Falcon 4 textures / tiles. These include terrain and aircraft textures.
How to create your own textures (tiles).
Tiles comes in groups of 16. If you have more than 16, you need to divide them to other group. Resolution of default H tile is 128 x 128, 8bit 256 colors but you can do also 512 res tiles. In group of 16 tiles, they all share the same Color Palette. Color Palette in default tile has colors 252 - 255 for city night lightning effect. For example you use normal daytime colors for the 252-255 color indexes, sprinkle these colors along the tile where you want the night lighting to show up, then at night time they will be shown as these values:
position 252 will turn to color 115,171,155 (RGB values) position 253 will turn to color 183,127,183 (RGB values) position 254 will turn to color 171,179,139 (RGB values) position 255 will turn to color 171,171,171 (RGB values)
This all sounds pretty easy but it isn't. You can try KingGeorge's method of saving all your tiles into a mega graphics and reducing the color palette and converting the last 4 palette colors to white. However, experience has shown that there are invariable conflicts with the colors. Here is an alternative way that worked for me. First, when create a tile set - the set will have a specific color pallet. In the original form you will have 256 colors. These 256 colors need to then be reduced down to 252 colors to leave a space for the last four color in the palette. How to do this. The easiest way is find one of the many color palette management tools that are commercially available. Most of these will allow you to edit the color palette of an image and allow to export parts of a palette, import colors, organize colors, and even include or exclude colors. The problem with night colors is these colors need to be unique within the pallet. I.e. if you have any tile which uses any of the four designated night colors in any position other than exactly where you intended to “sprinkle” night lights - those pixels will also be “lit” at night. Therefore, you will need to ensure that you color palette doesn't include any of the night colors in any of the other 252 color positions. How to do this? This is pretty easy - first you need to combine all 16 of your tiles into one master composite tile. Typically most tile makers will make their tile set using 16million colors. Then you reduce this to 252 colors in your pallet. Next you need to export the palette and then look at each of the 252 colors and verify that the color isn't one of the 4 night colors. This process is pretty fast because you can eliminate most colors by using the first color - if you find any exact matches simple adjust your the pallet color by one single number up or down - this will then make the color virtually the same but will avoid the exact match needed for the night colors. Now, you have a clean color palette for you tile set. Next, export your color palette to one of the color palette management tools. Then manually add the four night colors to complete your 256 color palette. This pallet can then be used by the SPTinstall in the process of converting *.pcx tiles into the day and night DDS tiles used by RV, Cobra, etc. If you using AF then the conversion to DDS doesn't apply.
Tile information is located at texture.bin, each tile “set” (or group) contains maximum of 16 tiles.Tiling file name Microprose “standard” we all should be using is using the following rules:
<1*resolution> <4*name> <3*direction> .pcx
resolution is as above, H, M, L, or T name is just a name - but only 4 chars. Direction is used for tiling.
The first two give the set, e.g., 00 for beach section etc. The next one is a HEX number 0-15 with 10=A, 11=B etc. You make this up by using the direction of the “other feature” included in the tile. So, say its a forest road.
You do the following
Add 1 if there is a road going out of the square to the north
Add 2 if there is one going east
Add 4 if there is one going south
Add 8 if there is one going west
So - with no roads - you get 000
with a road coming from the north, but ending in this square you get 001
A road going east-west you would get 2+8 = 10 = A ⇒ 00A
A T junction pointing south would be 2 + 4 + 8 = 14 ⇒ 00D
A crossroads would be 1+2+4+8 = 15 = 00F
Similar for coast - where land is the “other” factor, or say a forest/plains tile - use forests as the main, and the “plains” as the “other” factor.
When we have made new tiles to add, then use tbin2txt.pl to produce the text file from default Korean texture.bin like:
./tbin2txt.pl texture.bin >korea.txt
in the end of korea.txt, add your own textures like:
SET 4 HDYNE100.pcx 0 0 HDYNE101.pcx 0 0 HDYNE102.pcx 0 0 HDYNE103.pcx 0 0 HDYNE104.pcx 0 0 HDYNE105.pcx 0 0 HDYNE106.pcx 0 0 HDYNE107.pcx 0 0 HDYNE108.pcx 0 0 ENDSET
Now were ready to create the mytextures.bin, use the Perl txt2bin.pl with command line:
./txt2bin.pl korea.txt >mytextures.bin
To create M, L and T tiles we suggest you run the runtiles batch file we created. Inside the zip is readme.txt which should guide your tile creation process. After you have made M, L and T tiles from the original H tiles, just add your new .pcx tiles to texture.zip, copy new texture.bin (mytextures.bin) to the texture dir and fire up Tinstall.exe, SPTinstal.exe or FFTinstall to rebuild terrain with new textures as it creates new fartiles.raw file. (tbin2txt.pl and txt2bin.pl scripts in PMC Tactical Falcon 4 Downloads).
Thats it, good luck.
Use Paint Shop Pro to create one 16 million color image where you add one tile from every tile-set, then reduce the colors to 256 and save the palette to for example “new-fartiles.pal” file name, also save the image to be used later. This image should be then re-sized for example to 16×16 resolution to make it nice and small. Then take the mkpal.pl perl script and run it like this:
./mkpal.pl new-fartiles.pal >fartiles.pal
Now you have brand new fartiles.pal file. The new-fartiles.pal PSP palette's image is also to be used in the T tiles color palette.
For Theater Developers - if you plan to create a theater that recommends a setting of never letting fartiles kick in - then the concerns for fartiles shouldn't be an issue. To our knowledge no theater has ever been created without consideration of using fartiles. It is recommended that you always include fartiles in planning terrain tiles/terrain building.
Download the Runtiles packet, unpack the Runtiles.v1.1.rar to \temp directory (any dir, we refer to \temp). Copy all your new H tiles to \temp directory, then place the fartile palette PCX file (new-fartiles.pal image) to the same dir. Rename the fartile pcx file for “xfartile.pcx”. You must start 4dos.com to get the for loop support, basic windows command.com will not support this. Just run 4dos.com in your windows dos screen. You know when the 4dos is running when you see something like this:
4DOS EMS swapping initialized (144K) 4DOS running under Windows 3 in 386 enhanced mode 4DOS 5.0 DOS 7.10 Copyright 1988-1994 Rex Conn & JP Software Inc. All Rights Reserved
Of course if you already are using 4dos, you don't need to re-run it. Then run “runtiles.bat” from your 4dos.com DOS screen and sit back. if all goes well, after the process you should have the original H tiles and also M, L and T tiles, where T tiles use the color palette from xfartile.pcx image.
Again, if you find something wrong with this tutorial, or can provide some information to improve it… please email us!
A few other notes to keep in mind. The original F4.exe used the L-tile as the actual source for the color palette for a tile set. Therefore there is some ability to adjust the color palette of all the tiles by simply changing the color palette of the M-tiles. This may hold true for BMS and later exe and may be part of the principle of how SeasonSwitcher works. Also, Widowmaker demonstrated that it was possible to copy the H-tiles and put them in the M and L- tile positions without adverse affect on frame rate. Widowmaker called this process the High Altitude Fix - which in effect increase the tile resolution of the lower lower tiles. Users can accomplish this same effect by copying the the H-tiles and then running a batch rename to change the H*.pcx to L*.pcx and H*.pcx to M*.pcx. This will also reduce some of the edge to edge issues associated with tiles. In short, you can get by with just using H-tiles.
When you are creating new textures, please make sure you will make full terrain type tile-sets at once, its simply too troublesome to finish just some tiles and go back to create “missing” tiles weeks later when they are needed. So what are full terrain tile-sets? Lets assume you have desert, vegetation and mountain terrain types… so our Full terrain tile-sets contains these elements:
- basic terrain type tile(s).
- road/river/city tiles.
- coast tiles.
- transition tiles to vegetation and mountain types, including roads/rivers/coast/default (no features).
- basic terrain type tile(s).
- road/river/city tiles.
- coast tiles.
- transition tiles to desert and mountain types, including roads/rivers/coast/default (no features).
- basic terrain type tile(s).
- road/river/city tiles.
- coast tiles, if required for mountain, be very careful when checking this.
- transition tiles to desert and vegetation types, including roads/rivers/coast?/default (no features).
You see, you gotta be thorough with the tiles that you remember include everything, its not that simple to add tiles to the texture.bin later when you have done screw up earlier. Now that you have all textures created, you must use the Microprose “standard” for naming the tiles if you want to keep CATE and Terrainview working with them. When you have standard tile-set made, it only takes less than 60 seconds for CATE to tile 16000 segments with your tiles! No standard == do it yourself…
To convert your old pcx (Original Falcon and AF) tiles into DDS format what RV and OF uses, there is few options. Read more about it here.
How to apply aircraft/vehicles skin textures in all F4 versions.
In AF you should use TexInstall.exe to apply the <number>.bmp skins into the .tex file directly. Example of it looks like this:
The number being the aircraft CT number of course.
RV / OF
In the new DDS texture format falcon versions the whole skin installing method has changed, now you need to create directory “Theaters\<THEATER>\terrdata\objects\KoreaObj\” and place all your <number>.dds skin files into this directory. Again, the number being the aircraft CT number.
Here is couple of tile creation tutorials.
Zaggy's Tile Meistering Tutorial by Zaggy
Road Tile Creation by rom
Creating 512 Tiles from sat images by Kinggeorge
Photorealistic tiles by Joe Labrada(?)
Skinning basics The basics of Falcon 4 aircraft texture painting / skinning.
These Zaggy's tutorials are by OpenSkins, much credit to Zaggy how granted us permission to provide the tutorials here.
How-To: skin-making overview by Zaggy 15/06/04
Goes through the skin making process from Extracting the wire frames from LOD Editor right through to converting to DDS files for BMS 2.0. By no means the definitive guide to making skins, but simply ges through the methodology and techniques used to come up with the end product.
About DDS Files by Zaggy 25/06/04
A brief description of answers to the most common things new skinners want to know about DDS files, what they are, where they go and how they're made. Should be of use to you out there who are attempting your first skin or mod.
About Photoshop Layers 1 by Zaggy 26/06/04
First part of a short series of planned articles on implementing Photoshop Layers and using them in an effective manner when dealing with complex graphics such as skinning. More parts and techniques to come shortly.
Basic Weathering and Depth by Zaggy 04/07/04
Covers the basic techniques used to weather an aircraft, stains, grime, depth and shadings, etc.
DDS Skin Tutorial by JanHas
How to create aircraft skins in PhotoShop.
Aircraft texture skinning by Ron “Red1” Nair
Red1's Advanced Photoshop techniques; panel lines, highlights & rivets.
See also Editing Alpha Channel for your texture.