RFC regarding the non-Gold Pack installer

Discuss Drakan: Order of the Flame with fellow players and post any technical problems here where an 'unofficial' support team will try and help you. Gameplay help questions can go here too.

Moderators: Mechanist, Arokhs Twin, yangez93

User avatar
Mechanist
Dragon
Posts: 298
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:27 pm
Location: Poland

RFC regarding the non-Gold Pack installer

Postby Mechanist » Mon May 28, 2018 4:09 am

Since I'll be releasing a self-installing version of the Drakan Gold Pack Enhanced in about a week or so, I'd like to hear some feedback about certain features that we might or might not want to have in it. :?:

Specifically:
  • A license file (EULA). At the moment, there is none - but I'm a mechanic, not a lawyer. Should I just leave it out? I don't think copy-pasting the EULA from vanilla Drakan would work well (if at all).
  • Link to the Level Editor. As of right now, the installer doesn't create one (but it does preset the editor paths to the correct locations). I figure that adding a link to it will just lead to inexperienced users accidentally breaking the level files; and those people who actually have an idea of what to do with it, should have little problem finding the Level Editor.exe on their own. Or, in other words - people who have trouble finding the .exe, probably shouldn't even be using the editor in the first place.
  • More presets for dgVoodoo? Right now, there's only 1 preset for it (2x AA + 4x anisotropic) included; that looks OK (a considerable improvement over no AA at all), and the performance penalty is minimal; this should be playable even on low-end systems. But on better hardware, it's possible to run double the filtering without ever dipping below 60FPS due to GPU bottlenecking (and possibly even max filtering, on really good hardware). The graphical improvement beyond the default values isn't great, though, which makes me wonder if that's worth the extra complication.
  • We could really use some form of a simple game launcher, which would provide a version checking capability (if not auto-updating), as well as links to relevant webpages for troubleshooting any problems. However, making something like that is considerably outside the scope of my abilities. :|

User avatar
Arokhs Twin
Site Admin
Posts: 1197
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2001 9:36 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: RFC regarding the Gold Pack installer

Postby Arokhs Twin » Mon May 28, 2018 8:36 pm

The EULA - Don't know what to suggest about that. I'll have to have a think about that as I'm no lawyer as well and know nothing about such things.

I'd agree with the level editor link that people who can't find the level editor .exe shouldn't be using it :)

DGvoodoo - leave as-is
By fire and by blood I join with thee in the Order of the Flame!
Webmaster of Arokh's Lair

User avatar
Mechanist
Dragon
Posts: 298
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:27 pm
Location: Poland

Re: RFC regarding the Gold Pack installer

Postby Mechanist » Wed May 30, 2018 6:32 pm

OK.

Here's the before-install "Important information" text:
This is a self-installing version of Drakan: Order of the Flame, pre-patched with latest version of AiO Patch and containing all known player-created levels.

NOTE: Because Drakan:OOTF is now effectively abandonware, this installer includes the complete game.
The original game disc is not required to play.
However, it is not required to uninstall an existing installation of Drakan that had been made using the original disc - this Gold Pack is treated by Windows as a different game, with its own separate entry in the Add/Remove programs list; it also installs to a completely different folder than the original Drakan.

This installer has been created to make Drakan maximally accessible to everyone, by minimizing the amount of effort required to install and play.
It can even (p)reset some of the most important game settings to their recommended values.

Also included in the Gold Pack is an optional DirectX wrapper called dgVoodoo2 (only available on Windows 7 or newer, due to its software requirements).
It can be used to improve the game's graphical quality with more modern features, such as anti-aliasing (AA) and/or anisotropic filtering, which weren't practically feasible at the time of Drakan's original release in 1999.

By default, this installer presets dgVoodoo for 2x AA and 4x anisotropic filtering. This already provides substantial improvements to Drakan's visual appearance, while causing only a relatively minor performance penalty.

Thanks to fixes implemented in the AiO patch, dgVoodoo2 now also allows Drakan's notoriously problematic "Lens Flare Effects" to work on modern systems.
Without dgVoodoo2, Drakan's Lens Flare Effects generally don't work at all on most of the modern graphic cards.

The Gold Pack Enhanced also includes the Level Editor, which can be used to create player-made levels.
After installing the Gold Pack, the editor will be located in the <INSTALLDIR>\Drakan\Editor folder.

However, no shortcut to launch the Level Editor has been provided - this is by design, since the editor isn't particularly user-friendly and requires considerable technical expertise to use properly; those users who would have trouble locating the editor executable file probably shouldn't be using that tool in the first place.

WARNING: Improper use of the Level Editor can easily break the game (!!!) by overwriting critical data files - in effect rendering it unplayable and/or making it impossible to connect to the multiplayer servers.

----------------------------------------

Credits and special thanks go to:

Psygnosis & Surreal Software - for creating Drakan in the first place,
Arokh's Twin (aka Teekus) - for running the Arokh's Lair site (www.arokhslair.net) throughout all these years, providing us all with a place to gather,
Dege - for developing the dgVoodoo2 DirectX wrapper,
HeNniFerBoB (aka JeNnDyLyOn) - for making the "Gold Pack Enhanced" text, which appears on the installer bitmap image,
Mechanist - for creating this installer,
UCyborg - for all the hard work he's done on the Drakan AiO patch, including all the fixes which made Drakan multiplayer actually playable,
YOU, the player - for playing this awesome game about dragons!

And here's the post-installation "Important information" (this is also linked to as a "Quick start and troubleshooting guide", from the Drakan start menu group):
Remember to check and adjust the in-game settings according to your preferences; especially the key bindings.

To play the player-created levels: hold SHIFT while clicking the shortcut to start Drakan. This will bring up the "Riot Engine Options" window.
Click the "Developer" tab, tick the "Enable developer mode" box, then click OK to actually start Drakan.
While in Developer Mode, clicking "New Game" will instead open a list of all the installed levels.

To select a difficulty level in Developer Mode, hold CTRL while clicking "New Game".

--------------------

It's generally OK to set all the graphic quality settings to their maximum, even on low-end systems; this is a 1999 game, after all.

DgVoodoo2 users: you might also want to set "Lens Flare Effects" in the graphical settings to "Enabled". Note that if NOT using dgVoodoo2, then changing this setting won't result in any visible difference on most systems.

If you find that Drakan appears overall too dark to play comfortably on your display device, turning up the gamma setting in the game options should help.

Volume adjustment: unfortunately, due to Drakan's engine limitations, it isn't possible to adjust the speech volume independently of the other sound effects.
Because of this, a music volume setting of around 40-60% is recommended for the optimal listening experience.

--------------------

SLI/CrossFire users: if you experience unexpected crashes/BSODs with Drakan, make sure to disable SLI/CrossFire for Drakan.exe - it can't make any use of multiple GPUs anyway, and it suffers from known stability problems on multi-GPU systems unless SLI/CrossFire is disabled in the game's profile.

Windows 10 users: because of the constant Windows updates, Drakan's compatibility with Windows 10 tends to vary quite randomly.
Also, Windows 10 may erroneuosly declare some of the game's files as being "potentially harmful"; this is a false positive, and needs to be manually set to ignore and run the game anyway.
A similar problem happens with some brands of antivirus software; if that happens, add the Drakan installation directory to the exclusion list, and remember to restore any files that might have been quarantined by the antivirus.

If you encounter any stability issues, or Drakan simply fails to start, try the following steps first:
- set Drakan.exe to "Run as administrator" in the compatibility properties tab,
- set the compatibility mode for Drakan.exe to "Windows XP" or older,
- check your antivirus to see if it isn't falsely detecting Drakan as harmful,
- also check the AV quarantine area and restore any Drakan files that might have ended up there.

--------------------

Multiplayer connectivity issues:

If you can't see any currently active servers appear in the server list, or they appear to be offline even while they are in fact active - this is typically caused by Drakan getting blocked by your firewall. You need to configure the firewall to allow Drakan both TCP and UDP connectivity.

Servers refusing connection due to "invalid or corrupt files" - that happens when the game data files (including the level files) aren't exactly identical on both the server and client sides.
This is usually caused by a mismatch between the Drakan AiO patch versions on both machines, or - far more uncommonly - by accidentally overwriting some of the level and/or database files through incorrect usage of the Level Editor.

Hosting multiplayer games from behind a router or NAT requires setting up port forwarding first.
There's a guide on how to do that on the Arokh's Lair forums (https://arokhslair.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3363).
Note that your ISP may also be using NAT, in which case you need to contact them to set up port forwarding on their side, as well. Good ISPs will either do that for free, or charge only a nominal fee for such a service.
Keep in mind that if there's more than 1 router/NAT between Drakan and the Internet, then EVERY device in the chain needs to be correctly set up with port forwarding, or it won't work at all!

--------------------

Additional content in the Gold Pack:

Registry settings for the game (graphics and developer settings), 10th Anniversary Mod and editing tools can be reset using the supplied Reset_All_Registry_Settings.reg file.
Remaining settings are stored in Drakan.cfg in your Documents folder, in "My Games\Drakan".

Editing tools are located in Drakan\Editor folder.

Drakan 10th Anniversary Mod can be found in Drakan\Mod10th folder.
Note that this mod is included mostly for completeness only, since it's rather poorly optimized - the performance isn't too great, even on very powerful modern systems, and it's plagued by many unfixed bugs. In particular, it requires disabling "Bump Mapping" in Drakan options to avoid severe graphical corruption/artifacts.

There are also some pre-defined level-list files included, some known special levels (the ones supposedly good for dueling and ones using special arena code (feature since 445 patch)) have been put in separate .lfl files (Arena.lfl and Duel.lfl).
Check out Drakan\Multiplayer folder.
However, be warned that some of the multiplayer levels aren't very good, so be sure to review them yourself before including them on your server.
A few of the levels are also completely broken, and fail to work at all.

The optional mods can be found in the Mods folder, in the installation directory.
Be careful with them though, they could break things. Depending on what files they replace, some cannot be mixed together unless you use the editing tools.
Character model mods also tend to break savegames!

Please let me know if you think I should change anything in those.

User avatar
Arokhs Twin
Site Admin
Posts: 1197
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2001 9:36 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: RFC regarding the Gold Pack installer

Postby Arokhs Twin » Wed May 30, 2018 6:37 pm

Looks well written - I'd say spot on
By fire and by blood I join with thee in the Order of the Flame!
Webmaster of Arokh's Lair

User avatar
Mechanist
Dragon
Posts: 298
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:27 pm
Location: Poland

Re: RFC regarding the non-Gold Pack installer

Postby Mechanist » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:32 am

What a mess it is now.
I'm suspending any and all work on this installer until we finally manage dig all the way down to bedrock here.

(I've copied the below text more or less verbatim from my now-deleted Discord message):

The "easiest" way out would be to make a patch-installer combining the official 445 patch (would that even be legal to redistribute it in this way, though?) + AiO patch + player-made maps. This should be doable with the tools I already used for the existing installer.
Or to rephrase it - it'd be what the Gold Pack currently is/was, minus the original Drakan it contained.

Of course that means the Gold Pack is now no longer a thing. So what should we call it, then? I don't think this new thing should be called "Gold Pack Enhanced" any more, because it isn't.

Doing it like this would effectively also obviate the need for a separate AiO patch installer - since that would have to be functionally identical anyway, save for the official 445 patch.

Of course now it's time to get the elephant in the room out of the way: such a "patch" would obviously require an installation of vanilla Drakan.
Which can't reliably be bought anywhere, only downloaded from abandonware sites.
There is (was?) a link to that on Arokh's Lair. But should we point to that "where to buy" page from within the installer?
Since that's effectively like saying "you need to own the original game for this patch to work, so go download it from here then"; wouldn't that defeat the purpose?

BTW, Jage/mage150, could you provide the exact wording you want us to use for the "legal disclaimer", or whatever it is called?

User avatar
Arokhs Twin
Site Admin
Posts: 1197
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2001 9:36 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: RFC regarding the non-Gold Pack installer

Postby Arokhs Twin » Fri Jun 01, 2018 5:53 pm

OK, I have had a think about this. First of all distributing any of the original game executable and dll files is illegal and this would include the 445 patch although I had permission from Surreal to host it. Not that that has any credibility now that Surreal is no more buy hey. I would not want to stretch to hosting a installer that includes all of the original game files though.

So what I would propose is leave the gold pack enhanced as it is with it's frequent updates. It is up to the player to decide where to install the game from be it an original disk, abandonware site or the gold pack. I cannot host any files that would compromise legality on this site. Period.

Jage suggested an MP pack 'patch' that can be used on an existing install with the 445 patch (the user would have to install this separately) or over an existing gold pack install, abandonware install etc. This patch would contain the latest AIO patch and the latest updated levels that can be extracted into the game folder. Also UCyborg could add the updated files to his Gold Pack Enhanced if he wanted to.

So for existing players - simply download & extract the latest MP pack or if they prefer the latest AIO patch and install levels one by one. They will be updated on this server as and when I get time which will usually be within a day.

New players would have to install the game and 445 patch by whatever means necessary (see above) then add the latest MP pack.

As it is most of us who want to play already have what we need and would only need to install an MP pack (or AIO patch + levels) to update. For any new players we would just tell them to install the original game. An installer for the MP pack would be a good idea and this way no illegal content is being distributed.
By fire and by blood I join with thee in the Order of the Flame!
Webmaster of Arokh's Lair

User avatar
Mechanist
Dragon
Posts: 298
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:27 pm
Location: Poland

Re: RFC regarding the non-Gold Pack installer

Postby Mechanist » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:17 pm

First, I think we need to firmly decide on what is actually acceptable to host, and what isn't. Especially concerning the patch files.

Also should we distinguish between actually hosting the file(s), vs merely linking to them (as with UCyborg's Gold Pack, and the abandonware download)?

Here's the deal with the patches so far:
The 445 patch definitely changes Dragon.rfl, possibly Drakan.exe (not sure), and a couple other level/database files. I'd need to investigate what is actually changed in it.
The AiO patch changes the above (thus overwriting Dragon.rfl and Drakan.exe), and some other levels and databases too. And it adds the DrakanServer.exe, as well.

Apparently, not much actually remains of the 445 patch after applying AiO on top of it. So would it then be "safe" to combine the 445 and AiO patches into one?


Given the recent developments, I think the best solution would be to have the MP levels and the patches in one installer, to minimize confusion and hassle.
So the installation would look like this then:
Install Drakan from original disc (or abandonware download), then install the update pack. Done.
For updating an existing installation, just download and run the update pack.

UCyborg's Gold Pack: if you want to continue linking to it on his Google Drive, then I can give him the installer script and resources for the self-installing version. Not sure if he'll agree to do that, of course, but it's worth a try.
Of course then we'd need to change that "important information" bit first, as I have mentioned already.

User avatar
Arokhs Twin
Site Admin
Posts: 1197
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2001 9:36 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: RFC regarding the non-Gold Pack installer

Postby Arokhs Twin » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:23 pm

Hosting files - any patches are acceptable including 445 patch and community variants. Any of the original game .exe and .dll files, no.

Linking to files such as the gold pack - well I think I'm OK with this. Anyone confirm?

Update pack - yeah as you suggested. It should contain patches and levels. An installable version would be nice but if it's too difficult leave it up to the user to unpack it.

Up to you with the gold pack installer version but that is between you and UCyborg. Personally I wouldn't bother and leave it up to UCyborg to update it as he sees fit.

Merging the 445 patch and AIO patch I would say is a no-no.
By fire and by blood I join with thee in the Order of the Flame!
Webmaster of Arokh's Lair

User avatar
Mechanist
Dragon
Posts: 298
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:27 pm
Location: Poland

Re: RFC regarding the non-Gold Pack installer

Postby Mechanist » Fri Jun 01, 2018 6:52 pm

any patches are acceptable including 445 patch and community variants. Any of the original game .exe and .dll files, no.
Sorry, but that's a contradiction right there. The 445 patch already contains Drakan.exe, Dragon.rfl, Dragon.rrc and RERES.dll, on top of a couple other files (checked this just now).
Much the same goes for the AiO patch. In both of these cases, the files are right there, readily accessible with any suitable archive extractor software.

So I don't see how it's possible to comply with that rule, seeing that it hasn't been satisfied since day 1.
Unless we try and invoke the technicality that those aren't "original" game files anymore, but TBH that sounds like a totally ridiculous argument.

Update pack - yeah as you suggested. It should contain patches and levels.
Aaand this is exactly the kind of ambiguity that I wanted cleared up; see my remarks immediately above.

BTW, the only files in the 445 patch that the AiO doesn't replace, are a couple of .lvl and .odb files.

User avatar
Arokhs Twin
Site Admin
Posts: 1197
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2001 9:36 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: RFC regarding the non-Gold Pack installer

Postby Arokhs Twin » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:00 pm

I see your point on the 445 patch contradiction and you are right. However it is a patch for a game rather than a 'full' game download. I did get permission to host it although that cannot be proven. It's not illegal if you get permission. Don't think even Sony would care if I hosted it or not but hosting files that would make the game playable would certainly attract their attention.

It's an odd situation; distributing original game files is not allowed but yet distributing patches is not. It's too complex for me to go into and I'm not sure 100% myself so I'm edging on caution here. I would say that the modified files are not 'original' anymore and OK to distribute as on their own cannot be used to make the game playable without the original content. Yeah it sounds ridiculous but there it is.

To be clear - distributing complete files to make the game playable without original source - not acceptable, patches which contain modified versions of some of the game files (but not enough to make a full game) files is OK. Needs someone with more knowledge about game copyrights to confirm this.

Right, having done a bit of research I see no reason why the 445 patch and AIO patch cannot be merged. Technically it would make sense and would be a 'mod' and therefore legal unless proven otherwise. Which I doubt anyone would challenge that.

This article makes interesting reading https://www.gamespot.com/forums/pc-mac- ... -28886944/
By fire and by blood I join with thee in the Order of the Flame!
Webmaster of Arokh's Lair

User avatar
Mechanist
Dragon
Posts: 298
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:27 pm
Location: Poland

Re: RFC regarding the non-Gold Pack installer

Postby Mechanist » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:26 pm

Ok, so let's recap what the "update pack" can/should contain then:
  • AiO patch pre-applied over the 445 patch,
  • Player-made SP levels,
  • Player-made MP levels,
  • The "extra content" from the Gold Pack, including the character mods and the soundtrack.
So applying this on top of the original game install, would then bring it exactly in line with the Gold Pack as it is now.

Is this OK?

User avatar
Arokhs Twin
Site Admin
Posts: 1197
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2001 9:36 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: RFC regarding the non-Gold Pack installer

Postby Arokhs Twin » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:27 pm

Yeah, don't see why not. The end result would be a 'mod' and on it's own cannot be used to make a playable game without the original game content. I'd loose the soundtrack though so save download space.

So yes, together with the players original game install and patch it would be the same as the gold pack (except for soundtrack) as it is now but as the patch does not contain the *Full* game this would be fine.
By fire and by blood I join with thee in the Order of the Flame!
Webmaster of Arokh's Lair

User avatar
Mechanist
Dragon
Posts: 298
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:27 pm
Location: Poland

Re: RFC regarding the non-Gold Pack installer

Postby Mechanist » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:56 am

Ok, so here's what I've got going so far, let me know if you want me to change things:
  • The installer is intended to convert any non-demo version of Drakan into what the newest Gold Pack is (+ the newest maps), minus the soundtrack to save download size,
  • It looks for any full version of Drakan (including an older version of this patch installer) in the "installed programs" list in the registry first, since that takes no time,
  • If it doesn't find it in that list, gives the option to perform a one-time full disk search (may take as much as 5-15 mins) or quit,
  • Search operation has a progress bar (not a great one, since the indicated progress correlates only loosely with actual progress, but the nature of the search operation makes it difficult to provide an accurate progress bar); also it can be cancelled at any time during the search,
  • If it finds more than 1 copy of Drakan, lets user select the correct one from a list of found directories (since the others may be backups etc. and the installer has no way of knowing that),
  • Currently it finds Drakan by only searching for Drakan.exe and looking at the filesize (the demo version is about 10% smaller).
  • If it doesn't find any valid copies of Drakan (none at all, or only the demo), it bails out with the screen shown below.
Error screen for when the installer couldn't find any copies of Drakan.
Yes, that's a fully functioning link to the "Where to buy" page.
.
No Drakan ;(.png
No Drakan ;(.png (13.18 KiB) Viewed 1331 times

Please let me know if you want me to change the wording there!

The rest of the installer is just a placeholder ATM, but the intended functionality is along the lines of the previous Gold Pack installer:
  • Install the patch files and the new maps,
  • Add Start Menu links if there aren't already (for when the user has previously manually unpacked the Gold Pack.7z, for example),
  • Also checkboxes for placing a Desktop icon, and/or a Quick Launch icon (if appropriate for the Windows version it runs on),
  • Optionally install and preconfigure dgVoodoo (if on Win7 or later),
  • Option to reset the registry settings for Drakan.
Not sure how to handle the Start Menu/Desktop link creation yet, since the user might already have existing shortcut(s) from vanilla Drakan installer.
I'll have to look into whether that can be cleanly handled programmatically, considering the possible variations there.
At worst we might have to settle for the user now having 2 sets of shortcuts, one for vanilla Drakan (now redundant) and the 2nd set for the Community Patch.

User avatar
Arokhs Twin
Site Admin
Posts: 1197
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2001 9:36 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: RFC regarding the non-Gold Pack installer

Postby Arokhs Twin » Mon Jun 04, 2018 5:26 pm

No that wording looks fine
By fire and by blood I join with thee in the Order of the Flame!
Webmaster of Arokh's Lair

UCyborg
Dragon
Posts: 419
Joined: Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:24 pm
Location: Slovenia

Re: RFC regarding the non-Gold Pack installer

Postby UCyborg » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:56 pm

Some nitpicking:

  • You can set minimum OS version for dgVoodoo to Vista, with Service Pack 2. Vista fans know that they also need platform update.
  • Are you also including d3dcompiler_47.dll with dgVoodoo? Should be included for Windows 8.0 down to Vista. It's part of the OS since Windows 8.1, so it can be omitted on those systems.
  • Quick-launch is still a thing on Windows 10, just not accessible like on Vista/XP and older.
"When a human being takes his life in depression, this is a natural death of spiritual causes. The modern barbarity of 'saving' the suicidal is based on a hair-raising misapprehension of the nature of existence." - Peter Wessel Zapffe


Return to “Drakan (PC) Game Discussion & Technical Support”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest