I just wanted to say to @UnnamedCharacter
, and others who have worked on pulling apart and enhancing Wing Commander, we couldn't be here without all your efforts and thank you! It's amazing how much progress has been made in a small amount of time. @Howard Day
, it is so awesome of you to contribute those fantastic Tiger's Claw renders and provide an opportunity for experimentation and I have no doubt these will be useful moving forward!
So, I started playing around with the 2D renders @Howard Day
provided and I'm hoping my experience will help confirm some results with @UnnamedCharacter
and others as to the limits in replacing the game sprites (at least for Kilrathi Saga anyway). I used WCToolbox to create the proper SHIP file from images I prepared and then placed the file in the Kilrathi Saga gamedat directory and got the following images as a result:
(Please note that the targeting around the Tiger's Claw may be a bit off as I did not try to get proper origin points for the sprites. This is just a proof of concept)
I really like the updated look to the Tiger's Claw here! However, I hope I'm wrong about this but unfortunately it looks like we might not be able to upscale sprites as much as previously thought... The Tiger's Claw renders provided by @Howard Day
are 1024x1024. I started out trying to use all 37 1024x1024 images but it would cause the game to crash when I turned my ship around to face the carrier. So, I continued to reduce the resolution of all the files until I got something that didn't crash. I tried 512x512, 256x256, and 128x128. When I used 128x128, I was able to look at the Tiger's Claw without KS crashing. Since the render files have some extra space around them I thought I would try cropping them. IrfanView has an "Auto-crop borders" and I used that to remove the excess around the 256x256 files. Once I used these newly cropped sprites, I was able to get the images above without the game crashing. I think it is so neat seeing an updated Tiger's Claw in game!
So with @UnnamedCharacter
, maybe we can verify these results? Although there was a really nice upscaled sprite of the back of the Tiger's Claw used in previous tests, I think the fact that it was a single sprite replacement allowed for a higher resolution sprite to be used. When all 37 angles are upscaled, this increases the memory requirement even more and I suspect the limit is hit when KS crashes trying to load the Claw. And as mentioned above, using 37 images at 256x256 crashes KS but works when using 37 128x128 sprites from my experience. I was lucky that when cropping the 256x256 files that it reduced the memory requirement enough to not crash KS and allow me to get the results above. So, that would suggest there may be a sweet spot between 128x128 and 256x256 if using roughly the same resolution for all sprites. But, I think in the process of experimentation, we may be able to find some new solutions that get around this limitation. I'm really excited about where this will lead us and I really look forward to the future of this work!