Original Wing Commander Artist Here.

Howard Day

Random art guy.
Hi, Denis! I love the Duros pilot art - I might hit you up for some character concept art. :) Anyhow, I wanted to chime in and add my appreciation for all the work you did! WC1/2 were huge influences in my formative years, and the artistic style and richness of the artwork made quite the lasting impression. Also, I've been a fan of some of your more recent exploits (Non-Prophets), and should probably get around to supporting your Patreon page. So, I've got three questions for you:
1.) The art on the back of the WC1 box has haunted my young mind for a long time. I know they're commonly called "bullshots" but I was wondering if those images ever had a basis in fact and reality. Are the more laser-like bolts something that fell by the wayside like the "Tape" option? How about the little lights on the ships? ..are you the one that mocked up those bullshots, thus driving me to at least 2 weeks of solid command.sys and autoexec.bat tweaking - hoping against hope that there was EMS somewhere that would summon forth the higher quality of graphics? :)
2.) Do you have any work in progress/ earlier revisions of the artwork you did for Origin still around? I'm sure the cockpits went though at least a couple of revisions before what we experienced was approved.
3.) Have you seen this? http://www.hedfiles.net/ConcordiaHangar/ConcordiaHangar.html And if so, what do you think? It's unfinished, but I was really trying to emulate the style of the original art, just with more pixels.

Anyhow, I'm stoked to see you on the forums, and thanks again for all your hard work!
 

Dondragmer

Rear Admiral
Oh yes, we still discuss the WC1 and WC2 graphics a lot around here. I can't speak for anyone else, but I remain fascinated by the combination of art and programming involved in getting the most out of low resolution, limited palettes, limited memory and synthesised audio. For example, see this discussion about your WC1 explosion from a month ago. (And apologies for doing so - I wouldn't want any of my 25-year-old work subjected to that much scrutiny.)

Mekt-Hakkikt I was walking a fine line with the colors! The more different colors you have, the faster you eat up your 256 color limit with the different necessary shades of each color. That's why the backgrounds sometimes looked a little -- or a lot -- posterized. It's because the forground objects left only a few colors for the background.
The Wing Commander games always seemed slightly unusual in having a single fixed palette for the entire game. It must surely have been an agonising process trying to "lock down" that palette - you couldn't finalise any artwork until the palette was chosen, but how do you choose the colors when you don't know what the artwork will be? Were you involved in that step?

If it helps to refresh your memory, here is the Wing Commander 1 palette (displayed in DeluxePaint Animation for maximum familiarity.)
Palette WC1.png


Here is the Wing Commander 2 palette. I find it particularly interesting that WC1, unlike almost every game of the early MCGA era, did not reserve the first 16 slots for the EGA colors - but WC2 did.
Palette WC2.png


I think WC1 looked more cohesive for having a single palette throughout. In WC2, did you ever wish you could remap it for the full-screen animated sequences? In particular, the Concordia landing sequences seem to be filled with neat light and shade effects that are sadly mapped into grays and browns. Here is a Broadsword landing - there are a total of 5 sequences with the same motion but different fighter models.
WC2 Broadsword landing on Concordia 2x.gif


The palette works fine in the launch and most of the other sequences; I singled out the landing because it's unusual. Jdawg, are these the animations you were asking about, or did you mean the 2D parts?

The cockpits were a lot of fun. I'd kind of zone-out when doing them, just layering dithered gradients and throwing in highlights and shadows. I tried to create a unique feel for each cockpit, some were very geometric, and others all curves. Some were rugged and thick, and others were thin and spindly. I think we even managed to have a side-mounted joystick in one of them. But they all had to display the same amount of information, so I moved all the items around to make each layout slightly different.
Yes, the famously sluggish WC1 Scimitar gained a lot of atmosphere from its distinctive cockpit layout. When you were drawing, were you told that this one was the obsolete fighter that everyone would hate flying?
Bhurak5.png


Yes, the WC2 Ferret has the joystick on the side. If it were in the middle, it would block the speed display.
WC2-Cockpit.png
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jdawg

Commodore
denis thanks for your reply my avatar is from wc1, which also has great animations, but the take off and landing sequence from wc2 will forever be my favorite, as I said before my introduction to wing commander was wc2 when I was about 8 at a friend's house, up to that point all I ever played was Nintendo, so the first time I saw wing commander 2 my jaw dropped it was so cinematic to me and still holds up excellent today. even though wc4 is my favorite of the series thanks to the story wc2 is right there with it.

dondragmer- I was talking about the whole sequence of the take off and landing, including when you see bluehair talking about what happened on the mission. the thing I like most about the gif you posted is how the ship is coming at the camera and the shadow effect on the ship when it passes under the hanger
 

Jdawg

Commodore
ps am i the only one who actually likes the scimitar from wc1 thought it could take a beating and give out good amounts of punishments,

my least fav ship in all the games is the ferret its so fast that sometimes I would hit a ship that I didnt even see.
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
Oh yes, we still discuss the WC1 and WC2 graphics a lot around here. I can't speak for anyone else, but I remain fascinated by the combination of art and programming involved in getting the most out of low resolution, limited palettes, limited memory and synthesised audio.
You're not alone in that, this post by Denis absolutely blew my mind. I've had to go back and watch the WC1 scramble animation in very low frame rate as a result:


I really liked the scramble animation! They shot some guys on a treadmill, and gave me the images to rotoscope from. I kept it simple and silhouette-like in order to keep the memory requirements low.
I have *always* loved that scene, and even as a kid found it slightly haunting because of how lifelike the movements of those two guys were, and no wonder, they're rotoscoped from a couple of guys on a treadmill. No wonder their movements look so natural and real.



...pretty damn good for 1990.

Denis, do you recall off hand if you added the pilot's helmet to the images you used in rotoscope during the scramble animation? Or did they shoot a guy running along wearing some kind of bike helmet? It still looks great, even today.
 
Last edited:

Stinger

Vice Admiral
Hi Denis,

I noticed during my recent work on Kilrathi Saga that you guys used a single 256-color palette throughout the entire game. Was there a particular reason for this? It seems that the "Meanwhile..." sequences in particular could have benefited from specialized palettes, although I do like the comic-book style that you get out of the low color count. Overall, I'm amazed at the apparent graphical diversity throughout the game; you guys got a certain richness of color out of that palette, and it had a tremendous impact on the feel of the game. Thanks for all your hard work!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Denis Loubet

Space Marshal
Man! I thought the questions had all dried up, but then I saw the little page indicator telling me there were 2 pages. Duh! :rolleyes:

Howard Day 1. Guilty as charged! The cover had a few "enhancements" that caused a bit of a controversy over the use of the phrase "What you see is what you play!" :eek: Of course the resolution of the Kilrathi fighter had to be drastically increased by hand, and so adding things like running lights, and stars, and extra detail in the explosion seemed an innocent enough excursion from reality. I must have faked the laser bolts too if what you say is true. Are all the weapon shot graphics in WC1 circular, I could have sworn there were elongated ones. Then again, I seem to dimly remember an issue with elongated directional laser blast graphics being problematic. I think I tried to fight for them, but ultimately lost because they couldn't spend the cycles figuring out the 3D orientation of each and every laser bolt out there. And that makes perfect sense.
Are you sure there are no running lights on the ships in the game? I remember inserting them when I was touching-up all the views of the ships.
2. I wish! Origin was not too big on archiving, though, and so much of it is lost. The cockpits, however, were pretty much left to me to lay out. They only came to me if they had a specific problem with them. I pretty much laid them out in DeluxePaint, without much in the way of preliminary sketches. I depended a lot on being able to move things around with cut and paste.
3. Sorry man, not working on my system. Can't wait to see it though. :)

Dondragmer The depth of analysis is actually pretty cool! 386 was the hot machine, for sure. ;)
If I'd had a separate palette for each scene, I would probably be minus a left nut. That was a pretty obnoxious limitation. Anything rendered suffered the most. Backgrounds created using the palette looked great, but we tried to render some in 3dStudio while we were doing WC2, and they suffered greatly! I was very involved in the palette creation, and tried to cover as many bases as I could. We had our skin-tones, our WC green, our WCtan, etc. We learned as we went along: You'll notice that explosions took up 2 full rows in WC1, but only 1 row in WC2. It was, as you surmised, agonizing!
Yeah, one palette made all the rendered stull looked like crap! It could have looked MUCH better! :(
And yeah, I got the lowdown on the ships, and then did the cockpits. I'd also look at the renders of the ships to kind of imagine what the window arrangement would look like. On the Scimitar I tried to deliberately place the readouts in awkward places so you would have to be looking everywhere at once.
I love that the same hand animation worked for the Ferret. :D

Jdawg Ah! I was talking about the WC1 landings. I would have loved the stuff we did for WC2 if the color palettes had been scene specific. But the horrible posterization just chewed them up too much. The one thing that is good about them is the smooth, realistic motion! The actual renders looked great, but I suspect those are lost forever. :(
Yeah, the Scimitar was big and lumbering, but it could take a lot of damage! :)

-danr- Perhaps you players can verify that no two scramble animations are exactly alike? I know I did a bacground section with the ALERT sign, and then one with the Blast door housing, and another with DECK 12 on it, etc, and I was assured that they would be assembled randomly for each scramble.
Yeah, I think I added the helmet as art. Are the leg animations really as scrambled as they look in that gif? I don't really get a sense of motion. :(
But yeah, this stuff was pretty good for the day. :)

Stinger Thanks! :D Alas, I was not privy to the programmers reasoning for a single palette. I could only try to make the best of it by designing the best palette I could. I was pretty much in charge of that. At the time we just didn't have the tools to better match the renders to the palette. :(

Sorry for the late reply! :D

P.S. Did you know I invented the radar display? :D
 
Last edited by a moderator:

mfl79

Spaceman
Prior to Wing Commander I had various primate consoles like Atari 2600, later an XT 80-88 with 4MHz, then 286 with 16MHz, and when we finally got our VGA 256 colors card we bought Wing Commander not knowing what to expect.. and that scramble animation had blown us away.. I never thought something like this was even possible :))
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
-danr- Perhaps you players can verify that no two scramble animations are exactly alike? I know I did a bacground section with the ALERT sign, and then one with the Blast door housing, and another with DECK 12 on it, etc, and I was assured that they would be assembled randomly for each scramble.
Yeah, I think I added the helmet as art. Are the leg animations really as scrambled as they look in that gif? I don't really get a sense of motion. :(
But yeah, this stuff was pretty good for the day. :)
You're right, there is variation in the scramble animation - off the top of my head, the guys we see running can be the pilot with his helmet on, the guy with curly hair (possibly a tech, possibly another pilot, always thought he might be 'Knight') and also, as per the video below, the tech running down the corridor wearing his hat.

...also, as for your concern that the scramble animations don't look so good, fear not, it's just a lousy GIF. I think the motion is quite clear in real play, here's a better picture of how it looks:

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Howard Day

Random art guy.
Denis: Aww, thanks for the response, sir! So, as far as I know, the renders of the ships in WC1 look like straight renders. As seen here:
https://cdn.wcnews.com/newestshots/full/wc1ships.png (Extracted directly from the game)
Note that some of the lines for things like gun barrels (Hornet) and fins (Gratha, Rapier) have aliased breaks in them - and no running lights to be seen. It would absolutely KILL me if I knew that you had done work to clean them up and add little details..and that it never got into the published game! Arrrgh, I'm a little frustrated just at the thought. :p
On the cockpits, I totally understand. A while back I worked with HCl to get a new cockpit into the WC2/Academy engine - it was a lot of fun, and I found myself copy/pasting a lot of stuff around, just like you describe.

And I'm sorry that link doesn't run for you! Could I ask what system you're running? I can make a downloadable build for you that should work. Alternatively, could you tell me what is breaking? In the meantime, here's a link to some fairly up to date screenshots - I havent had a chance to work on it in a long time, and I still intend to finish it.
https://www.wcnews.com/chatzone/threads/broadsword-in-the-concordias-hangar.27066/page-4#post-385542
Thanks again for answering!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Mekt-Hakkikt

Mpanty's bane
(...)
P.S. Did you know I invented the radar display? :D
Then we even have more to thank you for! The WC radar is one the easiest and yet most helpful radar screens I ever encountered!

Man, WC 1 and WC 2 really are nearly perfect games and you obviously contributed a lot it, thank you, thank you, thank you! The Kilrathi are my favourite alien species because of the way you drew them!

I also recall that there are several different WC1 scramble scenes... (with helmet, without helmet, slightly different backgrounds).
 

Denis Loubet

Space Marshal
Hello again! :)

mfl79 I know, right? We just figured we'd load a few things into memory, and then play them back in different combinations. And it worked! The limitations of the medium helped determine the look and composition of the animation. It helped that I knew barely enough programming to ask the right questions of the programmers. A lot of incorrect assumptions were dodged that way. Basic things like making sure the programmers played the running frames as a repeating loop rather than a ping-pong, or random order. :eek: The up and down jogging motion also gave them fits. They wanted to correct for that motion! :confused: They didn't know! No one had done this before.

-danr- Ahhh! :) Thanks -danr-, that's a huge relief! And of course now it looks better than I remember! :rolleyes: Why, it's almost EXCITING!

Howard Day Argh! Now you're making me doubt my memory! :oops: Those look a lot better than I remember. And you're right, no running lights. I could have sworn... :mad:
Since I only clearly remember editing images of the classic Dralthi fighter, I suspect those were the ones used on the cover! The other ships in that png spark no memories, so I suspect I was completely wrong saying I pixel-edited every ship image in the game. :( That's what I get for leaping to assumptions! But now I know the truth! :)
Nice cockpit! I like the layout. I take it you weren't using DeluxePaint? If you were, you could've easily gotten some nice smooth dithered gradients. ;)
Chrome was just complaining about loading the Unity viewer. I'll try straight explorer next.
But the screenshots are awesome! I LOVE the engine glows! What's the red mist?
You know what this scene needs? Huge banks of actinic lights hanging from the ceiling illuminating the scene! With big juicy glows! :D (Yeah, I know, everyone's a critic!)

So to repeat: I did NOT pixel edit the rendered in-game ship frames. That was bad memory and hubris talking. I apologize!:(

Of course, this is now another Wing Commander story to tell! :)

By the way, I did invent the cockpit fonts.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Denis Loubet

Space Marshal
Mekt-Hakkikt Thanks! :) The design for the radar screen came from an idea I had to simulate peripheral vision in 3D games. It would still work today, but might be completely annoying. Basically, I imagined the center of the screen to be your normal first person view, but as you approached the edges of the screen the view becomes more and more compressed and distorted until the rectangle of pixels right at the edge of the screen represent the single pixel directly behind your head. Or more realistically, the rim of pixels at the extreme edges of your peripheral vision. Due to the distortion, you might not be able to tell what it is that's in your virtual peripheral vision, but you would be able to detect motion and color, which is all the input you need to know you need to turn that direction.
I took this idea and applied it to the radar. The edge of the radar is the point directly behind your ship, and although you don't know what the red dots are exactly, you instantly know which direction to turn to quickly bring them into view.
I like procedurally generated things, even if it's a simple random mix-and-match arrangement of pregenerated wall sections and running figures! ;)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Dondragmer

Rear Admiral
You're right, there is variation in the scramble animation - off the top of my head, the guys we see running can be the pilot with his helmet on, the guy with curly hair (possibly a tech, possibly another pilot, always thought he might be 'Knight') and also, as per the video below, the tech running down the corridor wearing his hat.
There are actually 4 heads - helmet, hat, long hair and short hair. See the three different head sequences below.

WC1 Scramble heads 1a.gif


WC1 Scramble heads 2a.gif


WC1 Scramble heads 3a.gif





WC1 Scramble feet 3.gif





WC1 Scramble heads 1b.gif


WC1 Scramble heads 2b.gif


WC1 Scramble heads 3b.gif


Denis, do you recall off hand if you added the pilot's helmet to the images you used in rotoscope during the scramble animation? Or did they shoot a guy running along wearing some kind of bike helmet? It still looks great, even today.
Looking at the data files with WCNAV (they're in SCRAMBLE.VGA), there's a sequence of pictures single headless running figure, and then 4 different heads. Very efficient, and means Denis probably didn't have a separate video of someone running on the treadmill wearing a motorcycle helmet.

The backgrounds that ended up in the game files are fixed, sadly, with two 320*128 pictures that can scroll past endlessly. After noticing the randomized heads, I had always assumed that the backgrounds varied as well, so full marks for making us think that was the case...

WC1 Scramble background heads 1.png
WC1 Scramble background heads 2.png


WC1 Scramble background feet.png


The design for the radar screen came from an idea I had to simulate peripheral vision in 3D games. It would still work today, but might be completely annoying. Basically, I imagined the center of the screen to be your normal first person view, but as you approached the edges of the screen the view becomes more and more compressed and distorted until the rectangle of pixels right at the edge of the screen represent the single pixel directly behind your head. Or more realistically, the rim of pixels at the extreme edges of your peripheral vision. Due to the distortion, you might not be able to tell what it is that's in your virtual peripheral vision, but you would be able to detect motion and color, which is all the input you need to know you need to turn that direction.
Yes, the radar was genius, and I wish that many modern games that represent your radar as a sphere would use the Wing Commander layout instead. Back when Wolfenstein and Ultima Underworld were the hot new thing, and everyone was writing their own ray-casting engine, I briefly experimented with the sort of wraparound view you describe. It looked quite interesting, but became really hard to steer. I just had a simple maze without anything moving in it, so I didn't discover if it helped detect motion.

Howard Day Argh! Now you're making me doubt my memory! :oops: Those look a lot better than I remember. And you're right, no running lights. I could have sworn... :mad:
Since I only clearly remember editing images of the classic Dralthi fighter, I suspect those were the ones used on the cover! The other ships in that png spark no memories, so I suspect I was completely wrong saying I pixel-edited every ship image in the game. :( That's what I get for leaping to assumptions! But now I know the truth!
Did you draw the Tiger's Claw as it appears in the Vega Sector ending? It's one frame, but it's a really detailed one, and clearly not a direct render. It also feels like someone viewed it and decided that the WC2 capital ship textures in 3D Studio should look like that...

WC1 Tigers Claw from Vega Sector ending.png


The animation it appears in also features directional projectiles.
WC1 Tigers Claw from Vega Sector ending.gif
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Howard Day

Random art guy.
Hello again! :)
Howard Day Argh! Now you're making me doubt my memory! :oops: Those look a lot better than I remember. And you're right, no running lights. I could have sworn... :mad:
Since I only clearly remember editing images of the classic Dralthi fighter, I suspect those were the ones used on the cover! The other ships in that png spark no memories, so I suspect I was completely wrong saying I pixel-edited every ship image in the game. :( That's what I get for leaping to assumptions! But now I know the truth! :)
Nice cockpit! I like the layout. I take it you weren't using DeluxePaint? If you were, you could've easily gotten some nice smooth dithered gradients. ;)
Chrome was just complaining about loading the Unity viewer. I'll try straight explorer next.
But the screenshots are awesome! I LOVE the engine glows! What's the red mist?
You know what this scene needs? Huge banks of actinic lights hanging from the ceiling illuminating the scene! With big juicy glows! :D (Yeah, I know, everyone's a critic!)
So to repeat: I did NOT pixel edit the rendered in-game ship frames. That was bad memory and hubris talking. I apologize!:(
Of course, this is now another Wing Commander story to tell! :)
By the way, I did invent the cockpit fonts.
Youch. well that's good, then! I'm glad there wasn't a bunch of work that got lost by the wayside!
As for the cockpit, no, I just used Photoshop, which is absolutely bald-faced cheating, but you know...I don't feel that bad. :p
The red mist is going to be where the 8 bays are against the back wall of the Concordia hangar - I'm going for smokey matienence ambiance in those spaces. I just wish I could get all the work that I want to get done, done. :p Too many busies.
I do plan on adding those very same massive overhead lights. Like you, I really loved how much of a sense of scale they added to the original art!

Did you draw the Tiger's Claw as it appears in the Vega Sector ending? It's one frame, but it's a really detailed one, and clearly not a direct render. It also feels like someone viewed it and decided that the WC2 capital ship textures in 3D Studio should look like that...
Yeah, I did. What of it? :p

For the interested, more here:
https://www.wcnews.com/news/2008/02/27/bengal-gets-its-tiger-stripes
https://www.wcnews.com/news/2008/03/20/final-details-applied-to-pioneer-bengal

Also, that's a really cool call out, I hope Denis did do that. it's certainly got those smooth DeluxePaint gradients going on!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Denis Loubet

Space Marshal
Yikes, I'll all announced and stuff on the front page! :D

Dondragmer I forgot we did separate heads, but of course that would conserve even more memory. The heads don't have any animation frames, they're just a single image that moves around. The legs definitely have a sense of motion and direction now. I'm shocked that there are just 3 background plates! I felt sure I did more, but if I did, they'd be there. I guess they could arrange the 2 upper background plates in any of 4 combinations. AB, BA, AA, BB. :confused:
I figured the wraparound distortion of the virtual peripheral vision would start fairly close to the edges of the screen, leaving a large central area free of distortion. But I suspect the reality of such a screen might very well be visually confusing and annoying! :rolleyes:
Yes, I drew that Tiger's Claw, the highlights and gradients are distinctive! That tumbling panel was modeled on a half-crumpled index card as reference.
There were some elongated laser blasts in that animation, but even then you can see that some of them are not lined up with their direction of motion. I suspect a lot of that would have been really ugly in-game. :eek:
I wonder if that's the same planet I did for the Sound System logo animation with the conductor and orchestra! That one was very Fantasia. :D

Howard Day There wasn't a lot of waste art on the Wing Commander projects for some reason.
Photoshop is perfectly appropriate!
I figured that red smoke had to be something like that. And with the big lights your hanger will be complete! I leave it all in your obviously capable hands! :)
And that is some great modeling and texturing on the Tiger's Claw! Man, I wish we had had anything close to that level of detail. Sigh.;)

There are probably more scenes I did, like the funeral scene with the blaster salute.

Keep it coming, guys! :)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Dondragmer

Rear Admiral
Thank you for your detailed answers to our weird questions.

I would have loved the stuff we did for WC2 if the color palettes had been scene specific. But the horrible posterization just chewed them up too much. The one thing that is good about them is the smooth, realistic motion! The actual renders looked great, but I suspect those are lost forever.
Some 3D Studio files survive from that era. I have not worked with them myself, but there's a dump of them here: http://download.wcnews.com/files/priv1/wc3d.zip. Despite being stored in the "priv1" directory, it contains files from WC2 - one of the problems being that they're not properly labelled by source. I think this thread by Red Baron is the most comprehensive study of their contents. While Red Baron found files for the Rigakh interior, I've never seen a modern render of the Concordia's marvellous hangar. The files also seem to lack lighting and animation information - at least they do when imported into modern applications.

Do you want to tell us how long it took to render each frame, or is that too painful? Did you have a separate rendering machine, or was your workstation tied up whenever you needed to render something?

I'm shocked that there are just 3 background plates! I felt sure I did more, but if I did, they'd be there.
We explore the graphics files using a tool called WCNAV (listed on Mario Brito's page as the "Wing Commander Bitmap Navigator", developed by Maciek "Matrix" Korzeniowski). I'm routinely amazed by how few art assets are involved in some of the most spectacular animations. When I first played WC1, it felt as though it had as much animation as the LucasArts and Sierra games of its era, and I couldn't understand how it shipped on half as many disks.

Given the need to squeeze the game onto those floppy disks, and that each half of the running only needed a 640-pixel-wide backdrop, it's still entirely possible that someone decided to be frugal with the scramble graphics and left out some of your backdrop graphics.

I wonder if that's the same planet I did for the Sound System logo animation with the conductor and orchestra! That one was very Fantasia. :D
It is indeed the same planet. On exploring the files with WCNAV, the only large planet picture is in TITLES.VGA. This is quite an interesting file. While most of the graphics files contain objects in logical groups, it looks like TITLES.VGA gradually accreted assets as the game was written. Here's what it contains, in order:
  1. The Wing Commander logo (split horizontally into 3 images)
  2. The typeface used in the credits, with the yellow-to-orange gradient (26 upper case, 6 blank, 26 low case, 1 full stop, 1 comma,)
  3. The detailed Tiger's Claw used in the two Vega Sector endings, discussed further up the thread
  4. The Tiger's Claw projectile
  5. The big blue planet
  6. The "Start Vega Compaign", "Continue Game" and "Start Secret Missions" buttons
  7. The Vega Sector victory flag raising, delta compressed (18 frames)
  8. The starry background for the Origin FX logo
  9. The Origin FX logo (split horizontally into 3 images)
  10. All the musicians who play for the Origin FX logo (split into sections, with too many frames to count - a lot of work went into making the orchestra layers capable of animating and scaling independently)
  11. Fireworks (red, green and blue, 8 frames each)
So, unless there was an efficiency reason to put the Origin FX bits at the end, was the planet drawn for the Vega Sector victory, then reused for the Origin FX sequence? How late in the project was the decision made that "Origin FX" should be the first thing the player sees as the game launches, and the sequence prepared?

Among the players, did anyone notice that the starry background for the Origin FX was hand-drawn, not generated using the regular star graphics? I never did.

Also from that file, did you draw the flag raising? I thought something was unique about it when I first saw it. Then, about the 8th viewing, I realised that, while every other animation takes place in a 320*128 letterbox, the flag raising fills the 320*200 MCGA screen.
WC1 Vega Sector victory flag raising 2x.gif
 
Last edited by a moderator:

-danr-

Vice Admiral
Just to say thanks to @Denis Loubet and an honorable mention to @Dondragmer for what is a classically brilliant CIC thread. This community has always thrown up all kinds of goodies and backstories, but it's not often you get to hear from the guy whose work you've been admiring for 25 years, and Dondragmer, I'm truly impressed by the research and time you've put into the analysis of these resources.

Early contender for thread of the year!
 

wcnut

Rear Admiral
I'm routinely amazed by how few art assets are involved in some of the most spectacular animations. When I first played WC1, it felt as though it had as much animation as the LucasArts and Sierra games of its era, and I couldn't understand how it shipped on half as many disks.
Not to mention there is the EGA graphics on the disks as well as the VGA ones. Although I'm not sure how that was done.
 

capi3101

Rear Admiral
By the way, I did invent the cockpit fonts.
You wouldn't still happen to have access to the cockpit typeface file, would you? I was making some nav maps (ala Privateer) a while back, like this one:


I got the individual characters by taking a fair number of screenshots inside Privateer and copying and pasting them as needed. Anyway, one of the site admins was looking for the font file a couple of months back and because of the work I'd been doing on these maps he thought I might've had access to it. Definitely not the case. I imagine the admins would still like that file, though. Reinforces how much folks around here liked the look of the original games, IMHO.
 
Top