Thursday, January 1, 2015

Hot pink sands of Athas

As I mentioned previously, my son has become quite interested in the defunct online computer game "Dark Sun Crimson Sands". Unfortunately the ability to resurrect a client/server game who's last server shut down in 1999 has proved a bit challenging. I did find a copy of the files and was able to get the splash screen to materialize for a brief second before the "unable to connect" brought things to an abrupt end. I know the graphics and visuals are hidden in the .GFF files, but finding something capable of reading those .GFF has proved challenging. I am pretty sure they are not the genomic file format used for DNA. The generic file format used by Bioware for the Witcher and Knights of the Old Republic seems closer, but all the third party GFF reader gives me is a structure number. My hex code byte reader gives me little snips of text surrounded by gibberish. I am sure there are pictures in there somewhere, but have yet to find a binary code reader that can reconstruct images (assuming that they are either uncompressed, or compressed with a common format like .bmp or .gif). However desperation has led me to a unique and interesting approach. As it so happens "Wake of the Ravager" also uses GFF files and it was pretty easy to guess that the files labeled rgn01, rgn02, etc were the map files. I copied over the rgn files from Crimson Sands to a copy of "Wake of the Ravager" and voila a game with just enough difference for my son to declare it "Crimson Sands" and move to the next project. Screen shot below:

P.S. My son has great faith in me, but after all I am a rocket scientist
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