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Wow People! I Am Both Stunned And Impressed!


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Hey everyone,

My name is Karl and I was one of the original Rock Raiders developers.

I had absolutely no idea that such a big and dedicated community had sprung up from a game I worked on over a decade ago! After reading through a few threads, and the RRU wiki, I am seriously impressed by the work that has gone into modding Rock Raiders. It sounds like many of you have shared in some of the same enjoyment (and probably the same frustration) that I went through when originally developing the game.

RR was one of my first projects in the games industry, and I worked on it with great enthusiasm for almost 2 years, so I've always had a warm and fuzzy soft-spot for the game. To see a revival in its popularity has been a bit of an emotional experience.

In particular, seeing so much of map data, file format and script up on the wiki has given me such a rush of nostalgia, I suddenly felt 10 years younger - as if I was back writing the level scripts and maps for the very first time. It's been so long since I saw these files (particularly the dreaded Lego.cfg), that a tonne of memories came flooding back. It has even inspired me to install RR again (for the first time in about 8 years!!).

Feel free to say hi, and AMA.

Karl :satisfied:

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Hey, welcome to the forums!

Programming Team

Tony Stoddart - Head Of Programming

Rob Wilson - Lead Programmer

Paul Bell

Andy Ray

Karl White

That must be you.

Anyway, too much comes to mind...don't know where to begin...What exactly did you do in Rock Raiders?

I see you're under "programming" and "level design".

What levels did you design, and what did you program?

Sorry about the suddenness of this...Exciting to have one of the RR devs here...

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I TAKE BACK EVERYTHING I SAID ABOUT DDI/LEGO

I AM IN AWE OF YOU MAN.

Welcome to RRU lol. Enjoy your time. It's about time someone from either company came to see how well we have worked on Project: Lets-Mod-An-Old-Thought-To-Be-Dead-Game! Especially Cyrem...he has worked so hard lol

I'll be seeing you around dude,

Extreme110

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I am absolutely speechless! There's soooooooooo many things that I know all of us would like to ask you but.... if you simply join with us in modding RR, I think that'd be a wonderful start! :D

Oh I better stop myself before I get my hopes too high. I'm just soooo excited that you're here! lol xD

Edit: OK ok ok ok, I have 1 question... for now... how did the level creator work for LRR? Was it a side program that worked within the confines of the legoRR process (exe/icd), or did the game itself have a level creator that was later cut/disabled before public release? Or was it something else entirely?

The reason I ask is because there is text file that explains how to use the level editor and it sounds like you would be running the game while editing the levels (based on the descriptions given).

Edited by Amauros
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Hello Karl. As you can see we have a lot of questions that we assume you can answer. That mysterious ingame level editor is one of them. Maybe you could tell us a bit more about the hard coded stuff? I do have one question ask. Where did these (presumably fake) cheat codes come from? They never worked for anybody.

Being one of the origional dev's, I'm not sure about your inclination to mod, but if you feel like it, go ahead. Good old admin Cyrem made a Map Creator, and you might want to play with it just for kicks. I'm not sure how you made the levels, being that ingame editor or some other ancient external program, but some of us are curious. Maybe you could tell us about those three other levels in the cfg that are disabled, maybe because they're very very broken and the devs didn't fix them.

You should really see rhe things we've done. We enabled that Tunnel Transport for use like any other vehicle, because you guys didn't. We made custom raider classes, custom models, custom animations, tilesets, new levels, more biomes, and a bunch of other stuff. You really did make a moddable game. The only thing that upsets us is the hardcoded stuff that Cyrem won't let us mess around with, not like any of know how to though.

One more slightly random question, why did you use wad files for the data?

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Welcome Karl!

I am amazed that one of the original developers has taken an interest in us.... so much as to join the forum. In-fact, since it has been about two years since I launched the site... I figured that if any developers were actually interested in what we are doing they would have said so a while ago. But I guess you proved me wrong,

I'm sure you are a busy man, but if you ever have the opportunity to answer any questions we have (anything that would assist me in my Map Creator would be excellent ;) ) it would be most appreciated.

There is still much to do on the website, especially the documentation side of things...

I'm glad this trip down memory lane has encouraged you to play LRR again.

Talk to you later,

Cyrem.

@ TheDoc, The hard codded stuff? Most limitations I have put on my editor is because I have not tested beyond those limitations yet. I created the Map Tool for the users that wanted ultimate control... however you need to know what you are doing to use it.

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I would love to welcome you at the moment, but I am currently adding several mutations into L4D2 and continuing to do such ATM.

There are plenty of members that need help with their projects, so if you could give them some help, i'm sure they would love it.

But anyway, Welcome to the forum. And uh, watch out for LordZakida's epicness, because he may eventually shove some things in there that may or may not alter your brain scheme to read it every day for the rest of your life.

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Hi, Karl, welcome to the forums. It's an honor to have one of the original LRR devs in our presence. :-) LRR, at least for me and I suspect a lot of the others here, was one of the first computer games we ever played so it holds an equally nostalgic place in our hearts. I can attribute a lot of the passion here for LRR to that reason. You guys gave us a magnificent game that was both nice-looking, engaging, challenging, and most importantly fun. We are truly very thankful for the work you put into making the game, so thank you.

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I have finished my mutations and will now talk.

Welcome to the forums. I am sure you will have plenty fun learning what to do here, and teaching us what secrets lie in the games passages. We are in great worthy to you.

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Many viable tecnolgical advancements have come from this game, namely Artificialy Intelligent Vehicles.

Someone said "We have all the parts, why don't we just put them together and save us some trouble." This is literaly how the AIV came about, a guy needed to drive a bunch of trucks to a supercell and have them position and take care of themselves, so he looked around and found that, in one form or another, everything was there, from the programming to the axels to the windscreen, EVERY THING WAS THERE.

Baz has got to see this.

So what brought you back to Rock Raiders?

And yes, WE ARE sharing the joy and frustration of modding the game.

I can't get Volcano 24B or The Unknown to work properly.

But the rest of The Logical Step works.

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Wow guys, that's quite the welcome!! I'll try to answer any questions you have in order. I'll be digging back into the recesses of my mind, as I have worked on a lot of projects since RR... here goes:

@addictgamer

  • "What levels did you design, and what did you program?"

I ended up laying out and scripting nearly all of the levels in the end. We weren't a very big team, so we had one guy (Rob, awesome coder) who worked on the 'guts' of the game, i.e, the renderer, routefinding, animation code, map code... basically everything beneath which the actual 'game' code is built. Paul was a student intern, but so dedicated, we'd never have finished it without him. He was responsible for all of the building/vehicle/unit priorities/dependencies, among other things. Andy had been working on a couple of projects alongside RR, so he ended up doing bits of everything, anything that was required to get everything finished and working.

This left me with laying out the maps (noone else enjoyed it, but i thought it was fun), and writing the level objective configs. I also apologise for some of the pun-filled level names ;)

As far as other programming, I created the frontend UI, the 'reward' screen, the save game UI, and worked on numerous in-game features like: implementing the oxygen, tweaking vehicle/player AI, visual effects (if you can call them that these days), etc. I can't remember half of the things I worked on now. It was a whirlwind of code and sleep deprivation.

@CTXXTC

  • "You shall become the best modder on the site."

I'm not too sure about that. It looks like most of you guys know more about the game than I do now! ;P

@xx7xxxPowersxx

  • "It's about time someone from either company came to see how well we have worked on Project: Lets-Mod-An-Old-Thought-To-Be-Dead-Game! Especially Cyrem...he has worked so hard lol"

From what little I've seen so far, I'm dumbfounded by how much has been figured out and reverse engineered... particularly the NERN stuff! That was a scary beast even when I had the original code in front of me (it all had to be pre-processed and 'compiled' into the game).

@Amauros

  • "how did the level creator work for LRR? Was it a side program that worked within the confines of the legoRR process (exe/icd), or did the game itself have a level creator that was later cut/disabled before public release? Or was it something else entirely?"

The map editor was a separate tool that was buggy and crashed constantly. I found myself saving every 30 seconds just to prevent losing all my work. It was actually an evolved version of the map tool used on Conquest Earth. This tool was also used for applying UV texture mapping to the animation models, since the version of Lightwave we used (v5.0) didn't support UV maps. We later switched to LW5.6 which (if I recall correctly) added support for UV maps.

I haven't seen or used this tool since shortly after the release of RR, so I wouldn't know where to begin looking for it. It probably got backed up to a tape drive, and archived away somewhere never to be see or heard from again. From what I can tell Cyrem's map editting tool is *far far* more stable and usable than what I had to work with!!

@apemax

  • "hopefully you can impart some of your knowledge onto all of us."

I'll try my best. Hopefully I'll begin to remember more, the more I see/read about your progress.

@TheDoctor

  • "Maybe you could tell us a bit more about the hard coded stuff?"

There was a tremendous amount of hard-coded stuff in the game. It was never intended to be modded, except by ourselves, so we unfortunately coded a few things in (which is why many of the objective-script names are so LRR specific).

  • "Where did these (presumably fake) cheat codes come from?"

I remember these showing up very soon after the game was released. We all had a giggle in the office that these had appeared, since they were so clearly fake. If I recall correctly, one of them stated that it gave all the Rock Raiders giant heads.

  • "Maybe you could tell us about those three other levels in the cfg that are disabled, maybe because they're very very broken and the devs didn't fix them."

There are actually a good many 'loose ends' buried away in there. We probably created double the number of levels that finally made it into the game, and we went through and picked the ones that worked/played the best. I guess these three are probably ones that were started, but never finished.

  • "We enabled that Tunnel Transport for use like any other vehicle, because you guys didn't."

We did have it in there originally, however if I remember correctly, we had a number of problems with it (particularly due to its size), so someone 'higher up' made the decision to drop it. Since 'dropping it' simply meant removing it from the config, all the resources were still in place for it. I'm glad you guys managed to revive it.

  • "One more slightly random question, why did you use wad files for the data?"

Honestly? Because the boss told us to :lol: The format had been used previously for Conquest Earth, so rather than reinventing the wheel, we were asked to use the existing code. (Dull trivia: The original map-editor/UV-mapper tool also packaged the Wad files).

@Cyrem

  • "I am amazed that one of the original developers has taken an interest in us.... so much as to join the forum. In-fact, since it has been about two years since I launched the site... I figured that if any developers were actually interested in what we are doing they would have said so a while ago. But I guess you proved me wrong."

I actually had no idea RRU even existed. I stumbled upon you completely by accident, as I was talking to someone about Rock Raiders, and I punched it into Youtube to try and find the intro animation. I then happened upon the walkthrough videos which mentioned modding, and I was suddenly knocked for six. ("Modding?? There are people modding this glorious game??"). A brief googling later, and here I am.

  • "I'm sure you are a busy man, but if you ever have the opportunity to answer any questions we have (anything that would assist me in my Map Creator would be excellent ) it would be most appreciated."

I'll certainly help wherever I can. I hope that my memory will be sufficiently jogged after I've used your tools to unpack the wad and browse the data (yep... I can't even unpack the wad for myself anymore).

@antillies

  • "LRR, at least for me and I suspect a lot of the others here, was one of the first computer games we ever played so it holds an equally nostalgic place in our hearts."

Way to make me feel old! :lol: I was actually 18 when I began working on LRR, so perhaps I'm not too ancient.

@Zephyria

  • "But Kaaaaaaarrrrlllll, That kills people!"

I actually had to google that. You may now consider me a fan of Llamas with Hats.

Well I think that covers everything asked so far. Sorry if I missed anyone directly, I was trying not to answer duplicate questions. If I missed anything, feel free to ask again. I have a 'few' PMs to go through, so bear with me. I'll try and answer as much as possible.

All I can say is: awesome work guys!!

Karl :)

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Wow. Wowowowowow.

I think we think alike, because I'm one of the biggest mappers here too. Unfortunately, not many of my maps were played/downloaded, so I only release my *very best* maps when I have something really unique and hard. I'm currently working on a migraine map (that's supposed to take over 2 hours to complete WITHOUT DEBUG KEYS) that should get a few good plays when it's done and debugged.

I also think it's really cool how you guys got emerge triggers working, because they will play an important role in the migraine part of my migraine maps. (i.e. 6 monsters pop out of the walls right next to your base after you discover a small crystal cache. The walls will be solid rock so you can't destroy them.) As with the other guys here, RR is a nostalgic part of my life.

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Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions!

If you don't mind, I have a few more questions.

What can you tell us about LRR's betas, and the concept art we see so much of?

The two images I am referring to as concept art:

gallery_47_16_398356.png

p11_rock_raiders.jpg

Can you help out with this if you remember anything? http://rru-stuff.org/nerpfuncs.html

Thanks in advance!

Edit: Almost forgot. I want to congratulate you on your job with the levels.

Explosive action, search and rescue, Ice spy, and Frozen Frenzy are my favorites.

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Hi Karl!

I guess I am just as exited as everybody else here :P

After all, having a game developer join in on a place like this is an honour :)

In case you are interested; we have laid the foundations for a remake of the original game, as an open source project.

Would you have any suggestions for us?

It isn't much, but this is some of the progress:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U79cj_ncdxQ

AddictGamer is also working on a 2D version written in C++. He is planning on having a playable version out by newyear, so we are all looking forward to that. The 3D version shown in the movie will probably take a "little" longer to complete.

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What can you tell us about LRR's betas, and the concept art we see so much of?

The two images I am referring to as concept art:

gallery_47_16_398356.png

p11_rock_raiders.jpg

Can you help out with this if you remember anything? http://rru-stuff.org/nerpfuncs.html

Thanks in advance!

Edit: Almost forgot. I want to congratulate you on your job with the levels.

Explosive action, search and rescue, Ice spy, and Frozen Frenzy are my favorites.

The concept art was created before we'd really developed much of the game, and was based on some of the earliest design documents, so may well have featured things that were not in the final game. With my hazy memory, I can't remember if the scorpions made it into the PC version (I'm pretty sure they were in the PS1 version), and if they didn't, I'm would have thought the art resources would still be kicking around in the wad somewhere, though I reckon some of you would know that better than me at the moment. It looks like I'll be learning things about RR from your guys for a while that I've long forgotten!

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I'm googling conquest earth to see if I can dig up anything that might be of use to Cyrem and his map maker. :D

Edit: Oh by the way, many of us use skype for modding discussion and/or just plain ol' chitchat. So once you've settled in a bit into the forum and perhaps if you decide to join us in modding... you could join us on skype and help out with ideas we may have (if that's not too much to ask of course). :)

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In case you are interested; we have laid the foundations for a remake of the original game, as an open source project.

Would you have any suggestions for us?

Funnily enough, I was just checking out the ORR page a few minutes ago, and I had a look at the videos. It looks like you are on the right track. The best way to look at RR is the entire game works as a 2D game, and the 3D is just a 'visual' addition. The game was developed in 3D from the outset, but that was mainly because LEGO wanted to see regular builds, so we needed to show them something of how it would look.

I remember the routefinding worked such that it would calculate the blocks along which the unit needed to travel, then it would pick a random point within that block (near the centre), and create a bezier curve that passed through each of those points. If there was a 'tight turn' required by a walking unit (i.e. the RockRaiders), then it would stop and play its 'turn' animation (which is why you would often see a unit stop and turn periodically while walking around). After that we put in 'avoidance' code, to prevent the units from trying to walk through one another (although this we had to balance carefully, as when you have many units, you sometimes must allow them to intersect otherwise they would get *far* to confused).

Can you help out with this if you remember anything? http://rru-stuff.org/nerpfuncs.html

I do remember there being a [Please Talk Properly]-tonne of nerp functions, most of which were created especially for the tutorials (which, for a time, were the bane of my existance!!). All of the 'FlashXXX' functions were there to specifically indicate elements of the Hud UI during the tutorial, and as you've noticed, would also pop out the Chief to explain that particular UI element.

I notice that some of the functions that you haven't yet documented are explained on the Wiki already, so it may be worth comparing the two lists. If there are any specific ones you're unsure of, I can try and fill in the gaps. I may be able to give 'educated guesses' for many of the once I can't really remember.

I do remember there being a [Please Talk Properly]-tonne of nerp functions...

Ooops... I got censored. Let's pretend I said "heap-tonne of nerp functions".

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I remember the routefinding worked such that it would calculate the blocks along which the unit needed to travel, then it would pick a random point within that block (near the centre), and create a bezier curve that passed through each of those points. If there was a 'tight turn' required by a walking unit (i.e. the RockRaiders), then it would stop and play its 'turn' animation (which is why you would often see a unit stop and turn periodically while walking around). After that we put in 'avoidance' code, to prevent the units from trying to walk through one another (although this we had to balance carefully, as when you have many units, you sometimes must allow them to intersect otherwise they would get *far* to confused).

Hmm.. that is not a bad approach. As I remember from the game, the rock raiders would start climbing a wall when they would try to avoid bumping into each other. I was thinking myself of using dijkstra's algorithm, and finding a way to optimise it (like when you have the final route taking a way around the sides of a square area, the code will let the route go diagonally), yet I really like the random part of the LRR method, as diujkstra's algorithm will most likely result in the same route every time.

Something completely different; do you happen to have skype? We have an active chatting room there. I think many people would like to meet you "in person" there =)

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