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Iran

RA95 demo recording and playback

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RA95 contains unused code to record and playback demos. When a "recording mode" byte global variable is set to 1 recording will start. This variable needs to be set before the level is started. After the match ends a RECORD.BIN file will be created. The game has code to start playing back a demo but this code isn't linked to any main menu button, I memory patched the game so clicking the sneak preview button will start playback of the demo. When playback starts RECORD.BIN will be loaded as demo file.


The demo always seems to desync with what actually occured while recording the demo. I'm not sure if this is because demo recording is faulty or because demo playback is faulty (or both). Loading demos of skirmish games crashes the game. Recording a save game that has been loaded causes desyncing as demo playback starts from the beginning of a map/mission. Moving the mouse or pressing ESC ends demo playback.


Here's a video of demo playback:




Attached is the RECORD.BIN demo recording used for the video.

RECORD.BIN.zip

Edited by Sonic
Embedding videos is way cooler ;)

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Whoa-ho, if I understood this correctly, we're looking at a potential to-be replay feature :o

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It was a leftover from Dune 2's and a couple of C&C1 versions' attract mode. With "attract" mode I mean the logic some video games and pretty much all arcade games have where if you idle on the main menu the game will show recorded gameplay until you press a button or w/e which at that point will bring the game back to the main menu.

 

The two main issues are:

 

1.) Recordings desync. (The playback of a demo file is different from the match the demo was recorded from)

2.) Demos of skirmish games crash. (Probably affects all multiplayer demos...)

 

EDIT: Funny enough there's another debug feature for "movie capture" (RULES.INI says it's debug build only but the code is still there and works in the final release). What it does is create PCX screenshots of the game for a small duration (defined in RULES.INI probably). Still works and is easy to enable.

Edited by Iran

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I find it cool that 10 years on, stuff is still being uncovered about this game :o

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I find it cool that 10 years on, stuff is still being uncovered about this game :o

Well, nobody bothered to explore the game's coding into such detail before.

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No one has ever explored the game in this much detail? Myself and Nyerguds were messing with this feature a few years back, it even exists in Tiberian Sun...

 

Attraction mode actually writes the same data the game sends over Network/WOL into a file. So really, its like its receiving data from another player, pretty cool idea in my mind.

 

The Movie Capture feature works too. But it can cause extreme lag if not set right. It was used in conjunction with a Hot Key and was for snapping a event in a sequence, this is how they produced the screenshots for RA in the first place.

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I know some of the console versions have demo maps and replay files to take place on it (and they use em as expected), but I haven't found any way to actually set a map in the PC version's replay function; it always just loads the first MP map.

 

Mind you, I never looked very far into it... I think Rich Nagel did most of the testing of the ATTRACT function, on DOS C&C.

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