I thought the time is come to give WCS+ a home also in the main WCS forum too. There are several informations in several threads and in several forums. So this thread here is meant to concentrate all infos and discussions. I start this thread with FAQ-style informations. Please have patience, my technical skills are much better than my english skills.
What exactly is Wing Commander Saga Plus?
The first (and at the beginning the only) priority of WCS+ was to create a platform (engine) for our WCS German-Mod Project which is better suited for german language than the WCS original engine. For this i learned first the basics of the used programing language C++ after the WCS sourecode was published in november 2013. Then after i reached all our goals - make all texts translatable - i became bolder and i tried also to realize some of the ideas the pilots from WingCenter had after WCS release. And this was also successfully. A dream becomes reality: give WCS some changes and improvements. WCS+ is a slightly improved engine with some new (little) features for players and modders and have also few bugfixes.
What are the new features?
I can only write here some infos about the primary features, for all secondary features there is no place here.
Give the translators the possibility to translate the whole game. For this more than 300 new langauge variables was build in. Also some text limits was eliminated or loosened.
A welcome popup for new players so our team (or other modders) can give the players some important infos if the player starts with his pilot the first time.
The possibility that modder can set a special attribute (RETURN_TO_MAINHALL) to a mission so the engine will go back to the mainhall after the mission was successfully finished, instead of continue directly with the next mission. This is one of the most important changes to the engine and the requirement for some other new features.
The modders can set the RTM attribute very simple with FRED+, the mission designer for WCS+.
If a mission adds new database entries the player gets a hint for that in the mainhall after the current mission is finished. This hint informs the player in which database are the new entries and how much.
This database hint will also play a sound, it's a new sound type for WCS+ and can be set by modders.
It's no longer a question which entries are new in the 3 databases because all new entries are now marked as "new" like in a mail client. These markers are stored into the players pilot profile.
For this the pilot delete feature in barracks delete also the new DB2 files.
The hints at the top border (like F1-Hint, database-hint) are now mouse sensitive. This means the player can directly click on a new hint and the engine bring the player automatically to the appropriate area.
In the start screen and in the barrack screen the amount of the existing pilot profiles and the maximum amount is shown.
Players can reactivate now the tips without any tricks direcly in the main hall and also the welcome popup.
It's now possible for modders to completely deactivate the tip system.
In the cockpit help system (F1) are more keys included now.
Modders have the possibility to set their own mod version text in the lower right corner at the main hall.
In the mainhall help screen the version texts at the bottom border will now deactivated so modders have the chance to use the full help screen for their own texts.
The help overlay system have now the feature to show a button in the top right corner for an existing help overlay (F1). This display can be disabled in the Extras-Menu. This feature should help new players.
The Fiction Viewer now supports the scroll keys PageUp/PageDown.
The Fiction Viewer now supports the keys Home/End also for jumping to the beginning/end of a text.
Now the text width in Fiction Viewer can be automatically limited without the need to manually format the text (by inserting hard linefeeds) in an editor.
This text width can now be definied by a modder with a new Mod INI system. In this case the modder can set the width in percent in the new TABLE config.tbl very easy.
The known help overlay system is now included also in the Fiction Viewer. The FV had no support for the help system until now. I wanted this for showing all possible keyboard keys in FV.
WCS use the genre-typical flight behavior Roll-on-Yaw. The player can now disable this. It means the player can globally overwrite the ships-specs in the mod for the Yaw axxis.
Music and intercom in the mainhall can be disabled.
In the techroom all player ships have now a new display to show their ship data.
In the command briefing screen the textbox is now much bigger for longer text.
A optional feature allows automatic radio chat export. Idealy for betatests. The text file contains: date, time, mission duration (with miliseconds), message type, source, message text. There exists also a tool which can convert this raw text into a comfortable HTML file with buttons for jumping between sessions.
A new additional menu system - called Extras-Menu - give the player the possibility to change some of the new WCS+ features. This menu contains:
General: Alternate font (Multifont) for texts and radio chat (on/off)
General: Alternate font (Multifont) for Fiction Viewer (on/off)
General: About the team (popup)
General: Show a hint (?) for an existing help page (F1) (on/off)
Cockpit: Target HUD render model (on/off)
Cockpit: Show objective tips (on/off)
Cockpit: Allow roll-on-yaw (on/off)
Mainhall: Show database hint (on/off)
Mainhall: Show database hint now (hint area top border)
Mainhall: Allow background music (on/off)
Mainhall: Allow intercom voice (on/off)
Mainhall: Reactivate and show the welcome popup
Mainhall: Reactivate and show the tips (popup)
Betatest: Reset all database markers (only in debug build)
Betatest: Restore all database markers (only in debug build)
Betatest: Log the mission radio chat (only in debug build)
Added a new mainhall button type for the Extras-Menu.
The new Multi-Font feature gives the possibility to use an alternate font for text like the cockpit radio chat. Multi-Font is also one of the most important changes to the engine because the original font is not suited for longer texts and generally hard to read especially for german language. MF was implemented in the most game areas which contains bigger texts:
MainHall: hints (top border)
MainHall: tooltip area (bottom border)
Options: control configuration
TechRoom: databases (Weapons, Ships, Intel)
Fiction Viewer: story text
Mission: command briefing
Mission: ship choice
Cockpit: radio chat
Cockpit: computer messages (tip area)
Cockpit: mission log (goals, messages, events)
Cockpit: control configuration help pages
All popups (including the tips)
Added two new font types for the Multi-Font feature. One for normal text and one for bigger text like titles.
The subtitle display for engine cutscenes have now auto scaling text. This avoids too small texts if the resolution is really high. This means subtitles have now exactly the same font size, regardless of the resolution.
Several improvements for popups:
It's now possible to scroll text in popups also with CursorUp/CursorDown and PageUp/PageDown
Popups are now bigger so more text can be set
More lines allowed, 100 instead of 30
The vertical slider area was increased so it's easier to use it
Titles are now underlined
and other little changes
For modders: in the Debug Build it's now possible to use the existing but incative (until now) Quickload feature with F4 in the mainhall. Ideally for testing missions independently from the current campaign state or the selected campaign.
For modders: in the Debug Build the mission informations like mission designer, mission description and mission notes will shown in the briefing section.
For modders: the database table parser now supports the new token "+Tech Title:" for the intel database (species.tbl). With this it's no longer needed for translators, to change also all TECH ADD tokens in all missions after they translated the intel database entry titles.
For modders: to use auto scaling text also in LUA script the LUA interpeter have now additional functions:
[Graphics] getStringHeight = Addition to gr.getStringWidth.
[Graphics] drawStringScaled = Draw auto scaling text.
[Graphics] getStringWidthScaled = Get the width from auto scaled text.
[Graphics] getStringHeightScaled = Get the height from auto scaled text.
For modders: to use Multi-Font also in LUA script the LUA interpeter have now additional functions:
[Base] getPlayerSaveFlags = get the "Player->save_flags".
For modders: To make it possible to disable LUA script features if currently the Extras-Menu is shown the LUA interpeter have now additional functions:
[Base] getIsExtrasMenuActive = Check if Extras-Menu is shown.
For modders: To make it possible to suppress LUA script displays if currently a help overlay is shown the LUA interpeter have now additional functions:
[Base] getHelpOverlayFlags =Check if a help overlay is shown and which exactly.
Disabled a function which is responsible that german umlauts and color tags can't used simultaneously. Color tags are used in Fiction Viewer and command briefing as example.
Fixed a little design flaw on the F1-hint. After the timeout only the hint bar scroll up but not the hint text.
The original function for the ORDERS management was disabled and replaced by a new function which can use two groups of language variables instead of only one group. This avoids the silent-Sandman-problem if the comm menu was translated by modders.
If the player tries to switch to a finished campaign, a negative sound was played and the campaign room was not closed. The engine could not differ between campaign-is-finished and no-more-missions-available. This issue was fixed.
In the target-memory (F3) in cockpit the engine freezes completely if the player presses CursorDown on the last point in the ship list and if there is no enemy ship in sector. This issue was fixed.
Is the original WCS Mod "The Darkest Dawn" compatible with WCS Plus?
It is. There are only a few things in the GUI menu system modders must change: a few files must simply be replaced, that's it. But the campaigns and the missions works completely without any problems and without any modifications directly with WCS+. The modders have the choice if they wish to use the new features or not.
Can i use old savegames from WCS original with WCS Plus?
Of course you can. There is nothing a player must change to get their old savegames working with WCS+. Simply load your savegame and have fun with WCS+. All changes in WCS+ to the pilot profile system was done in a way that allows loading old savegames in WCS+.
Where can i download WCS Plus?
WCS+ is still in development and it is primarily the platform for the WCS German-Mod project. But i plan to make a so called "WCS Plus Pack" in the future so all WCS players have the chance to play with WCS+, not only the german speaking players.
Some impressions from WCS+. All screens have german text. Of course, we work on the german translation. But it shows you some of the changes/improvements you will get later with the WCS Plus Pack.
Mainhall with Welcome-popup and multi-font and Mod version text in the lower right corner.
Well, this certainly looks interesting, I take it you are making good progress. Makes me want to go back to working on WCS Open while I've got time, though given the humongus amount of things I've got on my TODO list, that might take a while.
Say, do you guys have a svn or git repo people can publicly check out, or are you keeping things close sourced for now?
There are no "guys", only me regarding WCS+. Yes, atm it's closed source, this have several reasons. One is that WCS+ is primarily the platform for the german translation project and the development of WCS+ is directly affected by the development of our WCS-German-Mod. This is a dynamic process and it is not my politics to publish unfinished work.
In any case, keep up the amazing work and don't burn yourself out .
Thx, i'll do my best to both. Well... sometimes... but now i have a colleague (Death Angel) in the tech department who helps me with one of the most expensive work (implementation) in our German Mod project so i have more time for other things in our project and for WCS+ of course.
[*]Now the text width in Fiction Viewer can be automatically limited without the need to manually format the text (by inserting hard linefeeds) in an editor.
[*]This text width can now be definied by a modder with a new Mod INI system. In this case the modder can set the width in percent in the new TABLE config.tbl very easy.
[*]The Fiction Viewer now supports the keys Home/End also for jumping to the beginning/end of a text.
[*]The known help overlay system is now included also in the Fiction Viewer. The FV had no support for the help system until now. I wanted this for showing all possible keyboard keys in FV.
[*]For modders: in the Debug Build it's now possible to use the existing but incative (until now) Quickload feature with F4 in the mainhall. Ideally for testing missions independently from the current campaign state or the selected campaign.
[*]For modders: in the Debug Build the mission informations like mission designer, mission description and mission notes will shown in the briefing section.
[*]Options: control configuration
[*]Cockpit: control configuration help pages
[*]For modders: the database table parser now supports the new token "+Tech Title:" for the INTEL database (species.tbl). With this it's no longer needed for translators, to change also all TECH ADD tokens in all missions after they translated the intel database entry titles.
[*]Betatest: Reset all database markers (only in debug build)
[*]Betatest: Restore all database markers (only in debug build)
[*]Betatest: Log the mission radio chat (only in debug build)