Bt Builder

Discussions and help for the Bard's Tale Construction Set
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dulsi
Posts: 242
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:15 pm

Bt Builder

Post by dulsi »

Bt Builder is an open source implementation of the Bard's Tale Construction Set. The eventual goal is to make a game builder that can implement the three main Bard's Tale games in addition to Construction Set games. Other possible extensions include Wasteland and Dragon Wars. It is available for Linux and Windows. It supports everything from BTCS plus a number of capabilities beyond that program.
caars
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:01 pm

Re: Bt Builder

Post by caars »

Now this is a welcome sight! :)

Okay! To business!

First of all, the save feature in 0.4.5 has been *very* welcome. I've finally been able to continue my testing without crashes erasing my "test" characters' progress!

I can confirm that single target spells are now including the monster names in the description when you cast them. I haven't tested group target spells yet - stupid on my part. I was thinking along the lines of my character don't have any "group damage" spells, but I *do* actually have a few spells that are "debuffs" that can target a group. Should have thought of that and tested it out - I'll get on that ASAP.

All group target damage spells do not include the monster name. I *suspect* this is by design - which of the available monster groups would the spell use, after all? But I figured I'd report it just in case. It does mean I'll need to change the "flavor" messages for all of my spells that target all foes, but that's not a big deal.

At least one of the crash issues is definitely related to having a damage causing spell that lasts more than one round of combat. The scenario has a spell called "Sear Armor" which causes all monster groups within 20' to take 1-8 damage per round for the rest of the combat. Interestingly, if I actually cast the spell each round, the program doesn't crash (and the previous castings of the spell don't seem to apply - I suspect this might be code to keep the same spell from having a cumulative effect when cast over and over again in combat). But the moment I go a round without casting the spell, once everybody has finished out the round, the program crashes immediately (and that round's damage from the spell is never applied).

I do seem to have found a new bug: finding a trap immediately crashes the program! It applies to both chests and trapped placed in dungeons. Note that "Trap Zap" on chests works just fine still - and if my rogue fails to find a trap (either on a chest or when I enter the trapped square in the dungeon), the program doesn't crash. I do know for a fact that finding traps was working just fine in previous versions, so this one's definitely new... since I've been using "restore from save" I don't know if loading up the party straight from the Guild would prevent the bug from crashing the program.

One minor nitpick: when you save your game, the "Do you want to save, Yes or No?" message stays put. While not necessarily "broken" - it probably would be best if either the message disappears when you make your choice, or at the very least it adds "Game saved" and/or "Game not saved" when you choose Yes/No respectively. It's not like it was hard to realize what was happening, but I will admit that the first time I tried out the feature my first thought was "Aww - nothing happened. I guess the save feature didn't work." It wasn't until a moment later when I remembered that most messages don't auto-clear that I realized it probably *did* save the game, and I just didn't realize it.

And last but not least: I also discovered that "Trap Destruction" does not work at all like I thought it did. If it is active (even for one round), all traps in the square you are on are destroyed (and even a one round application will take out a trap on a chest). But it does *not* use the range stat, or destroy traps in the direction the party is facing like Trap Zap did in the original BT games. That does mean that you can't use "Trap Zap" (i.e. one-round trap destruction) to destroy traps placed in a dungeon maze, although it does remove traps from chests. That actually clears up something that was mentioned in the old thread that (until now) never made sense to me: why dulsi referred to "Trap Destruction" as "Trap Detection" and why the "Trap Destruction" effect created an eyeball. It's actually *is* much closer to trap "detection" (with the assumption that the moment you have detected a trap you can disarm or bypass it). One other thing I found out the hard way - if you don't code a placed trap special to actually clear when stepped on, it won't - even if disarmed by a rogue. If you step on the square again, the trap'll trigger again - even if "removed" by a rogue earlier.

Whew! It's good to be back! :)
Modules for BT Builder (still very much works in progress):
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing
Methuselas
Posts: 347
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:03 pm

Re: Bt Builder

Post by Methuselas »

Well, in honor of the new site and the new BTBuilder thread, I present to you, the new City1 tileset. I spent the better part of today rendering it on my laptop, the lady's laptop and my desktop.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing


I need to write a new wall.xml, but this will work now. It's already been tested. Just drop the respective city1 folder in the respective tileset folder. 320 and 640. No 960. Nobody's really using it, but me, so I didn't render it.

Enjoy!

[EDIT] - Screw up on my part. I forgot to resize the 320 horizon. Use this one, instead.

Image
"Using No Way as Way; Having No Limitation As Limitation". - Bruce Lee.

BTBuilder Stuff - https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing
caars
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:01 pm

Re: Bt Builder

Post by caars »

I really like the look of Methuselahs's tile sets, but they do tend to come out looking pretty dark on my computer (e.g. the city tile set looks fantastic, but it's as though the ambient light level is permanent twilight).

Now sure - I know how to mess with the contrast and brightness of my screen, but I'm curious if there is a setting in the map file that adjusts the brightness level of the displayed tile set?

On some maps it's just a cosmetic thing (and really would be useful as a way to kind of tweak the look of things - one author might prefer things brighter overall, and another might like a darker, grittier look), but in my playtests in the sewer map it's sometimes a bit hard to spot the doors (particularly if I'm in my brightly lit office).

Okay and now for a new request! :)

Are there plans for a ruined city map in the works? In my current bard's tale module, I've got one more level of dungeon two to finish (although at the moment I'm playtesting level one of that dungeon), but the next dungeon is supposed to be set in the underground ruin of a city.

Oddly, just about every other planned dungeon into the late game already has a map I can use (including the cavern map :)), except the ruined city. (An above ground version would work too - It'd be easy to just copy over an 'alternate' version of the tileset and replace the background with, say, the version for the caverns.)
Modules for BT Builder (still very much works in progress):
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing
Methuselas
Posts: 347
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:03 pm

Re: Bt Builder

Post by Methuselas »

caars wrote:I really like the look of Methuselahs's tile sets, but they do tend to come out looking pretty dark on my computer (e.g. the city tile set looks fantastic, but it's as though the ambient light level is permanent twilight).

Now sure - I know how to mess with the contrast and brightness of my screen, but I'm curious if there is a setting in the map file that adjusts the brightness level of the displayed tile set?
There's no brightness level to adjust. It's how the renders are done. Trying not to get TOO technical, it's like this:

The way Mental Ray does renders, for some odd reason, it renders out in Linear RGB, which is mostly for print and not sRGB, which is used for animation projects, by default. The problem with this is you end up with bad bleed effects and artifacts using lights in your renders. To make maters worse, Mental Ray automatically converts a render to sRGB, but materials (texture maps) are set to use sRGB. Basically, Mental Ray double adjusts for sRGB, so I have to compensate, by turning it off on materials, then setting it to override and render from sRGB to Linear RGB, so when Mental Ray does it's "automatic" sRGB conversion, I don't get artificats and light bleeds. I could re render the problem tilesets (which the Sewers is a major one. I just haven't gotten around to it yet.) using brighter lights, but then we risk seeing splotches of white artifacts from the lights not rendering properly.

Also, even though I have it set to do so, the materials used for the tilesets don't actually reflect lights, as I didn't make specular maps nor are the materials reflective. They're basically static.
On some maps it's just a cosmetic thing (and really would be useful as a way to kind of tweak the look of things - one author might prefer things brighter overall, and another might like a darker, grittier look), but in my playtests in the sewer map it's sometimes a bit hard to spot the doors (particularly if I'm in my brightly lit office).
See above.
Okay and now for a new request! :)

Are there plans for a ruined city map in the works? In my current bard's tale module, I've got one more level of dungeon two to finish (although at the moment I'm playtesting level one of that dungeon), but the next dungeon is supposed to be set in the underground ruin of a city.
I have a "dwarven underground city" planned, but I'm not quite sure how I want to begin with it. The limitations of the engine prevent me from doing things I'd like to do, such as 2 level buildings. When I get around to it, it shouldn't be hard to just convert it to ruins.
Oddly, just about every other planned dungeon into the late game already has a map I can use (including the cavern map :)), except the ruined city. (An above ground version would work too - It'd be easy to just copy over an 'alternate' version of the tileset and replace the background with, say, the version for the caverns.)
The City 1 tileset is designed, so I can cut pieces out, to make it "ruined." I just haven't gotten around to it yet.
"Using No Way as Way; Having No Limitation As Limitation". - Bruce Lee.

BTBuilder Stuff - https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing
caars
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:01 pm

Re: Bt Builder

Post by caars »

@Methuselahs: I actually understood most of what you were trying to explain, so it's all good. Since it's easy enough to "switch out" tile sets, my plan is simply to copy "City1", change out the backdrop, and make it my "ruin set stand in" for now. Once there's an actual ruined city, I'll just switch out my "fix" with the real one. Easy :)

@dulsi: Okay, more updates on bugs:

Just found this one this morning: At the moment if you try to get a non bard to play a bard song (i.e. hit 'b' and select someone who isn't a bard), instant crash. I get the crash both when I load from a saved game and when I load the party at the guild.

Also - more on the find traps one: I loaded at the guild and went into a dungeon. The first chest I came across Find Traps worked just fine (the trap was located and removed). The second chest I came across trying to Find Traps crashes the program.

It occurs to me that my specials that govern traps are actually pretty complex, so perhaps it's a flaw in how I programmed the special. I'll test this out by putting together an extremely simple trap and seeing if "finding" that one still tends to crash the program.

EDIT: I know we mentioned it before, but I think it was lost in the original thread... I do think a very, very basic 'debug' mode would be useful: well, not so much a debug mode as a way to track what the current values of flags and counters are, to make sure things are working right. For example, you press a key (like E or something) and a window comes up displaying things like the current value of the counter, which global and local flags are currently set, the value of any 'countdown' (i.e. the current value of the timer). Just some basic stuff.
Modules for BT Builder (still very much works in progress):
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing
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ZeroZero
Posts: 286
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:10 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Bt Builder

Post by ZeroZero »

Good to see this thread being continued. How happened it being lost?
Methuselas
Posts: 347
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:03 pm

Re: Bt Builder

Post by Methuselas »

ZeroZero wrote:Good to see this thread being continued. How happened it being lost?

Uh, Darendor, when he was moderator, took it upon himself to delete the thread, after he tried to start some drama on it and locked it.
"Using No Way as Way; Having No Limitation As Limitation". - Bruce Lee.

BTBuilder Stuff - https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing
caars
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:01 pm

Re: Bt Builder

Post by caars »

Methuselahs understates what actually happened.

A few weeks ago Darendor decided that having an ongoing discussion about a game that lets you make Bard's Tale games in a forum titled "Bard's Tale Construction Set" was wildly inappropriate, and asked if we'd go elsewhere.

We politely declined. Darendor became extremely upset that we would dare challenge his authority and claimed that he would leave us alone while monitoring the thread closely for just about anything he could use as a slight pretext to lock down the thread.

A few weeks later he accused one of us of posting to the thread about something that is illegal (it wasn't), and encouraging forced labor and slave trafficking (and no - there was absolutely no way, logical or otherwise, to make that connection, he was just making stuff up at this point), and locked the entire thread as punishment.

Instead of, you know, doing what a normal moderator would do and delete/edit the "offending" post and give a warning to the poster. He accompanied the locking with a statement that there was no way the thread would ever be unlocked. And everybody participating in the thread should pack up and go somewhere else (making it clear that any attempt to start a new thread would be instantly locked).

Understandably, we asked if Brian the Fist could do something about this. Again, utterly incensed that we would dare challenge his authority (even though he taunted us by stating that the only recourse we could possibly have is to go to Brian), Darendor deleted the entire thread out of spite before his moderator powers could be removed. This was followed by a couple profanity laden posts (again by Darendor) in response to anyone who still disagreed with what he was doing.

For obvious reasons, Darendor is no longer moderator here.
Modules for BT Builder (still very much works in progress):
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing
Methuselas
Posts: 347
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:03 pm

Re: Bt Builder

Post by Methuselas »

caars wrote:Methuselahs understates what actually happened.

LOL! I was trying to keep it civil. XD Caars, shoot me a PM describing what you need for your underground ruins and I'll try and throw something together.
"Using No Way as Way; Having No Limitation As Limitation". - Bruce Lee.

BTBuilder Stuff - https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing
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ZeroZero
Posts: 286
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Location: Germany

Re: Bt Builder

Post by ZeroZero »

As I said in the moderators thread, I had my experiences w/ Darendor and could have predicted such things....
Methuselas
Posts: 347
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:03 pm

Re: Bt Builder

Post by Methuselas »

Caars,

I pulled out some wall textures to do underground ruins for you. I'll post some test pics later this evening. It will just be wall textures, but if it's what you need, let me know and I'll work to get it done, ASAP.
"Using No Way as Way; Having No Limitation As Limitation". - Bruce Lee.

BTBuilder Stuff - https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing
caars
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:01 pm

Re: Bt Builder

Post by caars »

Methuselas wrote:Caars,

I pulled out some wall textures to do underground ruins for you. I'll post some test pics later this evening. It will just be wall textures, but if it's what you need, let me know and I'll work to get it done, ASAP.
Yeah, only the wall textures. I wouldn't need the backdrop - I've got several that would work.

Sent you a PM with specifics. No rush, though - I still need to design the second floor of dungeon two before I get to the city. And that'll take a bit of time because I also have to finish play testing floor one.

I'm making progress, but the bugs slow things down - in part because I can't be sure exactly which ones are just bugs in BT Builder and which ones are problems with programming my "specials" (more on that in a bit). So it requires slow, tedious, and careful testing to see if I can track down if they are BT Builder bugs, or "I can't program specials right" bugs.

But I'm reluctant to start designing the next maps because I tend to "progress" to the next map by either copying the template, or the current map I'm on. So if I can squash any bugs in my "generic" specials now, I only have to correct them once - if I don't catch a bug until I'm 10 maps in, I now need to correct the bug in 10 separate maps.... ugh.

Speaking of which:

@dulsi: Okay, I designed a simple "placed" trap, and a simple trapped chest. Both do 2 damage, with no special effects. Both claim to be shooting darts (not that that's important). Neither is set to clear, and the chest gives out a dagger.

I can step on the placed trap over and over again until the cows come home. Each time either I trigger it and take a bit of damage, or my rogue detects and bypasses it. I've detected and bypassed it at least a half dozen times (and set it off even more), and never crashed. I've loaded from a save several times - same effect. The program doesn't crash. So that suggests the crashing triggered by the more sophisticated traps in my dungeon are a problem with my programming of the special itself.

Oh, and why does triggering a trap (versus removing it) make the picture of an orc appear? Seems like an odd thing for the program to do...

Anyway, the chest is a different story. Triggering the trap by opening it without trying to find a trap seems to work just fine - I've opened that chest and gotten my dagger many times, and not crashed. It's find traps that's odd - I seem to be able to consistently find the trap once, and the second time I "succeed" the program crashes (I'm not hitting "find" over and over again without opening, by the way - I hit find, the trap is found, I open the chest, get my dagger, then step off the tile and return to "respawn" the chest). That can't possibly be a problem with how I programmed the special - the special is nothing but the 'chest' command and 'stop.'
Modules for BT Builder (still very much works in progress):
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing
dulsi
Posts: 242
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 7:15 pm

Re: Bt Builder

Post by dulsi »

Trapped chest bug has been fixed. I haven't had any luck reproducing the multiple round damage spell problem. I'll try again and perhaps test on windows. It may be something that isn't showing up under linux.
caars
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 10:01 pm

Re: Bt Builder

Post by caars »

Okay, new bugs (Yay for playtesting!)

In much the same way that trying to have a non-bard play a bard song crashes the game, it would appear that trying to have a non-caster cast a spell crashes the game as well.

Been messing with the Bard Songs. The "per level" tag (I think it's just "level" in the xml file) doesn't actually regenerate mana "per level" (I switched Rhyme of Duotime to have a combat effect of regenerating spell points by 1-4 per level of the bard with a non-combat effect of increasing number of attacks; but it is only regening 1-4 spell points regardless of bard level...)

Speaking of which, I *think* it is upping my attacks by one each time I load up a previously saved game. I've got it set so that fighter-types should get 1 extra attack every 4 levels (like in regular BT), but I've got level 4 characters getting 3 attacks in a round (and RoD is the bard song currently running). I need to test this one more to make sure, but I thought I'd give a heads up.

Casting a spell that affects enemy AC in combat makes the shield icon appear (not sure if that's intentional or not) - on the plus side it vanishes after the combat is over.
Modules for BT Builder (still very much works in progress):
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing
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