I have been investigating the core string and ini files that make up FE2 - primarily to see if multiplayer can be reintroduced. The relevant files can be found in the MenuData.cat and MenuText.cat files of the "Menu" folder of the actual game (not in the user folder for the game).
I managed to restore the "multiplayer" button to the main screen of the game, but it leads nowhere. Also possible to restore was the "network" button under the options settings - but again this led nowhere when you click on it.
It seems that each STR (string?) file requires a corresponding INI (initialization) file to work at all. Most of the files have both components, such as is the case with OPTIONSSCREEN.INI and OPTIONSSCREEN.STR - the ini file contains the relevant buttons, lists, codes, placements, lots of other things too, and the str component file contains the relevant data calls that correspond with what is called for in the ini file.
I was however stumped to find that most of the network sub-option files have the STR component files in place - but ini files for those are all missing, perhaps having been removed by the game designer - or perhaps there is a more obscure way of calling up those string files that I am not aware of with my very limited knowledge of program/app coding.
As an example, the NETWORKCONNECTIONSCREEN.STR file and the NETWORK.STR file - obviously important ones (and it's obvious what they are for) - cannot be called up in game, likely because corresponding ini files for those are missing. Looking through some of those network option str files shows, in some cases, more than 30 or 40 different data calls. I can only imagine then how much time it would take to create corresponding ini files for all of those different data calls in the str files, with all of the relevant buttons, menus, submenus, toggles created in the corresponding ini files - to get mutliplayer up and fully functional in FE2 - a daunting task that while theoretically possible would probably take a good month at least of full-time work on it (and then there is the risk of how stable the setup would be when done).
Those who are inclined to tinker further with multiplayer possibilities in FE2 are advised to look at the main Options.ini file first that's in the user folder for FE2. The multiplayer settings should read as follows to be enabled:
The following should also be toggled but I didn't experiment with correct values:
In the OPTIONSCREEN.INI file that should be extracted to your "Menu" folder, the following should be toggled:
In MAINSCREEN.INI, also to be placed in the "Menu" folder, the following should be toggled:
Also, the following should be modified to look as you see here, from the same file indicated above:
And finally, the relevant STR files that are missing corresponding INI files - or maybe requiring some other kind of call that I'm not aware of, are:
PILOTRECORDSCREEN.STR (this one is to enable flight recording in multiplayer)
As far as I can see, it's more feasible to continue improving the single-player side of the game, such as improvements in AI, scenery, also the great plane and skin mods that often come out for FE2. And thanks to all who contribute to this game and make it great. Those interested in pursuing the multiplayer aspect further will hopefully find my post useful. I will not be pursuing this topic further since I don't consider the project to be worthwhile.
Here are the steps to take if interested in installing FE2 on a Mac. The procedure is similar to "bottling" of CFS3.1, the ETO and PTO expansion packs, also WOFF ue for the Mac, and of course RB3D, but a little "simpler" with FE2 (and RB3D) since less winetricks are required...the process is at any rate a slow one and requires patience, but is convenient if you want to have everything running on the same operating system.
STEP ONE: go to https://sourceforge.net/projects/wineskin/ and download the latest wineskin winery (ver. 1.7 as of this writing) via the green "download" button there (for Mac OS vers. 10.6 to 10.12)
[EDIT: if running Mac OS 10.13 or later, recommended instead is to install the "unofficial" WineSkin-for-Mac located at https://github.com/Gcenx/WineskinServer]
STEP TWO: double-click on the program; in the menu that opens click on the plus sign to the left of "new engines available," and in the list that then opens choose WS8Wine1.5.1, download it, and then - when you're back in the main menu - choose "create new blank wrapper" (now wait about 3-4 minutes for your Mac to make the custom wrapper; once finished, the wrapper will be placed in an Applications folder that has been made inside your user folder on OS X and/or macOS)
STEP THREE: go to the WineSkin wrapper that's just been made and double-click on it; in the window that opens, choose "set screen options"; in the window that then opens choose "override" instead of automatic, and choose "rootless (windowed)," then "virtual desktop at" (whatever resolution suits you), then "use these settings" instead of force normal windows; once happy with your choices, click on "done" at the bottom of that window
STEP FOUR: back on the main menu, choose "advanced"; in the window that opens click on "tools"; this will then open another window in which you should click on "winetricks"; in the window that then opens, type in d3d in the search window at the top, then click to expand the "dlls" menu that shows up in the list below your search, and look for d3dx11_43, and click in the box to the left of it, to select it; now click on "run" located towards the bottom of that top screen of the window you're currently in, and let it install the winetrick; once the process finishes it will say "done" in the text window that is visible in the bottom half of that same window; finally, click on the "close" button at the very bottom of the window, and you're taken back to the "wineskin advanced" menu (close that advanced menu by clicking on the close button in its menubar)
STEP FIVE: double-click on the wrapper once again and choose "install software" in the main menu; then "choose setup executable" in the next window that opens and locate your exe file for FE2 that you bought (usually called setup.exe or install.exe); now let the wrapper do its thing to install the game
STEP SIX: once installed, the wrapper will go back to the main menu and you can click "quit" (it may also prompt you to locate the program before it drops to the main menu, the program in this case being the exe file of the game that was just installed - best thing at this point is just to leave this alone and close that window, if it doesn't drop to the main menu automatically)
STEP SEVEN: once the wrapper has quit, don't double-click on it but "right-click" it and choose the option in the popup menu on OS X and/or macOS that says "show package contents" (this will open the wrapper's folder and should list something like a contents folder, the alias to its c drive, and an app/icon called WineSkin); double-click on the app named WineSkin and you will open the main menu window again, of the wrapper, and choose "advanced"
STEP EIGHT: under the advanced menu, to the right of the box called Windows EXE (that contains a file path), click on "Browse"; this will open up your finder on OS X and/or macOS, and then you can scroll into the "c drive" of the wrapper into which you've just installed FE2; in "c drive," look for "Program Files," scroll into there and look for "ThirdWire," scroll into "ThirdWire" and look for "First Eagles 2," scroll into there and look for "FirstEagles2.exe" and choose that (click "choose"); then you're back in the WineSkin advanced menu with the proper file path for the game's exe now listed in the box near the top of the window (while you're there you might want to give a name for your freshly created Mac program in the "menubar name" box, something like First Eagles 2 or FE2, and also, later, don't forget to rename your wrapper/app to First Eagles 2, for consistency, if you haven't done so already)
STEP NINE: now close that advanced menu window, and double-click the program you just created (not the WineSkin icon in the window that popped open when you right-clicked and chose "show package contents," but the actual, main wrapper that is in the custom Applications folder that was created in your user folder on OS X and/or macOS) - see if the game works, and if all is well, then double-click the WineSkin logo that is visible in the window once you right-click the main app wrapper to "show package contents"; once you're in the WineSkin menu again, click on "screen options" one more time and choose "fullscreen" instead of "rootless (windowed)," also choose your desired resolution in the box below that and leave the other options at 24 bit for color depth and 0 sec. for switch pause; all the other options there should be left as they are
STEP TEN: since you've now run the game successfully (in windowed mode), you will find a ThirdWire/First Eagles 2 folder located in your Documents folder (of your user folder under OS X and/or macOS); in that folder you can find, under "ThirdWire/First Eagles 2/Controls," a Default.INI file that contains the keyboard and joystick controls for the game; open this ini file in TextEdit and modify the keys to your liking (also, don't forget to tweak the joystick sensitivity slider within the game's menu too, to get the joystick to behave as you like); and one more thing - it's best to set the game resolution, within the game's menu, to the same resolution that you have set within the "screen options" of your wineskin wrapper - for everything to behave as smoothly as possible
STEP ELEVEN: all user mods from CombatAce should be installed into the relevant folders of user/Documents/ThirdWire/First Eagles 2 on your Mac - not into the First Eagles 2 folder that is buried in the c drive of the WineSkin wrapper into which you installed the game's exe and the related files
NOTE: Von S makes no guarantee that following such steps will recreate the magic of First Eagles 2 on your Mac, but careful following of the directions listed above should work in 99% of cases
NOTE 2: the game can of course be run in windowed mode, as indicated in the earlier steps above....at say 1600 x 900...but why keep such a lovely game windowed - full screen is better for it, but you might want to keep the resolution at 1600 x 900 on lower-end systems, for better frame rates (Red Baron 3D on the other hand is better windowed at something like 1280 x 1024 - full screen is hit-and-miss with RB3D in WineSkin, but the situation may improve since WINE is always being improved)
Hello Fellow Fliers of First Eagles 2,
The big, Version 10.0 of the FM/Realism Package for FE2 contains approximately 220 WWI aircraft types and sub-types, for your (virtual) flying enjoyment. For detailed installation instructions, please check over the main "Read Me First" file that is included, as well as several older (pdf) files and that cover aircraft performance info., tips, etc., across all previous versions of the FM update package.
A great many thanks go out to Peter01 and Ojcar, also TexMurphy, for making most of those flight model files to begin with. Also a great thanks goes out to Stephen1918, MontyCZ and Laton for providing lots of beautiful planes and skins that go with those great flight models, to NBell for the many hitbox improvements provided for the planes, also to VonOben, Mike Dora and Crawford for many helpful suggestions, and to the A-Team by SkunkWorks for allowing me to tweak a few of the FMs for their models too. And of course a very big thanks goes out to Geezer for several fantastic, high-quality models that were produced for FE2.
What I've done is tinkered with the data files further. Modifications in all cases, to a greater or lesser extent, include data under the following sections:
(h) Internal Guns
(i) Control Surfaces
(j) Landing Gears
(k) Fuselage, Nose, Tail, Vertical Tail, LeftStab, RightStab, Rudder, Left/Right/Inner/Middle/Outer/Tip Wing components
Enjoy and happy flying!,
NOTES: For several of Geezer's latest aircraft and my FMs for those aircraft (Nieuports, Pfalzes, etc.), which are not included in this package, please see the relevant post located towards the bottom of page 25 of the "New Aircraft" thread for FE2, on CombatAce. Also see relevant posts on pages 26, 27, and 28 of that same thread for Geezer's "early beta" collection that contains the Breguet XIV, Junkers J.I, and other updates, including performance info. for some of those aircraft types.
DISCLAIMER: All Von S mods., for FE2, SF2, also WOFFue/pe/bh&h2, as well as for RoF (United Ed.), are subject to the CombatAce "freeware" terms of agreement. Mods. may be shared with others, included on other media devices, also modded further, providing that original documentation and/or credit is included, and providing that the mods. remain free to use. Von S mods. shall not be sold, resold, etc., and Von S takes no responsibility for injuries or fixations that may result from flying heavily tweaked FMs or from attempts to enjoy real flying without aid or instruction from a qualified flight instructor.