Sherlock Holmes: Serrated Scalpel

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tumbleweed
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Sherlock Holmes: Serrated Scalpel

Post by tumbleweed »

Hi!

First of all, thank you for supporting this game! It's awesome your effort!

I'd like to ask whether anyone knows of a CD version that is full talkie. I've seen it commented, but not sure if it's reliable info. I just own he foppy one.

Besides, is the 3DO version supported? Is it an enhanced version other than the voices? Had it were objectively the definitive version, it seems to be only 20$ in Amazon :)

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dreammaster
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Re: Sherlock Holmes: Serrated Scalpel

Post by dreammaster »

tumbleweed wrote:Hi!

First of all, thank you for supporting this game! It's awesome your effort!

I'd like to ask whether anyone knows of a CD version that is full talkie. I've seen it commented, but not sure if it's reliable info. I just own he foppy one.

Besides, is the 3DO version supported? Is it an enhanced version other than the voices? Had it were objectively the definitive version, it seems to be only 20$ in Amazon :)
You're welcome. :)

The only version of the game with full talkie is the 3DO version; it also has animated video sequence closeups of the characters talking when doing conversations. As it stands, the 3DO version is partially supported. There's still a few remaining areas that will need to be looked into, including:
1) Minor positioning issues with the characters when you walk around
2) The Darts game crashes, although that could be played around
3) The font is kind of bad, since we can't properly simulate the smoothing/aliasing process original 3DO machines do. The 3DO version is also missing the journal the PC version has. We may end up creating a tool to extract the font and/or journal graphics from the PC version for use in the 3DO version.

I don't know how quickly these remaining points will be looked into; it's not one of my current immediate priorities. But if the 3DO version is that cheap at the moment, it would be well worth getting it for the eventual support. My experience is that game prices on Ebay and Amazon have a tendency to jump after ScummVM support is officially announced. ;)

tumbleweed
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Post by tumbleweed »

Wow!
I'd better get one of the 5 avilable in Amazon then :)

Anyway, is there any major differences in graphics or music, aside from the character video close-ups? I can live without them (too 3D for an old point and clicker like me), If the 3DO is missing readable fonts and the diary, could it be much easier for now to enable the 3DO voice files reproduction when copied within the floppy/CD versions content perhaps?.

Just wondering, not trying to press on you or something :)

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dreammaster
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Post by dreammaster »

tumbleweed wrote:Wow!
I'd better get one of the 5 avilable in Amazon then :)

Anyway, is there any major differences in graphics or music, aside from the character video close-ups? I can live without them (too 3D for an old point and clicker like me), If the 3DO is missing readable fonts and the diary, could it be much easier for now to enable the 3DO voice files reproduction when copied within the floppy/CD versions content perhaps?.
I personally didn't handle adding support for the 3DO video files, but in theory it would be possible to make changes to the PC version to detect and playback just the audio part of the 3DO video files. It could be a good mini-project for someone interested in ScummVM development to get their feet wet with, figuratively speaking. :)

tumbleweed
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Post by tumbleweed »

How much time for a non-developer (but frankly, well trained in IT technicalities) could it take?

I mean I can learn C++ and try to implement a function or something like that I guess provided some guidelines, but not sure I can handle the study of the whole architecture (though I'd love to learn how to program old point'n'clicks, I've been waiting for a minimal template generic engine in Java, to begin with, which I dont find, as I even wrote some basic college practices a decade ago). ¿How many files or lines of code are we speaking of, before I try in vain (It could well take me 100x of the speed of any of you)? IS it really reasonable for a beginner?

If the answer is yes, I am prone to volunteer!!

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dreammaster
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Post by dreammaster »

tumbleweed wrote:How many files or lines of code are we speaking of, before I try in vain (It could well take me 100x of the speed of any of you)? IS it really reasonable for a beginner?
Well, if you wanted to try tackling it, then obviously it would require you to learn C++, and to set up and compile the source code.

As for how complicated it would be, it's hard to say for sure. The code for the Sherlock engine is in a folder /engines/sherlock within the ScummVM source code. There's also a specific sub-folder for the 3DO code in engines/sherlock/scalpel/3do. So with a minimum knowledge of C++, you could use a development environment like Visual Studio to put breakpoints in the 3DO code, like in the 3do movie player. Then, with a copy of the 3do game, you could see how the method is called during conversations to play the video.

Then it would be a matter of creating a new method that played just the audio without the video, and write some code in the caller to call the method even for the PC version if the appropriate 3do video file exists.

For that matter, if might even be easier to look into simply supporting the full 3do video files in the PC version. We currently have a define "IS_3DO" to run 3DO specific code.. maybe you could create a "IS_PC_3DO" check which is true when 3do video files are present, and have the videos play back for the PC version instead of just audio. In theory, that would be simpler, since you could use the existing video playback code as is, and would just need to implement some initial checks for the PC version to see if any 3do video files are present, and hack the existing checks for IS_3DO.

If you do decide to experiment with it, you can always drop us a line in the IRC channel to get further advice and suggestions.

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eriktorbjorn
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Post by eriktorbjorn »

tumbleweed wrote: Anyway, is there any major differences in graphics or music, aside from the character video close-ups?
Here's a YouTube playthrough of the 3DO version of The Case of the Serrated Scalpel. I've only looked at bits and pieces of it myself, though.

Edit: I forgot to mention that extracting the files from a 3DO disc isn't quite as trivial as copying files from a regular data CD. I don't remember off-hand if we have any ScummVM-specific instructions for it, but I used the instructions on the Ur-Quan Masters wiki. The unCD-ROM program worked for me under Linux, at least.

tumbleweed
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Post by tumbleweed »

Nice! I checked it in github,

With your instructions it seems fairly doable,
it's just changing any "if" that splits functionality
to adapt it to a mixed PC_3DO version to precisely pick the best features from both worlds.

Then I need to look for the detection code which I am sure I can infer just by locating and copypasting the lines for the other files.

If so, the hard part for me will be installing Visual studio and know how to play with debugging and all this C++ stuff like makes, header files, etc I don't know nothing about. But I saw you had somewhere an environtment howto wiki or something.

But now I got 2 problems.

- I already checked how to rip 3DO CDs, seems not difficult with some step-by-step instructions, but I have a major problem. When looking for buying in Amazon, I realized the only seller that does international shippment places the product at 115$ (together with shipping cost will be more than 150$). I'll check in ebay instead.

- Checking the IF_3DO variable occurrences in code and reading the accompaining comments, I saw there are other features in 3DO version worth letting not scape, as digital music, which I was not aware of. I am not sure which wll be the value to the contribution of the project if I start crossing modes as of "tumbleweed version". Still, if digital music and videos are really the only extra features from 3DO, I could try to play with IF_PC_WITH_3DO_MEDIA switch. I pray for digital music being embedded in additional files instead of hardcoded then...

I have a lot of background now to try either approach anyway
Thanks!!! :)

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m_kiewitz
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Post by m_kiewitz »

tumbleweed wrote:- Checking the IF_3DO variable occurrences in code and reading the accompaining comments, I saw there are other features in 3DO version worth letting not scape, as digital music, which I was not aware of. I am not sure which wll be the value to the contribution of the project if I start crossing modes as of "tumbleweed version". Still, if digital music and videos are really the only extra features from 3DO, I could try to play with IF_PC_WITH_3DO_MEDIA switch. I pray for digital music being embedded in additional files instead of hardcoded then...
It's a bit difficult though.

3DO version uses 15-bit colors for everything, including videos of course and it stores everything that way too (well 3DO system graphic files are able to store graphics in a manner with a palette attached, but those are decompressed to 15-bit colors). PC DOS version uses regular VGA 256 color palettes. And ScummVM renders them that way too.

Although mind you - 15-bit colors doesn't mean that the 3DO version has better graphics. It's the exact same graphics as the PC version, but simply stored in a 15-bit color format.

Music and sound fx are stored in separate files. Videos are stored in separate files as well.

The intro of 3DO version misses out on some scene transitions, but has another type of transition, which fades one screen into another (thanks to 15-bit colors). AND on top of that they re-recorded all audio of the intro, too - not only just the dialog between Holmes + Watson. In my opinion some sound fx are worse in the 3DO version.

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dreammaster
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Post by dreammaster »

m_kiewitz wrote:It's a bit difficult though.

3DO version uses 15-bit colors for everything, including videos of course and it stores everything that way too (well 3DO system graphic files are able to store graphics in a manner with a palette attached, but those are decompressed to 15-bit colors). PC DOS version uses regular VGA 256 color palettes. And ScummVM renders them that way too.
Good point. It'd slipped my mind about 16-bit color. So supporting videos would likely prove problematic. Although merely playing the 3do speech without the videos would likely still be feasible.

Otherwise, just be patient until the 3DO version is directly supported better :)

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m_kiewitz
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Post by m_kiewitz »

dreammaster wrote:Good point. It'd slipped my mind about 16-bit color. So supporting videos would likely prove problematic. Although merely playing the 3do speech without the videos would likely still be feasible.
Right, although I think we wanted to implement an audio-only mode for 3DO anyway :p

tumbleweed
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Post by tumbleweed »

I think I'll better be patient....

You guys are amazing. Really. How the **** can you develop intrincate stuff like that so fast??? Even if you are good at architecting, every piece of code deals with reverse engineering, which means you have to learn from scratch, analyze and infer every new code.

I mean, seriously, I really admire you, and always feel sorry because I am pretty sure most users don't realize what it takes to pin down all this little gems.

I keep getting my feet wet every no on on, hopefully someday I will be able to assist in SCI 2/3, the last milestone before the final apocalypse :)

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Strangerke
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Post by Strangerke »

In the case of Sherlock Holmes, Electronic Arts had the awesome kindness to share the original DOS sources with us, which tremendeously helped as you can guess.

But usually, yes, we reverse engineer a lot and we are awesome ;)

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