Introduction to Sprites
Path: Fleet Operations\Data\Sprites
All sprites can be edited in the same way and all basic sprite entries will follow the same format. Each sprite entry uses a set of numbers to tell the game how to display a two dimensional texture in-game when that reference is called.
The main forms of these are Weapon Sprites and GUI (Graphical User Interface) Sprites.
All butons use almost the same referencing scheme, so the following example should be useful for any buttons you come across. This includes miniimages (vessel build icons) and systemimages (weapon icons on the unit's wireframe display).
First open the GUI_Global.spr file.
Path: Fleet Operations\Data\Sprites\Gui_Global.spr
Now let’s look at the button for the Federation Saber Class:
b_fed_saber all_interface_buildbuttons01 104 104 96 96 # 2 2
In this form the entry does not make any sense, but by opening “all_interface_buildbuttons01”(.tga) (found in Folder: Fleet Operations\Data\Textures) with GIMP, it would look like this
Now let’s plug in those seemingly random numbers, and see what they mean ~ ~ ~ 104 104 96 96 # 2 2 (These last numbers are edited out by the "#" and therefore are unimportant. "#" refers to a comment and is just information for the developers' automated tools)
Column 1 2 3 4 5
The first two numbers in the reference refer to the location of THE TOP LEFT CORNER of the button. Its location is 104 pixels down, and 104 to the right (GIMP tells you this in the bottom left corner of your window)
The next numbers refer to the size of the button. It is 96 pixels wide by 96 pixels high.
The # 2 2 refer to the location of the entire button. It is in column 2, row 2, but they don’t really matter. They are just there for your benefit.
The name of the ship is fed_saber , or b(for button)_fed _saber. Note that all button entries need to begin with b_ to act as relays for button behavior (defined by button configuration files).
means that the entire file is 512x512, and it is a interface file, because it is used for buttons.
Accordingly, this translates to:
b_name-of-the-model Texture-button-name corner location button size # Button Location
You just learned how to make a button sprite entry.
Now we move on from buttons to wireframes, or what are now called miniimages in Fleet Operations. These are the small ship images you see when you select multiple ships at once in the game.
If we look in the miniimages.spr file we will find these lines:
Knowing what we now know, we will look for the texture miniimages1.tga in the Textures folder.
Additionally, we know that the image we are looking for is found at (512,384) and is 128 x 128 in size.
When it has been opened, you can see that the image we are looking for is found at x=+512 and y=+384
Note that miniimages must have one of the following suffixes to act as relays. Fleet Operations miinimages have the suffix w1, although this can be extended as far as w5, with each representing a different system.
w1 = Shield Generator
w2 = Engines
w3 = Weapons Control
w4 = Life Support
w5 = Sensors
In Armada II the unit image was divided up into 5 miniimages to represent subsystems. For instance, the nacelles were a separate image from the saucer, and the saucer was separate from the helm - such that each miniimage was only a particular part of the unit.
This was done to take advantage of the hardcoded damage and disabler indicators which display when single and / or multiple units are selected at once. If a particular subsystem is disabled, the image that represented that subsystem would flash yellow. If a subsystem is destroyed, the image that represented it would become crimson. Since Fleet Operations' miniimages only use the Shield Generator indicator (and the background images don't use any indicator), only when the shield subsystem is disabled and/or destroyed will you notice these effects while selecting a group of ships.
Now, we have the background images (single select images). You can find these entries in the systembackgrounds.spr file.
When you open the file, you will find the Saber entry as shown. It is, in fact, the first entry in the file.
As you can see, these also follow the same format as most other entries.
The picture we are looking for is found in the texture file at (0,0) and is 512 x 128 in size.
The systembackgrounds1.tga file, found in Path: Fleet Operations\Data\Textures is displayed below.
Note that background entries must end with the suffix _si to act as relays for the one-click centering.