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Author Topic: Hacking Hydro Thunder..err Offroad Thunder (Updated)  (Read 6155 times)

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Howard_Casto

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Hacking Hydro Thunder..err Offroad Thunder (Updated)
« on: February 02, 2016, 02:11:57 am »
No this isn't going to be an endlessly long project like Outrun Fxt. 

Badmouth wanted me to take a look at the Midway Arcade Treasures port of Hydro thunder.  The port isn't a super great one, but it's all we have atm aside from the dreamcast version.

Anyway.....

I managed to get the game to run in windowed mode via Dxwnd.  Also of note is the fact that Dxwnd will allow you to change the fullscreen resolution.... not that it renders anything higher, but it might be useful for oddball setups.  The issue with this game is two-fold.  First off no force-feedback (lame!) and secondly all controls are converted to digital.  I found the digitally converted inputs straight away and confirmed that, yes they are being converted to a simple 1, 0 and 2 for left, center and right respectively.  Analog triggers are also converted to digital buttons.  I also found a single byte address which seems to be broken force-feedback at first glance.  I can confirm that there is a call to HID_setOutputReportData, which is how you do rumble the hard way in some cases. 

So anyway the task at hand is to find out how big the data width is for the steering on the unmolested arcade game (probably a single byte), find where they are pumping a fake value (again, probably 0 for left and 255 for right) and instead send the joystick value.  I'll work on this tomorrow.  If things go smoothly I might do the other unemulated or hard to emulate games in the pack. 
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 10:27:04 pm by Howard_Casto »

BadMouth

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2016, 07:24:43 am »
The programmers must have been given zero time to work on MAT3.  I mean a collection of arcade driving games without analog input?!?!
(while MAT2 only had a few driving games, but supported analog input)
The mind boggles.




« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 10:28:21 am by BadMouth »

VirtuaIceMan

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2016, 07:42:45 am »
Badmouth wanted me to take a look at the Midway Arcade Treasures port of Hydro thunder.  The port isn't a super great one, but it's all we have atm aside from the dreamcast version.

Incorrect; there are 2 versions on the PC; the Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe Edition version, and the earlier version, sold under the Sold Out label, ported by Eurocom. The earlier version had worse sound, but less compressed textures and an extra track in the game! However it lacks split screen (I think MATDE has that?).

You can find the Eurocom version (they also ported Mortal Kombat 4 around the same time) here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_odkw=hydro+thunder&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR2.TRC1.A0.H0.Xhydro+thunder+pc.TRS0&_nkw=hydro+thunder+pc&_sacat=0

BadMouth

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2016, 09:58:55 am »
Thanks.  I didn't know there was a PC version other than the one with MAT3.

The big plus with the MAT games for me is that they can be launched individually without the launcher menu.
By default, they will launch windowed, but if you add -f to the command line they launch fullscreen (albeit stretched on widescreens).
Easy peasy to add an individual game to the frontend on your cab.

They don't really have a PC game feel either.  No extra menus.  No superfluous controls.
They just have a flashing Press Start at the title screen.
I would have no problem including them in my front-end as if they are arcade games
...if the controls didn't suck so bad.


POOTERMAN

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2016, 12:25:06 pm »
The version of Hydro Thunder on Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe Edition is just the emulated Dreamcast version.

Howard - If you need the original Eurocom version just msg me!
« Last Edit: February 02, 2016, 12:42:04 pm by POOTERMAN »

Howard_Casto

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2016, 01:50:41 pm »
The programmers must have been given zero time to work on MAT3.  I mean a collection of arcade driving games without analog input?!?!
(while MAT2 only had a few driving games, but supported analog input)
The mind boggles.

Well that's the thing that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  IMHO it would take more time to convert a game like this to use digital inputs than it would just to implement the game properly.  It was the end of Midway's run though.... they probably did good just to scrape enough resources together to release the thing. 

BadMouth

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2016, 02:42:41 pm »
The programmers must have been given zero time to work on MAT3.  I mean a collection of arcade driving games without analog input?!?!
(while MAT2 only had a few driving games, but supported analog input)
The mind boggles.

Well that's the thing that doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  IMHO it would take more time to convert a game like this to use digital inputs than it would just to implement the game properly.  It was the end of Midway's run though.... they probably did good just to scrape enough resources together to release the thing.

Not sure if it being released on a bunch of different platforms had anything to do with it, but I did notice references to xbox and ps2 while browsing the games with a hex editor.  Gamecube could have been in there abbreviated somehow and I just didn't pick up on it.

From what I've read online, the controls were much better on the gamecube version.
I assume that means actual analog control was working on the gamecube, but not any of the other ports.
The SF Rush games are just unplayable without analog control. 
Those games were specifically mentioned as being much more playable on the gamecube version.

I'm not a Nintendo fanboy, but maybe this is one of those cases of Nintendo holding 3rd party devs to a higher standard than other manufacturers.


Howard_Casto

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2016, 02:56:58 pm »
It probably is.  Nintendo won't force you to make a good game, but they will force you to make a functional one, even if they have to step in and do the work themselves (according to stories about Iwata that people have been sharing since his passing). 

Howard_Casto

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2016, 03:39:18 am »
So I can't sleep and I spent about 20 min on this game again. 

I found the time left and time remaining addresses.  Why am I messing around with those instead of looking for the analog values?  Well the rounds in this game are super short and I need to be able to let the boat sit on the water while I mess with the values.  Now I can freeze the time, so that makes things a lot easier.  Also if I write a wrapper for this game I can add those as mamehooker outputs, so that's cool. 

MrThunderwing

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2016, 03:45:40 pm »
Oh man, colour me very interested in this hacking project. I LOVE Hydro Thunder. Playing it with FFB would be amazeballs.

Le Chuck

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2016, 04:20:01 pm »
I have the stand alone Hydro Thunder running and it's great, can't recall where I dug up that version tho.  It is different from the MAT version, sound is a bit worse but that doesn't bother me, it looks great and plays great, but I'm still really interested in this because if you can get Hydro working analog then you should be able to get Off Road Thunder working also since it's in the same game pack, and I desperately need that to have analog because it's the sucks digital.   

Any chance of giving ORT a peek after hydro?

Howard_Casto

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2016, 01:06:44 am »
Yeah they all basically use the same interface. 

If there is a version that runs better I'll look at it as well.  It might be simpler to combine the sound of the MAT with another port ect.

rvs0002

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2016, 12:13:00 pm »
Ahhhh, Hydro Thunder! My favorite game and the whole reason I built my driving cab.

I managed to track down a stand alone copy not long ago and it plays and sounds great to me. Also has feedback on the wheel. My son and I have been playing the sh!t out of it the last few nights thereby keeping me from doing anything of value to finish my cab.

Howard:
 if you need a copy to compare with what you are using PM me.

Howard_Casto

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2016, 11:24:21 pm »
Yeah if there is a working copy I need to take a look at it.  I might be wasting my time.

VirtuaIceMan

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2016, 05:51:10 am »
I can rip the original Eurocom version CD, if you need it.

DarthMarino

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2016, 07:36:03 am »
From what I've read online, the controls were much better on the gamecube version.
I assume that means actual analog control was working on the gamecube, but not any of the other ports.
The SF Rush games are just unplayable without analog control. 
Those games were specifically mentioned as being much more playable on the gamecube version.

Rush: The Rock definitely plays better on the Gamecube version.  I still don't love the way it feels though. The physics are different from the original. Hopefully the arcade version gets proper emulation like the non-Rock version.

Hydro Thunder also works pretty well but as mentioned, it is really the Dreamcast version. 

Offroad Thunder works well though I get a small graphical error on some of the taillights. The PS2 version is almost perfect so that's what I've been using. The analog control feels great. I have no idea why they botched the control in Rush so much.

twistedsymphony

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2016, 08:40:25 am »
doesn't the original arcade version of Hydro Thunder run on a Windows PC? has this game ever been dumped for MAME? if so it might be worth seeing if assets and other pieces of the original arcade release can be used to make the MAT version whole... or just crack it to run on any Windows PC a-la TTX.

Howard_Casto

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2016, 10:21:39 am »
Some of the suggestions mentioned (dreamcast version, ps2, ect) require a rather powerful pc to play, ditto for mame.  This is the very reason I worked on the pc version of outrun 2.... it doesn't matter if it ever gets emulated as next to no one will be able to play it.  At least right now anyway.

BadMouth

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2016, 10:42:28 am »
doesn't the original arcade version of Hydro Thunder run on a Windows PC? has this game ever been dumped for MAME? if so it might be worth seeing if assets and other pieces of the original arcade release can be used to make the MAT version whole... or just crack it to run on any Windows PC a-la TTX.

Wow.  You are correct.  Celeron processor and 3Dfx Voodoo2 video card running on a windows 95 variant.
(Offroad Thunder also)

I did not realize this.
Between this and not knowing about the PC version, I'm batting zero on this one.  :lol

Howard_Casto

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2016, 06:21:05 pm »
Ok then... project suspended for now.  It might be possible to run it right now via a glide wrapper.  The "security" at that time was that nobody had a pc powerful enough to run it.

bigster

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2016, 09:51:28 pm »
Wait are you making a wrapper for the arcade PC dump or just giving up on everything?

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk


Howard_Casto

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2016, 10:02:59 pm »
Well people keep telling me there is a fully working version out there.  I don't have it, but I certainly don't want to hack the game when I don't need to. 

BadMouth

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2016, 10:13:14 pm »
For fun I learned how to unpack the mame chd to take a look.
I've found nothing yet, but then again I have no idea what I am doing.
Tried to launch the exe under various compatibility settings back to 95, but all I get is "Hydro is not a valid win32 application"
(after using 7zip to explore the archive and dragging/dropping everything that's in the folder with the exe)

All I did was throw chdman from the latest mame build (.170) and the hydro chd into a folder along with this batch file.
Code: [Select]
chdman extracthd -i hydro.chd -o hydro.img
pause
The pause is just so I can see what the options are if it's not working.

I will track down the PC version and give it a try.

Howard_Casto

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2016, 10:29:48 pm »
If it's from 95 it might run in DOS.  Maybe give dosbox a try?

BadMouth

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2016, 11:08:08 pm »
If it's from 95 it might run in DOS.  Maybe give dosbox a try?



When I looked at it with a hex editor earlier, I noticed it mentioned this TNT Kernel stuff at the beginning.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2016, 11:11:20 pm by BadMouth »

Howard_Casto

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #25 on: February 09, 2016, 01:26:59 am »
Interesting.  Maybe someone that speaks obscure OS can decipher what it is wanting.  It's been too long... I can barely get a sound blaster card working at this point.

BadMouth

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2016, 09:38:14 am »
Interesting.  Maybe someone that speaks obscure OS can decipher what it is wanting.  It's been too long... I can barely get a sound blaster card working at this point.



http://www.intervalzero.com/products/ets/]url=http://www.intervalzero.com/products/ets/]http://www.intervalzero.com/products/ets/

EDIT: This is probably wrong, it's more likely the ETS kernel from Phar Lap who made the TNT extender

If this is the correct thing, it sounds like something that could be used on an arcade setup.
However it does not sound like something you could get running inside windows short of emulating the hardware then installing it as the OS.

Shame I've tossed all my ancient pentium PCs or I might try recovering the MAME drive image to a hard drive and giving it a go.

EDIT: I understand that I'm just a dumb end user googling crap, but I find it interesting.
TNT was a "DOS extender" that allows core windows NT functions (drivers) to work on MS-DOS.
It seems some people are still messing around with this stuff on embedded chip projects.

Again, this could just be something else with the same name, but it sounds like something that would be useful in an arcade game at that time period.

DOUBLE EDIT:  It seems there were some dos games for home use that used TNT and they can work in dosbox.
Downloading Phar Lap's ETS Kernel User's Guide because I am a glutton for wasting time on things that are above my level.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 11:11:46 am by BadMouth »

twistedsymphony

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2016, 09:49:47 am »
Based on the DOS message it sounds like you'd launch the ETS "OS" from within DOS, similar to how Windows used to work back in win 3.1 days.

rvs0002

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2016, 10:35:19 am »
Howard:
Sent you a pm.

By the way (and completely off topic), if any of you are playing this game with a wheel and pedals, how in the world do you do a hydro jump????? I can't figure it out and I'm leaving too many turbo boosts left on the playing field!

DarthMarino

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2016, 11:04:43 am »
By the way (and completely off topic), if any of you are playing this game with a wheel and pedals, how in the world do you do a hydro jump????? I can't figure it out and I'm leaving too many turbo boosts left on the playing field!

Don't you just slam the brake and hit the turbo button?

rvs0002

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #30 on: February 09, 2016, 01:59:14 pm »
That's what i thought but doesn't seem to work. I'm sure there are afew hundred youtubes on it though; )

Howard_Casto

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2016, 03:37:55 pm »
Ok gentlemen... thanks for the links.... now I know wtf is going on.  ;)

The small 60mb version that many of you linked to seems to be the overall best version.  The differences between all the versions are very minimal (been switching back and forth) but I'll try to list the pros/cons.

Standalone PC:

Has crisper in-game textures.
Properly uses a 4:3 aspect (might be a con for some of you oddballs out there). 
Supports analog axes and rumble.
Hud appears crisper.

Game only supports X, Y and Z axis on the joystick... so if your wheel defaults to RX, RY and RZ for the pedals, you'll have to use the digital ones.
Menus use lower quality textures.
Translucency effects don't seem to be there.
No split-screen multiplayer (irrelevant on a racing cab). 
Some slight differences make me think it might be running on a slightly different engine than the arcade and DC versions.

I think overall this is the version to use.  I could still enhance it though when I take a notion.


What about the other games in the MAT collections?  I don't want to work on ones that already have a good pc port. 

p.s.  To jump you release the gas, hold the brake and press the turbo button while holding.  Or at least that's what worked for me. 


Badmouth: 

Could we start a list of pc ports along with the best version to use?  I know we can't link to them, but we could list the overall image/archive size and some of the files in the archive so people know if they are using the correct version.  I've found this ordeal enlightening as to why some people say "port X" is horrible while others say it's great.  They might be talking about completely different ports.

DarthMarino

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #32 on: February 09, 2016, 03:50:50 pm »
I know there that weird version of Rush: The Rock for PC that included a video card.  Supposedly this is much closer to the arcade compared to the Midway Arcade Treasures 3 version. 

Howard_Casto

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #33 on: February 09, 2016, 03:57:26 pm »
Yeah that was the voodoo cards if I remember correctly.  Glide wrappers are pretty good these days, so it shouldn't be a problem to get it running.

BadMouth

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #34 on: February 09, 2016, 04:02:47 pm »
Well, the games in MAT2 supported analog controls just fine.

For MAT3:

Badlands - playable in MAME

Offroad Thunder - Not Playable in MAME.  No PC port.

Race Drivin' - Playable in MAME, Hard Drivin in MAT2 might be worth having to some people for the sake of simplified controls over the arcade version

San Francisco Rush the Rock: Alcatraz Edition - There is a rare PC version that was only released as a pack in with a video card.  It can work with a glidewrapper
It requires you to press certain buttons after the race has started to activate analog and wheel control.  The ffb just shakes the whole time.
It can look pretty close to the arcade version with the right glidewrapper settings.  One website said the MAT version was rebuilt completely and plays differently.
I don't know how they could tell with the controls being so bad.  EDIT:  It also requires you to have a disc image mounted to play the music.

S.T.U.N. Runner - playable in MAME

Super Off Road (including its upgrade/add-on pack, Super Off Road Track Pack) - Playable in MAME

Hydro Thunder (console port) - PC version available.  I've been watching youtube videos of the real arcade version.  Man it looks nicer.

San Francisco Rush 2049 (console port) - I do not think there is a standalone PC version.  This is supposed to be a port of the dreamcast version, but I read some comments by people saying that it doesn't have the option to sprout wings.  I haven't played it recently enough to remember.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 04:05:15 pm by BadMouth »

BadMouth

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #35 on: February 09, 2016, 04:09:22 pm »
I never picked up on it before, but they no longer had the licensing for Ivan Ironman Stewart, so they just gave him sunglasses and a mustache.  :lol

« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 04:11:14 pm by BadMouth »

DarthMarino

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #36 on: February 09, 2016, 04:26:54 pm »
San Francisco Rush 2049 (console port) - I do not think there is a standalone PC version.  This is supposed to be a port of the dreamcast version, but I read some comments by people saying that it doesn't have the option to sprout wings.  I haven't played it recently enough to remember.


The original arcade version didn't have the wings thing.  That's what was added for the console ports which generated some complaints.

Howard_Casto

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #37 on: February 09, 2016, 04:29:53 pm »
I never picked up on it before, but they no longer had the licensing for Ivan Ironman Stewart, so they just gave him sunglasses and a mustache.  :lol



Heh... reminds me of Daytona 2...

They wanted Dale Earnhardt in the game but they couldn't acquire the rights... so they just added him anyway in a pink fire suit.  All the racers are him actually.

BadMouth

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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #38 on: February 09, 2016, 04:38:57 pm »
Badmouth: 

Could we start a list of pc ports along with the best version to use?  I know we can't link to them, but we could list the overall image/archive size and some of the files in the archive so people know if they are using the correct version.  I've found this ordeal enlightening as to why some people say "port X" is horrible while others say it's great.  They might be talking about completely different ports.

I'm not sure how far to take that.  I set the PC versions of Daytona USA and Sega Rally up never to play them again.
IIRC, there's an extra track, but not much else reason to play them when the arcade version is emulated so well.

I was thinking more along the lines of making a "most wanted" thread.
"What unemulated arcade racing game is your most wanted?"
...and then try to find the best current option.

Originally I thought the file size might be enough of a hint to violate the rules.
We have no problem with listing the file size or list of the contents of roms though, so maybe?


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Re: Hacking Hydro Thunder
« Reply #39 on: February 09, 2016, 05:28:20 pm »
Loosely related:

"From the developers of Hydro Thunder Hurricane"

Riptide GP2 currently available for $1.39 on Steam
http://store.steampowered.com/app/257790/

Requires at least DirectX10, so if you have XP you are out of luck.

Looks good.  I'm buying it!  ;D


  
 

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