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Editing .pic Files

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Editing .pic Files

Postby DrChillbrain » 05 Jun 2018, 00:28

Hello all,
I've been messing about with editing this game, and many of the files I've been able to change, such as the Card Art, the music and sound effects, and the text.
However, many of the images it seems are stored in the .pic format, a proprietary format for Microprose games, which doesn't seem to be able to be edited by just about anything.
I've found the tools for converting these files from .pic to .bmp, which I've been able to do successfully, but I haven't been able to find anything about either editing them directly as .pic files, or converting the .bmp files back to .pics. Has anyone been able to do this successfully?
Hopefully I'm not just talking into the void here, forum doesn't seem especially active these says, but I figured I'd give it a shot.
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Re: Editing .pic Files

Postby drool66 » 05 Jun 2018, 13:37

You can simply rename them to .bmp, edit, and rename back to .pic. I have had no trouble editing them this way, and they show up just fine in game. Good luck!
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Re: Editing .pic Files

Postby DrChillbrain » 05 Jun 2018, 15:16

Okay, I've tried this, and each time I've attempted to change one the game simply crashes when going to a screen where it tried to read one. You also said to "simply rename them to .bmp", however just doing that without using the conversion software causes it to be unreadable by any image editor I tried, and even when converted to .bmp through the image editor, it causes the crash. Were you using any different files or anything?
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Re: Editing .pic Files

Postby drool66 » 05 Jun 2018, 19:37

Someone might be able to correct me here, but I believe all the .pic files that are used in the exe have been converted to .bmp files and then had their file extension changed back to .pic. In other words, if you are not able to follow the process I outlined above with the file you want to edit, it is most likely not used by the exe. (I can edit in paint all of the files included in Sarlack's graphics mod) Which files are you trying to edit?
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Re: Editing .pic Files

Postby DrChillbrain » 05 Jun 2018, 21:27

drool66 wrote:(I can edit in paint all of the files included in Sarlack's graphics mod)

This was probably the problem, I was trying to edit the files found in the vanilla game, I wasn't using any updated/modded files, but I'll try editing those.
(I guess it's an assumption that when you post on a forum about Manalink you're using stuff from Manalink, but I knew this site was the only place that people really talked about this game anymore, and there wasn't really a "general forum" for this game so I just posted it here.)
I'll try it with modded files, thank you!
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Re: Editing .pic Files

Postby drool66 » 05 Jun 2018, 21:40

Ok, great! Just a heads up, though: I don't believe the modded files can be used with an unmodded install.
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Re: Editing .pic Files

Postby DrChillbrain » 05 Jun 2018, 22:11

So in order to use Sarlack's graphics mods, I'll have to install Manalink 3.0 in the same install of the game?
Also, and this is a question probably better suited for the Shandalar forum, but will the graphics mod allow editing of the .pic files used in that mode as well? I know the note on the installation page for Sarlack's mod says that "If you play Shandalar you should be able to make a copy of all the .BMP files and change the extension to .PIC", so does the graphics pack add versions of the Shandalar-exclusive .pic files that can be freely converted from .pic to .bmp, or are these separate and the .pics used only in Shandalar don't have any editable versions?
Thanks for all your help, though, some of these forum threads are complete messes of dead links and outdated information lol.
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Re: Editing .pic Files

Postby Korath » 06 Jun 2018, 06:55

DrChillbrain wrote:So in order to use Sarlack's graphics mods, I'll have to install Manalink 3.0 in the same install of the game?
Yes.
DrChillbrain wrote:Also, and this is a question probably better suited for the Shandalar forum, but will the graphics mod allow editing of the .pic files used in that mode as well?
Maybe, for some pic files, depending on when your Shandalar version is from. (If you're using non-Manalink magic.exe, then you're probably using pre-2012 shandalar.exe too, in which case the answer is "no".) Sarlack's mod just has the bmp files. The important part is replacing the original image-loading functions, which only recognize MicroProse .pic, with calls into image.dll as described here. I'm reasonably sure all calls from modern magic.exe have been replaced, and have been for a long time; I know for certain that there's still some that haven't even in the most recent Shandalar.

Nobody who's converted .pic to any other format has provided source code. Image.dll reads them with what looks like very-lightly-edited assembly lifted directly out of magic.exe, and so far as I know the format's never been properly reverse-engineered. Someone sufficiently-motivated might be able to accomplish something similar for writing .pics by reversing facemaker.exe.

Png, jpg, or - if you really wanted - pcx would work just as well for anything accepted as bmp, by the way.
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Re: Editing .pic Files

Postby DrChillbrain » 06 Jun 2018, 19:06

Thank you all for the help! I'll look into seeing what can and can't be edited with Manalink 3 applied.
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