Psychotron Story Arc

I’m still on this game hacking kick. Today’s target is The Psychotron, perhaps the most painful interactive movie game I have ever seen. Thing is, I have to admit that I have never actually played this game; I am judging the game purely on the plain Cinepak/PCM AVI files that comprise the key feature of the game. I don’t even own the full game, only a demo. Granted, I have tried to play the Psychotron demo but could never make it work. These 1994 multimedia-heavy games…

Psychotron gangsters

Whereas the conversations in Flash Traffic: City of Angels were packed in a quasi-compressed binary format, the conversation tree in Psychotron is stored in a series of .SEG files that look like the file S5H1PD1.SEG here:

\scene5\s5h1Pd1.avi*from 23 to 283*3*Fold.*10*S5h1r1.seg*Bet a large amount.*1000*s5h1r2.seg*Bet a small amount.*500*s5h1r3.seg*

Pretty straightforward to figure out. It also helps me understand a technical matter about the game that irritated me so much when I viewed the FMV files standalone– when you view the game’s files in a standalone player, you will see that they invariably start paused with tracking lines (apparently digitized from a VCR). I am guessing that the game uses the field “from 23 to 283” to describe which frames of the file are meant for human consumption.

Anyway, I wrote a Python script to print out a Graphviz-compatible spec to map out the game demo’s dialog tree. Warning! There might be spoilers in the tree!

Pyschotron demo flowchart
Click for full image

Click for Graphviz source

Ah, who am I kidding? No one cares about spoilers in this alleged story. It is interesting to note that 2 of those trees don’t correlate to any of the scenes on the disc.

The Python source code for generating the graph is below. I finally ordered the full game from an eBay seller the other day so I am wondering if the graphing utility will be applicable to the full game.

Usage: </directory/to/.SEG/files>

3 thoughts on “Psychotron Story Arc

  1. Andrew

    Interesting, I’ve never played a FMV game. Looks to be a typical one from what I’ve read about them though – although there are not many videos around for them (oddly enough :) ).

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