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sphere.sf.net FAQs (frequently-asked questions)

Category: Main -> Sphere



How do I distribute my game as an executable?

The simplest way is to take the Sphere distribution, empty the 'games' and 'startup' directories, and put your game in 'startup'. That way, when engine.exe is first run, your game will start immediately. You may also want to rename engine.exe to the name of your game.

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I programmed a textbox (or anything done from JavaScript used to draw on the screen) but nothing appears; What's going on?

When you draw something to the screen in Sphere, what you're really doing is drawing it to a chunk of memory allocated for drawing functions, called the back-buffer. In order to make what's on the back-buffer appear on the screen, you have to "flip" it, using FlipScreen(). Make sure that at the end of any bit of drawing code that you want on screen, to include a FlipScreen().

It should be noted that the contents of the back-buffer are undefined after a FlipScreen(), so you should never rely on the contents. You'll have to redraw everything each time. (Seems like a pain in the ass, but it actually forces you to write more dynamic code, which can lead to less problems overall.)

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Sphere doesn't support MIDI files anymore! How do I use them?

When Sphere's sound engine was switched from FMOD to Audiere, Sphere lost the ability to play MIDI files. You can view the rationale here. To play your MIDI files in Sphere, you'll have to convert them to Ogg Vorbis or MOD files first. You can use Timidity++ to convert to Ogg Vorbis, and gmid2mod to convert to MOD (XM, actually). Search on google for downloads and more information.

You may also use a program called WinGroove to convert from MIDI files to WAV files.

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How can I get involved with (or get help from) the Sphere community?

That's easy! There are a few things you can do, actually:

1) Start talking on the forums. This is the best place to get help.

2) Join us in #sphere on irc.esper.net. This is a good way to meet Sphere users (and lazy people that sit around doing nothing!)

3) There are also a number of Sphere mailing lists for which you can sign up.

4) One of the best ways to help the community is to Start Working on something. Sphere is one of the more powerful RPG makers, but we don't have much to show off except for a few tech demos! If you are currently working on a project, please keep us updated. It's always great to see what Sphere can do! You can also add a link to your game in the downloads section. Or just contact any admin and we can host your game's file if we want to do that.

5) Of course, another way you can help out is to report any bugs you find in Sphere. Make suggestions and such, too!

You can never do too much (send us cookies in the mail if you want! ... please!), so never feel shy to get involved.

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When I run Sphere, I get an error about a missing export in mfc42.dll. How do I fix this?

You need to update your system DLLs. Go here and download the DLL update.

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What is irc.esper.net? Is it some kind of chat program?

irc.esper.net is a network of IRC (Internet Relay Chat) servers. IRC has been around for longer than most people have had e-mail, going back to the early 90's and probably farther back. It's a true internet protocol, like HTTP (the web). All you need to access it is one of *many* independent clients.

For Windows users, the choice is pretty much mIRC or X-Chat. If you're on Linux, you probably already have an IRC client, just about every distro under the sun comes with one. If not, X-Chat works well. (Several of the #sphere ops use it.)

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I was wondering if Sphere can play DVD video. Like, of I released a Sphere game on a CD, could I do that?

DVD Video is usually encrypted MPEG2. Right now (and in the forseeable future), we do not plan on including MPEG2 video support.

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Is sphere currently able to support any movie formats? If so which ones, AVI, MPEG, MOV or even GIF?!

Sphere only supports two animation file formats: FLIC and MNG (pronounced 'ming'). FLIC is an older animation format created by Autodesk back in the days of DOS. MNG is the animated cousin to PNG. You can get more information about MNG at the MNG home page and the libmng page. Jasc's Animation Shop supports both of these formats.

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How do I report a bug or a feature request?

You can do it at: http://sourceforge.net/projects/sphere

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How do I get a person to say something?

http://sphere.sf.net/flik/docs/talk.txt covers what you need.

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When I run Sphere, I get an error about having a missing or old WS2_32.DLL. What do I do?

Your computer does not have the Winsock 2 update. You can download it here.

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Sphere won't play MP3s! How can I play them?

First, you need to convert them to Ogg Vorbis. Go to www.vorbis.com. Download the Winamp plug-in. Restart Winamp. You will notice that you have a new output plug-in called the Ogg Vorbis encoder. Select it, select and output directory, and play the MP3s that you want to convert in Winamp. Tada! Now you have Ogg Vorbis files!

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What does RTFM mean? FAFB?

RTFM means "read the ... fine manual." If someone is asking you to do this in regards to Sphere, you should probably check out docs/doc_functions.txt in your Sphere directory.
FAFB is a little something made up due to necessity. It means "file a ... fine bug." In other words, if you find a bug/feature/whatever, don't just tell us. File it on the Sphere project page. Look here for more information.

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My sprites will not collide with each other and/or the tiles on the map! What is wrong?

Make sure your sprites have a base rectangle set. In the spriteset editor, click the Base tab and draw a rectangle around the sprite's feet or base (or wherever you want the sprites to collide with things).

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Whenever I try to open a sphere file, or the mini demo I created, I get an error: cannot find SBUILDER.EXE

Apparently, some other program (SBUILDER.EXE is not a Sphere program) has registered the file extensions that Sphere uses. You'll have to open the files from within Sphere.

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Whenever I try to run Sphere, I get the error"The MSVCP60.DLL file is linked to the missing export MSVCRT.DLL:__lc_collate_cp." How do I fix this?

Go here and try downloading new DLLs. Put them in the Sphere 'bin' directory.

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How do I begin to create a game?

Open docs/Sphere Tutorial.txt and follow it through.
Once you are done with that, try reading through some of the other documentation.

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How do I display code with syntax highlighing on the message board?

You use the [code] tag. ie. [code] here is some code [/code]. It's all pretty and preformatted so don't worry about unwanted html (ie. problems with italics when using an index variable for arrays ;) or using html to insert breaks.

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What are the system requirements for Sphere?

From the readme:

System Requirements:
- Pentium 200
- 64 MB of RAM
- Video card with 2MB VRAM
- Sound card for audio
- Windows 95, 98, NT4, 2000, or later
- DirectX 3 for fullscreen video drivers
- OpenGL-accelerated video card for hardware acceleration (sphere_gl)

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How do I make a game?

Open Sphere's Editor, make a new project, and start making it... If you get stuck as to what to do, read the Sphere Tutorial in the docs folder, visit the websites and post questions here.

Keep in mind, however, that making a game is a LOT of hard work. No matter what development system or tools you're using, developing a fun game will take much of your time and effort.

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ok, how do we like write the color in (like in ApplyColorMask() or something) cuz i've tried hex, dec, names, quotes, everything!

var color = CreateColor(255, 0, 0, 128);

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