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Pilot Skin Creation

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This tutorial will teach you how to create custom pilots which can replace the default pilot skin. I searched this forum for help and found nothing in the knowledge base, although you can find some instructions on other places in the forum. By writing this tutorial I hope to provide others with some basic instructions on how to edit and create pilot skins.




The default pilot skin in WOE. It looks that the red and white checkerboard is really popular in the skies above Europe.


To create you own pilot skin there are two possibilities: either you use the default pilot(s) as template or you use an existing pilot like those found at Wrench Strike Fighter Page.


One piece of advice when using others people work as template, if you gonna post your work on this or other sites, don't forget to ask for permission to the original authors or if they don't react give them at least credit.


Before you can start creating your own pilot skins you need following programs:

1. a cat-extracter: you can find one here at the Check-Six website (site in french)

2. a Hex-editor: you can find a free one here at this site.

3. a graphic program like Photo-Shop or Gimp (Gimp is open source and can be downloaded here).


Now when you create a pilot skin you should always remember: all files belong in the directory \Objects\Aircraft\. Do not put pilot skins in the individual aircraft folders, they won't work.


Lets start with the most simple creation, using others peoples pilots as template.




This is the Pilot16 skin, based on Diego's hi-rez pilot skin edited by Pappycksix. I prefer these skins as template instead of the default pilots because they are indeed of better quality.


When you download the skin from the Wrench Strike Fighter Site you will notice four files:






Step 1: Create a copy of these four files and rename them by replace the word “Pilot16” by for example KA_0001.

IMPÖRTANT: because I am not very fameliar with hexediting, it is vital the new name has exact the same number of characters like the source pilot.


Step 2: Edit ini file by replacing the word Pilot16 again with the new name KA_0001. The new ini would then contain this text:





Step 3: using the hexedit-program open both lod files. Search for the entries Pilot16.bmp. Again replace the old name with the new name and save the files again. Now the ini file refers to the correct lod files and the lod files refer to the correct bmp.


Step 4: open the bmp-file with a graphic program and edit the pilot skin to your own content.


Step 5: once you changed these files drop them all in the directory \Objects\Aircrafts\. I'll explain later how to link a skin with an aircraft.


Below you see the Pilot16 skin after I changed the helmet colors.




Another method, which is less likely to bring you on a collision course with other modders, is using the default skins and edit those.


Step 0. Extract the pilot files using the cat extractor. In the directory \objects\ you can find the file objectdata.cat.


If you open this file and scroll through it you find four pilots:






Now you need to extract for each pilot four files: bmp, ini and the two lod's.


Step 1 to 5 are the same like above. You can see the result below.




The pilot of this F-4C has the PILOTN1 helmet ...




while the co-pilot sports a brand new KA_0002 helmet.


Now creating new skins is fun, but would be pointless if you could not link the new pilot skins to the aircraft. To do that you need dive into the aircraft_data ini file. Lets take a look for example at the file from the F-4C; The aircraft data file is appropriately named F-4C_Data.ini and can be found in the directory \Objects\Aircraft\F-4C\. If you can't find it use the cat-extractor to retrieve it from the objectdata.cat.


In the aircraft data file look for the entry: [Pilot]. Below is data for the pilots and co-pilots. Look for the entry “PilotModelName = some_pilot_skin_name”. If you can't find that line simply add it manually using notepad.


The F-4C pilot entry looks for example like this:


MinExtentPosition=-0.25, 5.91,-0.20
MaxExtentPosition= 0.25, 6.99, 0.92

MinExtentPosition=-0.25, 4.50,-0.11
MaxExtentPosition= 0.25, 5.44, 1.07


I hope this tutorial was clear enough. At least your pilots won't any longer share the same taste in helmets.


Happy Flying



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