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Author Topic:   Tread Marks' VED map file format
Chris H
New Member
posted April 11, 2000 04:48 AM         
Has anyone posted any documentation about the VED map file format used by TM? I figure not so far, since there aren't any level editors (that I know of), and after the McNallys' unfortunate loss of Seumas I'm not sure how many people there currently know the specifics enough of the format to post specs on it.

I've been able to create preliminary unofficial specs for most of the format based on inspection and some trial&error, and probably enough for someone to do a simplistic level editor for the game. There are certainly a few holes though, mostly with regards to some undetermined values in the ecosystem and entities chunks (which refer to the textures used by the map and certain things about pre-placed map entities, respectively). Maybe the McNallys can help with that; if they can identify some of the things they control during their mapmaking I could likely spot the corresponding data organization in the map format.

But anyway, I've at least managed to deduce the heightfield and texture identification chunks of the format, and the general layout of pretty much the entire format, it's only specific values (the meanings i mean) that I'm uncertain of. Has anyone else managed to decipher this format? If not, provided the McNallys don't object, I could post my preliminary findings if anyone's interested in making an editor...

- Chris

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LDA
Administrator
posted April 11, 2000 08:59 AM            
Hi Chris,

We would rather not give out the file format at this time.

At the moment, it seems that we've already given away too much in the demo version....and I'm thinking more of the corporate vultures here than the individual gamer.

During our last night in San Jose, a programmer from Intel, after thanking Seumas for giving him enough information so that he could construct a decent landscape engine, asked Seumas, "Now, you just have to tell me about the Tread Marks file format and I'll be set?" To which Seumas replied, "We have to hold something back or else we'll have nothing left."

I spoke to Seumas about this situation shortly after and it was his desire, not to give out the landscape editor until game sales justified it, and to open source the code, also if and when game sales made it possible.

I will be doing my best to honor Seumas' wishes, and ask that you hold back your information.

Regards,

Jim

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NOPeR
Member
posted April 11, 2000 12:44 PM            
Jim

Once again thank you for a straightforward response. It is very good to see LDA answering the questions and not just feeding us a line. Not too many gaming companies are so open to their customers concerns.

I do understand LDA's hesitation to provide information on the file formats of the game, especially if you concerns revolve around protecting your ideas from other companies who could exploit your work. Because of this I have already stated, on this message board, that I will not release any information related to my hacked up map editor or the VED files.

However, people are curious and when they see such a rich world to explore, like the engine used in Tread Marks, they want to create! It becomes inevitable that someone is going to release an editor. Because no official editor exists people play around and discover your file formats.

Hopefully Chris H. will listen to your request and withhold any information he has been able to decipher, but soon enough someone will not and they will release a map editor without your permission. It won't be me, I have too much respect for Seumas and LDA, but as popularity of your great game increases so will its contact with people that are less reputable. Please take this into consideration when delaying the release of an official editor.

On a similar note, I have created a couple maps that, I think, compliment the great physics in this game (I love jumps!) and I would like to make them available for download. I have already sent these and many other AddOns to Random Chaos so that he may post them on his MOD download page. Perhaps it is past time to address the New Maps issue?

AddOn maps do not expose any more information about the game than the maps that come in the demo and do not break any of the Mod guidelines. Also, since the demo version restricts the use of addon tanks and maps they would not damage interest in the full version of the game. Please tell me that you will allow these maps to be shared. They are my way of giving back to the TM community.

NOPeR
Jonathan Hansen
jonhansen@usa.net

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LDA
Administrator
posted April 11, 2000 02:12 PM            
NOPeR

I agree with what you're saying, and we won't be stupid or try to be overbearing about the issue.

1. Yes, please give back to the TM community

2. Our bigger concern would be the breaking of the demo to allow it to accept the mods.

3. Negotiations are ongoing which preclude me from agreeing to any further releases of information about the editor etc. However, I'll press for openness, as I believe that the more mods the better...provided they're for the full game

Jim

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NOPeR
Member
posted April 11, 2000 02:43 PM            
Thanks Jim!

You and LDA rock! I hope everything goes well with this whole publisher deal.

NOPeR
Jonathan Hansen

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Dudymas
Member
posted April 11, 2000 03:48 PM            
Let me go ahead and type it too. You guys are beyond software development of any type, kind, species, whatever. I hope that one day there will be a way to define such a great thing as LDA, i know i can't, but it will be from a latin root word meaning "awesome dude!!!".

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Dudymas: The Other White Meat

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Dudymas
Member
posted April 11, 2000 03:48 PM            
Oh, and don't forget to say that this is going to be in my history book.

[This message has been edited by Dudymas (edited April 11, 2000).]

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peeet
Member
posted April 11, 2000 04:37 PM         
interesting discussion & issues...
i am wondering (since i don't play other games) how do other software companies, such as the makers of Q3, deal with mods? do they officially "allow" mods? and if so, are proprietary mod programs sold by the companies?
just wondering...

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kleenfreek
Member
posted April 20, 2000 11:58 AM            
Different companies handle mods in different ways. If there is a spectrum of "mod love" that a developer can provide, id would be about 75% towards the positive, releasing tools and docs, answering questions and so on. Valve and Epic, from what I understand, have taken it one step further by actually PAYING people to make mods. Granted, only the best of the best get $ and that is only after they're proven their mod is good. But, the Counterstrike guy is getting paid now, and so are a few UT mod teams. Thats the main reason that on any given night, 15000+ people are playing some form of half-life online.

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DvsDuke
Member
posted April 20, 2000 03:47 PM            
Please read my last topic on the message board and also mods always bring a new fell and life to every game we know and love yet the standard TreadMarks is great I cant wait to start making mod (im making small ones in the demo till I can get it) and to tell you the truth I think you should of limited the demo more due to the power but from experience being to nice can get you into troubles but as you can see the community behind this game is growing and id say add more limits and advertise if it went for my PC Accelerator CD I would of never knew this awesome game existed..

so really what im saying copy the head honchos of the gaming community cause there strategies are great but there games are shot coming compared to tread marks

Also maybe LDA could release an "Map Maker" totally encoded so people can get there hands on the way you did the maps (not sure if theres a way to do that but I know raw hex is very hard to dig thru) humm or possible "oficial" mods

Well to conclude I see huge opportunities in modification and selling this game it has an incredible community already arising and the after a few min of the demo it intrigued me to buy the real thing

Once again Thank you LDA and I love this game ill order ASAP and LDA have you ever herd or played a game called "Tank Wars" cause almost all the weapons from this game act like the ones from that old dos game.

Thanks , DvsDuke

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LDA
Administrator
posted April 20, 2000 06:27 PM            
Haven't heard of Tank Wars...we were all Amiga fans up until 3 or 4 years ago....I'm glad that Tread Marks brings back good memories of it....that's always a good sign.


As far as publishing goes...Even if something happens soon, a boxed version of Tread Marks won't be on shelves until the fall.


...I'll try to keep the mods issue as open as possible in any negotiations...as we like it


...I should have more information in a week or two....

Jim

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Dudymas
Member
posted May 02, 2000 03:15 PM            
Hey, we need to start a book on moding. I think we should all pitch in some of the best mods we have and some tutorials, along with definitions to sll variables for modding. We could put it online here at the LDA website, and have it updated weekly or so like that. I would keep it going as often as i could if no one else. I just think we could easily do it. Just have the e-mail spread evenly to a select amount of people who are allowed to edit the site, and viola... we'll be able to know the game in no time at all.

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Dudymas: The Other White Meat

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peeet
Member
posted May 02, 2000 03:46 PM         
yes, please help with moding... i don't think it's rocket science, but i know i don't have alot of time to figure things out.

it would be really helpful to have step-by-step instructions, as well as a complete list of the settings and their meanings (as well as their default settings, if known), categorized by their class.

someone (RC?) started a list of settings, but i don't know if he finished or knows what they all do yet...

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Kaeto
Member
posted May 02, 2000 05:06 PM            
Any and all mod questions can be asked of me I love to answer them... The beginning of next week will see the start of some tutorials by me posted on RC's board...

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