Hellcat cockpit in the WC2 style

Discussion in 'Fan Projects & Editing' started by Howard Day, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. ChrisReid

    ChrisReid Super Soaker Collector / Administrator

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    There's a strong precedent for the Armada versions of the ships to be largely "spec ops" or other special variants. Secret Ops' TCS Cerberus was full of them. At a minimum, it could make sense that they're long-range scout versions due to the nature of the mission. In the novels we see ships like the Sabre used as a long-distance multi-system shuttle.
     
  2. HCl

    HCl WC EXE archaeologist

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    Quick update :)

    I was finally able to finish my WCP mesh reader and plug it into the main WC2 ship converter, so I pulled the WCP Dralthi, ran a few tests and converted it to WCA. Sure enough, the ship does look better. The additional detail is noticeable even at the low resolutions used by WC2 / WCA, so that definitely paid off. I'm going to start working on the Dralthi stats based on the discussion on this thread, but in the meantime, here's a few screenshots of the new Dralthi. Note that the ship was converted with the "higher-resolution" mode I discussed some posts back, which means the scale still needs to be tweaked (the ship looks a bit larger than it should at a given distance)

    [​IMG]
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    As a bonus... well, since I had a WCP mesh reader in place, i couldn't resist converting one of the Nephilim ships over to WCA just to see how well it would look in the WC2 palette. :p The Nephilim ships are just so different from Confed and Kilrathi ships, color-wise that I wasn't really expecting the WC2 palette to handle the Nephilim textures all that well... However, I was surprised, the result really wasn't all that bad! In fact, i think the result turned out to be rather nice!

    Of course, this is more of a curiosity than anything else, i'm not sure we can justify having a Nephilim ship in a WC2 mod as anything more than an easter egg (unless it happens to take place after the destruction of Kilrah). In any case, here are a few pics of the Manta in WCA:

    [​IMG]
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    Anyway, time to start polishing the Dralthi :)
     
  3. PopsiclePete

    PopsiclePete Mission programmer

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    That Dralthi looks beautiful ! Awesome, awesome job, HCl ! :)
     
  4. Lorien

    Lorien Rear Admiral

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    So, a year or two until someone posts here saying that the Nephilim had been planned since WC2 and posts those screenshots as proof?

    I have to say that the Manta does look quite good in the WC2 engine.
     
  5. Mekt-Hakkikt

    Mekt-Hakkikt Mpanty's bane

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    Well, there's always hope...though now that I'm back to work I already see myself again less contributing...at least it takes more time to reply.

    I just have to ask because it interests me immensely and I nver came around to doing it: who can I look at the real in-game stats of WC1 and WC2 ships (and weapons maybe)? Is there something as comfortable as WCPedit?

    The problem really is, in WC1 you could see that the Kilrathi ships had in theory at least distinct advantages over the Terran ships: they were more agile and with the exception of the Salthi and Dralthi more heavily defended (the Salthi at least was the fastest ship in the game) whle being much slower (280 kps on a Jalthi, on man) and generally less well armed. I still think that the combination of speed and heavier firepower in the end makes the Terran ships superior but that not that obvious. In WC2 (and later) you can't see any design philosophy: the Kilrathi ships are slower, less agile, less well protected and less well armed.

    Hmm, I do remember fighting Ferrets and Epee in SO1 being challenging (not crashing so much, maybe that's because you like getting in clsoe :p)- and thinking how the Kilrathi flying their crappy ships could ever win. IIRC the enemy Epee and Ferrets were even downrated, sporting only 1 MD / 1 Particle cannon.

    [quote="Quarto, post: 385383, member: 47"
    Yes, I understood you, but I assumed that you're also referring to the canonical (though, IIRC, not implemented in Armada) difficulties in getting a weapons lock while cloaked - e.g., the way skipper missiles must periodically decloak to get target lock. Hence I pointed out that in fact, there are stealth fighters with guided missiles. But if you only meant the positive benefits of using DFs as a stealth fighter, then no argument there :). [/quote]

    Sadly no, I didn't think of that particular bit of information...shows I should replay and reread everything WC,

    @ HCl: BOth the Dralthi and Manta looks great, I am especially impressed with the Manta due to its livid colours.
     
  6. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    Brilliant! Whoever would have thought we'd see the day when a Dralthi in WC2 looks better than the WC3 version :D.

    It does kind of expose the limits of 3d gaming, though. You look at that Dralthi, and it's immediately clear those wings should have smooth, curvy edges instead of those low-poly angles. One can only imagine how stellar a sprite conversion from the high-poly original model would have looked.

    Heh, when I suggested converting bug ships, I didn't even remember that palette would be an issue. As it is, though, it looks great - you really can't see much indication of the colour reduction.

    I can imagine a pretty fun alternative history mod, where the Nephilim arrive a decade and a half earlier, wiping out Kilrah in the middle of the war. If the Nephilim arrived with the same ships and the same stats as in 2681, they would have been a tough nut to crack indeed - and the Concordia's PTC would have a lot of work to do :). Fun stuff...

    Well, it's been years and I don't remember all the details. There certainly were some tools available: a ship editor from HCl for WC2, another one (remarkably enough, not from HCl - though he released a modified and improved version of it with support for KSaga) for WC1. There was also a ship editor (from HCl) for Armada. I don't know if all these tools are still available, since at some point most of HCl's website vanished due to some hosting issue. Years ago, hard to remember. I do still have the WC1 & WC2 ship editors, at least.

    However, the WC2 editor doesn't quite do everything. It allows you to view all the basic WC2 ships, but does not give you access to the alternative loadouts (and in WC2, the alternative loadout was essentially a complete set of alternative stats). I am certain there was a tool to look at those as well, because I remember looking at them - what was it? I don't know. Sadly, while I have all the WC1 & WC2 ship stats stored in a text file, I never bothered to write out the alternative loadout stats. You can certainly get at them with a hex editor, though.

    Weapons are a different issue. As far as I can recall, there has never been an editor for weapons in any of these games, and the stats were therefore pretty tough to get. It is possible to check out at least the WC2 weapon stats by opening the EXE up with a hex editor - I know this for certain, because I have a text file sitting here with all the gun stats. I also have the raw data for the missile stats, but this is where it got harder. You get a set of numbers. What do they mean? Which one is damage? Which one is speed? Which one is... what, exactly? Range? Longetivity measured in seconds? Do missiles have a health stat, or do they just die upon taking a single hit? Is there a value that indicates lock type, or is this hardcoded? What if there are two values, one next to another, and for most weapons, the second value is 00, while for one missile the second value is something else? Is the second value a separate value, or is this actually a single two-byte value? Keeping in mind that a single byte can be a value from 0 to 255, while the second byte allows this value to be as high as 255x255, it makes quite a difference...

    So, you know, you're staring at the numbers and about the only way to figure them out is to start making changes and check in-game whether you can see a clear indication of what exactly you changed. Ultimately, I never went through this process for WC2 missiles, I only have the raw data (and even this is incomplete, looking at it now - there's no data for the chaff pod). This is still a lot better than what I have for any of the WC1 weapons - which is absolutely nothing.

    Finally, there are the Armada weapons. I have the stats for these typed out as well - both the guns and the missiles. These stats are clearly labelled - it's not just raw data. Where did I get these from? Did the ship editor for Armada also allow weapons editing? Or did I get these with a hex editor? I simply do not know. I can't even find that editor any more...

    I did, by the way, at some point also make a start on figuring out WC3/4 ship stats, which sadly never really went too far. You can check out the discussion here. Good times!
     
  7. -danr-

    -danr- Rear Admiral

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    Manta looks great, HCl, can't believe how well the palette has stood up.

    [​IMG] That's brilliant!

    The first part of the game plays as normal. Then half way through the mission to retrieve the data pod from the dying courier ship in the Talbot system, you go through the jump point and...

    *Cut to: Emperor, observation deck, K'Tith'rak Mang.*
    "I did not summon you Khasra..."
    "My liege, unknown forces have conducted a devastating attack on Kilrah. They have technology not seen before. Hundreds of Drakhai were killed, all contact with the homeworld has been lost..."

    *Cut back to Talbot system* The courier ship is still destroyed by the Kilrathi, but suddenly, Nephilim fighters appear everywhere and the cats are getting creamed. You tractor in the pod and quietly slip back through the jump point.
     
  8. Triple-B

    Triple-B Commodore

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    Or

    I could think of a side plot during wc2 timeline in a different remote system ( landreich for example), where terran forces and kilrathi fight their war and are being interrupted by nephs. contact to central systems can not be made, due to heavy intereference by a pulsar or something ;) therefore the conflict goes unnoticed at all.
     
  9. Whistler

    Whistler Commodore

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    Tolwyn mentions specifically, like in Loki, a quasar is what blocks out all interstellar communication. Suitable for a bug recon patrol to go unnoticed in the galaxy? Perhaps.
     
  10. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    Oh, no, no, that's too simple. The Emperor must be on Kilrah when it happens. If you're gonna mess with alternative history, you gotta do it properly - Prince Thrakhath deserves a chance to finally ascend the throne :). Also, while I couldn't have spent more than thirty seconds thinking about this, I did nonetheless imagine the whole thing starting not during WC2, but during End Run. Just as the Tarawa gets ready to leave Kilrah, it happens... and isn't it inconvenient that the Kilrathi fleet steaming back from Vukar Tag to Kilrah runs into the Nephilim fleet before they even know it's out there?
     
  11. capi3101

    capi3101 Rear Admiral

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    You guys need to stop giving me ideas for WCRPG campaigns. Seriously...
     
  12. -danr-

    -danr- Rear Admiral

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    Actually, I like this idea better - sometimes the fact that you work in design shines through with your ideas. I always feel a little dirty creating alternate history for the WC Universe, but this idea tickles me; the concept of Thrak's fleet having no idea what had just hit them. Another amusing scenario could be set the following year, in 2668 during the armistice - the Bugs find their way into Hari space and annihilate the Hakaga fleet; thus keeping the armistice alive and leading to a Terran-Kilrathi alliance vs the Nephilim 13 years early.

    Sorry to take this thread off topic, it's amazing what seeing a Manta in the WC2 engine can do to one's imagination.
     
  13. Whistler

    Whistler Commodore

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    There's always more material. You've done most of the hard work establishing bases and colony worlds, the sandbox is placed.
     
  14. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    Hmm, I think any kind of Terran-Kilrathi wartime alliance would reek too much of Freespace. It's that exact scenario, two enemies that have been fighting for decades, suddenly forced to make peace because of a great and mysterious threat. I suppose the general idea is just such a romantic notion that it almost automatically comes into mind, but still...

    Nonetheless, the Hakaga fleet would be an interesting item in this equation, wouldn't it? In the 2667-68 timeframe, these would probably be the only capships that could seriously rival any Nephilim capship in terms of shields and armour. I mean, according to the manual stats, the Concordia has 500 cm of armour (in-game, it actually has a lot less: 77.5 cm!). We don't have official stats for the Nephilim, but in-game, the Barracuda corvette had... 800 cm of armour. And, it so happens, 800 cm is also the amount of armour that the Orca's shield emitter has. How much is 800 cm of armour? Well, a single salvo from the Sabre's two mass drivers and two particles causes a total of 16.2 cm damage (compare this to WCP, where a single laser bullet causes 18 cm...). So, it would take 50 salvos to destroy the emitter - and since it seems that under those invulnerable external shields there are still normal shields, even then it would take a volley of torpedoes just to scratch the Orca.
     
  15. HCl

    HCl WC EXE archaeologist

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    This discussion is fascinating :) I initially viewed the WCA Manta as more of a curiosity, but the scenarios being discussed are making me think that such a alternate history mod for WC2 could actually work out!

    I remember my old WC2 stats editor did support alternate stats. Pressing left / right on the ship type scrolled between the various alternate stats, if memory serves. I can try looking that up, if you want!
     
  16. Quarto

    Quarto Unknown Enemy

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    Oh, right you are! I didn't notice this before (well, I DID notice it a decade ago :) ), and it's not mentioned in readme file.

    It's funny looking at such an archaic interface, by the way - just serves to remind us how long all this editing stuff has been going on. But still, you really need to recruit some junior programmer who would take all those old editing tools of yours and rebuild them as modern applications :).
     
  17. Mace

    Mace Vice Admiral

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    How about a Kilrathi vs Nephilim conflict set somewhere between SM2 and WC3? Combine a lot of stuff discussed in this thread and I came up with some fan-on:
    - After the events of SM2, The kilrathi are still at odds with more then one alien race. The Kiranka clan still holds a personal vendetta against the terrans because Gilkarg was dishonored, and they could not perform the Sivar-Eshrad-ceremony(for the second time), but the humans are not a direct threat anymore, with the spearhead broken and the loss of the Tiger's claw...
    - Thrakhath has his sights set on earth, and the emperor granted this to him as a personal favor, but there are other conflicts(let's take the mantu reference as example).
    - A Nephilim force, who were checking up with the Kilrathi to see if they had advanced enough to form a challenge, Kilrathi thought them to be the Mantu who had developed new, more advanced weapons, and the Kilrathi engaged them creating a second front.
    - Advanced military hardware like the H'riss, the snakeirs and possibly some production models of the sivar-class were then fighting on this new, more harsh front. Only the lesser, outdated or useless ships are made available to "the war against the humans"
    -Thrakhath, as the crown prince, is not on the primary frontline anymore, and still gets to seek revenge.. And in the ten years blair is flying a desk, no real changes in the frontline occur. Thrakhath was safe as crown prince and future of his clan, and could not be dishonored in a way his father was.
    - The Nephilim could be a little less advanced compared to WCP, but the Kilrathi would get to know the powerfull, massive ships up close and personal, and this might actually be a good reason to develop the giant superships such as the H'varr Kahn and Hakaga-class, also it could influence their ship design.
    - The Kilrathi eventually managed to push them back and destroy their wormhole gate. But with heavy losses, and this might be another reason for the false armistice. After their defeat the Nephilim start developing heavier and more advanced heavy fighters like the devil ray and the stingray for a second attack(that occurs during the start of WCP)
    - At the end of SO2, as the emperor learns of Thrakhath's diversion, he decides to take his freshly-build fleet of superships and state-of-the-art fighters into battle to finish his other enemy, the humans, since crushing them would boost the Kilrathi's confidence, leading up to the battle of Terra.

    Now, the idea above is just an example, probably better off with a more experienced writer. You could use some of the WC3 Kilrathi Aces make cameo appearances, guard mandarin supply transports, Escort Thrakhath back to Kilrah in the crossbow he stole during SO1... Borrow some character from the cartoon and novels.

    You could build multiple sets of "Kilrathi Operations" as add-ons for WC2. Using tekst-based dialogue, and WCA for mission development(?) but you would have to come up with some Kilrathi talkie heads, and a nit more creative then a bunch of palette-swapped Khasra ad Hobbes's, and possibly influence the branching of the game?
     
  18. HCl

    HCl WC EXE archaeologist

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    A good point, yes :) If anyone wants to re-implement these tools, i can look up algorithms and data structures from my notes and pass them on. Just let me know. I'm pretty much certain i'm not going to reimplement a WC2 stats editor or Treman-like program anyway, I got my plate full with a number of ongoing WC-related projects (i really tend to overcommit... which is not necessarily a good thing... but that's topic for another day :p)
     
  19. c0mc0

    c0mc0 Commodore

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    That looks fantastic, HCI. Great work as usual. :)

    Have you considered taking renders of Howard's Tiger's Claw or Hornet models and placing them in-engine? Would be pretty cool to see up-resed WC1 ships in there. :cool:
     
  20. delMar

    delMar Rear Admiral

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    With about 10 years of experience in professional software development I wouldn't consider myself junior grade. :)
    Nonetheless, I have started gathering descriptions of data-files and started to work on a new editing tool (independently from the above quote, upon which I have just stumpled recently).

    Parsing wc1-style briefing.xxx and camp.xxx files already works.
    I have also already drawn up mocks of how I want the user interface to look like.

    I hope to be able to come up with something useful until christmas.

    The codebase is open-sourced on github already, so if I should not be able to finish it for one reason or another (RealLife(TM), loss of motivation, <insert countless reasons for failed fan-projects here>), code and efforts should not be lost to the community.

    As my approach holds some surprise (at least something different from existing approaches), I will wait with telling you the url of the github-repo until I have something to show.
    I don't want to spoil the surprise :)
     

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