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 The Game Files 
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...but it doesn't yield anything useful on the encoded text file. In fact the char codes are quite evenly distributed and all 256 values are used.


Can you paste one of the big encoded text somewhere?
When all letters are used it's not a base-ish encoding.
It could be a compression. Is there a significant length difference between the unencoded, french file and the encoded/compressed multi-language-file?

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Tue 8. Dec 2015, 10:12
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konemaster wrote:
When all letters are used it's not a base-ish encoding. It could be a compression.

Yes, I know. But you'd be surprised how many games of that era just stored text with a char offset. The way to obfuscate the city coordinates isn't very sophisticated, either.

The plain-text file is twice as large (16,294 bytes) as the encoded one (7,988 bytes), but there is a lot of null data at its end. Still, the part that carries data is longer than the encoded file.

The text doesn't need a lot of characters. All text is upper case. The French texts omit the accents, as is usual with capital letters. They need the cedille, though, and the German texts make use of umlauts. Still, the whole alphabet has fewer than 64 letters and 4 letters could be stored in 3 bytes.

TZoli wrote:
Also you seem quite advanced in decoding these files, did you tried the same with the savegames as well?

If I seem advanced, I must have left a better impression than is really the case. But no, I haven't looked at the save game format.

TZoli wrote:
The font type had to be saved as well if I'm not mistaken.

I think that the font is stored in one of the IO files. The font is strange, though. It is usual for fonts to store the characters with bitmasks. The font is crudely antialiassed, so my first idea was that one pixel is described with two bits for black (bg), bright gold (fg) and two shades in between. But in fact tha font uses more colours and it never uses another colour scheme than gold on black. So it might well be that the font is stored as a regular picture.

The glyphs use an 8x8 matrix and the font is not proportional. But its poistioning is not always on the grid. Many texts are centered and the centering can make half steps. The line heights are also different, depending on how many lines of text need to be displayed. The text file stores only lines and it seems that the text position is stored alongside the texts.


Tue 8. Dec 2015, 13:55
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Hi, Oun Fouge! I have not greeted you yet, so... Welcome! :)

Your results are impressive. Thank you for sharing them :) It is useful to explore the resources of the original game as much as we could so we could provide the best replacement for them.

Keep up the good work.

About the font: though it could be original font I got the feeling, that I saw it or ones that bear a close resemblance to this one in other DOS era games. That P and U letters are very distinctive.


Tue 8. Dec 2015, 15:07
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While searching for the pictures in the game files (actually for colour codes) I've noticed that the commerce.fic file only contains a very small amount of data!
It is full of zeros, except for the first 32 hexes which are set to 1.
Now by the name of the file it should have connection with the trade system.
There are actually 32 items in the game which you can get in one way or another:
19 kinds of wagons from 3 you cannot buy: Locomotive, Boudoir and General Quarters leaving 16
10 kinds of commodities
4 other objects: Soldiers, Slaves, Spies, Mammoths
2 mission objects: Urga's key and the Geiger-Müller counter

So 16+10+4+2=32

But it has no connection to the availability to these commodities as I've changed all values to 0 and no changes made, and the game even runs fine without this file!


Tue 22. Dec 2015, 20:07
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I just compared a Transarctica and an Arctic Baron release of the game. The 2 disk Transarctica edition I have has two files that are missing from the "Arctic Baron" titled release. They are called PRESENT.IO and PRESENT2.IO. Do your editions of the game have these files? I wonder what are these files for.


Tue 22. Dec 2015, 23:45
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Those files are responsible for the intro sequence including the graphics and animations. As Arctic Baron have a different animation sequence that is probably loaded from elswhere


Wed 23. Dec 2015, 08:36
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In the game a new mine got discovered every 2 day so does the stored commodities quantity got increased by 1.
The commerce.fic have nothing to do with them (changed the values to two but the quantities did not incremented to 2.)

Also starting commodities quantity are semi randomly generated around a certain number with each new game.


Wed 23. Dec 2015, 16:00
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