Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Discuss the future of Warzone 2100 with us.
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Stratadrake
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Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by Stratadrake » 06 Jun 2012, 04:25

Surprise hello!

Goth Zagog-Thou contacted me on deviantART asking about my old projects, WZCK and Pie Slicer, and the sources for them. (I do still have their VB6 sources.)

Long story short, I'm okay with submitting these tools for wider development, but the question is: how?

These were a one-person effort in the past, but I really don't have the time to work on these anymore (not all by myself anyway), and I haven't touched any actual programming in years.

So the questions I need answers to are:
  1. Do you guys have a version repository I can submit them to? That's the biggest thing they need, because frankly they're too big for the amount of time I can give to them. Fun memories and all, but my interest in ol' Warzone is mostly historical these days.
  2. Do you guys prefer a particular license? I have no preference between, say, GPL and BSD, but obviously that needs to get clarified anyway.
Modding Warzone was certainly some fun memories. But that's another topic.... :)
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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by Goth Zagog-Thou » 06 Jun 2012, 05:08

Welcome back bud! :D

1.) Cybersphinx, Per, or Cyp would be best able to help you get a Github repository set up. (I've never done that, is why I say that). Certainly others amongst the forum population here know how to do that as well. There's always Sourceforge.

2.) Warzone is GPL 2, as is FlaME (the replacement for Editworld).

Hope that helps a bit. :)

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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by Lord Apocalypse » 06 Jun 2012, 05:14

I still have WZCK and PIESliver source though i don't know if it was your latest release Strata. Glad to see you post too :)

GPL would probably work best I think, fits in with the rest of Warzone.

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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by Goth Zagog-Thou » 06 Jun 2012, 05:25

Ok it looks like Github is free for open-source projects. That's what would be needed, one for WZCK and another for PieSlicer.

GitHub Plans

I may just set one up for Campaign 4, once the merge with Contingency happens. :P

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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by Rman Virgil » 06 Jun 2012, 05:30

.

Good to see ya, Strata. :D

.

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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by aubergine » 06 Jun 2012, 05:31

Ah, Strata, I've been hearing about you in my efforts to document all things Warzone! Glad to see you here! If you have any docs or images or any other historic things, feel free to send them my way any time so I can put them on the wiki (URL in my sig).
"Dedicated to discovering Warzone artefacts, and sharing them freely for the benefit of the community."
-- https://warzone.atlassian.net/wiki/display/GO

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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by Stratadrake » 06 Jun 2012, 06:06

Well, the breakdown of my projects goes as follows - the first two you know, but:
  • WZCK - General purpose, relatively comprehensive utility for editing Warzone game data and creating/compiling mods.
  • Pie Slicer - Pie file editor/renderer. (DirectX 7 based)
  • Shell WDG - WDG compiler, largely similar to WDG but with some added features like consolidating duplicate files (thus reducing the end-result filesize). Also compatible with WZCK as an alternate compiler. (Fun fact: the "1.12" mod, if compiled via MakeWDG, weighed about 2.5MB - but ShellWDG could compile the exact same data into only 1.0MB!)
  • IMGen - A bare-bones editor for Warzone's IMG files, i.e. its menu interface graphics and font glyphs. (See attachment.)
I can still remember quite well what my programming style looked like back then and some of the problems I hit because of it. It's amazing how much easier it is to spot them in retrospect. Key among them:
  • No use of actual object classes - Virtually everything was handled using user-defined types and global functions. A.k.a. the "God object" programming style. I used a ton of With blocks in the code simply because without instantiated class objects, it was about the only way to get a reference to an object buried several layers deep in arrays and types. For that matter the class objects should have been put into their own DLL module, this would've provided even more flexibility.
  • No system for indexing array elements by arbitrary values. This would've saved a ton of work in Pie Slicer's point and click functionality, and especially in WZCK since it is contantly making ID references between one type of game data and another. Game data is a database of sorts - but I didn't want (or know how) to require a database backend.
  • Pie Slicer: Should use more functions from external libraries - all that wireframe rendering, for example, was done completely by hand when I could have gotten it done better in DirectX. I did my darndest to get the code running as quickly as I then knew how - e.g. the 3D transform function even calls a GoSub or two instead of placing actual function calls on the stack.
  • WZCK: Relatively obtuse binary-based WEW format which was difficult to update while keeping old WEW formats forwards-compatible with new versions. Granted, this was back in the day when disk space and Net filesizes were at a premium, this day I'd probably favor something text-based. It's a LOT easier to recover from bad data issues in text formats.
A lot of cues in Pie Slicer's interface design I actually took from a different fanmade model editor, "Polytron" which was designed for building Descent models. The black background, the V and N keystrokes, etc. I probably did a few things better, but if I went back to design Pie Slicer all over again I'd probably do things like giving it an interface similar to GIMP or Inkscape, being able to draw polygons without creating points first ... but not without some way of keeping it version-controlled and accessible to a wider dev team.

Oh yes, here's a screenshot for the scrapbook, with a modified .IMG file:
Attachments
screen_pipes.jpg
Even this can be totally modded.
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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by crass » 06 Jun 2012, 06:50

Stratadrake wrote:Well, the breakdown of my projects goes as follows - the first two you know, but:
  • WZCK - General purpose, relatively comprehensive utility for editing Warzone game data and creating/compiling mods.
  • Pie Slicer - Pie file editor/renderer. (DirectX 7 based)
  • Shell WDG - WDG compiler, largely similar to WDG but with some added features like consolidating duplicate files (thus reducing the end-result filesize). Also compatible with WZCK as an alternate compiler. (Fun fact: the "1.12" mod, if compiled via MakeWDG, weighed about 2.5MB - but ShellWDG could compile the exact same data into only 1.0MB!)
  • IMGen - A bare-bones editor for Warzone's IMG files, i.e. its menu interface graphics and font glyphs. (See attachment.)
none of these would work with this version of the game

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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by Goth Zagog-Thou » 06 Jun 2012, 06:55

My, my. I didn't even know about #4. If you're interested, there's been a lot of discussion about the UI and some possible reworking of it here, here, and here. Some really good stuff there and it fits with IMGen talk.

I think that all that would really be needed changes-wise to WZCK is:

1) stripping out the .wdg stuff (since our .wz files are simply re-named zip files), or (better yet) simply having the mod saved as its' folder structure in a new folder. That would eliminate the need for .wew files too (and I remember the problems you had with that).

2) slightly modding the text output format to be unix-like instead of Windows-like.

3) Dependancies. I have a HARD time getting old Win9x .ocx's to cooperate on WIndows 7, hehe.

Little stuff, really, but it adds up.

For PieSlicer, that will take some more work. We're using a new .pie format that really is leaps and bounds above the old days.

I couldn't get GitHub to cooperate with me at all. Someone else more knowledgeable with it than I am would be more suited in that regard.

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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by Stratadrake » 06 Jun 2012, 07:10

crass wrote:none of these would work with this version of the game
Yes, I'm aware I designed them specifically to work with the original Warzone 2100 and essentially ONLY the original Warzone 2100.

Remember, I haven't touched this stuff in 5+ years, so if you want me to play catch-up that is a lot of catching-up to do.

And at the moment I cannot do any dev work on any of them even if I wanted to, as I am unable to locate my VB6 install disk. i found my VB4 disk, but that's not the one.
Last edited by Stratadrake on 06 Jun 2012, 07:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by crass » 06 Jun 2012, 07:14

Stratadrake wrote:
crass wrote:none of these would work with this version of the game
Yes, I'm aware I designed them specifically to work with the original Warzone 2100.

Remember, I haven't touched this stuff in 5+ years, so if you want me to play catch-up that is a lot of catching-up to do.

And at the moment I cannot do any dev work on any of them even if I wanted to, as I am unable to locate my VB6 install disk. i found my VB4 disk, but that's not the one.
none of those programs that I tried would work with windows 7 what were you using then windows 95?
the only program that we need is pieslicer since wmit can't do some of the things that program did like edit the model
you should get together with the guy that made wmit and just add editing!

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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by Stratadrake » 06 Jun 2012, 07:19

Windows 98SE, actually. I wrote the original versions in VB4, then added DirectX 7.0 support after upgrading to VB6.

Compounding the issue may be that they weren't compiled to native win32 machine code (only VB6 p-code, which was a 50% savings in .exe filesize). I can't even verify if they work on XP or not - I have to find copies of the runtime DLL's and OCX's first.
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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by crass » 06 Jun 2012, 07:29


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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by Stratadrake » 06 Jun 2012, 07:33

Well, soon as (and/or IF) I can find my original VB6 disc I should actually be creating installers for Pie Slicer and WZCK. (Mainly Pie Slicer.) Microsoft doesn't ship out some of the OCX controls used anymore, which is a problem since both apps rely heavily on the PictureClip control to provide images for all the toolbar buttons/etc. But an automated installer would take care of that, at least....

Other than that, all I need to know is the "current" specifications for WZ graphics files and I can give Pie Slicer an export option for that. In about ... bah, who am I kidding, I can never meet deadlines.
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Re: Updating Old Apps? WZCK, Pie Slicer, et al.

Post by Goth Zagog-Thou » 06 Jun 2012, 07:41

You should be able to find out more about the pie 2 and 3 formats in the Development->Coding forum. Most of that kind of discussion takes place there.

Sadly, I don't have VS 6 anymore either. I'm using MonoDevelop, QTCreator and trying out VS11 (the one that still lets you make Desktop apps). Oh, and Notepad++ on Windows. :P

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