Wing Commander Toolbox

Pedro

Admiral
I know you're not focused on WCIV right now, but a set of hashes for WC4 which uses the same TRE format would be super useful.
 

ShadowArm

2nd Lieutenant
I know you're not focused on WCIV right now, but a set of hashes for WC4 which uses the same TRE format would be super useful.
it would be interesting if its possible to replace the models and textures and textures of WC4 with higher res ones from WC3

as for WC3 if its possible to replace the blue space skybox with the PSX and WC4 ones
 

Pedro

Admiral
it would be interesting if its possible to replace the models and textures and textures of WC4 with higher res ones from WC3

as for WC3 if its possible to replace the blue space skybox with the PSX and WC4 ones
For me it's just really useful to have a good file structure reference for the WCIV remake.
Surprisingly a lot of file formats changed from WC3 to 4, 4 broke a lot out into seperate files which had been baked into one with 3.

So thank you UnnamedCharacter, whenever it comes I'm sure it will still save me many a headache.
 
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Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
it would be interesting if its possible to replace the models and textures and textures of WC4 with higher res ones from WC3

as for WC3 if its possible to replace the blue space skybox with the PSX and WC4 ones
I believe the models and textures are the same resolution in both games. They had tried to update Wing Commander IV to display higher resolution textures but cut the feature late in development... which meant that the new textures for the ships had to be reduced back to the WC3 level which left them comparatively muddy looking from the hoped-for higher detail going away.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
I believe the models and textures are the same resolution in both games. They had tried to update Wing Commander IV to display higher resolution textures but cut the feature late in development... which meant that the new textures for the ships had to be reduced back to the WC3 level which left them comparatively muddy looking from the hoped-for higher detail going away.
Yeah, the WC4 textures actually look decent on their own, but there's something about the way they get displayed in-game where they kind of have a gritty low quality look to them. By comparison the WC3 textures come out cleaner looking but mainly because they have simpler textures moreso than anything to do with resolution.
 

Darkmage

Vice Admiral
100% the toolbox already runs on Linux. I don't have any windows PCs anymore. I am extremely interested in an MVE encoder. The two resolutions it will need to support are:
320x165 - For cutscenes from movies.tre / cdXmovie.tre (Assuming someone wanted to make a WC3 engine mod/new game with a new story)
126x106 - For Comms Videos stored in cdXmiss.tre (for adding Colour Comms Videos to WC3 PC edition)
It's the second resolution I'm more keen to get a compressor for, since I think Wing Commander 3 can be hacked to play movies in the same way WC4 DVD edition/WCP does it (e.g with a different codec and maybe an external player), I think full colour comms videos is a better goal to aim for than modding in new cutscene files. Looking at WC3's movies,and the first thing I noticed is the Movie files are very similar in naming to WC4's cutscenes.
sc_0010a.vob - WC4 DVD VOB
SC_6.MVE - WC3 MVE

My suspicion is that WC3 PC has Green Comms videos to keep it consistent with WC1/2. I notice also that the space background is blue in WC3 PC which also keeps it consistent with WC1/2. Yet on the 3DO console port space is black and comms are in colour.
 
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ShadowArm

2nd Lieutenant
Yeah, the WC4 textures actually look decent on their own, but there's something about the way they get displayed in-game where they kind of have a gritty low quality look to them. By comparison the WC3 textures come out cleaner looking but mainly because they have simpler textures moreso than anything to do with resolution.
i still went on to look at armada with CRT Dithering filter the results are far impressive
which kinda makes me believe that WCIV textures were made with those in mind due to the Console releases too, since PS1 and N64 games took advantage of the TV's of its time to make texture more detailed thanks to its video output.

DOSBox 2020-05-13 15-14-17.png


i wish that someone could take a screenshot of PS1 3 and 4 using a TV to make a good comparison.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
i still went on to look at armada with CRT Dithering filter the results are far impressive
which kinda makes me believe that WCIV textures were made with those in mind due to the Console releases too, since PS1 and N64 games took advantage of the TV's of its time to make texture more detailed thanks to its video output.
Console was more of an afterthought on Wing Commander IV, the Playstation conversion didn't start until after the PC release had wrapped. There was a 3DO version in development earlier but it didn't get very far.

What happened on WC4 is pretty well documented: a major feature planned for the game was higher resolution textures... but the team responsible for updating the engine couldn't pull it off in time. The feature was cut very late after most of the art had been generated and so the higher quality textures had to be reduced to the same size as those in WC3... which resulted in the super cool details turning to mud.
 

Darkmage

Vice Admiral
I've found some fun things just tinkering with the toolbox. A lot of WC3's ingame audio is able to be read in Audacity as raw audio in unsigned PCM 8-bit Mono 11025hz format. I've been able to extract all the sound effects for in space, as well as the speech audio. There also appears to be text information for German/French/English subtitles encoded in the IFF next to the Audio data as well. I also found that the PC Datafiles seem to already have code for handling the TCN News updates, so I'm not quite sure why those aren't in the game. I wonder how hard it'd be to add those back in if we could encode them to .MVE format.
 

Pedro

Admiral
I've found some fun things just tinkering with the toolbox. A lot of WC3's ingame audio is able to be read in Audacity as raw audio in unsigned PCM 8-bit Mono 11025hz format. I've been able to extract all the sound effects for in space, as well as the speech audio. There also appears to be text information for German/French/English subtitles encoded in the IFF next to the Audio data as well. I also found that the PC Datafiles seem to already have code for handling the TCN News updates, so I'm not quite sure why those aren't in the game. I wonder how hard it'd be to add those back in if we could encode them to .MVE format.
That's really interesting, thanks. WC4's audio was easy (it's just a wav file, header and all) but I hadn't looked at WC3 yet. I'll add support for that now.
Interestingly video seems to be the reverse, where WC3 has the complete header and WC4 has only frame data.
 

Pedro

Admiral
I sent a PM but I thought I'd bump the thread.
What was the code you used to turn the shape files into PNGs? HCl's site documents the RLE encoding for WC1/2 and WCP but nothing for WC3/4.
Are the WC3/4 shapes documented anywhere that I may have missed?

This tool lets us get started with the assets but it would be really helpful to have the code (a lot of the images for WCIV in particular don't seem to be tied to the preceeding palette file, I'd like to make a tool to test each image with the various palette files, saving the correct one, in order to match them up, I'd also like the ability to use the original files from the TRE so that would be really useful).
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I've found some fun things just tinkering with the toolbox. A lot of WC3's ingame audio is able to be read in Audacity as raw audio in unsigned PCM 8-bit Mono 11025hz format. I've been able to extract all the sound effects for in space, as well as the speech audio. There also appears to be text information for German/French/English subtitles encoded in the IFF next to the Audio data as well. I also found that the PC Datafiles seem to already have code for handling the TCN News updates, so I'm not quite sure why those aren't in the game. I wonder how hard it'd be to add those back in if we could encode them to .MVE format.
The news segments weren’t a new thing for the console version, they were part of the first unit shoot and were cut very late in the process when the decision was made to support early 1X CD-ROM drives that could only read 63-minute discs.
 
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