Adventures in Explorations: WC1 Edition

When I was making my WC Story Guide here is how I figured it.

$C = Callsign
$R = Rank
$N = Sir Name
$L = Wingmans' kills from mission completed
$K = Your Kills from mission completed
$T = Time (present time) So far as I can tell the time tracking system does not work on modern systems. I seem to recall it working on my 386 but it has never worked in DOSBox. I don't know if it will work in the PC emulator.
$D = Date
$S = Sector
$A= Award

The first name was never used so $P is probably the first name.
 
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Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
It doesn't ever ask for a first name, either.

I would be very curious to know how the game generates the mission dates, if you can figure that out!
 

UnnamedCharacter

2nd Lieutenant
One Day at a Time

The start date is hardcoded as follows: 2654-110T06:00. When progressing mission-by-mission within a series, the day of year will advance by 0 or 1 day. Between series, the day of year will advance by 5 or 6 days. This actually fits nicely within the game; missions within a system are closely grouped together, but provides for a greater passage of time when the Tiger's Claw manoeuvers between systems.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Interesting! Unfortunately, there are references in the dialogue that'll sometimes contradict the random rate of advancement (usually where they'll mention that your mission was yesterday or the 'Claw is jumping out tomorrow.) And of course there's a hard date in the manual (2654.140) for the TCSO show that won't ever actually match that Port Hedland mission.
 

UnnamedCharacter

2nd Lieutenant
Medal Scoring

Your medal score, and mission score, uses a points system for various aspects of the mission including destroying different classes of ships:
  • light fighter: 7 points
  • medium fighter: 10 points
  • heavy fighter: 15 points
  • transport: 15 points
  • corvette / destroyer: 25 points
  • cruiser / carrier: 50 points
  • dreadnought / space station: 75 points
The medal score is specific to you, while the mission score is the total for the wing, but there is a potentially strange relationship between the medal and mission scores (a bug maybe?). Let's explore this strange relationship by playing Brimstone 3 (S05M2).

When starting the mission, your medal and mission scores are obviously zero. Midway to the only navigation point we engage two Jalthis. After killing the two Jalthis and letting Maniac die, both the medal and mission scores are the same:

Medal Score: 30; two heavy fighters (2 * 15)
Mission Score: 30; two heavy fighters (2 * 15)
S05M2a.png

We continue to the navigation point and engage the first wave of Krants. The Kilrathi Ace Khajja is part of the wave and we dispatch him first:

Medal Score: 40; added one medium fighter (30 + 10)
Mission Score: 65; added one medium fighter, a Kilrathi Ace (30 + 10 + 25)
S05M2b.png

We proceed to kill the remaining Krants of the first wave:

Medal Score: 70; added three more medium fighters (40 + 3 * 10)
Mission Score: 95; added three more medium fighters (65 + 3 * 10)
S05M2c.png

We kill all the Krants of the second wave, but spare the transport:

Medal Score: 90; added two more medium fighters (70 + 2 * 10)
Mission Score: 115; added two more medium fighters (95 + 2 * 10)
S05M2d.png

After the mission, for the debriefing, the final scores are calculated and something interesting happens, we gain additional points:

Medal Score: 100 (90 + 10???)
Mission Score: 115
S05M2e.png

No, you are not being rewarded for having lost Maniac. What happens is a penalty is being strangely applied. Whenever you lose a wingman, you incur a 15 point penalty, applied indirectly to your medal score. It happens this way: the mission score is transferred to the medal score with the penalty subtracted, therefore in this particular case, the medal scores increases to 100 (115 - 15). The above mission awards a Bronze star if the medal score is 91 or higher. If our wingman had not died we would be short 1 point.

Under specific circumstances, we can gain medal points by having our wingman die if we also kill a Kilrathi Ace (+25 for the ace, -15 for the dead wingman). But it is also even stranger, if our wingman has kills, they count towards the mission score, not our medal score, but if our wingman dies, we "inherit" those points.

In the above mission: we fail to kill the transport therefore we fail the mission, we also lose our wingman, we ultimately fail the series, and we get a medal for it!
 
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No, you are not being rewarded for having lost Maniac. What happens is a penalty is being strangely applied. Whenever you lose a wingman, you incur a 15 point penalty, applied indirectly to your medal score. It happens this way: the mission score is transferred to the medal score with the penalty subtracted, therefore in this particular case, the medal scores increases to 100 (115 - 15). The above mission awards a Bronze star if the medal score is 91 or higher. If our wingman had not died we would be short 1 point.
So this mission score strangely influencing the medal score happens only when my wingman dies, isn't it? Ace kill bonus being added to the mission score was unexpected, too.
Come to think of it, both missions(Brimstone 3, Hell's Kitchen 4) mentioned for wingman's death triggering decoration had Kilrathi aces, whereas Brimstone 2 hadn't.

It's still puzzling why there are so many missions demanding quite low but unreachable medal scores, though.
 
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UnnamedCharacter

2nd Lieutenant
Ships in High Definition

Ships are represented as a series of individual sprites which are scaled as needed. This becomes obvious as you get closer to a ship since they become very pixelated.

This first row of images is the standard ship sprites.

02a.png
03a.png
04a.png


This second row uses ship sprites which have been scaled up to 200%. I have also substituted one image for a more detailed version (taken from TITLE.VGA); although the angle is different, close enough for a proof of concept.

02b.png
03b.png
04b.png


Unfortunately, this only seems to work in Kilrathi Saga; I did not have any success in the original DOS version, the game locks-up.
 

Skanks

Rear Admiral
Wow that’s really cool. Do you know what the limit is on how high resolution a sprite can be used?

Seeing the higher resolution Tiger’s Claw in game not just cutscene is fantastic!
 

ShadowArm

2nd Lieutenant
so in terms of individual sprites, is pretty much the same as DOOM and other 90's fps games right?
because if it is the same trick, then a good solution would be picking the already existing "WC1-2-Armada models" and create new set of sprites using modern stuff like photoshop or gimp

or go crazy and test it with klav's stuff kkkkkkkkkk

anyway is a nice discovery, though its limited to Kilrathi saga, but who knows, maybe gog manages to add it later on thanks to stinger's work :)
 

Flashpoint

Rear Admiral
I would expect the limit is how DOS and Windows (and so the two different versions) handle memory usage. There may be a hard upper limit on both but one that is more restrictive in DOS.

Another thing that might be interesting is seeing how many different ship types (original sprites) you could get in one nav point. The way the missions in WC1 are structured, I always assumed that there was a limit, as you never saw mixed waves of Kilrathi, no mixed defenders, only ever one cap ship type (to memory). When I first played the game I realised this and so knew that when the Tigers Claw's escorts were a different ship class to mine, there would be no enemy attack on it.

My assumption was that the limit was 1 cap ship, 2 fighter types (1 friendly, 1 enemy) and one debris type. It might be fun to see if this is changable in the KS version and see a fralthi engage the Claw.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
For WC2 and Privateer, the models from the 3D Archive can be used to re-render the sprites:
https://www.wcnews.com/wcpedia/Privateer_3D_Archive

The ideo for an upgrade project for the pre-Armada games sounds fascinating. :)
The tough one will be WC1... Someone will have to go back and remake the models. Using the WC2 ships as a jumping off point for detail though, we should be able to take the existing WC1 sprites, the original line art of the ships, and come up with something that is faithful to the orginal game. There's nothing stopping people from just using fancy reinterpretations either but but I'd rather see something that captures the essence of the original first and then people can play around with whatever changes they want later.
 

ShadowArm

2nd Lieutenant
The tough one will be WC1... Someone will have to go back and remake the models. Using the WC2 ships as a jumping off point for detail though, we should be able to take the existing WC1 sprites, the original line art of the ships, and come up with something that is faithful to the orginal game. There's nothing stopping people from just using fancy reinterpretations either but but I'd rather see something that captures the essence of the original first and then people can play around with whatever changes they want later.
What about standoff, Pioneer and Unknown Enemy models? though they were used for the VISION Engine, they are pretty much closer to the original models.

also, a bit offtopic, but with the SRC and wcdx, it may be a large jump, but at this rate i think that it would be possible to update Privateer, Armada and Academy DOS EXE to Windows using the same trick.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
What about standoff, Pioneer and Unknown Enemy models? though they were used for the VISION Engine, they are pretty much closer to the original models.

also, a bit offtopic, but with the SRC and wcdx, it may be a large jump, but at this rate i think that it would be possible to update Privateer, Armada and Academy DOS EXE to Windows using the same trick.
Pioneer for sure uses some pretty stylized interpretations. They aren't bad necessarily. I would just lean away from that approach, at least to start with. Klavs has a lot of great models as well, but again they're heavy re-interpretations with their own design aesthetic. I'd have to look at Standoff again but I think they mostly focused on WC2 ships.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
What about standoff, Pioneer and Unknown Enemy models? though they were used for the VISION Engine, they are pretty much closer to the original models.

also, a bit offtopic, but with the SRC and wcdx, it may be a large jump, but at this rate i think that it would be possible to update Privateer, Armada and Academy DOS EXE to Windows using the same trick.
It's not my favorite option, but there's also the possibility of using the SWC models for the WC1 ships... but this is again a radical deviation in art style. Anyway, it seems to me that SWC is actually very similar under the hood to WC1,2, Privateer. It's probably possible to actually swap out all the art for SWC. just as an experiment, it could be fun to swap the talking heads to see what happens.
 

ShadowArm

2nd Lieutenant
I did a very quick test, only scaling one image:

View attachment 9919 View attachment 9920 View attachment 9921

Here are the results of a few tests:
  • 100% - 107 x 35; default
  • 200% - 214 x 70; original proof of concept
  • 400% - 428 x 140; this quick test
  • 800% - 856 x 280; crashed
with a few more tweaks, i believe that this limit can be removed.

but let stinger decide if its a good idea or not, for now 400% is a nice limit, i believe that gzdoom uses this trick to scale textures to hi res.
 

Death Angel

Rear Admiral
First of all, awesome work! The hires Claw is amazing.

Regarding the models to use. In my opinion Howard Days models would be the perfect fit. The Dralthi and the Hornet are available here in the archive. Maybe he would also be willing to share the rest of them.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Hmmm. A thought. Because of their scale, WC1's sprites looked good from a particular distance - a couple of thousand metres or so. If you got closer, they were upscaled, and therefore ugly. But if you got further away, they were downscaled, and therefore also ugly (but less visibly so, because they were small). So, as you increase the size of the sprites, you also bring closer to the player the distance point at which the game has to downscale sprites, along with all the usual distortions from downscaling. I wonder what the distance is currently at which sprites are simply displayed at 1:1 scale, and how that distance will change with bigger sprites. It would be a shame to find that at optimum combat range, enemy ships are distorted due to downscaling.
 
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