Saturday, April 24, 2010

The "Real" Version of Myst

After about 10 years of not owning it, I finally bought a copy of realMyst. The Macintosh version to be precise. Yes, I know it's on GoG, but I'm a tangible sort of guy and like holding the disc in my hand. Also, I don't want to tempt the Wine Gods who have so callously decided to infuriate me (Not the developers, they have put together a fabulous program. I think X11 on Mac OS X just sucks :P). So, I put it in my mostly reliable MacBook Pro and ran the installer. (Recap: MacBook Pro, June 2009, running Snow Leopard, Rosetta is installed.) Everything was going smooth until I tried running the application. It crashed immediately.

The next logical step was to run the application via the console. However this was no standard Mac OS X app. Running it would give the "cannot execute" error. Running "file" on it gave "header for PowerPC PEF executable." That is the old executable format used in previous versions of Mac OS as well as the early Mac OS X versions (10.0 and 10.1). Looking online, I found that there's an app called "LaunchCFMApp" that can launch the old PEF executables.

Of course, Murphy's Law dictates that this can't possibly work. And of course it didn't. It gave me an error: "Launch failed with error code -2856 (cfragRsrcForkErr)" -- that error means that the application can't find the resource fork. I checked the file, and the resource fork is clearly present. I then asked a friend for help. He was able to get it to run, but I still wasn't.

Searching a bit more on Google revealed that there was a 1.1.1 patch for the game. I installed that, and voila! I saw the "launcher" of sorts where I could choose graphics quality, resolution, and color depth. Nothing is ever that easy. Starting it would crash or just lead to a black screen. Until randomly it "just" worked. Probably something screwy going on in the background, but I'll take a functioning game. I was elated as I saw the SunSoft logo followed by the classic Cyan logo.

I proceeded to beat the game in under 5 minutes, as usual. :P

And now the obligatory screenshots:
EDIT: I also visited the new Rime age. The Riven image is a bit weird, not sure why. It's clearly Temple Island, though.

EDIT 2: Turns out LaunchCFMApp works fine in Snow Leopard as long as you feed it an absolute path and not a relative path. Seems the Resource Manager doesn't like relative paths anymore...

Friday, April 02, 2010

QuickTime Resource Forks

The HFS filesystem (and therefore HFS+ too) used by Mac OS and Mac OS X has two "forks" per file: the resource fork and the data fork. Of course, copying those files to non-HFS systems poses a problem. To make matters worse, QuickTime videos also came in versions split between the resource and the data forks! This complicated some things when copying those videos to a non-HFS drive and/or playing in anything but QuickTime player.

So, time for coding! I wrote a program back last November to combine the resource fork ('moov' chunk) and the data fork ('mdat' chunk) into one video file capable of being played everywhere QuickTime is supported. The code only works on Mac OS X (maybe OS 9, I have no means of testing that) for now (eventually I'll add support for the MacBinary format) and uses the data/resource forks directly.

Finally able to view Pegasus Prime videos on Windows... :)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Urban Runner Support: Postmortem

I'm sure you all saw ScummVM's April Fools' Day joke. It's been long enough since the last one (2007!) and last year's never really got anywhere.

This year, LordHoto and I were talking about it back in early February. He had an idea for one involving Urban Runner and DrMcCoy. Strangerke was quickly brought into the "group." LordHoto's grand plan was to plant images of Dr. McCoy into Urban Runner screenshots, which we all liked. He even wanted to make it of the reboot version of Dr. McCoy.

Then, while looking for some test images... I came to a realization. The actor portraying the new Dr. McCoy's name is Karl Urban! Brilliant!

That night, I quickly made the first two screenshots in Photoshop (to the approval of the other two). And then nothing happened again on it until March 30... I created the last two images (based on screenshots Strangerke made) that night.

Beyond our little April Fools' joke, I hope you all saw xkcd's console interface, YouTube's text mode, and the Monolith Action Figure.

And, for an April Fools' throwback, here are ScummVM's past ones: