Some help with importing pictures

Discussions and help for the Bard's Tale Construction Set
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Some help with importing pictures

Post by Redsand »

10 years after I bought the whole Bard's compilation, I'm finally really into the Construction Set. Maybe it's the innocence of its simplicity that's brought me back to the world of pure, wholesome, 2D rpgaming...or the headache I have from the flurry of all the new fancy, flashy, 3D MMORPGs these days...but I'm really determined to crank out a little adventure of my own with this system. I've dabbled in "game makers" over the years, including stints in RPGMaker 95, 2000, and XP, as well as Flash and even some modding in Diablo 2 and Morrowind. But I've never had the fullfillment of seeing any of the fruits of my labor completed. So I figured, it doesn't get much simpler than the BTCS, and I set out to conjure up a small, yet robust, 5 or 6 dungeon quest with nothing to work with but the contents of the cardboard pamplet of discs I purchased at an EB 10 years ago.

Long story short, I soon discovered that I could import about 30 pictures of my own use in the editor. After reading the readme and upgrading to version 1.3, I made some pictures in a downloaded version of delux paint ii & iie and attempted to import them. I actually created the picture in a version of Macromedia Fireworks, exported as a 112x88, 256 gif file, converted the gif file into a .iff file with a version of XnView, then converted the iff file into a .lbm file with dpaint, and saved the file with a size of 320x200 in MVGA mode. Because it's been so long since I've used msdos, I didn't know what to set my video card at (from the list given to me when starting dpaint). I'm running an NVidia GforceFX right now. Anyway, the readme said to make sure the picture was in Enhance mode, which I'm only lead to believe is E-VGA, yet none of the the E-VGA's in the video card lists will start up for me. And none of them even have the option of a combination of 320x200 with 256 color. The only setting I've found to work is MVGA mode 320x200 with 256 color, but when I import it and view it in the editor, the picture is all scrambled.

Anyone have any suggestions for me? Thanks for any help.

Post by Redsand »

I figured it out. For whatever reason (maybe someone else can elaborate on this), you have to open your <picture name>.iff file in dpaint ii, save it as a <picture name>.lbm file, then open it in dpaint iie and save it again as a <picture name>.lbm file, and finally import it.

But I think the real trick was in creating the picture in Macromedia Fireworks. The file you convert to .iff must be a gif file. Otherwise, when you go to open it in dpaint, a message comes up saying something like: the picture you are loading has 0 colors. Now, I don't know about your paint programs, but Fireworks adds an automatic dither effect to all gifs it opens in 256 color. This process is an attempt to "blend" colors together to give the picture more detail (again I'm only assuming based upon observation). However, since the Construction Set only imports the first 64 colors of your imported picture's palette, this fancy coloring by the dither is a wasted effort, not to mention just plain ugly at the low resolution used by the Bard's Tale games. By cutting straight down to 64 color instead of 256 from the begining, then converting your picture to .iff and then to .lbm, you're ensuring that the Construction Set includes every color in your palette.

So let's recap:
  • Your picture must be a .gif file with dithering turned off (or set at 0) before convertion to .iff.
    Your picture must be 112x88 pixels.
    Your picture must be set at 64 color before conversion to .iff, not 256 color. Otherwise, your palette will be off when importing.
    Your picture must be saved as a .lbm file first in delux paint ii, then in delux paint iie in 320x200 mode.
    Finally, import your picture (remember it must be in the same directory as the import.exe file) and check it out in the Construction Set.
Side note:
* If you follow these instructions and you still find a few funky pixels scattered over your picture when you view it in the Construction Set, try going back to your original paint program (remember, I used Fireworks) and changing the shading or hue of the picture by a click or two. Then follow the steps again to import it and 9 times out of 10 it'll look fine.

** It also helps if the picture you're importing doesn't have an ungodly amount of detail to begin with. Stripping down something with an overload of detail to 64 color will probably look less distinguishable in the Construction Set than a Helen Keller water-color piece. Try focusing more on what's important about the picture and crop out the rest. Remember: this is a 14 year-old DOS program you're working with, not and upgraded Half-Life 2 engine.

Hope this was informative to those looking to be informed. DOS isn't dead. It's just been buried alive.

Remember your roots.
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Location: WV, USA

More monster pics

Post by Iyaesuyori »

Any chance anyone has ripped or converted any of the BT1, BT2 or BT3 monster pics/animations for BTCS use? I am presently working on building an extensive game but am limited to the few pics that BTCS came with. I do have the Deluxe Paint and Animator downloaded (the latest file version for both), but I am not an artists nor have I ever used any such program ever, lol. Any homebrew animations/monster pics and converted ones would be very well appreciated.

And conversely once I finish my first projects I will provide it to anyone who wants to try it out. (I will try to link it up to these forums for easy access). But the main thing right now is gathering support, information on BTCS issues & how some of the finer details work + getting some artowrk for my monsters :?

thanks for any help you may provide :wink:
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Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: New Zealand

How did it work out

Post by Dravrah »

Hi how did those pictures work out for you. Would you have a sample pic to view?

Regards :shock:
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:09 am
Location: Georgia (the state, not the country)

Re: More monster pics

Post by GeorgiaBoy »

Iyaesuyori wrote:Any chance anyone has ripped or converted any of the BT1, BT2 or BT3 monster pics/animations for BTCS use?
Any word on this?


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