Author Topic: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?  (Read 5583 times)

Offline Macready

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Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« on: January 08, 2006, 01:35:52 PM »
Hello -

I've noticed a couple of things lately as I have frequented the forums on my latest run through Tutu.  First: I've seen it mentioned that Tutu is having a hard time moving forward due to the absence of its primary coder, Japheth.  Second: what few glitches I have found (in Tutu or Tutu mods) mostly seem to be caused by bad TP2 code -- the authors, in an effort to promote mod interoperability, have taken the approach of modifying instead of overwriting game files, and this extra layer of coding sometimes creates issues.

I am wondering: would it be possible to shift to an alternative method for distribution and installation of the core Tutu package?  From what I can see, the combination of Tutu + Tutu Fixpack basically yields a modified game EXE and a ton of additions to the override directory.  Would it be possible, then, to use Japheth's Tutu conversion program solely on the developer end, and then cook up an installer that simply performs the binary modifications to the game EXE and then dumps all of the modified game files (plus Tutufix core bug fixes) into the override directory?  This approach could yield a lot of benefits:

* Japeth's absence becomes a non-issue.  For his wonderful work he will always be respected, but we free both him and the Tutu developers from the yoke of his creation.

* Bugs in the core package will be much less likely, since the developers can implement them interactively via tools like NearInfinity, instead of programatically via WeiDU.

* The installer can be scripted to check for all kinds of things that cause post-installation headaches (lack of full installs, presence of Dudley fixes, etc.), and abort with an informative error message if such a failure-inducing condition is detected.  This means less support, and less support means the mod makers spend more time doing what we all want them to do: modding (and relaxing!).

* Computer novices will no longer be flabbergasted by the install procedure.

* etc

Is there any problem (technical or possibly copyright related) with taking this approach?  If not, I'd be happy to volunteer my services to make it happen.  I'm a full-time developer, and I have access to (and licenses for) all the tools that would be needed to get you up and running.
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Offline Andyr

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2006, 04:27:14 PM »
Interactively patching is generally better, not worse, than straight overwriting. ;)

Are you asking for Tutu to instead become a load of files to dump in the Override, and not a converter? That's what BGT used to be. Very bad. A large, large download. Plus possible copyright issues, since BG1 wouldn't be necessary.

Things like checking for incomplete installs are things we could do with the current set-up too; just none of us know/have written code for it.
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Offline SimDing0™

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2006, 06:28:25 PM »
Interactively patching is generally better, not worse, than straight overwriting. ;)
In Tutu's case, I'm inclined to disagree. For Tutufix, patching files can be a massive pain, for a benefit which I believe is next to nothing: how many BG1 mods can you name that Tutu converts correctly to even allow Tutufix to meaningfully patch?
If my understanding of BGT's current format is correct (only large resources like sounds and dialogues are copied from BG1), it's potentially much easier to handle than Tutu from a maintenance perspective, since "Dudleyfix issues" and similar are negated. The disadvantages? TotSC requirement, vastly harder translations, and more onus on the mod to fix original BG1 bugs.

Offline Macready

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2006, 09:17:52 PM »
Interactively patching is generally better, not worse, than straight overwriting. ;)

Sim answered this as I would already: for mods, patching is a Good Idea.  For Tutu, which is essentially a starting point, I see little benefit.

Quote
Are you asking for Tutu to instead become a load of files to dump in the Override, and not a converter? That's what BGT used to be. Very bad. A large, large download. Plus possible copyright issues, since BG1 wouldn't be necessary.

Well, yes...but I didn't mean that BG1 should be dumped.  I was imagining:

* Install BG1 + patches + Baldurdash

* Install BG2 + patches + Baldurdash

* Installer is clued in to BG1 and BG2 dirs, modifies BG2 EXE and decompresses the big override package to the BG2 override dir.  Extra options like automatically cloning the BG2 install to a new directory tree for Tutu could be added fairly easily.

Your point about massive downloads is true, though.  Just for the sake of experimentation I have aggressively compressed my entire Tutu override folder (WinRar, max compress, Tutu4 + Fixpack 15 + 1PP + Tutu Tweaks + D0 Tweaks + BG1 GUI), and the end result was 39.5 megs.  As a solid archive, 34.5 megs.  I'm sure some fat could be trimmed, but..yea, big.

@Sim:

Quote
The disadvantages? TotSC requirement, vastly harder translations, and more onus on the mod to fix original BG1 bugs.

Would TotSC really be a requirement?  A separate package could conceivably be created using a TotSC-less install as a base.  But frankly, if a mod like Tutu interests someone in 2006 then I think hunting down a copy of TOS is a small price to pay for what you get in return.  I did it, anyway.

In any case, it's just a thought.  I very much respect the way mods have evolved in terms of programmatic patching, but I can't help feeling Tutu (or at least Tutufix) would be liberated by essentially being a zip file with an installer front end. :)
« Last Edit: January 08, 2006, 09:32:22 PM by Macready »
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Offline Andyr

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2006, 02:46:45 AM »
Actually, thinking about it, you guys may be right on the overwriting not being worse in Tutu's case front. But in general, patching is better.

You say Tutu's override got down to 34.5MB--did you install the Green Water fix? I think the files that changes run to around 1 GB, though I don't know how far they'd compress (and I suppose some savings may be obtained if TisPack were used)..
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Offline Macready

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2006, 07:41:28 AM »
You say Tutu's override got down to 34.5MB--did you install the Green Water fix? I think the files that changes run to around 1 GB, though I don't know how far they'd compress (and I suppose some savings may be obtained if TisPack were used)..

No, I didn't.  I've never really seen much benefit from using the BG2 engine's 3D acceleration feature, so I play with it turned off.  I think that fix could effectively be considered "non-core" and be a WeiDU-ized mod available for those interested, no?

My override folder is around 72 MB uncompressed (actual size, not counting the waste from disk clustering caused by so many small files).

EDIT: I forgot to mention, my conception of this is that the Tutu install itself, plus the Tutufix core fixes only, is all that I would consider "core."  Everything else (including the rest of the Tutufixes...anything someone might conceivably not want to install) would be "non-core" and handled as a traditional mod (WeiDU, programmatic patching).
« Last Edit: January 09, 2006, 08:20:37 AM by Macready »
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Offline Salk

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2006, 08:46:15 AM »
I have expressed my opinion about a more general, wider project: a TuTu/BGT-WeiDu merger. I think that would be the solution to many and many problems...Of course many things need to be discussed but it's undeniable that such new platform would succeed in something important: concentrate the talent, skill and efforts of important modders who would find probably new motivations by developing what would become the ultimate Mod (insert your favoured name here) to play Baldur's Gate 1 and Baldur's Gate 2 using the Baldur's Gate 2 engine. I know that some modders had already expressed their wish to take this direction. It's just a matter of time, I hope...  :pirate

Offline Macready

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2006, 10:39:31 AM »
Hello -

Here is a more concrete number for archive size.

I have a virgin BG1: TOS install, with Baldurdash fixes + Baldurdash DIALOG.TLK.  I have a virgin BG2 + ToB install, with the latest patch, Baldurdash fixes + Baldurdash DIALOG.TLK.  I installed Tutu v4 + Tutufix v15 core fixes only, and then archived the following:

* the updated CHITIN.KEY in the main program folder
* the updated DIALOG.TLK in the main program folder
* the entire contents of the OVERRIDE folder
* the bg1tutu-transition subfolder of the save folder
* the 17 script files added to the SCRIPTS folder

All of this compressed down to a grand total of 22,428,593 bytes.  This plus the binary mod to BGMAIN.EXE (a simple program to write) should convert a virgin BG2 install to a base Tutu + core fixes install.

I don't know if the variables (TotSC/no-TotSC, ToB/no-ToB, language version) and the download size make the idea unfeasible.  But there it is in a nutshell.
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Offline Grim Squeaker

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2006, 10:57:04 AM »
In my mind the ideal way of distributing Tutu would be a setup file that creates a new BG2 install for your Tutu install and then copies and converts the necessery files from your BG1 and BG2 disks (asking you to insert them as necessery), unfortunately it'd require a lot of modification to the current Tutu converter.  Were this possible, I think Tutu would be a bit more friendly to new players as they wouldn't have to make a clone of BG2, worry about running the right file, making sure their BG1 install is okay, having a BG1 install on their computer that isn't doing anything except providing resources...
« Last Edit: January 09, 2006, 11:12:14 AM by Grim Squeaker »
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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2006, 11:00:33 AM »
Okay, I didn't answer very thoroughly last time.

Firstly, Tutu being stalled because Japh isn't around is a prevalent rumour. While it's true that his presence would help to an extent, Tutu's lack of progress is more to do with Ghrey and I not working on it, since we're both involved in developing the game JC is funding. (Meanwhile, Cam has his hands full with the BG2 Fixpack and Divine Remix and stuff.) I will endeavour to return my attention to Tutu after that. Currently, I am not in any position to perform a major overhaul of the mod, although I can offer support to anybody else who wants to.

Secondly, I have recently revised my assertion of how a BGT/Tutu merger would work. Originally I was envisaging Tutu roughly retaining the form it takes now; I believe this would be a mistake, however. A hypothetical optimal combination would retain Tutu's on-the-fly conversion for basic resources: graphics, sounds, possibly areas. (Or BGT's if it does a better job. The area naming convention would be adjusted to Tutu's since BGT's is a joke.) Tutu would be used by the developers to generate the resources which the BGT installer would dump into the override. This would only need to be done once, and subsequent bugfixes would be applied manually to those files. Optionally, the BGT transition would also be installed.
Ideally, the dialog.tlk would be static, copied directly rather than appended. This creates problems for translations however. My proposed solution is to simply tag the BG1 TLK onto the end of BG2's, and increment all BG1 strrefs by 80,000 or however many strings BG2 has. The installer can thus dump the Tutu-generated DLGs and scripts directly into the override without ever having to compile anything. Imperfect, but I cannot stress how much I hate dealing with dynamic strrefs.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2006, 11:05:53 AM by SimDing0™ »

Offline Andyr

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2006, 11:43:47 AM »
You say Tutu's override got down to 34.5MB--did you install the Green Water fix? I think the files that changes run to around 1 GB, though I don't know how far they'd compress (and I suppose some savings may be obtained if TisPack were used)..

No, I didn't.  I've never really seen much benefit from using the BG2 engine's 3D acceleration feature, so I play with it turned off.  I think that fix could effectively be considered "non-core" and be a WeiDU-ized mod available for those interested, no?

Same here. :)

Sim: Non-static string references are really, really annoying, I agree.
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Offline Macready

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2006, 03:42:34 PM »
Hello -

Let me preface this by saying that I am interested in this for my own benefit, and for the various bits of BG "behind the curtain" knowledge I'll pick up by doing it.  I'm not offended in the least if you find what I am about to describe to be a pointless waste of time.

I've written a program to perform the binary mod to BGMain.exe to take it from BG2 status to post-Tutu4 and Tutufix v15 core fixes status.  I've also written another program to rewrite CHITIN.KEY such that the BG1 BIFFs are referenced from subdirectories of the Tutu directory.  It is my intention now to write an InstallShield installation script which will perform the following:

* ascertain BG1 and BG2 install dirs from registry, ask user if unable to determine by reading registry
* make sure the BG1 install is full (missing no files)
* clone BG2 install to a new directory, sans music and CD? folders (and sans OVERRIDE folder since that's mostly what this distribution includes)
* Edit cloned baldur.ini to update HD0 ref
* Offer to copy in BG1 or BG2 music as per user choice
* Once "installation" begins,  decompress DIALOG.TLK, OVERRIDE folder contents, and the other bits and pieces (scripts, etc) into cloned install
* BG1 data and movie resources will be copied from BG1 folders to subdirs of the Tutu install, a rewritten CHITIN.KEY will be installed to reflect this
* My little program to patch BGMAIN.EXE will run
* Create some form of icon to bgmain (desktop or start menu)

The main goal of this is to generate a user-friendly install that is immune to various end-user issues such as crashes down the road due to lack of full BG1 install, presence of dudley fixes, and what have you.  All of the front-end work (patching, Baldurdashing, etc) will have been done by me on my system using virgin installations, so the end result should be a stable post-Tutu, post-core fixes setup.

It is also my belief that copying the BG1 BIFFs and rewriting CHITIN.KEY will allow the end-user to uninstall BG1 once Tutu is up and running.  Is this true?  Or does Tutu depend on the BG1 install in ways beyond what is visible in CHITIN.KEY?  Also, do you find this to be a desirable feature?  I've always kind of wanted it, but maybe that's just me.  It could certainly be made optional -- I'm just shooting to ask as few questions as possible so novices don't get scared off.

Once I have finished the installer and it meets the goals I've just listed, I'll post again.  If at any point in the future you think such an approach would suit Tutu's distribution needs the best, you are welcome to it.  It is my intention to bundle the core updates (DIALOG.TLK + overrides) as a self-extractling RAR which will be executed by the installer, so generating updated distributions should be as simple as generating an updated self-extracting RAR.

Also: if you see any oversights or misconceptions in my game plan, I'd appreciate your input.  I do realize the end result will be US only, and dependent on the expansions to both games being present -- it's a first effort.

And finally: if you'd rather this little project never saw the light of day, I respect that as well.  Tutu is your baby.  As I said earlier, for the moment I'm doing this mostly for myself, and to learn a thing or two.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2006, 06:05:09 PM by Macready »
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Offline Ashara

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2006, 04:07:55 PM »
Quote
* make sure the BG1 install is full (missing no files)

Quote
The main goal of this is to generate a user-friendly install that is immune to various end-user issues such as lack of full BG1 install...

So, will you need a full install or not?

Also, is there a chance that not only the ARE file renaming but the dialogues/scripts re-naming will be the same as in TUTU?
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Offline Macready

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2006, 06:00:25 PM »
Hello -

So, will you need a full install or not?

Yes, you will absolutely need a full BG1 install.  The lack of a BG1 full install often leads to a situation where the conversion appears to work fine but crashes are experienced down the road (e.g., crash when the "entered the Friendly Arm" movie is supposed to play).  Ensuring a full BG1 install prior to installing Tutu is designed to deal with this issue ASAP and let the end user know exactly what is wrong (as opposed to experiencing a head-scratching crash).

I just edited the original post to try to remove the ambiguity you just pointed out.

Quote
Also, is there a chance that not only the ARE file renaming but the dialogues/scripts re-naming will be the same as in TUTU?

Everything would be identical.  I have absolutely no desire to "redo" Tutu (I think it rocks as-is).  The idea is to repackage it in an easier-to-install, more user friendly format.  When it finishes you would have an installation that was exactly the same as having done a traditional Tutu + Tutufix core fixes installation.  So, don't expect any great new additions content-wise.  The only true new feature I am toying with is attempting to make the Tutu installation standalone, such that your vanilla BG1 install can be removed after Tutu is in place.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2006, 06:06:01 PM by Macready »
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Offline Loriel

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2006, 11:16:39 PM »
@Sim
The reason Tutu is not being developed is because Japh is the only one who has the source and he's not around.  His not being here is not reason enough to keep development from progressing, because someone can always pick up the torch.  However, the absence of the source code means progress comes to a screeching halt.  If  you do have the source, could you please release it to the public so there's a chance it could be developed?  I, for one, would like to have a Tutu v6 for Mac, but that's not going to happen until the source is released.

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It's finished.
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2006, 09:43:11 PM »
Hello -

I've just finished work on the installer.  It tested well.

What it does:

* Determines BG1 and BG2 install paths by reading the DirectPlay keys in the registry.  Allows the end user to browse for these folders instead in case the registry reading doesn't work / is wrong / whatever.

* Confirms BG1 and BG2 installation folders by looking for files specific to each installation.

* Validates the BG1 installation is full by looking for all 150ish BIFFs.  This distribution is TotSC-only so it demands the presence of the TotSC BIFFs as well.

* Confirms that the BG2 installation has the latest patch installed (for EXE patching later).

* Asks user to pick an installation folder and a start menu folder for the Tutu shortcut.

* Clones BG2 installation, copying just what is needed for Tutu.

* Updates cloned BALDUR.INI so that the HD0: item references the cloned folder.

* Copies all required BG1 resources (everything referenced in CHITIN.KEY) to subdirectories of the Tutu install folder.  Later, a rewritten CHITIN.KEY will be installed which references the BG1 BIFFs from the new location, thus freeing the end-user to uninstall BG1 if desired once Tutu installation is complete.

* Copies BG1's music folder into the Tutu installation.

* Decompresses the core Tutu files (OVERRIDE, SCRIPTS, DIALOG.TLK, new CHITIN.KEY, etc).

* Patches the cloned BGMain.exe to make it a Tutu BGMain.exe.

* Creates the start menu folder selected by the user and adds a Tutu shortcut to it.

In all, it is a very professional looking installation that does everything for you.  The end result is identical to having installed Tutu v4 and Tutufix v15 core bug fixes (with two exceptions: the BG1 install is no longer needed, and the original BG2 installation is untouched, so there is no "reversion" that has to occur in order to play BG2 proper).

EDIT: I forgot, more differences: I also included my Friendly Arm Nobleman fix, so that he gives the pantaloons, and the pantaloons import to BG2 successfully, as well as the Wand of the Heavens fix (quickslot icon no longer corrupt).

Right now, this installer depends on ToB being installed.  I'd really like to update it such that ToB is optional, but I have some questions about how to do this.  Obviously the BGMain.exe will be different for non-ToB, so the binary patch program has to be sensitive to that.  I'm sure a non-ToB CHITIN.KEY and DIALOG.TLK will be required -- no biggie.  But here's where I am unsure: if I fill a non-ToB installation's OVERRIDE folder with the files from a ToB installation's OVERRIDE folder, will all hell break loose?  Or will SoA just ignore the ToB-specific crap?  If OVERRIDE has to be customized as well, things become much more difficult to accomplish within one distribution.

Finally: what use do you think such a distribution best serves?  An eventual replacement to "core" Tutu as it is installed now, or just a sort of "Tutu For Dummies," perhaps including a small collection of stable, tested mod material (e.g., some tweaks from Fixpack and Tutu Tweaks, BG1 GUI, etc)?

Thoughts and answers to the ToB-optional issue are welcome.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2006, 08:07:04 AM by Macready »
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Offline Salk

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2006, 11:34:09 PM »
Congratulations Macready on this new, friendly installer of yours! I must say I am particulary impressed by an important feature like the one that lets the user realize if its BG1 or BG2 installation is corrupted/missing some required file! This reduces drastically the pain of the support team when locating bugs and errors. In fact many times, Ghreyfain or Andyr suppose there must be some files missing or a corrupted installation...With your new method this should no longer happen!

In my humble opinion, I think your distribution method should not just become the standard for dummies or newbies, but just replace, if proved to be perfectly functional, the present TuTu installer.

Of course, now you have packaged TuTu4+TuTufixes15 but I do hope in newer versions as well for the future...TuTu 6 Beta+TuTufixes 16b could also be redistributed with your new installer taking also perhaps away the annoyance of having TuTu 6 Beta trying to start its own included TuTufixes.

About ToB and TotSC being optional: I am frankly a little tired of this...I mean, TotSC is a great expansion which is worth every single cent that you had to pay when it was released and ToB is also an expansion that people should have to play the game at its full. Since on Ebay and other places such expansions are still on sale and such, I believe people should just get one copy without making too much troubles...

Offline Macready

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2006, 07:47:37 AM »
Hello -

First, thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts.

In my humble opinion, I think your distribution method should not just become the standard for dummies or newbies, but just replace, if proved to be perfectly functional, the present TuTu installer.

Well, it isn't at this status yet -- it's more of a "proof of concept" at this point.  The traditional Tutu installation process can accomodate other language versions (which is huge), as well as handle expansions not being installed.  Mine is US only, expansions only right now.

Quote
About ToB and TotSC being optional: I am frankly a little tired of this...I mean, TotSC is a great expansion which is worth every single cent that you had to pay when it was released and ToB is also an expansion that people should have to play the game at its full. Since on Ebay and other places such expansions are still on sale and such, I believe people should just get one copy without making too much troubles...

I agree with you about TotSC...it's hard to see where anyone could object to the content, and with the release of BG: TOS it isn't hard to pick up.  However, many full-blooded BG fans simply don't care for the ToB expansion.  Knowing that, it would be nice to accomodate them, especially when you consider that ToB is so far removed from Tutu (Tutu = BG1, ToB = BG 2.5).  So I really would like to make the installer ToB-agnostic if the OVERRIDE directory issue isn't a deal breaker.
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Offline Salk

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2006, 08:32:52 AM »
Personally I agree about Tales of Sword Coast being a much more worth expansion than Thorne of Bhaal but I must say that my personal judgement might be biased by the fact that I consider Baldur's Gate and Tales of the Sword Coast a game much superior to its sequel and relative expansion...Throne of Bhaal though introduces some nice features (bad implemented) like the TAB key (they should have made this work according to some thief checks, according to me...But being hardcoded can't be modified...).

I realize that TuTu installer has more languages but I just wonder how many just play the american/english version. I'd guess over 60 percent...

Offline CamDawg

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2006, 08:35:35 AM »
If there's no technical reason to require TotSC or ToB then we shouldn't. And, excellent work Macready. :)
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Offline Macready

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Re: Alternate Tutu Distribution Method Possible?
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2006, 10:22:22 AM »
Hello -

If there's no technical reason to require TotSC or ToB then we shouldn't.

I'll worry about TotSC down the road.  I do think an argument can be made for minimizing variables for the purposes of game stability and support, however (e.g., the no-TotSC temple of Bhaal crash bug).  Tutu is a huge project to maintain and support without complicating things unnecessarily.  But that said, I do very much admire the Tutu team's past efforts to be so inclusive in terms of who can install and use the conversion.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2006, 10:34:15 AM by Macready »
EasyTutu: Tutu installation made simple.

Offline Macready

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SoA Version Complete.
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2006, 03:56:02 PM »
Hello -

After comparing SoA-only and ToB installations of Tutu for quite a while, I decided it would be prohibitively difficult to handle both with a single distribution (unless I bundled a compressed copy of each OVERRIDE folder in one distribution, which would have resulted in much wasted bandwidth at download time).  So, I have created (and successfully tested) a SoA-only distribution to go with the ToB distribution.

I finished my testing by recreating my own "live" Tutu installation using the ToB distribution.  I then installed all of the Tutu mods I like to play with.  Everything works great, and my save games from my game in progress loaded just fine.

If anyone is interested in evaluating and/or hosting these distributions, let me know.  Again, installing them is the functional equivalent of installing Tutu4 + Tutufix v15 core bug fixes only, with the Friendly Arm Nobleman and Wand of the Heavens fixes included.  If, after installation, you are interested in installing some of the Tutufix tweaks, do not install the core bug fixes -- you have them already.  Also, your main BG2 installation will be untouched, and you are free to uninstall BG1 once the setup has been completed.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2006, 03:59:16 PM by Macready »
EasyTutu: Tutu installation made simple.

 

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