BZ2 model formats?

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Mihail121
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BZ2 model formats?

Post by Mihail121 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:45 pm

Hello, I'm new to the forums and a huge fan of BZ2. Being a software engineer I had the crazy idea some time ago to make sure certain favorite games of my survive in the world of modern technology, i.e. to make sure they are based on portable, stable systems. Some games I'm planning to deal with are Homeworld, Seven Kingdoms 2 and, of course, BattleZone 2 most of all as it is my favorite game of all time -- with great concept, great sound, great visuals etc. etc.

The cut the long story short, as I'm certain Activision will never hand over the code, I asked myself the question if the game could be reimplemented? Not to look better or something (I don't want to lose the classic gfx), but to use a stable and well-tested engine like Panda3D etc. where I can embed everything in an optimized scene graph. I know the game is quite complex, but I believe most of the complexity is concentrated in the mission scripting and the AI though I may be wrong. I am very sure though that any decent engine will handle the mechanics (graphics, sound, physics) easily. So I thought I would first ask where to get some information on the file formats used by the game. I also noticed the missions are stored as dynamic libraries so there should be some interface with the game that each mission should stick to. So my question is also how complex the game scripting system and the AI are? I don't really think everything would be portable 1:1, but perhaps a better modern game will come out :)

Once again, I just want to get an overview over the complexity, nothing else.. yet.

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Red Devil
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Re: BZ2 model formats?

Post by Red Devil » Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:44 pm


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Ded10c
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Re: BZ2 model formats?

Post by Ded10c » Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:54 pm

You just put complexity and AI in the same sentence, didn't you?

That explains what Red Devil is doing here...[/url]

Mihail121
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Re: BZ2 model formats?

Post by Mihail121 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:21 pm

No need to point me to the Battlezone 3 project, I clearly said I don't want to change anything in the original.

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GSH
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Re: BZ2 model formats?

Post by GSH » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:43 pm

To answer the subject topic, BZ2 reads in .x and .xsi (version 1.1, which is ancient) file formats, and caches them in .msh, a proprietary binary file format. There has been a .xsi pack released (google around) for the assets in the original game. 1.3 includes a 'modder data' .7z file with the raw assets for any items changed/added since 1.0.

Several people in the community have asked over the years, and a worthwhile thing to do would be to either (1) have an .xsi 1.3 (current format) to .xsi 1.1 converter so that BZ2 could read in items made with more modern 3D packages, or (2) reverse engineer the .msh file format, and provide converters from more modern file formats (e.g. collada or something open) to .msh. There's a Blender exporter to .msh, though incomplete, so #2 is a possible approach. Neither of these approaches require my time. The community would love it if more people got their hands dirty. I'm not doing anything about either approach other than trying to prod people off their rears.

As to your first post, a new engine would be a lot more work than you suspect. BZ2 players are *very* attached to their vehicle physics. 'Close' doesn't count. As for AI, there's ~150 C++ classes for AI, and it's a very large part of how things work. (I've recently had to do a lot of codereviews on that AI code recently to find/fix bugs.) It's not trivial at all. Mission scripting, especially multiplayer, is a very small bit of work on top of that.

-- GSH

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Ded10c
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Re: BZ2 model formats?

Post by Ded10c » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:17 pm

There's also a pack of raw assets which I believe was used by the original developers, containing an assortment of files amongst which are the original .hrc (ext?)s. Unfortunately, .hrc-s are awkward and I have yet to find a decent way of converting them that isn't seriously expensive.

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labmice00
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Re: BZ2 model formats?

Post by labmice00 » Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:59 am

I thought Shy said that XSI Mod Tool could view them. Not sure about the conversion.

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Re: BZ2 model formats?

Post by Josiah » Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:07 am

labmice00 wrote:I thought Shy said that XSI Mod Tool could view them. Not sure about the conversion.
yes, the mod tool does import/export the old models...

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Re: BZ2 model formats?

Post by Mihail121 » Sat Feb 26, 2011 1:02 pm

GSH wrote:As to your first post, a new engine would be a lot more work than you suspect. BZ2 players are *very* attached to their vehicle physics. 'Close' doesn't count. As for AI, there's ~150 C++ classes for AI, and it's a very large part of how things work. (I've recently had to do a lot of codereviews on that AI code recently to find/fix bugs.) It's not trivial at all. Mission scripting, especially multiplayer, is a very small bit of work on top of that.
-- GSH
OK, one could extract the physical properties of each game object easily, but the AI is extremely large yes, under this circumstance a reimplementation is rather pointless. Hopefully I'll live long enough for them to release the source code. Thank you.

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Re: BZ2 model formats?

Post by Ded10c » Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:18 pm

Josiah wrote:
labmice00 wrote:I thought Shy said that XSI Mod Tool could view them. Not sure about the conversion.
yes, the mod tool does import/export the old models...
What, the .hrc-s?

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