Hellcat cockpit in the WC2 style

Howard Day

Random art guy.
Hey, guys! Been working on something for a bit that I'd thought I'd share. It's an attempt at getting the WC# hellcat cockpit into the WC2 engine, specifically Academy.
It's all hand-painted in Photoshop, took only a couple of evenings to do. And yes, this will be used... somewhere.

Here's the original, for reference:
As you can see, I've had to move some stuff around a bit and improvise speed, armor, and shield displays.
Lemme know what you think!
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Whoa! I love it! If you're going to convert the Hellcat into Academy, I can't wait - I'm far, far from being a Hellcat fan, but it'll be great to see regardless!
This is interesting. If you can move the Hellcat into Academy then maybe a number of the other fighters from the Armada, Wing Commander III, and Wing Commander IV era can be imported as well. With all of the models that are about for ships of that time I don't think making sprites for them will be much if an issue. The fact that we know what the cockpits of the Armada and Wing Commander III ships look like, as you have shown here, helps with that aspect of it. Canon wise I believe the service dates for the ships from Wing Commander II overlap with the service dates of the ones in Armada and Wing Commander III.

I think the big issue is balancing the later ships in the Academy/Wing Commander II style game engine. However given how the Scimitar and Gratha were incorporated into Enemy Unknown, and the Ferret, Sabre, and Gothri, into Wing Commander Saga, it should be possible. I think you would need to have the know numbers of a comparison ship, for example, the Sabre's specs as they are listed in Academy and Saga, or the Wraith from Academy and Armada. Then use math to determine the ratio that one needs to multiply or divide by to convert the numbers from one to the other than use those ratios on the rest of the Wing Commander III and Armada ships.

I am looking forward to seeing how this turns out.
The cockpit looks awesome! The biggest Challenge so far with importing ships into Academy though will be coming up with stats for the Hellcat that make sense.
Little Somethin-something...


I don't think the stats will be too much of a problem - we're replacing the reaper cannon with the ion cannon, and replacing the wraith in the game.
- the new ion cannon bolt sprite. Sort of a mix of the neutron and laser, but purple.

Fun! Next up, Privateer using the Strike Commander engine! (as it was meant to be)
Hey guys,

Yeah, we've been working on a little prototype for ship importing into WC2, and i coded quite a few scripts for ship and cockpit inporting during the last few weeks. :) I've been wanting to import new ships into WC1/WC2 since I was about 16, so it took the opportunity that the day job is actually demanding reasonable hours to finally get around and coding an importer.

As you can see from the screenshots, the ship is playable in WCA right now! It only needs some decent stats and some tweaking of the engine exhaust flames.

Hopefully this will slowly grow into a WC2 mod, it would certainly like to see it happen :)
I updated my site with some info and screenshots about this. For the curious, I can tell you that the import process was two-fold: first (since i'm not an artist, basically :p) i had to get myself a set of images that I could import into WCA. Since the Realspace geometry format is pretty well known, i coded a small script to generate a set of 37 images in WC2 palette that i could import. The result was pretty neat! Then it was a matter of coding the necessary scripts to code those 37 images as a valid ship file. I basically have another script for that, which reads an image like the one below, reading 37 160x120 "tiles", and codes a WC2 ship!


And in space:



Then we needed a cockpit... but fortunately we could count with Howie to come with some excellent cockpit art! The various parts animate properly in game, which is very nice to see :)

Where to now? Well, basically the Hellcat needs some stats, and some tweaking to the engine exhausts. Some research on this last topic still needs to be made, but i hope to be able to take care of that soon!

More news soon ;)

(edit:just adding one more screenshot to the party)
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So you guys are looking for a set of stats for the Hellcat that make it comparable/usable in WC Academy, huh? How strong are you looking to make it compared with other Confederation craft, and what kind of limitations are you dealing with (i.e. can it have the same set of guns indicated in WC3 or are you limited to what's already in Academy)? I see generating stats as a utility extension of WCRPG......

This, incidentally, is freakin' awesome.
Yep! Pretty sure we're going with the Neutron/Ion combo - but the sprites for the neutron will be WC2 style, not the WC3 orange bolt. And yeah! If you want to work up some stats, HCl can stick them in, and test.
Statwise I can see the Hellcat as having just a touch more shields and armor than the Rapier but slightly less speed and turn rate (Rapier is 450/1300 while Hellcat is 420/1200)--so it would fall in between the Rapier and the Sabre for speed and turning. For missiles, the WC3 Hellcat has two triple hardpoints, so 3HS/3IR perhaps? I'm thinking that the Hellcat should feel "a little stronger overall than the Rapier, but not overwhelmingly so".
Well, given that it's more of a close range brawler than the rapier, what with the 2 ion and 2 neutron cannons... I think that's a good mix!
You guys are going with the WC3 version of the Hellcat, right?

The WC4 version had ions and Particle Cannons, that's why I say anything at all. There's also literature (Victory Streak) that says there's a Laser/Ion combo, some (Warbirds) that says Mass Driver/Ions, and some that says Neutron Gun/Ions; I think the last one is what's actually in WC3. In all cases, the Ion Cannons appear to be somewhere between Lasers and Mass Drivers in effectiveness - about the same range, comparable damage (ion cannon does slightly more), with the lasers having a faster refire rate.

All of the literature also says the default loadout on a Hellcat is ImRecs only. I do like the notion of an HS/ImRec mix, though. Have you guys given any thought to what you're going to do about the Hellcat's decoys? Heckuva difference between the way they were handled in WC2 and WC3...and the Hellcat has 24 of them.

420/1200 is what's listed for its speed characteristics; this actually is comparable to the Rapier (at 450/1300), so I'd go with that. Acceleration for the WC4 model is listed as "Good", whereas the Rapier is "Excellent" in the Academy documentation; the Ferret's listed as "Good", so I'd go with a comparable acceleration rate to the Ferret. Maneuverability...is a tricky one, because of all the adjustments that went on between WC2 and WC3 in general. I'd still go with making its Maneuverability rating somewhere between that of the Ferret and the Rapier (i.e. between "8" and "10" dps). The Morningstar's listed at 8 dps in the Academy documentation, so that seems reasonable.

Mass - eh. Just make up any old number if it matters. I have a conversion factor for yet another RPG I'm working on that suggests it would weigh 138 tonnes; divide by ten and multiply, for 14 tonnes (more than the Epee, less than the Rapier). As good a number as any; it doesn't matter much for gameplay anyway. Length is 27 meters, of course.

Defenses...are all over the place. If you take the figures I used for WCRPG and divide them by ten, the equivalent values become 22 cm shields, 9 cm armor; this seems reasonable - that would be less armor than a Sabre but comparable (and slightly superior) shields to the Wraith (less shields than the Crossbow).

That oughta cover everything, so here's a recap of what I'll propose for the Academy version:
F-42 Hellcat-V Space Superiority Interceptor
27 meters, 14 tonnes
420/1,200 kps; 9 dps; "Good" Acceleration
22 cm shields; 9 cm armor
2NEU/2ION; 3HS/3ImRec; 24 Decoy
Wow, just wow :)
I have no idea how you pulled that off but can only assume it was quite the challenge.

I remember modding Privateer a few years ago, implementing new story mission/fixers (based on that one .txt file floating around the interwebs, can't find it at the moment) and new systems. I also remember the whole thing being extremely buggy with lots of crashes.
Once again, hats of to you guys! Changing text/missions is one thing, but massively changing graphics of an old dos game is just incredible.
Thanks for your comments! :) It's great to see this sparked some interest!

A quick note on stats: each ship is limited to 16 weapon slots, which can be occupied by guns, missiles and decoys. This alone limits the amount of decoys a ship will be able to carry, so i'll probably limit the Hellcat's decoys to 2, which seems to be the standard for most Confed ships in WC2. Other than that there's not much that can be done at this time.

In any case, launching a decoy pretty much guarantees a spoof in WC2, which was not the case with WC3/4, so a lower ammount of decoys should be ok.

Capi, your stats for the Hellcat look pretty good! The 2NEU/2ION are in fact what we were considering, as well as the HS/IMREC mix.

As for shields and armor, I'll have to estimate a bit what the game "units" look like based on your numbers.

(all numbers from this point are in game "units", so they don't bear much resemblance to actual cm Durasteel)

Quickly looking at the ship files I see that the Sabre has an armor rate of 200/200 (front / back), + 180/180 on the sides. I feel tempted to use values in between, like 150/150 + 90/90 for the Hellcat, considering that the Rapier has 75/75 + 65/65

Sabre shields rate 80/80 (front/back), with the Rapier having shields rated at 115/115. So, in-game, the Rapier has stronger shields, however the Sabre shields recharge much faster (3 units shield in the Sabre are regenerated for each unit on the Rapier).

For comparison, the Crossbow / Broadsword have 500/500 shields (the game cheats somewhat, the number you're shown on the VDU on bomber-class ships is divided by 10) with regeneration = 3, the Sabre has 80/80 with regeneration = 1, the Wraith has 200/200 with regeneration = 6 and the Jrathek has 150/150 shields with regeneration = 5 (larger regeneration means slower recharge rate.. think of it as a regeneration delay).

So i'd say that shields comparable to the Wraith are ok, as long as we keep a relatively high regeneration delay (in order not to overpower the ship).

(edit: after checking the CIC stats, it turns out it was pretty obvious that the game units divided by 10 gives you values in cm, i should have remembered that :p Ok, so that means 220/220 shields according to Capi's stats, i'm gonna go with that in my next experiment)

Comments are welcome, of course!

In the meantime, i'll try to cook up a script to quickly change the Hellcat stats, so we can play a bit with the numbers :)
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