“Extracting art from Blake Stone” is not a very funny title (Part 2)

Collecting Pixels

Step one is figuring out how the game stores the art files (textures). Normally what I do is check for the largest files, as they are usually the texture and/or sound archive. However, with Blake Stone, I knew that this game used Wolfenstein 3d-style archives. Blake Stone’s format was slightly different and used the extension BS6. But it was close enough that Slade, a popular tool for actual Doom and Wolf3D games, worked perfectly to extract the files.

FUN NOTE: I started this many months ago. I JUST noticed that BStone has a command-line option to extract textures. #facepalm #hashtags #DOH

You may call me…”Tim…er… I mean SPRITE”

The BStone program looks in the “aog” folder for any textures (Planet Stike has it’s own folder, “ps”). If it finds a texture there, it will use that texture instead of the original. Unfortunately, BStone only supports sprite and wall files. That means some elements can’t be replaced currently (mostly UI and cut scenes). For Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold, there are 1017 sprite and wall textures but there isn’t a folder structure. They all just go into that one folder which makes it easier to manage.

I extracted all textures to a working folder and hit it with a quick and dirty upscale so I could check how it works in-game. After dumping them into the “aog” folder, I booted BStone and enabled “External Textures” in the option menu. It didn’t work. Turns out that the extracted files were names were very slightly misnamed when extracted (SPR instead of SPRITE, etc.). It was easy enough to fix with a utility called Bulk File Renamer. A quick touch up and I reloaded BStone to see if that fixed it.

Stretching them on the rack (by rack I mean in Photoshop)

It worked…sort of. The textures were definitely upscaled but many of them looked squished (skinnier than normal). Quick glance at the readme revealed that rendering of sprites was not 1 for 1 in-game.

After a little experimenting, I realized that every texture just needed to be perfectly square. Maybe the extraction method was flawed, not sure. To fix it, I just made a quick macro on my Logitech keyboard (frequently my savior for repetitive tasks), dumped 100 or so textures on photoshop and ran the macro (it resized the canvases to be 64×64, saved and then closed the file). I just needed to hold down the macro button and let it work through each file. After finishing all 1017 textures, I saved a backup for the inevitable time I make a drastic mistake. (I will share the reformatted originals when I get around to doing Planet Strike)

Up next time…..Version 1 of my Blake Stone HD texture mod

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