Needed: programmer to convert OS9 plug to Nova

Paid work.

Hello all,

I used to write plug-ins for EV Override on my Mac OS 9. I have written some really good material but have never managed to keep up with the EVN programming, I have always preferred the simplicity of the EVO engine and the way the missions/galaxy can be engineered. That said, I would like to advance into the Nova side of things but without abandoning my existing projects.

Further to this, I would like to enlist one or two skilled programmers who know how to work across platforms, for the purpose of transferring my plug-in which is in the EVO format on Mac OS 9.2, and transferring it almost identically to the EV Nova engine in the newer Mac OS's (and even Windows for that matter).

I remember a while back seeing an EVN plug-in which emulated the old EV and EVO galaxies. Basically it would be along the same lines- take the EVO programming and input it into an EVN plug-in (something I have no idea on how to do, much less the time to learn). I could then release the plug-ins I've made as I doubt anyone would play them in their current OS9 format.

I would be willing to pay someone to do this as I appreciate it's laborious work and probably pretty dull. Can anyone recommend anyone who might want to pick this up and earn a bit of cash doing so?

Thanks for your help.

Yan

This post has been edited by Yan Anderson : 27 September 2011 - 03:16 PM

I'm no expert, but I think the Mac version of David Arthur's MissionComputer resource editor can do everything you want.

MissionComputer can edit plug-ins from all three games, and it can convert EV Nova plug-ins between the Macintosh and Windows formats, but there are no facilities for converting from one game to another.

For that purpose, the only released tool I know of is SpacePirate’s SpacePort (and it’s still a developer aid rather than a complete replacement for human involvement).

Thanks for the replies.

I love mission computer and use it regularl but like you say, it won't convert tons of OS9/EVO information to up to date Nova info.

Who made the EVC and EVOC plug-ins for Nova? They must have experience in converting EV/O code into Nova, I might be able to get some tips off of them.

To be honest I'm surprised there isn't a few more people willing to give it a go manual programming, I remember a time when there were a lot of budding programmers who would have given it a go- especially earning a bit of cash on the side! I'm serious about getting this plug-in out there, even if I have to pay for it.

The person who wrote the EVO and EVC TC for Nova is long gone AFAIK.

If what you want done is just transferring data from one game to the other, I have some experience in creating EV Nova plugins. I work on a Windows PC, and I can rewrite missions, and transfer ship specs and such. At least if you tell me what you want done, specifically, I can tell you if I am up to the job. I have a lot of free time for about another two weeks, so I really have nothing better to do.

The catch, however, is that I know nothing about graphics (And am still learning about the process in general). I cannot design, render, texture, or do anything with the animation (let's call it a protocol. EVNEW refers to it as a 'shan'). So if you think I may be able to help, send me the file, tell me specifics, and I'll look it over and see if I can help you. No promises.

The official ports were made using PortAuthority, another utility by the creator of NovaTools. It has never been released to the general public, which is what prompted the creation of SpacePort.

I don’t think manual ports have ever been a major part of the development ecosystem: the formats are different enough that without a conversion utility, it basically amounts to re-creating the plug-in from the ground up, resource by resource. My suggestion is that you take a look at SpacePort, as it does most of the work for you.

There’s a version from 2004 on the add-ons page — does anyone know offhand whether there’s a newer one anywhere else?

Avi: shän is a type of resource, which defines the format to which individual resources adhere. It’s short for SHip ANimation, and is a type specific to EV Nova.

@avi-kerensky, on 27 September 2011 - 04:57 PM, said in Needed: programmer to convert OS9 plug to Nova:

If what you want done is just transferring data from one game to the other, I have some experience in creating EV Nova plugins. I work on a Windows PC, and I can rewrite missions, and transfer ship specs and such. At least if you tell me what you want done, specifically, I can tell you if I am up to the job. I have a lot of free time for about another two weeks, so I really have nothing better to do.

The catch, however, is that I know nothing about graphics (And am still learning about the process in general). I cannot design, render, texture, or do anything with the animation (let's call it a protocol. EVNEW refers to it as a 'shan'). So if you think I may be able to help, send me the file, tell me specifics, and I'll look it over and see if I can help you. No promises.

Ok, sounds good. It's mostly the ships, spobs, systs & outfits that need to be transferred over- the misns, govts, graphics etc I can do myself. The only thing is, this is currently on a Mac OS 9 format- is that something you can work with? Or, does anyone know how I can get a report or other readable format of the OS 9 data which can be shown to somoeone on Windows or OS X?

@david-arthur, on 27 September 2011 - 04:58 PM, said in Needed: programmer to convert OS9 plug to Nova:

The official ports were made using PortAuthority, another utility by the creator of NovaTools. It has never been released to the general public, which is what prompted the creation of SpacePort.

I don’t think manual ports have ever been a major part of the development ecosystem: the formats are different enough that without a conversion utility, it basically amounts to re-creating the plug-in from the ground up, resource by resource. My suggestion is that you take a look at SpacePort, as it does most of the work for you.

There’s a version from 2004 on the add-ons page — does anyone know offhand whether there’s a newer one anywhere else?

Avi: shän is a type of resource, which defines the format to which individual resources adhere. It’s short for SHip ANimation, and is a type specific to EV Nova.

Thanks David, I will have a look at Spaceport. Again though, can it transfer data from OS 9 to it's OS X/Windows equivelant?

I haven't worked on a Mac since the late nineties, so my knowledge is limited. are the Files .Bin or .Sit or any of that? I can probably work something out, if that's the case.

That isn’t actually an issue; the change from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X didn’t in itself make any difference to the plug-in format. An EV plug-in is an EV plug-in; an EVO plug-in is an EVO plug-in; and I believe SpacePort can adapt either of those into an EV Nova plug-in.

EV Nova unfortunately has two formats, as it wasn’t possible to make the Windows version understand the normal Macintosh files. But converting one into the other is just a matter of putting the same data into a different container — MissionComputer can do it in a few clicks.

Great, so if I understand this right any OS 9 plug-in is de facto an OS X plug-in, which can be converted relatively easily to Windows (and vice versa?).

If that's the case, we should have no problems getting the Mac version converted to Windows and therefore allow Avi and others to work on it and then presumably they can flip it back to Mac using the same conversion?

By the way Avi, I've had a look at it and basically the main bulk of the work needs to be done solely on syst and spob resources. The plug-in is a revamp of the EVO universe, so all the ship/govt/outf/etc resources are carbon copies of the original, which can be taken from the port of EVO on the EVN engine which I know exists. Therefore, once all those base resources have been put into a Nova plug all that needs to be added is the syst/spob resources.

The only thing I would say is that it's 430 syst and 370 spob, that is just UE/Voinian space, so it's a fair bit of work! If you're up for it I'll get the old plug-in converted to a Windows format and send it over to you to have a look.

How can I get my hands on the files? Are you posting it here, or emailing it? My email is already all over these forums, so I'll post it again (I'm not afraid of spammers, lol): Sailorkerensky@yahoo.com. Just make sure to put 'EV Nova' in the subject line.

@yan-anderson, on 29 September 2011 - 12:59 PM, said in Needed: programmer to convert OS9 plug to Nova:

Great, so if I understand this right any OS 9 plug-in is de facto an OS X plug-in, which can be converted relatively easily to Windows (and vice versa?).

EV Nova plug-ins can easily be converted between the Macintosh (all systems) and Windows formats. But since the first two games were never made for Windows, there aren’t any Windows tools that support Escape Velocity or EV Override.

I’m afraid they pretty much have to be adapted to EV Nova , on a Macintosh, before putting them on Windows even becomes a meaningful thing.

@david-arthur, on 29 September 2011 - 02:20 PM, said in Needed: programmer to convert OS9 plug to Nova:

EV Nova plug-ins can easily be converted between the Macintosh (all systems) and Windows formats. But since the first two games were never made for Windows, there aren’t any Windows tools that support Escape Velocity or EV Override.

I’m afraid they pretty much have to be adapted to EV Nova , on a Macintosh, before putting them on Windows even becomes a meaningful thing.

I see. So I need someone with access to a Mac who can program it, before it can be converted to Windows.

Unless... is there any way the data of the EVO plug-in can be read by Windows, even if it's in a format which just allows the likes of Avi to mimick the data into a fresh Nova Windows plug-in? i.e. even if he can't edit the EVO data on a Windows, could he at least see it and then re-create it on Novatools?

One other question David - I've put a USB stick into my old OS 9 Mac and put the EVO plug-ins on there, and transferred them to my OS X Mac.

I've downloaded Mission Computer X, but it doesn't read my EVO plug-ins. It can create new ones, no problem. But the others just come up as unrecognised on my Mac. Any ideas?

By the way Avi thanks for the e-mail, if I can work a way around this issue I will definately send you the plug!

I wish you luck. 🙂

How was the USB stick formatted? If it was not formatted by Mac OS it could be the resource fork for the plugs was lost. If it was formatted by Mac OS, I'm not sure. Is Mission Computer just not loading them, or is it not listed as the default program?

To expand on what EVWeb said, most flash drives are by default formated as DOS “FAT-32”. To put your plug-in files on such a drive without losing the resource fork, you’ll need to archive the plug-in as either .bin or .sit.

@yan-anderson, on 29 September 2011 - 02:27 PM, said in Needed: programmer to convert OS9 plug to Nova:

... even if he can't edit the EVO data on a Windows, could he at least see it and then re-create it on Novatools?

No, you need EV-specific tools to view just as much as you do to edit.

@yan-anderson, on 29 September 2011 - 02:46 PM, said in Needed: programmer to convert OS9 plug to Nova:

I've downloaded Mission Computer X, but it doesn't read my EVO plug-ins. It can create new ones, no problem. But the others just come up as unrecognised on my Mac. Any ideas?

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘come up as unrecognised’. They may have a generic icon if you copy them onto a computer that doesn’t have EV Override installed, but that shouldn’t prevent MissionComputer from opening them.

What happens when you drag one of the plug-ins when you drag it onto the MissionComputer icon, or select it using the Open command?

@qaanol, on 29 September 2011 - 04:52 PM, said in Needed: programmer to convert OS9 plug to Nova:

To put your plug-in files on such a drive without losing the resource fork, you’ll need to archive the plug-in as either .bin or .sit.

The Mac OS has had the ability to transparently encode resource forks when copying onto PC drives since System 7.5 — or does this not work when transferring between Classic and Mac OS X?

Thank you everyone for the feed back.

To answer your questions:

  1. You were right, the USB key is indeed formatted as MS-DOS File System (FAT16). Not sure how to change this, I had a quick look on the net but couldn't find a simple answer as to how to reformat the key.

  2. The EVO plug-ins appear as black/grey icons with green 'exec' written in the top left corner. I have attached a screen shot to show you.

  3. There is a folder on the key titled RESOURCE.FRK with 8 items, again I have attached a screen shot

  4. finally a screen shot of what MC says when I try to open any of the plugs. When it asked me which type of plugin it was, EV/O/N, I selected EVO first, then EVN then EV - same message each time.

Does this shed any light on the matter? It would be great if I could at least get it onto OS X and start playing around in it on this OS.

Attached File(s)

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