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About Populous
Post Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:09 am
Do someone here know well Populous?
I have been playing it for a very long time in my far youth, but I am still wondering how many worlds exist in this game.
I managed to reach very far worlds in the game, but once in the worlds #5200 or so, it's impossible get back there just by entering the world's name, we have to go from the last directly reachable world and re-do all the worlds from there if we want to go farther, but it implies to play for a VERY long time without turning off the game.
How many worlds are there in reality? Is there a way to get a list of all the worlds? I tried searching in the rom but found nothing, the name must be compressed, and maybe worse
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Post Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:06 am
The names are built from three syllables. The first increments, the other two are more complicated.

There are theoretically 65536 levels in the game but the password routine will only accept up to level 5119 (DOUASICK).

It ought to be fairly simple to make a password generator by reproducing the code, because it actually generates all the passwords in turn and compares to the one you entered. I isolated the routine in this thread. It might be possible to hack the game to allow entering higher level passwords but it might take a very long time as it generates 65000 earlier level passwords...

Edit: ROM[305d]=0,0 will allow all passwords. I think the limit may be there because the password routine overflows 16 bits soon after 5199.
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Post Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:20 pm
Wow, now that's interesting! That makes really many worlds to go in one shot! I didn't think the subject had already been studied.
At last, I have an explanation for this password mystery, thanks!
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Post Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 7:25 pm
OK, here is a password generator.

http://www.smspower.org/maxim/forumstuff/populous.html

Algorithm:

Calculate ((World number) * 46885 + 9439)

The low 5 bits select the first syllable from a table, the next 5 select the second syllable from another table, and the next 5 select the last one from a third table. The levels count from 1 (HURTOUTORD) to 32768 (SHISODING). GENESIS is a special alias for HURTOUTORD.

Worlds repeat past 32868 (32769 = 1).

Use the hack mentioned above to allow levels past 5199. It takes a long time to load level 32768...
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Post Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:05 pm
WOW! Now that's incredible, you really did it! Maxim, you are the best!
But please let me correct you: Genesis is world number 0, not 1, so it is different from HURTOUTORD (by the way, I remember having played HURTOUTORD on the real thing, and you can check the worlds maps anyway).
I think you should add this into the cheats on the site, because this deserves to be known and used.

By the way, I was wondering: what does the "voice" say at the beginnng, with the logo? I can't understand it.
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Post Posted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 11:25 pm
I wouldn't wish to live on world 6912.
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:24 am
Hroþgar SCRB wrote
By the way, I was wondering: what does the "voice" say at the beginnng, with the logo? I can't understand it.


"Welcome to Populous"


I'm curious what means it uses to generate the maps, IE how does 31262 differ compared to the other 31261 worlds that came before it?

I would surely think whatever algorythm they use probably results in a lot of almost identical worlds.

On an offside, this is by far my favourite game on the SMS, I dedicated ludicrous amounts of time towards playing it.
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:08 am
The worlds are presumably generated algorithmically, based on a random number generator. If your RNG is sufficiently non-repetitive, you ought to get a different level for every number you seed it with, especially because you'll be using random numbers for many different aspects of the level so even if it does have a short sequence (RNGs tend to produce a sequence and a new seed just skips to a different part of it) the numbers will be applied to different things.

As for world 6912... 32512, they did a 31488 avoiding that kind of thing. I won't let it 22451 though.
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:35 am
djbass wrote
Hroþgar SCRB wrote
By the way, I was wondering: what does the "voice" say at the beginnng, with the logo? I can't understand it.


"Welcome to Populous".


Thanks! I would never have figured out without your help, lol!

In the game, I noticed similar if not identical maps. But by changing the landscape and other level features, it appears as new worlds.

By the way, the maps are different in the various adaptations of the game. To this day, I have looked at the Megadrive and SNES versions, and the map of the Genesis level is totally different. And at least on the SNES version, the generated names are different too
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:46 am
The only other version of Populous I have played is the PC version, but I seem to recall it was more or less the same, though I didn't have it side by side with the SMS version to compare.

The unfortunate thing with the PC version is that it just looks horrible. Whether this is because the console version has the magical trickery of the TV set to mask the low resolution imagery or just they didn't put in as much effort into the PC version in trying to make it look good on the hardware (I recall in a semi-recent interview with the creators of the SMS version in Retro Gamer mag they said they borrowed the palette from another game that they thought looked good).
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 7:49 pm
Huh? SMS developer interviews? I demand scans! (Or some chance to buy the magazine...)

The PC version was the original, I believe. The graphics look much the same as every other version - maybe they were EGA rather than VGA?
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Post Posted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:27 am
http://www.retrogamer.net/back_issues.php

Issue 44.

If I can find it I will, not sure as sadely it may have been lost in my recent move.
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 7:44 pm
I've went through stages 5100 to 5300 once, and as it was getting easier instead of harder, I just got to the conclusion "this is the ending, I'm skilled enough to beat any level, why playing farther?" =P

It's especially funny when enemies use combinations of disasters than kill them instead of myself:

- swamps + earthquakes -> they kind of null themself together, and volcano + earthquakes, volcano + swamps,.. too =P

- knights -> they lost a big number of leaders trying to reach my lands =P

- floods?? -> I've won a battle instantly once when they used a flood and didn't have the second floor houses, they were all mine XD

swamps alone are their biggest difficulty, as it makes very hard to keep the big castles producing the good warriors,.. mixing lands was my strategy to overpower them, as they started to fall for their own swamps, losing leaders and strong warriors .. xP
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Re: Populous
Post Posted: Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:31 pm
Johnnyz wrote
I've went through stages 5100 to 5300 once


Before I discovered about 32768 worlds recently I was doing the same thing, but got horribly stuck on 5277! Did you ever suffer that one? Evil only takes about five minutes to start using Volcanos (his only intervention power) on you and it's incredibly difficult to build a sufficient population to defend against that because it takes longer to acquire swamp power.

On a related note, I used MEKA to find a way to win any world at the first seconds (type AA into RAM slot D903), and I found that the levels after 32768 were indeed the same names as from the beginning, but entirely different in their outlay: some of them were 15 to 1 in human favour! I might see how high it goes before it either crashes or finally ends, if anyone wants. Not bad for a game I bought for one pound! :P
 
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Post Posted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:48 am
I expect the layout will repeat at 65536.
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:27 am
I was back on Populous lately and although the name generator is a good thing, I thought the system could be improved. Searching a world by level number is one thing, but I suppose you'd rather search a specific kind of world in order to have some fun.
As the names are generated, I guess the other features are also generated (just because it would otherwise take too much room in the rom), so a "world generator" is possible too.

Let's imagine a multiple field form allowing to choose, for example:
-World type (grassy plains, desert...)
-Fatal Water Y/N
-Good : earthquake Y/N
-Evil : earthquake Y/N
and so on
It would then give the world numbers matching those criterias.

The same way, the password generator would also give the world's features.

Of course, some kind of Excel table is possible, but a generator would be more lightweighted.

What do you think of it?
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Post Posted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:52 pm
Yes, but it's a lot more complicated to reverse engineer and would require bundling a chunk of ROM data in the generator.
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:36 am
Is that so? I knew it would be complicated ro reverse engineer, but thought anyway the generator itself would be rather simple.
So maybe a hard-coded list would be better to start with, but "only" for the first 5000 or so worlds (that would make a list of 1000 items). :)
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:32 pm
I began noting by hand the features of the 5119 first worlds, that makes 1024 lines. It's pretty long to do, but I'm more than halfway through. I'll send you the results so you can integrate it into the password generator. :)

I also began to analyse the ram in order to understand which does what (but the ram editor in Meka is buggy, so it's a bit complicated. ^^;)
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:01 pm
I'd rather generate the data than just have a huge list, not least for accuracy. I'd also like to render the initial world map, but that's really hard :)
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:33 am
But you said that would be really hard, so I prefer a huge list than no list at all. ;)

If you really wish to generate the data soon, please tell me, so that I stop wasting my time listing data by hand. :p

Generating the map seems even more difficult. I am only able to generate the map in html/other when the data are already in the memory. Doing so would almost be like partially remaking the game. ;)
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:31 pm
Hroþgar SCRB, do you have any interest in the Mega Drive/Genesis version of Populous? (I saw that you mentioned it above, but wasn't sure if you'd only played it a tiny bit.)

If not, no worries, but if you do I have a project that might (or might not!) interest you.
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Post Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:18 am
Well, I think I never tried this version, but I'm basically interested in all the versions, being a huge fan of this game. :)

Being a Megadrive project, maybe should you contact me by PM.
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