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Create Custom Art in B-17: The Mighty 8th!
by Len "Viking1" Hjalmarson

Product Name: B-17 Flying Fortress The Mighty 8th!
Category: WWII Bomber & Fighter Simulation
Developed By: Wayward Design, Ltd.
Published By: Microprose/Hasbro Interactive
Release Date: Released
Minimum Spec: Windows 95/98/Millenium; Intel Pentium II 300 or faster; 128MB RAM; Voodoo3 or higher; 8MB VRAM; DirectX Compatible Joystick.
Recommended Spec: Intel Pentium II 400 or faster; 256MB RAM; 16MB VRAM; Supports Hardware T&L; A3d Compatible Sound card; 400MB Swap file or larger.
Demo: None
Files: | v1.05 PATCH | Paint Utility |
Links: | Viking1's B-17 Tweaks | Iain Howe's B-17 Tweaks | B-17 Review (Viking 1) | B-17 Review (Impaler) |
Article Type: How-To
Article Date: February 16th, 2001

With the release of the patch and file utility for B17, you can now access all the graphics in the program and modify or import your own artwork. The most common application for this is to name your own aircraft and create matching artwork for the nose.

This tutorial aims at one thing only: helping you get started in creating your own graphics for B17: The Mighty 8th!

Step 1

Download the v1.05 B-17 PATCH from HERE and install it (16.4 MB). Then download the paint utility program by clicking HERE.

Unzip the file and then copy OMFMOD.EXE and COREPARTS.DLL to the directory in which B17.EXE was installed. The utility requires access to DLL's shipped as part of the game and will not run without them. Allow overwrite of the older COREPARTS.DLL.

Within the B-17 main folder go to RESOURCES folder then MEDIA folder and select the B17 Data.omf file. Right click and select COPY. (Later you can do the same with the Aircraft.omf file).

Now go back to the main B17 folder and select PASTE the omf file into the main B-17 folder where your paint utility resides.

Next, DRAG the B17 Data.omf file over the utility and it will open. You’ll see the file names on the left. When you select a file the image will appear on the right.

OMFMOD with Aircraft.omf opened

Step 3
Click and hold the left mouse button down on a space near the bottom of the utility screen. Scroll the window up and in the bottom right hand corner you'll find four buttons.

Getting to the SAVE AS panel

Alternatively, click on the blue title bar at the top of the window to MAXIMIZE the program and you should see the buttons and the panel.

The SAVE AS panel allows you to modify the directory where the images will be extracted for editing. Click on BROWSE and choose your directory. I created a new directory under B17 called “paint.”

Simple Solution: Create a Directory

Click SAVE and the file you selected earlier will now appear in the directory you chose.

Step 4
Let’s assume that you are going to modify some nose art. Scroll down the list on the left and find the Maximum Effort Mask Starboard file. (The files are unique for each side of the Fort).

With this image selected, click SAVE TGA at the bottom right of the program panel. The selected image should appear in the directory you have selected. If it does not, be sure you have clicked on and SELECTED the file.

Step 5
Use Explorer to create a duplicate of the file and rename it with a .bak extension or rename the file. This way you will have a backup if you want to replace the original.

Now double click on the original file in Explorer and it will open in your paint program.

Maximum Effort

The background is grey, but it needs to be pure white for the transparent change over. Erase the current picture and make the background white by clicking on COLORS, then ADJUST, then Red/Green/Blue. Move the sliders all the way to the right.

Achieving White Out

Step 6
Now find the picture you want to use, and copy and paste it into the Maximum Effort box and move it to the bottom left (note that the port and starboard sides have different image positions) You may have to shrink you clipart to fit. As a guideline it should be roughly the same size as the old image of the ram and the circle. If you make this image too large it will intrude into the window area of the Fort.

Using Clip Art for a Mod

This is the black window you see in the example. On the starboard side the window is the same distance from the right but runs all the way to left. Don't worry about the rest of this image, I'm only showing it here to help you locate the window. The actual position and size are shown here, with the top left corner of the window at 41,16 pixels.

Fort Window Location

If you plan to add words or lettering to the image use the text. Any text has to be in the same general area as you see in the sample. It will disappear if it’s too low and cover windows if too high. SAVE YOUR WORK, then close the file and reload it to clear the selection.

Ensure that the background is now filled with white. If you need to clean up the edges of the text or image do so now, ensuring that the color is the same as the background.

Step 7
Next set the Alpha for this image. First we must delete the original alpha that has been imported with the original Maximum Effort. Here are the steps to follow . . .
  • Go to Mask in the Top toolbox (between Selections and Window)
  • A box will pop up with the Alpha Channel and its Picture, Select Delete, then click YES when it asks if you are sure.

Load Alpha Channel

Step 8
Go to MASK again and select NEW. In the menu select FROM IMAGE. In the Source Window ensure that it says THIS WINDOW. Then the list below must say CREATE MASK FROM. Ensure that the button selected is SOURCE LUMINANCE. Finally, check the INVERT MASK DATA on the Bottom. Now Select OK.

Adding Mask from Image

This is what your image should look like now.

Paint Shop Pro

Step 9
Next we must save the Mask File.

Go to Mask then select SAVE TO ALPHA CHANNEL. Select the New Alpha Channel that's listed and click OK.

Paint Shop will now ask you to name the Channel. Name it Alpha Channel 1.

Saving an Alpha Channel

Now you have an Alpha Channel for your image.

Step 10
The image is still masked. Get rid of the mask by going to EDIT. Click on UNDO MASK and your image will return to normal.

Now save the image. Note: you must use the original file name without any changes.

Explorer and OMF Utility are open..

Drag the saved image from Explorer to OMF Utility

To get your image into the B17Data.omf open the Utility and drag the file into the right screen (image) side of the program. Then go to the menu at the bottom of the utility and Save the file with your changes.

Thanks to Malkuth for sussing out much of this!

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