Metropolis Street Racer in-game Browser

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Roareye
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Re: Metropolis Street Racer in-game Browser

Post#31 » Mon May 07, 2018 8:12 pm

rjay63 wrote:Looking good! Nice work..

Thank you ^_^
And can I just say you have been absolutely brilliant in giving me any and all remaining info to help me recreate this site as faithfully as possible considering how much was missing.

The "Win A Car" picture was probably an animated link that said "Win Your Dream Car On Dreamarena". That was a competition they had when the game was launched.

That seems to add up. The Win a Car text in the preview image seems to be showing the button in motion. I rebuilt it as a placeholder, the likelihood is that it'll be a space used to promote other DC online services such as Dreampipe, or maybe your blog for those who want more MSR info. It's easily swapped out when the time comes.

Those magazine screenshots were taken at a time when not all options were working. The Speed Challenge option was open soon after launch but the Kudos Ranking didn't appear for another two months. Here's a post from 2001 from the old Usenet archive on Google Groups: https://bit.ly/2rqmHlz

Worth noting. Someone is looking into reverse engineering the MSR upload files so we can get these active, however there's no timeframe on those currently. It's interesting to see how little of the site ended up functional after 3 months of release. My guess is the team was too busy fixing the bugs that the first two PAL releases wound up with.

I think the World Time Trials was eventually opened but I'm still not sure the New Time Trial board was ever finished. By this time, people had figured out how to hack the VMU and change their scores/times to whatever they liked. Another Usenet post from the same time period: https://bit.ly/2wg03B8

As above, we can likely get them working even if they weren't finished back in 2001. As for how to get around the cheating issue, I'm not sure. However now the leaderboards are in the hands of die hard fans, it's less likely for us to cheat. But either way, it'll be interesting to find a way to verify times.


OnlineRankings-remake.jpg

msr_010a--003.jpg

Other than building a new icon in the top left for Speed Challenge (And completing the San Fran, Tokyo and Three Cities headers), all of the imagery for the Leaderboards is complete - including the yellow text art.
The Kudos icon is brand-new and custom built (though I grabbed the Kudos logo itself off of a 2001 MSR fansite), as is the Time Trial clock face.

msr_010a--002.jpg

The country icons are also new. I tried to incorporate as many nations as I could for the time being but I'm sure I missed a few out. Here's the countries done so far (If anyone on here comes from a different nation, let me know and I'll add it ASAP);
USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil
UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Denmark
Japan, China, South Korea, Russia
South Africa, Australia

Now the basic artwork is complete, I'm going to be building the other pages (Other cities and the Time Trials, Kudos Rankings, Ghost Attack etc) and make sure that all pages correctly lead into one another. Once that's done I'll be rebuilding the News page (msr_003) so that the Archives are up to date and we can add newer News updates as needed.

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Roareye
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Re: Metropolis Street Racer in-game Browser

Post#32 » Thu May 10, 2018 7:06 pm

Thought I'd do something a little different. It's one thing showing still photos, but a website is an interactive medium. While I haven't uploaded it to a server yet (Mostly because I don't own one) I did record a video showing the features with some basic description running below.

Just as a precursor, the site is not fully complete. The Leaderboards are there image-wise but there is no running database yet, so they aren't actually operating. The Upload/Download pages are missing too, this will obviously be rectified.
You'll see a couple of occasions where headers are missing and oversized similar images are there in their place - this will be rectified too, just making so many text images is so boring I needed a break :lol:
There are also a couple of instances where the yellow image-text ("Welcome to..." and "KUDOS") are just yellow text instead of the proper image art. These will also be built and replaced.

The black borders at each side of the page are because the page is built at 600 pixels wide. This is to accommodate the maximum width of the Dreamcast browser, and the bg art is tall enough to fill a 480 pixel height screen - The DC can see/output 640 x 480 pixels. There is code to tell the bg art to remain static when scrolling, but I believe the height of my screens break this rule (Or it is outmoded for modern browsers). This shouldn't be an issue with the outdated browsers of the DC.

I have added more icons to the top left of the screen in the Leaderboard pages. I believe these icons were used as quick-links to the other leaderboards etc, however the screenshot from ODM is from pre-launch, when most of the features weren't online yet. With no idea of what icons needed to be remade (Outside of the Kudos icon and the speedometer icon), I used my best judgement on what the icons for Time Trial, World Time Trials and Ghost Attack would be and rebuilt them accordingly.

And finally, unlike the previous screenshots I've shown here, I made sure the different modes kept a consistent background image across all of their pages. This makes it easier to understand where you are on the site when browsing.

Without further ado, here's the video of the site in action - complete with appropriate soundtrack of course.



I hope you enjoy this, guys. Not long now, depending on how quickly/easily we can get the mechanics of the MSR online system down.

dave_van_damn
MegaDeath
Posts: 227

Re: Metropolis Street Racer in-game Browser

Post#33 » Thu May 10, 2018 8:09 pm

Looks fantastic - hats off to you!
aka DavidHK on DC games.

rjay63
Roadster
Posts: 355

Re: Metropolis Street Racer in-game Browser

Post#34 » Fri May 11, 2018 7:05 pm

Excellent work Roareye! I don't think I have anything more significant to add, bar a few notes below:

* Bizarre Creations and Seganet had very little to do with the MSR site. It was mainly a Dreamarena / Sega Europe operation.

* The webpages that were archived belonged to the US version of the game as they sat just outside the Dreamarena "wall". US players who wanted to take part or view the rankings had to open a Dreamarena account (the brower in the US version is actually Dreamkey 1.0 with a name change to "Internet Viewer"). None of the UK pages were archived as they were all in Dreamarena and you had to login to see anything.

* The only was that somebody could have preserved the whole set-up (outside of Sega staff) would have been to hack in Dreamarena using a PC (it was possible) or record Dreamarena webpages onto a VCR. I don't think MSR's original player base were particularly hardcore and probably never even visited the website. Added to the fact that scores could be easily hacked and that Sega had already planned to ditch the Dreamcast, there was probably little incentive to expand the options already on offer.
My Metropolis Street Racer Blog: http://www.msrdreamcast.blogspot.co.uk
MSR ghosts/time trials and official DLC: http://www.dreamcastlive.net/metropolis ... r-dlc.html

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Roareye
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Re: Metropolis Street Racer in-game Browser

Post#35 » Fri May 11, 2018 9:35 pm

Thanks guys ^_^ Means a lot to hear people excited for the online features to finally return.

I've now collected all the available DLC for MSR (I might do a further search tomorrow just in case) and added it to the site. Because of the practicality of downloading all this info, I have modified the section splash-pages to accommodate them rather than giving them a standalone page (Except for Time Trials, as there are so many). The Leaderboard selection pages now allow you to select Leaderboards for specific challenges too, however these Leaderboards are still inactive as they have yet to be rebuilt past the artwork.

A list of DLC;
3 Speed Challenges (London, San-Francisco, Tokyo)
13 Time Trials (1 Demo, 3 London, 2 San-Fran, 2 Tokyo, 5 Vehicle)
2 Ghost Attack (Jensen SV-8, Toyota Supra) - The splash page for this section is now complete too.

World Time Trials are "fan-made", as in you upload a challenge for others. World Kudos I believe is based on your total Kudos score, so that doesn't require more than one Leaderboard.

Here's an example of the download linking before I head to bed;
msr_004--1.jpg


These do function properly and download too. Once I've got things in place, it'll be time to figure out how to upload from MSR to the site and build a database for the Leaderboards.

rjay63
Roadster
Posts: 355

Re: Metropolis Street Racer in-game Browser

Post#36 » Sun May 13, 2018 7:42 pm

When looking at the archived webpage http://www.metropolis.dream-key.com:80/usa/msr_011a.php, the following flashes very quickly before it goes to a "page not found" screen . I managed to stop it before it disappeared and grabbed the info from the View Source option on the webpage. Not sure if it will make any difference but thought I'd mentioned it.

window.location="https://web.archive.org/web/20011104005023/http://authentication.dream-key.com/genericerror.php?errornumber=1";</script><br>
<b>Warning</b>: Supplied argument is not a valid OCI8-Connection resource in <b>../msr_lib.php</b> on line <b>1054</b><br>
<br>
<b>Warning</b>: Supplied argument is not a valid OCI8-Connection resource in <b>../msr_lib.php</b> on line <b>1065</b><br>
<br>
<b>Warning</b>: Supplied argument is not a valid OCI8-Statement resource in <b>../msr_lib.php</b> on line <b>1066</b><br>
<br>
<b>Warning</b>: Supplied argument is not a valid OCI8-Statement resource in <b>../msr_lib.php</b> on line <b>1067</b><br>
<br>
<b>Warning</b>: Supplied argument is not a valid OCI8-Statement resource in <b>../msr_lib.php</b> on line <b>1068</b><br>
<br>
<b>Warning</b>: Supplied argument is not a valid OCI8-Statement resource in <b>../msr_lib.php</b> on line <b>1069</b><br>
<br>
<b>Warning</b>: Supplied argument is not a valid OCI8-Statement resource in <b>../msr_lib.php</b> on line <b>1070</b><br>
<br>
<b>Warning</b>: Supplied argument is not a valid OCI8-Statement resource in <b>../msr_lib.php</b> on line <b>1071</b><br>
<br>
<b>Warning</b>: Supplied argument is not a valid OCI8-Statement resource in <b>../msr_lib.php</b> on line <b>1073</b><br>
<br>
<b>Warning</b>: Supplied argument is not a valid OCI8-Statement resource in <b>../msr_lib.php</b> on line <b>1077</b><br>
<br>
<b>Warning</b>: Supplied argument is not a valid OCI8-Statement resource in <b>../msr_lib.php</b> on line <b>1078</b><br>
Error retrieving vm data<br>Res code: <br>Res text: <br><!--
My Metropolis Street Racer Blog: http://www.msrdreamcast.blogspot.co.uk
MSR ghosts/time trials and official DLC: http://www.dreamcastlive.net/metropolis ... r-dlc.html

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Roareye
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Re: Metropolis Street Racer in-game Browser

Post#37 » Mon May 14, 2018 3:22 am

The first two lines there are Wayback Machine code, however the rest appears to be a php library request for database scores from msr_lib.php - a page the Wayback Machine doesn't have which leads to the page load failing.

This is actually useful as we now know the name of the database to refer to when building the new one. Thanks for the info, rjay63 :D

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Vill22
fire
Posts: 79

Re: Metropolis Street Racer in-game Browser

Post#38 » Mon May 14, 2018 8:43 am

Looking good Roareye - keep up the good work!

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Roareye
Arabian Night
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Re: Metropolis Street Racer in-game Browser

Post#39 » Mon May 14, 2018 4:12 pm

Thanks Vill22! Actually enjoying the process, especially with what I've just found out I can do exclusively in the browser on the DC!

The main site is now done. All of the text imagery (Including the Welcome to Metropolis Street Racer Homepage image) is complete. Just waiting on guys way smarter than me to fathom out the VMU Upload system and database.

So I'm attempting to create VMU animations that play when the Dreamcast is browsing the website. This requires me to install some software that is ONLY Windows 98 compliant (And even then, it's all in Japanese so I'm using a tutorial to hint at what everything means cos I can't read Japanese). However to do that I need to install a Window 98 Virtual Machine and do loads of other bollocks to my PC. But hopefully it'll be worth it for personalised sites.

http://www.dreamcastarena.com/how-to-cr ... e-friendly
This page explains how you can embed VMU instructions into a website. If this works on the MSR site, there's no reason why we couldn't embed more of these for the other game browsers - such as the recent return of JSR. It would certainly add that bit of panache that elevates the site above just being an old website to something truly DC exclusive.

It also allows me to rumble the rumble pack to any custom frequency, rate and strength too. Might try and add that function on the homepage to the beat of a car engine revving and ready to go. Again, it'd be something so cool and unique for the DC.

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Roareye
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Re: Metropolis Street Racer in-game Browser

Post#40 » Tue May 15, 2018 7:26 pm

As the site basics are done, I decided to work on the aforementioned VMU and rumble effects.

This required building a Windows 95 Virtual Machine, which took 3 solid hours to get running. I then used ImgBurn to put the VMU Animator in an ISO and installed it via a CD Drive emulator to the 95 VM. It worked, and I've built a 117 frame VMU animation of the MSR logo scrolling.

The issue is getting it back off the VM and back on my PC. It took me two nights to get net access working, but no email sites are compatible with Windows 95 which I need to figure a solution to. USB drives also don't work, I've gone through 4 tutorials and not one of them has given me any functionality.

I'm currently trying to share a folder through the network, but that's currently not playing ball either. A friend of mine who works in IT is gonna help me tomorrow.

The VMU animation is done, finished and in .lcd format ready to upload. The code can be added to all pages to take advantage of this feature. I just need to get files off a virtual Windows 95 and it's all systems go.

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