Question about editing art


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#1 kcbdream83

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 06:17 AM

First, Thank you all for the wonderful work you do here. I am a longtime X-Com fan (i actually bought it at the store circa era 1995 as UFO Defense). Returned to the series a couple times over the years, most of you know how that goes...

My question is in regard to editing of the art. I am using X-Com Windows CE (gold) edition so i can use the UFO Extender in conjunction with Xcomutil 9.7.  So far it's been great! I couldn't get BB's Uniform mod to work, so i decided to do some artwork myself.

I actually swapped out the default uniforms with Bagirov's Arctic set, i like the white look, makes the bloodsplatter really shine =) . The corpses under UNITS\Bigobs.pck & Floorob.pck need to be edited however, I was going to apply a similar palette used on the Arctic set to go ahead and colorize a whitish color as well.

So I guess my questions are- What is the Xcom palette, a straight 256 colors? Or does Xcom use a special palette file (i would imagine so). I use Paint Shop v5 (older program i know, it's simple), so is there a .pal file available for these purposes?

Then once i import them using the PCK tool, i see all edited .pck files have an associated .tab file? I'm not familiar with this, all i get is code in notepad. Programming is not my strong point, just the art.

I imported a test example of a corpse from another artpack (the urban camo set) where it's been changed from tan to blue. I exported the .bmp, then imported the .bmp into the file i wanted to edit.  Seemed to work. When i test in game, it appears to work. But once i click on the corpse, game crashes with a bigobs.pck error.  I imagine it has to do with the tab file?

Any help is appreciated, if i can get this to work, i can take it a step furthur. Plenty of weapons from Duke Nukem 3D, wolfenstein i have exported already, i'd like to maybe swap the rocket launcher with an RPG, know what i mean?
Thank you for any help, you guys/gals are awesome as always.

#2 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 10:54 AM

Daishiva's PCKView can import/export PCK files, XCView can deal with the SPKs, but you'll probably be better off using the image converting tools in my own pack:
  • AFAIK they're still the only ones out there that can deal with the BIGOBS PCK
  • The standard GIF image files they convert to use whatever palette the game uses for those sprites
  • ... and when converting back from GIF to one of the game formats they'll correct the palette for you if you somehow use the wrong one anyways (at least, as much as is possible).
That's not to bash Daishiva's stuff, which is much more suitable for quickly checking what's in one of the game files then my own command-line based tools are. Not entirely sure what tools you're using at the moment.

If you're curious about the image formats the game uses, you can read about them here. Long story short the TAB files are used to locate where specific images are stored inside the respective PCK files. Trying to manage them without using a program dedicated to the task is futile, because if one pixel is added to or removed from a single sprite in the PCK archive, then up to the entire TAB file may need to be re-written.

You might also find it useful to know that F12 puts a TGA screenshot in your game folder while playing. This image will use whatever palette the game was using at the time.
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#3 NKF

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 05:20 AM

The only real fault I find with Daishiva's PCKView is that it doesn't pack the pck files correctly. Sprites modified with it may seem to work okay initially, but the screen will start getting corrupted as you play. The text will probably be one of the first elements to get garbled.

I'd recommend using it in conjunction with BB's tools.

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#4 Conti-k

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 10:48 AM

View PostNKF, on 11th March 2012, 6:20am, said:

The only real fault I find with Daishiva's PCKView is that it doesn't pack the pck files correctly.
1.4.1 is breaking units sprites (dunno about other stuff), but I thought 1.2, and the one from XCSuite are ok.

Anyway, MCDEdit allows you to edit PCKs (stuff in TERRAIN folder), but it seems like is altering colors slightly thus originally dark pixel will be transparent. MCDEdit has ability to edit SCANG.DAT, and LOFTEMPS.DAT as well.

Speaking of editing PCKs: what program is able to edit BASEBITS.PCK? I mean, loading correct colors for that file.
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#5 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 11 March 2012 - 11:30 AM

Mine.
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#6 kcbdream83

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 04:37 AM

Thank you for the courteous responses. Using pckview1.4 and pck_view (1.0 1995?). Seeing what the capabilities are of each, and how to affect game data with each.  I appreciate the link to ufopaedia, very useful information.  The data tables & such, wow, it's all I ever hoped X-Com would be.  I use to write these things out on graph paper, so this is truly something cool. I'll be checking out some of the other progs recommended.

#7 Conti-k

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Posted 12 March 2012 - 01:07 PM

IIRC version 1.4.1 is hosted at StrategyCore. I don't remember from where I took 1.2. Latest one from XCSuite combines both PCKView, and XCView into one exe (grab it from here). It adds option to save all frames to BMPs with just-one-click, and it has "compare files" feature. Personally I'm not using it due to selecting format type, and file name each time I want to save something (it's annoying). PCKView 1.2 is automatically saving actually opened PCK.
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