Last Resort Mod Blog

LED Clock fixes and Windows 7 issues - September 17, 2015

While I was going through my newest texture replacements for the Last Resort mod I saw a few that I could improve upon in Mission B - The Getts house.

If you may recall this map takes place at night and the lighting inside the house is very subdued.   I noticed that none of the LED clocks on this map glowed like they would in real life.   There were 3 LED clocks (one in Victor Getts' bedroom, one in his son's bedroom, and one on the microwave in the kitchen) and all of them were completely dark.  Swat 3 doesn't have textures that emit light but you can fake it by placing a light entity near the object (you can see the result of my fix in the image below...remember normally the numbers of the clock aren't viewable unless you point your flashlight directly at it).

I spent the rest of my evening fixing this by using AlienAbducter's amazing SCN Editor tool.   First I had to determine the X,Y,Z coordinates of the light entity I needed to add to the map.   Once I had that info I had to decide on an appropriate colour of light in RGB format.   I then had to add the other fields that are required to make a light entity work properly in the game (a total of 8 are used).   I next had to strip out the existing light map out of the .SCN and then rebuild the light maps with the new light entities.    Of course things needed tweaking several times so it took a while to get it right.   None of this would have been possible without AlienAbducter's app.

Yes, it was a lot of work for not much payoff, lol. 

I would like to spend a minute complaining about how hard it is to get Swat 3 to run well now on my Windows 7 machine.   Well, to be honest I don't think Windows 7 is to blame entirely.   The game used to work great for me with Windows 7. What I actually think is the big problem is Nvidia video card drivers.  Lately the game stutters like a sonovabitch.   My machine can handle GTA5 on Steam without any problems so it certainly can handle this ancient game from 1999.   In the past Nvidia has released drivers that temporarily caused horrible frame rate issues with Swat 3 but usually they fixed it a few driver releases later.   Unfortunately it has been a while now and they still haven't fixed the problem.

Right now the only way I have found to improve the frame rate is to install WineD3D to trick the game into running in OpenGL instead of DirectX. Although the stuttering is fixed the overall visual quality seems to suffer a lot.

Swat 3 won't run properly on my Windows 8.1 laptop.   Now it seems Swat 3 won't run properly on my main Windows 7 desktop computer without affecting the visual quality.   This sort of crap will kill any remaining audience that Swat 3 still had.

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Summer Is Almost Over Already - August 29, 2015

No I haven't forgotten about this project.  Last weekend I moved all the various new textures into the proper folders in preparation for packaging up for release.    It has been far too long between releases (years!) and I doubt there are very many Swat 3 players out there. I am doing this as a creative outlet in between playing modern games such as GTA 5, Company of Heroes 2, Civ 5, Sniper Elite 3, etc.

When I work on new replacement textures I make a special mod folder and activate it as I work on a map.   For instance for the first mission I create a mod folder called "Mission_A_new" and put all of the original textures from the game in there unzipped.  I will run the map and look for textures that look especially offensive and that would benefit the most from fixing.   At the end of the process I am left with the new textures and a lot of the original textures.   I have to sort them by the last modified date and then copy and paste them into the Last Resort folder.

To be honest, it has been so long since the last release of the mod that I don't remember some of the fixes and changes that I have made.   Yes, I tried to keep my READ ME file updated with the changes but I am sure a few things will slip through the documentation.

I recently updated my laptop to Windows 10 in the hopes of testing everything on the new operating system.   I want to see if I can get Swat 3 to even run without any mods.

Hopefully I can find a few people to beta test this release before I post it on the website.   I will keep you updated here on the blog as that date gets closer.    I probably won't have much free time until mid September to work on it.

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Back at real life work - May 1, 2015

Just a quick update since I haven't posted in a while.

Despite my best intentions I didn't get around to releasing the mod update before I started back at work.    We just finished rigging the studio for a kids TV show and are into the first week of shooting.   It is still very hectic and chaotic at work but hopefully it will calm down in the next week so that I have some left over energy to work on the mod.

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Medical Issues - March 20, 2015

About 1.5 years ago I started to have strange symptoms that have slowly but steadily grown worse.   I have gone to see a ton of doctors but it is an extremely slow process trying to diagnose what is wrong.   I have learnt the hard way that there is no genius "Doctor House" that will figure this all out.

Canada is great because of universal healthcare but sometimes I wonder if all the best doctors move to the USA for a better income.   None of the doctors seem to have a clue what is going on.   When you get an appointment with a specialist you wait a month or two and cross your fingers that they don't cancel at the last minute (this has happened three times to me).

Sorry for this rant. I have gone off topic, lol.    In terms of this mod there are a lot of days in the last couple of months I don't feel like working on it.   I am just taking it easy.    I want to release a beta of version 0.7 soon but I am working on more new map replacement textures. With the new version I hope people will actually start noticing a change with the game more so than just the main menu.   You guys needs to start seeing the actual purpose and benefit of the Last Resort mod.

I apologise for the delay for the 3 or 4 of you that actually are waiting for the new version :)

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Anti-virus false positives - March 16, 2015

I code all my apps in Visual Basic 6 (please stop laughing).   I have been too lazy to upgrade to the latest Visual Studio because it would mean I would need to re-code a lot of stuff.   This is just extra work I don't have time for.

My Visual Basic 6 apps still run nicely in Windows without the download of any extra software. If I upgraded to Visual Studio you would need to download a framework just to get the apps to run.

Lately though I am thinking of switching to Visual Studio 2013 because my damned anti-virus keeps giving a false positive about Visual Basic 6 files.    Yes, I am 99.9% sure these are all false positives because I keep my machines clean (scanned with up to date anti-virus and also several run-on-demand anti-malware packages).  I have also monitored the communication of my VB6 apps and none of them have made strange internet connections.

Please feel free to discuss this in the forum if you have any concerns.   My biggest fear is losing the confidence of the public when it comes to running my apps and I would never do anything to risk that.

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GTA5 Heists Tomorrow - March 9, 2015

Tomorrow is the long awaited release of the cooperative heists DLC for GTA5 Online so don't expect me to get much work done.

Below is a screenshot of a new replacement texture from Mission B (Victor and Albert Getts house).  The texture is a drafting table found in the den of the house.   The original texture looks rather blurry compared to the new 512x512 pixel replacement texture.   Both of them are shown here without any in-game lighting.  

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