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(Help Wanted) Darkstone: Evil Reigns Master Thread (Help, Patching and Modding)

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by Poseidon, Jun 9, 2020.

  1. Poseidon Educated

    Poseidon
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Messages:
    63
    Greetings all,

    I've recently started playing Darkstone (technically for the second time, but only now "properly") and I'm quite enjoying it. I've seen it mentioned in passing on here several times as an obscure game and I figured I try and promote some interest in it. Why the Workshop? Well, this would be the second time I do something like this and it was quite successful (maybe not wildly popular, but successful) last time I did this with the Spells of Gold thread, so I'm hoping I can do it once again with this game. I'm not a modder of any kind myself, but I have been involved in a few projects (Diablo: The Hell 1 & 2, the Spells of Gold mod, a variety of My Time at Portia mods), primarily as a tester, finding bugs, giving feedback and even doing some community management. In any case, here goes!

    FAQ:

    Q: What is Darkstone?
    A: Darkstone: Evil reigns is sometimes referred to as the first 3D action RPG or the first 3D Diablo clone (NOX wasn't 3D). Released in 1999 by the French developer Delphine Studios (most notably known for... Shaq Fu... yes... I know...). The game was released on PC and ported to PSX (where most people seem to have played it surprisingly). In 2014 it was also ported to iOS and Android, but I can't find it on the Play store so maybe that's gone now too...

    Q: How do I get the game?
    A: Well, as always, there's the good old physical copy, but luckily the 2014 mobile port was done by a French Publisher (Anuman Interactive) who then put the original on both Steam (https://store.steampowered.com/app/320320/Darkstone/) and GoG (https://www.gog.com/game/darkstone?pp=cb4e5208b4cd87268b208e49452ed6e89a68e0b8). I personally recommend the GoG version, as I had some trouble with the Steam one.

    Q: What version of the game is available?
    A: Both digital releases of the game are patched to the latest version of 1.05b and include the additional, official quest pack Journey in Uma.

    Q: How do I run the game on modern systems?
    A: Well if you don't mind the Fullscreen 640x480 experience then the game runs fine as far as I know, no tweaks are really necessary.
    - Running it in a window is slightly more problematic, but not impossible there is a -windowed command line argument, but that forces it to a non-resizeable 640x480 window, so it's really tiny. If you want to run it in a scaled/stretched window, then you'll need the usual wrapper help in either DXWND (https://sourceforge.net/projects/dxwnd/) or dgVooDoo (http://www.dege.freeweb.hu/).
    - I highly recommend using the following command line arguments: -nointro -sortbyz -32bit -triplebuffer -antialias.
    In order, they remove the intros for quicker startup, sortbyz solves transparency issue for newer graphic drivers, 32bit is obvious and necessary on modern systems, triplebuffer and antialias help with certain objects flashing and screen tearing. It's amazing to see that the game supported such functions back in 1999...
    - There's an extensive list of command line arguments that could use some testing/explanation here: https://www.gog.com/forum/darkstone...s?pp=cb4e5208b4cd87268b208e49452ed6e89a68e0b8 Some of them are listed in the ReadMe for the game and most of them have to do with multiplayer, but it would still be nice to know details.

    Q: Do any mods or community work exist?
    A: There has been some graphical work done on with various results:
    - Modified .exe files (Hex edited values for Resolution) exist that force the resolution up to 4K, unfortunately, that doesn't do much. It only scales up the gameplay portion of the game, while the UI remains in 640x480, no one bothered to redraw it. So if you enjoy your action RPGs in HD but with UI that only ants can read, then this is for you.
    - Someone actually AI upscaled the textures of the game and I have to say it looks amazing. (https://www.reddit.com/r/GameUpscale/comments/ejx41b/darkstone_gigapixel_textures_pack_4x/) The only problem is, it still uses the aforementioned .exe, but I believe it's only upscaled to 1280x720 so it's not that bad. Also, some of the textures are missing as pointed out in that thread, but so far I've only ran into that issue a single time and it's just a white 3D model without texture, it's not that big of a deal. It doesn't actually break the game. Still, it would be nice for the work to be finished.


    Q: What would I like to see actually being done:
    A: Alright here we go:
    - I don't mind the standard 640x480 resolution, it's part of the retro charm. But if anyone feels up to redrawing the interface for higher resolution, then by all means. I think 1920x1080 and above would be overkill, but at 1280x720 at least would be nice.
    - Diablo-style item highlighting - press Alt, see what's on the ground. Simple. Alternatively, the Detection spell/skill can simply be adjusted to show ALL items rather than just magical ones.
    - Smooth lighting. I don't know if it doesn't exist or if for some reason it doesn't work for me, maybe I need better wrapper settings, I don't know, but I think the game is just too old.
    - Fix the Light spell. The spells that sucks the most, Nightvision is a million times better, but Light can still be utilized if only Smooth Lighting existed and it's range increased much more with each level.
    - Fix the sound. Music and speech for some reason skip and stutter occasionally. No known fix exists.
    - Stash. While you can store items on the ground in town and a bank exists for your gold, a stash would be nice. However, that would require a re-write of how save files work, because creating stash in a new file opens to abuse and defeats the purpose.
    - Increase the gold pile amount. Gold is hugely important in this game and you end up having millions of it, having it in 10000 stacks is ridiculous. 50000 is probably better and won't affect the gameplay all that much.

    That is all I have for now, I might update this post based on my experience, interest and replies. I'm halfway through the game (just started Master (3rd) difficulty, so I'll prolly have more to say about endgame eventually. I'm willing to tip anyone who manages to achieve some of things I'm looking for. I'm not rich or anything but I can appreciate people's efforts and get them the equivalent of a case of beer or something for their work. Thanks in advance.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
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  2. Dysterkvist Novice

    Dysterkvist
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2015
    Messages:
    13
    I loved this game when it came out, and played it regulary at LAN's. I never finished it though. I don't know shit about programming but I can hack some 3D models or make a bigger UI if someone told me where to put the files. So halfassed "I'm in/thumbs up" from me.
     
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  3. Poseidon Educated

    Poseidon
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Messages:
    63
    I take some of what I said back, the AI upscaled textures are AMAZING. So redoing the UI is top priority. I see the new textures get loaded separately so it seems like all the work is done inside the .exe file itself. Anyone that can provide more help as to how the UI is handled, would be greatly appreciated!

    Here are some examples of the problem:
    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
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  4. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2020
    Messages:
    47
    Amazing thread. I play it with dgvoodoo2 so the UI is not so tiny and the AI upscale texture pack works just fine with it. The downside is the double mouse cursor. There was a guy named TriMetall on GOG forum who made some modded items. I asked him about it but no response. And Pilgrim released dsp005QEMod and dsp009QEMod v2.0 for Darkstone back in 2010. I will link his thread. I played Darkstone and even the PSX version to death. All chars level 120.

    Here are some of my changes I would like to see:

    - bigger inventory or inventory tabs

    - Shared stash

    - Gold should be like in the psx version or Diablo 2 and have its own place, so it would not fill the inventory

    - Gold stack size increase to 1mil. At legend difficulty gold drops are around 9000+. The default gold size 10.000 is nothing.

    - Blacksmith should be able to sell enchantments on weapons and armors like Mana Shield, Quick Mana Recovery etc. These enchantments can only be found or be stolen from mobs. For casters Quick Mana Recovery is mandatory. Same goes for Mana Shield in endgame.

    - Blacksmith should be able to sell the 2-Handed Mace with magical affixes. For some reason he only offers a normal 2-Handed Mace without any affixes.

    - Blacksmith should not sell starting gears at higher difficulty.

    - Master Elmeric should be able to sell rings and amulets with enchantments as well.

    - Quest items should be able to sell like in the psx version. You could sell it to Perry.

    - Scrolls, potions and foods should be stackable like in the psx version or more. The stacksize was 9

    - some changes to skills and spells like Lycanthropy to do more damage. The max damage is 72-136 that's too low. Or haste should not cancel berserker. The repair skill should not fail at max level etc. The list goes on and on.

    - changes to the armor durability system. The armors loses durability way too fast.

    - Weapons like throwing axes and Bows should be not reflectable. In higher difficulty alot of mobs have the spell Reflection on it. For range characters it's a nightmare. Reflection should only work on spells not weapons.

    - the two default skins for each character should be selectable like in the psx version.

    - increase the gold reward from NPC quests with higher difficulty

    - Multiplayer games should be able to save for all players not just for the host leader.



    Just some of my thoughts. Maybe I will add some more later on.

    Here is the link:

    https://www.gog.com/forum/darkstone...s?pp=cb4e5208b4cd87268b208e49452ed6e89a68e0b8
     
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  5. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2020
    Messages:
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    Hi Poseidon,
    try dgVoodoo 2 and dont use the Modified.exe. Copy all files from the MS folder/x86 in the Darkstone dir. Change the resolution in the control panel. As I said the downside to this method is the double mouse cursor but after awhile I got use to it. If anyone knows how to prevent the double mouse cursor let us know :)

    Should look like this:
    https://imgur.com/a/woKyGDk
    https://imgur.com/a/deyCLzm
     
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  6. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2020
    Messages:
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    I really hope we can find modder for this game. I will post some of Pilgrims dsp005QEMod later on. He did come nice changes to the Item affixes to be available for Master Elmerics Shop. So it is definitely possible. I did send him an E-mail, how he modified the ITEMOBJECT.DAT in the Darkstone\data but he didn't response at all. Maybe he's not active anymore. Sadly I don't know anything about modding or programming.
     
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  7. Poseidon Educated

    Poseidon
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2016
    Messages:
    63
    Hello Golden-Dragon

    Glad to see someone this enthusiastic about the game.

    - I'm aware of Pilgrim's mod and the items that were added. Unfortunately Pilgrim's website is down and likely gone for good and the guy who added the items gave no link?

    - dgVooDoo is very temperamental and not my first choice. Also it has failed to run the game in a window and maintain the resolution. DxWND is simply necessary to do that. I helped someone else for whom DxWND was not working, so I had to use dgVoodoo's wrappers, but window was still executed by DXWND.

    - The improved textures cannot be used without the modified .exe The code to load them is in it.

    - Someone did reverse engineer the file system of Darkstone http://glampert.com/2015/09-01/reverse-engineering-darkstone/ Unfortunately in their post they expressed no desire to finish the job.

    - I wasn't aware PSX has so many differences. Some of them are quite good and needed, yes.

    - I agree with most your suggestions except for the Reflections spell one. Instead of "nerfing" it like that, you can just add second weapon/shield slot to swap, like in Diablo 2 and have a melee weapon handy. It's not that hard to go into melee with your ranged weapon either. Also you'd never be able to do this awesomeness https://clips.twitch.tv/VibrantVictoriousAlbatrossDxAbomb

    Feel free to find me on Discord to talk more about this.
     
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  8. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2020
    Messages:
    47
    Hi Poseidon,

    - I still have the files from Pilgrim. I can upload it. https://filebin.net/jph2rnv0wrsmutug

    I did run QuickBMS to extract the files from Pilgrim and found out that he just modified two files. One was the ITEMOBJECT.DAT and the second was MONSTERCLASS.DAT.
    I to open it with a word editor and tried to change things like he did but it didn't work.
    All I know is you can extract all the the MTF files with QuickBMS.

    data.mtf= all data files for Darkstone.
    DSP001.MTF= is the first patch.
    DSP004.MTF= is the second patch.
    music.MTF= contains all music files.
    voices0.mtf= contains all voice recording files.

    If anyone knows how to open the ITEMOBJECT.DAT correctly and how to edit it or how to modified the data files and reimport it back, please let me know. I am willing to learn.

    - Yea sadly the guy gave no link. I even sent him a massage but he didn't response. I think he's not active anymore.

    - Yes, I know dgVoodoo2 is not optimal and just a temporarily solution.

    - That's a shame. Reverse-engineering sounds complicate. I wish I could do it myself.

    - The idea about a second weapon slot is awesome. That never crossed my mind -__-''. Shame on me as a long-time Diablo player.
    The thing with Reflection is, if the patches were working correctly we didn't have this trouble. We just could cast forgetfulness on them, but it's not working. Some mobs still have Reflection on them. I tested it many times.

    Going into melee only works with throwing weapons. That would gimp bows. What's the purposes of a bow if you have to swap to a throwing axe or a sword and go into melee?
    The other thing is range characters are squishy and mobs in Legend Mode are faster and they hit like a truck. You can tell when you are in Legend.
    For me it is not about nerfing Reflection, I love this spell, it is even on my spell slot but I can't come up with a better solution.
    I just want to make bows viable and useful for range characters. But that's why this forum here is good. We can gather ideas to improve things. I am open to any suggestions. Like a said the second weapon slot is golden.


    Here is the patch note for 1.05b:

    What is new?
    1. A new Mode: "Legend" (Experience level 60 required)
      • Monsters are faster, stronger
      • Monsters regenerate their life points
      • The boss can see characters in spite of their invisibility
    2. Monsters:
      • Monsters can't cast the reflection spell under the influence of forgetfulness
    3. Characters:
      • Experience level can go up to 120
      • The characters stop getting older when they reach experience level 100.
      • If you cast the forgetfulness spell on your own character, he will no longer be invisible.
    4. Multiplayer:
      • Version 1.0.5 is compatible with versions 1.0.3 & 1.0.4.
      • Monsters have 2 times more life points.

    Btw I'm very glad that you opened this thread. I love this game. You did great. :thumbsup:
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2020
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  9. Ithamar Literate

    Ithamar
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2020
    Messages:
    35
    Hello al!

    I've just registered on this site, so my apologies if I'm breaking any rules with this, I'm new here, please be kind :D

    The last couple of days have been filled to the brim with Darkstone for me, specifically its internals. I played the game (demo) for the first time a week or so ago, and have come addicted to the "I am getting hungry" and "game saved" like I never thought I would!

    Back to the internals, I've been fiddling with the MTF files, the O3D mesh file format, and the CDF room format. I've come to a point where I can draw the basic room layout from my own code, all loaded out of an MTF file (Only the "blocks", e.g. walls, floor, etc, no (dynamic) objects or monsters yet).
    My intent with this was just playing, but seeing where I got so far I'm tempted to continue and implement a fully-functioning Darkstone clone (that uses the data from the demo or a bought version for now). That'll take some time, but if there's enough interest I'll keep posting status updates, and since I'm using Javascript / WebGL at the moment, I can upload my progress publicly, and let you play with what I've got.

    Also, a lot of this information should help any modders of the existing game as well, since next up I'll be figuring out the format of the monsterclass.dat / objectitems.dat as I need them to draw the additional objects in the rooms :D

    Anyway, I was looking on the internet and saw quite a few recent threads of other Darkstone fans, so I thought I'd post at the most recent thread and see how many people are still interested in a modernized (online) Darkstone!
     
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  10. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2020
    Messages:
    47
    Hi Ithamar,

    that's great news.
    I'm very interested in your Project.

    I would love to play a modernized Darkstone with better online functions.
    I played this game to the death but Darkstone didn't age too well. There are a lot of quality of life changes, that would really improve the game.

    Just keep posting all updates and progress here.
    If you figure out how to modify certain files like the objectitems.dat or adding stuffs to the game etc, please share the information.
    That would really help a lot since there is none info out there.
     
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  11. Ithamar Literate

    Ithamar
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2020
    Messages:
    35
    Well, thanks for the encouragement, as a thanks a small sneak peak of where I am at:

    [​IMG]

    hope you like it!

    Ithamar.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2020
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  12. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2020
    Messages:
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    Wow, that looks incredible.
    I can't wait to get my hands on it.
    Just the good work up.
     
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  13. Ithamar Literate

    Ithamar
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2020
    Messages:
    35
    It is still a ways off, some textures are not being rendered (see the white bits) and some blocks are not rotated properly (wooden fences on the right). But I'm quite happy I got this far already, especially that (even with the little brokenness) it renders every CDF room file from both the GOG release and the demo ;)

    I'll setup a GitHub.com repository to share tools with anyone who's interested, I'll start with an MTF file un/repacker, so if there's still someone with modding desires, they can (more) easily do it. Will post here when that's ready to go.

    Regarding the work seen above, I'll probably move that from my current general game-reverse-engineering framework (see the list engines in the right top menu.... ) into its own repository @ GitHub too, and get Github pages publishing to work so whenever I update the repository it is "live" for people to play with.

    For that setup I'll only include the demo MTF files, since those are freely available anyway.

    It will likely take me a week to get this all setup, since my day job takes more time then I would want :P

    Anyway, lets see if all this works as a resurrection spell for the Darkstone Community :D
     
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  14. Ithamar Literate

    Ithamar
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2020
    Messages:
    35
    Sorry to keep on posting today, but I've just released v1 of the Darkstone modding tools. It is currently simply a command line tool for unpacking/repacking MTF files, but more is to come.
    It should work on any platform that supports NodeJS.

    Feel free to post here or file issues at the Github repositories if there are any problems, or even feature requests ;)
     
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  15. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2020
    Messages:
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    Thank you for the Modding tools. I really appreciate it. :)

    I did some testings. The extraction works just fine.

    But I had some issues with creating mtf files.
    The creation of it works. But after copying it in the Darkstone dir, the game won't run at all.
    And I don't know why. Maybe I did something wrong.:cry: Did you have any problems at all?
     
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  16. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2020
    Messages:
    47
    Ok, I just tried to do create a mtf with only two changes to the PCLASS.txt and the WCLASS.txt.
    Now the game runs, but these changes I made in the PCLASS.txt and the WCLASS.txt had no effect at all.

    So creating a big mtf file, then the game won't run.
    And doing the same thing with just two minor changes, had no effect on the game.

    I will try to do more tests and post it here.
     
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  17. Ithamar Literate

    Ithamar
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2020
    Messages:
    35
    How big was the big mtf file that didn't work? Since the mtf tool doesn't support compression on creation of new mtf files, it can get rather big (I saw the MTF of the Darkstone demo get twice as big). Maybe the game has a problem if the mtf file gets above a certain size?

    I'm not sure if those text files actually are read, or if they are used to generate actual binary data files. For example, OBJECT.TXT seems to contain values that are (also) stored in itemobjeicts.dat, MONSTERS.TXT seems to match with monsterclass.dat, etc.

    I'll do some more testing this evening, it was rather late yesterday and I only did a minimal test to see if it worked (extract a created mtf, run the demo with with some modified UI bitmaps).

    Thanks for testing!
     
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  18. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2020
    Messages:
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    I tried to replace the original BANKDATABASE/BITMAP with the Darkstone Gigapixel Textures pack 4x from Ivan89el. The size was about 1,38 gig. Maybe that was overkill.

    For the second test, I simply just change some values in the PCLASS.txt/WCLASS.txt

    For example: You can change the BASE_STRENGTH for classes. The game will read these two files, if you just copy the .txt file in PCLASS dir.
    But after creating a mtf file with changes to the PCLASS.txt, the game did not read it.

    Or I did something wrong. I will do more tests later on.

    Is there a way to extract the Darkstone.exe as well? I just tried to open it with the editor and saw some interesting.
    I will post a screen of it. Maybe it would be possible to change the keybindings or other things.

    Thanks for all the work.:D
    Show Spoiler
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2020
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  19. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
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    So I've done some tests.
    This time I just extracted the DATA.mtf, DSP001.mtf, DSP004.mtf and DSP005QEMOD.mtf (this one is a modified mtf file from Pilgrim way back in 2012 and it works)
    and re-imported the files right back into it with no changes at all.

    Here are the results:

    DATA.mtf: size change from 83,1 mb -> 175 mb. The game did not run.
    DSP001.mtf: size change from 2,50 mb -> 6,28 mb. The game did not run.
    DSP004.mtf: size change from 478 kb -> 1,20 mb. The game did not run.
    DSP005QEMOD.mtf: size did not change. The game did run this time but it did not change anything like it used to.
    So basically it had no affect. Darkstone did not recognize the file.

    I don't know what else to do.
     
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  20. Ithamar Literate

    Ithamar
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2020
    Messages:
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    Thank you for testing. I hope to have some time either this evening or tomorrow during the day to try the same steps myself and see if I can figure out what's going wrong.

    Just for reference, can you tell me what version of Windows you're running, and if it is 32 or 64 bit Windows? Just to compare setups ;)
     
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  21. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2020
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    I had the same issues with QuickBMS. The extraction works fine but re-importing the files did not.
    Here's a section in the QuickBMS doc:

    - Modify the extracted files leaving their size unchanged or smaller
    than before.
    I suggest to delete the files that have not been modified so that the
    reimporting process will be faster and safer. In the folder leave
    only the files you modified.
    Remember that their size must be smaller or equal than the original!

    Maybe it has something to do with the compression.
     
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  22. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
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    I'm running Windows 10 64 bit. I hope this helps.
     
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  23. Ithamar Literate

    Ithamar
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2020
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    Oh man, I should really stop writing code in the middle of the night..... found the issue! I can unpack/repack data.mtf now, and Darkstone will happily run with the newly created file. QuickBMS has some perculiar ways of updating archives, which makes it more picky, in our case you should be able to add any file, as long as the total MTF file size stays somewhat sane.

    You can rerun the "npm install -g @game3dee/darkstone-tools" command to update to the newer version with the fix, and all should be well. there's now also a "mtf list" command to simply view the content of the mtf file.

    Regarding the EXE file, you can't really unpack it, it does not contain more files or so. The text you see is hardcoded in the code of the game. However, there is room to play with that even. If you use an hex editor (I use HxD on Windows, and Hex Fiend on macOS) you can edit those strings. Now, be aware that the text ends with a byte of value 0, marking the end, so the new text can't be longer usually. Make sure to make a backup of the original file, as in some cases you might severely break the game, and you'll need the original to still be able to play ;)

    If you have more specific questions, feel free to drop into Poseidon's Discord, I'm idling there often (saw you have been there too).

    We can keep posting here too, that's fine too, just somethings go quicker interactively ;)
     
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  24. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
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    I just made one giant mtf file and it works like a charm. That's fantastic. Thank you so much. I love it.:P
    This is a huge breakthrough for the Darkstone community. So, so great.

    Do you know how extract or open PSX games as well? Darkstone had a PSX version with some improvement over the PC version (Gold didn't fill the inventory, stacksize of potion etc.)
    Maybe by extracting the PSX version, you may find out, how they implemented all these changes.

    Here's a screen of the PSX inventory: https://imgur.com/a/vuhMBtQ

    I did open the PSX game with IsoBuster and extracted the data1.psm + data2.psm from it.
    But was not able to open nor to extract the .psm file.:(

    It looks like this: https://imgur.com/a/xO40Ras

    Sorry to ask you so many things. I know you have better things to do, but you are the only one capable of coding here.
    Again thank you so much for all the great work. That's so awesome.:D
     
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  25. Golden-Dragon Literate

    Golden-Dragon
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    Messages:
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    Somethings I drop by, to see if there is any Darkstone related stuff in Discord. Sadly there was nothing, not even a Discord channel. :|
    Of course this would change, if there was an active Darkstone community.:salute:
     
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