Hack The In-Game Scripts
Courtesy of Errol
Modding C:R is still in it's infancy at the moment, and this is actually one of the most exciting times, where we get to strip back the coverings and dig into innards like Jeffrey Dahmer at a offal party. To this end, once we cracked accessing the TDX texture files, the next big targets were the LOL files, which are compiled LUA scripts, controlling many aspects of the actual gameplay. It was pretty obvious that these were LUA scripts from the outset, especially if you look at the file headers, but the problem was that no off-the-shelf decompiler could handle them, which indicates there's something non-standard about them.
After much experimenting by everyone, Errol the Bastard, was the one to crack it. It was just a couple of bytes that need changing to standardise them, and the best part is that they don't actually need recompiling to be executable. I won't spoil the fun on the specifics which can find by checking out his epic write-up at his site Toxic Ragers. Although efficiency is nothing to be sneered at, the sheer verbosity of his technical break downs continues to astound me. , .
Working out how to access the files, how they all work together and how far we can push the engine 'til it breaks is as entertaining as the game itself. Now let's see what we can achieve with this new level of access
Red Max is Back in Carmageddon: Reincarnation
Slightly less useless first ever ped/driver mod
The first driver/ped model modification. It's done. It's epic. If you don't care that one of the main men behind the Carmageddon game probably wouldn't approve. I've edited a batch of files to reinstate Max Damage as the crimson skinned anti-hero we knew from days of old.
Nobby has previously explained that he should have never been red-skinned. The colour was suppose be to be due to ambient lighting, but the budget and print run restrictions meant the materials for Carmageddon ended up having to black and red on white paper stock, so Max became red. It's technically a product of a limitation of the times rather than a feature. It's a nice story. But screw it, we have history with red skinned Max so the choice is here anyone that wants to see him back in their Alpha test. It seems strangley fitting considering all the testable parts of the game are currently labelled 'Classic Carma', well red max IS classic Carma.
Once you've downloaded the file, as with the previous mod, you need to use 7Zip to access the ZAD game archive files and swap some files out. [Download here].
Make sure you check the rushed and vague set of instructions in the download file as this one is a bit more involved, let me know if you have any problems. I've replaced Max in about 4 different locations, including:
- New profile pic
- New launch screen
- New background screen
- New in-car driver model skin
We're tactfully ignoring the ridiculous radiation related contribution that TDR made to the red legend.
First Third-Party Content Mod Into C:R!
Totally useless Cookie Monster
You might have noticed that I've been posting on the forums while we start tearing in to the data structures of C:R. We've got ZDA archives, TDX textures and LOL lua scripts.
The ZDA files were easily uncovered as using the zip compression algorithm so it's trivial to update the files within them. I've had trouble when extracting the full archive, including the xml structure doc, and then trying to create a full new archive, the game doesn't accept it. It's not important, but it's a curiosity I'd like to get to the bottom of at some point, to work out what where the incompatibility is being introduced.
The TDX textures are DXT compressed images, which can be easily converted between TDX and PNG with the tools we're working on. Trent on the forum has found and modified an open source tool developed by Gibbed for another Stainless franchised game, MtG Dual of the Planeswalker. I thank Gibbed probably isn't even aware yet that his altruistic donation of source code has sped up development of the tools we need to start hacking into the new game. Score one for open source! Thanks Gibbed, Trent.
I've officially got what I'd considered to be the first third-party content into the game. See how I ended with this by reading the thread on the forum I was developing at the time. No, it isn't functional or useful by any normal definition of the word, but it was handy for working out the file formats and how everything is structured before I swapped to the Gib tool. Yes, you can have a copy too! [Download here].
Open your Primary.zad file using 7Zip, delete the existing Eagle.tdx and Eagle_r.tdx that's already in it, and replace it with the ones in that download, they should be within this subfolder of the archive:
It could have been a positive message for world peace. A thoughtful example of the height of mankinds artistic accomplishments. But no. For the entirety of history, the first ever third party content hacked into Carmageddon: Reincarnation will be a picture of Cookie Monster. Can't go back now. Totally my fault. I can only apologise :)
Poor performance of Pre-Alpha Carmageddon?!
Quick and dirty performance increasing changes
With the massive textures and poorly optimised code that is guaranteed to be part of any pre-alpha game many people are struggling to get it playing. There are a few basic tweaks that you can make to improve the performance on moderately powered systems, these include lowering the resolution and switching to windows mode. These changes are currently disabled within the in-game GUI at the moment, but you can switch manually be finding the CONFIG.LUA file within your Carmageddon Reincarnation folder inside steam apps, for me it's located here:
Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Carmageddon_Reincarnation\
Open CONFIG.LUA with any text editor, like notepad, and change:
start_in_fullscreen = true,
start_in_fullscreen = false,
Save the file, and restart the game, and presto. This should be much more playable.
You can also Turn anti aliasing (AA) on, which cleans up the very nasty jagged edges currently visible on all the seams. This doesn't actually have too much of a negative performance on my system, and it's only running a GTX650 at the moment.
Open CONFIG.LUA with any text editor, like notepad, and change:
enabled = false
enabled = true
Let me know if you have any success with any other combination of options. I find some of them don't have any affect and make the game reset the values anyway. Check out the different it makes on the two screen shots below:
Early Pre-Alpha Is Open!
Play the game NOW - only for Kickstarter Backers
If you can recall as far back as the Carmageddon: Reincarnation Kickstarter campaign - you know - when the copy text was written in aramaic, carved and etched into stone tablets, back when Nelson Mandela was still alive. If you can remember that far back and you pledged a certain amount then you should have received an email this Thurs/Friday 14th March 2014 with an invite code to install the Pre-Alpha version of Carmageddon: Reincarnation ready to play - NOW!
You need to remember that this is essentially a technological proof of concept at this point, lacking many of the refinements of a completed game, but showcasing the 90% of the work that's usually unseen and unappreciated. We can see the fantastic new dynamic damage algorithms courtesy of Batwick, including deflating tyres, detachable panels, and destructible environments, including snow stacks and crash barriers.
Most people are reporting that the demo runs like crap on their moderately powered systems, and this is obviously because there are no refinements at all. All the major textures seem to be 4k+ (texture pixel dimensions, I'm not marketing tv's here). There's no reduced-size texture sets or focuses on efficiency yet, it's far too early for that. It's a shame that these massive canvases are not being fully harnessed yet though, far too many items, including the Eagle itself are mostly block colours that relying heavily on specular and diffuse maps to try and look good. I'm hoping it gets a hearty overall before it's finalised - and I'm confident it will because it's listed as only being 64% complete.
Summary: It runs like crap. But holy-christ-in-a-bucketful-of-barnacles - it's CARMAGEDDON! It has been a long time coming and it's awesome.
Welcome one and all!
Re-awakening the beast
Honey, I’m hooo-ome. It’s probably been a decade since we closed the doors on what was the biggest carmageddon sites at the time. Packed to the rafter with our car repository, thorough reviews and all round entertainment. I've still been fondly following the scene, keeping an eye on the CWA, and stoking the friendly rivalry in #carmageddon on IRC.
Since the announcement of Carmageddon: Reincarnation I’ve been ready to explode with enthusiasm and excitement - like sticking cartoon bundle of dynamite up the rectum of a constipated cow. Stay tuned to hear the plunger fall, the fuse ignite and the final confused ‘moo’ echoed out as the veiny, snaking, entrails slap down into the dripping pvc skin of your manly gaming umbrella.
The good news is I still have the archives from the golden era, featuring most of the mods, files and posts we hosted or posted, so as I work through my archives I'll dig out the best bits to share with you all. Take this as fair warning - get your playable copies of Carmageddon and Carpocalypse Now in-check or miss out!
I've tried a totally new design for this site, that will grow and expand as we progress. I've tried to put a modern clean twist on on an almost retro concept site, that will give me plenty of room to play around and test new things.
If Viper, Noodlez, or LL-Hell or any of the old team that I haven't spoken to in a few years happen to drop on by, be sure to give me a shout or pop in to #carmageddon!
Fight & Feedback - Eagle Concepts Leaked
Spread-eagled and ready for inspection
Stainless has show-cased some mouth-watering behind the scenes visuals of the Reincarnation Eagle. They’ve got two different artists pitted in a fight to the death for bragging rights of having designed the latest automotive meat-chewer. In the left corner we’ve got Doug, who’s a professional concept with a massive portfolio under his belt, and in the right corner we’ve got Tez, who was a former inside man at Stainless and is doing some speculative work to demonstrate he’s still got the Stainless spirit in his soul.
Let’s start with the good, both sets of visuals are fantastic. Both are fantastic pieces of concept art, and it’s a real privilege to be given this chance to see behind the scenes and be part of the feedback that shapes the development.
Tez’s has a distinct home-garage feel. A rustic, believable, rivet-these-panels-on-by-hand feel. Like the car has been through the wars and been patched up and re-painted. It hints towards the bat mobile in the Dark Knight with the flat panels and large wheels, overall profile. Unfortunately from what we can seen in these albeit early shots, it shamefully lacks in one crucial area, the rear view. You spent 90% of the game watching the car from the back quarters so it needs to be carefully considered, and ultimately look bad-ass. It’s the first car you start with, and the one that will either drive your desire to keep playing the game, or ditch it and call it a day.
You can see from Doug’s sketches that he has put some deliberate consideration into the rear, if from the wrong view, more suited to GTA 1. The rear is better than Tez, but still lacks a wow factor. The rest of the car reminds me of the Eagle Mk3 from Carmageddon. Too sporty for my taste, but it might grow on us. The pipes look ridiculous, you would BBQ any limbs or giblets that stuck to those, but it has some real promise.
In our humble opinion, some of the cars at least, should look a little home-modded, like the original Carmageddon ones felt. Doug’s Eagle has the corporate sponsorship and is displays the high budget polish of a serious racing game, and maybe this is the logical way forward for the sake of a story. After all, a high profile game to the death would be sure to draw heavyweight sponsorship.
In summary: Tez’s has a home spun maniacal mechanic feel which I love, but seems to be a natural fit as a modern version of the Hawk. Doug’s is carefully considered and obviously meets someone’s brief, but unfortunately not mine. It’s not far off though, just needs the polish toning down. Both are fantastic pieces of artwork and the artists should be proud, our opinions don’t change this fact.
Official Carmageddon Reincarnation Dev Blog
Stainless Games behind the scenes development blog
The development blog is always interesting to read and is packed full of teasers for the creative elements of the new games. Talking us through the thought process of certain visuals and giving us plenty of developmental eye candy.
The one thing it’s missing is commentary on the business side of the development, which I suppose is understandable given the sensitivity of these things since as licencing and contractual negotiations, but little nuggets of information can be still be gleaned from the various trade press reviews and forum comments of the team members, most notably Nobby & Batwick. I’ll be discussing these interesting comments here as they crop up.
Maxx is back, too! Toxic Ragers open for business
The return of compatriot Errol
Good to see that Errol @Toxic Ragers had spun his archives through the wash cycle of maturity and relaunched his fantastic site, which was once rumoured to be the first (and best) home of many of the Carmageddon engine discoveries and releases which contained some of the most creative add-ons ever released.
Max is Back!
Carmageddon comes home to Stainless, new title in the works
Our Island bound friend at Stainless regained the rights to the Carmageddon IP in June 2011. A new Carmageddon game called Reincarnation followed with a big build up announcement, and Stainless has been going to great lengths to embrace the online community – a community which has been running under it’s own steam for over 15 years now. It’s been whittled down to the die hard fans of the old titles that are hard to please and will accept no substitutes.