Saturday, June 30, 2007

Lost Planet Extreme Condition .ARC Extractor v1.1

Requirements: Microsoft® .NET Framework 2.0
Download: Lost Planet Extreme Condition .ARC Extractor v1.1
Info: This version can handle more than ~70% file extensions of .arc files. Problem is file extensions are hashed with some algorithm which is not implemented in executable module, that is why tool will create some files with hash extensions like: "tool\Havok\Vertex\om4012_1.1AEB54D1". Game music was recorded and encoded with high quality and compressed in Ogg format.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hospital Tycoon

Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: Deep Red Games

Minimum system configuration:

- Windows XP
- DirectX 9.0c
- Pentium 4 @ 1.6 GHz or Athlon 1600+
- 512 MB RAM
- Graphics Card: GeForce 3 / Radeon 8500 or above
- DirectX Compatable Sound Card
- 2x DVD-ROM Drive
- 750 MB Hard Drive Space

Recommended system configuration:

- Windows XP/Vista.
- DirectX 9.0c
- Pentium 4 2.8Ghz or Athlon 2800+ or better
- Graphics Card: GeForce 6600 / Radeon X1300 or above
- DirectX Compatable Sound Card
- 2x DVD-ROM Drive
- 1.5 GB Hard Drive Space

That Bullfrog’s (Syndicate, Theme Park) original Theme Hospital was released way back in the same year that Duke Nukem Forever was first announced – 1997 -- should provide some consolation for those of you who feel they have waited far too long for an update to this classic sim game.

As a successor to one of the few games that remain playable today, despite the obviously dated graphics, CodeMasters have quite high expectations to live up to. But is Hospital Tycoon the miracle recovery after a 10-year coma? Or do we turn off the machine that goes “ping!”, call a code and order in a re-supply of body bags?

In Hospital Tycoon, much like its predecessor, you have to set up and run a hospital, making sure all the patients who walk in your front door leave the same way. You build rooms, buy a variety of crazy medical devices, hire doctors and nurses, janitors and receptionists, and generally try to keep things running smoothly so that patients don’t die on you. Equipment and salaries cost you money, while curing patients brings it in. Simple. So what’s changed in this new, updated version?

As far as graphics go, Hospital Tycoon’s visuals are a clear improvement on the decade-old original. As expected, this iteration sees a move from sprites to polygons. While it won’t be winning the “Polygon Pusher of the year” award for 2007, the graphics fit very well with the mood of the game. Big heads and exaggerated animations add to the humour, and sparkly animated effects on patients and machinery make the suffering of your sims thoroughly enjoyable.

It’s the gameplay, however, where Hospital Tycoon differs most significantly from what you might expect. While the basic functionality remains the same, you now have far less control over the hospital-running aspects of the game. Doctors essentially do their own thing, and while you can tell them to walk somewhere, you cannot tell them to treat a specific patient who’s near death at the end of the queue, or work in a certain room. Instead, the control focus is on having staff interact with other staff – you can make them fight, tell jokes, fall in love, etc.

While this is a neat idea to a degree, it adds nothing whatsoever to the gameplay. Your staff will still do all this without you telling them to, and you can play through the entire game without ever using this feature except where specifically directed to do so by the level objectives. There are no options that allow you to manage the economy of your hospital, nor to set the direction of your research: all research is now conducted automatically by one researcher when a patient with an unknown illness comes in. In fact, about the only aspect of this game where you have more control is in the decorating – you can now buy a variety of posters, plants and decorative features to improve the “beauty” rating of your hospital.

All in all, this game was a fun disappointment. The 'story' for the level-based part of the game is weak, uninteresting, and does not impact on the gameplay. For all the effort put into making staff with individual personalities and customisable hospital rooms, you lose any changes you made to these characters and rooms after each level, with the next starting with a default set-up. Despite this, the underlying gameplay is still solid and enjoyable.

For all Hospital fans I've coded another fine tool.

Requirements: .NET Framework 2.0
Download: Hospital Tycoon .PAK Extractor v1.0

File Format:

4 - unk 1 // const 0x34FDF66A
4 - files count
4 - offset to FIT
4 - FIT size
4 - offset to FNT
4 - size of FNT
4 - offset to FDT
4 - size of FDT

4 - offset in FDT
4 - offset in FNT
4 - file size

FDT - File data table
FNT - File names table
FIT - File info table

FDT - array of bytes;
FNT - array of null terminated string;
FIT - array of DWORDs

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Broken Sword 4: The Angel of Death

Developer: Revolution
Publisher: THQ

Broken Sword is one of the few adventure series to still enjoy success across the world. In fact, it has been so successful that creator Charles Cecil has now had to go back on his original promise that it would be a trilogy, and the fourth game in the series is set for release in September. The game is published by THQ and developed by Revolution and Sumo Digital, and we managed to get a first play of it at Leipzig this year to see how protagonist George Stobart has been getting on.
The bad news is that George doesn't look to be doing too well at the start of The Angel of Death. Back in New York but unable to find legal work anymore, he's at a bit of a low point until a mysterious woman called Anna Maria enters his life. At this point, fans of the series may be wondering what happened to previous love interest Nico, but other than the news that she will appear as a playable character in the game, we have no details on that front.

Because it's an adventure game famed for its scripting, we pressed Cecil on the area of scriptwriting as he demonstrated the game. While he was incredibly cautious about revealing any potential spoilers, he was eager to talk about the scriptwriting process for the new game, which he believes is the strongest yet. The mechanics for each Broken Sword game has been forgotten knowledge, which resurfaces in the modern day. Thanks to George's inquisitive nature, this knowledge leads to a conspiracy and drives George through the adventure as he uncovers more clues. The fact that Cecil has visited both Egypt and New York to research the game might give an indication of where it's heading.

With the last game tying the story in to a nice, neat trilogy, many fans have been asking what direction the fourth game will be taking. Cecil talked about taking the game back to its roots, especially since the first game is his favourite, and the desire to create the feel of a 2D adventure game in 3D. In Broken Sword 3, the move from 2D to 3D was an incredibly controversial choice, and Cecil was open about the mistakes he had made. His biggest regrets are the number of crate puzzles in the game and the omission of a point-and-click interface. The second Broken Sword game in 3D, The Angel of Death has fewer crate puzzles and focusses more on adventuring, while complementing the keyboard interface with the restored mouse control for traditionalists.

Whereas Broken Sword 3 was released on the PC, Xbox and PlayStation 2, the fourth game in the series will be PC only. Despite overwhelmingly positive reviews, a massive proportion of the game's sales were on the PC, so console versions are off the menu this time around. However, the project features a controversial new development technique whereby Cecil remains creative control while development is outsourced to Sumo Digital. Since Cecil is still employing Neil Richards as scriptwriter and the people behind Outrun 2 to program the game, we're excited that this method will yield positive results.

During our demonstration, Cecil let slip that Anna Maria might not be all she's cracked up to be but that this will be revealed to the player. He went on to explain that this technique, which he has applied from cinema, is used to increase the attachment to George in the game. Just like in a horror movie where the audience knows when the murderer is going to jump out at someone, players should care more for George because of the danger presented by this girl. If they have been through previous adventures, it's likely that they'll also want to see him fall in love and live a normal life for a change.

When the game is launched in September, a soundtrack will be released to accompany it and dynamic game hints can be found in the menu system, in case you get stuck. We're hugely excited about continuing George's adventures, and we'll see if Cecil's ambitious storytelling and development methods have yielded another classic adventure in a couple of weeks' time.
Finally I found few minutes to post this tool, and I want to say I'm happy that more and more people like my tools, unfortunately for all I have no time because I have my job and need to do it :)
Requirements: .NET Framework 2.0
Broken Sword 4: The Angel of Death .PAK Extractor v1.0

Monday, June 4, 2007

Blog Update

Unfortunately, at this moment I totally have no time to make new unpackers and update my tools :( but I prepared one gift for today. I will try to update blog every week, so be patient ;) also I received many emails with requests to help or write tools, but I cant help everyone, you should understand me, I doing my best.