TSH Mission Improvements
This section of the TSH Manual details all of the improvements TSH v4 makes to Jane's F/A-18 elements related to missions (i.e. selecting missions, creating missions, etc.). Use the links on the right to navigate to the topic of your choice.
Stock Campaign Improvements
TSH v4 provides three elements of improvement to the stock campaign. The first is that missions involving a FAC previously caused a CTD (crash to desktop) if the missions were flown in Windows XP. The cause of this crash has been identified and the relevant missions have been edited to eliminate the crash.
In addition, all of the outdated screenshot briefing images for the stock campaign missions have been replaced with images of real military operations, for an added sense of immersion. Finally, briefing text for all missions has been slightly edited for grammar and punctuation.
F-14 Missions and Loadouts
A number of F-14 missions were created for the original TSHv1 release. These are included in TSH v4, and have been improved with current images and edited text.
Numerous F-14 loadouts are included as well. These are based on realistic F-14 armament, including AIM-54 Phoenix air-to-air missiles. These loadouts have been created via hex-editing, and thus cannot be further adjusted in-game. This is why there are many options included.
Organizing The Single Mission List
It can be hard to find specific single missions in the list if the list is long. TSH v4 allows for editing of the index.dat file that organizes these missions so that categories can be created.
In order to organize the single mission list, open the index.dat file in a text editor. There is a unique index.dat folder in each mission folder (i.e. \FA-18\mission and \FA-18\iraqmission). Missions will be placed in the single mission list in-game in the order in which they appear in the index.dat file. Any missions not listed in this file will appear at the bottom of the list in alphabetical order. Two sample index.dat files are included with TSH v4 - one for North Cape missions and one for Iraq missions. The TSH index.dat will recognize "fake" mission files - files with a .cmf extension that really contain no data. There are a few "fake".cmf files included with TSHv4, all with a file size of 1KB. These act as headers for mission organization. To edit these headers, change the file name and the reference in the index.dat file. To add new headers, make a copy of on of the 1KB .cmf files and rename them as desired.
If you attempt to fly one of the "fake" mission files in-game, you will receive the error message "Error Loading Mission File" and you will be returned to the single mission selection screen
IMPORTANT: there MUST be a carriage return (i.e. a new line) at the bottom of each index.dat file in order for this file to function properly.
An example of TSH Single Mission Organization
Unified Landpal Files
How Landpal and Tile files originally worked
Jane's F/A-18 .til files are compressed land/sea textures made in indexed 8-bit color format. This color format enables the use of a maximum of 256 predefined colors. The colors are called from Landpal.pcx, an external color pallete, when terrain is rendered within the game.
The Ncape.til file contains the North Cape textures. When the Iraq Paq was originally released, the iraq.til file contained Iraq textures. Since the Iraq Paq does not modify the ncape.til file, a separate landpal.pcx file was needed for use in the Iraq Theater.
How Landpal and Tile files work now
TSH v4 makes use of a unified Landpal; this means that the same landpal.pcx file can be used regardless of what theater is active. The structure of the THS landpal.pcx, ncape.til, and iraq.til files have been rearranged so that the colors placed from locations 0-127 are used by the iraq.til file when the missions are flown in the Iraq theater, and the locations from 128-256 are used by the ncape.til file when missions are flown in the North Cape theater. Old modified landpal files are incompatible with the new TSH unified landpal format.
TSH v4 includes a variety of terrain textures per theater designed to depict specific seasons. In reality the North Cape has more varied seasons than Middle East, and this is reflected in the textures. The textures are as follows:
- Early spring: early spring season with remains of winter snow
- Spring: more vivid colors than early spring, little or no snow
- Summer: colorful summer terrain
- Autumn: subdued autumn colors
- Late Autumn: same as autumn but with more snow
- Winter: snow coverage greatly increased (primarily in Ncape) while general colors more washed out
- Deep Winter: in Ncape, almost 100% snow coverage over land; in Iraq, same as "Winter"
In addition, TSH v4 offers 31 additional landpal files for use in either theater. These landpals are as follows:
- TSH default terrain
- Early spring dark: early spring with darker mood
- Spring dark: spring with darker mood
- Summer dark: summer with darker mood
- Autumn dark: autumn with darker mood
- Late autumn dark: late autumn with darker mood
- Winter dark: winter with darker mood
- TSHv3 default terrain with darker mood
- Inverted spring: desert in North Cape & spting vegetation in Iraq
- Inverted summer: desert in North Cape & summer vegetation in Iraq
- Inverted autumn: desert in North Cape & autumn vegetation in Iraq
- Diversity: vegetation and sand/stone in both theaters
- TSH default terrain vivid: similar to default but with fuller and richer colors
- Stone: predominantly stone-like colors
- Stone vivid: predominantly stone-like colors but with fuller and richer colors
- Rock: simulates rocky terrain similar to old rock terrain made by Pretzel
- Dirt: mostly brown colors simulating muddy terrain
- Terra Balkans: similar to Blitz’s old Balkans theater but with lighter and more diverse colors
- Terra Balkans Old: similar to Blitz’s old Balkans theater
- Terra Batlic: similar to Blitz’s old Baltic theater but with lighter and more diverse colors
- Terra Batlic old: similar to Blitz’s old Baltic theater
- Terra NorthCape: similar to Blitz’s old terra NorthCape theater but with lighter and more diverse colors
- Terra NorthCape old: similar to Blitz’s old terra NorthCape theater
- Terra kola: similar to Blitz’s old terra kola theater
- B&W: black and white terrain
- Mars: Mars-like red color terrain
- Europe spring: Europe in spring, Iraq terrain similar to Rock terrain
- Europe summer: Europe in summer. Iraq terrain similar to Rock terrain
- Europe autumn: Europe in autumn. Iraq terrain similar to Rock terrain
- Europe winter: Europe in winter. Iraq terrain similar to Rock terrain
- Desert North Cape.
Comparison of Seasonal Terrains 01 - 07
North Cape, Early Spring
North Cape, Spring
North Cape, Summer
North Cape, Autumn
North Cape, Late Autumn
North Cape, Winter
North Cape, Deep Winter
Iraq, Early Spring
Iraq, Late Autumn
Iraq, Deep Winter
Linking Textures To Specific Missions
A new parameter Type of Terrain has been added to the Environment section of the Mission Builder. This parameter can be used to link the mission to one of 99 different landpXX.pcx files. Missions created prior to TSHv3 and missions that use "00" as the parameter value will use the landpal.pcx file as the terrain texture, ensuring compatibility with all existing missions. This also means that missions not created with specific terrain textures will use the generic texture for each theater. Missions that use "01" through "99" as the parameter value will use the landpXX.pcx file, where "XX" is the parameter value. For example, inputting "05" as the parameter value and saving the mission would result in a Late Autumn terrain when the mission is loaded, because landp05.pcx is the Late Autumn unified landpal file. Inputting "38" as the parameter value and saving the mission would result in one of two things happening:
- If landp38.pcx exists in the \Ncape or \Iraq folders, depending on the mission, that terrain would be present when the mission is loaded. Landp38.pcx is not a file included with TSHv4.
- If landp38.pcx does not exist, the terrain will revert to landpal.pcx (the generic terrain).
Other Mission Builder Corrections / Additions
SA-13 and SA-15 mission builder description corrections
In the stock Jane's F-18, the SA-13 and SA-15 small large site labels are inverted in the Jane's F-18 Mission Builder. TSH v4 corrects this inversion so that sites are labeled correctly. This will not effect missions created previous to the installation of TSH v3.
Display All Ground Objects
Checking the Display all ground objects box in the Mission Builder shows hidden elements of ground objects that are not normally visible. Using the F12 keystroke to toggle on the object ID numbers can help to see these objects.
Plugin Terrain Color options
In the Iraq theater, some objects have problems with the terrain color. For example, the SA-10 and SA-11 objects always have grass-colored terrain, which looks odd in the desert world. In the stock Jane's F-18, objects use this grass coloring by default. After installing TSH v4, a transparent terrain background is the default. The grass terrain can be toggled back on by checking the Grass Terrain box in the Add Ground Object Mission Builder menu. Sometimes using the grass coloring can aid in correcting object altitude issues, and sometimes contrasting coloring can help to precisely position objects.
Grass / Transparent Object Background Selection
New Ground Object / Plugin Functionality
First, a short definition. A plugin is a collection of objects. Normally the distinction between the two is not necessary, and in fact the Jane's F-18 Mission Builder refers to "object" when "plugin" is really meant. The same distinction is not made in other sections of this manual; however, in this section the difference between the two is important.
TSH v4 provides enhanced abilities for manipulating plugins once they are placed on the map. In addition, there are undocumented commands for manipulating plugins that existed in the stock version of Jane's F-18. Together, these commands are:
- U: move a plugin or object UP
- D: move a plugin or object DOWN
- R: move a plugin or object RIGHT
- L: move a plugin or object LEFT
- I: toggle Individual object selection ON/OFF
- N: select Next individual object if above toggle is ON
- O: rotate object (or all objects in plugin) LEFT
- T: rotate object (or all objects in plugin) RIGHT
- F12: toggle object ID numbers ON/OFF
- F4: rotate plugin in 90-degree increments
Slots for New Plugins
The stock version of Jane's F-18 contains 93 available plugins. TSHv4 adds 6 more plugins (farm1, farm2, oil see refinery, double-cross-linked SA-10, small nuclear facility, and harbor) and add slots for 173 additional plugins. These 173 slots can be used for any plugins created by a user (see below for a description of how to do this) or any plugins imported from Jane's F-15. In order to use these new plugins slots, plugins must simply have filename of XXX.plg, where XXX is a number from 100 to 172, and the .plg file must be located in the \FA-18\Ncape\plugin folder. The Mission Builder will look for files in this location regardless of which theater is active. In the Mission Builder the plugins will appear in the "Ground Object" list as [Future P100] through [Future P172].
Inserting New Ground Plugins
Creating New Plugins & Adding/Deleting permanent plugins from the map
TSH v4 allows the mission creator to build a new plugin out of a combination of pre-existing mission plugins, stock plugins that have been added to the map, and plugins imported from Jane's F-15. These plugins can then be positioned and rotated to suit, and the individual objects inside all of the plugins can also be positioned and rotated to suit. After this is done, the mission creator selects the set of objects to use in the new plugin and gives it a label. This set of labeled objects is then converted to a single plugin via an external program, renamed, and placed in the appropriate location. The specific steps are as follows:
- Start Jane's F-18.
- Open the Mission Builder.
- Open an existing mission or work with the default new mission.
- Place at least one plugin or navigate to the site of an existing plugin.
- Add additional plugins as desired.
- Manipulate the plugins and objects with the U, D, L, R, T, O, I, N, F12, and F4 keys to arrange everything in the proper locations and orientations.
- Open the Add Moving Vehicle menu.
- Select Camel in the Vehicle Type dropdown box. TSH dd-ons use the camel as a marker.
- In the Label box, type the name you desire for your new ground plugin.
- Press OK.
- Give the camel two waypoints that will form two sides of a rectangle around the desired objects to be included in the new plugin.
- Repeat steps 7-11 to add another camel and waypoints on the other two sides of the rectangle. It is important to give the second camel the same label as the first.
- Save the mission and remember the filename.
- Close Jane's F-18.
The above procedure can also be used to add or delete permanent plugins from the world map. Once added, a plugin's damage is tracked throughout the progress of a campaign. In order to delineate files for addition or deletion, they are marked with camels as described above. However, plugins for addition must be bound by camels with a label of insXX, and plugins for deletion must be bound by camels with a label of delXX. "XX" is a number between 00 and 09.
Adding/Deleting permanent plugins from the map
After a mission has been marked with camels for plugin creation, addition, and deletion, perform the following steps:
- Download the TSH Plugin Extractor.
- Extract the contents of the downloaded .zip to a folder of your choice.
- Run PlgExtractor v20.exe.
- Select the mission containing plugins to create, add, and/or delete.
- Select the .ins file corresponding to the correct theater (ncape.ins or iraq.ins).
- Select the .fam file corresponding to the correct theater.
- If desired, select the appropriate .alt file (described below).
- Press the "Launch" button.
- A folder with the name of the selected mission is created in the folder containing the plugin creator. In this folder you will find the following files
- .plg files named according to the camel labels you originally selected. These are new plugins for use in other missions.
- delXX.del, a log of the deleted objects.
- insXX.ins, containing the new objects to add to the ins file.
- newins.ins, the new .ins file file created after plugins have been added and deleted.
- add.txt, a description of added objects (hexadecimal and decimal serial numbers, altitudes)
- newins.txt, a description of objects in newins.ins (hexadecimal and decimal serial numbers, altitudes [except the new objects]
- inslog.log, a log file of the operations.
- The .plg file(s) should be moved the to the \FA-18\Ncape\plugin folder for use in further mission building. They should be renamed as appropriate (i.e. 100.plg, 101.plg, ..., 171.plg, 172.plg).
- The new .ins file can be used in place of the existing theater .ins file.
New plugins can be added to a mission using the Ground Object menu. Once a mission with new plugins is saved, it can be distributed to other users without the associated .plg files; these are stored inside the mission file.
Using the .alt file to adjust plugin heights
When plugins are added, it can be necessary to adjust object altitudes so that all objects appear level on the terrain surface. For example:
It is important to note the serial number of objects that need altitude modifications. Check these in the mission builder using the F12 key.
After the Plugin Extractor is run once, the add.txt file gives some extra information about the objects it has manipulated; we are told the hexedecimal and decimal serial numbers, the altitude of objects in meters, and the family of the objects:
-(H)002384-(D)009092 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)002386-(D)009094 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)002388-(D)009096 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)00238A-(D)009098 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)00238C-(D)009100 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)00238E-(D)009102 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)002390-(D)009104 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)002392-(D)009106 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)002394-(D)009108 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)002396-(D)009110 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)002398-(D)009112 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)00239A-(D)009114 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)00239C-(D)009116 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)00239E-(D)009118 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)0023A0-(D)009120 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)0023A2-(D)009122 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)0023A4-(D)009124 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)0023A6-(D)009126 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)0023A8-(D)009128 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)0023AA-(D)009130 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
-(H)0023AC-(D)009132 alt:00057 ---Warehouse, large - ware01b
In order to modify object altitudes, the Plugin Extractor needs a .alt (altitude) file. To create the .alt file, copy the file add.txt and rename it as add.alt. Open add.alt in a text editor and replace the "-" with a "*" at the beginning of each line you want to modify. Then enter the new altitude in meters, always using 5 characters. Below you can see the results of changing some of the warehouses from 00057 meters to 00067 meters; it's not perfect, but it shows the improvement and can be refined with further tweaking.
Custom Campaign Movies
Custom movies can be used in campaigns. These movies are created by following the procedures for Using Custom Movies In Campaigns.