Friday, May 22, 2009

Foray into Cruise for a Corpse

Hello everyone. It's been a while since my last blog posting.. I really should get into a better habit of posting updates more often.

Having largely finished adding Discworld 2 support to the ScummVM Tinsel engine some months ago, rather than immediately returning to work on MADS, or some other project, I decided to take a detour and work on the existing 'Cruise' engine, which plays the game 'Cruise for a Corpse'. This was an existing incomplete engine in the ScummVM SVN, which had been languishing for a while without any significant progress being done.

Having been working on it since late February, it's now in a somewhat cleaner and more stable state than it was previously. A lot of bugs have been fixed, and I've also done a lot of cleanup of the code as well, such as giving structure variables more proper names, fixing up variable types, etc.

I'd originally hoped to have reached a milestone of having played the game all the way through to the end before I made this blog posting, but my debugging practices almost demand that I fix these bugs before carrying on with the game.. those remaining bugs tend to be annoying buggers.. I'm currently grappling with two really nasty ones:
* I've got an animation of a moving handle in the engine room that is drawn incorrectly for only two of it's frames.. it could be a problem with the transparency mask for the image, but all fixes I've tried so far screw up the decoding/display of every other image in the game.
* There's a bug in the path-finding code code that's particularly noticeable in the area below the top deck, in that you can walk through walls directly from one exit to another.

I was really on a roll up until I discovered those bugs.. I had reached the 1:30pm segment (the game is divided into time segments that only advance once you've done certain actions) and had fixed several crashing bugs, and was hoping the end of the game was in sight. Now it will have to wait until I've fixed these bugs.

I'm hoping to get Cruise to a nicely completable stage soon. The only other major remaining area in the game after that, apart from some minor ones like getting the game speed exactly the same as the original, will be the sound support. I was given a suggestion that I might be able to copy and paste the code from the previous version of the engine (cine), but whilst the formats seem similar, and I was able to get some sound playing in my experiments, the sounds played are incorrect.

As I've always been on record as saying, music handling is my least favourite area to work in. I may try some further experiments to get it working, and if i still have trouble, I may simply drop it completely, and leave it to anyone else who might be interested in taking it up in the future. At least they'll have a more solid game base to add onto.

On a final note, my holidays for this year were severely delayed, so I'm still looking forward to a month's holiday at some point. I anticipate some productive time spent happily disassembling and implementing games for ScummVM. :)

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