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Messages - GameDevChris

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Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: August 24, 2009, 09:19:18 PM »
Hmmm... other than playing around with the settings with your FFDShow filters, I'm not sure what else to suggest.

I guess the best solution in your case would be to rename the cutscene movies to the .mpg extension and then use a DivX encoder (such as Dr. DivX) to covert the movies to DivX format. Then, after they have been converted, rename the converted files back to their former .0XX extensions, where XX are the numbers.

The movie files in the game directory are as follows:


Note: some of those files may not exist, depending on which version of the game you have.

You could try doing this with the smallest movie -- the Himalaya Studios logo -- first (Al_Emmo.023) and seeing if it plays in-game. If so, then you should be safe to follow the same process with the other movie files.

Sorry I don't have a better solution for you. The game engine uses Windows Media Player  (the normal version, not classic) to play back the cutscene movies. Sound tracks are stored in the game itself. So if you can get them playing in Windows Media Player, they should be working in the game too.

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: August 24, 2009, 08:47:37 AM »
Try installing the DirectShow MPEG decoder filter on the following page, installing it, rebooting, and then trying the game again.

http://www.free-codecs.com/download/GPL ... Filter.htm

Your system needs to be configured to play MPEG-1 video files for the movies to work. Most PC's support MPEG-1 "out-of-the-box", but occasionally, some systems might need additional filters or decoders installed before it will work.

Just to confirm, can you see the file "Al_Emmo.023" (and any other files that result in a similar error message) located in your game directory?  And if so, can you open and play them in Windows Media Player, or Media Player Classic?

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: August 24, 2009, 07:06:16 AM »
What operating system are you using? The game uses the MPEG-1 codec to play back cut-scene movies, so I would suggest trying to install the latest Quicktime drivers on your system.

Also, you can try the suggestions in this thread:


Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: July 14, 2009, 07:29:31 PM »
Both the German and Russian versions were released quite a while back.

Unfortunately, no French translation of the game is in development, as no French translators have approached us about working on one.

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: July 14, 2009, 07:25:28 PM »
Try this suggestion from the game's readme file:

Q) I run the game and the screen freezes at a black screen and doesn't go any further (sometimes automatically exiting back to the desktop without giving an error message). Or I run the game and the cutscene movies freeze up shortly after they begin playing.

This is very likely to be an issue that DirectShow has on your system when attempting to render the cutscene's video stream using the FFDShow filters. In order to fix the problem, you will need to tell FFDShow to ignore the Al Emmo application, so that it will not use the FFDShow filters to render cutscene movies in the game.

Assuming that you don't have a "Configure FFDShow" shortcut somewhere in your start menu or desktop, you will need to create one.   Firstly, find out where FFDShow is installed on your system. The file is called ffdshow.ax. Perform a search for that file and note the location.  If FFDShow was installed to its typical directory on your system, then its location should be in C:\Program Files\ffdshow

Once you have located ffdshow.ax, create a shortcut to it on your desktop. Then right-click the shortcut and, from the menu, click on "Properties" to go to the new shortcut's properties page.  Add the text (rundll32.exe) to the start of the Target box, and (,configure) to the end, both without the parenthesis.  It should appear something like:

      rundll32.exe "C:\Program Files\FFDShow\ffdshow.ax",configure

Press OK.  Double-click the shortcut.

Next, go to the "Info & debug" panel and tick the "Don't use ffdshow in:" box.  If there's nothing in the box under the check box, simply type in Al_Emmo.exe.  If there's already something listed there, just put a semicolon between the last entry and your new Al_Emmo.exe entry.  For example:


Apply the settings, and then run the game again. Things should work correctly now.

Failing that, you can always try re-encoding the movies to a different video format (like DivX) which is explained in this thread:


Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: March 23, 2009, 12:03:57 PM »
Just an update that both issues regarding the demo link on the "downloads" page should be fixed now.

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: March 21, 2009, 01:43:28 PM »
Ah, yes, you're right. Thanks! I'll pass this onto Eriq, who maintains the site.

I have also contacted Jack at Adventuregamers to ask him about changing the demo download link on their site.

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: March 17, 2009, 02:56:15 AM »
Tsarkon, which site are you referring to?

Last week, we updated all of the links on both www.HimalayaStudios.com and www.AlEmmo.com to point to the latest demo. So there shouldn't be any problems downloading the demo now.

If you've found a link that still directs to the old torrent download at AdventureGamers site, could you point me to it so that I can get it fixed?

The latest demo (which is a 60 minute trial) can be downloaded here:

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: February 26, 2009, 06:01:35 AM »
Thanks for the info. I'll check into these things when I have a chance.

As for the WANTED poster, that's Das Jan from www.adventuretreff.de.  He won a contest we held, in which the winner would make an appearance in the game.

Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: February 26, 2009, 05:57:29 AM »
When we first started developing Al Emmo, we had a very talented 3D modeller on-board, who was intending to handle all of the 3D modelling, animations, and 3D cutscenes for us. He worked for a game company as his full-time job, and had a lot of experience.  His character modelling style was also very unique, which is why it was difficult to find other 3D artists who could match his exact style.

Unfortunately, he had to stop working on the project much sooner than was expected and he only had time to model and animate Al. This meant we had to find other modellers and animators to take on the bulk of the remaining workload.  Finding workers who were able to commit the required time and who had matching 3D styles was next to impossible. We run way overtime and started going over budget on the game, so we had to use whatever 3D talents were on offer to us in order to finish. This turned out to be beneficial, however, since it forced us to learn things about 3D modelling and animation which we wouldn't have learned otherwise.

Pssst... you can click the middle mouse button at any point in-game to bring up the Inventory menu. No need to always go up to the top menu to access it. You can also right-click to cycle through all available mouse cursors.  

Hmmm... that sounds strange with your mouse not responding well to the Inventory menu. Don't think I've heard of any similar reports like that before. Does the same thing happen if you run the game in a window?

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: February 23, 2009, 06:09:05 AM »
Glad to hear that you took your time to savour the experience, Dr Jones. Thanks for posting your comments and feedback.

Congratulations, also, on finding some elusive bugs which nobody has noticed in the years following the game's release!  I will add these fixes to my to-do list, in the event that an updated build is ever released. Any chance you can post an image to depict exactly which path (and which angle) you were able to walk through the death altar?

General Forum /
« on: February 02, 2009, 07:18:31 PM »
Can you PM me your order number? Sometimes there's a quirk in PayPal's IPN system that prevents the details from showing up in our store. If that happens, the item will be shipped, but no notification can be sent.

If you can PM me your order number, I'll check if your order has been shipped yet.

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: December 02, 2008, 11:12:08 PM »
If you click on the Start button, then go to Settings>Control Panel and then click on "Display" a new window will appear. Click the "Settings" tab and then look beneath where it says 'Display'. It should tell you both your monitor and video card models there.

The fact that you also get the problem on Flight of the Amazon Queen (a non-AGS game) is what leads me to believe that the issue lies with your video card or monitor rather than the games.

Let me know the results after you have tried running a few other free AGS games on your system.

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: November 29, 2008, 09:59:07 PM »
Hmm, at a guess it sounds like the issue may be due to your video card or monitor. I haven't heard of any other reports of this nature with the game. Very strange.  You could email a picture to http://www.bigbluecup.com/games.php

You could try downloading and running a few of those games and see if the split-screen problem occurs when you run other AGS games, or if it's exclusive to Al Emmo.

If the same thing happens for all AGS games on your system, it may be worth reporting the issue to CJ on the AGS technical forum.

Out of curiosity, what kind of video card do you have in your PC? Googling the problem might also turn up some suggestions.

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: November 29, 2008, 08:18:51 PM »
Can you explain what you mean by a 'split screen'?  Are you able to post a screenshot that demonstrates the problem? Does this happen every single time you run the game without fail, or only sometimes?

You might also try the following things:

1) Make sure that you have the latest version of Microsoft DirectX installed from http://www.microsoft.com/DirectX

2) Ensure that you have the latest drivers installed for your video card. These should be downloadable from the manufacturer's website.

3) Run the setup program that comes with the game (winsetup.exe), and try using the 2x-Nearest-Neighbour Graphics filter from the drop-down Filters menu.

One (or a combination) those things may help.

General Forum /
« on: October 29, 2008, 04:58:27 AM »
Cool, glad to hear it. Thanks for letting us know.

General Forum /
« on: October 25, 2008, 05:32:21 AM »
Yeah, all of the orders have been shipped now. The last ones went out mid-last week. The shipping house could only send 20 per day, so you order would not necessarily have been mailed on the 24th; that's just when it was queued to be shipped (in the order it was received).

Bear in mind that for international orders it can take anywhere up to three weeks for them to arrive, but all items that haven't reached their destination yet will currently be in transit and should arrive anywhere within the next 3 weeks.

Additionally, the posters and game packages have been shipped in separate packages. The posters were shipped rolled in a long tube and usually arrive a few days after the game, due to the fact that the post office processes tubes differently.

Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: September 26, 2008, 05:48:12 AM »
The .xpr file is a file that saves various game variables and values. It was intended so that people could export their file at the end of the first Al Emmo game and import it into any future sequels. Depending on how you played through the first game, it would affect certain events in future games.

Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: September 16, 2008, 12:47:58 PM »
Um.... Thanks... I think!

Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: September 16, 2008, 07:40:22 AM »
Well, there are two different types of cutscenes in the game. Some of them are in movie format and these ones use the same models as seen during gameplay. These movies are used only at key events in the story: The introduction sequence, Rita's first appearance, and the endgame sequence.

The other types of cutscenes used in the game are 2D comics which mostly take place at the end of various acts.

To change between "Text Only", "Text & Voice", and "Voice Only" modes in the game, you need to go to the Settings menu by moving your mouse to the top-left corner of the screen and clicking "Settings" from the menu. When the settings menu appears, you'll see a button that allows you to select the text/speech mode that you prefer to use.  As for the <Chuckle> or <Laugh> text that occasionally precedes some lines, that only displays in the character's speech if they actually do laugh during that line. This is a pretty common way of emphasizing certain vocalizations and noises that don't strictly qualify as 'speech' in games, comics, subtitles etc.

As for the game audio being soft, what kind of sound card do you have installed in your system? The audio in the cutscene movies should not differ in volume from the in-game speech and sound, as all audio is handled by the engine to play at the same volume level.  It may be that you simply need to click the Speaker icon in the system tray (at the bottom-right of your Windows screen) and then increase the sound level slider before running the game.

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: September 09, 2008, 07:32:31 PM »
There's a non-flash version of the Al Emmo site which is accessible here:


As for the demo, here's a direct download link (60 minute trial):

Al Emmo Demo

I'm not sure how well the game runs under Wine, to be honest. We haven't tested it ourselves, but I believe others have tried it and mentioned that it works. This is not 'officially' supported, though, so I'd recommend trying the demo under Wine first to make sure that it'll play properly on your system.

General Forum /
« on: September 07, 2008, 06:13:43 AM »
Nope, the posters will be shipped, rolled separately in a tube.

You'll receive a notification by email once the order has shipped. That will mean both the poster and the game packages have been sent off simultaneously, and both should arrive around the same time.

General Forum /
« on: September 06, 2008, 10:11:16 PM »
Sorry about the delay. There was an unforeseen hurdle with printing the posters to be shipped with the Collector's Editions. Unfortunately, we're dealing with a 3rd party, which means we have little control over this delay from our side.

Currently, we're waiting for the posters to finish printing and they should be sent to our shipping house sometime this coming week. Once they do arrive, orders will be mailed shortly thereafter.

This is the first time we have shipped items separately and it has proved to be quite a challenge. However, now that we have figured things out, the process should go smoothly from this point onward. Shipping the 'processing' orders ASAP is a main priority, so don't worry, you'll get them soon. Thanks for your patience.

Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: August 02, 2008, 01:41:25 AM »
We're not allowed to sell Sierra remakes, as we don't own the copyrights to those games. Our Sierra remakes were made under a special license from Vivendi and can only be distributed non-profit from the AGDI website.

Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: April 26, 2008, 09:25:36 PM »
Great, thanks for letting me know. I'm glad it worked for you!

If the file Al_Emmo.030 exists, then it's usually just some kind of company logo movie that plays when the game first loads up. So long as all the other files encoded fine, then you should be able to view all cutscenes in the game.

And sure, feel free to post it over at those forums if this is a common issue on Vista.  Thanks.

Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: April 26, 2008, 10:55:56 AM »
The movie files are encoded in MPEG-1 format, and FFDShow is usually the reason why it hangs in this manner. Though, I guess other instances could be due to other graphics or video card issues that we haven't been able to track down, or that are quirks that the individual's system has with the MPEG-1 format.

If you've tried everything and nothing seems to work, then as a last resort, you could try re-encoding the movie files to another format (like DivX) which works without problems on your system. A google search should find you plenty of programs that can convert video formats from one type to another.

The files in the game directory that are movie files are as follows:


Note: some of those files may not exist, depending where you bought the game.

Rename them to Al_Emmo.0xx.MPG. Next, encode them to a more compatible format (DivX, for example). And finally, rename them back to their original filenames and simply replace the files in your game directory with the newly encoded ones.

Alternatively you can view the original files in Windows Media Player, but they won't have sound. (The sound is stored in the game archive, not in the movie files themselves.) Though, they will have subtitle text.

Sorry about the inconvenience. The reason we couldn't include DivX versions in the game is because licensing the codec cost more than we could afford in our budget.

Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: March 03, 2008, 03:49:23 PM »
The German publisher has requested that we don't discuss the German sales statistics publicly.

We have an idea for a 2nd project (not an Al Emmo sequel) but are still considering our options.

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: February 24, 2008, 08:34:39 AM »
Strange, perhaps the download got corrupted. I can only suggest downloading it again.

It is also available through this site, which you might want to try downloading it from instead:


Alternatively, if you'd prefer a hard-copy (i.e. CD and DVD cover), the Standard Version of Al Emmo is now available for the same price as the download version from our eBay listing. The current listing is here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... 0225668436

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: February 24, 2008, 03:21:00 AM »
Did this occur with the non-timed demo version or a trial download from an online vendor that gives 1 hour of playtime before expiring?

Can you let me know which site you downloaded the file from? There are several versions of the game available on different sites, so first I'd need to know which version you're running.

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: January 08, 2008, 09:49:33 PM »
Strange.  You are pressing the ENTER key after typing in your answer, aren't you?

If you keep re-trying the scene does this happen only for a particular question, or does it always on the first question (regardless of what the question is)?

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: October 24, 2007, 02:58:29 AM »
The hammer will hit a pre-determined spot if you do not click on a specific prairie dog.  

You'll notice that the hammer cursor has a white circle which represents its hotspot.  You just need to make sure you're clicking the white circle part of the hammer on the prairie dog that you want to hit.

General Forum /
« on: October 23, 2007, 07:45:48 AM »
Thanks for the great feedback so far, keep it rolling in!

What a coincidence. I was just researching Joseph Campbell and the monomyth a couple of days before johnb4467 made that post!

While I do agree that every film or story follows the Hero's Journey structure of storytelling to a large extent, it doesn't necessarily guarantee that the end results will be good. :)  For example, many modern films employ Cambell's structure, but because it's made so obvious that they're following it, the movie often becomes predictable to the point that you can anticipate exactly what characters are going to do and say.

In the early stages, I think it's not so crucial if the audience realizes the story is going 'on rails'. For example "refusal of the call to adventure" pops up very early in nearly every film, from 'The Lion King' to 'The Rock'. Sure, you can see it coming a mile off, but at that early stage people are still settling into things and the main core of the story isn't involved yet, so it works as a good launchpad for motivating the characters and giving them a sense of purpose to do what they have to do.

In my opinion, it's usually the ending stages of a story where deviating from (or perhaps "disguising" is a better word) Campbell's final few steps is more crucial.  If we see a telltale car chase or the hero's girlfriend being kidnapped at some very late point in the film, then it's usually an obvious indication that the rest of the film is going to follow the same old blatant formula. I.e. there's a confrontation, the bad guy dies, the good guy prevails, and the screen fades to black (or the reverse situation if it's a thriller/horror).  Keeping the same structure towards the end can be lazy unless originality and some unexpected twists are used. (How many times do we need to see McClane sitting in an ambulance right before the credits roll?)

Good examples which disguise or re-arrange Campbell's structure somewhat (making it less predictable) are Pulp Fiction, Se7ven, The 6th Sense, and Back to the Future 2.  While a movie that retains his predictable structure, but is well-told enough for you not notice it so much, is the original Matrix.

That said, writing structure for games tends to be a bit different than writing for films. Games (particularly adventures) typically follow a pre-determined course in which the player HAS to win in the end as a reward for playing and getting that far. With this in mind, it does tend to make using the standard Hero's Journey structure more acceptable since the "predictability" factor is a given. From the outset the player knows their end goal,  they know the outcome they want to bring about and the effect it will have.  Additionally, if it's possible to die in a game, then not only do you have to write the main story, but also plan for all the alternate plot deviations that can occur at any point if the player makes the wrong choices - a bit like one of those "Choose your own adventure" books! That's something that film-writers and book-writers do not normally need to worry about (with the notable exception of "Next/The Golden Man").

But definitely, I agree that all Sierra games did remain true to Joseph Campbell's formula and it worked well for them. It's certainly something we'll be keeping in mind in the future.

Al Emmo & the Lost Dutchman's Mine Forum /
« on: October 13, 2007, 03:27:44 PM »
Quote from: "rugged"
Are you able to give us any news about how well the game has bell selling in the german market?

The publisher was meant to get back to us around the end of September with a progress update, but for some reason the emails I've been sending them aren't receiving any replies. So I'm really not sure at the moment!

The reason the German version is greater in file size, is because the cutscene movies are higher quality and there's also subtitled and unsubtitled cutscenes on the game DVD.  The English version was released on CD, so only the subtitled cutscenes would fit.

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: October 09, 2007, 03:10:25 PM »
No, Al Emmo does not include any of these types of copy-protection systems which can cause hassles for the end user.

We opted to make the install process and game play hitch-free since nearly every game is pirated after a matter of time anyway, and such security systems really only inconvenience the loyal and paying customers in the end.

Technical & Bugs forum /
« on: September 26, 2007, 11:02:26 AM »
This is a fairly common thing that some people run into.  Whenever you jump up on the barstool, Al can't walk since his feet are no longer on the ground.  Simply click the HAND icon on the barstool (or on Al) to make him jump down from the stool and stand on the ground again.

After you do that, the walk cursor will become available once again.

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