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Apr 04

GearHead 1 v1.300

"Words of the Spacegod", printed in DoubleThink Spring 2015

I’ve just uploaded a new release of GH1 to GitHub. This one overhauls the SDL interface, updates the gender and romance options, allows skill training to be purchased for lancemates, and fixes a whole lot of bugs. Precompiled binaries for Linux and Windows are available; unfortunately, I don’t currently have access to a Mac.

Detailed change list and gratuitous plug below the fold.– Fixed bug in Hermit Hop (SCENE_MeetingPath.txt)
– Fixed DirKey screen refresh (sdlgfx.pp)
– Set correct age for Omega-1004 (TS_LANCE_Z1004_STORY.txt)
– Added title screen logo (gharena.pas)
– Jump countdown timer fixed (pcaction.pp)
– Updated gender and romance options (ghchars.pp)
– Refactored \SPR and \OPR tags to be correct (arenascript.pp)
– Added instructions to phone (pcaction.pp)
– Lancemates may use skill trainers (services.pp)
– SDL Browse Design Files now works like GH2 version (arenahq.pp)
– SDL UI reworked all over. Heaps more info shown to the player.
– Backpack and FieldHQ now save menu position (pcaction.pp,backpack.pp)
– Training menu has been reworked (pcaction.pp)
– Pressing left or right in backpack will cycle lancemates (backpack.pp)
– Backpack menu for SDL mode reworked (backpack.pp)
– Cancelling job selection menu gives new PC random job (randchar.pp)
– Character generator interface should be more consistent (randchar.pp)
– Added InfoBox from GearHead2.1 (sdlgfx.pp)
– Fixed BountyJob bugs (PLOT_BountyJob1.txt)
– Switch weapon should now reliably switch weapon (menugear.pp)
– Fixed some SDL handling weirdness throughout program
– SDL window now resizeable (sdlgfx.pp)

The picture at the top of the post is from “Words of the Spacegod”, a story I did for the Spring 2015 DoubleThink anthology. Their next one is coming out soon and I have another story (with even more giant robots) in it.

As usual, try it out and let me know what you think.

23 comments

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  1. Random commenter

    Thanks for the new release.

    Things I’ve seen so far:
    New UI is really far more convenient and useful than the last one.
    Found one bug – in the mission where I was requested by the bounty hunter to catch some mecha pilot alive, upon entering, I’ve received a message “[my character’s name] must be stopped”.

    Also, is there any chance DC will be ever separated from actual weapon category? Currently it’s kinda weird because some portable missile launchers have DC low enough that (I assume) they use small arms skill while some quality, not even too heavy (a couple of kgs) rifles suddenly have DC assigned to heavy weapons skills despite the fact that they seem to be regular rifles, just, you know, decent ones (like dual laser one).

    1. Joseph Hewitt

      I’ve known about the mission bug for a while, but haven’t had much luck replicating it. Maybe I should disable the mission for a while, or rewrite it in a less-likely-to-misfire way.

  2. Esterior

    Wow this is awesome!

    I like this new UI, makes it a lot easier on the eyes.

    Just one quite question though. I normally dominate an electric rat for my game play… right now, all my pets have portrait of a human being… is it possible to either turn off the portraits for pets or designate each monster’s designated portrait?

    Thanks a bunch

    1. Esterior

      Nevermind, I figured it out. I just added sdl_portrait to every monster under the WMONstat file.

    2. Joseph Hewitt

      New pets should show the pet’s sprite instead of a portrait; pets from previous releases are not marked as nonhumans and so the game tries to show a portrait for them.

  3. Cornuthaum

    Gosh, I finally found the time to play GH1 for more than five minutes at a time, and … coming from hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of hours of GH2, I am in mortal terror.

    I can’t seem to find reliable missions, the XP gain is depressing, and if it weren’T for the fact that I found a Wallet and code-broke it for 1.8 million spacebucks, I’d still be dirt poor.

    There’s bound to be fun and adventure and, more importantly, some lancemates, but I can’t seem to find any of them.

    I miss the old wiki 🙁

    1. Random commenter

      It may be a matter of exactly what you’ve mentioned – being used to a certain thing.

      I find current GH1 far better balanced than GH2 – the difficulty progression (so far) wasn’t too steep for XP progression (and that one isn’t too hard either – though it seems far more dependant on quest rewards than fight experience), missions aren’t too hard to find (prohint: make some people simply like you, especially nurses, town leaders, guardians and bounty hunters), while mecha are still common but until you’ll get really good and rich – losing one hurts. Far more reasonable than racking cash easily early game and swimming in expensive pieces of equipment.

      1. Joseph Hewitt

        Interesting. I guess I’ll see when I get around to playing GH2 again myself. I think it’s probably appropriate that GH1 has a greater feeling of scarcity than GH2; IIRC mecha were made easier to get in GH2 since there’s relatively less personal scale content than GH1.

        I’m hoping to standardize the GH1 mission rewards, since right now there’s not a lot of consistency.

        1. Cornuthaum

          I’m at 74 renown right now, and some missions pay me 150.000 spacebucks and others pay 5000-6000.

          I mean, hell, I’d do 5k$ missions all day if someone offered them because the XP gain rate in GH1 is just so slow.

          But, perhaps I’m just doing it wrong. But I can’t find any faction to join (I know there’s got to be one or two somewhere for more missions), all the Mines measured in meters-below-surface are just completely unrewarding in terms of xp and loot vis-a-vis difficulty (but perhaps it’s just so difficult because of the high renown? the lack of antidote pills to get rid of poison is the real killer), as there’s not only barely any xp but also no loot at all (but perhaps I’m just doing it like in GH2 and thus missing out on the GH1 stuff).

          Do you perhaps have basic life advice for people new to GH?

          1. jamnott

            One of the things I like most about GH1 is the variety of ways to approach it successfully. Here are some of the more lucrative options I consider easier:

            Sewer cleaning missions – you get these from the town mayors. If you are reasonably skilled at personal combat, these are some of the best early game money makers, before you build up reputation, since you can dive as deep as you want and the cash reward is based on the depth you clear. 100m nets a few hundred k, and the rewards go up quite a bit lower than that, but the difficulty begins to scale up as well.

            Paramedic missions – you get these from nurses. These require the medicine skill, but you want that anyway. As an added bonus they will rapidly train your ME points as well, and once you get skilled, they are very quick. You’ll never get super high rewards, but they eventually net a few hundred k for very little effort.

            I typically use personal scale missions to build up enough of a nest egg (2-3m) to build a decent mecha. I feel that the risk of getting hit by a lucky head shot is too high in most of the earlier mecha, but I’ve also played games where I avoided personal scale combat almost entirely. Late game mecha missions is also where you will make the most money, from salvage. Getting really good salvage relies on some combination of head shots to mecha that keep the cockpit there, and the techvulture talent. Once the higher tier mecha begin populating your missions, you can make arbitrarily large amounts of money from salvage; the tech vulture talent makes that happen a little faster, but once you can head-shot Ovaknights money becomes an exercise in patience more than anything else.

            Other general GH1 advice…

            Get the medicine skill, and train it up. Once you hit a moderate skill level (3-4) you will be able to reliably treat poison, which is pretty important if you’re doing much personal scale adventuring.

            If you want to do martial arts, invest in the mysticism skill and do the shrine quest. This involves getting to 100 spiritual, and contra-indicates cyberware. The rewards are pretty great and it will send you all over the world; figuring it out is one of the best GH1 mysteries.

            If you want to invest heavily in cyberware, find the best doc and only use them. Get the best parts, and only install them. Theres some cyberware thats better than anything on the market you can get from the Corp faction quests. You should also invest in one of the relevant talents.

            Get at least the conversation and flirtation skills. They’ll more-or-less improve themselves, but getting good missions requires good relationships with the mission-givers, and that means getting those skills up.

            That’s the best I can do off the top of my head; hopefully it will help you over the learning curve.

  4. xordspar0

    It’s good to have you back!

    I first found GearHead by reading through Debian’s list of games packages. I was having a boring day. I’ve since switched to Arch Linux. I’m excited that you’re working on GearHead, and I was planning on downloading it and playing again, but I was shocked to find that none of your games are packaged in any of Arch’s repositories. That couldn’t be allowed any longer. GearHead 1, 2, and Dungeon Monkey Eternal are now packaged in the AUR.

    I would happily package Dungeon Monkey Unlimited or some other of you games. Are you going to move the rest of them to GitHub, or should I get them from SourceForge?

    1. xordspar0

      Actually, I won’t upload the packages because they don’t work because GearHead requires write permissions to the install directory and I don’t want to write a custom patch to change that like Debian did. I would be interested in merging such a patch into the codebase, though.

      1. Joseph Hewitt

        Thanks!

        I thought I fixed all the places where it requires write access to the install directory; the save games and config file have been moved to the config directory. If you know what part of the program is causing the trouble I’ll fix it; I’ll see if I can find it myself tomorrow.

        1. xordspar0

          Cool. I can’t say for sure where the problem is, it just crashes immediately after starting with an unhandled exception due to access violation. I assumed that was because it was installed to a system location, but maybe I made a mistake packaging it…

          1. Joseph Hewitt

            I just remembered that the other part of the Debian patch is that it explicitly sets the program’s home folder, so maybe it can’t find the data files. What is the program path in your package? I’ll add a conditional switch to look for the data files there.

          2. xordspar0

            I assumed it wouldn’t be able to handle splitting into /usr/bin and /usr/share, so I just installed the whole thing to /opt. It would be nice to be able to to split it, though. I must have missed something that it needs when I copied the data files into the package…

            A makefile would be nice.

          3. xordspar0

            Oops, it works now. Still, being able to split the package into /usr/bin and /usr/share would be nice.

  5. Cornuthaum

    So, after two days of being sick as a dog and playing, I wanted to make a few observations:

    The inventory weight of most ammunition types is pretty crazy high especially compared to the weight allowance people have.

    Similar, but far more egregious, is the food. Does post-apocalyptic earth encase all its food parcels, including noodle cups, in bricks of solid lead?

    In GH2 it wasn’t so bad, but there, Nutrient Pills were cheapish and plentiful, quite unlike GH1.

  6. Veryinky

    Can anyone find a copy of the old Gearhead Player’s Guide? I can’t find a copy. Things like “How do I salvage killed mechs” is lost technology.

    Also all of the guides from the wiki are unavailable on the internet archive.

    1. Joseph Hewitt

      There is a GearHead Player’s Guide at the old GearHead Yahoo! group, though I would guess that it’s terribly out of date.

      https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/gearhead_dev/files

      1. Veryinky

        I found hints that the guide was updated until late 2006, but even the 2004 version is better than nothing. I’ve also been combing through the japanese wiki for information and some roughly matches what I’ve been able to extract from the internet archive. Though in a format much more difficult to read.

  7. Ethaniel

    Ooh dear! I haven’t played this since 0.8 or 9 I think.
    I am so happy that one of my 3 favorite rls is still in development.
    So since I haven’t played for so long I can’t remember if numpad was rotated or not. If so, is there a way to fix it?
    I have to use NumLock and arrow keys to walk straight and use menus out leave it as is and walk sideway and use menus from numpad.
    Ps I am talking about the ASCII version. I don’t like the SDL, never did (no offence Josh).

    1. Joseph Hewitt

      To fix the numpad keys, edit the gharena.cfg file and redefine the Dir-* keys. If your config file was generated by the SDL version (say, if you accidentally ran that version before running the ASCII version) then these Dir keys will be rotated to work with the isometric display. You can restore the ASCII defaults by just deleting the eight Dir-* keys; the correct keys will be added when you start the game next.

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