Pure grouping

I’ve just implemented pure grouping into the control flow analysis. So, what does that actually mean?

The previous algorithm was tailored specifically to stack-based machines, exploiting the property that in an archetypical stack-based machine, you can detect individual lines of code based on when the stack is balanced. Although none of the generic code requires or makes use of this, it generates some very nice side effects: for example, conditions will be placed in a single group of their own.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for non-stack-based machines: since the stack is not used, the stack is always balanced and no grouping can be performed with that algorithm. This is a big problem, because it generates a lot of vertices in the graph, and this causes dot to choke when trying to layout the graph.

Ideally, this would be handled by letting engines specify a custom grouping algorithm, since this would allow each engine to tailor the grouping to meet their needs (e.g. make sure conditions are in groups of their own). However, the code isn’t really ready for that; the CFG was never re-designed due to a lack of concrete ideas, and any changes here could very easily affect the grouping algorithms as well, which may require substantial changes.

As a compromise, I’ve added something I call pure grouping, which only considers branches, much like the graph view found in IDA. This approach, which engines can opt-in to, creates the minimal amount of groups, and makes it much easier for dot to layout the graph, allowing visualization of the CFG, which makes it much more feasible to implement code generation for those engines, because you can more easily see what’s going on.

For a concrete, visual example, here is a “pure” version of one of the SCUMM scripts I’ve previously shown here:

Example of a pure CFG

Had this been a non-stack-based engine, the old algorithm would have created 28 nodes in the graph – one per instruction. Pure grouping reduces that number to 7. For comparison, regular stack-based grouping generates 12 groups in this case.

Of course, that doesn’t mean every engine should use pure grouping: if you have a stack-based engine which fits into the archetype, then it’s usually a good idea to keep using the original algorithm because it works well for those engines, and I’m not changing KYRA or SCUMM to use pure grouping. However, other engines such as Groovie, which are not stack-based, should be able to benefit from this, if only by allowing visualization of their scripts.

Back to work

Finally, I have some time to work on the decompiler again!

Actually, I’ve been working on it for a little while now, but I didn’t want to make a big fuzz about it until I got a bit more done. 🙂

We never got the decompiler merged back into trunk, so one of my current tasks will be to get that done, and then people can have a go at adding new engines.

However, before doing that, I’m going to clean up the decompiler to make it “ready for primetime”. The code is in need of a redesign, so that’s what I’m busy doing right now. So far, I’ve changed almost every single file in order to prepare for objectifying the Instruction class, and the next step is to actually get that done.

I’ll also see if I can do anything about the CFG to put some more info in there, and I’ll try to get a couple of minor things done as well, such as merging Parameter and StackEntry to a single Value class hierarchy and getting rid of some unnecesasry parentheses in the output.

Once the redesign is done, the decompiler should finally be ready to get merged into trunk, and it’ll be ready for more engines. I’m not sure exactly when this will happen, but right now, I’m kinda hoping to get this out before the end of the year – but if that fails, I should be able to get it done during January instead.

Goodbye… but I’ll be back

At the time of writing, there are less than 2 hours left of GSoC coding time – so it’s time for my last GSoC blog post.

It’s been a fun couple of months, and it’s really nice to see that the end product actually works.

Of course, it’s not perfect, and there are things I’d do differently if I were to do it again – but then, it would be pretty unrealistic to expect that everything could be perfect after only a few months. A decompiler is a complicated project, and making a generic kind doesn’t make it any easier.

There are still plenty of stuff on the to-do list, and I’ve already talked to my mentors about how we can deal with several of the outstanding issues – but there’s no way all of that can be done within the time frame allocated for GSoC.

Right now, though, I’m going to take a short break from coding – and later, I can hopefully find the time to work more on the decompiler and implement some of the remaining things.

Kyra complete!

Well, I did manage to get the code generation running in just one day after all! That’s means I have the entire weekend to rewrite the documentation, and there’s still the final week after that for polishing everything off.

Here’s a function as seen in one of the scripts (INHOME.EMC):

00000F88: global_sub0xF88() {
00000F8A:   if ((-1 < var4)) {
00000F94:     if (!(var17)) {
00000F9C:       var17 = 1;
00000FA0:       retval = auto_sub0x33C(30, 0, 28);
00000FAC:       retval = o1_queryGameFlag(2);
00000FB2:       localvar1 = retval;
00000FB6:       retval = o1_queryGameFlag(1);
00000FBC:       localvar2 = retval;
00000FC0:       var3 = 1;
00000FC4:       if ((localvar2 && localvar1)) {
00000FCE:         retval = o2_zanthiaChat("At least I found my cauldron and my spellbook.", 29);
00000FD6:         return;
00000FDA:       }
00000FDA:       if (localvar1) {
00000FE0:         retval = o2_zanthiaChat("At least I found my cauldron.", 30);
00000FE8:         return;
00000FEC:       }
00000FEC:       if (localvar2) {
00000FF2:         retval = o2_zanthiaChat("At least I found my spellbook.", 31);
00000FFA:         return;
00000FFE:       }
00000FFE:       retval = auto_sub0x33C(34, 0, 32);
0000100A:       retval = auto_sub0x33C(35, 0, 33);
00001016:       return;
0000101C:     } else {
0000101C:       var17 = 0;
00001020:       retval = o2_randomSceneChat();
00001020:     }
00001022:     var3 = 1;
00001026:     return;
0000102A:   }
0000102A:   retval = o2_useItemOnMainChar();
0000102C:   return;
0000102C: }

Currently, the decompiler only works with scripts from the talkie version of Kyra2, as one of the functions differ in the number of arguments – but I’ll get that fixed before GSoC is over.

Right now, though, I’ll focus on the documentation – there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be written and rewritten with the changes I’ve made for Kyra.

Kyra… CFG’d!

After some work, I’ve gotten a good, automatic function detection algorithm implemented in the CFG analysis, which engines can choose to opt-in to. This is perfect for Kyra, as some of these scripts really do require you to look at the control flow to determine where they stop.

The algorithm is really pretty simple: we find any unreachable code that is not already inside a function, and follow the code flow to see where that piece of code ends – and that is then registered as a function. However, it still requierd quite a bit of rewriting to accomplish this properly, so it took a bit longer than I’d planned – but it should be worth it.

Here’s a relatively small sample script from the HoF CD demo:

and just for the heck of it, here’s a really big script (Warning: full image is 19873×16660 pixels large!):

Now, it’s finally time for the code generation part of Kyra. I’d originally planned to finish it Friday, but this took a day longer than planned, so I have a feeling the code generation won’t be ready before Saturday – but we’ll see. At the very least, I should be able to get it done during the weekend, so I have all of next week to polish the documentation, clean up some of the code, add some small features that would be nice to have – stuff like that.

Kyra disassembled!

It’s a day later than I’d estimated, but last night, I finished the Kyra disassembler, including function detection.

For now, I’m only handling one game – Hand of Fate – but it would be pretty simple to add the other Kyra games as well, as the only things different between them are the “magic” functions, and they’re all referred to by a parameter to a specific opcode. However, there’s not much point in doing that right now; it won’t help me to decompile the bytecode.

Here’s an excerpt from the disassembly of a small script:

00000016: jumpTo 0x0 (0)
00000018: push 6 (1)
0000001a: push 3 (1)
0000001c: setCharacterPos (0)
0000001e: addSP 2 (-2)
00000020: push 6 (1)
00000022: push 2 (1)
00000024: setCharacterPos (0)
00000026: addSP 2 (-2)

The next step is to get the code flow analysis working with KYRA, and then it’s on to the code generation.

SCUMM over!

I’ve finished the SCUMM code generation now. Unfortunately, a bunch of stuff got in the way, and I didn’t quite make my new revised deadline – but at least I finished in time for the original deadline.

There may still be some tweaks here and there which would be nice to add, but the code generation is working for all opcodes, and generating some pretty nice output. To give an example, here is the complete output for the script I showed you last time:

C:\scummvm\gsoc2010-decompiler>decompile -escummv6 script-33.dmp
00000000: VAR_GAME_LOADED = 0;
00000006: var173 = var177;
0000000C: var177 = 874;
00000012: cursorCmd_Image(var177, 93);
0000001A: stopObjectCodeB();

And just to show it does more than just such simple scripts, here’s part of another, more complicated script:

C:\scummvm\gsoc2010-decompiler>decompile -escummv6 script-30.dmp
00000000: localvar2 = 1;
00000006: while ((localvar2 <= (60 * var132))) {
00000014:   breakHere();
00000015:   delaySeconds(1);
00000019:   if (((VAR_VIRT_MOUSE_X != localvar0) || (VAR_VIRT_MOUSE_Y != localvar1))) {
0000002B:     localvar0 = VAR_VIRT_MOUSE_X;
00000031:     localvar1 = VAR_VIRT_MOUSE_Y;
00000037:     jump 0;
0000003A:   }
0000003A:   if (bitvar1) {
00000040:     bitvar1 = 0;
00000046:     jump 0;
00000049:   }
00000049:   ++(localvar2);
0000004F: }

Now that all parts of the SCUMM decompilation have been handled, it’s time to move on to the next engine – KYRA. My next task is therefore to get a disassembler for that written.

First output!

I finally have some actual output working. It’s only a proof of concept right now, but it’s a nice start.

Here is the output the decompiler generates for one of the short Sam & Max scripts – one of the scripts I used for the code flow testing (link points to the graph for that script):

C:\scummvm\gsoc2010-decompiler>decompile -escummv6 script-33.dmp
var173 = var177;
var177 = 874;
Unknown opcode 6B99 at address 00000018
Unknown opcode 66 at address 0000001A

It only does these simple assignments for now – everything else is left unknown – but like I said, it’s a start.

The opcodes it complains about are cursorCmd_Image and stopObjectCodeB, since I don’t handle those yet.


After a brief discussion with my mentors, I’m going to use a different approach than I’d originally envisioned for the code generation part of the decompiler.

Basically, I’m going to try and emulate the principle used by descumm for generating the SCUMM code. This approach should be simpler than what I had originally envisioned, but still sufficiently generic to work without too many changes for KYRA.

Since this approach is vastly different from the original plan, I’m also re-evaluating my milestone plan. The original plan puts the expected date for SCUMM code generation at July 24, but I think I’ll be able to get this done a few days earlier than that – I’m guessing it’ll be around July 21 instead, so I’m setting that as the new date for that milestone for now, although it is still a pretty rough estimate. In a day or two, I will hopefully have a much better feel about how long this will really take, and then I will look at changing the other milestones as well – and possibly re-evaluating this one as well.

CFG analysis complete!

And with that, the CFG analysis is now completed and documented, completing the fourth milestone. There are still a couple of things that could be improved upon, but they are not applicable to SCUMM, so I’ll leave those things alone for now and then I can get back to them if KYRA needs them (or if time permits later in the project).

Here’s an example of a script with all of the analysis complete:

Code flow graph of samnmax/script-30.dmp

It may seem a little messy, but I’ve verified it, and the analysis gives the expected results for everything.

The next milestone is code generation for SCUMMv6 – so each of these boxes must be converted to a piece of code. Once that milestone is complete, the decompiler should be able to fully decompile all SCUMMv6 scripts.