Wing Commander: Covert Missions (was: SM 1.5 (Working Title))

delMar

Rear Admiral
Updates:
  • [2015-03-28] - v0.1.4: added "Start Covert Missions" image
  • [2015-03-26] - v0.1.3: fixed bug where game would crash at the bar
  • [2015-03-24] - v0.1.1: added generic "Buy more games like Wing Commander 2" phonetic texts and added script files for automated installation / deinstallation of mod
  • [2015-03-19] - v0.1.0: initial version. Contained just the plain conversion from SWC

This is about bringing the Secret Missions 2 campaign from Super Wing Commander and 3DO, known as Secret Missions 1.5, to the PC.

For a start, I'll just make the files available here that have been converted 1:1 from the 3DO version. That's possible due to the awesome work of @UnnamedCharacter and many others who paved the way.
The zip file contains a readme file with all necessary information and instructions. For your convenience, I also added it here.

Edit: The readme mentions that it has been tested on wcdx. It has been. But I wasn't able to get it running with the latest 1.2-beta3. It works perfectly with wcdx

Wing Commander
Secret Missions 1.5
v0.1.1

The files in this archive contain the necessary data to make the alternate Secret Missions 2 campaign from Super Wing Commander playable on PC.
Credits go to the folks over at www.wcnews.com, who reverse engineered the game and it's data files and who created lots of small and big tools that allow for modding of the game.

In it's current version, there's some manual work to do to make this mod playable.
Hopefully, future releases will allow for easier integration with the main game files.
This has been tested with the GOG version and wcdx, which is a patched version of the Kilrathi Saga executable (https://www.wcnews.com/chatzone/threads/introducing-wcdx-kilrathi-saga-for-modern-windows.27685/).
You can get the GOG version here: http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/wing_commander_1_2/?pp=f38cfe2e2facbcc742bad63f91ad55637300cb45
The Kilrathi Saga version can be downloaded here: https://www.wcnews.com/wcpedia/2000_PC_Gamer_Coverdisk_Release
The SM2 addon is available for download here: https://www.wcnews.com/wcpedia/Secret_Missions

Just so you know: this has not been playtested, the game may crash at any time.
If so, please report at the forums in this thread:
https://www.wcnews.com/chatzone/threads/sm-1-5-working-title.27792/


AUTOMATIC INSTALLATION
----------------------
Unpack the zip file into the GAMEDAT subdirectory of your Wing Commander installation.
Execute the file "toSM15.bat" (or just "toSM15" in case file extensions are hidden)
The files should be renamed accordingly, continue at "STARTING THE GAME" below.

For playing the original SM2 campaign, execute "toSM2.bat".


MANUAL INSTALLATION
------------
Open the GAMEDAT subdirectory of your Wing Commander installation.
Backup the following files (eg BRIEFING.002.sm2 or .bak or .whatever):
* BRIEFING.002
* CAMP.002
* MODULE.002

Extract the files from this archive to the GAMEDAT directory.


STARTING THE GAME
-----------------
Execute SM2.EXE and start the game as usual.
When you talk to Shotglass and he is NOT talking about the Firekka, you seem to have done everything right.
Enjoy and please give feedback at the forums.

UNINSTALL
---------
Replace the files with the backup.

TODO
----
* fix phonetics (it's mostly "buy more games like wing commander 2" yet)
* replace "Start Secret Missions 2" screen
* playtesting


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
----------------
Wing Commander and Wing Commander Kilrathi Saga are products of the fine folks at EA. Just about all of the games from the series except for Kilrathi Saga are currently cheaply available at GOG and via EA's Origin store. If you don't have the game and would like to try Wing Commander, please visit one of those stores for an experience that's only slightly less awesome than Kilrathi Saga.

So, by downloading and installing this zip file to your Wing Commander I, Secret Missions 2 installation, you should be able to play the full SWC Secret Missions 2 campaign, which is commonly referred to here on the forums as Secret Missions 1.5.

Questions:
Is there an "official" name for that campaign?
SM1 was called "Thor's Hammer", I guess.
Can't think of a name for SM2 either.
Anyway, I think the SM1.5 campaign deserves a good name.

Suggestions?

AND: please playtest :)
 

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UnnamedCharacter

2nd Lieutenant
Sorry, no ideas for SM1.5, but for the PC, the only official name is for SM2: The Secret Missions 2: Crusade.

But if we rename things a bit using the additional information we have:

The Secret Missions 1: Operation Thor's Hammer
The Secret Missions 1.5: ???
The Secret Missions 2: Crusade
 

delMar

Rear Admiral
I'm bumping this as I think it makes for a great indicator on how much interest mods for WC1 are able to spawn.

Concerning progress (you may find all those things spread over the various other threads):
@Shades2585 might find the time to work on the phonetic scripting table that might allow us to replace the generic "buy more games like wing commander 2" with the actual phonetics automatically
I asked @Stinger to add some kind of configuration to wcdx, as hooking mod files into the engine without needing to overwrite stock data files would make modding much easier.
That's not as big an eyecatcher as re-inserting the poster, but hey, it may come in handy some day :)
And I asked @UnnamedCharacter if it was possible to generate .vga files with his Games Library, which would allow to replace the "Start Secret Missions 2" button.

So, let's see how this goes.
 
delMar, the phonetic dictionary is going to take a long time to complete. What's been completed so far probably has about 60% of the words already. If you want I could try to manually add the phonetics to 1.5 first and then get back to compiling the phonetic dictionary.

Keep up the great work! I really love where this is going.
 
Doing 1.5 would probably be quicker. However if you can get the translator working and assuming your translator word directory can be easily updated go ahead an start with that and I will continue working on building the dictionary. I had already completed the first 4 of 13 sectors done for WC1. Each new sector will have fewer and fewer new words to add. Slow and tedious but it will get done.
 

Stinger

Vice Admiral
I asked @Stinger to add some kind of configuration to wcdx, as hooking mod files into the engine without needing to overwrite stock data files would make modding much easier.
That's not as big an eyecatcher as re-inserting the poster, but hey, it may come in handy some day :)
It's all about priorities!
 

Stinger

Vice Admiral
More seriously, I have been thinking about ways to accommodate modding. Each campaign has an identifier; presently, the id is 0 for Vega, 1 for Thor's Hammer, and 2 for Crusade. To add a new campaign, you'd want to just add new campaign-specific files (for instance, MODULE.003) and then launch the executable with an argument specifying which campaign you want to play.

That would be great, but to make that work, I'd have to recombine the executables so that there's only one game EXE for all campaigns. That's a very big job, but it also seems to be worth the time. For now, though, I still have bugs to fix.
 

delMar

Rear Admiral
It's all about priorities!
Absolutely! Take your time.

I have been thinking about ways to accommodate modding
What about this one:
You create a special "mod" executable file.
The exe checks for a config file of the same name (eg SM15.exe looks for SM15.conf), which contains at least the ID (eg 3).
The "original" wcdx exe files just behave as they used to.

I don't know, which way is better, though.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
This is about bringing the Secret Missions 2 campaign from Super Wing Commander and 3DO, known as Secret Missions 1.5, to the PC.

For a start, I'll just make the files available here that have been converted 1:1 from the 3DO version. That's possible due to the awesome work of @UnnamedCharacter and many others who paved the way.

AND: please playtest :)
I'm bumping this as I think it makes for a great indicator on how much interest mods for WC1 are able to spawn.
How would we use this? Most people want an idea of what they'll have to do before they download a mysterious zip and start poking around. If you want people to try it, they'll need detailed step-by-step instructions. Where do they unzip the file? Do they need any other tool or converter to make it work? Does this require SM1 or SM2? Will it overwrite anything or do people need to back up certain files before unzipping? What file do they execute to run it? Etc. A couple pictures of the campaign in action (different cutscene captions?) would also go a long way.

What is it that people will see when they get it working? Is it all the missions from the SM1.5 campaign? Just some sort of experimental test mission?
 
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delMar

Rear Admiral
Thanks @ChrisReid, you're right.

I forgot to mention that there's a readme file inside the archive that describes the installation procedure.

It should really be the whole campaign from SWC that's playable.

I'll add the contents of the readme to the first post once I'm back at my desktop.
 
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delMar

Rear Admiral
I playtested the game files today. Unfortunately, there's some issues which might require special treatment:

Code:
DOS version
- crashes after first mission when the bar should appear (after both debriefing and col. halcyons office when you ejected)
- 2nd briefing (in col. halcyon's office instead of the briefing room) has broken backgrounds

KS wcdx version
- crashes during briefing after the line "nav 1" (skipping with esc works)
- 2nd briefing (in col. halcyon's office instead of the briefing room) has broken backgrounds

KS original version
- the mod crashes upon selection of "Start Secret Mission 2"
I guess the problem with the briefing in the Colonel's office is due to the game engine loading only the relevant backgrounds for each scene. I wasn't able to find a Let's Play which would show what background is required. Maybe it's some special background that's only available for SM1.5...

Here's a video:
 
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UnnamedCharacter

2nd Lieutenant
I think I found the problem. If you look in the CAMP.002.XML file, under BarSeatingArrangementBlock, the second entry has 14 for the left seat pilot; that index value is out of range. It should be 7 for Knight.

I have also double checked the source SWC data and it is 14 there as well.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Thanks @ChrisReid, you're right.

I forgot to mention that there's a readme file inside the archive that describes the installation procedure.

It should really be the whole campaign from SWC that's playable.

I'll add the contents of the readme to the first post once I'm back at my desktop.
That's awesome, those are really good instructions! Thanks for making the test video as well.
 
Looking through the script for SM1.5 I noticed Sam call it a "covert mission" and the Colonel call it "covert operation". Each only once.
If you're looking for a working title either of these could work. Personally I would choose Covert Mission. it fits better with the Secret Missions titles.
My 2 cents.
 

wcnut

Rear Admiral
I'm really looking forward to this. I am one of the few people who actually have the mac version,
It was badly scratched from when I was little, and last year I sent it out to be repaired. (There aren't any brick and mortar stores that can professionally resurface a cd anymore... I made a lot of phone calls.)
Took about a month. They did a decent job with it, and it worked! I managed to get it working in sheepshaver, but with no joystick support I haven't really enjoyed playing it as much as the dos version, and consequently haven't played it through since the days of my old Beige G3....
 
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