CBM UPDATE by Psychic, 8 July 99

I was looking at the XWA interface graphics and I realised that the LST file entries were all as BMPs or FLCs rather than CBMs. This got me thinking and I tried a few experiments. My conclusions are as follows:

- XWA's basic interface file formats are FLC (for animations) and BMP (for stills).
- Pure black (RGB 0,0,0) is treated as transparent
- When XWA finds a CBM with the correct name, it uses that instead of the FLC or BMP shown in the LSTs. When it doesn't, it finds the BMP or FLC of the same name, in the same folder, and builds a CBM out of it.

This means we can generate replacement CBMs easily by placing the BMP or FLC in the right folder, renaming its CBM to "Original_filmdoor.cbm" or something, and running Alliance. It creates CBMs automatically, a similar process to .OP1 files in Balance of Power. The easiest way to make replacements is to use Stealth's CBM Viewer (available from the Code Alliance site, http://www.darkjedi.com ) to extract original bitmaps, then modify these.
For FLCs you only need one more app. Any Balance of Power cutscene authors will have a spare copy of Smacker Tools (free download from RAD Game Tools, http://www.radgametools.com ), and this can also be used to convert a string of BMPs into a Flic file. Just set it as though making a Smacker compressed video, then click Type and choose Flic.

The above technique does have its limitations:

- full-screen animations (the Combat Simulator pod closing, DataPad opening and closing, medal ceremony and all holoprojections) are in the compressed SNM format, which is currently not editable
- some graphics seem to be stored elsewhere, notably the main Concourse backdrop (but not the doors off it) and the pilot's helmet in the Family Transport