Kilrathi interior designer needed

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Ok, I'll post my concepts tomorrow and if there aren't too many negative comments about those I'll send you some high-res pixel graphics to work with. Target size will be quite small though, so don't do too much details. I'll include some existing medal files as examples if necessary, but I think you are familiar with FS2 medals and stuff.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Hi again!

First of all, of course I don't know if such things like those rewards even exist for the Kilrathi. The CCG tells us they do (at least two of them), and I don't know what is required to earn a medal in the Kilrathi space forces.
But I like games with rewards so I decided that I will have a full set of medals, ranks insignia, and some badges in the mod so people who do campaigns can use them.

Here are my concepts:
medals+ranks_overview.png


Medals:

- Bronze-, Silver-, Gold Sigil:
Those are jsut like the Bronze-, Silver-, and Gold Stars the confeds have. I'm not sure if I should use the term "Sigil", so if anyone has a better idea, tell me.
All three of them consist of two parts. The bottom one is the Sigil itself, which is only awarded once. The upper part is like the ribbon with the stars the confed awards in Saga have, so if you have more than one award of that type you get another small mark carved into that upper part. The versions shown in my example show a pilot that has all six of them.

- Icon of Glory:
This one is a design from the CCG which will be an award comparable to the Flying Cross

- Icon of Running Death
Named after the God of Running Death this is the Kilrathi equivalent to the Starburst medal.

- Imperial Salute:
This is the Distinguished Service Cross of the Kilrathi, an acknowledgement by a member of the Imperial family itself. Hence the name "Salute" and the Imperial Sigil as the shape.

- Icon of Sivar:
The one from the CCG is the Kiranka symbol (V1), so I did another one for post-war campaigns with the Assembly of Clans symbol (V2).


Ranks:
Since I don't know any rank insignia of Kilrathi yet I created those.
I will include at least the pilot ranks, but if I have some good ideas I will also include some higher ranks as well. Since I read that normally pilots start at Fourth Fang this is my lowest rank. So the available ranks are:
- Fourth Fang
- Third Fang
- Second Fang
- First Fang

The symbols are - of obvious reasons - meant to be fangs. I didn't have better ideas yet, so feel free to post other concepts for the ranks.

- Shintahr
- Kal Shintahr

The Shintahr is the lesser version of the Kal Shintahr so it is similar to it but lacks a part. I think it looks ok but if someone has a better idea please tell me.

Badges:
No badges yet, but I might do small badges that a pilot gets when he flies a new fighter in combat. So there will badges for Darket, Dralthi, Vaktoth, Gothri, Paktahn, Ekapshi, Bloodfang, Sorthak, Khahaf and Strakha in the shape of the fighter in Bronze with red, which leaves two of the twelve badge spots available. There I could include a basic flight training badge and a qualification badge of some sort (I think you get the "Drakhai Qualification" when you have 20 kills or so).
I'm not sure if I will do that, though. Do you think it is a good idea? Or should I leave the badges out? Or do them completely different?


For comparison here is a full medal screen of Saga:
From left to right:
Bronze-, Silver-, Gold Star, Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Flying Cross, Starburst. If the pilot has more than one of the stars he gets a small star on the ribbon.
The badges are campaign badges (like "Cairo Liberation" or "Operation XYZ") and some kill based awards (like the century award or ace of aces).
sagamedals.jpg


Please comment, I want to finish those in the next two or three days so I can include them in the game.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Those are jsut like the Bronze-, Silver-, and Gold Stars the confeds have. I'm not sure if I should use the term "Sigil", so if anyone has a better idea, tell me.
I think I'd change these to something else.

I like the idea that maybe the Kilrathi don't necessarily prize precious metals the same way humans do (or at least not the same metals.) I think that's borne out somewhat by the three Kilrathi medals we know: the Icon of Sivar, the Icon of Glory and the Award of Valor. See, they're all concepts instead of decorations... so maybe go in that direction. The Icon of Fearlessness, the Award of Vengeance and so on.

By the way, in terms of the CCG mechanics: the Icon of Sivar is the 'best' award and it's identical in standing to the Terran Medal of Honor. The Icon of Glory is identical to a Gold Star.

Also, remember that Kilrathi take trophies... so I wonder if instead of an identical medal system you might rejigger it so that say some action earns you an enemy's skull or part of a spacecraft for your case instead of another parallel medal.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Thanks for your input!

Also, remember that Kilrathi take trophies... so I wonder if instead of an identical medal system you might rejigger it so that say some action earns you an enemy's skull or part of a spacecraft for your case instead of another parallel medal.
I might use that idea for the Kilrathi version of campaign ribbons, but the problem with that is that they have to be different all the time. I'm trying to create a generic set of medals because I want to give other modders the opportunity to use my Kilrathi mod for creating their own campaigns without having to create any assets except missions.
So I'll keep that idea in mind, but I will create generic medals anyway. Other campaigns don't have to use them of course, but I want to make sure they are there if need be.
Also the number of awards and number of different awards is quite limited in the engine. Even the placement on the medal screen is something I can't change easily. So I will need to have medals that can be given more than once. I don't think it will matter much for my campaign though, I think there will be only two or three of them in it anyway, and none of them more than once. It is going to be quite short.

Also I want the Icons with the complex shapes on them (like the CCG ones or my "Icon of Running Death") to be something more special. That's the reason why I wouldn't want to use the Icon of Glory for the Gold Star even though it seems to be like that in the CCG.

I like the idea that maybe the Kilrathi don't necessarily prize precious metals the same way humans do (or at least not the same metals.)
Why? Is there any hint at that in any canonical source?
Because of the way precious metals form it is not very likely that they would exist in much higher quantities on other planets, and rarity is often linked to value. They also have some qualities that make them special, for example being very good electrical conductors and the fact that they don't corrode, which makes them ageless.
And based on what we see in the games it doesn't look like the Kilrathi don't value gold, Thrakhath has quite some shiny metal on his clothes while other Kilrathi have less it seems, so that may be a hint on gold being valuable for Kilrathi as well.

The other thing is of course that the player (who is a human after all... I guess) can judge whether the medal he just got is a high one or a low one. So I think I'll keep the colors/metals.

I like your names though, so let's see....

- "Bronze Sigil" --> "Award of Fearlessness"
- "Silver Sigil" --> "Award of Ferocity"
- "Gold Sigil" --> "Award of Valor"

I like those much better.


The individual medals above those are ranked a bit but not as strictly. The Icon of Sivar is the highest, and the other ones can be given on various occasions, so I don't think I can compare any of them directly to the Terran ones. The Kilrathi society works differently after all.

And I'm a sucker for classes and categories, I know, but I like to use "Award" for the lesser medals and "Icon" for the more individual ones. Except the Imperial Salute, which is something I like the concept of and thus is named differently.

...I forgot my last point while writing. Whatever.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Somehow this thread has developed into a general one for my mod's progress...

Whatever, here's the news:
Since I was high on caffeine anyway yesterday I decided to pull an... well, not quite an all-nighter but a good part of the night was gone. I finished mission 6 now (except some tweaking and so on but that will be done when testing starts) and I worked a bit on the Story. I'm still a bit stuck there.
I'm now starting mission 7. It doesn't sound that great on paper but since none of my missions was created like my paper draft said that' nothing to worry about.

I'm also playing with some ship stats right now.
Since Saga is pretty well balanced and the fighter stats fit I don't want to change too much of it, but here's what I did until now:
- I changed the number of decoys for some Kilrathi fighters, especially those of the Darket and Dralthi. Otherwise you just can't survive any mission against confed fighters. Both Darket and Dralthi retain small numbers of decoys compared to confed ships, but enough that you can survive a ten minute mission on medium difficulty. I also admit that in most missions of my campaign confed fighters don't carry the normal missile load, otherwise you have not the slightest chance to beat them. Gameplay has priority so I changed most enemy missile loadout to prevent them from firing Spiculums at you every five seconds. On medium difficulty one of them will kill you so it is hard enough already with that small number of decoys aboard.
- I'm thinking of giving the Darket glide capability. It is a modern light fighter and only the player will profit from the change, and it will make the Darket more fun to fly. It isn't that much fun now with just two heat-seekers and two meson guns and no armor. I'll test that and report back.
- I changed the available missile loadout on the Kilrathi fighters so all of them are at least capable to carry dumbfire missiles instead of their regular ones, and those fighters that were formerly capable of carrying FF or IR missiles only now can also choose all other types of missiles. They still have their standard loadout with the missiles they had in Saga, but if the player is using them he can change it (provided the mission designer allows him to).
Heavy fighters and bombers also can carry mines if needed. I made some funny bombing runs against static targets already, but otherwise the mines are pretty useless. With a bit of scripting one could do interesting missions with them though.

Any more input on the medals?
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Another update from me.
Due to the soccer euro cup I haven't done that much in FRED in the last few days but I have been busy writing a bit of the story. Introducing the characters takes up a lot of lines in the text but I think that is important because you have to know the characters to understand how they will react to the situations they are going to encounter in the game. My mod will not contain such high amounts as text in the missions like Saga does, for both practical reasons and faster gameplay, reading the texts will be completely optional. They will be presented in a fiction viewer and maybe also as a PDF for those who don't like reading long fiction viewer entries.
I'm not sure yet how long the story will be, I have drafts for some chapters ready and will see how it turns out once I have writte the detailed texts.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Aaand here's the next update, ladies and gentlemen:

Today I did some basic things on the gameplay front.
FS2 refueling seems to be either broken in the Saga build or I'm just too dumb to create support ships (the latter possibility is the more likely I have to admit). Anyway, I brought the Kofar support ship ingame, which is a variant of the Naktarg shuttle for rearming and refueling WCP style.
I created a small event chain to have the refueling work. It only works once per mission at the moment but that will be sufficient for my campaign. I might rework it to be available multiple times, but that's a future thing.

I also realized there were some problems with the models of the Bloodfang, Paktahn, Gothri and Khahaf that prevented refueling so I edited the models to make sure refueling works. I didn't test the refueling/rearming with the Ekapshi, but that isn't necessary anyway since I think the Ekapshi won't have to refuel because it is an atmospherical fighter.

Next on the list is finishing mission 7 and more working on the story. I got a nice idea that could mean a change in the mission script if it works. Let's see...
Stay tuned for more!
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Another small update from me:

After finishing the first version of my simulator mission I went back to my mod.
I rebalanced the Gothri and Bloodfang a bit (flying the Gothri felt really not good IMO) and I finished mission 7.

Mission 8 is about mining jump points. And I wanted to do it differently, because the mining missions I know (I think it was just one in WC3 and one in Saga I remember), just didn't feel that special. They were just the same like any other mission, except that you pressed a button three or four times after all enemies were gone (and you had less missiles).
And then... three mines for a whole jump point? Come on!
And nobody but me seems to drop mines? You cannot be serious!! If those aren't nuke mines (which they aren't I think) this is not going to work.

So I worked on some nice little scripts I hope people will like:

There is now a simple mining event (no not gathering metal out of rocks or something. Minelaying.)
That means that unlike in WC3 the player isn't the only one mining a jump point while everybody else watches but everybody else is also dropping mines. IMO it looks pretty awesome when a flight of bombers is mining a jump point.

Then I wondered whether I could turn the whole thing up a notch, so I created a slightly altered version where capships throw turret mines overboard. There were some problems with that since turret mines are technically ships. So actually I had to spawn ships. Ok, that's possible, but then they got random names and since I have to reference them in other events it took some time to figure out how to do it. But now it works, and it looks nice.

I liked the idea of also using turret mines to mine jump points, so I did it. (Not my idea of course. Saga did it and I think I also remember it from somewhere else.) I have to wait for testers to play it and tell me whether it is also fun for them, but for me it feels pretty unique. Guarding capships while they mine the place.

Mission 8 is almost finished now, it just lacks some balancing and messages. Two more to go (not counting tech demos for other modders, like the refueling and cloaking stuff)

I'll report back soon, stay tuned!
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
The weekend and monday were rather productive for me, here's my report:

On Friday I worked on a working 2D main menu for the mod, which will be used until the final 3D main hall is completed. That way a release of the mod even without the main hall is possible in case it can't be completed in time. The main menu doesn't look as professional as others I have seen, but its creation showed me how to handle the tools, which may be very useful once the 3D main hall is finished and has to be integrated into the game. With that the menu screens are completed - for now. I went to bed in a good mood, and decided to continue my work on Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday my fiancée entered the room where I had been half of the afternoon, and when she had been standing behind the chair I was sitting in for some time she said I looked unhappy. And she was right. I had been staring at the mission editor for at least five minutes, feeling somewhat discontent with what I had been working on. The missions themselves were OK so far, but something just didn't feel right.

So I took a long, relaxing breath through my cat's fur, then I sat back and thought about what was missing. And it became clear to me, like a ray of light breaking through a cloudy sky on a autumn morning in the valleys of the Black Forest:

My briefings are boring.

The thought sat in my mind, filling me with crushing despair. What would the (approximately four) players think of me when they played my missions? Like talking heads of Wing Commander wingmen I could see them in front of my inner eye, shaking their heads and saying: "Seems like Aginor can't use the briefing editor properly, he just did text briefings. What a pathetic descendant of monkeys!"

Eyes wide open in shock I clenched my fist around my mouse. This is not going to happen! At least not that way! I could feel the adrenaline raging through my veins as I opened FRED once again, and worked through a tutorial on how to create briefings.

It turned out that creating briefings is not very hard, but when I looked through the available tactical icons I felt a surge of panic, a shiver crawling up my spine; They weren't there. There were some, but not nearly enough for the task that lay ahead of me. It was then that it came to my mind that Wing Commander Saga had cutscenes for briefings, and that there were neither briefing icons for all the ships, nor was it possible to add a bigger number of briefing icons to the editor.
So I decided to create a set of generic icons for ship class roles instead of individual icons. Individual fighters, bombers, support craft, capital ships and groups of each type had to be generated as files the editor can use, and integrated into the settings tables of the editor.

At two o'clock in the morning they were finally finished, and I could go to bed without the fear for nightmares where angry briefing-fetishists hunted me through the woods.

The next morning I woke up, determined to try out those icons and see how complex briefings worked. And indeed the briefing icons, albeit not being perfect in their shape, size and quality, were usable for creating briefings that give the player a much better impression on what he is supposed to do during the mission than the previously used text-only briefings could achieve.
So I spent the whole Sunday creating briefings for my eight already completed missions, interrupted only for drinking, eating, and once in a while sniffing the cat. During that process I also added some details to those missions that still lacked a few things, and took the chance to take notes for refining the story for my mod. In the evening I continued writing on my story while I watched the finale of the soccer Euro championship.

So as you see, dear readers, my mod is progressing nicely.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
I already asked for this at several places, but it can't hurt to try here again as well:

I need a player portrait for my Kilrathi mod, and since I'm not able to draw anything more complex than XKCD style I will need some help with it.
In other forums I described how Kilrathi look like, but I think I won't have to tell you that :D

I am aiming for the Wing Commander 3 style Kilrathi, but since I am not capable of creating something that even remotely resembles a Kilrathi myself my standards are not that high.

This gallery should also be interesting, it shows the face shapes quite well:
https://www.wcnews.com/articles/wc3kilrathigallery.shtml

The Kilrathi can either wear a WC3 style Kilrathi helmet on his face (like seen in the Kilrathi comm animations or here: https://cdn.wcnews.com/newestshots/full/SMALLWC3SetPhotoMythicBox1Scan0261.jpg ) or not, I leave that to you.
He should have a neutral face expression (which means not too aggressive, no bared fangs or something) and he should look rather young (so no grey streaked fur or something similar that makes him look old).
The fur color doesn't matter much, do what you think looks cool, but the fur should not be too short, more like that of a persian cat or Thrakhath.

If you want to help me with that, please PM me or post here :)
 
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Aginor

Vice Admiral
Random thought of the day: I did a mission that looks cool but I can't beat it myself on medium.
Do I suck at mission design or at playing? Or both?

On a related note: I still haven't started missions nine and ten but I have almost finished the Strakha demo. My cloaking script is cool now. It still has some minor bugs but it was fun to do it.
I also worked a bit more on the story. And I think I'm doing far too much of it. The good news is that nobody has to read that novel in order to play the game and have fun.

...and I admit this is hardly any news. This is more kind of a thread bump to ask politely whether anyone has considered trying to do a Kilrathi player portrait for my mod or knows where I could ask to find a talented artist. :)
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Hey, whoa! Look what I found! I searched for it back when I mentioned it at the start of this thread, but I couldn't find it - thought it was lost to the ages. But here it is, the unconverted version of the Kilrathi HUD from UE. The first image is the grayscale transparency map (white is transparent), the second are the graphics themselves. And yeah, I'm afraid that's as big as they get - 256x256 :p.


kat893_tr.png
kat893.png
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Cool, thanks!
Like them very much. Are those Kilrathi letters just made up or is there a system behind them?
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Cool, thanks!
Like them very much. Are those Kilrathi letters just made up or is there a system behind them?
For the most part, they are based on the Jrathek from Academy - if you look closely at the Jrathek shot you posted in the HUD threat (where, I suppose, I should have posted this), you will see that the autopilot and eject displays are taken from there. Only the missile warning is made up. Alternatively, it might be that the eject warning is made up, while the missile warning is from Academy - I forget which is which :).

By the way, you are welcome to use these in your mod - you'll need to modify them extensively to turn them into whatever you need for FS2, so they'd wind up being just about original work anyway.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
I already wondered if I should use Kilrathi script in the HUDs.
I decided not to do it because, well, Kilrathi can actually read that, the player can't. It works for the Jrathek because the other ships in the game have the same HUD gauge, just with "auto" on it. People recognize what it means without knowing it.
You wouldn't do a Star Trek mod where everything is written in Klingon, would you?
....ok, I would totally do that normally. :D

...I still wonder If I should do some stuff in Kilrathi anyway, I personally think it would look cool. The HUD gauges I could change (I'm not sure about some of them) would be
- Autopilot
- Blast warning
- Engine wash warning
- Collision alarm
- Missile evaded
- Cloaking state gauge in the Strakha

Missile warning, Lock warning etc. use pictograms. And the escort list, goals, velocities, distances and stuff are generated by the code so they are in a certain font I can't change. Also you have to be able to read them. Given the fact that you are supposed to be a Kilrathi (who really understands all that stuff) it kinda makes sense to do it in English.

So you already see: If I change all of them most people can't tell them apart anymore, and if I only change some of them you could ask why I didn't change all of them. And if I change none of them people could say they are lame.

...so basically I'm screwed. :(

What do you guys suggest?
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Firstly, I don't think anyone will actually mind if you're inconsistent. So far, every time the Kilrathi show up, they're either English or inconsistent. In Academy, you get those graphical displays using Kilrathi fonts, but then everything displayed on the VDUs is in English. Armada, IIRC, is all English, although they might have had one or two graphical displays with Kilrathi writing. Incidentally, nobody complained about Armada's lack of Kilrathi writing - and nobody complained about Arena's lack of Kilrathi writing.

In UE, there was technically no reason to have Kilrathi displays - you seem to be using some kind of retinal display for the HUD in WCP/SO, after all. We still had them... and we were just as inconsistent as Academy. Anything done as graphics used Kilrathi writing, while anything written in text used the same fonts as the rest of the game. That said, if I were to make a new WC game in the future putting the player in a Kilrathi ship - yeah, I'd have Kilrathi fonts.

In your case, I would say you should at least use Kilrathi writing for the gauges - so again, anything that's graphical. For everything else... can you at least add the option of switching between Kilrathi and normal fonts? It's ok that that Kilrathi stuff will be written in English but using a Kilrathi font - that's the way it's always been. I think it would be an awesome option because hey - if I was able to learn to read the old Norse runes in Ultima, if I was able to learn to read Daedric in Morrowind, I see no reason why I couldn't learn to read Kilrathi here.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
if I was able to learn to read the old Norse runes in Ultima, if I was able to learn to read Daedric in Morrowind, I see no reason why I couldn't learn to read Kilrathi here.
I'm also a fan of that, I love it when the letters actually make sense so I can learn them. Most people aren't though. Remember that we are what people outside of the community call "hardcore fans" :)

Unfortunately I think I cannot switch between Romaji and Kilrathiji (LOL) in the game, because those gauges I can change are graphics and their filenames are hardcoded. So I have to take one and use it...
But as I think about it: blast, evaded, and engine wash are not really necessary, so maybe nobody will mind if they are Kilrathi. The autopilot gauge's status is visible because it glows when active and there is also a sound "proceed to next waypoint" when it is ready. So I might give Kilrathiji a try. I'll include the original English files in my mod as well so if someone has a problem with Kilrathiji he can just change them by copying the English files in a certain directory...
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
That's why I said, make all the graphics using the Kilrathi font. For the graphics, it just doesn't matter. What you should try to do is make all normal texts optional, so that the player can see them either with one font or the other.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Those fonts are in some weird graphics format I don't understand and don't know how to make. It would be fun to change that but I think I would need the source code to do it. And the WCS source code wasn't released yet.

I could _maybe_ just exchange the font file if I find out how to create a Kilrathi one, but then ALL text including menus and stuff would be in Kilrathi. I think not even you would enjoy that. ;)
...I have to try it though, it would be hilarious! :D :D :D

optional overlay texts?... maybe possible via scripting, but would require a lot of work. I'm not sure if it would work at all, must try it.
 
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