A long time ago now, one of my many hobby projects was looking at how feasible it would be to produce an open-source reproduction of SiN Episodes, so that work on it could essentially continue (or to just otherwise bring it over to Source 2013). I decided to return to this today and felt it would probably be interesting for a few to share how this is going right now.

I actually ended up revisiting the project as a result of an article I was working on to explain how you can get the SiN Episodes SDK functioning again. Unfortunately it seems that the steps I used previously will no longer work as Valve has changed how Steam’s config is set up, which was part of both the solution and the cause of the problem to begin with.

Obviously not great but unfortunately this was going to happen sooner or later due to the SDKs inherit reliance on Steam and the lack of support it receives due to the obvious fact that Ritual Entertainment no longer exists. So the value in an open-source reproduction of sorts is quite apparent, or to me at least.

This initially led me to look into reverse engineering the SDK to try and figure out if it was possible to work around the check it was trying to perform. Keeping in mind here that it’s not something I’m highly experienced with.

From the looks of it (by looking at the leaked 2007 codebase) there’s a Steam check which then moves over to try and grab the Steam config (which is where the failure occurs) but there’s a separate path here which looked like it skips this check.

I spent a short amount of time in a decompiler to see if I could figure out where this check occurred by using the “%s=%s” string, as seen above, as a reference point and managed to get a rough idea where the alteration needed to be made. Unfortunately I did seem to be running in circles a little, as the decompiler was only showing one other string similar to this one which wasn’t the one I needed, which you can see in the image below.

After spending a little while longer on it, I did eventually find, roughly, where the line was that I was looking for but I’ve decided to leave it for another day for now before I spend some extra time on it, just to be absolutely sure.

Moving on, I ended up looking once again at my SiN “Reborn” project.

At the moment it’s being developed using the multiplayer branch of Source, and there’s a few reasons for that really… One; I would be more keen to get some sort of multiplayer game going as a starting point as it would be worthwhile, considering SiN Episodes: Emergence wasn’t released with any multiplayer support whatsoever. Two; my understanding is that the multiplayer branch of Source has had more TLC from Valve than the singleplayer branch, not that Valve have touched the Source 2013 release for a while now, but it otherwise has some features that aren’t available on the singleplayer branch (keep in mind it’s been a considerable amount of time since I last properly touched Source, so I’m just going by memory here.)

Most of my time today has been spent familiarising myself with everything again. At the moment there’s a rough outline of the Scattershot and the Magnum that have both been implemented with some rudimentary code for the melee attacks and special secondary attacks that were used in the game. As well as this, we’re happily parsing some of the extra data that Ritual added for the weapon scripts, and all the items have been implemented (besides the ‘ass’ aka Assault Rifle and health pickups). Easy parts out of the way.

Things like the HUD still need work, likely to come later rather than sooner, but it’s interesting to see that Ritual created weapon icons for each of the weapons in the game which work within Half-Life 2’s weapon selection HUD. It seems as if SiN’s HUD might have been considerably different in the game at some stage of its development and it does appear there are quite a number of unused textures for the HUD as well here, possibly just left overs from prototyping but it would be interesting to know for sure.

While I was looking through and tidying things up, I decided to alter the animation code a little as well to play better with the character animations used in the game. It makes sense to me to try and alter as very little of the original content as possible, so I wanted to see how well the animations would work for multiplayer.

This ended going surprisingly well (and I probably spent way too much time on it too), with support for different animations based on speed and the players current state now implemented, which you can see from the video below. An example being how the player switches between a more relaxed animation set before switching to a more active animation set upon either firing his weapon or getting attacked.

Looking pretty swell, even if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, as you can see from the video, it turns out that the Magnum world model seems to use a different bone for the attachment, hence why it’s in his groin rather than in his hand where it belongs. I’ll likely look to see if I can implement a workaround for this without altering the model.

My other concern here though is that a few of these animations may not necessarily be available for the other character models in the game, as quite a few of them appear to use their own animation sets. It’s something I’m going to need to take a look at but I really hope this isn’t the case.

Anyway that’s all I’ve got for today. I’m really going to try and post here more frequently about what I’m doing, and I’m interested to know what you guys think. If anyone is interested in contributing to projects like this then I really encourage you to get in touch as I’m always looking for help!