Tutorial: how to use SuperBackdrops for a new XWA mission, using AlliED
In this tutorial I learn to use the new Super Bacdrops with AlliED. You need to have XWAUCP or DSUCP installed.
This tutorial does not teach you how to use AlliED, but explains how to change the starfield of your missions. It is assumed that you already know how to create your own missions using AlliED. If this is not the case, please consult the documentation you find with the AlliED program first.
1. First, let's create a new mission.
As an example, we created a simple scenario with two spaceships and a traditional backdrop, such as a star.
The scenario could be more complex, with dozens of spaceships, dozens of backdrops and more regions of play. The steps that follow will not change.
Now let's learn how to include in our mission the new "Skirmish" Starfield, that is the image to follow:
Before starting some basic concepts: what is a Backdrop image? It is an image projected as a backdrop for your scenario. You must think of your scenario as a sphere in which you are. Images are projected to infinity on the sphere. By experimenting with the size of the images, it was possible to accurately link multiple Backdrops images, so that they formed a single background image, covering the whole sphere.
2. Now, to insert the background images that replace the game's starfield, open the FG Library and load the "NewStarfield_2.0.fgp" file, located in the game's “Missions” folder.
The "Flight Group Library" window will open, with six backdrops loaded. Select them all and insert them in your mission, using the "Add Library selections to Mission" button.
3. Now the six backdrops have been added at the bottom of your Flight Groups list.
The first two new backrops make up the upper dome and the lower dome of an imaginary sphere, inside which we find ourselves when we play XWA.
Their size is shown in the Flight Group window, and must be for both 0.895.
Their coordinates are: X=0.00, Y=0.00, Z=1.00 and X=0.00, Y=0.00, Z=-1.00
The other four Backdrops are equal to each other and constitute the horizon of our scenario. Their size must be 1.055.
Their coordinates are: X=1.00, Y=0.00, Z=0.00 and X=0.00, Y=1.00, Z=0.00 and X=-1.00, Y=0.00, Z=0.00 and X=0.00, Y=-1.00, Z=0.00
4. To make sure that the star of our mission is visible and not behind our new Starfield, we must place it at the bottom of the Flight Group list, or better, after Backdrops that make up our Starfield. To do this, select the star and use the "Move Selections down" button.
Congratulations, you have now correctly entered the new "Skirmish" Starfield. Play your mission and check that everything is going well. If you have multiple regions, repeat steps 2 to 4 in all your regions.
5. Now we want to modify the Starfield, and use the new Super Backdrops. For example, we want to use the green Nebula background.
As written in the catalog, this image is saved in the "planet2.dat" file, at the ID 6079-4. For AlliED users, it is important to know that the corresponding number is 40-4.
The upper dome and the lower dome do not change, so we can not change the first two Backdrops that make up the Starfield.
Instead, we select the other four Backdrops, the ones that create the horizon, and click the "Choose Backdrop" button.
The list of Backdrops opens, with which we can change the number of our Backdrops: we select the number 40, then the option number 4 of shadow. Now you should understand what the number 40-4 means: Backdrop number 40, shadow 4.
6. Repeat the same procedure in all regions of yur mission, perhaps choosing different backgrounds. Use the catalog to find out the number and shadow associated with the background you have chosen.
As default, the Backdrops that make up the new starfield do not emit light, so it is not necessary to choose a color. But you might decide to use Starfield Backdrops as unique background images; in this case it will be better to modify the "Bright" factor of the Backdrops and choose the color of the light. Remember, you can decide the color in the list of Backdrops, and that the name of the Backdrop equals the RGB value of their light.
7. As written, the images of the new Sperbackdrops are saved in the "planet2.dat" file. In the absence of specific indications, the game will always load the default "planet.dat" file, so the new Backdrops will not be visible.
To edit the game correctly, you need to create *.ini file with the same name as your mission and save it in the "Missions" folder of the game, next to your *.tie mission file. The *.ini file must be written as follows, to program the game to load the "planet2.dat" file.
Now you have created your mission with the SuperBackdrops you have chosen in the catalog. Play and check that everything is working properly.
8. Now let's talk about the Backdrops that make up the low orbit scenario. They are the same as those that make up the Starfield, but also we have to modify the lower dome.
For example, we choose scenario number 50-1 from the catalog. This is the number of Backdrops and shadows that we need to use for the horizon. From the catalog, we also see that the lower dome must have number 50-2.
Well, then after modifying the horizon Backdrops as explained in point 5, we select the backdrop of the lower dome, the one with coordinates X=0.00, Y=0.00, Z=-1.00.
Replace it with Backdrop number 50, shadow 2. No change to the size.
This is what you need to know to use the new Superbackdrops for your missions.