How to use the Flight Commander Mission Editor

by Eddie Benowitz

Basic Concepts

A mission consists of a sequence of nav points.  Each nav point contains a number of ships. Each ship may have a pilot name, which is displayed in the game.  Once all enemy ships in one nav point have been destroyed, the player and selected wing men can proceed to the next nav point.

"Autopiloting"  occurs when the wingmen and the player move to the next nav point.  A ship which autopilots moves with the player from nav point to nav point, while a ship which does not autopilot does not leave the current nav point.

A comm represents the sound of a pilot's voice.  You can change the comm of any ship.  Certain comms are intended for players, wingmen, and for carriers.

Creating a mission

  1. The first choice is to choose how many nav points we want to have.  Initially, there is only one nav point.  The first nav point is called Nav Point 0.  To create a new nav point, press the "Add Nav Point" button at the top of your window.
  2. For our first mission, we'll have three nav points.  So click "Add Nav Point" twice.  You'll notice that the label "Nav Point 0" changed to "Nav Point 2".  This label indicates the nav point you are currently editing.  Only one nav point may be edited at a time.  To change the current nav point, use the "Previous Nav Point" button and the "Next Nav Point" button.  Navigate to Nav Point 0.
  3. Each nav point acts as a container for ships.  The first ship we want to add is the player's ship.  To add a ship, first click the "Add Ship" button.  Now, move the mouse over the white area of the screen.  You will note that the mouse cursor is now a cross hair, instead of the normal mouse arrow.  This indicates that you can now place a ship.  Click on the desired ship location on the white area.  Note that only Nav 0 can contain the player's ship.
  4. You should now see a blue dot in the white area, representing the ship.  To indicate that this is the player's ship, click on the "Player" check box.  Now, we can change the ship type, using the ship list box.
  5. Now, we can add a second, friendly ship.  As done before, click on the add ship button, and then pick a location.  Now, you should see two blue dots.  The larger dot on the screen always represents the ship which you are currently editing.  You can pick which ship you want to edit by clicking on any dot on the screen.  We want the second ship to be a wingman of the player.  Choose a ship type.  Click the autopilot check box to ensure this ship and the player proceed to the next nav point.
  6. We can now add enemy ships.   Let's add several enemy ships to Nav 1.  Click the "Next Nav Point" button to proceed to Nav 1.  You should see Nav Point 1 above the white area of the screen.  As done before, add a new ship to Nav 1, and pick its type.  Now, change the alignment to enemy.  You will see the dot turn red, indicating that this is an enemy ship.  Repeat this step several times to create as many enemy ships as desired.  You can create more friendly ships on this nav point as well, too.
  7. For the last nav point, we must create a ship for the player to land on.  This is required.   Go to nav 2, and create a friendly ship.  Change the ship type to a capital ship: the midway. When the ship you want to land on is selected, click the "Land on this ship" checkbox.
  8. You have now completed the mission.  The next step is to save the mission.  If you don't have a player and you don't have a ship to land on, the mission editor won't let you proceed.  Go to the mission menu, as select Save As...  to save the mission.  As a convention, use the extension .mission.xml
  9. Congratulations.  Now, we add your mission to a campaign.  See "How to Create a campaign" below

Additional Mission Editor Features

How to create a campaign

Campaigns can be edited easily with a text editor.  It helps to start with an existing campaign, and then edit it
to suit your needs.  Here's an example of a simple campaign.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<campaign name="Wing Commander 1: The Vega Sector" playername="Lt. Bob Blair">
<mission file="mission1.mission.xml" win="mission2.mission.xml" />
<mission file="mission2.mission.xml"/>

You can start by opening up notepad, and copying the above text into it.

Ignore the first line, you will never need to change it..

First, on the third line of the text, you can change the name of your campaign.
This title will automatically be displayed in Flight Commander, allowing the user
to choose to play your campaign.  Also, you need to give the player a name.  This should be the player character's formal name and rank. It will appear in the game on the Login screen.

On lines 4 and on, you see a number of lines beginning with mission.  For every
mission that the user might play, you need a mission line.

The simplest  mission line will look like the following.

<mission file="mission1.mission.xml" />

You only need to change the text within the quotes. The file="mission1.mission.xml"  tells us the file name for this particular mission.  This file should have been created as mentioned above by the mission editor.  This would be appropriate for the last mission of a campaign.  If the mission was won or lost, the user will always play this same mission over and over again.

But for a real campaign, we want the user to play a new mission if he succeeds in passing the current mission.  If the user fails the current mission, he must try again.  The following line accomplishes this.

<mission file="mission1.mission.xml" win="mission2.mission.xml"  />

If the player passes mission1.mission.xml, then the player proceeds to mission2.mission.xml.  Note that since the player could potentially play 2 missions, we need 2 mission entries.  One for mission1, and one for mission2.

For a more complicated campaign, we may want the player to proceed on a losing track.  This could occur, for example, if a player killed all the enemy ships, but could not save a transport.   We can specify the losing path as shown below.

<mission file="mission1.mission.xml" win="mission2.mission.xml" lose="mission3.mission.xml" />

Since the player could get to mission 1 -3, we need 3 mission entries.

Once you have created all your mission entries for a campaign, count them up.  You must put this number into the nummissions field at the beginning of the file.

for example,

in our original file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<campaign name="Wing Commander 1: The Vega Sector" playername="Lt. Bob Blair">
<mission file="mission1.mission.xml" win="mission2.mission.xml" />
<mission file="mission2.mission.xml"/>

Now, save your newly created campaign.  The filename must end in .campaign.xml.  For example.
we could name the file test3.campaign.xml.  Make sure to save in the Flight Commander directory.
Now, when you start flight commander, you automatically be able to select your campaign from the
campaign menu.

The following code could be used to try out a single mission.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<campaign name="Test out my new mission">
<mission file="mission1.mission.xml" />
Here is an example using a losing campaign.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<campaign name="Losing Campaign Test" playername="Lt. Bob Blair">
<mission file="mission1.mission.xml" win="mission2.mission.xml"  lose="mylosingmission.mission.xml"/>
<mission file="mission2.mission.xml"/>
<mission file="mylosingmission.mission.xml"/>