HCl's WC Projects, year 2001
Secret Ops High-Res Upgrade
Started at: March 10th 2001
Status: Completed!
Description: This project consists in upgrading WCSO to work with higher resolutions, namely 800x600 and 1024x768, both in Direct3D and Glide mode. The patch includes resized images (on the Cerberus room, splash screens, etc) in a way that the entire gameplay will be completely adjusted to the new resolutions.
EXE patching: Completed!
Cockpit patching: Completed!
Image resizing: Completed, by processing compressed data directly. They may be worked on again to provide better image quality.
Selection menu (DLL): Completed!
Tools used: Hex editor, fan tools (mainly to facilitate EXE research and file modifications), Visual C++
Mario "HCl" Brito Coordinator, EXE research and patching, cockpit patching, image resizing, menu centering, other misc research, beta testing
Jakub "Quarto" Majewski Cockpit research and patching, beta testing
Thomas Bruckner Texconv upgrade, misc image work, beta testing
Alexander "Pedro" Barnfield Beta testing
"capteisen" Beta testing
Maurício "Killerwave" Souza Menu bitmaps (version 2 and 3), beta testing
Recommended specs: Considering the specs of the computers of the people testing this patch, i recommend running a P2 300mhz with a fairly good 3D card (Riva TNT2, Voodoo3, etc). You'll definitely still be able to enjoy the patch with lower specs.
Screenshots: Cerberus 800x600, Shrike Cockpit 800x600, Episode 1 Intro 1024x768, Panther 1280x1024,
Downloads: Third version:

Hex-edited EXE and DLLs, adjusted cockpits, scaled images, centered menus and patch for increased rendering distance - 800x600 and 1024x768, with res-selection menu and support for 32-bit mode - 8.39 mb

Second version:

Hex-edited EXE and DLLs, cockpits and scaled images - 800x600 and 1024x768, with res-selection menu - 4.82mb

First version:

Hex-edited EXE, cockpits and scaled images - 800x600 - 2.41mb
Hex-edited EXE, cockpits and scaled images - 1024x768 - 2.67mb
Other notes: Just unzip the files to the directory where Secret Ops is installed, then run SecretOps.exe as usual.

After i threw away my old S3 and got myself a TNT2 i was finally able to play WCSO at 1024x768. After the first 5 minutes of gameplay, i decided against going to resolutions higher than 1024x768, at least for now. The problem is that the gauges get very small at 1024x768, and that means too small at anything higher.

Send feedback and bug reports here

Research for in-memory EXE-Patching
Started at: June 25th 2001
Status: Completed!
Description: This project consisted on coming up with a way to patch EXE files in memory. This could be useful in projects that require patching that only affects the game when a special loader is run. The small WC3 KS mission editor is basically an EXE loader, with a lot of reused code from my old WC4 mission editor and a simple interface made in a few hours.
Research: Completed!
Small WC3 loader: Completed! (evolved into the mission editor linked below)
Tools used: Hex editor, fan tools, Visual C++
Mario "HCl" Brito Research and programming
Recommended specs: N/A
Screenshots: Mission editor,
Downloads: Simple mission editor for WC3 Kilrathi Saga
Other notes: Well, it works for me, that's all i say. Installation of the mission editor should be very straight forward, just read the readme file. The mission editor only works with Kilrathi Saga WC3!

Send feedback and bug reports here

Wing Commander Prophecy - Audio and Video format research
Started at: July 14th 2001
Status: Completed!
Description: This project consisted on researching and making compressor/decompressor tools both for the audio formats used in Wing Commander Prophecy (music, comms, sound effects, etc: the algorithm is called XA) and for the video format (which is used, for example, in comms: this format will be referred to as UV2, because it's the file extension comm files use). In a first stage, i researched how these formats are coded. When the coding method was understood, decompressors and compressors were made available.
Audio Research: Completed!
Audio Decompressor: Completed: it's able to decompress WCP MGI, XA, WVE and IFF (C XA) formats to WAV.
Audio Compressor: Completed!
UV2 Research: Completed!
UV2 Decompressor: Completed, WCP Movie Decompressor included on the Wing Commander Movie Player
Movie Tool: Completed: Although it doesn't compress to UV2 format, the FMV patch makes it possible to have fan-made FMV playing in WCSO
Tools used: Hex editor, fan tools, Visual C++
Mario "HCl" Brito Research and programming
Recommended specs: N/A
Screenshots: Bug comms (testing my uv2->tga unpacker), Testing my UV2 Linux Player, Playing WCP FMV on Linux,
Downloads: Prophecy Audio Tool v1.0 v1.1 (latest) - Allows compressing and decompressing every type of WCP sound file.
Secret Ops FMV Patch - This small patch uses an OpenDivX DLL (divx.dll, which was developed by Project Mayo) to decompress OpenDivX frames inside Secret Ops, either as FMV or comm sequences.
Secret Ops FMV Tool - This console program allows conversion of OpenDivX movies to a format that Secret Ops is able to play. (Note that the FMV patch must be installed or WCSO will crash when attempting to play movies created this way)
Secret Ops FMV: Patch & Tool Documentation - This documentation explains, every step of the way, how to encode a movie and play it inside Secret Ops.
MGI Builder - Allows building complex MGIs, with several tunes which will be triggered during the game.
Other notes: To compress new audio with the audio tool, you must record a WAV file in PCM format, 22khz, 16-bit. Usually it can be either mono or stereo (only the MGI format doesn't work with mono audio, due to the way WCP works).

The compressor code is still a bit slow... so don't be too quick to assume that the program stopped responding. If you're compressing a relatively large WAV, be prepared to wait a bit.

To encode new movies, you need a movie encoded at 15 frames per second, common screen sizes are 320x160 and 320x240 (movie dimensions must be multiple of 16). If the movie has audio (movies can be either FMV or comms) it must be coded in PCM format, 22khz, 16-bit stereo and then compressed to XA. More details can be found on the movie tool documentation.

Send feedback and bug reports here