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Dragon UnPACKer

Upcoming 5.7.0 Beta version

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For those of you following the SVN commits and the nightly download page, you saw there was a lot of activity the past month. I am actually quite pleased with the current state of Dragon UnPACKer (minus the new icons) and I would like to release an official 5.7.0 Beta in the coming couple of weeks.

I fixed a LOT of memory leaks, revamped the logging system, reworked the internals to be less complex (and actually faster), changed from the .dulk look files to folder/file based Themes (supporting PNG, JPG & BMP images) and added chained conversion (plugins + internal Vampyre Imaging Library) among other things.

There are some more behind the scenes changes that will (hopefully) appear in later betas that means for the moment there is a new DUDI version for Drivers (so drivers for this version are not compatible with previous Dragon UnPACKers). I will for sure need to do not backward-compatible changes again during the beta.

 

Lazarus and wild ideas

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Since last post I have been working on making internal/behind the scenes modifications to Dragon UnPACKer code for an easier maintenance and to add new features I have been thinking about. On the surface nothing much as changed, but the new theme engine which is lacking some icons...

On the Lazarus side, I was able to convert the project to it and have it compile (yeah!), run without crashing (double yeah!) and actually extract stuff from files (triple yeah!). But... There is a persistant SIGSEGV error when closing the program (and this is actualy linked to the main form). I spend hours trying to find out what was causing this to no avail... So I am back to Delphi 7 refactoring the program so that the conversion to Lazarus is even easier next time.

I will try to release a 5.7.0 Beta soon with all fixes & changes so it can be tested before I start with even bigger changes.

 

 

Back to Delphi 7

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So... After one year, I must say Delphi XE2 Starter was a big disappointment. A lot of the features I use in Delphi 7 Personal are missing (like the command line compiler). The result is I could not motivate myself enough to use it even after paying 149€ for it. The missing features are available in the expensive Professionnal version (1069€), come on!

I re-installed Delphi 7 and rolled back the changes I tried to introduce to make Dragon UnPACKer working with XE2.

The result is I will try to focus on Lazarus. Hopefully I can make Dragon UnPACKer compatible with the version 1.0 that finally came out last year.

I will try to fix the pending bugs and release a 5.6.3 soon with the external convertion tools which is long overdue (sorry Paul).

 

Star Citizen - Squadron 42

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This is the best gaming news I heard since I played Freelancer, the great Chris Roberts (creator of the best space sim ever made for PC: Wing Commander series & Freelancer) is back to create Star Citizen an amazing looking new space sim, but he need your help to fund it (yes, it is crowdfunded). Go watch his presentation here.

I pledged 25€ without hesitation! So don't wait to pledge even the smallest amount of $10, it will help to get the best game possible!

Here is the full trailer, it rocks, it will be difficult to wait until 2014 to play it (so pledge $30/25€ or more to get Alpha/Beta access!):

http://player.vimeo.com/video/51129845

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 12:55
 

Baby and Delphi XE2

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Long time no news!

I was very busy with our new born baby, he came 1 month and a half earlier than expected and it was very time consuming to go to the hospital neonatal care 2 or 3 times a day. He is now out and everybody is fine. Smile

Now on the development front I did nothing (I bought and played a lot of games) since last release. I finally did what I was thinking of since a year or so: I bought a licence for Delphi XE2 Starter which is the most modern version of Delphi (I was using Delphi 7 Personal [which is the last free non-cripled version of Delphi], that's 9 major versions!) and it includes a 64bit compiler and Mac OSX/iOS support. I tried importing Dragon UnPACKer source into XE2, it works (sort of) after fixing some stuff. But it will still need work to get it perfectly ironed out. Tongue out The bad news is that future version will most likely don't compile in Delphi 7 anymore. But that compiler is really too outdated to be used in current OSes and Lazarus/FPC while a pretty good alternative is just too much work to port Dragon UnPACKer to it.

The other thing I will be working on is another request from Paul regarding Ghostbusters texture convertion which I would like to implement. Dunno when that will be ready neither...

 

Upcoming v5.6.2 Bug Fixes

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I have been working quietly and intermittently on Dragon UnPACKer. Mainly bug fixes and a new conversion plugin to use external programs for convertions.

I recently fixed a big bug on HyperRipper (broken Ogg and TGA support) so I am planning on releasing v5.6.2 this weekend.

If I finally motivate myself to finish the configuration interface of that new conversion plugin it will be included with the upcoming v5.6.2. If not it will be delayed for a further version. For those wanting to test it, it is available in the nightly builds.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 July 2011 15:07
 

Version 5.6.1 almost there

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I could not fix everything for last weekend so this new 5.6.1 version was delayed, but I think I finally nailed the last bug (still waiting for confirmation from Paul of http://www.spookcentral.tk)  so hopefully current build 262 (SVN 601) will be released as final today or tomorrow. I just need to change the doc (install scripts are ready).

Last Updated on Monday, 04 April 2011 15:18
 

Problems in v5.6.0

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Just noticed some important things do not work in Dragon UnPACKer v5.6.0 (they did work in 5.5.1 Beta), like the sorting in the lstContent... I will release 5.6.1 with fixes asap (end of the week if possible).
 

Proof of Concept

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I started coding for v6.x branch. I started from scratch (as stated 2 articles ago) using Lazarus/FPC as a base and this time opening everything as much as possible (at start the 5.x branch was closed-source, some decisions do not make sense, like the obscure "compiled" look file containing icons).

As a proof of concept I also tried to go object-oriented plugins, it seems to work fine so I will stick with that for the moment.

The source of this new Dragon UnPACKer can be downloaded from SVN using DragonUnPACKerLazarus module name instead of DragonUnPACKer. Please note it is nowhere near usability point, I just have the basic interface and themes working, plus the ultra basic PoC of object-oriented plugins.

On the 5.x branch, nothing really new, but following a bug report I noticed some flaws in Dragon Update Server and Duppi. Because of how Sourceforge download files, it wasn't working anymore (downloaded files were "corrupted", actually HTML files redirecting to the download). I decided to drop SourceForge as main download site as a workaround. But I also decided to introduce some modifications to both DUS and Duppi.

For some time now DUS have a list of available servers to download from, but this is not used by Duppi which only uses the first available one. I am modifying Duppi so that it uses the servers in order until the download is completed successfully. For this I added a SHA-1 hash for each D5P file in DUS and the file size (in bytes). In SVN Revision 505 Duppi already does this for Duppi updates, so not very useful for you at the moment. I will be changing all downloads to work like that. DUS v3.2.0 with the modifications is live for more than a week now and Duppi v3.3.0 should be available next week (time permitting).

Last Updated on Friday, 16 July 2010 10:52
 

Nightly Builds

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In short: I was finally able to add nightly builds to Dragon UnPACKer.

Long version: I always wanted to add automatic nightly builds to Dragon UnPACKer, this way everytime I commit code to CVS the binary version would be automatically available to users (if they ever wanted to test).

The problem was that I wanted to do that from my Debian (Linux) dedicated server and Dragon UnPACKer uses Borland Delphi which is a native Windows IDE & compiler.

I knew the solution was to use the command line compiler (DCC32.EXE) from Borland Delphi 7 along with Wine (allows running Windows applications under Linux). But using the clc is more complicated than using the IDE directly to compile. Anyway yesterday I spent a couple of hours to configure everything and voila!

Using cron, every night at 00:30 (GMT+1) a CVS checkout is executed from the HEAD branch (latest one). A small program I made in php checks if any file was modified since last compilation. If there was a modification, the build is executed (the core executable, the plugins, duppi and dlngc are built & compiled, the languages files are generated). The resulting files are compressed by using p7zip (the Linux version of 7zip) and uploaded (along with the build log file) to the download server (which is mirrored every 30min to 2 others servers).

Feel free to try the last nightly build which comes with many speed-ups and bug fixes for the HyperRipper. The nightly of yesterday (20100421) should also be pretty stable (even better than the last unstable...). I would be glad to hear from tests done with this version as it is the first time I use the clc for Dragon UnPACKer.

Download from Dragon UnPACKer Development > Downloads > Nightly Builds.

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 April 2010 09:13
 

What's going on?

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In the past months, I have been busy with many stuff not Dragon UnPACKer related (1 month holidays in Peru, finishing Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and Bioshock 2).

But I also played a bit with Freepascal & Lazarus. I must say, the more I get into it, the more I am disappointed. I was starting to make progress but now the compilation just fails with error message on my Error.pas class (maybe that's the problem, I used a reserved name...).

To be honest I only tried with a snapshot of FPC/Lazarus (0.9.29 with 2.4.1 FPC) both beta products. I will have a look with 0.9.28 and 2.4.0, but I don't hope much...

On the bright side, Virtual TreeView (latest version), which is the main component used by Dragon UnPACKer is now fully adapted to FPC/Lazarus.

I am thinking that I should stick with Delphi 7 for 5.x branch and maybe re-start under Lazarus for v6.x. The good thing is the plugin will not need rewriting (I know it compile & works already with FPC/Lazarus). I will try to fix the broken HyperRipper in 5.5.2. Honestly I think starting from scratch for the UI will just be easier and faster...

 
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