Just a random grab-bag of old PC software...
Followup: It seems that this game runs off the Quake 3 engine and uses RoQ files for its multimedia. Indeed, it is possible to unpack the .pk3 files using the standard unzip command under Linux. The game contains RoQ files for video animation alongside MP3 files for audio during video playback.
[Link: Id RoQ sample files]
Running the main game executable under Wine does not get far as the game informs we that a debugger has been found. Funny that. The proper installation program doesn't get much further.
Followup: It seems that this game actually runs off of the Unreal engine and that all FMV is in-game engine animation.
Installation under Wine works extremely well. But the game crashes immediately when run.
[Link: EA WVE samples]
Attempting to run this game under Wine reveals something curious:
wine: L"D:\\INSTALL.EXE" is an OS/2 binary, not supportedThis is the first time I have ever picked up an OS/2 title. The disc is not labeled as such.
Followup: I have been notified that this game is not, in fact, an OS/2 game. Rather, Origin chose to use a custom 32-bit .exe and memory manager which confuses Wine.
[Link: Sample AVI files encoded with Xan A/V codecs]
The game is designed for DOS. From playing the game briefly in DOS, I get the impression that the game belongs to that short-lived sub-genre of multimedia entertainment where the player was behind the wheel of a high-speed vehicle blasting stuff. Only, instead of the 3D scenery being rendered real-time, it is just FMV and the only real control the player has is where the target is pointing.
More information on the BRP format can be found in "1-Hit Wonder" Formats.
[Link: BRP samples]
Trailers include: Extreme G3, Luigi's Mansion, Madden 2002, NBA Courtside 2002, Pikmin, Super Smash Brothers Melee, SSX Tricky, Star Wars: Rogue Leader, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, and Wave Racer: Blue Storm.
Curiously, the disc also bears the usual Compact Disc logo but with a "Version 1.0" qualifier.
Upon examining the contents of the CD-- which are enough to fit snugly on a 1.2 meg 5.25" floppy disc, I scramble to check the copyright date on the jewelcase-- 1994! A 10-year-old CD-ROM, one of the oldest in my collection. It's not even spec'd to work under Windows. The disc contains an executable, a readme, a directory of sound drivers, and (I believe) some Visual Basic support files.
The back of the CD-ROM jewel case has plugs for "these other exciting titles": Nickelodeon's Director's Lab, Richard Scarry's How Things Work, Richard Scarry's Busy Town (mentioned here), Bill Cosby's Picture Pages- Number and Shapes, Lenny's Time Machine, and Lenny's Multimedia Circus.
Under Wine, installation goes quite smooth. The game starts but crashes when I try to play a single-player game.
[Link: Sample AVI files encoded with KMVC]
Followup: I have been informed that this game probably does not use Smush Animation (SAN) files.
Installing the game under Wine puts me in the awkward situation of when the installation program has taken over the entire monitor but has blocked due to unimplemented Wine functions. Then I have to get creative about killing Wine without taking down the whole X server.
The packaging is impressive. Not only does the box have a nifty hologram, the game comes with a 126-page hardcover book entitled "Thera Awakening" (a novella for Interplay's Stonekeep by Steve Jackson and David Pulver).
Examining the disc reveals 26 Interplay MVE files, much to my excitement since I have worked hard on programming Interplay MVE playback systems.
[Link: Interplay MVE samples]
I would be remiss if I did not mention, and reproduce in its entirety, the strangest file on the CD-ROM, a file entitled muffin.txt:
Tim Cain's Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins ----------------------------------------- They're the Shadowking's favorites! 1 2/3 cup flour 1 cup sugar 2 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp nutmeg 1/4 tsp cloves 1 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 2 eggs 1 cup pumpkin (half of a 16 oz. can) 1 cup chocolate chips 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted Preheat oven to 350. Grease muffin tins (one dozen regular sized) or use baking cups. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Break eggs into another bowl. Add pumpkin and butter and whisk until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Do NOT overstir! Scoop batter into tins and bake 20-25 minutes. After cooling, keep muffins wrapped in plastic to avoid drying.
More information on the Novastorm media formats can be found in "1-Hit Wonder" Formats.
[Link: Various Novastorm media samples]
As for other multimedia, the game is rife with Smacker files, over 1400 of them. A wav/ directory contains a great number of WAV files, while a music/ directory contains a series of .raw files which are clearly 8-bit, unsigned PCM, but no indication of mono/stereo, or sample rate (things that would only be determined empirically).
[Link: Smacker samples]
The disc devotes about 47 MB of space to a demo for a game called Eradicator. No indication of FMV in the giant .001 resource file.
I suppose I could read the files in the doc/ directory to find out what the game is about. But I think it's more fun to figure it out based of the deadsong.wav lyrics. I gather the point of the game is to conquer a piece of space territory that various alien races are squabbling over.
Attempting to install the game under Wine ends with an error reporting that it is unable to locate a SETUP.INS script file on the CD-ROM.
The root directory of the disc contains a 560 MB file simply and beautifully entitled "tree". There is a mtdemo/ directory which contains another subdirectory called movies/. The only item in this directory is a readme.txt files which claims, "This directory contains movies." I'm disappointed.
Under Wine, the installation complains about a non 256 color graphics mode, but still seems to install fine. Running the program reveals a primitive painting program that allows you do drop in pre-made Spider-Man-type graphics as well as drawing random color streaks across the image. The program allows you to put multiple frames together as a movie, add FM or MIDI music, and apparently lets you record sound through the microphone.
by Mike Melanson (mike at multimedia.cx).
Multimedia Exploration Journal
Multimedia Research Institute Main Page