Space Chase

This is where you can post your Commander Keen related stories, artwork, or other stuff that is related to Commander Keen but otherwise doesn't belong in another forum.
User avatar
K1n9_Duk3
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:30
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Space Chase

Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Fri Nov 10, 2017 0:36

Yes, you can find the strings "Fastgraph V3.00" and "Fastgraph/Fonts V1.00" in the STORM1.EXE (version 4.00), which suggests a licensed library.

Trivia:
  • Pickle Wars, the game that Karen Crowther wrote after Word Rescue and Math Rescue, appears to use a similar library. I found the strings "Fastgraph/Image V2.00", "Fastgraph/Fonts V2.00" and "Fastgraph V4.00" in PW1.EXE.
  • Word Rescue and Math Rescue use the "PCX Programmer's Toolkit 5.00" along with something called "GX Kernel 2.00". Both libraries were created by Genus Microprogramming.
Hail to the K1n9, baby!
http://k1n9duk3.shikadi.net

Calvero
Vortininja
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 15:31

Re: Space Chase

Post by Calvero » Sat Nov 11, 2017 23:52

K1n9_Duk3 wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:06
The file STORM.SSZ (inside STORM1.SSP) stores the PC speaker sound effects in the same format as used by Keen 1-3 and Duke Nukem 1. :o
How is this possible? All the other games that use this file format are related to id Software/Softdisk/Apogee. Was this game going to be released by Apogee and did Scott Miller gave them the PC speaker code?

User avatar
K1n9_Duk3
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:30
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Space Chase

Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Sun Nov 12, 2017 21:49

First of all, I don't think Scott Miller had anything to do with this format. The oldest games that used this format (at least the oldest ones I know of) are the PC ports of Catacomb and Dangerous Dave. These were created when John Carmack and John Romero were still working for Softdisk, long before they decided to leave and start their own company. These two games were published on a free sampler disk for Softdisk's upcoming monthly game disk called "Gamer's Edge". I'll get back to this in a bit.

Back in 2014, a company called Flatrock Software (which appeared to own the rights to most Softdisk titles, at least at that time) released the full source code for all the Catacomb games and Hovertank. The source code for Catacomb II and Hovertank are the most important ones here, since they use the same sound format and also contain a C header file with a list of names for all the sounds that are used in the game. These header files also contain some sort of signature, probably placed there by the program that was used to edit the sound effects and create the header file. The signature looks like this:

Code: Select all

//
// Sound Editor v?.?? by Lane Roath
//
(The version number varies.)

Now you might ask: "Who is Lane Roath?" Well, according to the INFO.TXT file on the Gamer's Edge sampler, he was Editor at Gamer's Edge. He had also teamed up with John Romero before, under the name "Ideas From The Deep", but that's another story.

So this sound format wasn't designed by Carmack or Romero (nor Scott Miller or anybody else at Apogee). I can't say for sure how or why the creators of Space Chase ended up using the format, but I have a theory:

I remember John Romero talking about how he developed some smaller code libraries for graphics and other things that might help other programmers make their own games. These were published by Softdisk, along with some sample code that demonstrates how to use the code library. One of that sample programs was the original Dangerous Dave (Apple version, I think). Based on that info, I guess that Lane Roath did something similar with his sound editor. If that program was published by Softdisk, then anybody who bought the disk could have used this format in their game.

Edit:
K1n9_Duk3 wrote:
Fri Oct 27, 2017 21:08
It doesn't do any smooth scrolling
Turns out I was wrong about this. :confused The game is in fact able to do smooth scrolling, but I've only seen that happen while standing on one of the moving platforms. It's weird to see a game that is technically capable of performing smooth scrolling, but the programmers decided not to use that feature for 90% of the game.
Hail to the K1n9, baby!
http://k1n9duk3.shikadi.net

Calvero
Vortininja
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 15:31

Re: Space Chase

Post by Calvero » Sun Nov 19, 2017 17:03

I was thinking about Scott Miller, because Karen Chun said:
Yeah. Scott Miller had an awesome tool for generating PC speaker sound effects.
source: ADG Episode 211 - Pickle Wars (Revised)

But Lane Roath or Lane Roathe is another good guess. On an old website he takes credits for Speaker Sound Editor and Speaker & Adlib sound drivers.

User avatar
K1n9_Duk3
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:30
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Space Chase

Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 23:23

I have an awesome tool for playing music on my PC. But that doesn't mean I wrote that program. 8)

This is actually the first time I've seen the spelling "Roathe". I have no idea which one is correct. You'd think that, as editor, he would have been able to get his name spelled correctly on the Gamer's Edge sampler disk. Not to mention his own program (assuming the files I found were generated by his sound editor in the first place).
Hail to the K1n9, baby!
http://k1n9duk3.shikadi.net

User avatar
Levellass
S-Triazine
Posts: 5261
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:40

Re: Space Chase

Post by Levellass » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:26

I think taking this game apart has been more fun than the actual game itself.

Does it have a moddingwiki page? We can now extract\edit a large part of the game now.

Malvineous wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2017 23:31
As a side note, I have often wondered what it would be like to go back now and write a DOS game to run on early 90s hardware, but using all the things we have learned since - hardware tricks, more efficient compression, and other optimisations. I wonder how favourably it would compare to the original games from back then...
It would floor everyone. Just look at what WE have done with graphics. If Xky's Keen 3 came out when Keen 1 was cutting edge, with its incredible graphics (And light use of patches) can you imagine how mindblowing it would have looked? Dead in the Desert? Atroxian Realm? The originals were stumbling in the dark, with a generation of experience we'd be unstoppable.
What you really need, not what you think you ought to want.

User avatar
K1n9_Duk3
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:30
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Space Chase

Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 21:26

Levellass wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:26
Does it have a moddingwiki page?
Yes.
Hail to the K1n9, baby!
http://k1n9duk3.shikadi.net

User avatar
Levellass
S-Triazine
Posts: 5261
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:40

Re: Space Chase

Post by Levellass » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:17

Looking good, looking good. I'm almost tempted to whack up an editor. I think Keenwave works with the sounds.
What you really need, not what you think you ought to want.

Calvero
Vortininja
Posts: 86
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 15:31

Re: Space Chase

Post by Calvero » Fri Nov 24, 2017 21:07

K1n9_Duk3 wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 23:23
I have an awesome tool for playing music on my PC. But that doesn't mean I wrote that program. 8)
I didn't say Scott Miller created the PC speaker sound effects file format. I said he might have given the tools to the creators of Space Chase, like he gave the tools to Karen Chun:
Jason: How did you eventually end up working with Apogee?

Karen: Scott and I were talking because I was a big fan. I sent him Word Rescue and he gave me tools for sound effects (again – before sound boards).
source 1 More Castle

User avatar
K1n9_Duk3
Vorticon Elite
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 9:30
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: Space Chase

Post by K1n9_Duk3 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 22:01

Levellass wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:17
I'm almost tempted to whack up an editor.
Same here. But after finding out about the different archive formats, I'm not sure if I even want to try figuring out how the level and graphics format work if I would have to check every single version of the game just in case they use are different versions of these formats as well.
Calvero wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 21:07
I said he might have given the tools to the creators of Space Chase
Yes, he might. But I think that, after all the legal issues around Trek Trivia, Next Gen Trivia and Jumpman Lives!, Scott should have learned his lesson and not sell/give away stuff without permission. Maybe the editor and playback code were "open source" to begin with. Maybe Scott was granted permission by Softdisk or id Software (assuming id Software was allowed to "sub-license" it). Maybe nobody cared about the old sound stuff anymore after id Software introduced the AudioT format and handed the source code over to Softdisk (along with Keen Dreams, Rescue Rover 2 and Catacomb 3D). I don't know.

What I do know is that Duke Nukem 1 seems to have been the first Apogee game that this format but was not created by id Software. And it's credits screen says "special thaks to: id software".
Hail to the K1n9, baby!
http://k1n9duk3.shikadi.net

Post Reply