The Empire Infiltrates Wing Commander AcademyHCl has released the first beautiful shots of a Dralthi IV in his new Wing Commander Academy mod/engine hack. The famous Kilrathi batwing fighter looks great rendered in WC2 style graphics. It really makes you want to grab that Hellcat 'stick and clean house! There's also been a tremendous discussion on technical matters that have helped make this all possible. Some of it is over my head, but we can all still appreciate the pictures! Howard Day is working on a Kilrathi cockpit mockup to go along with the new ship, which will also be exciting to see. You can test fly the Hellcat with the prototype patch here.
Some more updates on this front :)
I managed to modify my scripts to output either 37 or 62 sprite ships. The OpenGL 3d to 2d converter outputs a image matrix with the full 62 sprites, but the second stage converter can now take a subset of these sprites and output a regular 37-sprite ship file for WCA, or a 62-sprite ship for SO2. This is good, it means that I'll be able to quickly generate a new ship file for testing on WCA, while at the same time have the necessary data to start running some tests on SO2, in order to enable asymmetric ship support for ships other than Ayer's Rock (I'll probably try to isolate the necessary changes into a COM file that will launch the main SO2 EXE... we'll see).
With this in mind, I started converting another ship: the WC4 Dralthi :D
Besides being an iconic WC ship, it has asymmetric aspects (pilot and weapons pod), which makes it a great test subject. Also, it's asymmetry is subtle enough at low resolutions that it shouldn't spoil the fun of playing with it in WCA, without asymmetry support.
As a bonus: since I had to rework my scripts to support this new approach... I decided it was time to try something else: increased resolution sprites. While my OpenGL generator used to generate 160x120 "tiles", I decided to add support for changing the size of these. For the Dralthi, these were increased to 320x240, which should make the ship hold up better when near the camera. As expected, however, the increase in resolution resulted in a larger ship in-game, which means the sprite scale factor will have to be tweaked. I haven't done this yet, which means the Dralthi in the screenshots below looks larger than it should. Other than that, the game seems to handle the new file just fine, even though it's around ~400kb (but with some RLE optimizations, the size should come down a bit).
Anyway, here are a few screenshots of the work-in-progress Dralthi. Enjoy :) (of course, comments / suggestions are always welcome)
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