What programs?

Are you using to design the bitmaps for ship and weapon graphics? I tried opening the files with Adobe Photoshop but that didn’t work.
The screenshots the game creates also don’t work with Adobe Photoshop come to think of it… would there be a possibility of saving screenshots as jpeg files?

The screenshots are bmp files and work just fine in photoshop, hell, they even work in paint.

The effects and ships are .dds files which are direct draw surfaces. They’re basically the standard for textures in games these days.
Photoshop doesn’t open them by default but you can download a free plugin from nvidia (google for it) to make it work.

Have fun :slight_smile:

Is it a possibility my version of photoshop is too old which is why I can’t even view screenshots with it? I’ll be honest, I haven’t got a new version in… probably 5 or more years. Version 5.5.

I think that’s highly unlikely as they really are just bmp files. Bmp should be supported by pretty much every picture editing software ever released.
If photoshop really can’t open them, try it with Windows Paint. If that works, you can just save it in another format like jpg and then get it into photoshop.

Yea that’s what I’ve been doing, using paint to convert to .jpg.

I refuse to actually work on designing anything with a program less than photoshop though, heh. It’s probably something on my end, I’ll see about getting some updates. Just glad to hear Photoshop should work (with plug in). :stuck_out_tongue:


It’s an open-source (FREE) graphics program that is close enough to Photoshop that you can use it for a lot of stuff. It also has a plug-in where you can work on the .dds files. It works on Windows or Linux, and the scripting language is quite powerful. I’ve done some fairly basic scripting work for it, but there are people out there far, far better with it.

Am I correct in understanding you: the visual effects of beamfire, impacts & explosions are all .dds? Excuse the n00b question, but could I either modify existing instances of same or create wholly new ones via Photoshop + this plug-in? I want to create some new weapon modules with highly distinctive visual effects, but am very confused as how to begin. I will try to find this plug-in and hope for the best. If you could point me towards some related resources for these two related tasks I’d be grateful. I’m not a hardcore gamer and this is the first time I’ve been tinkering “under the hood”, so to speak. It’s a long way from the DIP switches and manual interrupts I used to mod stand-up arcade games’ performance with, decades ago. :slight_smile:

I use Paintshop Pro for all my conversions and general graphic messing around, and then move into Photoshop to save into .dds format.

Someone probably can expand on this, .dds image format is just an image file with some special properties, namely Alpha Channel and MIPs (ever smaller versions of the 1st (largest) image)

You can choose to open the whole file or just the Primary image; when you open the file using the .dds plugin. Once open you can edit the Primary image just like any other image. Leave the MIPs alone and have the Plugin regenerate them when you save your image into/back to .dds format.

I’ve attached the plugin to this post to save having to go looking…well I would if I was allowed…! PM me if you can’t find the plugin.

Here’s a link to the gimp plugin, at least the list entry for it. I remember downloading it from something related so it’s a good place to start looking and there are some troubleshooting tips in the comments. I’ve successfully used it to save new graphics files, which work correctly in-game.

Spent the last two days building a dang decompresser with DDS so I know more than I need.

DDS is basically like BMP with a different header. What makes it good for DirectX is the header has most of the info needed to load it directly as a texture and the compression formates is usually supported on video card hardware. If you want to draw yourself, I would use Gimp, as other people suggested and get the DDS plug-in. There is one for Photoshop around too. While there are different “methods” of saving the raw pixels, they are normally A8R8G8B8. 8 bits for Red, Green, Blue and 8 bits on how transparent that pixel is (Alpha)

There are 3 major types (other than completely uncompressed, it is what most of the files in the main game are)
All compression formats take a 4x4 square of the image and turn it into a 64bit number (or 128bit in DXT3 and DXT5)
DXT1(8:1): Your basic sprite. Each block is created with 2 16bit colors (RGB565) with only 1 bit alpha (Its invisible, now its not!)
DXT3(4:1): A texture with good edge dithering. Same color as DXT1, but also saves another 64bit number for Alpha. You will have 64 levels of Transparency (Alpha) on each pixel.
DXT5(4:1): Good all round for textures. Alpha calculations are a bit more complex but same compression as DXT3. The Star Wars mod is compressed with this.

There are other compression methods (nVidia and ATI have their own ‘optimized’ modes), but these are the standard ones all video cards can decompress on the fly. So save in one of those formats if you don’t want to lug around 1.3meg sprites.

Link for DXTn compression: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S3TC
Link for DDS format: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DirectDraw_Surface
PS - 512x512 size textures seems to be the normal for this game. PPS - forgot the links:P