Author Topic: Opponent's path  (Read 3472 times)

Cas

  • Chicane Checker
  • ****
  • Posts: 1518
  • Think different. That's OK... as long as you think
    • View Profile
    • Dimioca Labs
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2021, 08:37:00 PM »
The thing is that the graphics from Stunts are not free software and you can't distribute a bundle as free software if it contains non-free software. The graphics from Track Blaster are also non-free software, as Track Blaster is freeware. In fact, I don't see Track Blaster mentioning a license anywhere, so we could say it's "all rights reserved", but we use it because the author made it for the community, so we know we have permission. For the graphics in Stunts, as I said, you can load them from the game if detected, but Track Blaster generates its graphics algorithmically, so there's a trick there: I can just create my own code to generate the graphics that look similar, but not the same. Anyway, Bliss uses stored graphics, not algorithms.
Earth is my country. Science is my religion.

Duplode

  • Lives on Stunts
  • ******
  • Posts: 4136
  • Rabbit hole goes on forever
    • View Profile
    • The Southern Cross Stunts Trophy
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2021, 10:26:39 PM »
For Cartography, I could have your permission

Sure!  :) I have attached 22 pixels/tile SVG and PNG palettes on green and transparent backgrounds, using the default style settings of Cartography. Let me know if you'd like different sizes or settings, such as wider roads.

(Note the shade of green I have used for the low ground is not the same as that in the latest release, as I changed it yesterday to improve contrast. The transparent background was also set up by changing the code, to avoid image manipulation artifacts. Also, note the elevated spans in your sprites will look slightly different than in Cartography, as there they are rendered with 70% opacity over the terrain.)

By the way, something I'll add to Cartography one of these days is an option to render the terrain in this style, which has the advantage of only requiring two colours for grass.

Cas

  • Chicane Checker
  • ****
  • Posts: 1518
  • Think different. That's OK... as long as you think
    • View Profile
    • Dimioca Labs
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2021, 07:13:58 AM »
Thanks!  Bliss uses fixed size bitmaps with alpha channel, so it is possible to give the image the percentage of transparency. I'll see how I can put it together with the graphics.
Earth is my country. Science is my religion.

Cas

  • Chicane Checker
  • ****
  • Posts: 1518
  • Think different. That's OK... as long as you think
    • View Profile
    • Dimioca Labs
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2021, 06:18:52 AM »
Here I append the adaptation for Bliss for anybody who would like to use the graphics from Cartography. This file can be placed in Bliss main directory and could be swapped with biggfx.tga at any time to use the graphics. The editor still does not have any method to directly change the file selected for graphics, though, so only renaming the file works, but it does.
Earth is my country. Science is my religion.

Duplode

  • Lives on Stunts
  • ******
  • Posts: 4136
  • Rabbit hole goes on forever
    • View Profile
    • The Southern Cross Stunts Trophy
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2021, 11:36:42 PM »
It felt good to see the Cartography graphics in Bliss -- it's a nice crossover episode  :)

Over this week I have fixed a few minor display bugs in some of the Cartography sprites. For instance, if you look very hard at the palettes in my previous post you will notice a slight mistake in the proportions of the highway divider at the transition. I have attached corrected versions of the four images, in case you want to regenerate the TGA file.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2021, 11:38:16 PM by Duplode »

Cas

  • Chicane Checker
  • ****
  • Posts: 1518
  • Think different. That's OK... as long as you think
    • View Profile
    • Dimioca Labs
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2021, 08:02:59 AM »
Oh, I had not noticed that!  Well, I actually didn't generate the TGA file automatically. I manually edited it. It took some time  :P  But I think if it's just a couple of items, it'll be quick to fix :)
Earth is my country. Science is my religion.

Duplode

  • Lives on Stunts
  • ******
  • Posts: 4136
  • Rabbit hole goes on forever
    • View Profile
    • The Southern Cross Stunts Trophy
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2021, 12:07:48 PM »
But I think if it's just a couple of items, it'll be quick to fix :)

Here is the full list of changed items, then: highway transitions, windmills, and Joe's.

Cas

  • Chicane Checker
  • ****
  • Posts: 1518
  • Think different. That's OK... as long as you think
    • View Profile
    • Dimioca Labs
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2021, 10:44:30 PM »
I'll go straight for them! :)
Earth is my country. Science is my religion.

JTK

  • Bridge Bandit
  • ****
  • Posts: 1829
  • ye olde JTK
    • View Profile
    • KHR and JTK's World of Stunts Driving
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2021, 03:22:34 PM »
In fact, I don't see Track Blaster mentioning a license anywhere, so we could say it's "all rights reserved", but we use it because the author made it for the community, so we know we have permission.

I also think, there's no problem! But if you want to I can contact Mark Nailwood to declare Track Blaster Pro as freeware (and probably share its code).
Vintage Stunts Racing at http://www.kalpen.de

Cas

  • Chicane Checker
  • ****
  • Posts: 1518
  • Think different. That's OK... as long as you think
    • View Profile
    • Dimioca Labs
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2021, 08:45:57 PM »
Quote from: JTK
But if you want to I can contact Mark Nailwood
You can?  It would be amazing to be able to have contact with him. Track Blaster allowed for things that changed Stunts community and it took a long time till Bliss came up much, much later, so it would've been very different without his work.

About the licensing, of course I know it's not a problem, but if I want to respect the GPLv3 that I use for Bliss, I can't bundle it with non-free software, so freeware is not enough. On the other hand, his permission to use the graphics would be enough as long as I don't include the graphics with Bliss, but separately somewhere else.

Anyway, at the time TB was made, it was not so common for people to make their work free software. Freeware was the rule. If he had been making TB recently, surely, it would have been free software and its source would've been placed in a repository. I mean, it's not that he didn't intend his software to be free. It was the times. That's my guess or understanding of it. In fact, I used to make freeware back then too.
Earth is my country. Science is my religion.

JTK

  • Bridge Bandit
  • ****
  • Posts: 1829
  • ye olde JTK
    • View Profile
    • KHR and JTK's World of Stunts Driving
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2021, 07:19:44 AM »
I try and come back to you. Hopefully with Mark Nailwood in the backseat.  :)
Vintage Stunts Racing at http://www.kalpen.de

JTK

  • Bridge Bandit
  • ****
  • Posts: 1829
  • ye olde JTK
    • View Profile
    • KHR and JTK's World of Stunts Driving
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2021, 07:35:33 AM »
Yes! I managed to dig Mark out! Now let's see, what he'll say about Track Blaster. He already told me, that you may use the graphics whatsoever and he is trying to find the old Turbo Pascal files. Probably he'll write here himself! The return of a legend, by the way! ;D
« Last Edit: May 28, 2021, 02:31:27 PM by JTK »
Vintage Stunts Racing at http://www.kalpen.de

Duplode

  • Lives on Stunts
  • ******
  • Posts: 4136
  • Rabbit hole goes on forever
    • View Profile
    • The Southern Cross Stunts Trophy
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2021, 02:47:17 PM »
Probably he'll write here himself! The return of a legend, by the way! ;D

Forum registration approved  :)

Cas

  • Chicane Checker
  • ****
  • Posts: 1518
  • Think different. That's OK... as long as you think
    • View Profile
    • Dimioca Labs
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #28 on: May 29, 2021, 01:10:05 AM »
:D  That'd be amazing!  It'd be an honour!  I'd like him to also take a look at Bliss and give any opinions. If he can make Track Blaster free software, that'd also be great.
Earth is my country. Science is my religion.

Mark Nailwood

  • Stunts Fan
  • *
  • Posts: 11
    • View Profile
Re: Opponent's path
« Reply #29 on: May 31, 2021, 01:05:43 AM »
Hello everyone! :D

Yes, thanks to JTK I'm finally back in the community. He made me aware of the forum and this thread. Let me use it to post a short (or maybe long) update message.

Well, after my last races in JTK's competition of 2001, I didn't have so much time any more to take part in contests. I knew that there was still an active community that considered new contests and even the implementation of a new version of Stunts, but I never thought that this community would be active for two decades - and still going strong in 2021.

Even more, I am feeling really honored that my Stunts tools are still remembered today. :)
The first one was Track Blaster, which made it possible to create new terrain landscapes for existing tracks by placing the water and hill elements on the grid. Then I extended it into the "Pro" version, which offered also an editor for the track elements. By the way, the idea for the name was influenced by my desktop PC's sound card, the "Sound Blaster Pro". 8)  Over the time, I implemented new features like a previous/next track function (for browsing through a directory of tracks), a copy/cut and paste function of a selection, transformation of a selection with mirroring or 180 deg. rotation, and so on. I was too lazy to properly code the correct editing of multi-block track elements (2x1 like corkscrews and loopings or 2x2 like banked corners or curved bridges), so you had to select and place all 2 or 4 sub-elements manually. But this also made it possible to create special visual effects, like bridge curves where you could drive below, or banked corners where you could drive through. ;)  I'm sure you all found out how to do it - but if needed, I can also explain it in detail, of course.
The next tool, Score Blaster, was useful for cleaning up highscore files. Additionally, it could be used as a file preview plugin in the popular file manager Norton Commander, to quickly show the highscores when browsing through a directory of tracks.
Finally, I started to hack the car files. To discover the meaning of the various bytes I created a graphic visualizer of the raw car file that could also highlight the byte differences of two cars. So I was able to find the section where the torque curve of the engine was coded, for example. This evolved into Car Blaster.

Back then, I played countless races with some friends, and we also created many tracks with interesting terrain or special effects, so these tools proved to be really useful for us. Around 1995, when we started using the Internet in our University, I thought that these tools could also be useful for others. So with just some basic HTML knowledge I created some quick and dirty web pages for publishing my Stunts tools.

As JTK wrote, these tools were created with Turbo Pascal, the development environment that I also used during my study of Computer Science. I am sure I'll find the Track Blaster source code somewhere in my backups, but the real challenge will be to understand the code and logic (even for me). It started as a quick and dirty implementation for my personal use and over the time it was just enhanced with features, not with coding style cleanup or documentation. ::)  But feel free to try, I will assist whenever my time permits.

I have already seen that there are now so many great new software tools and game enhancements, so please allow me some time to become up to date - and who knows, maybe you'll also see me back on the racing tracks in a not too distant future. After two decades it could be time to try it again. 8)

All the best - stay safe and keep driving!
Mark Nailwood