What technical obstacles are actually stopping H2V?

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What technical obstacles are actually stopping H2V?

Postby Ling Ling » Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:33 am

I did a lot of research on the limits of the game before I first joined the community (as Kills Alone might remember), I learned a lot about the limitations the game had, from the problems with optimization to the DRM to the H2EK. And while I learned a lot about what could and couldn't be done, there isn't much information that I could find about why some of the limitations exist.

The two most obvious ones are probably the lack of pathfinding for AI in H2EK, and the lack of universal extraction tools (similar to HEK+). I'm simply curious as to why these were never developed further; was it a lack of interest, technical limitations, or a mix of both? And I should also be clear; this ISN'T knocking on all the stuff that HAS been accomplished, since the unlocked Guerrilla, the unlocked tool.exe, the mainmenu crack (Halo 2.5), all the work H2MT has done, and all the other modding tools to arise have definitely progressed the game far beyond its original state.

I'm also not saying the game isn't completely stagnant, as Project Cartographer has made very clear, but it just seems like there isn't much interest from the community, especially in terms of singleplayer content, and tbh I find it a little surprising. Halo fans on PC are so desperate for a Halo game they literally ripped apart a Russian exclusive P2W bastardization of Halo 3 and turned into ED, or they're willing to mod an older Halo (read: one initially developed at the dawn of sixth gen hardware) and literally develop new or remastered Halo games out of it. It just seems strange to me that there aren't, well, more people like me; people interested in improving a game they truly enjoy, Halo 2.
"There is much talk, and I have listened, through rock and metal and time. Now I shall talk, and you shall listen."
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Re: What technical obstacles are actually stopping H2V?

Postby Kills Alone » Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:52 am

Short answer, we were supposed to get the full H2EK, it was demonstrated in video form. A few months before release it was lobotomized.

Gearbox is the reason we got the original HEK. No one else, not Bungie and not MS. Gearbox.

Bungie/MS never supported the game, not really, they broke it and removed core features; that is not what I call supporting a game.

It takes a lot of effort to reverse the game as I have been working toward for some time. I have received some help, but most of the work I have done myself. Its like a crazy puzzle, its an endurance test really. Everyday I find new ways to break and fix the game, often its two steps forward, one step back. Most people do not want to take the time to fix what should have worked in the first place, its frustrating when you consider we were promised working tools and that is why many of us originally bought into the H2v hype, we wanted to make our own version of Halo.

A few HCE modders have done everything in their power to limit further developments. We could have had a custom edition and custom campaign years ago, in fact, we could have merged H2x mods with H2v, but the community is not all that it at first appears. There is a lot of ego worship BS and immature behavior in general. Personally, I would like to see all Halos on the PC flourish with community content. You think the extraction tools don't exist, well then you've been talking to the wrong people. Do some research on ZTeam.

I mapped out much of the tags in Halo: Online long before ElDewrito was a thing, its all about that hex/notepad combo at that point. H: O is essentially what I wanted to turn H2v into although it is currently missing better tools and proper AI/SP. However, these things will eventually be side-stepped, especially if MS continues to work on H: O. If they do, then there is the possibility of Firefight, if they added Firefight to H: O then path-finding would be accessible or possibly reusable in some form.


Halo 2 was locked down for many reasons, one was to sell Halo 3, another was to prevent us from making a better and free Halo. If MS had any sense they would learn from Valve, but they don't, they have too many heads and not enough brains. By now we could have a Halo equivalent to GMod, a series of proper Halo RTS, a Battlefield like version that supported large numbers of players and classes, a Team Fortress 2 style Halo that is more cartoony and goofy yet highly addictive F2P helmet simulator. All of these Halo genre could exist and be generating money for MS without replacing the original arena style combat we all know and love. Instead we get Halo: Spartan Assault & Strike, Halo 4, Halo 5 Guardians, and Halo Wars 2, all pulled down by their console roots and implementation.
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Re: What technical obstacles are actually stopping H2V?

Postby guy298 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:25 am

Wow, that's really fucking depressing.
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Re: What technical obstacles are actually stopping H2V?

Postby UF ShadowTeddy » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:44 pm

Its always depressing when you look at Halo and 343i/Microsoft in general
It used to be a highly respected, incredible arena shooter. And Bungie respected Halo as well.

Nowadays its just compared to other games that wouldn't even exist had Halo not revolutionised Arena combat and MP. Hell people are calling the new halo's Call Of Duty rip-offs. Now THAT'S depressing.
Ready?...1,2,3 FIRE!
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Re: What technical obstacles are actually stopping H2V?

Postby PermaNull » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:09 pm

I'm still sitting here waiting for a clear explanation on what is locked,

ZTeam seems to have never had tools which worked with H2V from what I've researched and they're talking out of their asses when they say some of the file formats are similar to H2X I did tons of modding on H2X and I already know pretty much everything changed between the two.

Back in the day I wasn't huge on reversing and while I personally have no interest in AI path finding it doesn't mean I won't eventually look into it I just have a different primary goal at hand at the moment but I believe the reason people like ZTeam didn't release tools is they wanted people to learn, they literally said in one of the posts they would release the formats and data but not the tools.

Formats and data should've been enough for someone to create the necessary tools, I think the primary issue with the community is that no one can be clear about what their goals are or what they'd like to see or need.

When starting development project cartographer I was shunned on many different forums simply stating halo 2 vista is dead and that I shouldn't even try and that it doesn't matter because the game will never be 'unlocked' yet through all of this I've still not been given one clear definition on what it is these people mean...

Personally I've been able to do just about anything I've wanted to do due to the reversing knowledge I have, no "modder" or map creator has stepped up to the plate and asked me for anything specific like a file structure to a tag or anything else.

So until that happens and I have the time to help that person, I consider most of these posts posts about the game still being locked to be whines and groans about the past and non-progressive or positive.

Why don't we stop giving a shit about what 343, Bungie, Microsoft and or any old team / modder / player / programmer did or did not do and start working on actually fucking doing something, that is the point of project cartographer.

Posts like this dwindling on the past is de-motivational for those who actually want to work to make these things better... because it makes me feel like all I'm going to get is whining about how things aren't unlocked instead of a clear explanation on what you'd like to do.

Starting at the basics without dwindling on the past Bungie and Microsoft shutdown multiplayer boohoo whine whine...

Instead of whining about it Supersniper came to me and asked me clearly to restore it while it may not have been in the fashion he would've liked it was done people can now play again and don't require tunnels.

Next,
I wanted a proper gungame one didn't exist and it's not that anyone asked me for it I just thought it would be cool.

Yes, some info existed on how weapons can be swapped through memory and such but it was buggy as hell you couldn't technically spawn weapons and there were other issues ( whine whine, bungie and microsoft didn't give me the ability to make custom game types that are advanced like you can in newer halos, NO)...
Instead I went and created it from scratch with my own knowledge on the PC version which before this point I have not modded and I don't know anything about.

Next,
People wanted voice chat restored( whine whine we don't have voice chat because the codecs changed NO)... a player by the name of Rude Yoshi is now working on integrating teamspeak into the mix because we cannot simulate the original voice protocols.

We worked around the problem rather then whining about it... that's what modding is all about is fucking coming up with solutions not problems (E.X. On the original xbox we weren't even lucky enough to get HEK, Modding tools or bungie 'support' at all) all we had was tools being made by community members and developers for the xbox we didn't whine about how we weren't given editing tools even though HCE had them we fucking made new ones and did what we wanted to, eventually we even had BSPs and etc I was the first to actually have a map with custom collision too.. Did I know how to generate collision, Fuck no I knew nothing about the game...

I made invisible objects and placed them all around my model in order to deal with collision it was a bitch it was ghetto but it was working around the issues instead of whining around them to actually make progress!

Next,
Forge was suggested... yes there was the ability to spawn items with SALT and it was so great because it'd never been done before.

Sadly this is not forge... but it was a great work around and it gets my point across that modding is about work arounds not about whining they didn't whine that forge didn't already exist they attempted to make something similar them selves.

Now, Yes we will have an actual forge mode which is similar to the updated games because I've already looked into making this happen.

Next,Next,Next,Next
Zombies.... yeah I wanna make zombies game type, Ranks... yeah I wanna re-add ranks, Map downloading... yeah I plan to re-introduce map downloading,We don't use live browser... I can't but I plan to build my own (Dealing with what I have rather then whining).

Last,
Was I told anything anyone who's whined about H2V being locked and what needs to be researched I.E some guys on other forums that trashed the idea of project cartographer (Modacity, 343industries, etc.).... NO I wasn't the most I was given is "Give up the game is dead, the game is locked, fuck the old developers, fuck Microsoft, fuck bungie)... the pessimistic bullshit is getting those people no where you know who you are.

Btw some things said by those who doubted the project at all "Just so you know, scripts don't sync across clients. Scripts have to be continous so they are constantly active and applied. Unless your talking about server side python or lua scripting...in which case again it's pointless as people don't generally like to create maps that rely on gameplay via server scripting to enhance it."

They were wrong, Scripts do sync across clients if that was false then GunGame would not work ;), not only that but his idea of people don't like to create maps where it relies on lua scripting to enhance is is retarded.. there's no reason people should care it's what we have... people on Xbox would've jumped on the idea.

I'm sorry it's not HCE but it's what we have lets make it good, it can gives us more then what's currently available and possibly even more then traditional scripting coudlm not only that but it doesn't have to be based on gametypes it can also be based on the map name that the specific lua script is read from.
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Re: What technical obstacles are actually stopping H2V?

Postby Big TwEEkx » Tue Apr 19, 2016 11:28 pm

Bless you perma, you dont even know how much I appreciate your work on this game. Fuck the whiners
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Re: What technical obstacles are actually stopping H2V?

Postby Kills Alone » Fri Apr 22, 2016 2:08 am

We've been working with the engine for years and come to many of the same conclusions in regards to what kind of hard coded limits cannot be bypassed without an experienced coder, but if someone asks me to illustrate why H2v and the H2EK were released in shoddy condition I'm going to answer the question based on my views. Answering a question is not whining. I still support this site via answers to serious modding questions, not to feed any current drama.

I answer the question because I am the main person working on improving the editing capabilities so I feel qualified. I am all for scripting and what you are doing, at no point did I nor anyone I know say otherwise, that would be foolish as everyone of us wants online capabilities to be an option. I spoke with you, then I went back to work on my end. I asked you some questions about hosting custom content to which you responded by moving to a new site and declaring all other Halo 2 sites toxic or some such BS. I mean, you think you are the only one to be told no or to stop, that is just how Modacity roles and like you said, you just keep doing what you're doing and fuck them, because they aren't helping and they're certainly not going to do it themselves, you say this like it never occurred to us, like we have not had similar issues in the past, but no that would be whining.

We have been filling in missing content (tens of thousands of tags? I lost track) and repairing broken features for years, now you want a list of everything, we need to verify who we are and what we've done immediately, jump when you say jump, or we are negative and stagnant. Dude, that couldn't be further from the truth. I linked you to everything. I'm a realist, not a pessimist. I speak in facts, not BS. When someone wants an answer I'll tell them the why. You wanna know about ZTeam?

Zteam had working bipeds and anims in H2v. ShadowSpartan was having a fit over my team making any progress and seemed to consider what we were doing some kind of affront to him. So he released this video to make us feel horrible and tried to have us banned from Modacity, now that I recall it, Kant was banned. SS said it was H2v extraction, but either way it worked the assets can be seen here inside of the Halo 2 engine:
Watch on youtube.com



Depending on the tools we could we could merge both H2x and H2v, thats what we've been working towards, lotsa work on the tools and resource files and assets. Everything from multilingual issues to custom HUDs, to hybrid co-op/multiplayer, to advanced scripting. Imagine the more unlocked capabilities of H2x being imported into H2v. It would not be the first time assets were created in one engine to be moved to another for ease of access and a larger potential audience. Even now, to get a new render model into H2v requires a GBX model (Halo Custom Edition format).


You are listing off things we've talked about to death for years as if they never occurred to us. Modacity is very negative, indeed, but there is a reason for it as I said, they were not happy with a broken H2EK either. Many of us have worked to unlock that editing kit and it is much better now, the parts that are missing I explained to you over TS3. The lack of proper model compilation and that of path-finding. Those are the main outstanding issues. Most of the other problems have been side-stepped by my team and various community members, all of which I could name but the list is pretty long so I stopped doing that as often.

The editing kit as a whole (many parts, not just the editing tools themselves but the contents of the maps that H2Tool calls on during compilation) were broken in many ways, hex editing was used to return some of the features. I spent the last month and a half working only on that project, because I love Halo and I love modding. I had my editing kit unlocked before there was an unlocked anything, and I didn't know much about hexing, but I wanted to so bad I just did it anyways, I was editing scenarios before anyone I talked to and I was loving it. Hell, just the other day, I'd broken my poor sweet Halo 2 so bad it will only say BORK BORK BORK, and I love it. This is an error I've never heard anyone else encountering, wtf are you talking about negative? I love modding and creating so much....thats why I dedicate so much time to it, and you nor anyone else can take that from me....for you to call me negative when you don't know anything about me or my career is insulting. I mod for the passion and the community. If something is broken, I attempt to fix it and/or seek help/tutoring, I'm still going to say its broken until its not broken. But you have to understand something else, I didn't join H2PC to fix broken tools, I'm an artist who knows some stuff about programming, and is learning more about reversing in general, but really I want to focus on the art, on the assets and levels, and we have, we've created hundreds of new maps and weapons, which is a large part of a more custom H2 vision. I asked you about that, you never responded. And when I asked you before you only seemed interested in scripting, which again, is fine, alternate ways of modding are always a boon. Your example though, I mean, my team that is...we did plenty of scripting research and know what syncs and what does not, we've been mapping this stuff out for a long time now. I get your example of critics though, they are everywhere and you see things differently when you are the content provider as opposed to the consumer.


Funny thing, I've been working so hard on unlocking the Halo 2 PC engine that I haven't been playing any games, well, not much. So recently I hit another wall, after jumping about 30 walls. I started using IDA and learning more skills with the hex editor so I could read and convert tricky strings. I have restored most of the mainmenu's menus, I even got the map names working, but I've run into an issue with selecting the map. I've been seeking help with this specific problem since 2013. I asked on Modacity, I asked on various sites, I exhausted most resources as many other modders had moved on, and for the reasons I outlined above in detail that is whining, read the part were I was whining the most, I guess, LOL, you guys and your mean comments, oh boo-hoo. :P

So I come back to it and work on various aspects when I have the time or feel like I know why one tag or menu is not working as it should. I did ask you about this, you had no idea. So here I am again, I was going to see if you ever got back to me, and now I have a lot more details to explain the issue, I also have revised theories on why its crashing at mp map selection. Its difficult to work with someone if they don't answer your questions, and insult you for no good reason. I have 40 Gigs of content for this project, I would like to see it realized, so I came here today to ask for some help. I will remind you, last time I asked you were bitter about the community response and you then you quit, you quit after a few months. So, from my perspective, you were either to busy, or couldn't be bothered, yet from your perspective its all on me for being negative....I haven't quit after years. I learn wheat I need to learn and often a new team mate will teach me a thing or two, and vice-versa of course; I see latent talent in new modders and like to encourage learning and artistic creativity.

I also have work obligations and family, and I have many other modding projects. Now I'm starting to make my own games, so there are times where I am overloaded; like all the time really.



--

To think that we have been working from a pessimistic view the entire time we have been modding is ridiculous, disingenuous, and disrespectful to all the great work the team has accomplished. Why are we still modding? Why did we try so hard in the face of adversity? In spite of it, perhaps, but mostly because we love the game(s). I filled you in on everything you needed to know, linked you up. I explained all this to you over TS3, and now you act the fool? Bro, I smoke more weed then god so whats your excuse? I have a specific list of what I show someone when they are interested in actually making progress in the H2EK, I run them through what you call whining, its the history and current status of the game engine, what needs the most work and how it could be done. I do agree that someone else with extensive knowledge could replicate ZTeams work and then surpass it, but that is beyond my level of skill. Its a bit disconcerting to read this as your response I guess? You do remember our conversation right, pretty sure SuperSniper was there? You commented on my shitty mic, thus I tried to speak as clearly as possible, and I sent a shitload of links.


Ask SuperSniper, or Kant, or Shawn, or Himanshu,...the list goes on too long...ask them if they think I'm negative when I describe the H2EK, I'm just realistic. If someone asks a question I give a broad answer, I'm not going to censor myself nor my opinions to appease any person. I have modded all of the Halo PC games, in fact I've been modding PC games so long I cannot recall when it started, it was probably Quake, Duke, or DooM. I took part in mapping out Halo: Online with a hex editor & notepad++, provided much of the tag info for some of the DarkTools. So this picture you have of me is all wrong, I like the challenge, I like learning new tools and new languages. Don't try and take the wind outta my sails bro, cause thats what you're trying and its not cool.


Now the balls in your court, maybe you remember me linking you to a shitload of sites? Perhaps...eh, you recall meeting me in TS3, I wore a gray hat. ;)
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Re: What technical obstacles are actually stopping H2V?

Postby PermaNull » Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:46 am

First let me start by clarifying a lot of that was not directed at you, though I do find it concerning bringing up drama to new comers.

We could simplify it with, It doesn't exist yet or we can't do it yet instead of going into the history of ZTeam and etc.

Last,
I recall you telling me some things but they weren't enough of an explanation for someone who coming into this knows nothing about tags currently...

And about me quitting and the other website and such that all was mostly due to the attitude I was given from Kant when he was running all of this as well as frustrations in my personal life I was dealing with such as my dad having a heart transplant and my fiance leaving me as well as losing a job.

So to put it short and sweet I got busy with life, and I didn't wanna deal with Kant who was being an asshole so I left and said fuck this community which he runs.

I didn't want my project being tied to or controlled by him specifically if I was putting the effort that I was into it.

Anyway, with both of us pitching out our sides of the story we should both be working to make things better I admire the effort you've put in and I understand you'd like to just be an artist I really do I'd love to just be a programmer and not have to reverse the engine or rather actually I enjoy reverse engineering so lets say I'd rather like to reverse it and have someone else do the programming but you get my point.

What I'm getting at is let's start to figure this out maybe in the future when we do talk about needed tools, tags, etc we should do it in the form of text so I have something to reference rather then having to interpret and recall based on your "shitty mic" situation I'm sure most of it started flying in one ear and out the other due to my natural ADD.

Also,
I didn't quite get the thing about the scripts and what syncs and what doesn't?

I get that your team has been researching it but I was told it wouldn't sync and it did and does that's all I'm getting at.
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Re: What technical obstacles are actually stopping H2V?

Postby Kills Alone » Fri Apr 22, 2016 6:46 pm

I don't have time to respond right now, have a client coming, but I'm glad you're willing to talk. You are a skilled person and I respect that bro. I will answer what questions I can. I like making progress, I like that Halo 2 is back online, so if I never got the chance to say it before, thank you.

Hah, I have replaced my mic since then but this one doesn't seem much better. Kids are always breaking them.


EDIT: Regarding Kant, I'm not sure what his trip is, SuperSniper probably knows more then me. I think he either got burnt out on H2 or just decided to move on. There was not much action for awhile, then G4WL went down and they would not give a solid answer or even respond to us. So I disappeared for awhile, working on many on my own projects (Project 420: Brutal FreeDOOM, customized Windows, Halo: Online, random stuff like UE4 & Source Filmmaker, GameMaker, YouTube stuff), came back and was told about Project Cartographer and around that time noticed the H2MT Repository was down, the Repo was setup to explain and answer a lot of common questions.

So when it went down people, like TwinReaper, assumed I took it down. I waited for awhile and asked around. So then I have people telling me what they can do with our source files and what they have already done, like uploading everything elsewhere...I have pretty much everything duped on my OneDrive but then that service has been acting wonky lately (an update to OneDrive clashes with NoScript).

I was revising the Repo quite a bit over the years, I was including lotsa new info on editing scenarios and what tools you need to use not to break them, stuff like that.


Kant did amazing work, when I met him online I threw down the gauntlet, and he picked it up and called it Ambiguous. He made the first Real-Time editor and that is what pissed off Shadow. Because Shadow was working on his own RTE, as were others....I was trying to explain some of this, I want people to know what has done or is possible such as the extraction done by ZTeam, and yes I know, we will probably have to figure it for ourselves.

--

Something that was mentioned again recently, KillerShock120 aka GunMonkey may have accessed shared AI tags during the game to get AI kind of working on Turf. Now, I know that there are a few tags in the map that were left over from some demo or other. I also know that when you edit a mp scenario (map) that is running you often need to edit/poke not just the map's values but that of shared.map. So mp maps call on shared because they don't have a global tag (matg). Anyways, what I wondering is via real time editing/scripting perhaps we could merge the resources and call on assets we normally could not. If we could pull from sp_shared it might even be possible to access different bipeds to play as/against.

--

Back to what I've been trying to accomplish, I have this custom mainmenu.map right? It does most of what I need right now, I can load the currently selected map with it and I can change that map (path to the scenario) via Cheat Engine, Ambiguous, Assembly. All of the menus have many text strings to restore, so I restored most of them, then I did it again and again, I kept finding more. Now I've come across some tricky strings but I get how to read and convert them. Hex back to UTF-8 Unicode. Problem is, the stupid H2EK is not compiling languages in anything but English. I can go into H2Guerilla and force the other languages manually, but it only forces that field to open, when I recompile it fills the field but its not converting the language.

I'm not 100% sure this is what is causing my problem, so I took the original mainmenu.map and opened it with Assembly. I started setting the Locales values to 0. These are located at the bottom of a compiled matg tag inside of any resource map. I noticed that any custom compiled maps, not just mine, were English only. I still need to turn my system back to German and test what happens. Right so I tested those fields, put 0's in and got some similar results to what my custom mainmenu.map was doing.

The good news, I think this can be avoided if I know the correct values to put in that Locales section in my own custom maps. See that section is either stripped or not created, so in mine its all 0's. This works for most custom maps because they do not have their own globals thus it doesn't matter as they are not in control of the menus/ui.

I haven't studied the h2alang.dll much yet, when it is removed/renamed H2Tool.exe BORKS the fuck out, and its named lang, so that could be important. Beyond that I don't know anything about editing DLL's yet.

Under English Locales it looks like this:
Unknown
Unknown
String Count
Locale Table Size
Locale Index Table Offset
Locale Data Index Offset
Unknown


These values are different between default maps, because the amount of text strings is not always the same and there are other tags shifting everything around. I know how to get the String Count and the Locale Table Size when I compile them. The rest of the values I am unsure of, I tried studying the others for clues but it never made a difference.



Another thing, under About there is the PID, the Product ID, called from its registry key. In my custom version I use:
legal2= "Product ID: %s\r\nVersion: %s"
to call on the PID but for some reason its just printing %s instead of calling on what that value currently is. Looking at the strings from various sources: Entity (H2x so not all strings), IDA, Cheat Engine, Hex editor, in-game, videos, I do not see any extra characters that I am missing. I looked up \r\n, thats just a carriage return and a new line. I dunno, maybe something else is missing from the .wgit that I cannot see with current tools/methods.


What I need from you is to run my modified custom mainmenu.map and debug it at the point where you select a new map inside the pregame lobby. If you can tell me what you see at that point, like what its calling on, perhaps I will have a more clear vision of the current hurdle.

I've tried countless tests, I know for sure that default mainmenu.map can be loaded without the original shared.map, only the exe wants it to be there at game start. So I have loaded the default mainmenu.map with a modified shared.map that was barren, like 16mbs of data and no globals. I did this to see if mainmenu.map was calling on shared.map when looking for a new MP map. It was still able to get that far without crashing, this tells me that shard.map is not the problem, at least not regarding this hurdle. If that sounds like something you can debug let me know and I'll compile a new custom mainmenu.map
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Re: What technical obstacles are actually stopping H2V?

Postby PermaNull » Sun Apr 24, 2016 12:13 am

I'm confused on the actual goal with the main menu thing and the actual problem I guess I'm not able to read between the lines.


Another thing, under About there is the PID, the Product ID, called from its registry key. In my custom version I use:
legal2= "Product ID: %s\r\nVersion: %s"
to call on the PID but for some reason its just printing %s instead of calling on what that value currently is.

That's a string formatting issue depending on how it's handled it won't just replace %s with just anything... it has to know what to replace it with I.E.

In code there's something like printf("Product ID: %s,Version: %s",ProductID,Version); where "ProductID", and "Version" are variables in code.
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