Iceblade has made huge advances with the Flight Commander ship editor that he's making in conjunction with Wing Commander Fleet Assault. It already works for basic ship features, but he's expanding it now to integrate tweaks to turrets and eventually a mew 3D viewer to more readily see modifications. The current program is also designed to work with FC version 1.7, which is still in development, but modders will have a neat toy to play with when this comes together. You can learn more here.
If you've read my recent posts under the Modding Tutorials Poll thread at the WC CIC Chat zone, you'll notice that the Java-based Ship Editor initially programmed by Eddie was giving me some trouble. Well after spending some time working on python scripts/modules for a new ship editor, which were turning out to be more a replication of Eddie's code in a different language, I started to get a clearer understanding of his code.
So I decided to give updating the older editor another try. The step that was giving me the most headaches was updating how weapons are handled, since in FC 1.7 tags are used to reference weapons as opposed to a list of numbers corresponding to weapons. Considering the way Eddie's program was setup for weapon hardpoints, this kind of change is rather involved especially with unfamiliar code.
In any case, the editor now will read-in and use weapon tags like a first language or at least be really fluent in a second language. Also I added the code necessary to make the remaining empty fields shown in the first picture below fully functional. This includes adding in the missing code for the editor's frame (ie the frontend) by-hand.\
Addendum: Completed the remaining aspects for the turrets and the conversions from the rotation matrices to Euler angles and back works perfectly. Aside from some tweaks and beta testing, the editor will soon be ready for release.
Ship stats aren't the only advanced modding technique that Iceblade is working to expand. He's also developed a comm importer that streamlines the processing of Secret Ops audio clips into Flight Commander. This program is virtually complete, and Iceblade just needs some volunteers to test it out. Let him know if you can help!
I've been busy doing some comm/VO conversions. Capships are pretty simple since they only have 11 or so comms total for the majority of them. The conversions I did from a years back help out a little bit, but these are from before the introduction of comms.xml files, which I now have to prepare for each pilot. Back in the day, comm importing was relatively simple with no captions and only a small number of comm types. Capships were really quick, but even then, fighter comms took time with trying to find at least one voiceover per type out of 60 to 150 voiceover files per pilot.
Nowadays, comm conversions require significantly more voiceover files with the huge increase in comm types implemented in FC, not to mention needing to write captions for each one. And there are more comm types on the way, so I really need to just convert all of them. For the occasional capship this is manageable, but it would take me hours to import one fighter pilot. An impossible task, especially for trying to convert a dozen or so.
This task is a lot less daunting then what it might appear, however. While Eddie has been busy increasing features in FC over the last 4 years, I've been learning and working in reverse engineering (as part of Forgotten World - an Ultima IX Mod Project) and (more recently) programming (Python). So over the last two evenings, I've been coding up a Python script to do the lengthy conversion work for me. Now, what would take me hours can be done in a few rapid steps.
Currently, the program can receive the name of the comm file (essentially the pilot's name usually like Amazon or AACE1), extract all of the information from it, use peripheral files (including two editable text files that contain the values used for the comm videos and comm types) to determine what that information means, read in the English strings for that comm pilot, and export complete comms.xml files. This is actually a sizable portion of the conversion work.