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Thread: The FFED3DAJ Thread

  1. #1

    The FFED3DAJ Thread

    Welcome Commander!
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    So what is this FFED3DAJ thing then & how to install it?

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    First of all, FFED3DAJ is not a stand-alone game that will run 'out of the box' - it's a continuation of the FFED3D project and aims to stabilize it, fix the outstanding issues and to add further enhancements. The aim of FFED3D was to update JJFFE for "modern" (2008+) PCs and add 3D models and effects using DirectX9. Before that, JJFFE updated the original FFE to be playable on Windows 95 systems.
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    So - FFED3DAJ requires the texture/model assets of FFED3D to be playable. If you are starting out from scratch then you will first need to download and install a base pack. There is the choice of the smaller, standard FFED3D beta1.12++ package or Ittiz's beta3 package which is significantly larger but it includes all of the up to date models as well as those infamous videos!
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    *Update 27th November 2016* Please be aware that the SpaceSimCentra site is currently being migrated to new software and is likely to be in a state of flux for the next month or two. My patch page is no longer available there with its installation instructions and direct links to the various files. Hopefully it will return, but at this time users will have to find the files themselves via a WordPress file-manager, accessed through their account profile. I'll see if I can sort out an alternative in the mean time.
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    The basic FFED3D beta1.12++ is available here:
    Elite-Games.ru: full beta
    SpaceSimCentral.com (SSC): (direct links are currently broken) FFED3D_Complete.7z 1.1x (alternatively, split into 4 .7z files: 1, 2, 3, 4)
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    Or, Ittiz's beta3 pack is available at the SSC here (direct link is broken)
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    Please note that although both sites require registration, they are free to join.
    They both also have active community/forum boards, so perhaps stay a while and say hello/thanks when you download, and see what other goodies they may have to offer!
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    If you grab either of the base packages from SSC, then be forewarned that it will be archived in 7zip (.7z) format and that there have been a couple of reports that these files were corrupt after downloading. This should not be the case and the issue is most likely due to the user trying to unpack the files with outdated software.
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    Tip: If you are using the basic FFED3D beta1.12++ pack rather than Ittiz's, then I recommend using JSGME that's within the FFED3D folder to then enable the replacement models and textures that are not normally active. There are also different versions of some textures/models to choose between.
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    Adding the FFED3DAJ patch
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    I keep a SpaceSimCentral page updated with each new build here.
    There's also a discussion thread with downloads over at the Russian Elite-Games forum here.
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    The distribution of FFED3DAJ is split into 3 standard .zip files. 2 of these are mandatory, one contains the new patch .exe files and the other a set of updated or new core textures. The 3rd zip is an optional install and contains some examples of multiple-textures on ships as well as a custom shader that colorizes the cargo canisters for variety. They're split like this to save bandwidth, as often it's only the primary "patch" zip file that gets updated between builds. These files should be unzipped into your FFED3D folder over the top of the base installation.
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    There's a readme file included in the patch .zip "FFED3DAJ_readme.txt" that hopefully explains a lot of the various configuration settings, so please do take a look at that and then edit your ffed3daj.cfg to suit your own requirements / preference!
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    The current version is v1.11. [Release notes & Changes]
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    As always, a very big thanks to Steve of FrontierAstro for all of the time that he's spent testing the never-ending beta builds and for feeding back both bugs and suggestions to help get the version to where it's at today. (And also for supplying a few new loading-screen 'hints'!)
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    Recommended Texture Add-on packs
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    To get the best visuals from the latest builds of FFED3DAJ, I recommend that you add the following texture packs by nanite2000. These were created in collaboration to accompany the release of v1.10a, and they will continue to be compatible with future versions.
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    From SpaceSimCentral: (direct links are currently broken)
    Enhanced planet surfaces, Enhanced metal surfaces and also, Cockpit icons and Planetary information graphics
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    Or from this post at Elite-Games.Ru: http://www.elite-games.ru/conference...171500#3171500
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    There is an album of images for each of nanite2000's texture packs here
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    Finally - Please do post in this thread if any help is required or to leave any feedback!
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    Cheers, AndyJ
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    Screenshots
    v1.09b:

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    v1.10:

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    YouTube Videos
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    Donik has recorded the intro using the v1.10a build and also nanite2000's textures pack and posted it Here.
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    And pettytyrant101 has posted this little vid for your viewing pleasure: "FFED3DAJ- Elite Frontier: First Encounters- see the galaxy for less than 3 Altarian dollars a day!"
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    Version History: FFED3DAJ_versions.txt

    The FFED3DAJ Thread - Frontier: First Encounters. Enhanced and in Direct3D.

  2. #2
    Hey AndyJ!

    I got round to trying v1.08 last night. It's looking great!

    The only problem I've found so far is that I can't get PLS playlists to work. I've put a playlist called 'battle.pls' in my 'Music\custom\battle' folder that looks like the following:

    Code:
    [PlayList]
    File1=D:\Music\Music\Breaks\Unsorted Breaks\UNKLE - Eye For An Eye (Force Mass Motion Vs. Dylan Rhymes Remix).mp3
    File2=D:\Music\Music\Breaks\Unsorted Breaks\2010\Access Denied & BSD - Publicity.mp3
    File3=D:\Music\Music\Breaks\Unsorted Breaks\2010\Vandal - Lose It.mp3
    NumberOfEntries=3
    But none of these tracks play when I enter a battle. If I copy the physical MP3's to the same folder, then they play fine, so it looks like it's just the PLS file that's not being read properly.

    Do I need to change a config option somewhere to enable it?

    Thanks!

  3. #3
    Hi nanite2000

    The playlist in each folder needs to be named "playlist.pls" for it to be loaded. A small detail that I missed mentioning in the readme - Sorry about that!!!

    I had time for a little more testing today and realised that combat music has the same issue that I'd had to address for docking music - i.e. if you load a game in, it doesn't play it. meh!
    Anyway I was able to track down where the battle light is switched on, and from there identify a flag that's set when ships are closing in on you. This flag gets cleared at the end of a battle, so where that happens I can also hook it and provide an option to either immediately cease the custom combat music or leave it play until the end of the track.
    Couple of things to code, and I'm not going to have time to give it any serious testing, so once it's built I'll upload it as a 'test' build and you can give it a go while I'm away

    The FFED3DAJ Thread - Frontier: First Encounters. Enhanced and in Direct3D.

  4. #4
    Originally Posted by AndyJ View Post (Source)
    Hi nanite2000

    The playlist in each folder needs to be named "playlist.pls" for it to be loaded. A small detail that I missed mentioning in the readme - Sorry about that!!!
    Sweet! That fixed it. Thanks!

    Originally Posted by AndyJ View Post (Source)
    I had time for a little more testing today and realised that combat music has the same issue that I'd had to address for docking music - i.e. if you load a game in, it doesn't play it. meh!
    Anyway I was able to track down where the battle light is switched on, and from there identify a flag that's set when ships are closing in on you. This flag gets cleared at the end of a battle, so where that happens I can also hook it and provide an option to either immediately cease the custom combat music or leave it play until the end of the track.
    Couple of things to code, and I'm not going to have time to give it any serious testing, so once it's built I'll upload it as a 'test' build and you can give it a go while I'm away
    OK, great! I've not been able to replicate the issue you describe above, but I'm happy to try out a test version, if only to make sure it's as solid as the previous release.

  5. #5
    I'm afraid I didn't get time in the end to finish up & chuck out the test build, it looks like the flag gets reset every frame so the new hook I'd added didn't pan out quite as hoped! It'll be solvable I'm sure, but will have to wait now 'til I get back.
    Glad you've got the playlists working in the meantime anyway

    The FFED3DAJ Thread - Frontier: First Encounters. Enhanced and in Direct3D.

  6. #6
    Volunteer Moderator T.j's Avatar
    I've added this thread to the index stuck at the top of the page.

  7. #7
    The graphic for blue supergiant stars eg. Hadar (-6,-40) doesn't appear on the system screen.

    Here's how it looks in glffe...



    ...and here's the same screen in FFED3DAJ v1.08



    To be fair, it doesn't seem to work in any version of FFED3D, although the texture is present in the directory (tex39).

    Oh, and the same problem is present for other supergiant stars as well eg Antares (-39,-34) although other stars appear ok.

  8. #8
    The size of the one in the Ittiz build is 385x1815, and that is the one that appears to be not showing.

    The default FFED3D tex39.png is 32x165 (and looks like the one in that top screenshot, so is probably the same).

    In VampireDuCosmos Stars_Planets_Textures mod that file is 320x1650.

    So maybe there is an upper limit that the screen can display at for these?

    Edit: A quick test with various versions (FFED3D, Ittiz, AndyJ) and even swapping that tex39.png for the various different versions did not make it appear in any version. So looks like a general FFED3D bug, rather than an AndyJ one.

  9. #9
    Yeah, the version I was using was 32 x 165 so it seems like the program isn't referencing tex38 or tex39 when it generates the system screen. Hopefully AndyJ will have a look at it when he gets back from his holiday

  10. #10
    Originally Posted by Steve View Post (Source)
    Yeah, the version I was using was 32 x 165 so it seems like the program isn't referencing tex38 or tex39 when it generates the system screen. Hopefully AndyJ will have a look at it when he gets back from his holiday
    Same problem here. This has always been a problem with FFED3D if I remember correctly.

    I think the program *is* referencing the texture, as there is a thin sliver of it appearing in the very top left hand corner of my screen. It is only one pixel high though, so maybe it's a positioning problem with the texture...?

  11. #11
    Thanks for the heads up on that!

    Yes, it's likely always been a fault in FFED3D. I took a quick look and its function to draw sprites includes a pointer to a set of values that define the attributes of the graphic, from which it gets the width & height. The data type for height was incorrectly defined as being signed, and so instead of holding the height value 165 it was -90 and that's why it wasn't appearing on screen. It was simple to fix, and a further search over at the JongWare site also revealed that the pointer matches the bitimage structure documented here.

    I also realised that there was a really, really simple way to avoid the issue that I'd run into in making the battle music repeat or return to a random song. So that enhancement is also working as intended now, and as with the docking music tweak, it will now play the battle music immediately after loading in a save where you're engaged in combat, and repeat for the duration of the battle.
    I've added a pair of new settings to enable/disable the tweaks that repeat battle/docking music just in case anyone doesn't actually want this behaviour.

    Still a bit holiday weary and not intending to rush back into anything too heavy just yet!
    I've dropped a quick v1.09 build out at the usual locations with the above changes - enjoy!

    The FFED3DAJ Thread - Frontier: First Encounters. Enhanced and in Direct3D.

  12. #12
    Welcome back Andy, hope you had a great holiday :smilie:

    I've just downloaded v1.09 and it all looks good! Giant stars are displayed on the system page now, although the texture itself is a bit ropey. I'm sure some talented gfx artist could draw something better

  13. #13
    Yes thanks, had a great time stumbling around NYC to celebrate the other half's 40th and St. Patrick's ... I'm sure it's simply all the walking and nothing else that's left us both so broken LOL.

    nanite2000 sent me some nice graphics the other week, perhaps he could be persuaded to share them as a pack - or I could upload them for him if he wished...


    I've just had a report on the Russian forum that Avast is reporting ffed3daj.exe as having the "win32 evo-gen [susp]" virus.

    I hope it's a false-positive as neither my Norton install or a newly setup Avast 2014 + defs flag it so with direct scans. However, running the exe files does then causes Avast to quarantine them.

    I'm running a system wide scan anyway just to be double sure.
    A heads-up anyway for other users...

    The FFED3DAJ Thread - Frontier: First Encounters. Enhanced and in Direct3D.

  14. #14
    I've rebuilt the .exe files and Avast! seems happier with them now. I'm sure it was a false positive so have uploaded a v1.09a the patch .zip so that other users won't run into the same issue.

    The FFED3DAJ Thread - Frontier: First Encounters. Enhanced and in Direct3D.

  15. #15
    Originally Posted by AndyJ View Post (Source)
    Yes thanks, had a great time stumbling around NYC to celebrate the other half's 40th and St. Patrick's ... I'm sure it's simply all the walking and nothing else that's left us both so broken LOL.
    Hah! Been there, done that. We stayed in a hotel overlooking Times Square, about 25 floors up. NYC really never sleeps

    Originally Posted by AndyJ View Post (Source)
    nanite2000 sent me some nice graphics the other week, perhaps he could be persuaded to share them as a pack - or I could upload them for him if he wished...
    That'd be great!

    Originally Posted by AndyJ View Post (Source)
    I've just had a report on the Russian forum that Avast is reporting ffed3daj.exe as having the "win32 evo-gen [susp]" virus.

    I hope it's a false-positive as neither my Norton install or a newly setup Avast 2014 + defs flag it so with direct scans. However, running the exe files does then causes Avast to quarantine them.

    I'm running a system wide scan anyway just to be double sure.
    A heads-up anyway for other users...
    AVG 2014 doesn't have a problem with v1.09 so I'm also hoping it's a false positive. I used to use Avast but got fed up with it for a variety of reasons. AVG is A Very Good alternative :smilie:

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