Pebbles' Program Page - News

POLUtils Now Open Source

POLUtils has been made Open Source - it's available from Google Code now, under the Apache License. Someone has also come forward to take over maintainership, so POLUtils will soon be under new management as well. Watch this space.

POLUtils 0.9.7 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.9.7, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

Only minor tweaks, no major changes. Consider this the "final" version - I don't expect there to be any versions after this (I have some offers regarding continued fixes for formats broken by patches, but we'll have to see if/how that pans out).

POLUtils 0.9.6 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.9.6, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

Updates item loading for the DAT changes in the March update.

POLUtils 0.9.5 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.9.5, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

This improves WotG support in the data browsers (maps aren't catalogued yet), and adds macro book support to the macro editor.

POLUtils 0.9.4 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.9.4, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

Not too many changes this time, mainly fixing the loading of the armor DATs, and adding some extra field values (DNC, SCH for jobs, SoulPlate and Reflector for item types).

POLUtils 0.9.3 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.9.3, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

A new utility was added which allows editing npc/monster names (which violates the TOS, so use at your own risk). Also, the data browser was updated with new DAT locations, and adds the French & German DATs as well.

Note that support for the new DATs is fairly rough (the raw string tables are shown), and some of the related resource strings (as seen in the macro editor) are not supported properly yet. Also, because of the various new DAT formats, EngrishOnry has been disabled until I take it upon myself to redo it for full EN-FR-DE-JP resource switching including support for the new DAT formats.

POLUtils 0.9.2 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.9.2, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

The only changes here are fixed item & autotrans translation in EngrishOnry, and an update of the German translation.

POLUtils 0.9.1 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.9.1, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

There are some changes under the hood, but the main reason for this release is the DAT changes of the 20061218 patch. EngrishOnry currently has its item and autotrans translation disabled (both are broken); I may push a 0.9.2 release before the end of the year with a working EngrishOnry.

DAT Format Changes

Today's patch changed the Item and Status DAT formats (as well as the string table format), breaking POLUtils - this is being worked on. In the meantime, do NOT use Engrishonry as it will corrupt the item data.

POLUtils 0.9.0 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.9.0, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

This is mainly a bugfix release; there aren't many new features. Support was added for Mob/NPC lists; that's about it. Some of the ROM mappings were fixed, and clipboard access was finally fixed (so stuff you copy will stay there after POLUtils closes).

POLUtils is now available as two separate builds - one for x86 (32-bit) systems and one for x64 systems (no Itanium build, sorry). Unfortunately only Managed DirectX 2.0 supports x64, and its interface is completely different from that of MDX 1.0, so the x64 build currently does not support audio playback.

POLUtils 0.8.3 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.8.3, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

This version adds (almost) full ToAU support; most dialog tables are known by EngrishOnry and the data browser, and most map DATs are listed as well. In addition, some of the other DAT fields were adjusted (most notably some changes to the Abilities info, and the addition of PuppetItem items).

POLUtils 0.8.2 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.8.2, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

This version corrects the Strange Apparatus Passcode generator - the one in 0.8.1 listed the wrong elements (the codes were correct for each given zone though).

POLUtils 0.8.1 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.8.1, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

New Features:

  • New component: a passcode generator for the Strange Apparatuses.
  • The AudioManager has been changed to incorporate the buffering playback used by the oldest POLUtils version. If this buffered playback is used (the default), all tracks (well, except the ATRAC-3 ones, of course) will be playable (no more exceptions on the longer ones) and consume far less memory. As a drawback, playback will skip if another DirectSound application (WinAmp, POL Viewer, ...) is active at the same time, and there is a bug that causes the last second or so of some tracks to loop.

Fixes:

  • An issue that prevented correct POL detection on some systems has been resolved.

Microsoft has a new DirectX SDK available, which includes a version of Managed DirectX that targets .NET 2.0. I'll be testing that out shortly; if all goes well, that means audio playback will be available on 64-bit systems starting from the next version of POLUtils.

Forums Created
I've set up a simple forum at polutils.forumer.com - feel free to head over there & register.

POLUtils 0.8.0 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.8.0, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

It's fairly light on new features; the main thing is a complete rewrite of the core DAT loading code, to make the various forms of data accessible in a generic way.
From the user's point of view, this currently mainly manifests itself as an ability to export pretty much any supported DAT type to XML. 0.9.0 will see the item find dialog replaced by a generic version, making text searches possible in the dialog tables, for example; and the item list comparison tool will also be made generic.
As a side-effect, the XML format has been changed once again, but should now be stable; as with 0.7.0, the ItemListUpgrade utility will convert old files to the new format. CSV Export is currently unavailable.

The German translation of the main UI, and the German, Spanish and French installer translations are included. The old and extremely incomplete Dutch & Japanese UI translations were removed.

POLUtils will run natively on Win64 and should now correctly detect POL & FFXI on those systems. Audio playback will probably be unavailable until Microsoft released a 64-bit version of Managed DirectX. I may switch to using specifically 32-bit targeted builds in future releases to avoid further issues on Win64.

More Translation News
The installer can now speak Spanish and French (thanks to Kapibara from the Phoenix server); translations for the tools themselves are in progress, but probably won't make it into 0.8.0 (which is slated to be released next week after the patch).

Status Update
The rewrite of the core file content handling is pretty much completed; as a result, it will be much easier for me to handle any changes S/E may make to the file format in future patches. In addition, it will be possible to export the data from any file format supported by the data browser to XML, making it much easier to detect the changes made by a patch. In fact, one of the main remaining tasks is to rework the item comparison app to handle comparing other data too. I would expect that 0.8.0 will be relesed shortly after ther February patch (there's bound to be some data changes in that).

German Translation In Progress
A volunteer has stepped forward to provide a German translation of POLUtils - the installer has been covered already, with the full UI to follow soon. A round of applause for Andy Müller (Missingno on Fairy) please!
As always, volunteers for translations are most welcome (French and Spanish already have a candidate, but that leaves many languages to choose from). In fact, I'd especially like people to do a Japanese translation - I'll probably remove my partial bits of Japanese and Dutch translation from the next release.

POLUtils 0.7.0 Released

This is the next baseline release; it's not much more than a .NET 2.0 build of POLUtils 0.6.4.

New Features:

  • Built using .NET 2.0; some UI tweaks have been made to match this switch (nothing major yet).
  • Integrated EngrishOnry into POLUtils.
  • Added ItemListUpgrade, a simple utility that converts an "old" item list XML dump to the current format.
  • CSV Item Export now puts in Description as a single multiline field (tested import with Excel and Access), and will always include the item's icon info.
  • If anyone's interested in providing translations for POLUtils, a kit is now available (in the downloads section). Note that translating anything except the installer requires Visual Studio 2005 (might work with Visual C# 2005 Express too, but that is untested).
    Do let me know before you start working on this (to avoid duplicate efforts).

RSS Feed Added
Added an RSS feed for the news items; this allows you to add live bookmarks or to put the news items on your Google home page.

POLUtils 0.6.4 Released

Another emergency release - turns out S/E also changed the autotranslator file's structure, breaking EngrishOnry's autotrans translation as well as the Macro Editor component of POLUtils.

POLUtils 0.6.3 Released

An emergency release due to the data changes for items and spells of yesterday's patch. Note that the spell data now has 24 slots for job level, up 8 from the previous layout, so it seems like S/E is keeping its options open for possible future expansions (although they've said in the past that they probably wouldn't do more than 3 expansions).

Fixes:

  • EngrishOnry had non-functional ability translation; this is now fixed.
  • The item viewer control had some broken behaviour (layout issues), this is now fixed.

Refreshed 0.6.2 Installer
I uploaded a fresh installer, which returns to the "old-style" .NET detection, and allows installation to continue if the detection fails. This should resolve the problems people reported.
In other news, I may release 0.7.0 soon - this will simply be 0.6.2 but built for version 2.0 of the .NET framework. It may end up being one of the last releases, because I am seriously considering quitting the game (I haven't played in over a month); let's hope the holidays + december patch can draw me back in.

POLUtils 0.6.2 Released

After a looooooong delay (caused by ZoneAlarm-induced BSOD issues), I'm back with another minor update (0.6.2).

Fixes:

  • The autotranslator translation of EngrishOnry was fixed (it broke the game, making text input impossible).

New Features:

  • EngrishOnry was made more configurable. For example, in the case of the autotranslator translation, you can choose to keep the Japanese abbreviations (e.g. "ari<TAB>" to get "(Thank you.)").
  • Thanks to some digging by Stephen Newby, several new fields were added to the item viewer (including element & storage size on furniture items). One of the fields applies specifically to beastmaster "jugs"; it's currently marked as "jug size" (with a value ranging from 1 to 5 much like shield size), but its exact meaning has not yet been determined. For all I know it could be a pet damage or summon time multiplier. Any feedback from BSTs is appreciated.
  • The text for quests/missions/key items is now viewable (from the String Table menu), bringing POLUtils closer to matching ffxitool's non-3D functionality.

Note: the XML output format has changed in this version (and will hopefully be fairly future-proof). I may release a small tool to "upgrade" existing exports, but it's not a priority for me at this time.

POLUtils 0.6.1 Released

Just a quick bugfix release - fixes dialog and string table translation in EngrishOnry, and corrects/extends the list of dialog tables in the data browser.

POLUtils 0.6.0 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.6.0, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

If you have remarks/comments/gripes/corrections/suggestions/whatever, please, please let me know (email is on main page).

I'm also interested in DAT file mappings - if you know what a particular DAT file contains, and it's not yet linked to from the data browser menu, let me know.

New Features:

  • Includes EngrishOnry, a small utility that allows you to translate pieces of the Japanese interface, making use of the JP POL client more comfortable for native English speakers. Because this utility modifies and/or swaps DAT files, it violates the TOS, so use at your own risk. Note that it is merely installed alongside POLUtils (if selected in the installer) - no shortcuts for it are created.
  • Includes an Item Comparison tool - this allows comparing XML exports of item data (useful after a patch to find new/changed items).
  • Several more bits of info are show (such as improved ability & status info, and spell info) - most of these are linked from the "String Tables" menu in the data browser.
  • The casting time of enchanted items is now listed as well.
  • List views now autosize themselves.

Known Issues:

  • Some of the dialog tables linked to from the menu aren't shown (no viewers available). This is being looked into.

foo_pol 1.3 Released

This release fixes the borked configuration page.

foo_pol 1.2 Released

As of the July patch, S/E has been using ATRAC-3 for music and sound effects in FFXI. I updated foo_pol to recognize those files, but it's unable to play them (ATRAC-3 is a proprietary codec by Sony; why they use it is beyond me as it's worse than MP3 quality-wise - they should have gone for Ogg Vorbis instead). Unless some major bug is found, this will probably be the last foo_pol release until foobar2000 0.9 comes out.

I also plan to move up the POLUtils 0.6.0.0 release - it won't have all the features I would like, but should be nice nonetheless. It will also include EngrishOnry, a small utility to translate portions of a JP FFXI installation.

Still not dead

POLUtils still isn't dead, I've just been doing other stuff; there's not much to report at the moment. 0.6.0.0 will be done when it's done.

POLUtils 0.5.1 Release

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.5.1, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

Fixes:

  • Fixed broken loading of Managed DirectSound.

POLUtils 0.5.0 Release

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.5.0, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

If you have remarks/comments/gripes/corrections/suggestions/whatever, please, please let me know (email is on main page).

I'm also interested in DAT file mappings - if you know what a particular DAT file contains, and it's not yet linked to from the data browser menu, let me know.

New Features:

  • Improved installer; added warning message to make sure people only use installers they dowload from the official page.
  • Fully implemented character set conversion using internal translation tables - this means POLUtils no longer depends on any Windows codepages; it should be fully Unicode. There will probably still be gaps in the extended mappings added by SE; if you see any <BAD CHAR: xxxx> markers, please report them (and if possible, let me know what character shouldve been shown instead).
  • Lots of improvement to the data browser. The item viewer was completely overhauled, and a "find item" dialog was added, with moderately poweful query capability. Exporting item data to XML or CSV is also fully supported (no progress window for it yet though). Several more string table formats are supported (titles, abilities, area dialog tables).
  • The data browser has 2 settings of its own (not currently preserved between runs) - you can opt to see a more detailed progress report (e.g. "loaded 5/200 items" instead of "loading items..."), and you can choose to make the file scan abortable. Either option slows down the file scans though, so they're disabled by default.
  • Added FFXI Config Editor. Currently allows changing only resolution and sound effect count (free editing, not limited options).

New Bugs:

  • Lots. Probably.

Fixes:

  • Too many to mention.

Plans For Next Release

  • Overhaul the macro editor. If you have any layout/design suggestions, please let me know.
  • Rework the menu system for the data browser, perhaps basing the menus completely on an XML file that describes known DAT files.
  • Rework the audio manager so that it doesn't do a full scan, but instead only scans parts of the directory tree on an as-needed basis. While not much an issue for the music files, scanning the SFX files takes waaaay too long.
  • (Maybe) Add a recipe database.
  • Add a tool to compare exported item lists (mainly for my own use, so that i can report item data changes after each patch).
  • (Maybe) Extend the config editor to allow full configuration (would help people that use JP POL + NA POL + 1 FFXI install, as that means no JP FFXIConfig).

I ATEN'T DEAD

No, the POLUtils project isn't dead. I am rewriting a lot of stuff (data browser, macro editor) and am writing a text decoder from scratch (good: no more codepage dependencies, bad: lots of boring mapping table data entry). On top of all that, I plan to add an FFXI config editor (resolution / sample count already in; also looking into other stuff) and an item search (i.e. look for all items containing "Aketon" in their name or "Ranged Accuracy" in their description).

This is all going to take some time, and I'm not going to release 0.5.0 until that's finished; so bear with me ^^.

foo_pol 1.1 Released

I'm release an update to foo_pol today. Nothing spectacular, but rather useful.

New Features:

  • There is a new "Fade Out (10 seconds)" loop option. For looped files, this will cause it to loop for a maximum of 10 seconds, with a slow fade. This makes listening to looped tracks more pleasant. This feature was suggested by Feenicks on the FFXIOnline forums.

POLUtils 0.4.0 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.4.0, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

New Features:

  • POLUtils is deployed via an installer now - this also checks for the presence of the .NET framework 1.1, to avoid unexpected and/or cryptic Windows errors.
  • The language choice on the main dialog will now only list available options (and in its native form). Additionally, the selection will be preserved across runs.

Fixes:

  • There was a logic error in the data browser - if a second item data file was opened, the item icons of the first one were reused. This is now fixed.

POLUtils 0.3.5 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.3.5, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.
This is really an intermediate release, there weren't enough major changes to warrant a 0.4 version.

New Features:

  • The data browser has a menu now, that allows you to easily find several kinds of "interesting" files (maps, item data, etc.).
  • The data browser now has support for item data - not quite all available info has been figured out at the moment (e.g. Rare/Ex/NoAuction flags).
  • The data browser will now scan files for any images they may contain (instead of just checking the start of the file and displaying the first one it found). Unfortunately, this can take some time, and you cannot abort the scan at the moment. I will look into making that more convenient (improving the speed probably won't be possible, but I'll try the too) - however, threading doesn't play very nice when Windows Forms controls are involved, so it's a bit tricky.

Fixes:

  • Some of the picture loading code was broken and/or missing - the current data browser should support most formats (DXT1-DXT5 and the various bitmaps) properly.

POLUtils 0.3 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.3, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

New Features:

  • You can select the interface language - only small portions have been localized at the moment, and only for Dutch and Japanese. Volunteers will be needed to assist further.
  • FFXI Data Browser - allows browsing the contents of the .DAT files of FFXI.
    Currently, only string tables (e.g. ROM\97\17-57.DAT) and maps (e.g. ROM3\4\0-20.DAT) will be shown (although some non-map images will also be shown (e.g. ROM\0\1.DAT, which contains the game's font, and ROM\97\10.DAT, which has the treasure chest texture).
    I'll probably add menus in the next version to help locate "interesting" files.

Fixes:

  • POLUtils will refuse to start if no POL clients are installed (instead of crashing).
  • The AudioManager now dynamically loads Managed DirectSound - previously it had a hard dependency on it so for most people it would simply crash when started. It also no longer tries to buffer the sound files itself; this fixes the stuttering issue (although it seems DirectSound preloads the entire file now, causing a noticeable delay when starting playback, and also causing a marked increase in memory use).

POLUtils 0.2 Released

Today I'm releasing POLUtils 0.2, a collection of PlayOnline-related utilities.

Current Features:

  • Audio Browser - allows playing & decoding of all PlayOnline-related audio files.
  • Macro Manager - allows editing of character macro bars (with auto-translator support).
  • TetraMaster image viewer - allows viewing (and extracting) of the image files of Tetra Master.

Known Issues:

  • Macro editing works, but is in a beta stage - I recommend using it on macro bars that are currently empty, to avoid loss of data. Note that you need to explicitly ask the tool to save changes; so it is perfectly safe to simply browse the macros.
  • POLUtils loads the icons it needs at runtime (from POL and Windows files); if you run anything other than WinXP, they may not look right. If that is the case, let me know (e.g. by sending screenshots and mentioning what OS version you use).

Things I would like:

  • The name mappings for the music and sound effect files is incomplete; if you can put a name to any unnamed tracks, let me know.
  • The "Insert Special Character" and "Insert Faces" context menu entries for the macro command text are not implemented yet. I welcome suggestions, especially for the Faces category (the special chars I can extract from the shift-jis character set).
  • Any and all suggestions/requests are welcomed (new utility, new feature in existing utility, ...). But please don't request a model viewer (yet) - that's outside the scope of my technical skills for the moment.
  • If you have the JP client and have Front Mission Online installed, please contact me, so I can get some information from you.
  • If you have the EU client, let me know - i need to verify some registry settings. If you can provide an ISO or whatever of the EU POL Viewer disc, even better.
  • Send in your favourite macros, for future inclusion in the standard macro library.

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Copyright © 2004,2005,2006,2007,2008 Tim Van Holder.