Author Topic: Relief Action : half-life grandfather  (Read 907 times)

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Offline jaymanu

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Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« on: 15:13, 28 January 19 »
Hello all
I was wondering if any of you did play a game named "Relief-Action" ?
It is a very very early FPS from 1987, sporting wireframe 3D and even stereoscopic anaglygh glasses.
As a 10-years old, I never got very far, and so it retains a lot of nostalgic mistery to me.


There is only one 'solution' found on the net, along with a map, but it seems totally incomplete, as it leads to a negative ending, and many in-game rooms and objects suggest that there's much more to be done.

Has any of you played it ?
I'm not even sure it was released outside of France or translated, and no programmer or designer is credited.

Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #1 on: 15:33, 28 January 19 »
My progress so far :


- On a technical point of view : [size=78%]The game is much easier to play over emulation, as :[/size]


1/ The 3D rendering is very slow, so boosting speed to 400% makes it way smoother.
Though, there is a timer which after supposedly 1 hour (according to the doc), triggers the ship explosion and thus game over.
I'm trying to find a POKE which would deactivate this timer, but my ASM is very rusty, and even while doing no movement, many values in memory do move, and I couldn't manage to identify any counter


2/ I was expecting to find in-game texts and use them as spoiling clues, but there's no ASCII in either the DSK nor snapshots. Maybe there's some compression or obfuscation involved ?


3/ Snapshots do help a lot trying different actions. But with many emulators, the game gets stuck after loading a snap. Only WinAPE could manage it. This game might have been programmed a dirty way.


- On a gameplay side :
I never understood, either 30 years ago or today, how to use the 'monster detector'. It has lights going ON and OFF, couldn't get how to interpret the pattern.
The fact is that it might have been quite impossible to render a monster by this time, so any encounter basically triggers a game over message saying 'Let's stop here, because on next scene you would be horribly mutilated by the monster'.


Maybe I'm alone here. This game might not be well known or interesting, unless you played it back then.

Offline Nich

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #2 on: 22:00, 28 January 19 »
I was wondering if any of you did play a game named "Relief-Action" ?
It is a very very early FPS from 1987, sporting wireframe 3D and even stereoscopic anaglygh glasses.
As a 10-years old, I never got very far, and so it retains a lot of nostalgic mistery to me.

Has any of you played it ?
I'm not even sure it was released outside of France or translated, and no programmer or designer is credited.

I played it a long time ago for my review on CPC Game Reviews - it must have been nearly 15 years ago now! :o I recall being captivated by it, although as you say, moving around was very slow.

I didn't get very far in the game either. If I remember correctly, when I went to a higher floor of the spaceship, the monster quickly found me and the game ended. I haven't played it since I reviewed it!

Relief Action definitely wasn't released in the UK and it is very difficult to get hold of an original copy. The cracked version on NVG doesn't contain any credits, but images of the original game include a demo which credits the authors as Christophe Courrier, Gilles Debever, Bertrand Debever and Christophe Grosjean.

Offline Targhan

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #3 on: 00:13, 29 January 19 »
I played it when I was a kid, but it was slow and I didn't know exactly what to do.

As for the ending, I remember it being not fully a happy ending :). There's nothing you can do about it.

Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #4 on: 11:37, 29 January 19 »
Hi Nich and Targhan


It sure is very slow, but that can be solved with emulator speed (sorry for hardware purists !! (but you can always finish the game on real hw after having studied it over emulation). If only I could manage to poke off the in-game time limit...


If I remember correctly, when I went to a higher floor of the spaceship, the monster quickly found me and the game ended.


Exactly what I achieved back in time, i could remove the plates to reach 2d floor trough ventilation pipes. Then the monster finds you. The monster detector helps you avoiding him, though I didnt understand how to read it correctly.


Yesterday I could go further, I could fix the elevator and reach 3rd floor ! (by using elevator maintenance manual found in commander's room, and the mechanician badge).


About the monster, I noticed there's a prison with electric bars in the lab. I guess we have to get the monster in that ? The manual says it's attracted by smells. For that we could use the 3 smelling chemical bottles and/or the perfume. That's where I am now.


As for the ending, I remember it being not fully a happy ending :) . There's nothing you can do about it.


How do you know ? I couldn't find evidence that anyone really solved it. The walkthroughs I found are very partial in terms of explored rooms and used objects. Also the "epilogues" are revealed from passwords : The few passwords I found online all lead to the same text, there should be other endings.






Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #5 on: 17:23, 31 January 19 »
Hello

I managed to extract game text data from the relief-action disk image. There are about 200 phrases.
Here are some interesting ones :

Phrase  36 : LE MECANICIEN PEUT DECONNECTER LE SYSTEME DE SECURITE DE L'ASCENSEUR GRACE A SA CARTE
Phrase  83 : PLAQUE CHAUFFANTE ALLUMEE
Phrase 145 : VOUS ETES MIGNONNE AVEC CETTE EPINGLE DANS LES CHEVEUX
Phrase 108 : LE MONSTRE EST PROJETE DANS L'ESPACE


Quite interestingly, it seems that the monster can be "ejected into space" !..


Offline ||C|-|E||

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #6 on: 17:11, 02 February 19 »
I stumbled upon a copy of this one when I was a kid... I could not understand a word, but I always loved it. I made a pair of funky 3D glasses myself to play it and all. Nowadays I am still as intrigued as you about it  :D

Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #7 on: 19:13, 05 February 19 »
I actually had the original glasses, but they were totally useless with my green monitor :)
Anyway, they were a selling point, but isn't essential at all to play the game.


BTW, i could manage to eject the monster into space !!  :) 
(You b*** !! Finally got my revenge after 30 years !!)


And completed few more things.


Still have to find out :
  • how to use the navigation system ?
  • how to deactivate self-destruction from the computer ?
  • which message to send ? (theres not enough power for more than 1 message)

Offline Targhan

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #8 on: 23:10, 05 February 19 »
Quote
How do you know ? I couldn't find evidence that anyone really solved it.

I only remember having read somewhere that when you manage to escape with the pod, a last sentence indicates that the monster is aboard. Thus making the link with Alien's ending.

Quote
i could manage to eject the monster into space !!
Well done! Maybe you should put a solution (or a sort-of) on CPC Power!

Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #9 on: 12:09, 06 February 19 »
a last sentence indicates that the monster is aboard.
Well done! Maybe you should put a solution (or a sort-of) on CPC Power!
True, quickly after shuttle take-off, a sentence tells you that the monster is aboard. But you still get few seconds to react before game over. Push the diaphragm-shaped button located on the right board 3 times :
  • 1st push : The diaphragm opens and the shuttle gets depressurised.
  • Push it again : it closes, the shuttle is repressurizing
  • 3rd time : you trigger a 'brutal' decompression. The monster is ejected. You are safe if you didn't forget to close the cockpit room beforehand.
I still have some more elements to clarify, before being able to write a complete solution.

Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #10 on: 10:04, 11 February 19 »
Here's a much happier ending :)
Try this epilogue code :
Code: [Select]
RNCCMJ

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #11 on: 14:02, 12 February 19 »
Damn that spoiler spoiled my want to play it :D Hopefully someone does a longplay vid!

Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #12 on: 14:41, 12 February 19 »
Damn that spoiler spoiled my want to play it :D Hopefully someone does a longplay vid!
I was thinking about writing a walkthrough, I might be too old school :)
« Last Edit: 14:43, 12 February 19 by jaymanu »

Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #13 on: 15:13, 13 February 19 »
I read through all possible endings into game data, and found out that RNCCMJ is the best ending.
I thought one might be able to avoid the ship's self-destruction, but that's not the case.


Also, due to the way text is encoded, there is little hope to easily translate the game in another language. That might explain why the game was only sold in France.


I would be happy to share my solution here. Video could be a nice option, but I have no experience in that... Has anyone already done such thing ?

Offline MiguelSky

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #14 on: 04:24, 14 February 19 »
Also, due to the way text is encoded, there is little hope to easily translate the game in another language. That might explain why the game was only sold in France.


I would be happy to share my solution here. Video could be a nice option, but I have no experience in that... Has anyone already done such thing ?
Hey, I'm interested, a translation would be nice.

Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #15 on: 11:34, 14 February 19 »
Hey, I'm interested, a translation would be nice.
For this, I would need help :)

Offline MiguelSky

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #16 on: 13:47, 14 February 19 »
Ok, tell us how is that encoding.

Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #17 on: 14:09, 14 February 19 »
Attached is my c code to extract game text from both main game and epilogue.
Sorry for its dirtiness, i did that with much trial-and-error-and-guessing

Basically, there are 2 parts :
- a word list (with entire words or word parts)
- a sentence list, which is a mix of characters and tokens linking to words from above list


Characters are encoded on 5 bits, with 0=space, 1=A, 2=B etc.
The 3 remaining bits are signaling, like end-of-string, add a space, etc. . And this signalling is slightly different between words part and sentences part.


Let me know if there's anything I could clarify
« Last Edit: 14:16, 14 February 19 by jaymanu »

Offline MiguelSky

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #18 on: 14:34, 14 February 19 »
Wow! As you said, a translation might be possible but quite tricky. I'll have a look on this. Thanks :)

Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #19 on: 14:49, 14 February 19 »
As a start, we could translate the wordlist to english, while keeping french ordering.
Then, we could work out the orderings, which would be the tricky part.

While patching, there is a typo : "EMIT" should be "EMIS"
And there's a bug in the epilogue : try code RECCJJ, the displaying is stopped before reaching the end of text (at least with my version)
Spoiler: show
Vous préférez mourir vite... vous ouvrez le diaphragme sur le vide !!! noir !

I'm also trying to work out how to remove the timeout which has the ship exploding after 1 hour. Because that would allow playing in 'turbo' emulation mode, having a much friendlier framerate.

Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #20 on: 17:15, 14 February 19 »
I finally sorted out some pokes :)


To disable the ship self-destruction timer
Address &7B74, replace '93' by '00'    ( SUB=subtraction --> NOP= do nothing )


To fix the typo :
Address &5707, replace '94' by '93'  ("EMIT" -> "EMIS")

Offline MiguelSky

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #21 on: 02:16, 15 February 19 »
Another option could be to eliminate the decoding part in the game in order to make easier the translation.

Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #22 on: 16:07, 15 February 19 »
That is a very good idea miguelsky !

I studied the code a bit more :
When a string is to be displayed, it is decoded and prepared at address &0407 with 2 added spaces. And total length is written at &CFE7. Then the display routine at &4A70 is called.

In practice, I set a breakpoint in Winape at &4A70. When any text is about to be displayed, the break triggers. When it happened, i modified the memory as below :

Code: [Select]
&0407 : 08 05 0C 0C 0F 00 17 0F 12 0C 04 00 00
&CFE7 : 0D
And there you go, it displays 'hello world' instead of the intended message :)

So, for translation, we could hook a custom routine which would replace the text with an english version. What do you think ?
« Last Edit: 16:09, 15 February 19 by jaymanu »

Offline jaymanu

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Re: Relief Action : half-life grandfather
« Reply #23 on: 18:01, 19 February 19 »
New pokes !

&67DF, replace 3E by C9
&6798, replace 3A by C9

Now the monster cannot kill you.
No more excuse not to solve the game :)

Interestingly, if you use the terminal in computer room level 3, it allows you to use a "monitor" which accesses the actual CPC memory ! So in theory you could do almost anything, from implementing pokes to arbitrary code injection... A funny touch of humor from the game developper :)
« Last Edit: 19:20, 20 February 19 by jaymanu »