Opened 6 weeks ago

Last modified 5 weeks ago

#15161 new defect

SCI: EcoQuest 1 from "Sierra's School House" is reported as corrupt (and maybe it is!)

Reported by: eriktorbjorn Owned by:
Priority: normal Component: Engine: SCI
Version: Keywords:
Cc: Game: EcoQuest 1

Description

Sierra's School House comes with a bunch of bonus games that, surprisingly, appear to be the full games rather than demos. One of them is EcoQuest 1, which ScummVM detects as either the DOS or Windows CD version.

Unfortunately, when you start it you are greeted with the following message:

"Missing or corrupt game resources have been detected. Some game features may not work properly. Please check the console for more information, and verify that your game files are valid."

Question is, how broken is it exactly? Even the full CD version ("SierraOriginals" version) will print warning messages, but the Sierra School House one has few additional ones, like these:

WARNING: Failed to find volume for map.225!
WARNING: Sync::start: failed to find resource sync36.400(1, 0, 0, 1)!
WARNING: Failed to find audio entry (400, 1, 0, 0, 1)!

So let's compare the files of the two versions:

Everything that's on the Sierra's School House CD is also on the SierraOriginals CD. The "readme" file for the latter is a lot more extensive, but it's mostly about boot disks, drivers and such.

There is, however, number of files on the SierraOriginals CD that are not on the Sierra's School House one:

  • audio (A directory with 116 .aud files.)
  • eco.bat
  • ecopic.bmp
  • install.bat
  • install.ex$
  • install.hlp
  • install.ini
  • install.lgo
  • install.txt
  • inst.exe
  • resource.aud
  • resource.cfg
  • setup.exe
  • sierra.bmp
  • title.bmp

Most of this is probably not even needed. What I'm hoping here is that all they did was strip out the speech (and maybe other digitized sounds?), creating a crippled but still fully playable version.

If so, it would be nice if ScummVM didn't display that warning, or at the very least displayed a less intimidating one. And maybe it should be detected as something else than the CD version? (The readme file on the Sierra's School House disc simply calls it "EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus", while the SierraClassics readme calls it "Eco Quest CD" even though that's apparently not the registered trademark.)

Attachments (1)

castlebrain-mac.png (54.9 KB ) - added by eriktorbjorn 6 weeks ago.

Download all attachments as: .zip

Change History (15)

comment:1 by m-kiewitz, 6 weeks ago

When resource.aud is missing, that's literally a corrupt game. And thus the popup is absolutely correct. The speech can't work. I have no clue why Sierra would do such a thing. Maybe they didn't mean to put the whole game on that CD.

and the warnings appear when resources are accessed that aren't available. The warnings exist for a reason. Some games contain bugs and access resources that just aren't there, and it's normal, but it's still a bug in the game.

Removing the warnings wouldn't be good, because then we wouldn't see that there are problems with the scripts.

comment:2 by eriktorbjorn, 6 weeks ago

Lack of space, I assume? The ISO file I made from the CD is 396 MB, and the missing resource.aud file is 292 MB. I don't know why they didn't go with the floppy version instead, but maybe it was harder to get that one to run under Windows? Though I haven't been able to get the original EXE to run under Wine, so who knows.

Apparently the way it works is that you complete math exercises to earn points. But this is a very slow process, and after a while Wine misbehaved and I lost my progress before even unlocking a single one, so I don't actually know what this looks like. But there is no indication in the manual [*] that EcoQuest is supposed to be anything but the full game, and all demos I've seen have been non-interactive anyway.

I've been told the same manual was used for all varieties of Sierra's School House, but I didn't get any with my second-hand copy.

The manual lists more than 20 games each for PC and Mac, but the interesting ones for ScummVM are:

  • EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus
  • Lost Secret of the Rainforest (EcoQuest 2. It appears to be complete.)
  • Pepper's Adventures in Time (Appears to be complete.)
  • Gobliiins 1 (Not listed, as far as I can see. Is missing the intro, but I've played through the first six levels without problems. I assume it's complete.)
  • Castle of Dr. Brain (Macintosh version. The copy protection information is included. I assume it's complete.)

So I'm still wondering if it's supposed to be flagged as corrupt, or if the official EXE dealt gracefully with the missing audio files.

[*] https://sierrachest.com/index.php?a=games&id=832&title=school-house-english&fld=box

comment:3 by m-kiewitz, 6 weeks ago

You can't really handle missing resource.aud for a Talkie version gracefully. Tons of content is missing, the warning is valid and this is indeed a corrupt copy of the game.
This can in fact cause all sorts of silly issues depending on what the scripts did, the user has to know about that.

I think Eco Quest 1 had subtitles as well as audio, and I think we added a dual mode, for both audio + subtitles at the same time. The game defaults to speech if I remember correctly, which in your case should be 100% broken.

And in fact we can't differentiate yours and the actual CD version but with missing resource.aud. Yours seems to be super rare. So if we removed the dialog, it would be gone for the CD version, which would be terrible. The message is there for a reason. We had bug reports where that file was missing, but we will let people continue, so it's not blocked and I don't see a problem with that message. The user gets informed that critical data is missing, continues. Notices that CD audio is missing, remembers the message and it's all fine.

Don't you have Windows running anywhere? I wonder what the original interpreter did.
It is weird that they used the CD version, but then removed essential files.

They could have compressed the CD version, or yeah rather used the floppy version.

Castle of Dr. Brain for Mac is quite rare. I own it in box, but I had to look for it for years.

Last edited 6 weeks ago by m-kiewitz (previous) (diff)

comment:4 by eriktorbjorn, 6 weeks ago

Don't you have Windows running anywhere?

I'm afraid not.

I think Eco Quest 1 had subtitles as well as audio, and I think we added a dual mode, for both audio + subtitles at the same time. The game defaults to speech if I remember correctly, which in your case should be 100% broken.

I just checked with my SierraOriginals version in DOSBox, and it does offer the modes "TEXT", "SPEECH", and "BOTH", so I guess the dual mode isn't a ScummVM addition for this particular game. I think it is for some others, though? The default seems to be "BOTH". If I configure it for a system that (I think) can't play digitized sounds, it's still "BOTH" but it doesn't complain about it.

Yours seems to be super rare.

I don't know how rare it is. I only heard about it on the ScummVM forum recently. When I looked for it on eBay, there were two Math and one English available. Except for the one I bought, they're still there. I haven't seen the Science one, but I assume only the main game differs and not the extras. So I didn't have to look hard for it, but maybe I just got lucky?

Either way, I wasn't suggesting that the message be removed completely. Just maybe toned down a bit in this particular case, if it can be determined that the game is otherwise functional. But if there's no easy way to do this, then so be it. The two main reasons I bought the discs were Pepper's Adventures in Time (which I'm told is quite good) and EcoQuest 2. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Though it would have been nice if they had used the floppy version of EcoQuest 1, because I've been shown that the two versions do differ a bit graphically. Oh well.

Castle of Dr. Brain for Mac is quite rare. I own it in box, but I had to look for it for years.

I've only played it up to the timed puzzle. It may have some issues with sound effects not looping? With a few notable exceptions, I'm not that keen on that type of games, really. I did notice that it advertises Quest For Glory 1-3, which seems strange. I thought only the first one was released for the Mac?

comment:5 by m-kiewitz, 6 weeks ago

Oh weird, I thought I added a patch for Eco Quest 1.
Please check to what it defaults.
If it's dual, your version may have some timing issues, because typically the audio ending caused a trigger, which then cleared message boxes.

The two main reasons I bought the discs were Pepper's Adventures in Time (which I'm told is quite good) and EcoQuest 2

Yes, I got both in box. Pepper's Adventures in Time is quite rare.

I've only played it up to the timed puzzle. It may have some issues with sound effects not looping?

Potentially. I have gotten it recently, I haven't even tried to read the discs. Mac versions may have problems.

I will take a look for this CD myself.

comment:6 by eriktorbjorn, 6 weeks ago

Please check to what it defaults.

As I said, if I install it in DOSBox (to rule out any ScummVM improvements) it defaults to "BOTH", i.e. speech and subtitles. It seems that even though the speech animations end normally, you always (?) have to click manually to dismiss the text boxes. Maybe they removed the trigger because it was aimed at younger players?

comment:7 by m-kiewitz, 6 weeks ago

I just checked my own Eco Quest 1 on CD.
That one waits for the user too in dual mode.
In audio mode the portrait disappears when the audio has been played.

in reply to:  7 comment:8 by eriktorbjorn, 6 weeks ago

Replying to m-kiewitz:

I just checked my own Eco Quest 1 on CD.
That one waits for the user too in dual mode.
In audio mode the portrait disappears when the audio has been played.

Oh, right, I forgot to test that mode since I so rarely turn off subtitles. That's how mine behaves too, of course.

If I run the opening scene of the crippled version in ScummVM:

TEXT: Character portraits are animated, and text boxes are shown correctly as far as I can tell. Music volume is not lowered.
SPEECH: Character portraits are shown but not animated. There are no text boxes, but the music volume is lowered temporarily.
BOTH: Character portraits are shown but not animated. Text boxes are shown correctly. Music volume is lowered as long as the text boxes are shown.

Except for TEXT mode, there are warnings like this printed when characters speak:

WARNING: Sync::start: failed to find resource sync36.400(1, 0, 0, 2)!
WARNING: Failed to find audio entry (400, 1, 0, 0, 2)!

So I would think there's a reasonable chance that the game behaves correctly in TEXT mode despite the missing files.

Last edited 6 weeks ago by eriktorbjorn (previous) (diff)

comment:9 by sluicebox, 6 weeks ago

This copy of ECO1-CD is missing the AUDIO directory with all of the ###.AUD files.

You can probably complete the game in Text mode, otherwise it would have been pretty bad to have put it on CD. On the other hand, there is a Castle of Dr. Brain directory on this disc that only includes resource files and *no interpreter*. So let's not pretend any of this is good.

Either way, I can't imagine changing anything in response to this. This is an incomplete copy of the game that is correctly detected, and it's playable, and you get an accurate warning that it's incomplete. No user would ever want to play this, but fine, the program lets you.

We get a constant, never-ending stream of SCI tickets from people who haven't copied over all of their files. It's so depressing. Being *quieter* about missing SCI files is the last thing we want to do. That message in question has been critical in identifying problems in user's files and mistakes in our detection entries.

Sierra shipped an obscure CD with an incomplete EcoQuest that normal users will never encounter, but it still works. That sounds like the end of the story to me.

by eriktorbjorn, 6 weeks ago

Attachment: castlebrain-mac.png added

comment:10 by eriktorbjorn, 6 weeks ago

On the other hand, there is a Castle of Dr. Brain directory on this disc that only includes resource files and *no interpreter*. So let's not pretend any of this is good.

Odd, it seems to be there on mine:


We get a constant, never-ending stream of SCI tickets from people who haven't copied over all of their files. It's so depressing.

It's unfortunately that many of the Sierra CDs have such confusing layouts. If it could lead to better Wiki documentation, I would be happy to help provide file lists from the ones I have. Not that I think any of them - other than the Sierra School House - are that obscure, but it could be a start.

Sierra shipped an obscure CD with an incomplete EcoQuest that normal users will never encounter, but it still works. That sounds like the end of the story to me.

Unfortunate, but fair enough I guess.

comment:11 by OmerMor, 6 weeks ago

Erik, did you see my comment on your undetected Hoyle bug #15155 ? It's actually a new game variant, so I re-opened it.

Last edited 6 weeks ago by OmerMor (previous) (diff)

in reply to:  11 comment:12 by eriktorbjorn, 6 weeks ago

Replying to OmerMor:

Erik, did you see my comment on your undetected Hoyle bug #15155 ? It's actually a new game variant, so I re-opened it.

I saw, but I thought @sluicebox had already determined that it was too cool weird a version for ScummVM to support. Either way, thanks for the screenshots! I was curious what it might look like, but couldn't get it to run in Wine.

comment:13 by eriktorbjorn, 5 weeks ago

A bit off topic, but I think I see where the confusion about Castle of Dr. Brain comes from. When mounted as a normal CD, it does indeed look like the interpreter is missing:

-r-xr-xr-x 1    2302 Nov 30  1995 0.tex
-r-xr-xr-x 1    9490 Nov 30  1995 220.scr
-r-xr-xr-x 1    1510 Nov 30  1995 220.tex
-r-xr-xr-x 1    9532 Nov 30  1995 480.scr
-r-xr-xr-x 1    1337 Nov 30  1995 480.tex
-r-xr-xr-x 1  312741 Nov 30  1995 7.pat
-r-xr-xr-x 1    4296 Nov 30  1995 888.v56
-r-xr-xr-x 1      70 Nov 30  1995 997.cur
-r-xr-xr-x 1       0 Nov 30  1995 install.
-r-xr-xr-x 1    2372 Nov 30  1995 interp.txt
-r-xr-xr-x 1  476566 Nov 30  1995 resource.000
-r-xr-xr-x 1  400521 Nov 30  1995 resource.001
-r-xr-xr-x 1 1168310 Nov 30  1995 resource.002
-r-xr-xr-x 1  891295 Nov 30  1995 resource.003
-r-xr-xr-x 1    2763 Nov 30  1995 resource.map
-r-xr-xr-x 1       5 Nov 30  1995 version.

When mounted as a Macintosh disc, it's there:

f  CODE/DrBk         0      2302 Nov 30  1995 0.TEX
f  CODE/DrBk         0      9490 Nov 30  1995 220.SCR
f  CODE/DrBk         0      1510 Nov 30  1995 220.TEX
f  CODE/DrBk         0      9532 Nov 30  1995 480.SCR
f  CODE/DrBk         0      1337 Nov 30  1995 480.TEX
f  CODE/DrBk         0    312741 Nov 30  1995 7.PAT
f  CODE/DrBk         0      4296 Nov 30  1995 888.V56
fi CODE/DrBk         0        70 Nov 30  1995 997.CUR
f  APPL/DrBk    265920         0 Apr 19  1996 Castle of Dr. Brain
f  APPL/insT     24683         0 Nov 30  1995 INSTALL
fi CODE/DrBk       333      2372 Nov 30  1995 INTERP.TXT
f  CODE/DrBk      4023         0 Nov 30  1995 MT32Driver.drv
f  TEXT/ttxt         0      2735 Nov 30  1995 Read Me
f  CODE/DrBk         0    476566 Nov 30  1995 RESOURCE.000
f  CODE/DrBk         0    400521 Nov 30  1995 RESOURCE.001
f  CODE/DrBk         0   1168310 Nov 30  1995 RESOURCE.002
f  CODE/DrBk         0    891295 Nov 30  1995 RESOURCE.003
f  CODE/DrBk       333        39 Nov 30  1995 resource.cfg
f  CODE/DrBk         0      2763 Nov 30  1995 RESOURCE.MAP
f  ll1g/DrBk         0     19925 Nov 30  1995 russ
f  CODE/DrBk     27889         0 Nov 30  1995 SoundDriver.drv
f  CODE/DrBk         0         5 Nov 30  1995 VERSION

Similarly, some PC games are visible when mounted as a Mac disc, even though they have no Mac interpreter.

comment:14 by eriktorbjorn, 5 weeks ago

Just one final note:

I've played through the Sierra's School House version, and with the exception of the (obviously) missing speech and (at least some) sound effects, I didn't notice any game-breaking issues.

There was one point early in the game (when Delphineus returns after a few days) where some musical notes got stuck. I think the full CD version plays a digitized sound effect there, but it can fall back on a MIDI sound effect instead? Either way, it didn't happen every time.

So that might be something to put in the ScummVM wiki at some point. I'm in the process of documenting the contents of my Sierra CDs (and possibly the GOG releases after that), because for some of them - especially the collections it's not always easy to figure out which files you need. I don't have the knowledge to write that documentation myself, but I'm hoping it can be of use for someone who does. (The general-purpose instructions are still good of course, so this would be just to cover the special cases.)

If anyone's interested, my progress so far is at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1ngeDT7FdeCRhzZUfypWfKY6zdCzyQ6ZQ?usp=drive_link

Note: See TracTickets for help on using tickets.