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Custom maps for Q3A, looking for betatesters

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 1:37 pm
by moi
Hi,
I'm working on a converter for PC maps for DC.
First progress is done and documented.

If you:
- are able to repack DC ISOs
- have access to a running Q3DC server / running a server yourself
- [optionally] can record game play footage from DC hardware
- [optionally] have an SD-Card reader in order to repack and test ISOs more quickly

and would like to test my converted maps, please PM me or post in this thread.

Further technical details can be found in this thread:

http://dcemulation.org/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=86289

Videos with proof of concept can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ur1siRBnEtw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=038JGgZ5AH0

Re: Custom maps for Q3A, looking for betatesters

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:12 pm
by moi
Got oacmpdm8.bsp from Open Arena. It's the most complex custom map I've managed to get to work yet. This should be the first map to betatest.

Here is a video of it in action:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=je655xYPtq4

Please excuse the slowed down gameplay and crappy sound. It's just my laptop fighting and sweating with emulation and screen recording at the same time. The map plays fairly well in NullDC without recording software runnung.

Re: Custom maps for Q3A, looking for betatesters

Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2015 10:32 pm
by DR TEAMCAST
Cool stuff man. When i get my cd-r settings right, i will test for you (gd owner for q3) Though im unsure how to repack isos, so i guess compile one with all the maps you plan on testing

Re: Custom maps for Q3A, looking for betatesters

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:10 am
by moi
dan1234, do you have a q3 server up and running(considering how you're running a PS2 online gaming site)?
Are there any people willing to test the maps in online mode with you?
Surely it'd be enough to test the game online against bots as well.
But I'm rather intrigued to see if/how four people playing the maps at the same time would affect the game's speed and stability, since Q3 is said to have a "prediction algorithm" which is used to reduce the amount of data sent between clients and server by simply assuming where and how client's player movements will go and end up.

If you can't repack isos I'll need to upload a first working one for your. Once it's burnt you'll be able to copy all the plain files from the cdr to your HD and create new isos using BootDreams.

In future it'd be nice to have a tool to create an SD-Card reader compatible iso using original game files from the GD and the new additional map files and other game content.

I'm also pretty sure that porting of Open Arena to DC should be possible(MDL files, sounds, textures, bots and some maps) so 1st_read.bin would be the the only original part of Q3 needed to run the game on the DC.

Re: Custom maps for Q3A, looking for betatesters

Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:03 pm
by VasiliyRS
- have access to a running Q3DC server / running a server yourself

Any of those will do?
q3master.php

Re: Custom maps for Q3A, looking for betatesters

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 12:37 pm
by moi
Vasiliy do you have admin rights to any of those servers?
In my understanding BSP(main map file geometry and entities) and AAS(bot waypoints) files are all you need on the server in order to have the new maps running. Textures, models, sounds, etc should only be needed if you want actively play on the server PC rather than having a dedicated server.

At the moment I have no working PC-DC connection so I can't test anything outside NullDC.
If I sent you a working iso with custom maps, could you give it a try?

PS: Your name sounds familiar. Were you active over at dcfan and dcswat forums?

Re: Custom maps for Q3A, looking for betatesters

Posted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:45 pm
by Impulse
Moi, this sounds like a great project. I have admin control over the dc-talk servers found here: q3master.php and could help run and test some maps for you.

Re: Custom maps for Q3A, looking for betatesters

Posted: Tue Mar 03, 2015 1:06 pm
by moi
Impulse, that's awesome. Check your PMs for the download link.

Meanwhile I've made some more progress. DC maps have usually their content(mdls, sounds, textures, sprites etc which are stored in game.zip) reduced only to files needed by the map in order to save ram and shorten loading time.

This fact can be used in order to optimize each individual map's performance and visuals on the DC. For example if you have a small, rather undemanding map, you could use more complex MDLs and larger textures in order to make your map look more impressive. This goes the other way around as well. If you have a huge map with lots of geometry, you could still make it run at a decent speed on the DC by reducing texture size and by using lower poly MDLs.
This smart method also allows you to play the same map with PC players who might have nicer visuals due to better hardware without caring for compatibility issues.

Well this method also has disadvantages for my converter, because atm it does not have a clear idea about which resources are needed for a map.
That's why in my videos you can notice some missing weapon animations, icons and sounds.

There are two options to do this:

-creating a universal game.zip which would compatible to all maps
or
-parsing the map info and reverse engineer all the content needed for each map entity

I'm going with the first method because it's pretty quick to complete. But it eliminates all the advantages of the official method and might break some maps compatibility and make the game crash caused by limited ram.

The second method is the preferred one but more difficult to complete. I'll go with it once I have all the knowledge needed for proper map conversion.

Re: Custom maps for Q3A, looking for betatesters

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:53 pm
by pcwzrd13
This is great! It would be awesome to have some new maps to play. Does the Dreamcast version of Q3A have the ability to download maps or do all the maps have to be on the disc?

Re: Custom maps for Q3A, looking for betatesters

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:29 pm
by VasiliyRS
So maybe we should have public testing? I can record a video if needed.
In short am in for testing it just tell me what to do.

PS: Your name sounds familiar. Were you active over at dcfan and dcswat forums?

Yep... when dcfan was working...