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Colonization DOS Utility to keep track of Indian settlements

Discussion in 'Other Sid Meier Games' started by Bladrov, Feb 26, 2021.

  1. Bladrov

    Bladrov Chieftain

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    It would be very handy in the game if there were a way to keep track of the Indian settlements. The absolute ideal (apart from actual editing of the game) would be something like the Gold Box Companion (https://gbc.zorbus.net/). Imagine: a utility that could draw the map, showing all the cities and settlements, and display data on Indian settlements you click on or hover over. That is, of course, a bit ambitious.

    At the least, it seems like it should be possible to mine the data in your save game and generate a text file showing information about the Indian settlements you've visited, something like:
    (39, 22) Iroquois village - No skills
    _ Wants: Tools, Muskets, Cigars
    _ Sells: Cotton, Furs, Coats
    (32, 23) Iroquois capital - Master Tobacco Planter (unlimited)
    _ Wants: Muskets, Cigars, Rum
    _ Sells: Cotton, Furs, Tobacco
    (55, 38) Apache camp - Master Fur Trapper
    _ Wants: Rum, Cigars, Tools
    _ Sells: Furs, Coats, Sugar


    If unvisited settlements are available in the save file maybe they could be included too:
    (73, 101) Inca city - Uncontacted

    Maybe the utility could automatically parse the most recently modified save game, possibly with an option or something to view a different file.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
  2. Bladrov

    Bladrov Chieftain

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    AyCe has found an impressive utility somewhat like the Gold Box Companion, for Master of Magic: https://sourceforge.net/projects/momrtgt/. Again, probably ambitious, but heartening to see such fan work for other old games.

    He's also found some promising analysis of the old Colonization save games: http://www.colonization.biz/hack.htm (I've attached a plaintext copy of the page here). I should have thought to crawl through that old Colonization site myself! Incidentally, the owner has forgotten the password so he can no longer maintain the site - but I have it archived, so if it goes off the air, so to speak, I still have it available if anyone needs it, or parts of it.
     

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    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
  3. AyCe

    AyCe Chieftain

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    Just want to say that it was Blake00 who posted the first link.
     
  4. Bladrov

    Bladrov Chieftain

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    Oops, thanks for the correction, AyCe!
     
  5. Bladrov

    Bladrov Chieftain

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    Ok, I've opened the game I'm currently playing, and found an Indian village next to my colonies which I've visited, at (37, 42). I searched for the x coord for the village in the autosave's hex file, but am not finding it. Maybe tribal info is stored more obscurely than the colony data.
     

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  6. AyCe

    AyCe Chieftain

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    As a starting point, I looked for "New Amsterdam" and then the hex-encoding of its coordinates (34 and 43 -> 22 and 2b). I saw they were apparently saved 1 byte per number left of the colony name. Now i searched for the hex-encoding of the village's coordinates (37,42 -> 252a). There are 3 places in the file where this occurs. But I cannot tell you which of these is the village. Maybe test it with some other village coordinates.

    Btw, the coordinates start at 0, but you can never see terrain at X=0 (or max) and Y=0 (or max), since left & right there is high seas (that you can't visit) and top/bottom there's ice (that you can't visit, but you sometimes see it connecting/leaking into the water). You can't even edit this area. If you load the america map in the editor, you can see that there is tundra in these tiles (so they did edit it at some point), which gets overwritten with ice when started ingame.
     
  7. Bladrov

    Bladrov Chieftain

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    Oh! Yes, more settlements. The one at (37, 42) is an Iroquois village of Expert Fur Trappers which has taught someone. There are also Sioux camps at (27, 43) [Fur Trappers], (32, 46) [Seasoned Scouts], (22, 48) [Fur Trappers], and the Sioux capital at (29, 46) [Seasoned Scouts]. Those are all on my island. Others include an Iroquois village at (37, 36) and an Iroquois village with an English mission at (43, 38).

    Looking these over, (32, 46) has two references so I'll ignore it for now. Here are the others, with the coords, hex translation, then the 8 hex characters following them. Not sure what it tells us.

    (37, 42) 25, 2A - 08 00 0E 00 00 00 00 FF - Iroquois Fur Trappers
    (27, 43) 1B, 2B - 0A 08 03 FF 00 FF FF FF - Sioux Fur Trappers
    (22, 48) 16, 30 - 0A 08 03 FF 00 FF FF FF - Sioux Fur Trappers
    (29, 46) 1D, 2E - 0A 0C 04 FF 00 FF FF FF - Sioux Capital, Scouts
    (37, 36) 25, 24 - 07 08 05 FF 00 FF FF FF - Iroquois
    (43, 38) 2B, 26 - 07 00 05 00 00 FF 08 FF - Iroquois with mission
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  8. tupi

    tupi Warlord

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    If you want it to simplify your excel/paper work, such way will be a little cheaty. Because 1) indians change their trades and wanted goods from time to time, so your excel/paper info can be not correct, but info in such hypothetical save file/RAM utility will be always correct. 2) flag that some eupopean was in village before can be not from you, but from AI. Probably game does not store who it was, but only a bit flag.

    But anyway we need a full save editor for ColDos similar to JCivED for civdos. Maybe one day. Maybe it's even a good idea to fork JCivED for this purpose. Anyway first we need to create a full documentation of col save file structure. Again: maybe one day. It's a simpler task.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  9. AyCe

    AyCe Chieftain

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    You can look for bytes that designate the village's owner. For Iroquois this may be 07. For the order of the indian tribes you can look in the NAMES.TXT. I suspect that Incas start with 04, but the owner in this case may also start from 00 for Inca.

    To make debugging this easier you can use ALT+"W" "I" "N" to enable the cheat menu and reveal the map.
     
  10. Bladrov

    Bladrov Chieftain

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    There is a map editor (mapedit.exe) and save game editor (cedit.exe). The latter only allows editing the map, tax rate, and funds though.
     
  11. tupi

    tupi Warlord

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    Never heard about cedit.exe. Can you tell me more about it? Is it for dos? Is it closed source? Where can I dowload it? Google gave me nothing. It's still can be a good starting point. I'm not gonna reverse it (if it's closed source), but at least it can be a easier way to detect some addresses than Alt+W.I.N.
     
  12. Bladrov

    Bladrov Chieftain

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    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
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  13. Bladrov

    Bladrov Chieftain

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    AyCe and tupi like this.
  14. Bladrov

    Bladrov Chieftain

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    Judging by what I'm seeing here, it looks like Indian settlement data starts probably around 4096 (1000 hex) and goes to somewhere around 7744 (1e40 hex). It would be handy if we had a script that could pull the data out and line up the settlements - though that's tough to do without knowing exactly where the settlements start and stop, and just how many hex chars each settlement has. Oi, what a headache.
     
  15. Bladrov

    Bladrov Chieftain

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    Good idea, about using Alt-WIN! Ok, here's a list of the Indian settlements in that game, with the starred ones being of course the capitals. I probably missed one or two, but that's fairly exhaustive.

    This is an updated file, which includes the hex values for the coordinates plus where they occur in the save file (in decimal). Looks like, sure enough, all the settlements occur from 6432 to 7760 (possibly with room beyond that to store more settlements).
     

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    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  16. Bladrov

    Bladrov Chieftain

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    So yes, it looks like the first number identifies the tribe. Taking one village I was able to change the tribal affiliation (but not who the land around it belongs to):
    04 Inca
    05 Aztec
    06 Arawak
    07 Iroquois
    08 Cherokee
    09 Apache
    0A Sioux
    0B Tupi

    The icon changes from camp to village to city, depending on the tribe I change it to.

    I could also change it to some other identities:
    00 (nothing, just "Camp")
    01 Spring
    02 Spring
    03 Spanish
    10 Spring
    11 Advanced
    0C France (not French)
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  17. AyCe

    AyCe Chieftain

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  18. Bladrov

    Bladrov Chieftain

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    An "Arawak Peter Minuit"! Classic!!
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2021
  19. Bladrov

    Bladrov Chieftain

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    Another thing I've noticed is that almost all settlements seem to start with that marker for tribe, plus two other markers I'm not sure what they are (e.g. 0A 08 03), followed by:

    FF 00 FF FF FF 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

    After which seems to be the coordinates for the next settlement. There are some variations in these figures, but I haven't noticed any patterns. So if it's mostly (effectively) whitespace, where is the data being stored for the settlements? There has to be at least:
    Flag for capital
    Flag for mission
    Flag for level of alarm
    Last good you traded with them
    . . . but where could they be?
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  20. AyCe

    AyCe Chieftain

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    For alarm, maybe they track alarm for each player and only the most egregious entry is publicly shown, so maybe 4 bytes, 1 for every european?
     

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