New Dawn of War WTP Texture Tool

Permalink 10:53:58 am, Categories: Dawn of War, 215 words  

Following on from the announcements of the Command Line SGA Extractor, I have now managed to understand another file format and create an extractor and compiler for it!

It was a bit of a fight, especially since University has so far taught me nothing that is useful at this level, but the Dawn of War Texture Tool v1.1 can now successfully extract and compile any WTP file.

Although Beroc's tool was previously available for this, it didn't correctly handle non-square WTP textures (like the Space Marine Scouts) or textures with banners on. The Texture Tool can both compile and extract textures of any size (well, 512x512 and 512x256 and 128x128, other sizes haven't been specifically checked, but should work), textures with badges on, textures with banners on, or textures with both a badge and a banner on. There aren't many of the latter around, but the engine does handle it, so the tool does too!

So, if you're making skins for Dawn of War and want to recompile banner textures or Scout skins, the Dawn of War Texture Tool v1.1 should be able to handle it all.

Later releases will include RSH and RTX compilation and extraction, plus other features previously found, or not found but desired, in Beroc's WTP Tool and Spooky's RSH Viewer.


Stupidity and ignorance

Permalink 12:37:56 pm, Categories: Dawn of War, Programming, 377 words  

Firstly, this is a coding update, but preceeded by a commentary on the stupidity of some people.

Dawn of War skins aren't packaged as self-installing EXEs. If it is only a single skin, it doesn't make sense (zipped they are only about 600KB). If it is a full pack, then mine don't come with self-installers because I also make the Pattern Switcher, which wouldn't work with directly installed patterns. Besides, how difficult can it be to open a zip, enter a location and hit "extract"?

Apparently, for some people, too difficult. Now that isn't much of a problem on its own, I understand that not everyone will be as computer savvy, which is why I'm willing to help people who have problems.

What is bad is when people then go to the download and rate it as 1 with a comment 'Doesn't work!!' instead of contacting me. If it doesn't work, then how did everyone else install it? How did I get the in-game screenshots? and why didn't you read the bit on the comment form that says Please note: this form is for rating the download only. If you have any questions about it or are experiencing and problems, then please read the FAQs, contact the Administrator or ask at the Hive World Terra Forums?

Even worse is the arrogant and obnoxious American AOL user who instead of ignorance and lack of knowledge, showed stupidity by being abusive in his comment and rating it as 1 just because the creator got the name of one of the Chaos Legions wrong! Lets just say that the comment has been censored and nulled, and the less seen of people like that the better.

On to the actual news - the Download rating system has now been updated. As well as fixing a bug where it showed my name as the author on the View Ratings page, it now also allows for comments without ratings, as well as a method for me to null ratings. Hopefully it won't have to be used too much. It will now also send me an email when a comment is added, so I can catch people like this Virginian AOL user (as in the state in America) before the comment has been sat there too long.


Command-line SGA Extractor released (v1.1)

Permalink 03:22:42 pm, Categories: Dawn of War, 82 words  

Further to the original Command-line SGA Extractor announcement, I've now released the Command-line SGA Extractor v1.1. The new version of the extractor fixes a bug with recursive hex-editing, a small bug when extracting to a folder-path without slashes and also adds additional output and logging features.

Once again, this isn't designed for normal user usage, but it can be very useful for developers, as will soon be shown by Danimator's Ulthwe mod and my own Halved Marines Mod and Quartered Marines Mod.


Two update army painter mods!

Permalink 06:43:04 pm, Categories: Dawn of War, 104 words  

Following a post from someone on the Relic Forums in the thread about the UberPainter Army Painter mods, I noticed that I forgot the Squiggoth and the Grots in the original versions (that's a rather large oversight with the Squiggoth!).

One quick update of the Ork race and a reshuffle of all of the Dawn of War ordering later and both mods now have new and updated version, both include the Squiggoth and the Gretchin in the Army Painter list for the Orks and both use the Winter Assault list order.


Two new army painter mods

Permalink 10:41:21 am, Categories: Dawn of War, 129 words  

Last night and this morning I've released two related mods. Both are army painter mods, one for Dawn of War and one for Winter Assault.

The UberPainter Mod for Dawn of War's army painter has proved popular so far, with over 40 downloads in about 12 hours. It adds all of the units to the army painter preview list, as well as all of the buildings and all of the official Games Workshop paint colours as presets!

The UberPainter WA Mod does the same for the Winter Assault army painter, but also includes the new units for each race and the Imperial Guard. The ordering of preview lists for the existing races was also improved slightly, thanks to feedback from Kresjah that made more sense than my original ordering logic did!


Antispam working well

Permalink 11:51:29 am, Categories: Dawn of War, 166 words  

Since the original Anti-spam coding post about my new regex filters, it has been working very well. I've added a few more brand names to the regex as they've sneaked through, and a filter on the comment text so that words such as 'incest' don't get through (one site, generic domain, lots of incest/voyeur comment spam).

Now I'll only get the occasional slip-through of comments, which can easily be covered and blocked in future. Since mid-December I've only had about 25 referer spams get through, recently for houses/gardens and postage paid-type URLs (although probably poker at the other end) and a couple of mis-spellings to get around spam filters. It's still a major improvement over what it was before, even if it does mean that some potentially legitimate referers (such as blog links along the lines of "www.domain.com/index.php/get_rid_of_casino_spam") will get occasionally blocked. It's not as if I get a lot of views or referals here anyway!


Command-line SGA Extractor released

Permalink 08:44:43 am, Categories: Dawn of War, Programming, 178 words  

Relic's Dawn of War game (and the Winter Assault expansion pack) use an archive format called SGA. These SGAs contain all of the files that the game needs in the way of models, textures, sounds and stats/abilities. Extracting these files means you can edit just about all them, and some of them need only minor hex-editing to be converted for use in an entire new race (e.g. the WHM and WHE files for models and their movements and the RSH and WTP files for their textures).

Having already created a .Net library that can be used by any application to allow it to open, examine and extract from SGA files and then used it in specific Halved Marine Mod and Quartered Marine Mod installers, the command-line extractor makes a generic tool that can be used by anyone and can especially be used by the different Mod Teams out there to keep the download size of their mods smaller (for those with .Net installed).

Ladies and gentlemen, I present, for your viewing pleasure, the Command-line SGA Extractor!


Winter Assault Pattern Switcher released

Permalink 04:52:57 pm, Categories: Dawn of War, Programming, 118 words  

I should have post about this earlier, but I forgot, so the post is here now.

On Sunday, I added a new version of the Dawn of War Pattern Switcher. This version adds Winter Assault functionality, allowing the importing of Imperial Guard textures and the launching of Dawn of War: Winter Assault.

The latest Pattern Switcher still works with plain Dawn of War, but if you don't have Winter Assault installed then the "Launch" button will throw an error.

*has a sudden realisation* Hmmmmmmm, maybe I should have handled that better. Never mind, hopefully people aren't that dumb!

Anyway, the latest version of the Pattern Switcher is available at the normal location: http://skins.hiveworldterra.co.uk/PatternSwitcher/.


New skins on Skins@HWT

Permalink 03:56:07 pm, Categories: Dawn of War, Web Design, 160 words  

After months (I think) of deliberation, trial and error, I've finally added the Winter Assault skin to Skins@HWT and made it the default!

OK, so I actually did it last week and only just posted about it, but never mind :D While I was at it, I also added the "Dark/Chaos" skin, which I quickly put together as something for those people who prefer their dark skins.

All three skins (the original and the two new ones) are selectable for each visiting session from the drop down on the left hand side. I will also, at some point, be adding the new skins to the HWT Forums. My latest project of making Dawn of War skins as playable cloned races in the form of Mods is taking priority, though.

All three skins are made with exactly the same HTML and structure, changing only the Style Sheet of the page for each different skin. Ahhhh, the power of CSS!


New Winter Assault design (logo)

Permalink 12:44:33 pm, Categories: Dawn of War, Web Design, 134 words  

Using the colour scheme from the WA4 skin and the font from the normal Skins@HWT logo, combined with the style of the Winter Assault game logo (military stamp over the normal logo) I have now made a Winter Assault skin v4.

I'm quite happy with the skin now, and Winter Assault is due out in approximately 1 month (23rd September, so one month tomorrow) so I'll hopefully get the new design up tomorrow, as the default, for a month in advance :) The old skin will still be available, and you'll be able to choose it each time you visit the site.

If I don't get to do it tomorrow, I might do it on Friday, when it is four weeks until release.

So, as per usual (to anyone who reads this!), your comments please!


Third Skins@HWT site design release

Permalink 08:11:38 am, Categories: Dawn of War, Web Design, 81 words  

Following earlier comments from my brother, I've tried to make the repeat section of the header more subtle and less defined. The new third release is available at http://skins.hiveworldterra.co.uk/SkinsAtHWT_WA4.html

One final idea I might add to it is replacing the logo with "Skins@HWT" in Civic (the font on the original skin) and using the stencil font to stamp "Winter Assault" over the logo, like they're doing with the logo for Winter Assault itself.


Improved Winter Assault design

Permalink 09:32:20 am, Categories: Dawn of War, Web Design, 248 words  

Having received a tip from Mel_Danes at the Hive World Terra forums about using the official art work for my colour scheme (I would use the art work with the Guardsman as well, but GW probably has legal problems with that!) I've now come up with a new scheme that looks quite a bit better. I've also included a logo in this one.

Feel free to check out the new Winter Assault @ Hive World Terra skin and tell me what you think. Just before Winter Assault is released, this skin will become the default for a while, with the option to change it back to the standard skin. Once Winter Assault has been out for a while, I'll leave the skin available but revert to the current cream skin as the default skin.

Please note that I'm having a few known issues with the various backgrounds lining up properly, and I'll be fixing it at some point.

Update: for those of you wanting to see the original look (well, original release, not my first attempt), then it is still available at http://skins.hiveworldterra.co.uk/SkinsAtHWT_WA2.html. Note that I didn't have a logo made for this one, but it would be about the same as the new one.

Update 2: The images have now been replaced with better versions that align correctly (the repeat was taken from the saved JPG instead of from the original non-resized image that was then scaled down seperately as before)


Pattern Switcher updated

Permalink 04:11:52 pm, Categories: Dawn of War, Programming, 143 words  

OK, so I haven't done any website programming so far - I've been working on the Dawn of War Pattern Switcher instead. One person has been emailing me in the past couple of days about a problem with it. It ended up being a mistake in the folder structure on his part and a minor flaw in the way the code decided whether it had anything to import for a given race, but it has now been fixed. I also wanted to add the capability to switch RSH files, since Sandwichwarrior released his amazing Fixed Colour Aspect Warrior skins, which use RSH files.

As well as all of that, I've also made use of some event-driven code and a new progress window - things I'd only consider doing because of some of the code I've seen on my Industrial Experience placement of the past year.



Permalink 04:54:53 pm, Categories: Dawn of War, General, Web Design, 90 words  

Today is my birthday! I've not done much (wandered into Manchester, met up with my brother, watched Eddie Izzard's Circle DVD, probably lounging and watching CSI:Crime Scene Investigations series 4 on DVD tonight) but I am 21. I'm old :D

As for the websites, I've about got an improvement for the Downloads area complete. I'll upload it tomorrow, update all of the Dawn of War downloads so that they reference the top few relevant downloads (including some on Hangar-8's site - the link exchange is now done and traffic is flowing :) )


New Winter Assault design

Permalink 03:45:16 pm, Categories: Dawn of War, Web Design, 155 words  

OK, the design has had a bit of shuffling around and trimming to neaten it up. The important bits are still there, but it still looks like a normal blog. This will, of course, be remedied later.

But the topic of this message - the Winter Assault design that I want to use on Skins@HWT for a while when the Winter Assault expansion comes out. I made two colour schemes based off a header image, the second Winter Assault design is acceptable, but not great, the first was far too pale and blue.

So, the design is now in the big beyond, although not a very big beyond because only one other person knows about the blog so far!

[Update] Just ignore the colour difference on the slanted corners (if you're using a modern browser like Firefox or Opera) - I've just been lazy so far and not recreated the images in the new colour scheme!