It's been almost four years since I had a chance to post new content here, but I'm pretty excited about some things that we have in the works. There will be more to come over the next two years.
Among other things, I've been working with Andrew Fradley and Eoghan Driver on additional functionality for Soul Spiral, and version 1.8 of that tool has been released today. Here are the highlights:
- Andrew spent a bunch of time adding support for the .bgx / .big files used in Blood Omen 2 and Mad Dash Racing, so it's now possible to extract most of the content from those games (except for the GameCube version of Blood Omen 2).
- I spent a bunch of time reverse-engineering the compression algorithm used in Akuji: The Heartless, Gex: Enter the Gecko, Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko, The Lighthouse Demo / proto1 early demo versions of Soul Reaver, and Walt Disney World Magical Racing Tour. It should now be possible to successfully unpack all content from the data files for these games.
- Complete hashed-name lookup tables for Akuji: The Heartless, Gex: Enter the Gecko, Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko, and Walt Disney World Magical Racing Tour.
- Nearly-complete hashed-name lookup tables for The Lighthouse Demo early demo versions of Soul Reaver.
- Most of the remaining hashed-name lookup table data for all known versions of Blood Omen, Soul Reaver (except Dreamcast versions), and Defiance has been added.
- The fingerprinting mechanism is now much more reliable, and recognizes an enormous variety of files which previous versions did not.
I discovered Walt Disney World Magical Racing Tour while looking through old PlayStation demo discs, and did not realize until that time that it was made using the Gex engine. It appears to be a fork of the version from either Akuji: The Heartless, or Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko, and does not appear to incorporate any of the extensive changes made to the engine for Soul Reaver and later games. I was very surprised to look in the credits and find that it was directed by Glen A. Schofield, who would later go on to direct Blood Omen 2 and serve as executive producer for Dead Space (one of my favourite series for that generation of consoles).
We're hoping to add support for additional titles and versions in the months ahead.
If you're interested in helping us out (not just with Soul Spiral, but with other tools and content), and are in possession of prototype/prerelease versions of any of the following games that you don't mind selling (or donating/lending/etc.) to us, please get in touch with me using the Contact form. Versions for any platform would be extremely helpful. We've managed to collect a number of them already, but know that there are others out there.
- Soul Reaver is obviously the big one, because it was the original inspiration for the project. We know that there are at least two alpha builds of this game in the hands of collectors, from January and February 1999.
- Any of the other Legacy of Kain games would of course be of interest
- Akuji: The Heartless
- Any of the Gex series
- Mad Dash Racing
- Pandemonium and Pandemonium 2
- Walt Disney World Magical Racing Tour
- Any other titles based on the Gex or Mad Dash Racing engines, except for Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider series. Fans of Tomb Raider have that area covered very well, and we don't want to get in their way.