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Old 02-04-18, 16:24   #1
zenazic
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Default TRLE levels on the Dreamcast - a partial success

Some games for the Sega Dreamcast were ported using a Windows CE (short for Compact Edition) SDK, which Microsoft developed with with Sega. This made it easy for developers to port Windows games that used DirectX for this platform. These games are bundled with an Dreamcast optimized version of Windows CE (by including .DLL and .EXE files on the disk). The Windows CE / Dreamcast variant of TOMB4.EXE is called WCETOMB4.EXE.

So one could argue that the TRLR (and TRC) port for the Sega Dreamcast is practically the same as the original Windows release, with a couple of gimmicks added such as semi-dynamic shadows and an unlockable Gallery feature.

This had me thinking-- maybe they share the same level file format? Turns out, they sort of do. Here's Playable Tutorial Level (tut1.tr4) running on the Sega Dreamcast (NTSC, North American) version of TRLR:



This is only a partial success. As you can see, all the textures are switched up. Regardless of that, it's nice to see, and to know that they share the same .TR4 file format.

The reason why the textures are switched up is because the Dreamcast version uses .TEX files, rather than using the textures bundled in the .TR4 file. Each .TR4 file has a designated .TEX file, and the game will not load a level if a .TEX file for it is not present. I replaced the PALACES2.TR4, in order to get the PALACES2.TEX textures, the most similar to TUT1.TGA.

I've tried a couple more things than just tut1.tr4. Here's a sample level I created for this purpose. You can even see some dynamic shadows on this one!



And here's a custom level from trle.net, Tomb Raider A - The Techno Egyptians, running on the Sega Dreamcast (quite demanding on the console, running at about 10-12 frames per second):



That's about what I've tried, for now.

Here's what works:

- Levels created with Room Edit, and converted with TOM2PC.
- When using the original TRLE/TRLR soundtrack, all tracks will play in the correct order.
- Custom objects. (as seen on the Tomb Raider A - The Techno Egyptians video)
- Triggers, flybys seem to be working fine.

Here's what doesn't work:

- Textures are all screwed up. I'm currently working on making an aesthetically correct TUT1.TR4 for the Dreamcast.
- Levels created with NGLE or TombEdit won't load.

I'll be working on improving this, updating the list of what works and what doesn't, and working on having an aesthetically correct custom level run on the Dreamcast. In the mean time, if someone wants to help understand the .TEX format, so it can be edited, that would be great.

A couple of final mentions:

- I edited the SCRIPT.DAT using Scripter4 to enable level select and to edit some level names and data. Scripter4 seems to work for every version of the game.
- The delay in the audio tracks playing might be an emulator-related issue.

Raid on. (woohoo 100th post )
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Last edited by zenazic; 02-04-18 at 16:28.
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Old 02-04-18, 16:42   #2
Heckler
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Oh wow

I really didn't expect that. Great find!

This might be a bit ambitious but what if we find a way to get those sexy shadows from TR4 on Dreamcast into TRLE. That would be an amazing addition to all the HQ assets available nowadays for the LE
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Old 02-04-18, 17:17   #3
Alex Fly
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Wow! Impressive! Thanks for posting!
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Old 02-04-18, 18:49   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heckler View Post
Oh wow

I really didn't expect that. Great find!

This might be a bit ambitious but what if we find a way to get those sexy shadows from TR4 on Dreamcast into TRLE. That would be an amazing addition to all the HQ assets available nowadays for the LE
I wonder if devs can compare executables to find the code.
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Old 02-04-18, 18:55   #5
Kikiloco
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Quote:
if someone wants to help understand the .TEX format, so it can be edited, that would be great.
How about this tool:
https://github.com/tvspelsfreak/texconv

Could you upload a .TEX file somewhere so we can inspect how it looks inside?
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Old 03-04-18, 09:25   #6
Dustie
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If only the emulator could emulate modern PC hardware speeds for the Dreamcast to avoid FPS drops... we would be able to play our non-TRNG custom levels with dynamic shadows on the PC in the emulator
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Old 04-04-18, 08:42   #7
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This is seriously cool! Playing custom levels with dynamic shadow and Dreamcast bump mapping is a dream come true
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Old Today, 17:04   #8
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Sorry for bumping but is there any update on this?
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