Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

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Fronzel
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Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by Fronzel »

I recently heard about there being significant differences between the EGA and VGA versions of Loom, including the script. I played through both versions and found that the VGA script is not simply an abridged version of the EGA but is re-written with most lines being worded slightly differently and sometimes quite a bit more different than that; some scenes have different tones, such as the shepherds blocking the way to the pasture simply barring Bobbin's passage in the EGA but jeering and mocking him in the VGA.

For my own interest I'd like to more closely compare the two scripts, even if I have to transcribe them myself (it's a short game, after all). Firstly I want to ask if there's a quicker alternative; secondly I'd accept advice on what form the comparison should be in. My current idea is to use a spreadsheet and put the two version side by side, putting similar lines directly next to each other and allowing for blank spaces in one column if one version has a line that has no analogue in the other.

If I do this I'd like to make it available to others so the work put in is more valuable. Is there a better place to distribute it than just, say, linking a file on this forum and/or the game's forums on Steam or GoG.com?
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Praetorian
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Re: Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by Praetorian »

Fronzel wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:08 am I recently heard about there being significant differences between the EGA and VGA versions of Loom, including the script. I played through both versions and found that the VGA script is not simply an abridged version of the EGA but is re-written with most lines being worded slightly differently and sometimes quite a bit more different than that; some scenes have different tones, such as the shepherds blocking the way to the pasture simply barring Bobbin's passage in the EGA but jeering and mocking him in the VGA.

For my own interest I'd like to more closely compare the two scripts, even if I have to transcribe them myself (it's a short game, after all). Firstly I want to ask if there's a quicker alternative; secondly I'd accept advice on what form the comparison should be in. My current idea is to use a spreadsheet and put the two version side by side, putting similar lines directly next to each other and allowing for blank spaces in one column if one version has a line that has no analogue in the other.

If I do this I'd like to make it available to others so the work put in is more valuable. Is there a better place to distribute it than just, say, linking a file on this forum and/or the game's forums on Steam or GoG.com?
I don't think I've seen a thorough side-by-side (where possible) comparison.

I have seen videos discussing it, and maybe one or two somewhat detailed forum posts (on various forums), but they all pretty much mention the same things; hand-wavy animations, the missing close-ups, dialogue being different, the art being somewhat worse than the EGA one, Chaos being a different (or, more correctly, a specific) gender, and I think an Elder is also missing (?).

On the positive side, VGA has the CD sound -- although I don't think they kept the option for MT-32 -- and, most importantly, the voice acting from the original actors that played in the audio drama (in the accompanying cassette tape and later audio CD).

Of course Prof. Moriarty has stated (thankfully) that he considers the original EGA version the definitive; and I wholeheartedly agree. Sadly, and quite annoyingly, no digital store distributes that one for some reason. (I do have the original box with the floppies and the audio drama tape though!)

I can't really recommend a specific forum, but there certainly are a few, other than our own, where you could talk about your project.
Adventure Gamers forum
International House of Mojo
And of course you can talk to ScummVM team members more directly if you join our discord server.

I have to say, since I love Loom, I like this project. And I think we might possibly be able to come up with a way to use such work, especially if the mapping is in a usable format (like, say, an Excel sheet or another well defined mapping format), to put together and support a... modified version of the original, where we can borrow the best parts of the VGA version (like the voices, where they match the original dialogue).
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Re: Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by OmerMor »

I have a spreadsheet with all the text from the various Loom versions here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

It's a sheet I used for migrating the Hebrew translation from the EGA version to the FM-TOWNS one (which are very similar).
You can find the CD version in the CD tab and the EGA version in the EGA tab.
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eriktorbjorn
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Re: Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by eriktorbjorn »

Fronzel wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:08 am Firstly I want to ask if there's a quicker alternative;
I guess it would be possible to use some tool to extract and decode the game scripts, but I doubt that's actually quicker than playing the two versions side by side and trying to find all the relevant object interactions. You probably want to do that side-by-side playing anyway, because not just the text is changed. The EGA version famously has close-ups that were removed from the VGA version, but the VGA version adds a few close-ups of its own.

Fortunately, I think only the VGA versions make any changes to the original as far as the text is concerned. So unless you want to go into other graphical differences (apparently some versions censor a bit of blood, for instance) or differences in audio hardware, you should be all set.

If you're comfortable with modifying the ScummVM source code, you can probably get at least most of the strings, as they are printed by the game, by adding some code to ScummEngine::printString() in engines/scumm/string.cpp to dump the text to a file, or something like that. The strings will contain some control characters (line breaks, at the very least) but it might still save you the work of retyping everything.

It might be worth pointing out that ScummVM hard-codes a change to one of the strings the VGA version: The text "I am Choas." has been corrected to "I am Chaos."

Also, I believe the "bonus" scene that shows what happens to Cobb when he looks at Bobbin's face is always shown in the VGA version, but only in Expert mode in the EGA version.
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Re: Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by eriktorbjorn »

Praetorian wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:39 am Of course Prof. Moriarty has stated (thankfully) that he considers the original EGA version the definitive; and I wholeheartedly agree. Sadly, and quite annoyingly, no digital store distributes that one for some reason. (I do have the original box with the floppies and the audio drama tape though!)
I wonder what he thinks of the PC-Engine / Turbografx version. It seems to keep mostly to the aesthetics of the EGA version, but with a bit less dithering. (Mind you, I wish GOG and Steam would sell the EGA version, but the last I heard was that someone was "looking into it" several years ago.)
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Re: Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by OmerMor »

eriktorbjorn wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:31 am I guess it would be possible to use some tool to extract and decode the game scripts.
See the link I posted above. All the text from both versions is there.
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Re: Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by Fronzel »

OmerMor wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:46 am I have a spreadsheet with all the text from the various Loom versions here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing
This will be very useful; it will save me having to type the lines out myself and eliminate risk of typos. Thanks for sharing.

Praetorian wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:39 am ...I think an Elder is also missing (?).
This might be a reference to how the green-robed Elder, Clothos, has almost no lines in the VGA version; she has more in the EGA version and functions as a foil for Lachesis, the yellow-robed Elder, in that one is calm and diplomatic and the other angry and hostile. The white-robed Elder, Atropos, functions as a final judgement. This scene has more a sense of a judicial trial in the EGA and is definitely a place where I prefer that version, although there are some places I like the changes the VGA made.
Praetorian wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:39 am I have to say, since I love Loom, I like this project. And I think we might possibly be able to come up with a way to use such work, especially if the mapping is in a usable format (like, say, an Excel sheet or another well defined mapping format), to put together and support a... modified version of the original, where we can borrow the best parts of the VGA version (like the voices, where they match the original dialogue).
I was planning to aim for readability by eye. I'm not familiar with the mapping you're talking about but it might be possible to create two versions of the file. Regardless, I'm not sure your idea for a mod would work; just off the top of my head from playing both versions back-to-back I get the impression that very few lines are exactly the same. Most are worded slightly differently; for example, clicking the leaf on the first screen yields "Last leaf of the year." in EGA and "The last leaf of autumn." in VGA.

eriktorbjorn wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:31 am Fortunately, I think only the VGA versions make any changes to the original as far as the text is concerned. So unless you want to go into other graphical differences (apparently some versions censor a bit of blood, for instance) or differences in audio hardware, you should be all set.
Right now I'm interested in comparison of the scripts since difference there are harder to grasp than graphical ones. Watching a youtube video on the differences, which inaccurately portrayed the script differences as simple abridgement, was able to outright show graphical differences. A really comprehensive comparison of the various versions would include such a comparison and would be easier to put together than the side-by-side script I want to do so maybe in the future.
eriktorbjorn wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:31 amIt might be worth pointing out that ScummVM hard-codes a change to one of the strings the VGA version: The text "I am Choas." has been corrected to "I am Chaos."
I should preserve that mistake for the transcript so thanks for pointing it out.
eriktorbjorn wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:31 amAlso, I believe the "bonus" scene that shows what happens to Cobb when he looks at Bobbin's face is always shown in the VGA version, but only in Expert mode in the EGA version.
I am aware of this; I planned to transcribe that short scene from a youtube video to save myself the trouble of playing in expert mode and so I can get the non-expert version of the scene transcribed as well.
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Re: Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by Praetorian »

OmerMor wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:46 am I have a spreadsheet with all the text from the various Loom versions here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

It's a sheet I used for migrating the Hebrew translation from the EGA version to the FM-TOWNS one (which are very similar).
You can find the CD version in the CD tab and the EGA version in the EGA tab.
That should be really useful for reference!

I did the fan made Greek translation for LOOM EGA and FM Towns versions -- at the time I *hated* the CD Talkie so I mentally refused to do the translation for and support that one.

I was working with a text file extracted by some third party tools (probably mainly scummtr).

This was many many years ago, but I think I do remember that a few lines in the resources that were completely unused in the game, even in the original EGA version. That is definitely not a rare thing to happen :wink: but it is still interesting when spotted.
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Re: Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by eriktorbjorn »

I think one of the strangest little differences between the EGA and VGA version is if you try to pick up the Book of Patterns near the start of the game. In the EGA version, Bobbin will say "This is the Book of Patterns that Hetchel lets me read sometimes. Better take it with me." and he does. In the VGA version, he'll say "That's the Book of Patterns. I already know what's in it." and he leaves it behind.
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Re: Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by Praetorian »

eriktorbjorn wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:26 pm I think one of the strangest little differences between the EGA and VGA version is if you try to pick up the Book of Patterns near the start of the game. In the EGA version, Bobbin will say "This is the Book of Patterns that Hetchel lets me read sometimes. Better take it with me." and he does. In the VGA version, he'll say "That's the Book of Patterns. I already know what's in it." and he leaves it behind.
Maybe they thought it would be confusing, since the game doesn't really have an inventory system, and you cannot access the book for reference -- you were supposed to use the accompanying (physical) Book of Patterns for notes on the "drafts" (or a notepad I guess).
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Re: Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by Fronzel »

I've done a litte as a test. I'd like opinions on the format

In this version I try to put analogous lines side-by-side to aid comparison. Where a line has no analogue in the other version, I leave a blank space on the other side.
Image

In this version I simply put each version down in a straightforward way. I would start the next entry below both so that the versions continue to be side-by-side.
Image

In both I put into each cell text that is on screen at one time, so back-and-forth dialogue would take up several cells. I denote the speaker only when it changes.

Which version do you prefer? Are there any other changes I could make to make it better?
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Re: Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by Praetorian »

Fronzel wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:25 am I've done a litte as a test. I'd like opinions on the format

In this version I try to put analogous lines side-by-side to aid comparison. Where a line has no analogue in the other version, I leave a blank space on the other side.
Image

In this version I simply put each version down in a straightforward way. I would start the next entry below both so that the versions continue to be side-by-side.
Image

In both I put into each cell text that is on screen at one time, so back-and-forth dialogue would take up several cells. I denote the speaker only when it changes.

Which version do you prefer? Are there any other changes I could make to make it better?
Personally I like the first version better, but I can see how it's a lot more work.

Ideally I'd prefer the columns to only have the text appearing in game, and the actor speaking it to be in a separate column.

Also, I am not too familiar with the technical stuff of SCUMM engine scripts, but it *might* be useful to also keep the rest of the info in separate columns, as appears in the sheet shared by OmerMor in Columns C and/or D, which seem to indicate to/by the engine where a dialogue belongs in-game (for which object, for which interaction, etc)

However, I understand that some of these suggestions might be beyond the scope of your project, so basically take them only as such, mere suggestions and try to keep your project interesting and fun to you, and not turn it into a chore.
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Re: Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by Fronzel »

Here's what it looks like now:
Image

I wonder if it needs notes for what location lines are being said in?

I also wondered if it'd be useful to use tabs to split the script up into sections of the game like this; Loom island, the glassmakers and shepherds, the caves and the blacksmiths, endgame. Just so each tab isn't as hugely long as the whole thing all together.
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Re: Loom: EGA vs. VGA Script Differences

Post by OmerMor »

If multiple messages in version A are mapped to a single message in version B, you can merge multiple cells in B's column and put the text there.

For example, the cells B7 & B8 in your image are similar to D9. So you can group cells D7 & D8 and put the text ("I've never knowen them .. ") in the cell.
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