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Spreading out attackers in high numbers

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Spreading out attackers in high numbers

Postby Capp00 » 19 Feb 2016, 22:12

Hey there. I don't know if there is a mod, a setting or file that can be edited, etc.. to fix this.

Does anyone know how to make attacking creatures spread out in games like two-headed giant?

Last night, the AI had so many cards out in play, including enchantments on each creature, that when they decide to "attack all", you can't even tell which cards you are selecting to block.

I've gone to aerial view, rotated view and tried desperately to wheel-scroll on the attacking creatures to zoom in so I can see what is attacking. But they are so overlapping that invariably, there seems to be no easy way to select what I'm blocking.

Is there something, somewhere that would allow us to either zoom in further, or force the cards to spread apart so you can tell what is attacking?

Thanks
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Re: Spreading out attackers in high numbers

Postby Xander9009 » 20 Feb 2016, 00:33

Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, this is not a possibility. I would love to know if I'm wrong, though. I've had issues with it, too.
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Re: Spreading out attackers in high numbers

Postby Chakan » 24 Feb 2016, 01:36

You seem to have some pretty technical know how about the engine, Xander. What prevents us from modifying game engine stuff? (like camera angles, what zone nonbasic lands go to, adding functions like morph more authentically, etc.) Are the game files just so heavily encrypted that they're hard to crack into to edit or is that the engine just has a bunch of hard limitations that can't be overridden? It would be great if we could get really deep into the coding of the game to gain some more flexibility.
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Re: Spreading out attackers in high numbers

Postby Capp00 » 24 Feb 2016, 01:44

Xander9009 wrote:Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, this is not a possibility. I would love to know if I'm wrong, though. I've had issues with it, too.
Wish there was a way. Had a game of two-headed giant last night that the AI ended up with like 9 token creatures and attacked with all of them. They were stacked up 9 deep and all turned. We tried our best to zoom/rotate and all we could and still ended up double-blocking some and missing others, losing the game.

What a pain.
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Re: Spreading out attackers in high numbers

Postby Xander9009 » 24 Feb 2016, 02:39

Well, I'm not the most knowledgeable about it. Most of what I know about the engine itself is either general knowledge from knowing about programming, or it came from RiiakShiNal originally, or it's just guesswork. But in general, modifying executables is very difficult. When you compile an exe from source code, it's turning into Assembly, which is made up of only a small handful of functions, and they're all based on memory addresses and the like. In order to modify the game file, we'd first need to be able to reverse that process. There are some decompilers, but they're not the most reliable tools. In addition to that, you have to use the right decompiler, which means you have to know for sure which language the program was originally in (which we could guess and try, hoping that a trial and error approach will work). However, even once that's done, you'd still be left with mostly nameless functions and variables to sort through. The function "GainLife(3)", for example, wouldn't say "GainLife" anymore. It would say "Function273(3)", and from there you need to figure out what all of the functions and variables do. An example of this can be seen here: http://www.slightlymagic.net/wiki/DotP_ ... L_contents If you scroll to the bottom, you can see how all of the variables are nothing more than numbers and underscores. Imagine thousands of those, where the function names may well look the same. Now imagine trying to following that and figure out what each function does until you find the one you need to change.

And all of that is assuming that I'm even correct. Consider this: if the process were simple, then it wouldn't take weeks for skilled hackers JUST to crack a game to not require Steam. Given that it does, it'd take me even longer just to figure out where to start. Plus, while Wizards hasn't done anything about modding the game up to this point, we've stuck to modifying and manipulating wad files. Moving on to modifying and manipulating the executable itself may well be the point at which they step in.
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Re: Spreading out attackers in high numbers

Postby RiiakShiNal » 24 Feb 2016, 03:14

Chakan wrote:You seem to have some pretty technical know how about the engine, Xander. What prevents us from modifying game engine stuff? (like camera angles, what zone nonbasic lands go to, adding functions like morph more authentically, etc.) Are the game files just so heavily encrypted that they're hard to crack into to edit or is that the engine just has a bunch of hard limitations that can't be overridden? It would be great if we could get really deep into the coding of the game to gain some more flexibility.
The problem with the edits you are talking about is not that the game files are encrypted, it is that the engine is natively compiled (essentially hard-coded). This means that to make changes you are talking about disassembling the executable, writing new code and trying to patch that in at the assembler level (either through binary patching or runtime memory patching), however the game was written at a level of at least C and most likely C++ or higher.

This means you are trying to re-interpret machine level instructions into a much higher level logic and selectively replacing parts of that logic with rewritten logic that has to be injected into the game somehow. Adding Lua code for card abilities and additional functions is child's play comparatively. An alternative way of thinking about it could be there is a problem in your TV that you want to fix (or change how it works), but the only tools you have is a hammer and a pair of pliers and no real idea how the TV actually functions just guesswork. It is possible that you could change how it functions, but it would take lots of time, acquisition of knowledge, the creation or acquisition of better tools, and the desire to continue with the endeavor knowing the hurdles in front of you.

Even still there are moddable parts of the game that we aren't touching because we have issues decompiling some of the Lua code used elsewhere and we really don't want to attempt to guess and recreate that which we haven't properly been able to decompile. For example pretty much the entire LUBE directory can't be properly decompiled so we have left it alone even though it contains the functions we would likely need to override to modify things like the in-game deck manager, possibly managing deck configurations or the player profile, adding in game modes like Archenemy, or Planescape (which we know the engine supports since they were in previous games).
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Re: Spreading out attackers in high numbers

Postby Chakan » 24 Feb 2016, 20:16

Thanks for the in depth explanations guys. I understand the situation better now.
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Re: Spreading out attackers in high numbers

Postby Capp00 » 24 Feb 2016, 20:28

I do some programming now and then, so I understand the situation you guys are explaining. reverse engineering is really difficult to do right without bugging it up.

It's too bad there isn't some environmental variable that could be altered via loaded mod that increased card spacing, or eliminated stacking of like creatures.

had yet another instance last night where there was a ton of enchantments for 1 guy, so his creatures were getting overlapped to the point you couldn't even tell what he had out.
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Re: Spreading out attackers in high numbers

Postby Splinterverse » 05 Sep 2016, 23:55

This would be number one on my wishlist too. Too bad we can't increase battlefield size or cause lands to stack or something. All those dual lands are taking up space that the creatures could occupy.
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