Author Topic: Official SSI Playtester Mode  (Read 8572 times)

Offline Ishad Nha

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 945
Official SSI Playtester Mode
« on: June 04, 2010, 04:05:02 AM »
In porting the Pools of Darkness towns to the DC world I noticed a town that was included in the Geo1.dax file but not in the game itself. The table of contents in the start of that file said that it had a town number of 1. So I decided to alter a save game file and enter the town that way. I altered one of my save game files in the appropriate places and loaded the save. Instead of entering the town I found I had activated the SSI playtester mode!

How to activate it: open a Pools of Darkness savgam@.pty save file in a hex editor and alter offsets 18,21,197 so they have a decimal value of 1. Then load the save file. (Here the ampersand @ stands for one of the letters A thru J.)
How to use it:
"Do you want to start from scratch or use the jumper?"
Options are: Jumper Start     choose Jumper.
"Where do you wish to go?"
Options are: Jump Arena Camp Treas Demo Prv Nxt, choose Jump.
"What ECL do you wish to go to? (In decimal)"
Enter one of the numbers below.
"Which Disk side?" (What does this mean???)   
I choose a value of 2.
Then come screens to confirm the Ecl number and to ask if you wish to specify initial party x,y location.

"Do you wish to set any party variables?"
I don't know how to do this so I just answer no.

Ecl numbers are:
1, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 48, 49, 50, 52, 53, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 81, 82, 83, 84.
Known meanings are:
1   ???, Playtester town.   
16   East Phlan   
17   West Phlan   
18   ????   
19   Mulmaster/Zhentil Keep   
20   Overland Minis   
21   Hill Giant Steading   
22   Sasha and The Lands Of Thar   



« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 10:16:44 PM by Ishad Nha »

Offline Ishad Nha

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 945
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2010, 04:06:04 AM »
Dark Queen of Krynn
The offsets are the same but the magic number is 2. Here the procedure is a bit more involved:

Reply   First line of screen:
Normal    "Select the combat wall type:"
No    "Do you wish to set any party variables?"
2    "Give all numbers in decimal."
0    "What is the attack location number?"
0    "Input monster morale byte…"
0    "What monster - 1 ?"
0    "How many monster - 1?"
Enter    "No monsters in combat."
No    "Do you wish to retry?"
No    "Try again?"
Jumper    "Do you want to use the jumper? Or start one of the 'DQK' ECL's?"
Jump    "Where do you wish to go?"
ECL #    "Jumping to ECL number: 0 "

ECL Numbers
??   ??
4   Caergoth
10   Draconian Caves
14   Naulidis
18   Hizden
22   Luminari
??   ???
26   Hulderfolk Wood
30   New Aurim
34   Palace of the Thenol King
38   Kristophan
42   The Tombs
46   Hawkbluff
??   Hawkbluff2
50   Blackwater Glade
54   Bai'or
58   Aldinanachru
62   Tower of Flame
??   Tower of Flame Finale?
66   The Abyss

Secret of the Silver Blades, I just don't have any luck decrypting the save files in the matter of town numbers, which town the party is now in.
What about other Gold Box games? I have yet to try this.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2015, 08:30:42 PM by Ishad Nha »

Offline Donnie Ewald

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 272
    • Ego's Abode
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2010, 04:49:52 AM »
This is awesome work! I look forward to trying it out this weekend.

Offline Ben J

  • Keeper of the 44 quest variables
  • Dungeon Craft Tester
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2723
  • "See how I reward those who fail me!"
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2010, 06:02:03 AM »
Ha Ha, great!  :)

Is this mode hidden in every Gold Box game?
Released designs:

The Sect

Offline Ishad Nha

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 945
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2010, 08:50:36 AM »
Have no idea if it is the same or not. I am currently checking Treasures of the Savage Frontier, one town number at a time.
Generally the structure of the table of contents in the Geo# files seem to be the same for all games except DQK:
First is the number where the first town record starts.
Then there are town record listings, they have the format:
town number, one digit.
start of town record, two digits, the numbering starts at the start of the first town record
0024, four digits.
length of the record, two digits.
(Last record does not have the length.)

Ctrl + C ends the program immediately! ditto Ctrl + 2. Useful for a quick exit to reload a new game. I was looking for a shortcut to activate the Playtester mode but I did not find it, I found this instead.

Offline Nol Drek

  • Dungeon Craft Tester
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2177
    • Nol Drek's Web Site
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2010, 09:45:31 PM »
"Which Disk side?" (What does this mean???)   

Awesome! You found the Jumper for PoD. I am 100% sure that the late Brian O'Donnell found the jumper for DQK. Want to jump your hacked chars to the fight right before the final fight?

I wonder if every Gold Box Game has a playtest module within the .DSN? It's probably that Town that you can't seem to identify with any of the clue books in each Design.

SSB or TSF should be the next ones to search for a "Jumper" event in an inaccessible Town.
"Into the Drachensgrab Mountains!"

http://www.noldrek.com

Offline Ishad Nha

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 945
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2010, 07:13:21 AM »
Here are the Ecl numbers for TSF:
16 Llorkh, 17 Lord Geildarr's Keep, 18 Loudwater, 19 Secomber, 20 Leilon, 21 Smuggler's Dock, 22 Waterdeep and the Caverns, 23 Yartar, 24 Triboar, 25 Longsaddle, 26 Mintarn, 27 Orlumbor, 28 Neverwinter, 29 Port Llast, 30 Mirabar, 31 Luskan, 32 Ruathym, 33 Fireshear, 34 Fireshear Mines, 35 Aurilssbaarg, 36 Bjorn's Hold, 37 Icewolf, 38 Freezefire's Lair, 39 Daggerford, 40 Way Inn, 47 Farr Windward, 48 ???? Crash, 49 Tower of Twilight, 50 The Crossroads, 51 Outdoor style weather, 52 ???? Crash, 53 ???? Crash, 54 ???? Crash, 55 ???? Crash, 56 ???? Crash, 57 ???? Crash, 58 ???? Crash, 59 ???? Crash, 60 ???? Crash, 61 ???? Crash, 62 ???? Crash.
I didn't succeed in finding any playtester towns. Some towns crashed the program when I tried to enter them, they are called "Crash". Town 51 had outdoor-style weather information and an encounter with Rabgar, the sage of the outdoors. After Rabgar, the game crashed.
SSB had a unique town structure, it might be a bit tricky. Curse of the Azure Bonds might be easier.
"Which disk side?" is something that I don't understand. Anybody have any ideas?
« Last Edit: October 25, 2015, 08:31:39 PM by Ishad Nha »

Offline Nol Drek

  • Dungeon Craft Tester
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2177
    • Nol Drek's Web Site
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2010, 02:38:39 PM »
"Which disk side?" is something that I don't understand. Anybody have any ideas?

Heh. Floppy Disks have 2 sides - Double-Sided Disks, we used to call them.  ;)

During play, you would sometimes have to pop the Disk out and flip it over.

This message is similar to the modern "Please Insert Disk #2" message.
"Into the Drachensgrab Mountains!"

http://www.noldrek.com

Offline Ishad Nha

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 945
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2010, 06:21:56 AM »
SSI seems never to have heard of 3.5" high density disks that have only one side. May give an idea of when the original program was written.

Offline Null Null

  • Maker of excessively difficult vanilla mods
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 567
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2010, 08:49:32 AM »
Yup. In the older games, there were actual separate disks you would load. On the Apple II sides 1 and 2, 3 and 4, etc. were actually on the same disk but you had to flip the floppy disk over. :)

I would actually memorize which dungeons were on which disk. The Slums, Podol Plaza, and the Wealthy Area were on 1. Sokal Keep and Mendor's Library on 2. Phlan and Kovel Mansion were on 3. Valhingen Graveyard and the Cadorna Textile House (I think) on 4. Valjevo Castle was on 5. The Western Wilderness was on 6, the Central Wilderness on 7, and the Eastern Wilderness was on 8.

Curse made a little more sense. 2 had the first part of the game, 3 had Mogion, 4 had Zhentil Keep, 5 had Dracandros, and 6 had Myth Drannor.

Ah, useless knowledge I thought I'd never see again...

Offline Ishad Nha

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 945
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2010, 10:21:13 AM »
Secret of the Silver Blades
Town number occurs at offset 395, but that does not change the walls or events. As there are three different Geo#.dax files, this information must be included, currently I don't know how to do this. Hence I can't examine the last six towns. Offset 485 also seems to record town numbers too. Town coordinates are found at offsets 5,121 and 5,122.
I will need to play the game through until I get to the Geo3 areas. I can't just swap the Geo2 and Geo3 files around, that would require knowledge of what I am actually doing. I tried it and got a loading error just like the one for TSF.
Edit:
Ecl files use the same town numbers as Geo files, from what I can see, there are no spare slots in either SSB or TSF. So they don't have built in playtest mode or it works differently to the mode found in PoD and DQK.

Here is a list of the seventeen town numbers:
16   New Verdigris
32   Old Verdigris Ruins
33   Well of Knowledge
34   Black Circle Headquarters
48   The Mines 1
49   The Mines 2
50   Temple of Tyr
64   Dungeon Levels 10-7
65   Dungeon Levels 6-3
66   Dungeon Levels 2-1
68   Drider Base
80   Crevasses 1
81   Frost Giant Village
82   Crevasses 2
96   Castle Entrance
97   Middle Level of the Castle
98   Dreadlord's Sanctum
« Last Edit: July 07, 2010, 11:11:01 PM by Ishad Nha »

Offline Ishad Nha

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 945
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2010, 03:47:07 AM »
For people who don't like hex editing I have included two save files which start playtester mode when they are loaded. Pools of Darkness seems to have no ability to load a new save game once you start play, short of the party all being killed. You can return to the desktop, to load a new save game and try another Ecl number, by pressing Ctrl + C or Ctrl + 2.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2010, 03:51:16 AM by Ishad Nha »

Offline manikus

  • Skriptor
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9836
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2010, 04:42:33 PM »
I just wanted to let you know that I've tried the tester mode on PoD. :) I didn't try your save, Ishad, instead opting to hack one of my own saves. It worked great.

I think that folks already explained the disk number bit a little further up, but I just wanted to add, that in most cases I've tried, it doesn't matter what is entered, as when you put in a wrong number, it corrects it in the on-screen print out.

I'm most interested in being able to "test" Secret of the Silver Blades. But, I'm going to try and visit all the sections in PoD first and convert as much art as possible for use in DC. :)

Offline Ishad Nha

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 945
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2010, 09:42:57 PM »
So far I have only found Playtester mode for DQK and PoD. I decrypted all SSB maps and did not find any odd towns that seemed unused.

Offline manikus

  • Skriptor
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9836
Re: Official SSI Playtester Mode
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2010, 04:13:55 PM »
Using your notes from elsewhere about changing towns in the save file will suffice quite nicely. :) I already know the format for the saved character files, so it is not too hard to create a "Super Testing Party" that can walk around everywhere so I can capture the art.