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New squadron generic skin packages for IL-2 and FC


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S!

Continuing a discussion bantered about in several threads, but I suggest we add comments and discussion on this specific topic here.

For starters, I highly recommend we break the skin packages into two parts: IL-2 and Flying Circus (WW2 and WW1). Possibly even break the WW2 stuff into WW Allied and WW Axis, given the potential size.

I suggest these ground rules (subject to change or update) : 

  • Generic squadron skins be readily identifiable as WW skins through use of blue and gold coloring, checkers, stripes, whatever, but not so glaring as to render underlying camouflage patterns ineffective. 'Tastefully done' being purely subjective but still the overall goal. We don't need blue and gold checkers on a Spit VB that cover the entire nose from prop to cockpit, for example. 
  • The WW shield logo displayed on the aircraft (whether full color, or subdued gray scale or whatever fits the subject.) If anyone needs a fresh copy, it is available in 2000x2000 .png here: https://www.wingwalkers.org/images/wwlogo_2k2k.png
  • No unit lettering, aircraft numbering, or national insignia as part of the generic skin files. Please pay attention to where the game adds national insignias and make the skin fit. (correct me if I'm wrong, but the game will add national insignias, yes?)
  • One generic skin per plane type/sub-type. 
  • For our squadron's generic skins, we do not want to use "sensitive markings" at all, ie: no swastikas. Yes, I get the historical arguments, but there are nations and individuals out there who are adamantly against the display of such markings. Let's make this set openly available to a global community without endless debate over markings. Individual custom skins or campaign packs (such as our Finnish campaign pack) are special sets for our own use and not part of the squadron's generic sets. 
  • The sets will be made available via local download on the WW web space (through use of the WW Vault to upload skin packs to either the "...vault/wwskins/squadron_generic_packs/flying_circus/" or the " ".../vault/wwskins/squadron_generic_packs/great_battles/" folders respectively <<spelling of folder names corrected>> ) as well as on Haluters Skin Downloader. 
  • Use of existing skins is highly recommended with credit given to the original artist (in most cases WWDubya), but updated skins to replace older ones are encouraged. 

 

Skins to be used in the packs should first be vetted as acceptable in posts within this thread. Include a screenshot of the skin in small jpg format.

I'm collecting a bunch of Dubya's early/mid war 109's and 190's that have winter and spring/summer generic skins. 

I'm going currently going through the first several aircraft types (armor is for another topic later) and notice several already that we don't have purely generic skins for already. These include the A20B, AircoDH4, AlbatrosD5, several of the later Bf-109's (despite lots of flight-specific skins, no simple un-numbered skins) and I expect many others as I get through the list. 

 

 

 

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Haluter's seems to be quite particular about artist credit. That being said, anyone who decides to use any of my skins as a template can do so freely.  It is actually way easier to upload under your name as the artist, so you can update the skin as required without having the original artist do that for you. Let me know if you want the .xcf (.psd) file for any of my skins, I can upload it to the vault.

I have done several skins based on Wolfie's and Craven's templates, I always upload them with me as the artist, but in the description use the "based on an original by ...", which seems to satisfy the Haluter's folks.  As well, I will continue to monitor Haluter's Discord for removed skins, and PM sqn artists who have had their skins removed for whatever reason.

In terms of WW generic skins, I would opt for the personal skin in lieu of seasonal (fall/winter/summer/spring) skins.  If members want their personal skins to reflect seasonal changes, fine, but I think generic ones covering each will become unmanageable quickly. How many aircraft in IL-2? ~60? multiply that by all of the seasons represented, that adds up to 240 skins (give or take, not all will be done in full), then add onto that each personal skin (some have multiple personal skins per aircraft).  At 21,846kb per skin, that adds up to a lot of HDD space.

Note though, that I have all of Dub's skins on my drive (most are 2K, they need to be updated to 4K), but not represented in-game as the list gets huge per aircraft (CO, XO, AdmO, TO, 1, 2, 3, 4, all seasons etc).  To find the skin I want (usually a WWDarkdiz - aircraft name) I had to scroll down through a whole hockey-sock full of aircraft to find it, especially if it is a popular airframe.  I can see the requirement for a generic skin per aircraft, but only as a short-term solution until the member can scare up a personal skin (or permanent solution if the member does not want a personal skin).  That's also the reason I removed all of the JG-1 skins, since they are RARELY used, and easily re-installed.

I would propose that having the guidelines above for the artists to follow for generic aircraft is awesome, it gives arcs-of-fire and is repeatable.  However, I think for specific campaigns or even missions, we could go to a dedicated skin-pack model, much as we have done for Tusani Hurricaani.

I would also propose that it is clear, or made clear, that NO SKIN DOWNLOAD/INSTALL IS MANDATORY, if individuals do not wish to download/install specific skins that is totally up to them.  Personally, one of the highlights of this game is seeing the highly personal skins adorning our particular aircraft when we take to the sky (btw I really liked the "Diz trying to be seen" pic of my Albatross watermelon, trying to be seen mission... accomplished). So, I will be downloading/installing all personal skins made available, and if a particular mission or campaign requires certain skin, I will install them as well on a temporary basis (Haluter's is great for that, you simply de-select the skin and it will remove it).  All that needs to occur is notification that a particular skin pack will be used should suffice (mission builder?).

S!

Diz heads back to the bar, P-40 manual in hand...

Edited by WWDarkdiz
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Okay, good points. I'll edit out the seasonal bit and replace that with a single generic skin per plane and sub-type. 

On going through all this, I'll likely remove the rest of the older skins I have installed just to stay current. I was going through and cherry picking all the various "19" and "SandMan" skins already out there, to upload to HSD under my personal skins, with credit to Dub and Craven as original artists. It's truly humbling to see how much effort has gone into making me look pretty... Thank you, gents, especially @WWDubya

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Great Battles, including Collector planes totals 55.  Flying Circus has a total of 16 planes.  We can expect additional aircraft as they are released by 1C/777.

Couple of points,

  • The game does not add national insignia, if you have a skin with no national markings that's what you get in game.  Currently GB only permits the user to add Tactical markings for US aircraft.
    • National markings need to be added to squad generic skins.
  • No real requirement to skin up multiple seasons for most generic WW planes.  Typically only Russian and German early war aircraft used winter camo.
    • As a skinner, I have no issue with making winter skins where appropriate.
    • Should determine if we want generic skins for same aircraft if they are being flown by multiple nationalities, i.e. Hurricane was primarily used by GB, and the Soviets.
  • Original artist should be the one to upload his skin to the vault and to HSD.
    • Need to create sub grouping under the the following, WW Great Battles Generic Skins and WW Flying Circus Generic Skins in the Paint Shed.
    • Skinners (if anyone besides myself) will need to sit down and determine who will create what generic skins in order to eliminate duplicate effort.  (I probably have 16-20 skins that could be easily modified  to fit the generic bill)
    • Standardize naming format for saving skins, it's always a challenge, at least for me, to scroll through the AC list to find my skin.  I've named my skins in so many different ways I don't know whether I'm coming or going.
      • Suggest the following; WWxxxxxxx_Aircraft, at least you'll know to scroll to the bottom of the list to find the Wing Walker plane you want.
    • To reiterate what Sandy said, generic skins to be vetted in this thread by?  Show of hands, skin committee, staff?
  • As Diz noted, personal skin downloads by all members should not be mandatory, however it is highly recommended that members download squad generic skins as they become available.
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👆 What he said.  As long as we get some sort of standardization, works for me.

For personal skins, if the original template maker is OK with it (and gets credit in the description... "based on an original by..."), I would suggest the skinner who modifies the template (if the person is not a skinner per se), or the person represented by the skin uploads the skin.  That way, its easy to modify and re-upload if required (in Haluter's current form anyway).  For generic skins, whoever is the sqn SkinO should be the uploader (under the name WWSkinO, not personal name).

For generic skin vetting, since the sqn is still relatively small, a simple poll should meet the need.  If there are any "nays", let the debate begin, that's when the SkinO or committee chimes in with the final decision.  Generic skins can always be modified anyway.  IMHO, if a skinner wants to spend the time making a sqn skin, then unless it is a hot-pink Mossie with Goober roundels, it will probably get my vote. (I am SO gonna do one of those...)

Good idea for Generic Skins division of work, I also have several that could be used in a heartbeat.

I think that at the very least all generic skins should be available to everyone (SHOULD be downloaded by all members), with the reminder that should anyone choose a personal skin in a particular mission, it will show up as the default skin if you don't have it downloaded.

I think the aim here is to cut down on the vast number of skins we all seem to have, and settle for a standard load, with personal tweaks.  I went through my skins folder last night, I didn't think I had all that many.  I was wrong...  My P51 folder for example, has 50 skins (a few of which are for some of the campaigns I downloaded, but the majority are WW personal skins).  No issue with that, if it is a WW skin, it stays (but then again, I have the available HDD space).

I would recommend AGAINST game-assigned tactical markings.  They are placed on select aircraft, and usually don't line up with whatever skin you have on (I THINK these marking line up on the default skin only).  If any of us play on other MP servers, most of the other players will see the default anyway, as they won't likely have your personal skin downloaded (I learned that from my earlier campaign with JG1).  Better to put on the default and add the Tac markings in that scenario.  For our server though, personal skins with national markings and personal insignias will work fine, as long as folks have them downloaded.

I'm pretty sure Haluter's is looking at making it easier to edit planes already on their server.  That would be a good thing, as only the original uploader can request skin removal for edit and re-upload currently.  In talking briefly with the admins, it would be an account-based system, but I'm still not sure how that would work in practice.  For a generic skin, the SkinO would have the account credentials, and if he were unable to continue as SkinO he could pass along the account info etc.

Also on Haluter's, filters are already there for sorting GB from FC planes, so Paint Shed needs to be able to do the same (maybe move paint shed to the vault?).  Whoever ends up on the Skin committee (sounds like a frat-house thing ;)) needs to come up with a current skin catalog, maybe a spreadsheet, so members can see what skins are available if they don't want to use Haluter's.

My 2 cents...

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6 hours ago, WWDarkdiz said:

so Paint Shed needs to be able to do the same (maybe move paint shed to the vault?).  Whoever ends up on the Skin committee (sounds like a frat-house thing ;)) needs to come up with a current skin catalog, maybe a spreadsheet, so members can see what skins are available if they don't want to use Haluter's.

Hm. That brings back into focus the fact that the Vault has long been the squad's skin repository, it's only with the advent of the Invision Community software that we've had the Paint Shed and Downloads area of the forum also. Unfortunately, they don't 'talk' to each other. The work around in the past has always been to upload skins to the Vault, post links to the .zip files. The new forum software was intended to make this easier but in fact muddled the whole thing up. We can't create (AFAIK) download options within the Invision Community (forum and site software) automatically linking to the vault's files. That would be sweet! But not currently possible. Links added into posts, yes. Links added into the downloads area, no... It looks for freshly uploaded content only. I'm sure there's a mod out there for this, but may be costly. 

Skin catalog/spreadhseet... Well, now. That's an idea. To limit the extreme amount of currently available squadron skins, I propose we we start off by retiring all 2k skins, unless it's an aircraft with no 4k template (I'm sure there are some.) That will cull a large percentage of existing squad skins. 

Craven: Good points, I'll work those into the top post soon... or you can. I've hit my wall for tonight... Good points from all!

 

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47 minutes ago, WWSandMan said:

Skin catalog/spreadhseet... Well, now. That's an idea. To limit the extreme amount of currently available squadron skins, I propose we we start off by retiring all 2k skins, unless it's an aircraft with no 4k template (I'm sure there are some.) That will cull a large percentage of existing squad skins. 

There are only 2 aircraft that are 2k, the JU-52 and the Yak-1B Ser.127.

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1 hour ago, WWSandMan said:

Wow... Okay, so it's easy to drop a metric butt load of old 2k skins and start fresh. Thanks! 

A hockey sock full, sh!t-locker full...

Sounds good.  If no one else wants to, I'll look at creating a spreadsheet of skins currently on Haluter's, and add more as we go.

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I didn't realize how many skins I've actually made, some of which I haven't made available.  here is the list of all aircraft that I have made a skin for and for which conversion to a generic profile is easily done.

I've been plunking away at converting these so as I complete them I'll post up for review.  I'm hoping I can knock off 3-4 a day.

Bf 109 F2
Bf 109 F4
Bf 109 G2
Bf 109 G4
Bf 109 G6
Bf 109 G6 Late
Bf 109 G14
Bf 109 K4
FW 190 A3
FW 190 A5
FW 190 A6
FW 190 A8
FW 190 D9
P-38
P-39
P-40
P-47 D22
P-47 D28
P-51 D15
Hurricane MkII
Spit Vb
Spit IX
Spit XIV
Tempest
Typhoon
La 5FN Ser 2
La 5 Ser 8
Mig 3
Yak 7b Ser 36

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Looking through my folders once again, I discovered several pers skins that I have not uploaded, I'll remedy that shortly...

On a related note, here is the current HSD inventory catalog, xlsx file.

I made several tabs for different fleets, vs sqn members (active).  In the actual cell is the file name (.dds is assumed).  If I missed anyone, sorry in advance.

Should be relatively straight-forward to add/edit as required.

WWSkins Catalog.xlsx

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I updated it again, has the latest HSD files that were uploaded yesterday.

I was thinking last night on HOW we would use the generic skins, and some issues that may arise.  If everyone downloaded thee generic skins, then any time a guest or new player wore it it would show in-game for all who have it in their folder.  However, unless personal skins were downloaded, any player who wore a personal skin, others would show the game default in their game, not the WW default.

I think generics will work fine, with the understanding for those who wear personal skins that it will only show in your game and whoever else's game that has that pers file in their folder.  I think that most members will put on personal skins if available, and generic skins if they don't have a personal one available for that particular aircraft.

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My guess is because you switched planes and the stats program set the register for you as looking for more Hurricane shots when you were getting hits but with a P40 shooting it did not recognize you as shooting anymore.

Edited by WWCephas
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13 hours ago, WWSandMan said:

I have several WW1/FC personalized skins to add in, all done by Dubya or Craven (mostly Dubya on those I believe.) Spad13, Camel, D7, D7F, DR-1 ... Maybe a couple more. 

Make sure they are 4K, if I recall many of Dub's were 2K.

When I asked him (many months ago in this forum) he indicated he was fine with uploading anything he did to HSD.

On a related note, I added several skins to HSD, which are there and available now.  Spreadsheet has been updated.

Since I have all of the WW skins on HSD, should I upload them to the vault, organized appropriately?  That way, we start getting the skins issue organized (we have to start somewhere/sometime).  Once the HSD skins are there, as we add more, we can upload them to HSD and duplicate them in the vault.  I have some ideas on structure, mirroring the game folder structure on the vault would make it easy for members to copy and paste into the correct folder direct from the vault.

Thoughts?

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Correct, any skins you wish to load up on Haluters is ok by me. 

If I recall correctly, none of the FC skins I did were in 4K. Also, I tended to skin mostly in 2K in an effort to manage the size of the files/folders while also providing enough variety for each model. So there's going to be a LOT of culling of older skins.

 

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So I took the initiative and uploaded all of the skins I have (so all of Haluters WW catalog plus all of the scripted campaign skins that come with any scripted campaign) to the vault.  I kept the structure the same as for the game, so all anyone has to do in the absence of Haluters is put the airplane.dds file into the same folder in your game (data/graphics/skins/airplane name) as you find it in the vault.  Right now, they are in my folder under skins.  If required I can move them to the WW Skins folder.  I also included the updated spreadsheet with all of the WW skins currently on HSD, and will continue to update this as new skins are created.

If this goes against the wishes of the sqn, or is not in accordance with the sqn skins plan, let me know.  At least all of the files are there, and can be moved/organized as required.

Cheers

Diz

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Craven has posted quite a lot of very nicely done generic skins. None that have any objections I've seen (other than the F2's kill bars, but I got that sorted by looking more closely.) So how do we go forward with creating the set on HSD? 

@WWDarkdiz That's some good work, thanks! Yes, please move the collection you've started to main wwskins folder. I don't want to lose or over-write anything that's already in there (there are times when having access to old skins comes in handy), but I do like keeping the in-game folder structure so if folks need skins for ship "a" all they need to do is download that folder direct to the game and poof, they're set. So set up whatever sub-folder for the new skins you deem appropriate. "wwskins/4k/skins/<planes>" ?? 

 

EDIT/UPDATE : @ Diz, I moved the catalogue xls file to "vault/wwskins/" and the "planes" folder to "vault/wwskins/4k/"

Due to server/site setup, without creating a specific web page for downloading skins, I can't simply drop a link to the "4k" folder and let users browse to what they want. HSD and/or FTP are your friends!

 

One more important thing on skin naming: NO EMPTY SPACES IN THE FILENAME. Please. Use underscores or hyphens, but no empty spaces. An empty space becomes "%20" when linking directly to a file. Instead of one character, it's three. 

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