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rrcoder

Wow People! I Am Both Stunned And Impressed!

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rrcoder

To be honest, it would have taken me forever to figure out the format of the NERP bytecodes if you hadn't shipped the .nrM/.nrn files with the game.

That was simply a fortunate error on my part. We had no idea the wad would ever be unpacked, let alone an entire modding community would spring up and do wonderous things with LRR, so with hindsight I'm glad that we simply packaged up our entire working directory.

The current compiler is a horrible hack, all it does is serialize the instruction stream, tokenize it and write the bytecode. Second pass to fix up the labels used by gotos. Working on a proper compiler but as you can probably understand I have some problems creating a structured syntax definition :)

It may surprise you to learn, but your compiler is actually better than what I had to work with originally. Our compiler had zero error checking, and it would simply crash if a syntax/spelling error was found (i.e. if it encountered an invalid symbol). To find errors in scripts I had to run the compiler through the debugger to see what line it was parsing when it crashed.

Your compiler, along with the couple of GUIs that have been created for it, are far far better than our original compiler, and that is no exaggeration.

It can compile .nrn as well, as long as you pass the code through a C pre-processor and have a nerpdef.h file present in addition to the nerpfuncs.h. I'm guessing the nerpdef.h was autogenerated from the game source itself.

If it doesn't like the input, it'll barf loudly and throw a python exception in your face. Will be fixed with the new compiler when I manage to get it done.

That is exactly what I did at the time too. I simply had a batch file that passed the file through the C pre-processor, and then through the nerps compiler. Nerpdef.h was actually lovingly crafted manually by yours truly, so no autogeneration there either.

I'm guessing the script gets called once per game tick, with timers updated beforehand.

Are registers preserved between calls?

Is there any useful way of debugging the scripts, or was that #ifdef:ed out for shipping?

Yep, once per tick is correct. The timers were simply calculated once per frame too, by adding the time difference between frames. Nothing too complicated.

The registers are all preserved between frames, however some/most were reserved for particular internal uses (I think I left a comment somewhere to that effect).

Unfortunately, we had no facility for debugging scripts other than placing breakpoints inside the functions that could be called from the scripts themselves. The entire system was built up out of necessity, nothing was really planned, so no time was spent improving the experience for the person designated to build the scripts (mostly me).

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Amauros

Well, it only works on Windows 7, something the L.M.S. Explorer doesn't have.

What are you talking about?

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Tracker

No, the Explorer has the wrong os.

So, it says its not configured correctly,

but, it works on the win7 comp.

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Kohuded

Karl, I'll have to complicate you and your team for the game.

It's my favorite game, ever and it's the last game my father ever played, but a some questions:

Who did the sound effects and music? Because, it's brilliant.

Why was there never an ingame save function? It was a horrible leak at the 2nd last mission.

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TheDoctor

OH YEAH THE MUSIC. I had forgot about that. It really is a great batch of work. A while back we had found one of the tracks had some metadata that made some programs call it "Wiggle Bugs". What's up with that?

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aLPHA

Poor guy, we are just flooding him with questions. Let him have some time to adjust!

I'm aLPHA, I also go by H2, as my previous name was Hydrogen (It somehow still sticks to me).

I have been into modding this game for a short while, but have fallen into the love of the C64 system, lately. I have uncovered what I think is the secret to mobile buildings, as mobile teleports were a real vehicle/building. Would you by any chance know how these improbable things worked? I got them to work by editing the level files so that a building becomes mounted to a micro small transport truck. It works like how it was intended (or does it?).

Here is my discovery. Turns out the tool store in the retial game, was actually supposed to be the mobile teleport! Video here:

Thank you for your time, and I hope you can answer our questions.

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rrcoder

Karl, I'll have to complicate you and your team for the game.

It's my favorite game, ever and it's the last game my father ever played, but a some questions:

Thanks for the compliment! I'm really glad that this game brought yourself any many others so much enjoyment. It is very rare I get the opportunity to hear people's thoughts on games I have worked on (particularly so long after I worked on it), so it is quite special for me to see comments like this.

Who did the sound effects and music? Because, it's brilliant.

OH YEAH THE MUSIC. I had forgot about that. It really is a great batch of work. A while back we had found one of the tracks had some metadata that made some programs call it "Wiggle Bugs". What's up with that?

All of the sound effects (in game, and video) and some of the music was created by John Saull. He was our sound engineer and video edit guru. Some other music tracks were provided by someone at LEGO using a number of effects and sounds created by John.

I have no idea whatsoever about the metadata you mentioned. That is a new one on me! :?:

Why was there never an ingame save function? It was a horrible leak at the 2nd last mission.

I couldn't really say why there was never an in-game save function, however this was typical of strategy games of the time (think of Command & Conquer, Civilization, et al). It would certainly have been a big undertaking to save the state, position, and history of every mini-figure, vehicle, building and map-block. That said, it wouldn't have been impossible, as most games these days provide such functionality.

I have been into modding this game for a short while, but have fallen into the love of the C64 system, lately. I have uncovered what I think is the secret to mobile buildings, as mobile teleports were a real vehicle/building. Would you by any chance know how these improbable things worked? I got them to work by editing the level files so that a building becomes mounted to a micro small transport truck. It works like how it was intended (or does it?).

Here is my discovery. Turns out the tool store in the retial game, was actually supposed to be the mobile teleport! Video here:

The toolstation was originally intended as a 'mobile teleport platform', however I personally never once saw it moving around like it does in that video. It was decided early on that we required a 'basic' building to house the tools, that wouldn't require dependencies, so that functionality was merged with the teleport platform. I guess the functionality you managed to uncover was probably put in place, but disabled immediately, since that functionality was never in any of the builds.

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Amauros

I have been into modding this game for a short while, but have fallen into the love of the C64 system, lately. I have uncovered what I think is the secret to mobile buildings, as mobile teleports were a real vehicle/building. Would you by any chance know how these improbable things worked? I got them to work by editing the level files so that a building becomes mounted to a micro small transport truck. It works like how it was intended (or does it?).

Here is my discovery. Turns out the tool store in the retial game, was actually supposed to be the mobile teleport! Video here:

The toolstation was originally intended as a 'mobile teleport platform', however I personally never once saw it moving around like it does in that video. It was decided early on that we required a 'basic' building to house the tools, that wouldn't require dependencies, so that functionality was merged with the teleport platform. I guess the functionality you managed to uncover was probably put in place, but disabled immediately, since that functionality was never in any of the builds.

Well as he said, he cheated a little bit as mobile buildings are in fact disabled. The toolstore moves like it does because it is mounted to a vehicle. We can actually mount energy crystals to vehicles and they will drive around with vehicle AI and everything. However, RR's will pick up those energy crystals and carry them and the vehicle to the power station and throw them in. From what I understand, a massive implosion occurs and LRR dies.

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rrcoder

Well as he said, he cheated a little bit. The toolstore moves like it does because it is mounted to a vehicle. We can actually mount energy crystals to vehicles and they will drive around with vehicle AI and everything. However, RR's will pick up those energy crystals and carry them and the vehicle to the power station and throw them in. From what I understand, a massive implosion occurs and LRR dies.

Ah, I see. I clearly misunderstood. I thought he'd managed to enable an existing (but buried) feature of the toolstation that I was totally unaware of. That makes more sense.

I believe the name 'mobile teleport pad' didn't refer to it moving around, just 'mobile' in the sense that it can be beamed down to a planet when required ;)

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Addictgamer

Since you love seeing people love your games, I'll tell you a little something.

Most of my life is built upon Rock Raiders. It dominated my childhood, it dominates my teen years.

I learned to program because I wanted to see a "Rock Raiders 2". Actually, I learned to program because I love computers and am amazed endlessly by them. But Rock Raiders 2 is also a huge factor.

For a period of about 2-3 years, almost every dream I dream't was Rock Raiders based. I even dream't realistic dreams of pulling "Lego Rock Raiders 2" out of my cabinet of games. Sadly, I rarely get Rock Raiders dreams nowadays :'(

That's how much I love Rock Raiders!

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aLPHA

Another way that I thought mobile was that it could be picked up with a tunnel transport and carried somewhere. This does not work, as when it is mounted to the STT, it cannot get into a transport without causing a major explosion of objects. Wheel nulls fly, and the game crashes. You explanation of mobile was another one of my thinking, but an actual moving platform is alot more fun than just one that can be beamed anywhere! I have managed to actually get a raider to mount a building, but with some extreme difficulty. The building must have a mount null, and it must be teleported down onto a raider. After that, immediately command him to mount the "building" and he does. I had some photos somewhere demonstrating this.

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Cirevam

Buildings are iffy... one thing I haven't figured out is the code used for their foundation power paths. The Large Teleport Pad has the following:

	Shape				0,-1:1,0:1,0:1,-1:1,-1

but I want it to extend out the back. Do you remember how this works?

Another question I have concerns lasers, both hand-held and the mining lasers. While we want to be able to fire the laser, pusher, and freezer beams when controlling a raider in first or second-person and realize it may never happen, I noticed in some of the various mining laser scenes that there are camera nulls in a few of them. As we know, camera nulls are typically used for things that can be controlled by the player in first or second-person view. Why was the mouse-based Tracker system used instead of a vehicle-like control which was probably planned? Also, do you know if there were any plans for those lasers to have AI to fire upon monsters automatically? I'd really like to be able to revive this, especially if it's as simple as using aLPHA's raider-mounting-building method.

And what's with the two-laser limit per vehicle/building? I want to have my tanks bristling, sir.

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Tracker

Where did the music come from?

And you should make a "hat falls off, put hat back on" animation.

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Cirevam

That music is from Urban Assault, which is the disk I have in my CD drive most of the time. I play LRR diskless so I can put another CD in my computer and play different music in-game.

Hey, that's another question for Karl. Did you know about the diskless EXE that came with some copies of LRR?

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Tracker

What a about making the hat fall on the ground and then have the raider pick it back up and put it back on?

And while I was always able to go disk-less, I never knew I could have a music playing from the drive.

How can I get the original game music? The Masterpiece version does not have it. I think the stuff for the manual replaced it, so can someone make a patch? (Preferably one that will make it work as intended. I also need help getting the brightness adjustment to work. Baz's Mod screwed it up.)

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Amauros

1 so can someone make a patch? (Preferably one that will make it work as intended.

2 I also need help getting the brightness adjustment to work. Baz's Mod screwed it up.)

1, you should have the sound files on your cd, so why don't you try playing with the disc instead of discless. It is possible to patch so you don't need the disc, but as far as I know, no one has bothered to go to the trouble (except maybe addict) of telling the cfg to look for the music on the computer rather than the cd.

-in the case that you actually do not have any music files at all, we can provide you with a patch... but I highly doubt you don't have the files

2, Baz probably disabled it. To fix it you need to compare his cfg with an original and replace baz's code with the original. There are two places to check, in the original, it would be around lines 356 "Menu2" and 570 "OptionsMenu"; Baz's should be somewhere near those lines too. Look at Item4 in both entries.

-------------------

Also, stop posting stuff like this here. If you have a problem with a mod, ask questions in the Modding Discussion and Help forum. If you want Cirevam to make an animation of his RR's taking their hats off, ask in his Time Raiders thread in the WIP Overhauls section, not here.

If you have a greeting for Karl or a question about LRR's developement, that's fine, just don't ask questions that dozens of other people on the forum might be able to answer.

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aLPHA

This is not discuss questions about your problems, this is ask questions to the RR development guy!

Another question I have, is if you have any information on the beta of the game. I have found some very interesting screenshots of the beta, and they are here somewhere. If you do know anything about the beta, or its whereabouts, we would all like to know.

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Matt

Welcome! As with everyone else here, I'm amazed and delighted that an original developer has stumbled upon us. Out of the games of my childhood, Rock Raiders is the one that sticks out at me, and I remember spending hour after hour at the computer, playing away at the levels. The fact that people are still discussing the game, and trying to improve it, this many years on, really is testament to the awesome game you created.

I notice that a lot of the questions have been directed at modding and the underlying components of the game, so I'll ask you some questions more directed at the gameplay and the levels, seeing as you actually made them :P.

  • The first is regarding the last two levels of 'Back to Basics' and 'Rocky Horror'. For most players (myself included), Back to Basics was the hardest level in the game, and being the only time that Slimy Slugs were a major threat. However, once players completed Back to Basics, they were expecting an even harder, epic finale, but were slightly disappointed at how easy Rock Horror was. Do you have any comment on this? Did you think that Rocky Horror was hard enough as a finale level/Back to Basics should have been easier? I'm hoping you can remember enough about those levels to answer me here ;).

  • Secondly, how did the idea of the mission unlock system come about? (i.e. the way that you need to complete the levels on the left to progress further, and you can actually finish the game without doing half the levels, by just doing the missions on the left). Did it seem too hard to have to complete all of them?

  • Regarding the slugs, was it planned to make them a bigger part of the game? As I mentioned before, Back to Basics is the only level where they are a threat. A couple of other levels (Rock Hard? and something else I think) have slimy slug holes in them, but slugs either don't emerge, or go back in their holes immediately after they surface. Did you mean to have them in more of the levels and do more than just emerge and submerge? Slugs are a good element of the theme and the game, but for me, they seemed a bit redundant and forgotten about for most of the game.

  • Finally, it's not really regarding the gameplay/levels, but are you still in touch/work with your fellow Rock Raider developers? It would be nice to let them know that people still appreciate their efforts ;).

Hmm, I have a habit of creating long-ish posts, and this one seems no exception, so I hope you don't mind. Take your time and answer the questions when you want.

~Matt

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sciguy

Wow, how did I not see/hear about this?? Curse the busy fulltime college student plus part time worker lifestyle. I am in awe. So cool to have one of the developers here :af: unfortunately my CFG editor has kinda stalled. with so little time plus the length of time it takes to boot into windows, so i switched to ubuntu. Ill have to get back to that! But maybe Ill wait until all the possible mods have been discovered. At any length, WELCOME!!

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Amauros

This time, I don't have a question. I just want to say that of all the games I still play, this one is by far the oldest. The reason being that I love the mechanics (well... for the most part, I am a modder ;) ) and the idea of manipulating a map through gameplay. To this day, I've not seen a single game that uses this kind of theme or gameplay (although I haven't played powerminers... but I hear that it's awful so I'm in no hurry to give it a go lol).

It's also my belief that any good game will eventually be remade because that to me is a good business plan (the Zelda series is probably the best example). I've always hoped that LRR would be remade professionally someday... 1 because I'd love to play an uptodate version, 2 I'd love to mod an uptodate version lol

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rrcoder

For a period of about 2-3 years, almost every dream I dream't was Rock Raiders based. I even dream't realistic dreams of pulling "Lego Rock Raiders 2" out of my cabinet of games. Sadly, I rarely get Rock Raiders dreams nowadays :'(

If I'm completely honest, I have to say I had a few rock raider dreams myself during development. After spending weeks designing the maps, and then walking through them all in first person to check for problems with the height-map, lighting, etc, I had a number of dreams where I found myself walking around bizarre caverns.

...an actual moving platform is alot more fun than just one that can be beamed anywhere!

I think you just found a new feature for ORR :lol:

Buildings are iffy... one thing I haven't figured out is the code used for their foundation power paths. The Large Teleport Pad has the following:

	Shape				0,-1:1,0:1,0:1,-1:1,-1

but I want it to extend out the back. Do you remember how this works?

Not offhand. Once we got these values working from the config, we pretty much handed it over to the artists to design and shape the buildings. I'll take a look when I get a spare few minutes and see if I can figure out/remember what the values were.

Another question I have concerns lasers, both hand-held and the mining lasers. While we want to be able to fire the laser, pusher, and freezer beams when controlling a raider in first or second-person and realize it may never happen, I noticed in some of the various mining laser scenes that there are camera nulls in a few of them. As we know, camera nulls are typically used for things that can be controlled by the player in first or second-person view. Why was the mouse-based Tracker system used instead of a vehicle-like control which was probably planned? Also, do you know if there were any plans for those lasers to have AI to fire upon monsters automatically? I'd really like to be able to revive this, especially if it's as simple as using aLPHA's raider-mounting-building method.

And what's with the two-laser limit per vehicle/building? I want to have my tanks bristling, sir.

The first/second-person views were primarily for moving around from A to B, and for looking around your base, so the functionality is pretty much locked down in the code. The strategic elements of the game were designed for use primarily with the mouse, since it was designed foremost a top-down strategy game.

With regards to the lasers, I'm not too sure why the limitation exists. The original design document probably only called for up to 2 lasers, and the code would have been written with that in mind, unfortunately allowing no flexibility.

Hey, that's another question for Karl. Did you know about the diskless EXE that came with some copies of LRR?

I'm not sure I know about this. Do you mean that in some retail copies the disk isn't required? I do remember that LEGO themselves built the installer, and (I think) placed a copy protection layer around the executable, so perhaps they dropped the protection in later manufacturing runs (i.e. the non-boxed version).

Another question I have, is if you have any information on the beta of the game. I have found some very interesting screenshots of the beta, and they are here somewhere. If you do know anything about the beta, or its whereabouts, we would all like to know.

The beta version was mostly a 'smoke and mirrors' build showing what the final game could look like. In earlier builds, the interface displayed dummy buttons/icons that didn't do anything other than make it look pretty. As new features were added in, these dummy items were redesigned/replaced with what we are all now familiar with.

In a similar way, the earlier builds were totally unoptimized, so used higher-poly meshes for just about everything. It wouldn't have run very well on the PCs of the time, so later builds had meshes and textures swapped out for optimized versions.

---

(I'm not allowed more than 6 quotes per post, so I'll bullet-point the remaining questions...)

@Matt

  • The first is regarding the last two levels of 'Back to Basics' and 'Rocky Horror'. For most players (myself included), Back to Basics was the hardest level in the game, and being the only time that Slimy Slugs were a major threat. However, once players completed Back to Basics, they were expecting an even harder, epic finale, but were slightly disappointed at how easy Rock Horror was. Do you have any comment on this? Did you think that Rocky Horror was hard enough as a finale level/Back to Basics should have been easier? I'm hoping you can remember enough about those levels to answer me here ;).

The final level was a tricky one... It needed to be an 'epic finale', but also needed to tie in with the final animation (i.e. they discover the crystals and go home). Originally it was filled to the brim with emerging monsters, and your base would quickly become overrun. It was scaled back for 2 reasons... First, it was considered *too* difficult for the target age group. Secondly, considering the average hardware of the time, the sheer number of enemies on-screen quickly brought the game to its knees (i.e. it became an unplayable slideshow). It even ran slowly on my development PC at the time, so something needed to be done. The axe of optimization was brought swiftly down.

  • Secondly, how did the idea of the mission unlock system come about? (i.e. the way that you need to complete the levels on the left to progress further, and you can actually finish the game without doing half the levels, by just doing the missions on the left). Did it seem too hard to have to complete all of them?

One of the early principles of the game was to make it quite open-ended, and allow the player to make their own choices about completing levels. This is one of the reasons why you can spend hours on a level simply exploring. The unlock system allowed the player to choose their own route through the caverns to arrive at the final level.

  • Regarding the slugs, was it planned to make them a bigger part of the game? As I mentioned before, Back to Basics is the only level where they are a threat. A couple of other levels (Rock Hard? and something else I think) have slimy slug holes in them, but slugs either don't emerge, or go back in their holes immediately after they surface. Did you mean to have them in more of the levels and do more than just emerge and submerge? Slugs are a good element of the theme and the game, but for me, they seemed a bit redundant and forgotten about for most of the game.

The slugs were still being added in while I was designing the levels, so they weren't really 'ready for use' until I was working on the later levels. I would have liked to go back and add them into earlier levels if time had permitted.

  • Finally, it's not really regarding the gameplay/levels, but are you still in touch/work with your fellow Rock Raider developers? It would be nice to let them know that people still appreciate their efforts ;).

Unfortunately not (mostly). We have all parted ways over the years, and moved on to various different companies. That said, with the game industry, it is very likely that I'll bump into one or two of them at trade shows, or when dealing with other companies (that they now work for), so I will certainly pass on the word if the opportunity arises.

@sciguy

  • unfortunately my CFG editor has kinda stalled.

If it makes you feel any better, my CFG editor was notepad ;P

@Amauros

  • It's also my belief that any good game will eventually be remade because that to me is a good business plan (the Zelda series is probably the best example). I've always hoped that LRR would be remade professionally someday... 1 because I'd love to play an uptodate version, 2 I'd love to mod an uptodate version lol

Never say never. If we ever have any dealings with LEGO again in the future, I'll most certainly mention the awesome community that has been built up here, and the comments that you guys have made about Rock Raiders.

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