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A resource for modders and technology enthusiasts; have a wander to see why we're worth the time! EST. 2012


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Everything posted by Kavawuvi

  1. SAPP is an amazing extension for the Halo dedicated server, being the only extension that supports no-lead. However, its online documentation is a little frustrating to read through either because part of it is outdated, or sehe's site isn't up for whatever reason. Download: sapp-2.4.pdf (56 pages) View it on Google Docs: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RAnl68RN8z0RAvJcPqnv94ngzWZ6xavaX1EHsAqHeJU/edit?usp=sharing Older versions:
  2. I do like it when there are more platforms to get games, as that encourages competition. For example, GOG is a really cool platform, as there's no DRM, for example. Many Steam games do have DRM, however. GOG offers something that Steam doesn't have, and that's what I want to see. It means we can choose and pick the best option for ourselves. What Epic Games is doing is not this. Quite a few companies have actually broken promises such as a Steam or GOG release of a game, and they've done this in exchange for whatever money Epic gave them to keep them exclusive to Epic for a year. We aren't getting a better option when they do this. Instead, we're getting shafted. This is anti-competitive. I have nothing against choosing to release on just Epic Games in itself. Sure, that's disappointing and I probably won't buy that game, but that's it. What is wrong is the way they are being deceitful about it.
  3. Here is another table. This one is for the entire Refined campaign. Here are the important points: On average, compression ratio is under 40%. This reduces the total size of the Refined campaign on disk from around 2.65 GiB to around 1 GiB. Decompression on 8+ threads provides the best decompression times. It is worth noting that times and scaling can be improved further, but it will come at the cost of compression ratio. Even on CPUs that don't have 8 physical cores but have at least 8 threads (e.g. desktop Intel Core i7 CPUs, Ryzen 5 CPUs, etc.), SMT/HT can still provide improved throughput. Decompression on 4 threads provides worse (longer) decompression times compared to 8+ threads. CPUs that are dual core but have four threads (e.g. pre-Cannon Lake Intel Core i3 CPUs, Kaby Lake and Cannon Lake Pentiums, etc.) will perform worse than true quad cores but may still get better times than those that have only two threads. Even when locked to 2 threads, decompression usually takes under 4 seconds. Note that PCs with CPUs that actually have only 2 threads will probably perform worse due to having low clock speeds, slow memory, etc. Also, the operating system may be doing tasks in the background, consuming CPU time.
  4. (Icon is by SteamFox) Chimera is a mod that adds additional functionality to Halo Custom Edition. Features: Enables player_magnetism without requiring HAC2 or devmode Fixes descoping issues in multiplayer servers Fixes aim assist, enabling it for both the movement and aiming versus just aiming (chimera_magnetism) Adds diagonals to analog input when in multiplayer servers (chimera_diagonals) Mimic's Xbox's automatic uncrouching when using analog input (chimera_auto_uncrouch) Enable anisotropic filtering without using config.txt (chimera_af) Override HUD with splitscreen HUD (chimera_split_screen) Allow video input to continue playing even when tabbed out (chimera_tab_out_video) Disable multitexture overlays (chimera_block_mo) Disable multiplayer map fade transition (chimera_skip_loading) Disable zoom blur and pixelation (chimera_block_zoom_blur) Make objects' movements appear much smoother to take advantage of higher framerates (chimera_interpolate) Allow mouse users a more granular sensitivity control (chimera_sens_mouse_<h/v>) Set deadzones for controllers (chimera_deadzone_looking and chimera_deadzone_movement) Show budget information for map developers (chimera_budget) Disable the 30 FPS lock in cutscenes (chimera_uncap_cinematic) Throttle your frame rate to a set frame rate (chimera_throttle_fps) Prevent your vehicle from aiming for you (chimera_block_vehicle_camera_leveling) Fix the scope when scoped (chimera_widescreen_scope_mask - requires HAC2 widescreen fix) * This feature requires Halo Custom Edition to function properly. Cyan features are enabled by default without user input. Green features are disabled by default and require use of the console to enable them. Use the chimera command to list commands. Download (build 49): chimera build 49.7z There is also a Discord server: https://discord.gg/ZwQeBE2 FAQ Very frequently do people ask me the same questions about Chimera, so here’s a little FAQ about it. How do I install Chimera? Place chimera.dll into your controls folder. What OS do I need? Windows 7 or newer OR Linux with Wine 3.0 or later. Older versions of Windows or Wine may work, but they are unsupported. If you are on an unsupported operating system, do not submit bug reports. Is there a list of commands? All commands are listed in the help menus using the chimera command. Is Chimera compatible with HAC2 and Open Sauce? Yes. Is Chimera compatible with HaloMD? No. Will Chimera be integrated with HAC2 or Open Sauce? No. What levels of interpolation do what? This graph details what levels do what: Note: Off is 0, Velocity is 1, Low is 3, Medium is 6, High is 8, Ultra is 9. Ultra has the same level of interpolation as High, but no distance check optimization is in place. Will interpolation work on frame rates higher than 60 FPS? Yes. Objects are jittery with interpolation on. Here is what I'd do: First of all, if you're not using the latest version of Chimera, install this. If you have vSync turned on, try turning it off. vSync causes poor frame pacing in Halo and can result in dropped frames even on fast hardware. If you need to throttle your framerate, use chimera_throttle_fps 240. If you need to play without tearing, use HAC2's borderless window feature (play in -window and set resolution to Windows's resolution). Using -vidmode always enables vSync. If you're getting bad performance (lag spikes or average frame rate dropping below refresh rate), turn your interpolation setting down. It's likely your PC cannot keep up. I recommend these settings if you want to use chimera_interpolate 3 or higher: If you're going to use chimera_interpolate, I recommend you have at least these specifications. These should get you chimera_interpolate 3 (low), max Halo settings (make sure you aren't locked to 30 FPS), 1080p, at approximately 60 FPS: CPU (Intel): Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (3.0 GHz) or better CPU (AMD): AMD Athlon II X2 250 (3.0 GHz) or better Graphics (Intel): Intel HD 3000 or newer Graphics (Nvidia): NVIDIA GeForce 8600 GT or better Graphics (AMD): ATI Radeon HD 5450 or better RAM: 4 GB Note: These values are listed only for reference and are recommendations. The chimera_interpolate command does not directly utilize the GPU, nor does it use a large amount of RAM for interpolation, but your game will run better if you have enough RAM for the rest of your PC. If you're getting good performance but your interpolation setting is less than 9, try turning it up. It's possible the object in question isn't being fully interpolated. Is the retail version of Halo supported? No. Halo Custom Edition on version 1.10 is the only version supported by Chimera. Are versions of Halo earlier than 1.10 supported? No. Does Chimera work with scrim mode? Client-sided features (interpolation, anisotropic filtering, zoom blur removal, etc.) are not affected by scrim mode. However, the server-side Lua script, which includes fixes for lag and analog movement, will not function. Does Chimera automatically update or have update notifications? Currently, you are responsible for keeping Chimera up-to-date, and if there is an update, you will have to come back here to get it. Notifications are planned, however auto updating will not be included. Why are Chimera releases slow? Chimera does not function on donations, thus development is done on a portion of my personal time. If it takes a while, it takes a while. SPV3 includes Chimera. Are you in CMT? No. Can I install Chimera on my Mac? Yes. Install Windows, buy the Windows version of the game (if you don't own it), install Halo Custom Edition 1.10, then place chimera.dll into your controls folder. I can't install Windows on my Mac. Can I still install Chimera? Yes. Simply buy a PC, install Windows on it (if Windows isn't preinstalled), buy the Windows version of the game (if you don't own it), install Halo Custom Edition 1.10, then place chimera.dll into your controls folder. Older downloads If you need an older version of Chimera, here are older versions:
  5. NOTE: THIS PROJECT IS NO LONGER BEING MAINTAINED! Please use MosesofEgypt's Refinery tool, instead, from the MEK. It is better than Deathstar Map Deprotector in every way, plus it can even extract tags without breaking them, unlike HEK+! What is Deathstar? It's a map deprotector that deprotects Halo cache files using mapped out dependencies (courtesy of Sparky's plugins), rather than guessing and checking, making it faster and more accurate. It can also deobfuscate tag paths. When you open the program, by default, it will do both of its functions, but you can uncheck one of them if you only need one function. Zteam deobfuscates tag classes, and Name deobfuscation deobfuscates tag paths into: deathstar\map name\tag class name\tag_number example: deathstar\bloodgulch\weapon\tag_473 (the pistol tag in blood gulch) Originally, it was meant to be just a library for programmers, and I will continue to update the library for as long as I update the application. The source code to the library is open-source under the BSD license. https://github.com/Halogen002/Deathstar I'm still unsure about required specifications, but it's been tested on a Windows 7 PC, and it might work on Windows Vista. If you have Windows XP, go ahead and try to run it, but remember that Microsoft declared it dead, so I will treat it as such and only help you with instructions on how to use it. The Mac version should be compatible with OS X versions as early as 10.6, though if you want to be sure that it'll open, you should upgrade to 10.9; it's free. I will not be supporting PowerPC Macs or Mac OS X 10.5. Windows: Deathstar Deprotector - win32.zip (Mac) OS X: Deathstar Deprotector - osx.zip If you find any problems with Deathstar on certain maps, then let me know. I would also prefer a link to the original map.
  6. Yesterday, when I was on the car trip back to home, I wanted to make a map in Eschaton. The problem is that Eschaton's rebuilder takes a very long time to work, even if you're just stopping to rename one tag and not bothering to do anything else. On Windows, it's 100x slower, too, and for no reason. So, first off, what is a map rebuilder? A map rebuilder is what we use for generating new maps out of old ones. The goal of a rebuilder is to take apart a map and put it back together, usually with added tags. However, this tool is not intended to be a rebuilder. The name isn't "Map Rebuilder", it's "Map Builder", though it can be one and already works as one. What have I done so far? Speed - Instead of testing Blood Gulch or Phoenix 3, I decided to test both. I put the maps together into a giant map (that looks exactly like Phoenix 3). Basically, I've imported every tag from Blood Gulch into Phoenix 3, taking around 2 seconds, instead of the 10 minutes I'd get in Eschaton even if I didn't import anything. Halo CE support - From the beginning, I've made sure it would work with Halo CE's indexed tags. With this, there will be faster and better tag importation. When I've reached a stage where I can release a tag importer that uses it, it will be open-source. -- How does it work? You can disassemble a cache file into a tag array. It automatically appends references and raw data (bitmaps, sounds, models) as needed which can be modified without editing the tag data. All of this can be done in seconds (or less sometimes), where dealing with Eschaton takes forever to do the same thing.
  7. Not really. Nearly everyone who was on the Halo PC modding scene has come and gone. Most of the few who are left are on Halo Custom Edition and use the Halo Editing Kit.
  8. I have decided that Chimera version 1.0 will be released under General Public License version 3 or later. It is my opinion that making a mod closed source and never releasing the source code to it is hypocritical and detrimental to the modding community, and that kind of content has no place here.
  9. Games for Xbox Live
  10. Here are some more questions that were asked about map compression: Does it use LZMA or LZMA2? LZMA2 is not actually a compression algorithm but a container format that can use LZMA. However, if you were to strip the cache file header and the table of blocks from a compressed map, then it could possibly be decompressed using tools like xz. Does it compress in blocks or is it one stream of data? That depends on the uncompressed size. Generally, smaller blocks result in a worse compression ratio. If the uncompressed size is less than 8 MiB, then it will not do it in blocks. There isn't any significant performance benefit to separating such small files into blocks, while doing so would result in worse compression ratios. If anyone has any more questions, feel free to ask them here. Also, I'm considering dropping Open Sauce support. There are several reasons why I'd want to do this, but here are the main reasons: - It is difficult to use Open Sauce on Linux with Wine, and this makes it difficult for me to develop Chimera while testing Open Sauce. - Chimera's widescreen mod and Open Sauce's widescreen mod do not play well, and I'd rather not upset people by disabling the widescreen mod if Open Sauce is detected. - Open Sauce has a map downloader, and I absolutely do not want to make a workaround to support it while still having my own map downloader. - Chimera's map downloader does not support Open Sauce maps, anyway, and I have no way of knowing if the server is hosting such a map. Essentially, this means that Chimera's features will not care if Open Sauce is installed. However, like HAC2, if you encounter any problems, I won't try to fix it and will tell you to uninstall Open Sauce or Chimera, instead.
  11. Halo Demo/Trial is a cut-down version of the full version of the game. For example, on Campaign, you are limited to The Silent Cartographer. You can't play the full game, and if you beat this level, you are treated to a video of Sgt. Johnson ordering you to buy two copies of the game, and you are ordered to buy another two when you close the game. Money-wise, playing the demo/trial is expensive if you have to keep buying two copies of the game every time you play it. But in seriousness, on Multiplayer, you are limited to Blood Gulch on Free-for-All Slayer or CTF with no access to custom gametypes. Also, you don't have access to the console nor do you have access to dedicated servers. This means: You are stuck on Blood Gulch unless you convert a full version or custom edition map You are stuck with banshees and warthogs being on the field unless you mod the map You have limited access to custom gametypes, requiring you to go through very roundabout ways in order to use custom or alternative gametypes Due to Trial being an old build, you cannot use "Reset Game" as it will just effectively do what "New Game" does except with the current gametype and map, thus you cannot use it to do a count-of-three Someone always has host advantage, giving them a massive advantage over all of the other players These drawbacks make it unviable for scrimming compared to something like Halo Custom Edition which has: All of the maps and gametypes of the full version of the game Custom maps and gametypes Dedicated servers No-lead The console sv_map_reset (so you can do a count-of-three) By design, the demo/trial version is inferior and is only intended to sell the full version of the game. Also, scrims and clans exist in Custom Edition and the retail version of the game. Even if the trial did exist, I don't see why anyone would prefer this over Custom Edition or even the retail version of the game aside from the fact that the trial is free.
  12. Moved to General Gaming. Also, being limited to Blood Gulch and The Silent Cartographer got old for me when the Mac modding scene died. What benefit is there to going back to this now?
  13. Yesterday, I made map compression a thing, and I am considering implementing it into Chimera. Here's a mini-FAQ on it: What compression algorithm are you using? LZMA What compression ratios can be achieved? Compression ratios vary from map to map. Generally, uncompressed data compresses better than compressed data. For example, model data and tag data generally compress better than DXT texture and OGG sound data with OGG sound data being the least compressible. For example, the Refined Campaign is a collection of 10 singleplayer maps. These maps, when combined, take up a large amount of data: 2.649 GiB. When compressed, they are reduced to 1.003 GiB, achieving a compression ratio of 35.27%. How are loading times impacted? Loading times vary depending on the size of the compressed map, but it more depends on the specifications of your PC. Faster storage and more CPU threads will drastically improve performance. Judging by the results of the recent poll, most people have at least four threads. How do I make a compressed map? A tool is in development to turn existing Halo cache files into compressed files. Not all maps can be compressed, however. Maps compiled using os_tool, most protected maps, and maps with embedded Chimera scripts are examples of maps that cannot be compressed. How long does it take to compress a map? While LZMA decompression is fast, LZMA compression is much slower and can be fairly memory-intensive. Compressing Refined's d40.map took 20.591 seconds with RAM usage of around 4 GiB. Reducing RAM usage without affecting the output file is possible, but it requires limiting the thread count, further increasing compression time. Can compressed maps be used with Refinery? Currently, no. The tool that compresses maps can decompress maps, but those maps will still not work with Refinery. Making it work would most likely be trivial, however, if anyone is up to the task.
  14. I'm considering dropping HAC2 in the 1.0 release of Chimera. In the past, I've received numerous complaints about people's HUDs looking wrong when using Chimera's widescreen fix while having HAC2 installed. It was that reason why I made the full widescreen fix unavailable when these mods are detected. Some people were not happy with this decision, but unfortunately, I had to do it. In the 1.0 test builds, this restriction was removed. Since I'm considering ceasing support of HAC2 in the 1.0 release of Chimera, I'm probably going to be removing this restriction for good. This means that you will be allowed to use the widescreen fix even if you have HAC2 installed. However, if you encounter any problems by using HAC2 and Chimera together and you try to report it as a bug: I will NOT try to fix it. I will instead tell you to either uninstall HAC2 or Chimera. If and when I do decide to formally drop HAC2 support, I will make a more detailed post.
  15. Since I work on a lot of stuff, I figured it might be a good idea to talk about some of that stuff in a topic like this. I'll post screenshots and other stuff as I work, and you guys can comment on how bad you think the bugs will be. Current projects in development Chimera This is a mod for Halo Custom Edition which provides a number of fixes and/or enhancements to the game. Supports: Windows, Linux (through Wine 3.0 or newer) Salamander This is a .JMS exporter for Blender, adding an item into the Export menu for exporting .jms files. The resulting .JMS files can be fed into tool.exe to produce levels and models. This provides a way to make levels on your PC without requiring you to spend lots of money, have a student e-mail account, or commit piracy. Supports: Windows, Linux Invader This is a program and library that builds cache files and tags and may be used in a number of my (or your) projects in the future. Supports: Windows, Linux xLAN This is a program which can be used to tunnel Xbox system link connections over a wide range of Ethernet networks. Connections are peer-to-peer and do not require any master server, though a master server is an option for your convenience. It currently supports Windows, but Linux support is being worked on. Supports: Windows only; Linux support is being worked on Slipspace Launcher This is a launcher for Halo which gives a variety of options to choose from without having to create a shortcut, allowing you to manage multiple Halo installations with convenience as well as check and/or join your HAC2 bookmarks directly without needing to be in-game to do so. Supports: Windows, Linux (through Wine 3.0 or newer)
  16. Here's a little experiment: lightmap generation on multiple threads. Tool's lightmap generation is single threaded, and hacking tool.exe to be multithreaded is next to impossible. What isn't impossible is running multiple instances of tool.exe at once. By doing this, each BSP for a map can have its lightmap generated in parallel. This means that there would be no time savings for one BSP, but two or more BSPs could see the time greatly reduced in theory. To test the theory, I wrote a Bash script that, when given a scenario tag, quality, and stop threshold, will attempt to generate lightmaps for every single BSP tag in the scenario tag's directory. If anyone wants to use it, here's the thing: For the benchmark, I tested a10 (stock) using the "fresh" tags set. I set quality to 1 and tested both 0.9 (for a really short amount of time) and 0.001 (for a lengthy period of time). I also tested both single (one instance of tool.exe at a time) and multi (multiple instances of tool.exe at a time). Here are the results: As you can see, there is a massive time improvement to doing it in parallel. With 0.9, it resulted in a savings of over 8 minutes, reducing the time by 76%. With 0.001, it resulted in a savings of over 4 hours, resulting the time by over 68%. It is worth noting, though, that a10.map has nine BSPs. Maps with fewer BSPs will probably see a much smaller gap.
  17. Hey! I haven't really been posting much updates in a while and here is an explanation for the various programs: Chimera: I don't really have the time to work on it right now. This shouldn't be the case for much longer, though. Salamander: I'm currently waiting on Blender 2.8 to be released. Blender 2.8 has a lot of new things for it, including a far more intuitive interface for those used to other software. However, the Python API is not backwards compatible, so I feel supporting 2.8 is more important than 2.79. Invader: This is actually being worked on simultaneously with Dark Circlet as it heavily relies on Invader. xLAN: While there is plenty to do, it's in a working state with few major bugs and I don't have time to do things with it right now. Slipspace Launcher: Like xLAN, there is plenty to do but it's in a working state with few major bugs, so I don't want to expend any time on it right now. I used to have lots of time for this stuff, but thanks to college, I have obligations I need to fulfill each week. Sorry, but that's life.
  18. Sure, they could very well be using dedicated hosting, but they've not given any reason to be taken at their word, from what I can tell. There are just way too many big red flags that it's probably best to just stay away from them.
  19. Generally, if you're buying something, you ought to do a little research into what you're buying, even if it's not part of your background. You definitely don't want to get screwed over, here. To explain, AWS and Azure are both cloud computing services provided by Amazon and Microsoft, respectively. If a service is using this, then rather than physically hosting, they are using these services to host it. This is cheaper, as they don't have to purchase the hardware, Internet connection, housing, etc. There is nothing wrong with using AWS or Azure, as doing this is a great way to save money. However, if what @Solaris is saying is true and they are trying to sell VMs as "dedicated" hosts, then there is definitely something shady going on. The fact that they've got a lot of really bad, recent reviews on sites like Trustpilot or that they're trying to sell something that obviously does not exist (32 player Halo servers) doesn't help. Not to worry. You didn't offend anyone. You simply asked a question, and any good question should deserve a good answer.
  20. It's obviously fake. Do NOT do it. Here's why it's fake: Halo allocates a fixed amount of memory for players and player machines. Because they only allocate exactly enough for 16 players and player machines, you'd need a heavily modified server AND client for it. Such things do not exist (to my knowledge), and if they did, I doubt you'd find 31 other people with it. Even if it wasn't fake, there aren't any maps that would be good with 32 players, let alone even work with them. Most stock maps would run out of spawns, so you can kiss your dreams of 32-player Chiron TL34 or Blood Gulch goodbye here. And no, meme maps like Coldsnap and Extinction won't work with 32 players either. The only reason these maps are large is because they have vast amounts of empty, useless space. As a result, these maps end up being terrible even with 16 players. Bigass won't be good, either. It may be big, but most of the terrain is just empty and hilly. People will just crowd the bases, assuming there are even enough spawns for 32 players. Personally, I think it's a bad idea and that you will obviously get ripped off if you do it. But if you want to foolishly throw money away for a service that they cannot give you, go right ahead. Be my guest. At least when you complain that it doesn't work, it'll be on the Internet and people will know to stay away from them in the future. Or, of course, you did the smart thing of not doing any business with them.