Project Update #10 - News and Development Update

The latest sitrep on PSForever.
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Chord
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Project Update #10 - News and Development Update

Postby Chord » Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:28 pm

Hello again! Here's a long overdue update for the state of PSForever and the PlanetSide 1 community. First, we'll start with some news, then some random screenshots from the last month or so, and finally end with a development recap.

News
  • We now have a PlanetSide1 Reddit thanks to Nick!
  • We also had a very successful PlanetSide weekend thanks, once again, to Nick! Here's what he had to say about the event:
The weekend of April 8-10th, we hit a new milestone in the recent history of PlanetSide. Hundreds of players logged on to PlanetSide 1 throughout the weekend of April 8-10th. We also hit a concurrent online player count of about 100 and even had an ‘Orange Alert’ at Bel on Forseral. Hundreds of players would log in during the course of this weekend, celebrating a game that we will not soon give up on.

The passion for this game is very much alive. I want to personally extend my thanks to Chord and Deathkill for their contributions to making some important anti-hacking tools a reality, and for allowing and teaching Sulferix and I how to utilize them to deter cheaters. I’m humbled to have this opportunity to ensure fun and fair play in my favorite game.

Since using these tools, cheaters have disappeared, and our numbers have been increasing. One weekend we were amazed to have 30 concurrent players playing the game. The next weekend, we had 50-60 concurrent. Then we started seeing numbers around 20-30 on weekdays, particularly in the Asian/Oceanic/European overlap hours. This activity was unheard of in the recent history of PlanetSide. Sometimes you would log into the game at these hours and not find a single other player.

I personally took to Twitter, Reddit, and other gaming communities to spread the news to as much as possible. I’d like to thank Wrel, Hamma and PlanetSide Universe, RedditSide (/r/planetside), and everyone else who helped promote this event.

So where do we go from here? The 13th Anniversary of PlanetSide’s release is Friday, May 20, 2016. This day will kick off another ‘PlanetSide Event Weekend’ to celebrate the release of the game. I personally hope to see even greater player milestones, and more old faces as well as new. If you are on the fence about giving it a try, I will be more than happy to answer all of your questions about the game, and give you lots of helpful advice to get started.

- Nick

Members of the community have stepped up and provided their support for this project. The amount of support this project has received so far has already exceeded my initial expectations. I'm really glad I decided to make my idea available to everyone. We wouldn't have gotten nearly as far without everyone's support. Thank you.

Join the development and reverse engineering effort!

We are looking for developers and reverse engineers of any kind!

If you are already a developer and want to read / write some code here are our projects:
  • If you are interested in server development, the PSF-LoginServer repo is written in Scala (the new hotness ;) ) and is the most important project right now.
  • If you aren't interested in server development, we are looking for talented or motivated reverse engineers. The PlanetSide client is big and there is a lot of secrets still to be discovered! If you are interested, send me a PM or message on discord.
  • If you are familiar with Python, check out gcapy.
  • If you are more comfortable with C/C++ check out PSPack or FLATool.
  • If C# is more of your thing, check out GameLauncher or GameLogger.
If none of those languages are your cup of tea or you are not a programmer, but you still want to help the project:
  • We are always looking for more packet captures. To get started with capturing, download the PS1 GameLogger and read the FAQ.
  • If capturing packets sounds terribly boring and you want to actually code something, but aren't a programmer, use this project to learn something new! All of the project code is open source and will be open source (minus some cheat protection values in the future). By contributing to this project, your work will be available for the whole world to see. This means your employers, your friends, and us! We want to help you become a better developer or reverse engineer. Use this project as an excuse to improve your skills while still having fun! Send Chord a message for a good place / resources to start.

Also, here are some mixed project ideas that are not being worked on, but would be AMAZING if completed:
  • Interested in game engines or computer graphics? Make your own PlanetSide client. The old client, looks and feels old. A new PlanetSide would need a new client [VERY HARD]
  • Want to customize the hell out of PlanetSide? Help us reverse more of the PlanetSide file formats and create modding tools similar to FLATool and PSPack. Heck, you could even create your own map editor! Become known for making your own mod kit. [VERY HARD]

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I hope this overview helps you understand where you should focus your interests if you looking to get more involved.

Code Updates

PSF-LoginServer [UPDATED]
Added some new changes to allow the code to be built on Windows. Started making a roadmap and issues to help keep development focused. Check out the open issues.

PSPack [NEW]
A command line tool to unpack PlanetSide .PAK files. There is a ton of interesting hidden files within these PAKs, such as game scripts, shaders, sounds, and textures. A repacker hasn't been made yet, but if we did make one, then we'd be able to modify these PAKs to change how the game runs / looks at a high level.

FLATool [NEW]
A command line utility to unpack PlanetSide .FAT files (really called FLAT files). These files are just a bunch of textures all smashed together. This tool supports repacking as well, which allows you to easily modify textures. We've used this to modify the font textures so that barcode names (IllIllllII) don't work anymore. Check it out:

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PSCrypto [NEW]
A repository to hold the crypto library that is used to interface with the PlanetSide client. Uses psf-cryptopp as a build dependency.

psf-cryptopp [NEW]
A personal fork of CryptoPP that matches the version built in to the PlanetSide client.

GameLogger [UPDATED]
Improved the hex view for copying and pasting and a unified hex and ASCII dump (similar to OllyDBG). Thanks to FateJH for getting this started with the first PSForever pull request!

gcapy
No new changes since the last update.

GameLauncher
No new changes.

I've worked on a few random issues as well:
  • Added a discord button to the site
  • Spun up a discord bot to help keep other developers and myself informed of code changes. The bot is quite bad as it was based off of some old code on Github, but improvements are coming. It will probably get more features down the road.

Screenshots

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I started to work on a new PlanetSide launcher and then realized that I shouldn't be doing this in C# and that I suck at UI.

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PSForever really breaking the bank ;)

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Deathkill really fucked things up...

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Deathkill doing strange things to his character textures

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Vim ui_root.ui

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010 Editor showing my reverse engineering of the .FDX file format

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Whoops. Font mods gone wrong

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My reverse engineering view in IDA

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p0intman
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Re: Project Update #10 - News and Development Update

Postby p0intman » Sun May 01, 2016 7:37 pm

Nice. Very nice.
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Re: Project Update #10 - News and Development Update

Postby OpolE » Tue May 10, 2016 5:51 pm

Totally forgot I made a PSforever account a while back.

Great work to be seen here and in the future.

Promotional support is definitely what I can do for ya.
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Re: Project Update #10 - News and Development Update

Postby SArais » Wed May 11, 2016 1:36 pm

We do need some form of promotional work, yes.

Prehaps we should make another movie? Not in terms of kills, but actual movie, script and all. Other, in-universe and befitting promotional work would be good too.
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Re: Project Update #10 - News and Development Update

Postby KingFeraligatr » Thu May 12, 2016 11:03 am

SArais wrote:We do need some form of promotional work, yes.

Prehaps we should make another movie? Not in terms of kills, but actual movie, script and all. Other, in-universe and befitting promotional work would be good too.


If you really wanted a movie, I could make up your basic plot/scenario. Past that though, I could not help (as in directing, organ zing, writing, etc.). And you'd have to worry about players ruining your film. All in all, not very recommended unless you focus only like a small cont or two plus Sancs.
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Re: Project Update #10 - News and Development Update

Postby docdic » Thu May 12, 2016 4:32 pm

KingFeraligatr wrote:If you really wanted a movie, I could make up your basic plot/scenario. Past that though, I could not help (as in directing, organ zing, writing, etc.). And you'd have to worry about players ruining your film. All in all, not very recommended unless you focus only like a small cont or two plus Sancs.

What about extracting all of the models and making a movie in something like blender?
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SArais
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Re: Project Update #10 - News and Development Update

Postby SArais » Thu May 12, 2016 7:30 pm

Nah, an authentic experience would be with just the recording system and the game
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Re: Project Update #10 - News and Development Update

Postby XxXDEATHKILLXxX » Thu May 12, 2016 10:44 pm

SArais wrote:Nah, an authentic experience would be with just the recording system and the game



If you guys are interested in making this happen, I would be happy to help. A trailer would be cool after all, the issue would be capturing large-scale combat that we don't see in-game any more. I do have some HD 60FPS caves footage around somewhere from a few months ago, and some other random stuff I just took of the maps.
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SArais
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Re: Project Update #10 - News and Development Update

Postby SArais » Fri May 13, 2016 1:07 pm

I think the best method would be using footage from both Planetside 1 and 2, and use Planetside 1 for "flashbacks" and whatever "old auraxis" scenes there is. Also using PS2 gives us more character visual customization, and would be easier to signify each character that way. Furthermore, it would also draw in the PS2 audience. Using old footage of PS1 would be exceptionally helpful for some scenes, as recording the caves is now impossible, but narrating and dubbing them is not.

The idea is to be an advertisement for our PS1 efforts- as well as filling in on the history of the game and it's story, even up to and parcluding it's current state due to the hackers (which are also precluded in the script). as well as the veteran's views on the current state of affairs, and/or their insight on some of the new things, as well as reminiscing about the old things. The veterans likely haven't even seen the construction system before.

As for the script, i'm not certain where to start. Prehaps a fight-scene following some of the Newgen Harassers? Which facility will this fight end up at wherein the fighters first run into our Veterans from each faction?

In less-fortunate news, the EPVP goons are trying to make an Anti-ABS. Absolutely disgusting. The game is dead because of these hacks, Fuck are they doing, and why would they bother? I want new people to continue to experience this one of a kind game, and I want it to be preserved for the rest of the foreseeable future of humanity.

The fact that we've cracked the base Planetside game open means we might be able to spruce up our characters to reflect their more customized PS2 equivalents.

To give us some ideas for characters, post up your PS2 and/or PS1 characters.

We could also attempt a DOOM Mod for G/ZDoom and/or Zandronum? A planetside de-make if you will.
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Re: Project Update #10 - News and Development Update

Postby Chord » Fri May 13, 2016 5:56 pm

I would love to promote this site, but I feel bad promoting something that no one can currently use at the moment. Still, I think as a PlanetSide community site, we're doing fairly well given the state of things.

Can't wait to have more to show once I write more code!
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