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Saturday, 21 November 2015

Temple of Elemental Evil - TemplePlus


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An elegant looking game, isn't it? See also here.

Troika's The Temple of Elemental Evil (2003) is a great combat RPG let down by its many bugs, node lag and pathing issues.

As I recall, moebius2778 temple.dll fix was the first bugfix attempt by the community, laying the foundation for what would become the Circle of Eight (Co8) modpack (now at version 8.1.0); however, the infamous lag and pathing issues remained.

But to my delight, veteran Co8 modder and dll-hacker Sitra Achara has teamed up with coder Pugmeister to form Grognards From Hell in order to work on their Temple+ project of "hooks, extensions & fixes", which, most notably, includes a rendering reform to eliminate lag caused by particle systems, and a rewrite of the pathing routine!

Having recently played through ToEE with alpha builds of Temple+, I was pleasantly surprised at how many improvements, added features and bugfixes they have already implemented (see Changelog). The rendering reform is in progress thanks to Pugmeister, and Sitra Achara messaged me recently with an update:

"Meanwhile Pug has implemented a much more efficient shadow renderer now which seems to solve the performance issue (also features soft shadows to boot :P). It's coming along very nicely, should be ready in a few weeks or so.." - 28/11/15.

Just awesome!

The following vids show how the game played for me with Co8 8.1.0 & Temple+. Vids are listed in reverse chronological order. I don't have a vid of the final boss because when she summons her fungus horde the lag made the game unplayable for me (Update: workaround found, see below and first vid). Note also I was playing on a "gaming" laptop, so those with real PCs may not experience this issue as severely as I did. And yeah, I decided to drop my party of eight and just solo after a while because all the party buffs were reducing the framerate to a slideshow. Btw, if you're wondering how I'm moving so fast it's just the speedup() console command of Co8.

from Co8 import *

speedup()
5


Movement speed may also be set in Co8_config.ini using the { Party_Run_Speed } utility.

Update (December 13, 2015): Pro-tip - If your FPS is slowing to a crawl in places like the Wicked Wench or during the Zuggtmoy finale then switch from Map shadows to Simple shadows (according to Sitra Achara ToEE is doing "crazy rasterization on the CPU instead of on the GPU"). I more than doubled my framerate: from 15 FPS to 40 FPS!
Update (April 2, 2016)Temple+ 1.0 has officially been released! (download) (Note: requires .NET Framework 4.5.2).
Update (September 30, 2016): Current release is 1.0.23 (changelog)

Zuggtmoy, Demon Queen of Fungi

Co8 8.1.0 & Temple+ Build 412. The final battle with Zuggtmoy and her fungus horde, soloed by my twentieth level priestess of Grummsh. FPS is much improved with Simple shadows, though there's still a lil' jumpiness when she summons her minions.

.
Calmert & Terjon

Co8 8.1.0 & Temple+ Build 412. Yeah, I thought I'd wipe these guys out, before finishing up, for shits n gigs. Force-attacking Calmert sometimes breaks Terjon's dialogue (as it did here). Terjon casts Righteous Might & has 5 attacks per round, but was dropped before his turn. Note the jumpiness after the critical cleave; there's a slo-mo repeat at vid's end. 


Hezrou Guardian 

Co8 8.1.0 & Temple+ Build 412. This toad-like demon - who guards the node of water - was a total joke, probably cuz I saved against his "stench".


Glabrezu Guardian 

Co8 8.1.0 & Temple+ Build 412. The lethargic Glabrezu guardian is fought in the echoey node of earth. As you can see, he went down like a sack of shit.


Vrock Guardian

Co8 8.1.0 & TemplePlus Build 412. The Vrock guardian illusionist is fought in the windy node of air. The visuals here are superb.


Balor Guardian 

Co8 8.1.0 & TemplePlus Build 412. Node lag doesn't seem so bad (largely eliminated already)? Sometimes the Balor Guardian will summon another Balor, other times a trio of Hezrou, and yet other times a flock of Quasits (as in the vid). This battle takes place in the node of fire. There seems to be a minor glitch with the "circle spell" effects over the fire node canvas (the black horizontal lines).


Greater Temple Rampage 

Co8 8.1.0 & TemplePlus Build 412. My dervish of destruction wrecks house on trolls and a horde of Greater Temple Bugbears and ogres; then is wrecked in turn by the formidable Greater Temple Ogre crew (yep, I bit off more than I could chew!)


Senshock & Commanders

Co8 8.1.0 & TemplePlus Build 412. The battle with Senshock. I had already killed Hedrack, and before Senshock was scripted to reinforce him, so I had to deal with Senshock as a separate encounter. Here, I also kill Senshock before Barkinar & Degumm could come to help him, so I had to deal with them separately too.

Shows me walking through secrets doors without needing to open them.

Letting Barkinar live - to see his spell repertoire - was a mistake, as he ends up casting Otiluke's Resilient Sphere...


Ruined Tower Battle

Co8 8.1.0 & TemplePlus Build 410. Graphical distortion during area transition (cache)?


Imeryd's Run

Co8 8.1.0 & TemplePlus Build 407. Facing off against the Behemoth Kingfrog & Sea Hag.


Emridy Meadows

Co8 8.1.0 & TemplePlus Build 407. The grizzly & Hill Giant. The single most valuable spell in this fight, at low level, is Tasha's Hideous Laughter.


Lareth the Beautiful

Co8 8.1.0 & TemplePlus Build 407. Example of slowdown. This is one of the most famous battles in the ToEE campaign.


Moathouse Ambush

Co8 8.1.0 & TemplePlus Build 407. Note the laughably bad voice acting, and the lag.


Moathouse Approach

Co8 8.1.0 & TemplePlus Build 407. The party is assailed by giant frogs upon entering the moathouse approach.


 The Town of Hommlet


An amusing and reproducible exploit I discovered:


Other stuff to read or download:

My treatment of the ToEE user interface.
Rudy's Item Mod: Compatible with Co8 8.1.0 & Temple+.
• A total remake: Keep on the Borderlands by Co8's Shiningted.
• Another possible total remake: New Module Approach by Marc1967.
• Possible Icewind Dale remake by members of Co8.
• A good read: The Temple of Elemental Evil Wrap Report. 

End of post

4 comments:

  1. I never actually played TOEE, even though in theory it is the sort of game I might like. I remember the reviews when it came out mostly panned it as a buggy mess, so I guess I decided my game-playing time was better spent elsewhere. I have occasionally thought about picking up a copy from GOG and trying it out as a now-retro game, so I am somewhat interested in hearing about bugfix mods like this (albeit I still think other demands on my time are likely to take priority in the near future at least).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved Troika and their trio of flawed RPGs (Arcanum, Vampire Bloodlines & ToEE).

      ToEE was the buggiest and disappointed me the most, failing to usher in a new Gold Box era. I mostly blame publisher meddling for that: Atari suck, and I wish they would just be liquidated, long ago.

      Still, ToEE provided me with many hours of entertainment by virtue of its robust tactical turn-based engine, excellent implementation of the 3.5 ruleset, radial menu, crafting system, party formation prospects, and beautiful animations and visuals in general.

      The framework for a RPG was there, it just wasn't explored in any meaningful way.

      Delete
  2. Hi Ahti,
    I agree with you, the ToEE is very nice game, specialy visual effects and atmosphere. Do you have any idea where I can download the ToEE+Co8 fixes+lvl cap of 20?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi VolJin,

      ToEE is on GoG and Temple+/Co8 are linked to in the body of the post. lvlcap 20 has been a feature of Co8 for a long time now.

      Have fun!

      Delete

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