Mission building help (WCPPascal)

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
So with some advice from several of our resident tech masters I'm taking my first steps into learning mission building using the WCPPascal program. I am extremly grateful for the help thus far guys (you know who you are) but I'm concerned I'm starting to be a pest, so I'm starting this thread on here. Plus I'm hoping the thread will grow to become a source of information for others who want to learn how to craft their own missions for WCSO.

Here is what I'm using:

WCPPascal
needed extra file
Wing Commander Secret Ops from GOG

I'm using this tutorial as my guide.

So here is where I am now. Okay got WCSO installed (rather painful trying to download it over the hotel's horribly limited WiFi, started the download yesterday when I left for work and it finished sometime today). Got WCPPascal downloaded and installed. Over the last 2 hours roughly going through the first tutorial linked above. Well... some hick ups. First off the "I suspect I missed something" question. The tutorial references several files for additional information, like the names of ships and pilots and such. The files it references are WCP.pas, pilots.pas and ships.pas. Where are these files supposed to be/come from? Initially I thought maybe they were files in the various tre files for WCSO so I extracted all the files from all the tre files. nope. Not there. So... where are these files supposed to come from?

Next thing. Following the tutorial. I go to compile the mission file. I hit 'compile'. I get a series of 3 errors messages in the output window.
[,1] HINT: c:\gog games\ws[[ascal\lib\ doesn't exist.
-well yeah. It doesn't. Do I need to create it?
[s0,40 ERROR: could not include file wcp.pas - was not found!
-so I'm guessing those files I was asking about, those are needed huh?
[s0,4] raised in, line 0 (call stack: < < < )
-um... what? I don't have a line 0.

So there is where I stand now. Thanks for the help everyone.
 
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Quarto

Unknown Enemy
You know, this should be in the editing forum - I hardly ever look in the tech forum, it's pure luck I saw the title of this thread on the main page...

Hmm. Ok. I see the problem. The version you've downloaded is actually only an update - all it includes is the executables (and, ironically, they are buggy - r24d did not work correctly, and Thomas never fixed it before disappearing). So you really can't get anything done with it, because you're missing the rest of the package.

Can you try the file I've uploaded with this post? I'm really not sure if it contains all you need, but at least it should. Note that you'll need to configure all the paths again.
 

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Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
Can you try the file I've uploaded with this post? I'm really not sure if it contains all you need, but at least it should. Note that you'll need to configure all the paths again.
so I tried downloading the package you linked up Quarto. Um... I can not extract the files from it. I keep getting an error that reads: 0x80004005: Unspecified Error.

I get this same error no matter how I attempt to get the files, weather I use Windows Extract command, or if I open the archive and try copying them.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
You know, this should be in the editing forum - I hardly ever look in the tech forum, it's pure luck I saw the title of this thread on the main page...
As an aside, can we get a MOD to move the thread to the editing forum or should I just C+P this into a new thread there?
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
so I tried downloading the package you linked up Quarto. Um... I can not extract the files from it. I keep getting an error that reads: 0x80004005: Unspecified Error.

I get this same error no matter how I attempt to get the files, weather I use Windows Extract command, or if I open the archive and try copying them.
Um, ok, let's try that again. I forgot how to use Windows' built-in zip function, and used 7-zip instead. I'm sure you could extract the archive using 7-zip, but to save you the trouble, here it is again zipped up using the Windows "send to zip folder" option.

Now, I've been thinking. I mean, this current situation we have with WCP editing is a nightmare. It is utterly ridiculous that we've reached a point where perhaps five people actually know what to do with WCPPas, and of these five people, possibly zero remember all the ins and outs of even the basic details like setting up the darn thing. And then there's the various bits of voodoo magic, like the fact that you're not supposed to use version 24d unless you need to compile a mission with one particular function (specifically: version 24d allows you to have a background loop function running in the gameflow, allowing you to have cyclical events in the gameflow, for instance this-is-a-scramble voiceovers), because the version is otherwise buggy and unreliable.

It's disgusting, and all the more so when you consider how many other tools we have. I don't even know what other tools we have. I don't remember. Very often we'd ask HCl to give us a specific tool, and he'd do so by modifying an existing tool - and then you have a bunch of executables with the same name, doing similar things, and... well, you know they're all important, but why? What do they do?

Aaaaand on top of all that, there's all the cool stuff that came in those dev backup archives, such as the original MED. How do you set it up, what do you do with it? Oh, you'll figure it out. A couple of people did, after all.

The only positive aspect of this mess is that most of these tools are still held by someone, even if we often don't even recall what's where. Furthermore, there is also a range of tutorials - yes, there actually are some decent tutorials for editing WCP. I know, I wrote some of them. Apart from that mission editing tutorial that Pedro wrote which you linked above, there's a whole range of tutorials at KillerWave's website (does anyone even remember @KillerWave? That's another longtimer gone for a long time - fortunately, his site got Solsectored, so it's still there). And there's actually a pretty decent range of help files for WCPPas itself, written by Thomas Bruckner - his website is long gone (though you can still see most of it in the web archive - http://web.archive.org/web/20050306064245/http://tbruckner.esmartweb.com/ ), but I'm pretty sure we've got a good part of it archived. Certainly I have all the help files (and I hope I've included them in this zip).

In spite of all, this, amazingly enough I still have the gall to every once in a while complain about how nobody else seems to have taken up the mantle of producing WCP mods after we finished Standoff. As if we haven't tried our hardest to make it impossible! Certainly, there are things in Standoff I would have no idea how to do any more. Fortunately, for some of these things (like importing capships) there are newer, and better, tools and methods available that we didn't have. But they're just as scattered all over the place. Anyway, I do see that some brave souls have attempted to add tools and things to the WCPedia - but as we can see from this discussion, they didn't do a good job of it, because of all these nuances that we take for granted - like the fact that the 24d release was just an update, and not a complete release. So, here's what we really, really need: we need volunteers, who can take upon themselves the task of documenting the entire process of editing WCP from start to finish. Everything. But that's the long-term goal. The initial goal should be just to gather up all the tools and tutorials that already exist, and just put them all in the same place, with some kind of decent landing page that anyone who wants to try editing can go to, and see what's out there. Start by collecting into one place, and then expand by adding more info.

Should anyone be willing to take up this task, I will obviously do my best to assist by providing all the WCP gunk that I've got here. Much of it is a great big mess, I don't know what some of this stuff is, and some of it is no longer needed anyway. But it's something. I'll also help by answering questions as much as my time permits. I can't promise I'd write tutorials or things like that, because it probably won't happen until I finish my PhD - and then who knows what new thing will be keeping me busy? Let's do something, though, because this situation has gone on more than long enough!
 

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I was planning on setting up a modding section of the WCpedia when I finished the MUP. My first tutorial would go there plus any future ones for doing epods, turrets, and cap ships.

I'm also playing around with MED, it's pretty useful, I might put something together around it as well.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
Wow Quarto. I wish I could do more then just say 'Thank" but sadly that's all I can do. I just do not have the programming background you or HCI or anyone who worked on the various fan projects possess. However, I am a stubborn person and I'm working on learning some programming. Part of that will include WCP so I will be happy to document my efforts and experience for the benefit of others. That is kind of the reason I started this thread rather then contacting you or Popcicle directly. well, the secondary reason anyway.
 

Adm_maverick

Rear Admiral
Actually I think I've found a way I can provide at least some minimal early one help to this en devour. Whenever I encounter a question or situation when working with any of the tools out there for Wing Commander I'll post up what the situation is. If I find a solution to it later on, I will post that following it. This way I think it will help provide a common basis of understanding between everyone while helping to standardize our approaches. No offense intended, but I think one of the reasons so few people have tried to follow you into WCP modding Quarto, is.. well not to put too fine a point on it but people like you, HCI, PopsiclePete, ect... well you guys are friggen gods to us. I mean hell, you made us a new game. 2 actually. But the problem is there is such a gulf of base knowledge between people like you and people like me... I mean like as an example. I was trying to use HCI's treman to pull the files out of the tre files in WCP and it wasn't working. I didn't know you needed to run it in dosbox. Just that little bit of info. But I spent the better part of a week end scouring the WCPedia and HCI's site looking for some bit of information to try and help myself with using it. The bit about needing to run it in Dosbox was apparently overlooked so no one mentioned until I spelled out the exact steps I was taking.
 
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