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Old April 15th, 2011, 09:31 AM
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Computer How to Edit Icons

A utility called 'Shp Ed' is used to edit game icons which are in SHP (shape) file format.

This utility can be found in the games GRAPHICS folder here:

WinSPMBT\Game Data\Graphics

SHP files can be exported as a BMP (Bitmap) image from the game using Shp Ed. Or BMP images can be imported into the game and converted to SHP files.

SHP files are found in the game’s GRAPHICS folder.

Each SHP file has about 30 to 100 Icons within it.

Collages
The icons are in collages (of about 35 icons in each collage) like this:



There’s usually 1 to 4 collages of icons in each SHP file.

BMP files
Each icon is a BMP file 89x89 pixels (some are a different size, but most are 89x89 pixels).

The invisible part of the icon is a specific pink colour.

The BMP files can only use a specific 256 Steel Panthers colours (a palette).

Palette
Here’s the 256 colours:




Don’t use the above png image. I’ll attach a BMP image of the palette, where you can use an eye drop dipper to extract the BMP colours you want to use.

Editing BMP files
Use a BMP graphics editor (like Paint.Net, Gimp, or Photoshop) to create or edit your Icon.
1. Make sure the image is the right size (usually 89x89 pixels)
2. Make sure the icon is the right size (5 inches per pixel for most soft vehicles, 6 inches per pixel for most tanks)
3. Make sure you only use the approved 256 colours.

Once the BMP icon is finished, you are ready to add it to the SHP file.

Viewing Icons within SHP files
To view/edit SHP files you must use a SHP editing utility found in the Game’s GRAPHICS folder.

It’s called ‘ShpEd.exe’ (you can create a shortcut to ShpEd and put the shortcut on your desktop).



1. Start up ShpEd (Click on the Brown doors and they disappear, and I like to enlarge the window by dragging the bottom right corner).

2. Check/tick the 3 little boxes on the left hand side, called:
• Use Old Header
• SP-No Flash
• Use Full Pal

3. Click the bottom left hand button (the button has a mouse over msg: ‘load a color palette’). Select the file ‘WinSPMBT_Palette.pal’ and click open. This makes sure you’re using the right palette.

4. You’re now back in the ShpEd window. Click the top left button (Load shp File) then click ‘up one level’ to get into the GRAPHICS folder to select the shape file.

There’s about 100 shp files. Knowing which shp file has the icon you want to edit can be tricky.

There's an icon map called:
WINSPMBT_MasterIconList.txt
which can be found in the DESIGN folder here:
WinSPMBT\Game Data\Design

5. After you’ve selected a shape file, click the 3rd button on the bottom (view collage). This will show you the first page/collage of icons in the shape file (about 35 icons).
In the little scrollable window it tells you how many icons total are in the shp file, and it tells you what the number of the last icon you can see.
To see more icons in the shp file, you can change the “Image#’ in the left box to say ‘36’, then hit the view collage button again and you will see icons 36 to 70.

Editing SHP Files - A 12 step program

This process seems a little complex at first, but it’s just a lot of steps. Once you’ve done it a few times it becomes easy.

1. Use top button 1 in ShpEd to load the right shp file.
2. Use the collages to identify the icon # you want to change. In the example above, the ship is the 2nd Icon (the first icon is # 1 even if it's blank, which it often is), so change the ‘Image #’ to ‘2’ then click button 2 at the top (show image #) to load the Icon and you will see it displayed so you can check you have the right one.
3. Then use button 3 at the top (save shp image as BMP) to download that icon as a BMP file, if you want to edit the original icon. Or you can skip this step.
4. Then use button 4 at the top (load bitmap/BMP from disk) to upload your own 89x89 pixel BMP icon to the shp file.
5. Then use button 5 at the top (convert bmp to shp) to convert the BMP to SHP.
6. Then use button 6 at the top (replace image # with new shp image). This creates a new SHP file, but you’ll have to manually rename it in the next step.
7. Open your GRAPHICS folder in a window and find the file called ‘BigNew.shp’. Which is the new shp file you just created. Rename BigNew to Icon0036.shp or whatever shp file you were editing. You may need to delete, rename or move the original Icon0036 before you rename BigNew.
8. Then go back to the ShpEd utility and reload Icon0036 (because you need to load the new edited file).
9. Enter the Image # (of the icon you just uploaded in steps 2-6) then hit top button 2 (show image #). Don’t skip this step.
10. Then hit the button on the right hand side called ‘SP Fix’. A new window will pop up.
11. Hit the ‘Show’ button, on the bottom left, and your Icon should appear with a blue cross on it.
12. Then use the up and down arrows to centre the blue cross on the icon. When you have it centred, hit the ‘Write’ button on the very bottom left (If you can’t see the ‘Write’ button, just make the window bigger). This positions the icon in the hex.

You are done!

If you get stuck, feel free to ask questions, or try this site here for some useful tips and pictures of the process:

http://www.vojska.net/eng/games/steel-panthers/editing/

Edit: When making/editing your own icons, I find it useful to load the icon into a SHP file, and view the icon in the game, because the icons in the game don't look exactly like the original BMP images. So a bit of testing and adjusting results in better game icons.


Cross
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File Type: zip WinSPMBT_Palette.zip (10.3 KB, 346 views)

Last edited by Cross; May 10th, 2011 at 06:30 PM.. Reason: additional info.
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  #2  
Old January 31st, 2013, 09:35 AM
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Default Re: How to Edit Icons

Hi,

Thanks for the great article. I've been trying SHPEd for years with no success. With such detailed instructions, I should be able to figure it out but my brain doesn't cooperate.

I'm trying to create a "future warrior" icon, just slightly different than the current infantry icons. I can't get any infantry icons to load for some reason.

I want to be able to add some small amount of armour to the warrior, to reflect future personal protection, but SP won't allow that if you use an infantry icon.

Any ideas? If there's a way, could I ask how it could be done?

Thanks again,

Beeg
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Old January 31st, 2013, 12:30 PM
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Default Re: How to Edit Icons

Because infantry use a special set of icons with 1-13 men, the cavalry variant has horses, gun crews have different amounts of crew etc.

None of those have armour (they are soft targets) - only vehicles have that. And vehicles don't have visible crew reductions on damage/different crew sizes. Vehicles get targeted by ATGM, and can be shot with AP ammo.

That is all hard-coded in the game.

You are simply trying the impossible there.

You could try SP3 - brigade command - as it had vehicle platoons with 1-5 elements (but your "infantry" could not load onto APC - only barges - and would be shot at by ATGM and HEAT as if tin jeeps). Or find a "moddable" mech type game.

Andy
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Old January 31st, 2013, 01:45 PM
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Exclamation Re: How to Edit Icons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cross View Post
Edit: When making/editing your own icons, I find it useful to load the icon into a SHP file, and view the icon in the game, because the icons in the game don't look exactly like the original BMP images. So a bit of testing and adjusting results in better game icons.


Cross
If your icons don't look the same in your drawing program as they do when converted to a SHP it's because you are not applying the correct ( Icon ) palette to them before entering them into the SHP file. That is the ONLY way you get colour shift from the original to the SHP version.

The correct palettes for use with Paint Shop Pro can be found in...

Game Data/Design/Palettes

The palette we use specifically for Icons is

JASC_WINSP_ICON_PALETTE.pal

If you don't use PSP, you'll need to make one from your drawing program.

The palette you show in post one is the FULL palette with "flashing" colours and that is NOT applicable to Icon creation

Attached is a PNG of our Icon palette ( NOT any other SP knock off.. they are different, even the original SP is different than ours )any decent drawing program can make their own palette file from this as it only contains colours used for Icons in the game


Don
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Old January 31st, 2013, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: How to Edit Icons

I use Ultimate Paint Standard 2.88 LE and Paint.Net 3.5.10. For those I have converted the icon palette file.

The Ultimate Paint compatible palette is available here:
http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showp...25&postcount=9

And also attached is the Paint.Net compatible palette. One limitation with Paint.net is that it only allows palette files that contain 96 colors. So I had to split the 256 color palette in 3 parts.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: How to Edit Icons

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRG View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cross View Post
Edit: When making/editing your own icons, I find it useful to load the icon into a SHP file, and view the icon in the game, because the icons in the game don't look exactly like the original BMP images. So a bit of testing and adjusting results in better game icons.


Cross
If your icons don't look the same in your drawing program as they do when converted to a SHP it's because you are not applying the correct ( Icon ) palette to them before entering them into the SHP file. That is the ONLY way you get colour shift from the original to the SHP version.

Don

Actually I wasn't talking about the colours, but the shape of details in the icons.

When icons are on the game map they look a little different than they do in MOBhack or as a BMP in a Graphics editor.

In the game map, alternate lines of pixels appear slightly larger or smaller than their neighbours. Which is perhaps why icons look 'crisper' in MOBhack.

I've found it's most noticable when editing fine details like one pixel 'caliber' gun barrels, or with small icons like infantry.

And the game map of course adds shadow, which also changes the way icons look in the game.

Thanks for the PNG of your 'offical' icon palette though. I will use it.

For my first icons I didn't realise the game was limited to 256 specific colours and I chose colours from the several million available, and when I loaded my icons into the game, the game did a pretty good job of choosing the closest colours available, but my camouflage was definately no longer MoD approved

Cross
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  #7  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 06:24 AM
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Default Re: How to Edit Icons

Quote:
In the game map, alternate lines of pixels appear slightly larger or smaller than their neighbours. Which is perhaps why icons look 'crisper' in MOBhack.

I've found it's most noticable when editing fine details like one pixel 'caliber' gun barrels, or with small icons like infantry.
That sounds like a hardware issue most likely due to upscaling done by LCD monitors that are not running in their native resolution.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 08:35 AM
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Default Re: How to Edit Icons

There will be change going from one zoom level to another but at zoom level 4 ( 1:1 ) the Icon in the game should look exactly like the one in the drawing program with the exception of the dark shadow the game puts on

In this example the middle Icon is taken from a game screen shot. The one below it is right from PSP. Save the file and zoom in all you like with your drawing program. There are no differences EXCEPT the missing drop shadow

Don
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  #9  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: How to Edit Icons

Quote:
There are no differences EXCEPT the missing drop shadow
There are some different colored pixels in the rear turret.
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  #10  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 05:53 PM
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Default Re: How to Edit Icons

That is because when you paste a turret onto the hull the "invisible" pink background shows through the rear storage bin and they have to be manually replaced and THAT is the ONLY reason why there is a difference between the two images

OK ? What you see in the middle icon is the engine grill work showing through becasue in the game , the pink background is invisible so to prevent the pink showing up in the example I filled the pink ones with green


Don

Last edited by DRG; February 2nd, 2013 at 07:45 PM..
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