WCP/SO OpenGL Patch Beta Released (August 12, 2007)

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!

Sometimes spam filters are more trouble than they're worth - here's an update that should have been posted in time for the birthday. Pedro has come up with an HCl-style technical patch for Wing Commander Prophecy and Secret Ops aiming at improving the graphics even further! Read on:
This patch is infact an additional optional graphics library, compatible with both Prophecy and Secret Ops, and will be included in the release of Standoff episode 4. In principle it is designed solely to remove problems experienced when using Direct3D such as 32bit support for ATI cards, and removal of texture glitches, most notable on things such as lens flares. Full transparency is supported, mimicking 3DFX. Some other mild improvements are also available, including the option to scale backgrounds and FMV to fill the screen.

This is a test release, designed to get as much feedback as possible, there are however some known issues which means you should use your personal judgement deciding if you wish to use this initial release:
  • The DVD and multiplayer patch is not currently supported
  • Dynamic lights need to be refined
Thanks goto HCl and PopsiclePete for their documentation of the graphics interface, Quarto, Eder and PopsiclePete for testing, PopsiclePete for config utility and setup.
You can download it here. Also check out this video (19 meg AVI), which demonstrates the improved graphics in action.


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Original update published on August 12, 2007
 
Last edited by a moderator:
P

Pedro_

Guest
Quick note

This isn't quite the same version as that pictured/ videod.

To enter the CICs bday I created a hi-res nebula patch for this dll that is NOT included (as it is not finished, I need to identify and override every nebula in the game, and ideally need new nebula graphics, and a seperate starfield, not one in the same).Additionally Fillers hi-res HUD is not complete.

This is very much a beta designed to address certain graphical glitches (for some people, with working 32bit and who have the DVD patch this will not be a good option for them), but I wanted to get it out there to get bug reports from as many different types of hardware as possible.

If you can't run in 32bit and are plagued by glitches such as the lens flare then this may be a good option for you, and reporting any problems will help us track them down to improve future versions of the patch and off Standoff.

Yikes, I'm just terrible at public announcements, hope that clears things up)
 

Vinman

Vice Admiral
Does this patch address things like the crosses in lens flares? Those drive me nuts! It's amazing what people are able to do with this engine.
 
P

Pedro_

Guest
Does this patch address things like the crosses in lens flares? Those drive me nuts! It's amazing what people are able to do with this engine.

Yup! :) This release may not do much, but I can assure you it does that, it also adds 3DFX style transparency. The code for fog is in there but I disabled it as it looked odd in one of Standoffs cutscenes (I'll re-enable it in a later version).
You can combine it with the many upgrades of HCls patches by installing his first but NOT setting a higher resolution (or if you do set a higher resolution disable scaling GLOpenGL.cfg, be aware if you do this movies will still be scaled but bitmaps and HUD elements will not be).
 

Eder

Mr. Standoff
There's a couple shots at Standoff's site showing off the trouble-free lens flares... in fact every shot from the last couple updates was taken using Pedro's OpenGL mode (hence the custom resolutions in some of the FMV shots as well). This has awesome potential.
 

Kevin Caccamo

Rear Admiral
Hey Pedro, I used Zeckensack's Glide wrapper to run my Prophecy/Secret Ops in OpenGL. In this patch, there were some graphical differences between your patch and the appearance using Zeckensack's Glide wrapper.

When I used Zeckensack's glide wrapper, there was transparent missile trails and transparent capship bullet hit effects.

When I used this patch, however, they were completely Opaque.
 
P

Pedro_

Guest
Are you sure you selected OpenGL from setup.exe?

If so I should note that not all missile trails have alpha, some of them do, some of them don't. I'll check the 3dfx patch to ensure that's the same, but yes some missile trails are transparent and some aren't. There's a LOT of ways transparency is handled in prophecy (they certainly made use of the tools at their disposal) so if I've missed one its not the first. I'll look into it.

As for capship shield effects if thats truly the case its going to be hard to track down as they're not opaque on my system (tracking down nvidia specific bugs was a pain in the noodle, sending test after test to Quarto)

Any chance of screenshot comparisons?

Keep the reports coming.
 

Kevin Caccamo

Rear Admiral
I was running the WCP Enhancement Pack without the High-res patch before I installed yours. I'll try and copy prophecy.exe from my CD now.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Keep the reports coming.

You can log in now. Per Rule 14, this is probationary. Also per Rule 14, posting as an unregistered user while banned is a rule violation itself, so our patience is already pretty thin here.
 

PopsiclePete

Mission programmer
Yeah, as I wrote in the readme file, you need to copy the original "prophecy.exe" from your CD-ROM back to the WCP folder because HCl's WCP enhancement pack overrides your GL choice. Be sure to rename the the prophecy.exe that came with the Enhancement pack to something like "Prophecy-enh.exe" before you copy the original file back in.
 
P

Pedro_

Guest
Oh I should quickly note the dynamic lights are not quite ideal. This is a result of using hardware lighting which I do not think was available in 3dfx, but I am quite certain of how to improve the matter, I simply did not have the time.
 

Pedro

Admiral
You can log in now. Per Rule 14, this is probationary. Also per Rule 14, posting as an unregistered user while banned is a rule violation itself, so our patience is already pretty thin here.

If I've read it correctly, per rule 9 I am unable to respond, I suppose under the circumstances it is best if I remove myself as much as possible. For now please continue to post reports here, I will try and relay less critical feedback through pete whom is infintely more diplomatic than myself. You can also PM me directly but I'd preffer to see some active debate on the matter to attempt to determine the frequency of any given problem.

Whilst I'd like to focus on bugs feel free to post requests, there's a limit to what can and can not be done. Mario has already generously pledged to help combine the patches but please be aware that I am not editing the exe (and have no experience in such things), please try and bare in mind that requests should be centered around graphical improvements.
 

Eder

Mr. Standoff
Whilst I'd like to focus on bugs feel free to post requests...
For the love of all that's good and decent, specular maps! ;)

Also I think the turret un-centering bug is not completely gone - it seems to last for shorter than before, but it's still there... could it be that an outdated GL went into the last Standoff package?
 

Jason_Ryock

Vice Admiral
Are there any plans to release the source code for use by the community? Mario released the WCSO HighRes source, which has made it possible (though aside from Standoff I'm fairly certain it hasn't been done to date) for fan-made mods to WCSO use of the high-res pack, and it would be nice for them to be able to do the same here.
 

gr1mre4per

Rear Admiral
I have noticed that Shields dont "fade out" like in 3dfx and also some trails are indeed opaque and don't fade out. This is with my work PC which is only a GF2, ill try on my 7800 when i get home but I would imagine its a similar result. The shields do actually appear transparent, just dont fade out.

Either way, its a fantastic option which could be a replacement to HC1's resolution changer which doesnt resize the VDU screen and ICIS screens etc. Very nice addition.

For resolution increase at home, when I had my ATI card I used zekenzacks 3dfx wrapper with try diff res enabled at 1280x1024 which was great and resized vdu, but it doesnt work with nvidia so this will be a nice alternative. The small vdu in hc1''s rez pack hurts my eyes a bit. However, the work HC1 has done and the time he's spent is very much apprecieted and this is not ment as a bitch and a moan.
 

gr1mre4per

Rear Admiral
update:

Explosion shockwaves don't fade out. The pattern seems to be that transparency is fine on the most part, but fading out doesnt seem to work. The one missile that I did notice had no transparency was the Artemis ELRIR missile in SO.

Pallet flashes from hits are white rather then blue for shield and red for hull, but at least theyre transparent. Unlike dreaded D3D :p

Some graphics glitches still exist with spaces. Own ship VDU has one. Although its a vast improvement over D3D and high res 3DFX. Keep on moving up! (Oh, and be nice to the moderators :p)



For a bit of fun, i though I would try a lower resolution for SO. 320x240. Almost like playing armada, but with better effects. The laser effects look pretty neat :)
 

Eder

Mr. Standoff
Are there any plans to release the source code for use by the community?
Considering that the release of the UE source code years ago didn't spawn any new Vision-engine projects, and that any such project would take a number of years to complete... I'd say the community can probably go without a source code for the next decade or so. :p
 

Jason_Ryock

Vice Admiral
Considering that the release of the UE source code years ago didn't spawn any new Vision-engine projects, and that any such project would take a number of years to complete... I'd say the community can probably go without a source code for the next decade or so. :p

I was actually referring to the WCSO High Res DLL source that was released, that it makes it possible to add your own .tre files to the WCSO exe.

Also I would submit that a fan project need not take several years to complete, but that a project such as Standoff had not only to force the vision engine to do what they wanted but hack it to death to give it the feel they were going for.

A fan mod, for example, that followed another Cerberus or Midway around the galaxy wouldn't have the need to to hack everything the same way, or to create all new (and graphically beautiful!) ships and textures to fit with their designated 'theme'.

However, on the same page, Standoff has set the bar so high I doubt anyone making a mod of that nature would even be sneezed at. =) Not that that's a bad thing.
 

Eder

Mr. Standoff
Also I would submit that a fan project need not take several years to complete, but that a project such as Standoff had not only to force the vision engine to do what they wanted but hack it to death to give it the feel they were going for.

A fan mod, for example, that followed another Cerberus or Midway around the galaxy wouldn't have the need to to hack everything the same way, or to create all new (and graphically beautiful!) ships and textures to fit with their designated 'theme'.
Well, you're partially right there, but my point is that we've seen neither in years - it's been 6 years since I started working on WC2-era ship models for what would eventually become Standoff... it's been about 5 years or so since I chose to go with the Vision engine (before the UE source code was out), came up with a storyline and then started getting help from the former UE guys... And nobody has really done anything with the engine since. Not another Standoff type mod, and not a "mission pack" type of thing for SO or WCP either.

Now, while you are correct that Standoff would have been done long ago if we didn't keep hacking the engine as we go along or chosen to replace basically all of the graphics, those things didn't take up the bulk of our time at all (and I'm not even counting 2006, The Year In Which We Did Nothing, either :p).

Basically, what you could come up with in a relatively short time (assuming this isn't your full time job, anyway) are conventional WCP/SO type missions, with no new gimmicks, no cutscenes, nothing that might screw up debugging or require new functions, etc. You could probably come up with a UE-length campaign using all stock WCP/SO resources in a year, maybe a bit more. But again, my point is that even so, we haven't seen this.

And of course, even if you did that, you would then, inevitably, want to add something else to it. :p Voiceovers, in-engine cutscenes, new comm videos, perhaps fiction, a new splash screen, or even talking head cutscenes like Standoff's. That's where you're screwed. Heck, by adding voiceovers alone, you've already managed to secure yourself one Behemoth-sized headache (if I hadn't handed this job over to Tempest, we'd be taking even longer to finish this thing. I'm not sure how he does it.), and it's probably something that most people would consider a necessity for any good fan project nowadays.

It's not that these things are intrinsecally tough to do, but it just starts requiring more talent in your team, and adds whole new levels of complexity that are almost guaranteed to screw up your project coordination and add a whole new range of things that can go wrong. It only takes one voiceover actor disappearing five years into the project but one month before the final release to completely screw you over. :p

(On a side note, the only reason we even have such an absurd amount of ships is that I usually got bored and decided to do *something* while other parts of the project that were more work-demanding or prone to delays and uncertainties were still lagging behind... So we have lots of ships and new cockpits and menus and et cetera because we took too long to finish the game - not the other way around. :p)
 
M

Miramor

Guest
... Wait a minute. This patch lets you use OpenGL to do the rendering instead of Direct3D? So... if you're using Linux, and have been getting awful five-frame-per-second performance because Wine won't handle hardware acceleration for Direct3D... this will allow you to have decent performance?
 
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