FXEXE Patches   10-19-2017
Written by the creator of the FXEXE: VonBeerhofen
Edited by: MarkEAW

Download Link:
-game-patch-fxexe - What I have is a Target Career Set of FXEXE targets for use in the standard stock v1.2 game and some of VBH's old files. I don't have any of VBH's recent versions available directly in my downloads, as his version changes frequently with exe and game data updates. See the Web Links listed below for recent versions of VBH's downloads.

CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION
Web Links

DESCRIPTION

SPECIFICATIONS
Installing | Flight/Damage Model | Loadout | Particle | Graphics | Views | Difficulty/Settings | Sound | A.I.
Ground | Controls | Missions | Multiplayer | INI Entries | Modders Information

NOTES
Try Outs | Weekly ScreenShot

 

INTRODUCTION

This document came about to help players to understand and know about some of the aspects of the FXEXE game. The FXEXE is a a disassemble at machine language level of EAW and its game data. Everything available for v1.2 can be converted to be compatible. Its a FX-effects and All Flyable Bombers release version of the old game. Dozens and Dozens of special effects added. 

Web Links:
VBH's Launchpad Site Screenshot Gallery - Many, Many screenshots of effect examples. See them in full size, full details!

VBH's LaunchPad Site (F Section)- Where you can download the latest smaller core package of FXEXE to try out. There are also other downloads available. Note: the core package of FXEXE is publicly available here, but the full (AFB) All Flyable Bombers / The Final Cut / (PTIII) Pacific Tide III Add-on archive is not.

Chatzy Launchpad Warroom - Where you can contact VBH and talk about FXEXE / AFB. It goes without saying that you should be courteous and responsive when contacting VBH.

 

DESCRIPTION

The FXEXE has come a long way in 10 years (from 2005) and it's old description is no longer very accurate (so here is a 2015 update)...

A description for the FXEXE isn't really easy, it's gone way beyond it's first versions. It's a 'scrubbed' or 'cleaned' version of v1.2 NoCD, created with the original C++ code as information source, which will give much higher frame rates whilst retaining full backward compatibility.

100'ds of graphics heavy routines were manually reassembled and obsolete parameters/variables and useless bytes were removed, resulting in a much shorter game loop, without sacrificing the game's original programming, something that's near impossible to do with a C++ compiler. I also found several routines in the original v1.2 release, possibly from earlier tries or later, which were not doing anything and used them for my own purposes, after adaptation.

 
Some of the freed up space was used to design a whole new animation system that allows many more actions, in a much greater variety. All new animations in 4 times higher resolution each 16 frames long (64 x 64 pixels/frame). The old ones were upgraded without the need for extra texture memory. Each animation is now using it's own dedicated texture so it's easy to swap em around and experiment with various smoke, explosion and fire files. The original game only uses 8 frames per animation in one single texture for these animations (32 x 32 pixels/frame), so all effects are way more realistic.
 
New animation codes for airplanes and ground objects have been introduced, moving ships, street lights and searchlights that only switch on by night, rotating windmills and watermills or other objects, doors which can open and close, etc. New polygon types were incorporated in the 3D models and some hardly used types were given new functions, allowing runway lights and transparent (glass) objects.
 
Extra sounds were incorporated, AI were given more intelligence and their reaction speeds improved dramatically because of the optimized and adapted routines. The sky layers were enhanced, 3D clouds were added, in short, the whole EAW world was redesigned and populated with realistic looking people (taken from Microprose's game Gunship) and many more ground objects. The overhauled terrain is much more diverse and each year now has it's own frontlines. Several frontline sets have been created and tested (Dunkirk, D-Day, Overlord, Remagen) to allow a wide choice of mission types.
 
Maximum Flack and AAA capability can be assigned freely to any object in the game, making missions much more dangerous and unpredictable. You won't know which object will start firing next and some defenses can be too tough to take out with bullets only.
 
Up to 16 planes in a group can be selected, the extra squads entry in the EAW.INI can multiply that. Free roaming trainings mode (no enemies) has been incorporated to allow Online Air Races. Enemy and friendly objectives are now unpredictable and aiming routines have been significantly improved.
 
All new flight models have been created from scratch by Theo Eichorn, using his engineering knowledge to develop a totally new method after finding important correlations on the workings of the .FLT's in a 5 year research of the Source Code and doing hundreds of experiments. G-force stress warning and extra zoom were also activated. The result is a fast well balanced game where each plane's parameters was thoroughly researched and incorporated.
 
Care was taken to not change anything important as the original code is a rough pearl in it's design, it's almost like a standalone flight sim language. No 24 bit 512 textures were used or multi-texturing, as this would only significantly slow down frame rates. Every drawing is still 8 bit in 256 x 256 pixels, with the option to use custom 256 color palettes in 512 x 512 pixels for each 3D object independently. This does however require a faster computer with more memory and a better video card, as well as all textures to be converted throughout the game. As my life expectancy would probably be too short it remains an option.
 
All previously made screens for v1.2 can be used and that goes for all planes and ground objects too, provided video cards and memory are capable of dealing with them. There's no 7217 error fix, but the game can be used with Glide and D3D wrappers as a workaround. Best results are with D3D cards capable of running 640*480 desktop resolutions in 8 bit mode, it was tested by Launchpad members on various operating systems, starting with Windows 98 on a PIV 800Mhz with a 32MB video card up to Windows Vista on a Quad Core 1.88Ghz.
 
Backward compatibility has been kept, so older campaigns can easily be updated with the Core Package of the add-on (43.2MB) by simply adding it. The same goes for installing it, just paste it into a working v1.2 full clean install and away you go. Only terrain tile names need to be converted to the naming convention used in the FXEXE, which is using the Hex value of each tile as it's name. This can easily be done with a simple conversion batch file and will hardly take time.
 
Current status (2015) compared to v1.2:
changed bytes: 20610
of which freed: app. 3500 - 4000
and the work is still in progress!

Latest Byte Count (Sept 2017)
altered addresses: 25057
removed (freed): 5800
 
 

SPECIFICATIONS

Most of this information came from forum posts by VBH about his FXEXE. However more FXEXE / AFB game features have been added based on player observation and new description information from VBH. If you find something in the FXEXE game that is not listed here, please let me know so I can add it to these specifications.

 

INSTALLING

1) Start with a clean full 'install' of the official v1.2 patched EAW game. See My Manually Install Help Document to get v1.2 on your computer.
2) Unzip the FXEXE archive and copy the contents into your EAW main folder, overwriting some of the files.
3) Read the included text for further steps if applicable.

 

Compatibility:

  • In this game everything was hex edited and machine coded into the 1.2 executable (based on 1.26e). A very laborious task really that has taken 10+ years of my life invested in this, fulltime, no breaks, 10 hours per day at least. Some Game data was altered and added to take advantage of the power behind the FXEXE. Comes with improved graphical and FX-effects which have to be seen to be believed. The sprites are not yet fully developed and need a bit of work still to get the fullest effect...
  • Intended for online play and offline single missions only, campaign mode wasn't adapted.
  • FXEXE still works with all community made add-ons created for the 1.2 version with minor adjustments to some maybe required. The FXEXE has some Filename changes in order to get the best out of the graphics. Such changes need to be applied to the add-ons too. For instance terrain tiles were given hexadecimal names of only two bytes instead of their full names. This allowed me to create more tiles in the same array. Something similar was done to the effects to make them 4 times higher in resolution.
  • This EXE uses a sprite table with nearly every sprite rearranged and increased in size so you can't use it's sprites in a default EAW setup because they simply don't fit, nor will any previous effects fit the FXEXE as previous sprites are too small!!!! To assure proper working you always have to load the FXEXE archive last, so incompatible files will be overwritten, and the proper files installed without touching anything else of other mods. Campaigns containing their own EAW.EXE will not be-able to be used with the FXEXE as filenames could have been altered and the FXEXE doesn't support these altered filenames.


 

FEATURES/Fixes/Enhancement/Improvements/Changes



 

Flight/Damage Model:

  • FMs where created from scratch by Theo Eichorn, using his engineering knowledge to develop a totally new method after finding important correlations on the workings of the .FLT's in a 5 year research of the Source Code and doing hundreds of experiments. These were tweaked over app. 3 years of test flying with offline and online games.
  • My goal was to get less huge differences between planes to get well balanced fights, but not change fixed known data about aircraft and maintain high agility to make air battles fast and furious, requiring quick response from the pilots. Another goal was to stop people from cheating with flight models...
  • Our FM is probably the easiest of all, perhaps even a bit arcade-ish, but it's balanced by the fast action the player will experience in the FXEXE.
  • All planes set to suffer damage when too close to an exploding aircraft. 4 explosion types are incorporated with various radius's, their sizes dependant on the exploding airplane type (the bigger the plane the bigger the explosion. the largest is for the V1 which hasn't changed).
  • Destructible trees and forests with damage models based on size.
  • Added damage models
  • All flyable Bombers (see Controls specifications)
  • All plane slots have become/are flyable.



 

Loadout:

  • none?



 

Particle:

  • Lake water tile blue-green added water properties to the lake tile. (like for sea's)
  • Enhanced water splash (when you fly through it and filling your entire screen without any signs of pixilation)
  • Bullet ground "splash" improved and water splash effect from bullets hitting.
  • All ground vehicles have added exhaust smoke to them.
  • Highly realistic smoke, fire, flak, rockets and explosions with enhanced user control.
  • Explosion sizes could be doubled in size due to the larger graphics.
  • Contrails; Enhanced, Large Bluish and HR detail.
  • Crashed planes; smoke is shorter and grey.
  • Smoking Engines; smoke is brown for oil leak.
  • Flak; High Detailed and a lot of it: A flash, then smoke and orange particles.
  • New 4 additional smoke algorithms (on top of the old smoke and fire); Start smoke, Overheat smoke, Runway dust smoke, Spare smoke. (These algorithms can be used for other animations, see MODDERS SECTION Below)
  • More plane debris when plane is destroyed (props, tailpiece, cockpit parts etc.)



 

Graphics:

  • A graphical enhanced executable which re-orders all sprites and re-divides them to increase the number of animations, their length and their resolution.
  • 5 extra debris animations, 8 frames 32 pxl each, also active in ground explosions.
  • 5 extra (more than default) terrain tiles(64 total), 2 with water properties have been added
  • the terrain table was organized to properly read all water tiles
  • 200+ new effect drawings/pictures re-divided over 12+ animations(256x256), all 16 pictures(frames) long in 4 times higher resolution(64x64), each using it's own 256 color palette and separate transparency files. (stock EAW only uses around 100 with 8 frames and 32*32 pictures.)
  • Hires airfields with reduced file sizes for faster rendering and the airfields are seamless: runways use a single drawing rather than tiles like in the stock game. They now work properly with hilly surfaces: They no longer clip. The airfield where given a polygon choice for each section, as opposed to the original game which only allows one polygon type to be used. This allows me to build airfields with solid, semi-transparent or luminescent sections. It's the same as in the object .3DZ files, giving more choices for texturing the fields. Transparent/luminescent and none transparent/luminescent parts can be layered or sit besides one another. They use 8 times higher resolution drawings for all sections with added markings/details and runway lights at night. The texture naming wasn't altered and I stuck to the original names for backward compatibility reasons but more textures can be used in any resolution up to 512*512.
  • Improved lens flare and a new set of suns with better transparency.
  • New animation codes for airplanes and ground objects have been introduced.
  • 3D plane shadows
  • Fighter planes can now use add-on hard pointed .3DZ models which were only available to bombers till now, without the need to recreate the plane. For instance movable flaps and or nose insignia can simply be pasted on.
  • The sky layers were enhanced, The skies in EAW are all about atmosphere which is why I spend boatloads of time to enhance them; 15 years after my first creation I can say that the sky files were amongst the toughest things I've done with graphics...techniques were developed and steadily improved over the years; I experimented with colors, transparency depths, tiling, removing seams, layering and used every photoshop technique I could think of to create 1000+ skysets...all skysets are under revision...
  • Preliminary 3D clouds were added. (CTRL C switches them on or off) ...new models are being tested and experimented with...
  • Double Wide Horizon Tiles (512*256) backwards compatible
  • Street lights and searchlights that only switch on by night.
  • Navigational Lights on planes.
  • Rotating windmills and watermills or other objects, doors which can open and close, etc.
  • Horizon and other Fog slightly denser in the middle, More visible when you break through the cloudlayer.
  • New polygon types were incorporated in the 3D models and some hardly used types were given new functions, allowing runway lights and transparent (glass) objects.
  • A small render change was incorporated....Extended Plane Line Model View-ability...In higher resolutions the plane line models can remain visible longer, before switching to a single pixel (or dot). The original game uses a fixed offset value for the furthest distance view for higher screen resolutions. I have linked this calculation with the screen resolution setting, so it automatically changes. Additionally the FXEXE line models will randomly switch from black to white, giving the effect of sun reflections in the distance so they're easier to spot in a no icon game. The change makes the routine shorter and therefore faster but is more versatile then a rendermod which tries to do the same thing by changing the planes.dat distance values.



 

Views:

  • Computed Gunsight; It's effect is visible as the reticle can be seen contracting and expanding (changing size and position up and down) significantly under the gForce effect.
  • Transparent High Resolution gun sight.
  • Better visible tracers.
  • Two types of tracers (red & white).
  • HUD; Target Lock now extended to greater distance, range increased.
  • The Target Selection Map and Pilot Map is changed and contains the target names on the map.
  • Cockpit panels are graphically fixed with fonts enhanced to be readable with higher resolutions.



 

Difficulty/Settings:

  • No overheat reset for respawned planes
  • Mission Selection screens, have added choices like for instance the added night selection, or 16 plane selection (rather than the default stock of 12), the no enemy selection and the added cloud selections.
  • Two values that where only used in campaign mode are now implemented for single and quick missions and incorporated in the added weather selection (stormy and inclement). On top of this 3D clouds are generated when the selection is not clear weather. Increased resolution, added/changed cloudlayers, colors, transparencies and 3D clouds all interact with each other, the horizon and the skybox take full advantage of the FXEXE's improvements.



 

Sound:

  • Extra sounds were incorporated...
  • Player Pilot Scream on impact.
  • Stall warning electric alarm sound played.
  • Ground Collision electric alarm sound played.
  • Structural and Overspeed electric alarm sound played.
  • Bullets zipping by sound.



 

A.I.:

  • AI were given more intelligence and their reaction speeds improved dramatically because of the optimized and adapted routines.
  • AI; Highly responsive to gun fire from behind.
  • Improved AI emergency landings.
  • Improved AI survival in mountainous terrain.
  • Proper take-off, AI will not roll if plane in front isn't rolling
  • AI can now collide with runway objects
  • Unpredictable AI objectives
  • Kamikaze Attacker; A new suicide routine was built which allows any plane to be set in the planes.dat file parameters to become a kamikaze attacker. The new routine additionally frees the V1 slot to be used for any flyable plane type since it's behavior is now under control of the new planes.dat entry. (It was flyable already but this is just a more elegant solution as it can retain it's original behavior if required.)
    Since all plane slots have become flyable, a specific entry parameter in the planes.dat has become more or less obsolete, so this has become the new trigger for A.I. Kamikaze Attacker behavior. When the parameter is set, it allows the A.I. planes to retain their original behavior, i.e. they will still fight, bomb or destroy when dictated by the game or when they're told to do something by the human player. However when they arrive over the target area they'll dive towards the target and crash themselves. Their aim isn't very precise, since it uses the same behavior taken from the V1. (possibly this can be improved in the near future) The suicide parameter flag can be set active in all mission types and years, if the planes.dat allows that year selection. Also to note, this new routine leaves the original V1 intercept intact, which is important for 1945 campaign mode to keep working properly.
  • The plane crash routine was altered to give less predictable maneuver algorithms. The original game was doing every crash the same way.
  • 'ACE' skill level (a fourth option) has been added on the 'single mission parameter screen'. The three stock skill levels receive a 12.5% skill improvement. This new routine effects the standard Pilot Skill level in the Config menu as well. It will effectively use one level of skill higher but will use the randomness of a lower skill level.



 

Ground:

  • All ground vehicles have more guns added to them.
  • Convoys and trains were given more defensive capabilities.
  • Convoys with added tank protection.
  • Chance for longer trains & larger convoys (ships, tanks, trucks) all moving and firing
  • The original birdseed routine was modified to spawn more people in the game.
  • Soldier animation activated for most objects (uses a modified birdseed spawn routine).
  • Moving ships.
  • Sinkable Ships.
  • Moving Convoys.
  • Initial impact of a single bomb and the simultaneous explosion of an entire truck convoy (whatever they were carrying). The smoke, fires and sand comes in the seconds following this explosion. By now there are dozens of complete sets which are fully or partially interchangeable, depending on what people like best.
  • The whole EAW world was redesigned and populated with realistic looking people (taken from Microprose's game Gunship)
  • More dead bodies
  • Less repetitious terrain making better use of available tiles
  • Many more ground objects.
  • New ground object slots
  • Less cluttered EAW_TTD with object separation for better FPS averages
  • 100ds of bridges added to the terrain (700+)
  • Terrain; Hilly.
  • Barrage balloons, tethered to a building.
  • Airfields with semi transparent tiles, backwards compatible
  • Runway lights in Airfld.3DZ, active by night only, backwards compatible



 

Controls:

  • Pilot Seat; One step back away from dash. (usually resulting in a wider view per resolution.) For an example Using 1024x768 would normally leave the pilots view face into the dash, much smaller FOV than 800x600. In FXEXE you can zoom back an increase your FOV. Wider than Stock EAW forward views at the same resolution.
    So set for the eaw.ini resolution for 1024x768 and zoom back the one step when you get in the game and its amazing how much you can see. (currently you have to zoom back everytime).
  • All flyable Bombers; (Offline and Multiplayer capable) Bombers can be flown offline in air starts by selecting 'LOAD' in the mission parameter screen and selecting one of the prefab .MSN files. The mission will automatically select new random targets but can be edited normally. Quick missions are fully supported. Only twin engined Bombers can do ground starts.



 

Missions:

  • A Built-in Custom Campaign for online use and made to work for offline aswell; Battle over the Reich, Dunkirk (It has nothing to do with the original v1.2 campaign) It's 1944'ish and the Allies are about to enter Germany en route to the Rhine and eventually Berlin. France has been freed right from the first mission, so it's only a target for the Gerries al the way to the end....all Allied destruct targets are in Germany only. You can't attack a friendly area but only fly intercepts, such as over France.
  • Each year now has it's own frontlines. Several frontline sets have been created and tested (Dunkirk, D-Day, Overlord, Remagen) to allow a wide choice of mission types.



 

Multiplayer:

  • Autopilot/wingleveler in multiplayer
  • 308 Mayhem locations in multiplayer randomly selected



 

INI Entries:

  • Graphics - Bpp. Bits per pixel, the game uses 16 Bpp by default, 32 is optional but requires 32 bit textures.
  • Eaw - Birdseed 120. is a value that controls the number of birds or the countdown timer until spawned, the game will set it's own value if it's not within the correct limits. Birdseed is a percentage taken from a random value in seconds, used in the spawn birds timer with a minimum of 30. So 120 translates to 120 x (value between 0 - 255) but if lower then 30, 30 is set. It's why we don't see em too often, they're usually spawned behind the plane, hardly ever in front. There are actually two different routines in effect, each with a slightly different way to use the birdseed value...
  • Netoption - Warpspeed is the speed with which the game moves a plane back into it's position if an online connection is temporarily lost. This was moved from hardcoded into the ini.
  • Netoption - AutoRespawn an on or off function, getting a new plane when killed.
    (the AA selection has a dual purpose, it doubles for the amount of objects in Interdiction Missions.)
  • Netoption - The FXEXE is now using the networking entries in the EAW.INI so users can switch to anything they like for Quick Missions by making the selections directly in the networking screen, without the need to fly or by editing the .INI directly before launching the game.

    You select Multi-play Setup option, select TCP/IP direct play, modify the parameters, exit the screen and then launch the Quick Mission from the games Main Screen. (Note: The TCP/IP protocol has to be installed in Windows networking and detected by EAW to be visible on the list).



 

MODDERS INFORMATION

  • The effects in the FXEXE can easily be swapped between every other effect by renaming the two files to be swapped. Smoke can be turned into fire and vice versa, there's even a partial fire turning into smoke animation. This just happens to be one of the dozens possible configurations as its modular.
  • Maximum Flak and AA capability can be assigned freely to any object in the game, such as buildings.
  • Accurate pilotmap to within 100 feet of portrayed landmarks (WYSIWYA)

 

.MSN Built-in Editor

  • A huge problem with the original game and custom campaigns has always been that they never had appropriate .MSN files with them, but these files need to be set right for a campaign/mission to work. I've added a routine which sets the. MSN file to the Campaign's parameters, i.e. frontlines, airfields and targets in use. This should effectively make an external .MSN editor redundant as the game can now query the files and come up with a logical mission, similar to when the original game generates these files for the stock campaigns when they are not present.

    Once the FXEXE's new routine calculates and sets the new files. All that is required is to select a .MSN file from the mission parameter LOAD selection and the parameters should be OK from then on. Changes can still be made to all parameters afterwards, the game will follow these new campaign parameters from then on. It may be necessary to do this for all aircraft in the game since each plane has it's own .MSN file, but sometimes the parameters are accidentally correct, it just depends.

    When an add-on campaign crashes, this feature can help by fixing the problem, thus far it's worked for me 100%. I've noticed that when a .MSN file is corrupt relating to their campaign, you sometimes just can't enter a certain plane's hangar anymore. Obviously you also can't select LOAD from the mission parameter screen.  However ALL .MSN files are accessible from ANY plane's hangar, so as long as you can get into one of the hangers you can modify all files from there. When you can't get in at all anymore then this feature will not help and the FXEXE .MSN editor is the only thing that still can. However using .MSN files from other campaigns may still make one or two planes available but sadly not many knew these files were essential, so they're hard to find.

 

Computed Gunsight
 

  • I already had the computed gunsight incorporated, but it's effect wasn't very visible, probably because the calculation had a flaw. The offset only worked with FXEXE gunsights (which were not centered in the drawing because of bullet calibration purposes.) On centered drawings the gunsight resizes too but the kill point's position remains unchanged. I did some more work on that routine to see how things really work, and I changed the routine accordingly.

    It's effect is more visible now as the reticule can be seen contracting and expanding significantly under gForce effect. This expansion and contraction effectively moves the kill point slightly higher or lower when gforces kick in. (Sadly the game doesn't have sideforces for roll so this is all that can be achieve).

    Through .LDR files the effect can be increased, decreased or bypassed and the overall reticle size can be manipulated too. The maximum allowed values but can be higher if the drawing is smaller, this essentially mimics matching the ring to a planes outer wingtips at a certain distance.

 

New View System
 

  • View System....a new view system was incorporated, allowing visibility of objects up to app. 25000 feet, under or above the clouds. View distance is set for each object individually in the hitbubble table (nothing new with that), but TMOD_L was freed up for other purposes so the game only displays the more detailed and hires TMOD_H at all set ranges. This basically frees up memory from [73] TMOD_L's and their S.TPC's. The resulting difference in FPS is negligible as long as stock objects are used, freed memory becomes more significant with more detailed objects and textures. Downside is more shimmering on distant objects...

 

Four "Smoke" Algorithms

  • There are 4 new ones, and they are currently being used for additional Smoke effects. (However they are not limited to smoke animations.) The 4 Smokes where given names to help identify the separate used algorithms.

    For testing purposes engines were changed for multistage damage levels and tests were successful. There are many animations in the FXEXE so it'll take a while before they're all programmed optimally but it'll be a lot of fun playing around with them. I may program a random choice somewhere which can switch between multiple animations, so the effects won't look the same for all planes.

    Currently there are black smoke puffs to represent the engine hasn't blown up yet and is still rotating. White smoke is used to represent engines that are totally destroyed. My previous work I have done allow the engines to have exhaust smoke or flames, I added that long ago. The 4 new algorithms are on top of the older effect.

 

Extended Rendering of Plane Line Model

  • The model I changed uses the smallest possible texture with two black and two white squares and is universally used for all planes. I just can't say if that texture isn't reloaded for each plane individually, as goes for all the other textures which aren't using a universal name. Backward compatibility remains in important aspect in this.

    The distance change can be controlled by a .LDR which can change the calculation factor by 1, 2, 4, 8 etc. For the moment I've used 2 as default, tests show which setting gives the most realistic effect and allows optimal FPS. Findings conclude that FPS in battle remains unaffected by this change.

    In test examples, the furthest visible distance (from planes.dat) the the dot drawing hasn't even kicked in yet. (The planes.dat could be modified for a further maximum view distance for the dot to remain visible.)

    My change makes the rendering routine for the lines shorter and therefore faster but is more versatile then a rendermod which tries to do the same thing by just changing the planes.dat distance values alone, with out taking in various screen resolutions into account....Those types of mods are however still fully compatible with the FXEXE.

 

About the FM's:

  • These models don't pretend to know how the FM's work or how a plane should/will behave, nobody will ever know as the programmed physics are too complex to make any sense of. No one has ever flown a WWII airplane and therefore any custom FM is just a personal view on how difficult it is to maneuver the planes and keep em flying. Besides that this is only a game and the game physics lack a lot of real world details. There are not many real pilots that recently flown a WWII craft to compare virtual planes. You have to rely on the physics and the stats, then the lack of.
     
    In online games there's no choice for individual pilots as everyone must use the same set, however offline people can use whatever flightmodel has been created and make it as tough as they desire. Personally I like the original stock FM's best, knowing they were created by people who really knew how the EAW game physics works, some of the other custom FM's where unpredictable and sometimes totally ridicules. Fortunately there's plenty of FM choices out there to make everyone happy, I have app. 2000 models I've used in the past but for the online fun I like our FM and I think so do the pilots that fly with me. Occasionally I still compare old and new but it doesn't tell me anything about how WWII planes behaved, only that I can make it harder for myself if I so please.

    WWII planes were NOT structurally unsound machines with a tendency to loose control in a fight, especially in the hands of experienced pilots. They were sophisticated machines, agile and fast and were constructed so pilots could focus on maneuvering instead of dealing with constant stalls. Of course there have been exceptions but EAW planes are the cream of the crop. 

     

General Modding

  • Modding the FXEXE isn't any different then modding the 1.2 version. You convert 8 bit .TPC's or .TER's to a .PCX change the drawing, convert it back and replace the old drawing with a new one.
  • No changes were made to the 3DZ format except for the Airfld**.3DZ's which were changed to use the same polygon types as the normal .3DZ files and now include luminous and semi-transparent but are still under revision.
  • All other files are still fully 1.2 compatible.
  • No changes have yet been made to the Campaign format other then activating 3 career years for US planes. The lack of this campaign year limit's many add-ons which rely on the US presence in a certain time period, even when the US slot is occupied by Russian, Fin, Japanese or other planes.
  • The use of file managers like OAW or Skins 'n More, ECA panel etc. are still supported but without appropriate knowledge it's not advised to mix old and new version files, only what's been created thus far for the 1.2 version is fully supported. Care should be taken with Airfld.3DZ's because of their changed formats, adding the FXEXE specific set last will cure any issues by overwriting the old versions. Use of my empty Airfield.3DZ is allowed without restrictions. In spite of this the FXEXE was hardcoded to give priority to the .FXE files, which are just renamed .CDF's with a reorganized structure which I felt might make things a bit easier when swapping campaigns or add-ons.
  • Skinning FXEXE planes in UHR (UltraHighRes) can be a piece of cake. You just take an existing skin and resize it's textures to 512 * 512. This obviously won't give the best result but it's a good start, a good image program can resample decently. You can draw the skins in UHR too. UHR skins can have 4 times more information in them and therefore take up approximately 4 times more memory but since it's just a TEX and a TRA therefore uses less memory then other source code modification methods, Less means higher FPS, less loading time, etc. etc. Another advantage is that the total file size of the (default) 3DZ models remains the same, unless a free 3DZ is used to add some more detail as opposed to 'unclean' planes which copy the 3DZ several times over and keep useless information in the model which again slows down FPS.

    The FXEXE allows the use of all 3DZ's as used in the B17 model. Noseart and turret slots can be conveniently used on all aircraft if one desires. (I won't enter into detail about the added action codes for movable surfaces and improvements for illuminated surfaces until it can be properly tested in what would be the a prototype of such a plane.)

    As a 3D modeler I believe this to be the easiest and cheapest method to improve plane graphics, it's also universally applicable, both for multiskin versions or just singleskin as with the FXEXE, it takes skinning back to it's origin. A no nonsense approach, clean and simple (for those who know how to do it).
    Whatever method is used, they can be used side by side at the same time during the same game.

 

About the new ACE Skill Level:

  • In stock EAWv1.2 on the Mission Parameters Screen (“Pilot Skill Level”), there are three settings that are set independently for friend and foe, Green0, Seasoned1, and Expert2. These three settings use the previously set Configuration>Difficulty>Enemy Skill Level setting as a random bit to work from. So there no a guarantee that you won’t encounter airmen of different experience levels. For an example: If you check Seasoned, you might still run into the occasional greenhorn or ace(expert) AI pilot.

    However in FXEXE, there is an added and new Ace setting option on the Mission Parameters Screen (“Pilot Skill Level”). The added 'ACE' Pilot Skill Level in the FXEXE allows squadrons with a definite All AI Veteran pilots. To do this, you have to set the Skill Levels to ACE in Difficulty (“Enemy Skill Level”) AND additionally select ACE in the Single Mission Parameters (“Pilot Skill Level”). Then All expert planes will only be assigned, there is no random selection by the FXEXE EAW program when those two settings are met.

    If you still want random skill levels picked by the FXEXE exe, you can set the Mission Parameters Screen (“Pilot Skill Level”) to less than Ace and it will use the the previously set Configuration>Difficulty>Enemy Skill Level setting as a random bit to work from, just like stock EAWv1.2, except the FXEXE will add an approximately 12.5% skill improvement then it was maximally possible before. So FXEXE is still making it more challenging even though its using the random bit.
     

    Note 1: This choice of (ACE) can be assigned to friend or foe independently, these settings are stored in each plane's .MSN file in the savedata folder so it will be used when that .MSN file is loaded. Since these values are stored in the .MSN file they will be used in Quick Mission Mode as well, after all, a Quick Mission is generated from the last flown aircraft in Single Mission mode. I can't really say whether groupstrength is recalculated, it probably is since the individual plane skill levels are not stored anywhere, only the group levels are.

    Note 2: The Stock Randomness; The INI setting ("Enemy Skill Level") which also allows 3 choices which helps to determine the average skill level which is then used by the in game selection ("Pilot Skill Level") to build up the squadron skill strength. The end result is you get a mixed squad with certain random percentages of each skill. The higher the INI value the more chance of a better skilled squadron but the same goes for the in game selection, both settings influence the squad strength.

    Note 3: With Stock EAWv1.2 you can't go higher then setting all skill levels to the max, but even then there is a slight randomness to the AI pilot skills, with the new FXEXE ACE setting you have one more (4th) level you can assign. The new routines built in the FXEXE effectively widens the gap between the lowest and highest possible selection of skill level. If you set Friendly's to the lowest settings and Foe to the largest setting, you in the weakest squadron and the enemy being all expert, your objectives must be more protective in order to win, you must be personally a better pilot.

 

 

NOTES

This section of the document has some additional suggestions.

 

Try outs:

  • Try some night missions near Munich (don't start at low ALT) or somewhere in the south, that's a cool area to fly in. Attack convoys, airfields and ground targets and you'll soon get a better feel of the changes, you won't find it all after one flight and that's exactly the purpose of it. Rediscover a new EAW which you can still recognize for what it was.

 


A weekly Screen shot of some of the effects to expect in the FXEXE Edition of the game.
(Image reduced in size)

 

 


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