HCl is continuing with his amazing Wing Commander archeology, and his latest finds continue to impress. First, the image to the right is an example of the insane scratch-paper math that he used to decrypt some of the compression algorithms in Privateer 2. In case it wasn't clear, HCl is actually a human being and not a robot! Yet, he's managed to crack some crazy code and dig deeper into the game. Some of the text that's been unearthed lists out the game's wingmen, equipment, booth data, mission data, game text and more. LOAF observed that some of these references don't actually match what's displayed in the final product, so some of it seems to be a remainder from early in the game's development. Very interesting stuff! Head over to Crius.net for more context and discussion.
Today I travelled a bit in order to enjoy easter holiday. As a matter of principle, I did not want to take my PC with me (holidays and all)... but I couldn't resist taking a couple printouts from a few Privateer 2 files, just in case. I enjoy both WC and puzzles, so I figured I could look into it during the trip and see if something occurred to me about that Huffman-based text compression algorithm. I made some progress earlier on how the Huffman tree was encoded, so maybe I could review what I had done, make sure I didn't do any mistake and, if I did, try to figure out another approach.
Things seemed to make sense, which is always good. Since i had some time, I tried to hand decode (pen and paper, very low tech) a few bytes from the printouts I had. Luckily I had the header of the TXT2 chunk and what seemed to be the start of a valid data stream with me, so I went ahead with the attempt.
Long story shot: things went well! I cannot tell you how satisfying it was to eventually be able to read "Visit Angus Santana at Interplanetary Aid" :) I'm including a photo, in case everyone is interested.