Welcome to the new Cockpit Editing Tutorial. This tutorial is being made as reference for people who want to create new cockpits for the craft normally not flyable in the game X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter/Balance of Power as well cockpits for custom made OPTs. Have in mind that this is a hard work once right now there aren't cockpit tools specifically designed to handle XvT/BoP files. Also, despite X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter has 3 different cockpit resolutions, we'll be working with the highest one, 640x480.
A cockpit set is formed by 3 file types:
.LFD files - in these files are stored the graphics of the main cockpit view, side views and some other craft instruments, such as the Threat Display and the Inflight Map. Each graphic has it's own .LFD file and many of them are common for different craft (such as the standard view used by all TIEs) and even between Imperial and Rebel Craft (the Threat Display, for example). Our main goal, so far, is to make at least new main front views but side views are desirable, of course.
Here's the front TIE Interceptor art (a white bord has been added):
The front X-wing art:
.PNL files - in these files are stored the Panel Instruments graphics, small bitmaps made from the front cockpit graphic. During flight, they actually overwrite the main cockpit view. We might separate them in 3 categories: the normal parts (an exact match of a certain part of the main view), thedamaged parts(the damaged version of a certain part of the main view. It shows up when our craft is hit and overwrite both the main view and corresponding normal part) and theeletronic parts (power indicators, hull condition icon, missile lamps, etc), called this way because they are not static. Take care, eletronic parts are particularly sensitive toward the palette color, try not to mix different palettes.
TIE Interceptor normal parts (the front art is in grey scale, also, a blue border has been added this time):
TIE Interceptor damaged parts:
TIE Interceptor eletronic parts, plus strings and digits:
X-wing normal parts:
Notice that the X-wing, as well the other rebel cockpits, has only one normal part, the CMD display. Different from the imperial cockpits, which most of eletronic parts have a normal one as background, in rebel cockpits the eletronic parts are placed directly over the main art.
X-wing damaged parts:
Xwing eletronic parts, plus strings and digits:
Some stuff you will need...
- Mark Samios' TIE Fighter Editor (TIEEDIT) v. 1.28. You need it to manage .LFD and .PNL file. Get it at Mark Samios Page;
- a graphic editor to create/manage new art (Paint Shop Pro, currently in version 6, is excellent);
- cockpit descriptor files (.INT files) from TIE Fighter. Don't worry about that, modified TIE Fighter .INT files will be available to make your life easier =). Get them at the Download Page, under "Utilities for use with the *NEW* tutorial".
- FLIGHT.OVL (from T/F floppy version) or Z_TIE__.EXE (from T/F CD) somewhere in your disk. A potential big problem if you don't have any version of T/F, TIEEDIT asks for one of these files to run but, once again, don't worry, I've found a solution, by making a "fake" Z_TIE__.exe file, available in the same .zip containing the modified cockpit descriptor files (.INT files) described above.
- BinHexEdit software and BinHexEdit modules to edit the XvT/BoP .INT files (move parts around, set .LFDs to ues as views). You can get BinhexEdit at Demon's XvT Page and the modules I made at the Download Page, under "Utilities for use with the *NEW* tutorial".
- Michael Andersen's XvT Editor (MXvTED) - you'll be using this nice utility to add a custom cockpit in an easy way as well create patches to include in a distribution .zip, which will make easier for other people install and enjoy your work. Get the current version (v.3.0 beta build 7) at the Corellian Engineering OPT page.
A quick view on TIEEDIT 1.28
TIEEDIT is a tool developed
by Mark Samios, designed originally for TIE Fighter, floppy and CD versions.
It's a "all in one" tool: mission editor, battle manager, ship statitstics
editor (similar to MXvTED) and, which makes it unique, a cockpit editor.
Following are pictures of the many menus used in this editor (for a better
knowledge on how TIEEDIT works, I strongly suggest reading the help file
included with it).
From here, we can select which cockpit view or panel part to replace. Notice that not all of these options are used when editing a XvT/BoP cockpit.
Ship Attributes Editor (can't be used for XvT editing)
Owners of TIE Fighter would use this one to edit ship statistics.
Cockpit Palette Editor
This one is very important, we use it to set which color will be transparent when creating a new cockpit, as well the color for the radar/sensor display. If these two special colors are not set properly, we can get a "solid" cockpit (you can't see anything) or, on the contrary, a cockpit full of "holes", as well being unable to see the dots that represent ships/objects in the sensors.
More to come here... (unlikely...)