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Request for inclusion of TAW in the list of games

Old posts about game archives and other formats.
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Mr.Mouse
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Post by Mr.Mouse » Sun Mar 12, 2006 8:42 am

Xela wrote: I have installed EF2000 earlier DID's game;
*it has also DID.dat which CAN be open with MultiEX TAW.bms (over 8000 files) ;
AH! Good to know! So I can add that to the list of supported games. ;)

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Post by Xela » Sun Mar 12, 2006 2:24 pm

Yes , I can confirm that. Probably also this BMS could be compatible with F22_ADF immediate predecessor to TAW , and even Typhoon the successor (50/50 chances here) , but not having those files I cannot say for sure.

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Post by Xela » Sun Mar 12, 2006 6:30 pm

I have uploaded 2 what I am considering somehow unusual files found among many in did.dat . I call it an Asterix and it has a "noname" sequence number 734. There are few others , similar seeded in the dat file , but they always followed by what I call "no marker file". Asterix file is best viewed in 42 bytes per row and it aapears to be some kind of a table :?:


http://rapidshare.de/files/15333013/734Asterix.zip.html

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Post by bored » Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:19 pm

I'm a newbie at this but I'd like to join in since I have both TAW and ADF..and a newly registered version of multiex.
How do I start? There is a script earlier in this thread which I guess I need to use ,but what do I do with it?

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Post by bored » Sun Mar 12, 2006 10:31 pm

OK, up and running now...Not sure what went wrong before.
I see what you mean with the RA files. Some of these files have some truncated plain text in them, as if there is some interleaving going on.

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Post by bored » Mon Mar 13, 2006 2:11 am

In the RA files I was expecting the first 10 bytes (up to the 7D) to be unique, however this is not the case. noname7414 and 7417 have the same header.
It is also maybe interesting to note that noname7414 is identical to noname8877 from ADFs did.dat file.

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Post by Xela » Mon Mar 13, 2006 4:42 am

Bored,
I am glad you have joined this hunt. ADF and TAW have probable very similar dat file. EF2000 has quite close , but not exactly. And I was told that EF2K, ADF, TAW is just evolution of the same engine.
In RA header (possibly 10 bytes) 2nd and 3rd word are different . Strobe is suggesting earlier that it is length of unpacked file. I would also suggest some sort of identification must be there, because the game engine must be able to sort those files apart.

Please take a look at that 734asterix file I posted above. It may be hard to unpeel the secret of RA because it is no much to go on. But it could be fun to try it.

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Post by bored » Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:04 pm

I haven't really got a clue about the 734 file. It looks like some form of hash table, but there's not really a lot to go on.

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Post by Xela » Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:45 pm

Just a completely unfounded and wild guess....
Looking at the way the game reads the files (look at the shot of the spreadsheet on the 1st page of this thread towards very bottom) one can see that the game reads first the block of data -yellow. And then comes back and overlays it again with another -brown. What I am trying to suggest that perhaps RA file (if that is RA file which is being read there) is sort of "laced" structure where the empty spaces are being filled later on at the 2nd pass.
Just as I say ... wild guess and unsubstantiated suggestion.

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Post by bored » Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:57 am

I've been thinking along the same lines. I counted about 12300 files which are read from the dat file by the game if it is run until the main menu.
I think the MultiEx program finds 12588 files and I've been trying to match up these two sources of information.
A problem I have is that I can't seem to export the 'table of contents' from MultiEx into a text file. This option seems to be greyed out if I run the custom .bms file that I downloaded from the link in page 2 of this thread.
Anyway, do you know why MultiEx does not find a file starting at offset 0?
The lowest I see is 12.
There are about 10 reads to the dat file before the login screen. These don't seem to be chunks of 1024 bytes like most of the later reads, but I, as yet, can't match these offsets or sizes with the output from MultiEx.

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Post by Mr.Mouse » Tue Mar 14, 2006 10:11 am

Answering your MultiEx Commander questions:

* Add the BMS file to the MRF using the Add BMS to MRF option, then the TOC export function should work.

* There is no file starting at 0 because there is no resource there. Bytes 0-12 are part of the archive header and have nothing to do with the resources saved in the archive.

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Post by bored » Tue Mar 14, 2006 10:40 am

Wow, swift answer!

I think I might have tried adding the BMS to MRF but got an error message. I'll get back to you with the details. It's almost certainly RTFM trouble on my part.

Thanks for the information regarding the archive header. I've haven't really dealt with with this sort of stuff beforem, so I was expecting to be able to add up the sizes of the files found by MultiEx and get exactly the same value as the dat file stored on disk. It seems to be a bit more complicated than that.

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Post by Xela » Tue Apr 11, 2006 9:12 pm

I just wanted to let you know that this push to unlock TAW files paid off and thanks to combined efforts of ours and other TAW enthusiast Kruz we can enjoy now nearly completely unlocked and decompressed files . It took close to over 7 years as the game was made in late 1998.
Here :
http://www.simhq.com/simhq3/sims/boards ... 4;t=001088

It is just the begining, but it looks promising and for all simulation enthusiasts who perhaps do not know TAW I can say that it is perhaps one of the best if not the BEST simulation featuring so many things in 1998 being ahead of its time that even now is hard to beat as far as certain elements of gameplay and dynamic campaign and AI are concerned.
I wholeheartedly recommend it and invite to further adventuring and discovery.

PS. Polak = Xela = yours truly

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Post by Xela » Fri Apr 14, 2006 1:38 pm

This journey into the TAW _land picks up the speed as after the unlocking and decompressing files there are only few more "disguised" and "secret" file formats left. The walls of secure dat file have first cracked, then crumbled and now slowly are durning up to fine dust.

In the next installment we just have figured out yesterday, that textures *.tm files open easily as RAW 256x192 single channel and *.col files which turning out to be *.act palette files perfectly good with Photoshop. So at this juncture all flat graphics are out. BTW - good guess STROBE about that length of decompressed RA file. However, RA files have been all opened using decompression routine from the main program. What that guess helped me with is the assumption that 768 length of file must be probable a palette 256x3 (RGB) - which it was.

We still may need help trying to uncover what are those :
- "3" files (3D models of vehicles and planes)
- "SSD" files (I suspect they are 3D models for scenery and targets)
- "SH" shape files (I think they are 0deg 45deg etc. sprite 3D object views for IR MFD)
among few other little things :wink:

Thanks a lot for help from this forum so far.

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Post by Xela » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:41 pm

This could be a tough one :!: After conquering dat compression and RA compression here are 3 more file formats to beat :
"3" models
"ssd" ??? do not know
"sh" probable simplistic silhuette view for cockpit IR monitor

All are in formats not known to any civilised converter or viewer. I have also run the files through TRID online without conclusive results. I have uploaded example of all three files for F15 and for examination:
http://rapidshare.de/files/18029218/F15.zip.html

How many obstacles and stumbling blocks one can encounter in one game? :twisted:

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