faces around, with interesting stories—hello! And so many cool things happening with cars and reverse-engineering. That feels like the way forward to me, rather that try to build something new that behaves like Stunts.

Next couple of weeks, I should complete what's needed for the Amateur system. There's a bit more work than I expected, as I have to rewrite much of the scoreboard calculations while keeping the previous seasons working. Hopefully it won't be necessary, but there could be an week of delay starting. But thanks to Cas and KyLiE, Race4Kicks will be there for you :)

Now, what about you?
  • What did you enjoy in 2021?
  • What felt less interesting or exciting?
  • What are you looking forward to in 2022?

Competition 2021 / Track of the Year 2021
« on: December 31, 2021, 11:16:50 AM »
In 2021, at the end of each race, we asked participants to rate the track from 1 to 5 stars. Single votes and averages have been hidden during the season, but here we are for the grand reveal!

The Track of the Year 2021, with 12 votes and 4.3 stars on average is...
ZCT244: Crazy Eight, designed by Daniel3D!

Well done Daniel3D, it was a fun track with many options, carefully designed!

Runner ups:
4.2 (13 votes) - ZCT236: Lightning by Alan Rotoi
4.2 (12 votes) - ZCT243: Atlas Air by Duplode
4.0 (9 votes) - ZCT242: Full Fontal by Overdrijf

Pretty good ones:
3.9 (8 votes)- ZCT241: Emptyness by CTG
3.7 (13 votes) - ZCT234: Lockdown, Worry and Fear by Akoss Poo
3.6 (12 votes) - ZCT237: Marshland by dreadnaut
3.5 (15 votes) - ZCT235: Mirror Lake by KyLiE
3.5 (13 votes) - ZCT238: Symbolic Link by Cas

We enjoyed these less:
3.4 (14 votes) - ZCT245: Amateur Hour by Zak McKracken
3.3 (12 votes) - ZCT240: Lignano Pineta by afullo
3.1 (10 votes) - ZCT239: Urtutako Glaziarra by Shoegazing Leo

Final ratings will appear on the track list in the next days.

Any feedback on the voting system itself is welcome!

Team Zone / Teams for 2022
« on: December 14, 2021, 11:06:35 PM »
Hello everyone, it's time to think about teams for the next season!
Would you like to join a team, or start a new one? This is the place to discuss and look for friends :)

It's also the right thread to confirm existing teams, and any changes.

Live Races / Live Races 2022
« on: November 19, 2021, 07:20:12 PM »
Let's try something different for 2022!

We will have three live races in 2022, the dates are decided and listed below. I am looking for 2/3 volunteers for each race. They will design the track, sign up pipsqueaks, and find the best time during the weekend. At least one of them should be around to run the race itself.

First volunteer in each race get to name it!

2nd or 3rd of April - Race A
Organised by: KyLiE, ...

2nd or 3rd of July - Race B
Organised by: Cas, Overdrijf, ...

1st or 2nd of October - Race C
Organised by: dreadnaut, Cas, ...

We will advertise each event a month before the race weekend, to refresh everyone's memory.

Competition 2021 / ZCT245 - Amateur Hour
« on: November 15, 2021, 07:59:06 PM »
Last track of the season, maybe we'll see a slower car on the podium?

Competition 2022 / Guest articles 2022
« on: November 15, 2021, 07:56:26 PM »
New thread for guest articles! (see 2021)

Who wants to write race summary posts? ;D
Just choose a track, keep an eye on the race for that month, and send a short and informal news piece once it's over. No marks! A friendly editor!

  • ZCT246 (starts 16 Jan) - Duplode
  • ZCT247 (starts 13 Feb) - ?
  • ZCT248 (starts 13 Mar) - dreadnaut
  • ZCT249 (starts 10 Apr) - Alan Rotoi
  • ZCT250 (starts 8 May) - ?
  • ZCT251 (starts 5 Jun) - KyLiE
  • ZCT252 (starts 3 Jul) - ?
  • ZCT253 (starts 31 Jul) - ?
  • ZCT254 (starts 28 Aug) - KyLiE
  • ZCT255 (starts 25 Sep) - Cas
  • ZCT256 (starts 23 Oct) - dreadnaut
  • ZCT257 (starts 20 Nov) - ?

Competition 2022 / Guest tracks 2022
« on: November 15, 2021, 07:54:45 PM »
New thread for the guest tracks! (see 2021)

Want to design a competition track? Book your race below.

Tracks for the competition are designed by its participants. If you have an idea for a track and would like to contribute, just choose an available month below!

  • ZCT246 (starts 16 Jan) - CTG
  • ZCT247 (starts 13 Feb) - Duplode
  • ZCT248 (starts 13 Mar) - Daniele3D
  • ZCT249 (starts 10 Apr) - Akoss Poo
  • ZCT250 (starts 8 May) - Alan Rotoi
  • ZCT251 (starts 5 Jun) - Cas
  • ZCT252 (starts 3 Jul) - Leo
  • ZCT253 (starts 31 Jul) - KaoS
  • ZCT254 (starts 28 Aug) - KyLiE
  • ZCT255 (starts 25 Sep) - dreadnaut
  • ZCT256 (starts 23 Oct) - Overdrijf
  • ZCT257 (starts 20 Nov) - Zak McKracken

Stunts Reverse Engineering / Small steps
« on: October 27, 2021, 12:43:20 AM »
This thread might be more speculation than anything else, but let's say we could build a tiny patch for Stunts 1.1, what could be important and feasible?

Small things that I can think of, from reading what people have been working on:
  • Fix left/right difference in cornering grip, possibly bringing back the 1.0 behaviour
  • Moving the "Restart driving" menu entry further down the list
  • Customize the colour of the dashboard needles

Might not even require a full-recompile? Is something like "Stunts 1.1 - patch 1" close enough?

Competition 2022 / Cars and rules for 2022
« on: October 16, 2021, 12:27:53 AM »
News from tomorrow's ZakStunts
They say the future is just over the horizon. In Stunts however, there's a pesky fence that stops you from getting there. But you can use it to drive your car on water, that's science fiction!

While the game stays the same, the Competition is open to rule changes. This thread is here to collect and discuss suggestions, and also to decide which custom cars will be allowed for the coming season.

See also: Cars and rules for 2021

Stunts Related Programs / CarPark - This tool does not exist
« on: September 19, 2021, 09:10:09 PM »
I have been thinking about a new car swap / backup tool, probably DOS based, but I don't know if it'll ever rise near the top of my long list of projects. I shall dump my ideas here, in the hope that they will be useful to someone, one day.


The tool I imagine is called CarPark, because yes. When launched without parameters, it shows a text-based interface with a single scrollable list of cars, where each line contains the abbreviation and the full name of a car.

Cars come from both the Stunts directory and a second directory, which acts as backup area. Duplicates are removed, but remembered. If a car is stored in the Stunts directory, and therefore active, there's a symbol at the beginning of its line, for example an o.


Cursor keys and j/k can be to move a selection bar up and down the list.

Space acts as toggle to add and remove cars. Press it while the selection is on a car from the Stunts directory, and the o symbol becomes a -: the car is marked for removal. You can't mark the last car for removal. Press Space on a car that is only stored in the parking lot, and a + appears on its line: the car is marked for inclusion in the active set. No files have yet moved at this point!

You can also use a and d to always add or remove a car. They make it easier to add a bunch of cars without worrying about any already selected cars in the middle of the list: jajajajaja, in Hungarian style.

The bottom of the screen shows current numbers: active cars, to add, to remove. Next or below that is the list of available keys: [a] Add  [d] Remove  [Space] Toggle ....

If the number of cars that are active or to-be-added goes above the maximum allowed (32?), a  message appears next to the counters, and saving is disabled.

If the number is OK, pressing Enter applies the changes: cars with a + are copied from the parking lot directory to the Stunts directory; cars with a - that are *not yet* in the parking lot are moved there. The program could then close, leaving a success message on the prompt. s could be an alternative key to save without quitting.

Pressing Escape will close the program, no changes will be applied. There could be a confirmation prompt if the list includes any + or - rows, to avoid losing changes.

Command line options

It might be easier to start with these, to have all operations ready in a testable way.

  • /backup will copy all cars that are in the Stunts directory but not in the parking lot directory to the latter;
  • /backup-all will copy all cars to the parking lot, overwriting any already in there;
  • /add NAME [ NAME ...] will look for cars in the parking lot, and copy their files to the Stunts directory; the program will output one line for each car, something like + NAME OK or x NAME Unknown, or x NAME Too Many cars
  • /remove NAME [ NAME ... ] will look for car NAME in the Stunts directory, move their files to the parking lot, or moving them there if they don't exist
  • /import <directory> will look in the specified directory for full sets of car files, and copy them to the parking lot
  • /enable <filename> will read car abbreviations from the file, and copy their files from the parking lot to the Stunts directory; unless all the listed car are missing from the parking lot, it will delete/move all other active cars, leaving only the selected set.
Imagine running carpark /enable zak-2022.txt and having all cars ready!


There are operations on multiple files here, that should be handled in a safe and possibly atomic way. Moving car files should copy them, and only delete the original if all four files have been copied successfully.

There are some tricky situations when the two directories contain different versions of the same car, i.e., where some files are compressed in one but not in the other. Overwriting a car should ensure that all files belonging to the previous version are removed. When we check if a car already exists in a directory, we mean "exactly the same files", and might need to skip the car and show a warning.

The tool could include CAR_<abbreviation>.TXT as an optional file in the set that defines a car. It would be copied around with the rest if it exists. This would give us a vague standard for documentation. Code for an optional file might be a pain to implement though.

(By the way, I've discovered [ tt ] for monospaced text!)

Competition and Website / Newbie scoreboard and progression
« on: September 19, 2021, 10:45:24 AM »
We already know that they way newbies are calculated is a bit broken, and the number of months a pipsqueak has been around is not a good measure of their skills.

How can we improve the system?

Note: this is not about a full split into pro and newbie divisions. That has been tried before, and reverted. A separate competition can rise to cover that role, if needed, and if someone starts it.

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