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Do More Tinkering with Command Line Switches Update ID

UnnamedCharacter has made great strides with his WC Toolbox application, and he's learned a ton about Wing Commander 1 in the process. Now he's started a thread to collect all of this useful knowledge. The first topic is an extensive command line summary. Most people know about the cheats that are enabled by starting the game with "WC Origin" but there are actually quite a few different triggers that can be enabled. You can jump to missions and even play cutscenes! Read about how below:
With all the work for the WCToolbox, I have observed and learned quite a few things about the inner workings of Wing Commander. I thought I would do a series of post highlighting this information. I suspect some of this information will be old news to WC veterans; and some will have no practical application as they are just curiosities.

Command Line

Let’s begin with starting the game itself: executing WC.EXE.

There are many posts online detailing the command line options and cheat codes available, but I don’t think I have ever seen a post highlighting some of the following options:

  • e|t|v selects the video mode: EGA | TGA | VGA; the appropriate files must be installed (you can have all *.EGA, *.TGA, and *.VGA files in the same GAMEDAT directory since they have unique names)​
  • a#|p|r selects the audio mode: AdLib | PC Speaker | Roland (for AdLib look into your CFG file for the number)​
For example:

"WC e p" - starts the game in the EGA video mode and using the PC Speaker for audio
"WC v a904" - starts the game in the VGA video mode and using AdLib for audio​

The following options are probably familiar to most and only activated if the Origin switch is specified:

  • s# select specific series (e.g. s8)
  • m# select specific mission (e.g. m0)
  • as# select specific action sphere (e.g. as1)
  • w# preview cinematic scenes (e.g. w3), scene numbers range from 1 to 22 (to 25 with SM1 installed). Mission specific scenes require that s# m# also be specified
  • l launch single mission, no copy-protection question
  • -k unlimited shields​
For example:

"WC Origin s1 m1 as1 l" - launches series 1, mission 1 (S01M1) from sphere 1 (Nav 1)
"WC Origin s2 m0 w8" - views series 2, mission 0 (S02M0) from the bar​

Note: From the command line, series starts at 1 (S1) instead of 0, skipping the training simulator series.

Cinematic Scenes

These are the cinematic scenes which can be previewed from the command line:

  • w0 cockpit death
  • w1 takeoff
  • w2 briefing
  • w3 running sequence
  • w4 cockpit canopy closing
  • w5 landing, no ship
  • w6 cockpit canopy opening, with full damage
  • w7 intro
  • w8 bar
  • w9 [none]
  • w10 debriefing, colonel angry
  • w11 funeral, our hero
  • w12 hangar deck, bronze star
  • w13 barracks
  • w14 cockpit canopy opening, no damage
  • w15 office
  • w16 closing animation, success
  • w17 closing animation, failure
  • w18 midgame.v00, both success and failure
  • w19 midgame.v01, both success and failure
  • w20 midgame.v02, both success and failure
  • w21 midgame.v03, both success and failure
  • w22 funeral, all wingmen
  • w23 midgame.v04, failure only (if SM1 installed)
  • w24 midgame.v05, both success and failure (if SM1 installed)
  • w25 midgame.v06, success only (using SM2)​

New WC Toolbox Expands WC2 Campaign Support Update ID

The WC Toolbox has gotten smarter with another new update. Version 4.2.0 beta 1 expands the program's understanding of Wing Commander 2's campaign and gameflow type data files. While digging deep into the code, Unnamed Character also uncovered some new complexities, but that's all just part of the fun of digital archeology! Grab the program and start poking around in WC1/2 yourself here.
Another update for WC2, added support for the CAMPAIGN, GAMEFLOW, INCIDENT, and SERIES files; all these files are structured the same way. But this time around, there is a complication: these files have bytecode embedded in them.

This means the flow of the game, the cinematic scenes, including all of the dialog, was done using a custom scripting language. Which was then compiled into a custom set of instructions to be executed by the game itself using a custom interpreter. I have never seen any examples of the scripting language used for the game or even any mentions of it. As far as I know, this bytecode is completely unknown, undefined, and undocumented.

The only way to tackle this is to completely reverse engineer it; I don't imagine that to be a small undertaking. In any case, for the time being, I simply export these bytecode chunks as binary files.

New WC Toolbox Expands WC2 & Academy Support Update ID

The WC Toolbox has been significantly updated again. WC2 and Academy support arrived in November, but this was initially limited to COMM, DIFFLEVL, INTELSHP, PALETTE, SPEECH and WAVEINFO file type editing. The program can now modify quite a few more things. Additionally, WC1 support has been expanded again with a handful of new features. Grab the new version 4.1.0 beta here and share your editing adventures at the CIC Forums!
Another update with more support for WC2/Academy file types: ALTINT, ALTSHIPS, INTEL, MISSILE, MODULE, PCSHIP, SHIP, and XSHIP. Also Updated WC1 EXE file to support editing of closing dialog, comm message, insert disk, landing comment, medal, mission type, rank, and stranded strings.

New WC Toolbox Release Adds WC2 & Academy Support Update ID

UnnamedCharacter is back with an awesome upgrade to his WC Toolbox application. The program allows aspiring modders unprecedented ease of access to play around with and tweak some of the core elements of the original Wing Commander games. Previous versions have allowed for ship editing, revision of the in-game text, new copy protection questions and more! Today's update is a sizable rewrite that will enable greater flexibility for future upgrades. It also provides initial support for WC2 and Academy. The screenshots below show how some of the hot spot verbiage can be tweaked. Some of the editing process may be challenging to those with no prior coding experience, so please work with your fellow Wingnuts to learn the ins and outs as necessary. You can grab the program at the CIC Forums here.
Work on the toolbox has continued and this release has substantial changes. There are major API/XML changes, resulting in breaking backward compatibility. The code base has been refactored making it easier and quicker to add support for new file types.

The ability to edit strings in the WC1 executable has finally been added; only a few strings are supported at the moment. For this release I was more concerned with getting the functionality in place and will tackle the tedious work of finding additional string pointers in the future. This release also begins support for WC2 and WCAcademy; only a few file types at the moment: COMM, DIFFLEVL, INTELSHP, PALETTE, SPEECH, WAVEINFO, etc.

This will most likely be the only update for this year; Merry Christmas everyone.

WC Toolbox Adds Ship Editing Feature Update ID

UnnamedCharacter has released a new version of his programming library for interfacing with Wing Commander 1's game data files. This newest beta release (3.3.0) lets you edit ships, hardpoints and flight formations, and there are some general fixes and improvements to existing program features. Below you can see an output sample of the XML Unpack command. The package includes a command-line client as well as a program with a graphical interface to simplify the extraction/compilation process. Download the new version here.
<Ship ClassIdentifier="12" Radius="100" Mass="125" MaximumScale="1024" PowerPlant="5" Fuel="200000" Damage="5" Explosive="4000" MaximumSpeed="42" ... Shields="40 40" Armor="45 40 30 30">
  <Weapon ShipIndex="24" HardpointIndex="0" Selected="true" />
  <Weapon ShipIndex="24" HardpointIndex="1" Selected="true" />
  <Weapon ShipIndex="28" HardpointIndex="2" Selected="true" />
  <Weapon ShipIndex="28" HardpointIndex="3" Selected="false" />
  <Weapon ShipIndex="29" HardpointIndex="4" Selected="false" />

Wing Commander Power Tool Updated Update ID

There have been two new beta releases of the WC Toolbox game data editing package since we last reported on UnnamedCharacter's undertakings. Feature-wise, the library now lets you modify the initial game state and rearrange the various damage and instrument displays in the cockpit. There have also been some minor tweaks and bugfixes. The package still includes a command-line tool for converting Wing Commander's binary data files to and from XML data that is easier to interpret and modify, but a recent release has added a convenient graphical interface (pictured below) to accomplish the same. You can find more tips on how to use the latest version of the program here and grab the software here.
Release 3.2.0-Beta.1
  • Updated EXE file to support editing of initial game state.
  • Updated EXE file to support editing of cockpit damage layouts.
  • Updated EXE file to support editing of cockpit instrument layouts.
  • Incorrect text output value for save game.
Release 3.1.0-Beta.1
  • Windows application (WC1Tools) providing functionality to extract assets, and pack/unpack data to and from XML.
  • Updated EXE file to support editing of common and dialog text colors.
  • Incorrect decoding of certain character sequences for INTRO data files.

WC Toolbox Supports Additional Encodings & File Types Update ID

A new version of the WC Toolbox game data editing package has been released with a variety of extra features. It now supports character encodings and can be tested with executables and the 'midgame' file format. There is also a brand new console interface. UnnamedCharacter expects to include a more user friendly graphical interface in a future update, but this iteration was put out in its current form so more users can try things out immediately. You can find more tips on how to use the latest version of the program here and grab the software here.
  • Support for single-byte encodings beyond ASCII.
  • Partial support for executable files (reading and merging).
  • Experimental support for MIDGAME data files (reading and writing).
  • Console application (WC1ToolsCmd) replacing previous applications. Functionality provided as commands to perform actions on data files. The commands can be used to decompress data files, extract assets, and pack/unpack data to and from XML.

WC Toolbox Relaunched With Even More Editing Features Update ID

We haven't properly kept up with the WC Games Library since UnnamedCharacter debuted it towards the beginning of this year. The program contains a package of applications that allows fans to more easily manipulate data in the original Wing Commander game. Last month the project was renamed to Wing Commander Toolbox to better reflect the growing suite of abilities that it has to offer. Progress has recently been made on editing the various fonts/dialogue, campaign structure, briefings, mission data, communications, color palette, ship formats, music sand savegames. Even the intro has been cracked, which allows for customizable copy protection questions! Grab the program and learn more here.
The Wing Commander Toolbox (WCToolbox) is a set of tools to work on Wing Commander game data. It is the same project as the Wing Commander Games Library, just renamed. Seems a bit more appropriate, especially if I continue to add or expand functionality. It is also a play on the name WC Workshop which seems fitting as it served as inspiration for this project. I thought I would recap the support that is presently available in the toolbox and I will also be doing individual post for each supported file format. Included in the WCToolbox:

* The API Library provides an application programming interface for the Microsoft .NET Framework v4. It is a fully documented set of types which provide read and write functionality to many of the game data formats. Consult the help file for additional information, including the underlying data structures of the data formats.

* The WC1 XML Converter is a console application which converts game data to/from XML. Once the game data is in XML, it can be edited and converted back to game data.

* The WC1 Extractor is a console application which extract assets (images, music, etc) from the game data files. It also outputs the content as text.

The following screenshot is a very quick test to see if it was possible to include extended characters. In the test, the diacritical marks are not very obvious since the font does not provide a lot of space for them, but it works.

WC1 Programming Library Widens Supported Assets Update ID

Since we last checked in, UnnamedCharacter has made a large number of expansions and improvements to his Wing Commander library project. The software toolkit (implemented in .NET v4) provides a programming interface for working with Wing Commander 1 data files. The creation of a mission editor or full-blown modding becomes a lot easier, since developers no longer need to worry about reading or writing WC1's arcane file formats. The WC Library package also provides two demo applications; one for extracting game assets from resource files, another for converting game data to or from human-readable XML. The latest version supports the following formats:
  • CAMP (reading and writing)
  • BRIEFING (reading and writing)
  • MODULE (reading and writing)
  • COMM (reading and writing)
  • VGA (reading and writing)
  • SHIP (as VGA, reading and writing)
  • PAL (reading only)
  • SHIPTYPE (reading only)
  • PCSHIP (reading only)

WC1 Editing Made Easy Update ID

UnnamedCharacter has created a new software library for editing Wing Commander game data. A console tool allows for easy editing of WC1's core data files by converting the game's internal files to human-readable XML. Once the desired changes have been made, the tool can convert the file back to the game's internal format, so you can then check out the result of your tinkering. If somebody felt like creating a WYSIWYG mission editor for WC1, this new library greatly simplifies the work involved. It can also extract various game assets. Look here for a detailed description and some examples.

I am a long time fan of Wing Commander, playing since the original WC1 DOS release. Although this is my introduction to the community, I have been visiting this site for a while.

Last year, after witnessing all the work done on various WC projects, I was inspired to try and contribute by building on some of the work already done. I have been working on a WCGames Library (in .NET v4) for editing WC game data. I believe I now have enough functionality to share the results with the community.

Using the WCGames Library, you can edit existing data or create new data files. At this moment, there is support for CAMP, BRIEFING, and MODULE data files whether compressed or uncompressed; although compressed files will be written uncompressed.

Along with the WCGames Library, there is a simple console application which converts supported WC game data to and from XML. This provides a quick and easy way of editing game data.

This has only been possible because of the great work done by others. I hope this is just the beginning and to expand the library.

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