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Thread: Demo Recording and Playback?

  1. #1
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2001
    Location: Crystal River, FL USA

    Demo Recording and Playback?

    Hi Folks,


    I had bought this gem about a year ago, found it in the bargain bin at Best Buy. I had never played it much until this week (I know, me bad ), and I have to say this game is awesome -

    On to the purpose of this post, was anyone aware of a demo recording and playback feature in the game? The little bit of info that I have found on the Internet about the game has never mentioned this.

    Nevertheless, I was poking around with my hex editor today and stumbled upon the following: "RECORD REC PLAY". Hmmmmm...... 'sho 'nuff, I started up Terra Nova with the command line parameter +RECORD (i.e. "TN +RECORD"), played the game for a while, and then exited to DOS.

    There was a file that had been created in my TNOVA directory called "TN.REC" (a few times the filename was TNOVA000.REC, TNOVA001.REC, etc.., but I have no idea how I managed to get the game to increment the demo recordings numerically?).

    I then fired up the game "TN +PLAY", and was watching a self-running demo of my last battle!


    Is this "old hat" or have I discovered something new in this oldie?

    Rich Nagel

  2. #2

    Sounds cool. I for one haven't heard about this. I wonder if multi-player was inserted as an easter egg like this was.

    Thanks for the heads up and welcome to the forums.

    Brad S.

  3. #3

    Oh my god.

    Either I'm an absolute blind fool regards reading the manual and text files, or this was indeed a hidden feature. Either way... this is the single greatest piece of Terra Nova information I've heard in absolutely ages.... I mean... you know what this means...

    TTLG Terra Nova Recording Archive, here we come!!

    (well, 'cept for TTLG bandwidth issues... but hopefully the files aren't all that big

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

  4. #4

    Originally posted by Brad Schoonmaker:
    I wonder if multi-player was inserted as an easter egg like this was.
    Maybe a bit optimistic, that one

  5. #5

    Yeah, yeah. I harp on that, too much, I know.

    Brad S.

  6. #6
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2001
    Location: Crystal River, FL USA

    Hi Folks,


    Yep, it's not in the text files or manual, but it works - Simply fire up the game like this "TN +RECORD" (or "__FF +RECORD) and do whatever ya normally do [G]. After exiting the game, start it up again like this "TN +PLAY". The game will play the cutscenes, but you can skip them in the usual manner. After the drop, sit back and watch the demo -

    If you exited the game while recording a demo, the game will continue as usual, with you being in control of the suit after the demo ends. One thing I've noticed is that you can't do *amything* while the demo plays, including exiting the game.

    I haven't been able to reproduce the game creating those TNOVA000.REC files that I mentioned in my previous post, only the TN.REC files. The TN.REC file will be overwriten everytime that you record a demo. I think that one of the command line swutihes forces the game to name the recordings sequentially (to the TNOVA000.REC files), but am not sure which one.

    All in all, it's a pretty kewl feature, alothough a few of the demos that I recorded got out of sync when I played them back (maybe this is why they didn't officially suport the feature, or maybe it's just that the game can't handle the new modern Pentiums [G]).

    As far as multiplayer, hehe, I doubt it. No mention in the EXE about modem, IPX, or the like. But... I'd be willing to bet my Universal Backup that there are prolly a bunch more hidden things just waiting to be discovered. The command line parameters are all in readable text in the EXE, but they are all scattered around and many times mixed in with other text. Makes for a real pain for searching for them .

    Damn shame that Looking Glass went under- This game is truely a gem, I only wish that I had been playing it when it first came out, think of all of the demo recordings we would have in the archives by now -

    BTW for all those curious, you can load the EXE into DOS Edit and have a looksie (Notepad will cobble it up), just make sure that ya don't actually save the file. DOS Edit IS NOT a hex editor, and will make a real mess of it [G]. Search for RECORD, PLAY, TNOVA000.REC, or TN.REC. Lot's of interesting things in there [G].


    Rich Nagel

  7. #7

    Thanks for the extra info! I'll have to throw the exe into emacs when I get home and have a look around.

    My first attempt at recording (last night) was with the random mission generator and the replay got terribly confused, had me shooting at air, and I'm pretty sure I was killed in a different place in the playback So yep, there are a few problems (as to be expected with it not being mentioned in the docs.)

    I imagine they ran out of time to get the feature solid before release. Perhaps it would have been finished for the multi-player pack. Still very cool, though!!

    I loaded the final mission for attempt #2, and it seemed to play it back correctly. I'm sure we can have some fun with this

  8. #8
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2001
    Location: Crystal River, FL USA

    If ya come across any usefull command line parameters, post 'em here - I found one last night (kinda useless 'tho) "+CENTERFIRE". No matter where you shoot, it's always in the center of your view.

    Hehe, also something in there about a printer/printing "Printer out of paper" [G].


    Rich Nagel

  9. #9
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2001
    Location: Crystal River, FL USA

    Hi Folks,

    Snag this file ftp://207.30.201.112/Weeds/Terra_Nova/rndsetup.zip and read the enclosed text file (RNDSETUP.TXT). It's not a demo recording of an actual battle, but rather is more of a "utility" recording. Might give ya an idea of some of the other possibilities of the demo recording feature -


    Lemme know what ya think,


    Rich Nagel

  10. #10
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2001
    Location: Crystal River, FL USA

    Hi Folks,

    Here are a few more discoveries concerning demo recordings.

    The reason that playback of any recordings within a random mission go out of sync is because the random missions are just that, random [G]. The REC file has no idea what enemies are where, or how many of them are in any given random map. Even if you set up the random mission the same way, the enemy placement will still be different me thinks.

    As far as recording regular missions, if you want to distribute them you'll have to also include the savegame file that you loaded in when recording the mission. Also, the savegame file will need to be in the same savegame slot on the end user's PC. I would suggest recording all demos using the first savegame slot (the filename is SAVE01.RES) to prevent any confusion.

    It appears that the command line parameters "+REC" and "+RECORD" do exactly the same thing, I see no difference in the demos created by using either of these switches.

    Concerning what I had mentioned in one of my previous posts about the game saving the recordings as TN.REC part of the time, and at other times TNOVA000.REC, it seems that the game will NOT increment the demos each time that you record one (the exitsting demo will be overwritten when recording new ones). Seems that if you have done a small or a medium sized installation, the game will create the file TNOVA000.REC in the root of your hard drive. If you have done a large or a full installation, the file is saved as TN.REC in your TNOVA directory.

    Note that the game ignores the TNOVA000.REC demo recordings if trying to play one back using "TN +PLAY", the filename MUST be TN.REC and located in your TNOVA directory in order to play it back.

    Nevertheless, still a pretty kewl feature -

    BTW (OT), I finally completed my first game playing all of the missions set at "Standard Duty", this game is simply AWESOME - Although... AACCCKKKK! I thought I would be able to randomly select and play any of the missions in any order within the game after completing an entire "career". Guess not - I REALLY wish I had been zipping up my savegames as I progressed during the game -


    Rich Nagel

  11. #11

    I could send you my saved games, if you'd like some extras? (Just a single set, but probably has some you don't have

    p.s. I haven't had time to play with the recordings properly yet, but do much appreciate all your findings!

    [ August 06, 2001: Message edited by: Shadowcat ]

  12. #12
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2001
    Location: Crystal River, FL USA

    Hi SC,

    Originally posted by Shadowcat:
    I could send you my saved games, if you'd like some extras? (Just a single set, but probably has some you don't have
    Thanks for the offer, but I decided to replay the entire game and save each mission (renaming the files where neccessary) on the easiest skill level so I'd have access to all of the missions any time I wanted. I'm over half way through now -

    Which gave me another idea. I'm going to write up a small batch file that will allow you to play any mission on the fly using this set of savegames. After I'm done replaying the game, I'll write up some docs and zipup the savegames and batch file and post it to my FTP.


    Rich Nagel

    [ August 06, 2001: Message edited by: Rich Nagel ]

  13. #13
    New Member
    Registered: Aug 2001
    Location: Crystal River, FL USA

    Updated URLs

    Updated URLs for the "Random Scenario Builder" Example Demo Recording mentioned above:

    http://www.cmoo.com/snor/weeds/Terra_Nova/RndSetup.txt
    http://www.cmoo.com/snor/weeds/Terra_Nova/RndSetup.zip

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