Wing Blender has gotten its first update in more than a year. The program is a Blender importer/exporter for ship models that allows for easier manipulation of the items in Wing Commander Prophecy or Secret Ops. It's been a useful app for fan project modders, and the new version 2.2.1 can easily cut import time in half! You can grab the program here and get tips on its use at the CIC Forums.
Anyway, if you've tried to use the importer, you'll know that it is sluggish as hell. I've been trying to work on that. I made a few optimizations to the importer recently, which mostly involve using flat typed arrays instead of lists of lists, and it turned out to be MUCH faster than what I had. With my most recent optimizations, I was able to cut the import time in half! Well, at least for the more detailed meshes. AST_S_01.IFF hasn't shown much improvement in terms of import time, but that's because the other bottleneck is the MAT reader, and I have no idea how I could optimize the MAT reader any further.
- Allows you to do most of the work on the model in Blender and then export it without the need to use external utilities to set the collision sphere, radius, or hardpoints.
- If a texture's filename is numeric, you will be able to convert it straight to a MAT file without renaming it. For example, if you have a texture named 424242.jpg, your model will reference 00424242.mat
- Converts Blender "empty" objects to hardpoints and other VISION engine mesh metadata.
- Collision sphere position and radius is automatically calculated, but can be manually overridden.
- Child objects can now be exported along with the main object.
- LOD mesh support
The 3-D Space Combat Strategizer
Pix and Dennis Mull have both recently found an interesting compilation by Empire Interactive. The set bundles together Wing Commander, Civilization, War in the Gulf and Frontier: Elite II all in one pack. Two of them are space sims, plus there's a tank sim and a classic turn-based 4X - not unlike hundreds of various '90s packs. (2019-01-21)
Annual Community Vote Begins!
With 2018 now well in the rear view mirror and 2019 well on its way, it's time for us to jump into our annual fan project contest. We took nominations over the last couple months and have come up with this list of noteworthy endeavors to recognize. Of course, the standard disclaimer applies: this is by no means an exhaustive list of super cool things that Wingnuts have been up to lately. (2019-01-20)
Denis Loubet Remembers Aaron Allston
Former Origin artist Denis Loubet has completed another portrait. This one is a tribute to his friend and fellow Wing Commander veteran Aaron Allston. Sadly, Mr. (2019-01-19)
Chinese Secret Missions Now a Little Less Secret
Christian Klein posted these neat pics of the Secret Missions made for China/Taiwan. We've previously posted about a number of Chinese ports in the past, including WC1, SM2, WC2 and the Special Operations, but it's possible that I've not seen the SM1 before. It's nice to close the loop on that! (2019-01-18)
Wing Commander Jazz Album Discs Ready to Ship!
There's good news on George Oldziey's live Wing Commander jazz album. The production copies have finally come back, so George is ready to ship discs out to project backers. Very coolalbum art was created by SabreAce, which you can see below. (2019-01-17)