SWOTL Hints and Secrets

Last updated on 4 February 2007
Tips on Dog Fighting Tips on Bombing
TOD and Historical Mission Strategies Campaign Mode "Cheats"
How Enemy Planes "Think" How Scoring Works in SWOTL and TFH:BOB
Taking Care of your Pilots Writing Custom Missions
Lost your "Code Wheel"? Return to the Main SWOTL FAQ Page

(Background photo by Richard Muth: Spitfire & Mustang at Duxford England)

Do you have additional info, or questions, that should be listed here? E-mail Richard.

SWOTL Home Page Utilities Aircraft Missions Modules SWOTL FAQ



 

Dog Fighting Tips

Malan's Rules
"Sailor" Malan, one of the greatest fighter aces of the Battle of Britain, came up with the following "rules." Many other Aces have said similar things, in different ways, over the years that aerial combat has progressed, but since Malan's Rules were printed and distributed widely during WWII, we'll look at them:
    Ten of My Rules for Air Fighting
  1. Wait until you see the whites of his eyes.

  2. Fire short bursts of 1 to 2 seconds and only when your sights are 'ON.'
  3. Whilst shooting think of nothing else, brace the whole of the body, have both hands on the stick, concentrate on your ring sight.
  4. Always keep a sharp lookout. "Keep a finger out!"
  5. Height gives the initiative.
  6. Always turn and face the attack.
  7. Make your decisions promptly. It is better to act quickly even though your tactics are not the best.
  8. Never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in a combat area.
  9. When diving to attack always leave a proportion of your formation above to act as top guard.
  10. INITIATIVE, AGGRESSION, AIR DISCIPLINE, and TEAM WORK are words that MEAN something in Air Fighting.
  11. Go in quickly - Punch hard - Get Out!
Remembering these "rules" is sure to improve your scores, and eventually let you live on to become an "old pilot."

SWOTL Tactics - From an Old Dog, by Keith Heitmann

"Being one of the "old Dogs" of the SWOTL Group, and a former proficient ace in SWOTL, the simplest most effective fighter tactic you can use in SWOTL is the good old pull-up-and-dive maneuver, which is employed when you are too close to a target you are pursuing or when you have an enemy or two on your tail. When the plane you are chasing is too close and he starts bobbing and weaving out of your windscreen, simply pull up into a vertical climb very quickly, and when your plane is just about to stall, drop your throttle setting back to abut 30% and push the nose over into a dive. Your target should be right there below and in front of you ready to be wasted. This maneuver works even better when you are being chased by enemy planes. I remember actually shooting down 4 enemy fighters in on long burst after employing this maneuver in one mission. They were nicely stacked in front of me like a deck of cards as I dove down on them.

"You need to keep your throttle setting low when diving from this maneuver so you can maintain control of the dive and not over dive the target and losing sight of them. As you come down behind them from above, you will be leveling out your dive as you descend and as you reach their altitude you want to be applying power and in near level flight so you can maintain pursuit."

What Keith is talking about is a very common trick. It's often called the "Yo-Yo", or "Zoom and Boom." It uses two advantages, Speed and Surprise. Both of these are keys to good Dog Fighting. Another key is summed up in the old adage "Altitude is life." Remember these things and use them to your advantage whenever possible.

However, there will be times when you just can't. It's pretty hard to surprise a bomber since it has many "eyes." And it's about impossible to use surprise, speed or altitude against a fighter attacking your airfield, where he has all the advantages. Still, the fighter pilot who has the advantage of height, speed and/or surprise can take out an unwary or otherwise occupied enemy before he even knows what hit him. But never forget that this all works both ways!

Tips on Shooting

You've got to try to make your shots count! When going up against another, the ideal situation is to climb up his tail and pour it on from point-blank range. But more often often you won't get this ideal position. If you get to know your guns and your own skills, you'll be able to hit them no matter if you are climbing, diving, turning, or even upside down! Keep these important factors in mind:

  • Know the range of your guns. Don't waste ammo shooting at something you can barely see! Practice with your favorite plane until you know how close you need to be to do any good.
  • If you're attacking a bomber and you have weapons that can hit from outside the range of its guns you have a real advantage. Use this to avoid taking hits while you chew him up.
  • Do not forget that "Effective Range" is not necessarily the same as the full range of your ammo. Effective Range is affected by distance, your angle of ascent and your angle of attack.
  • Remember that over a great distance your projectiles will fall some due to gravity. This is very noticeable with rockets, but it affects bullets too. You'll have to compensate if want to hit anything from extreme range.
  • When you're in a turn the bullets will not fly completely straight either. They'll tend to fall behind your gun sight. You must learn to use "Deflection Shooting" to compensate for the arc of your fire and the speed of your target in order to b\put the bullets where he will be by the time they get there.

  • When leading a plane, remember that both the deflection angle (the angle the target is away form "dead ahead") and the size or your turn radius affect where the bullets will end up relative to your target. The higher the deflection angle, the more you'll need to lead (fine in front of) your enemy. Likewise, the tighter your turn, the more you'll need to lead him as well.
  • As Malan said, "fire in short bursts." Don't waste ammo with long bursts unless he is "filling your gun sight!" And, forget about "Hail Mary" shots; this isn't football!! When you think are close enough, wait until you are closer. Proximity not only aids your aim, but makes for more effective hitting power as well.
Use The "Expert" Mode of Flight Control

If you're a good pilot, you want to use "Expert" Mode (Advanced Flight Controls.) Not only will this give you a bit more challenge, it also gives you a bit more control and can improve your scores as well! To use them, you can press [Alt][X] during your mission. You can also set this mode as the "default" when SWOTL starts by changing the SW.BAT file with the INSTALL program, or by editing the file (see the section of the SWOTL FAQ about the SW.BAT file.)
Here's what's different with Advanced Flight Controls

  • Rudder control, which gives your plane "yaw"
  • Ordnance affects the handling of your plane
  • Ordnance affects speed, climb and ceiling of your plane
  • Landing on a runway is required for a successful touchdown
  • Safe parachute altitude is now 500 feet instead of 200 feet as in "Normal Flight"
  • Flaps, landing gear, and flight controls can be damaged by excessive speed
  • Information on the briefing and inflight maps is restricted to items nearby friendly aircraft, rather than all aircraft as in Normal Flight

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Tips on Bombing

Basic Tips on Bombing (based on info from Keith Heitmann)
 
 

[Norden Bombsight]When flying a fighter-bomber, try lining up on the target flying level at about 200 feet or so. When the target disappears below bottom of the windshield drop your load. Alternatively, try dive bombing the target, just be careful that you don't dive from too high. This can cause you to build up too much speed to be able to pull out in time before slamming into the ground. Drop your flaps and chop your throttle all the way back before you dive to help keep you slow enough, however, watch out for those "flap damage" warning messages! (Accompanying photo, by Richard Muth: Norden Bombsight in B-17 "909" somewhere over Essex County)

For those in a B-17, you may find it best to bomb from 20,000 feet. Set the bomb sight to 35 degrees and line up on the target. Now keep the plane straight, level and at a constant speed. When the cross-hairs almost touch the intended target release your load. If the plane is flying slower than it should due to engine damage this won't work as well. If you are much higher or much lower it will also be off. You have to adjust the drop time according to speed and height.

A long time ago one of the "boys" of the old SWOTL GROUP did a bombing chart based on the physics observed in the game. It covers mostly heavy bomber technique. I believe you will find this in the file by Stephen Ames called bomb-tut.zip

(NOTE: If you are findinng that the bombs are exploding before they reach the ground, you have a CPU that runs too fast for SWOTL. See the entry in the SWOTL FAQ on Fast Computers to find out how to fix this problem.)

Hints for flying B-17 Missions (based on tips from Keith Heitmann)

Most of the historical, and other, B-17 missions that come with SWOTL will start in the air. However, in many of the custom B-17 missions you will actually have to take off from your home airfield. When taking off in a Fort technique is important or you can stall and crash.

[B-17 Gunner]Your best defense is a good offense. You have to work at defending your B-17 with your guns. Using other pilots of a rank of Major and up, with some decent scores, will help, but won't do the job alone. You must deal with the enemy fighters personally and can not rely on the auto-gunners too much either. [See the entry on Shooting in the section above]  (Accompanying photo, by Dan Parsons: Richard manning a waist gun in the B-17 "909")

If you observe carefully, the enemy will have a tendency to attack from the direction that you are facing in your gun position about 90% of the time. So if you find yourself taking too much damage on one side, switch to a gun on the other side of the plane to make most of the attacks come from that direction. You don't always have to shoot down the enemy planes. You can also disrupt their gunnery and rocket runs, spoiling their aim, and make them break off and go around. Be aggressive, but conserve your ammo. There isn't much you can do to protect the other bombers so don't worry much about them. They are more or less cannon fodder that take the punishment early and allow you to get closer to the target.

As for the relative fragility of the B-17 in SWOTL, you have to remember that you are only facing anywhere between 1 to 15 enemy planes at one time instead of the hundreds that the real B-17s faced. Also, you normally cannot fly from England to Berlin in 10-20 minutes as in SWOTL, so there is an aspect of time compression involved here even in the normal mode. Given this reality, you have to remember that the damage you suffer in a B-17 by enemy fire is also compressed", with its effect multiplied to compensate for the time and the number of enemy planes you face. Therefore, damage seems to be worse than you would expect on each attack. Sometimes you are lucky and sometimes you aren't. The B-17 can fly on 2 engines when empty. You may have to rev the good engines individually up to as much as 85% and feather the two badly damaged ones.

One trick to avoid flak is to go down on the deck. Once you get under 200 feet flak no longer fires at you. This can help you avoid further damage on the way to or from the target, but it doesn't give you much time to recover if you stall. More than likely if you lose it at that altitude you will crash. Additionally, the `17 doesn't perform as well at low altitudes, so your chances of making it back home aren't good. However, this trick works well with fighters.

Additional information can be found in the Tutorial on Bombing, by Steven Ames, called BOMB-TUT.ZIP
 
 

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SWOTL Tour of Duty and Historical Mission Strategies

Like the real war, a Tour of Duty in SWOTL is mostly a matter of survival. Additionally, there is also the goal of personal advancement. The missions are randomly generated based on the type of aircraft you are flying, the time of the war, and some choice about type of tour for certain USAAF pilots. Otherwise, the missions goals and strategies are essentially the same as any other you will find. Concentrate on achieving the mission objectives, and staying alive, rather trying to be a hero. For Completing the mission goals is more important than shooting down a lot of enemy planes or running up a big score for yourself. On the other hand, the more planes you keep from downing those you are escorting, and the more damage you can do to the target, the higher will be your ultimate score. So, after you finish off the attacking fighters, you could drop down and do some ground attack on anything the others miss in the target area.

Thus, the most useful way to boost your score is to shoot or bomb buildings after you complete the current mission. Often, for instance, we may equip our aircraft with drop tanks, even if the action is near our home base, to allow us to fly to a nearby enemy installation and wreak some havoc there before returning to our base. If you have a cannon-equipped aircraft, you can destroy buildings on the ground with just a few shots. I like to be rather careful with my shots during the mission, saving as many cannon rounds and rockets as I can, and then drop down to the deck for some real fun!

Master the skills of bombing and ground strafing and you'll be able to destroy as many as eight or ten buildings in a single mission. But, always try to land at your home airfield when you are done since you earn more points for that as well. This technique will cause your scores to skyrocket. Of course, higher scores mean higher rank, and a trophy case full of medals!

Some of the best targets are the oil depots. The tanks will blow very easily and they sometimes will set off another tank next to them when they go! Also, Flak batteries are fairly easy to take out, if you come in low and careful, but they aren't worth as many points. Finally, I like to hit the airfields. The towers can be taken out in two pieces for twice the score. And sometimes the hangars will blow and damage the one next to it as well if you hit it in the right place with a bomb or rocket. [Tower]

(BTW, have you ever seen the "floating flak tower" phenomena? Sometimes the top of a tower will hang in mid air with a destroyed base under it. It's pretty strange!! You can download this Replay film if you want to see it better.)

If you're going to have to fly a long distance to get to an enemy ground target, you should always check your fuel before you leave. Sometimes during the mission, one or more of your fuel tanks may get a hole in it. It may seem to be full, but as soon as you fly for a while, it will quickly empty itself and leave you literally high and dry. Before starting on a long flight, cycle through your fuel tanks. Usually there will be one or two tanks you haven't used. Especially if you are using drop tanks. As you cycle through, check to see if any tanks you haven't used are registering less than full. Even a slight dip in the reading probably means that the tank has been shot. Since it will loose fuel if you use it or not, I try to run off the one that's leaking the most in order to get all I out of it before it runs dry.

If you're intercepting fighter-bombers, you need to figure out which ones are the escorts and which ones are the bombers. Remember that your mission is usually to stop the bombers, not to down the escorts. When you engage them, the bombers will not get into a turning fight with you. They'll simply try to evade and return to their course. Additionally, they may be flying lower than the escort. If you find yourself in a turning duel with a fighter in such a mission, you'd better peel off and go after the others before they reach the target!

Remember that damaged bombers will drop out of formation. Be sure to resist the temptation to finish it off right away. It will probably turn for home and be easy to catch up to later. In any event, it is unlikely to complete its mission. So go after the healthy aircraft first, then you can pick off the stragglers later. (When you do so, remember that they may well loose a lot of altitude as well.)

One strange event that sometimes occurs during Luftwaffe tours of duty is that your home airfield will actually appear with an American flag on it! If you try to land there, the anti-aircraft gunners will even shoot at you! It's a small bug, and was corrected in version 2. If you find this happening though, you had better find a friendly Luftwaffe base to land at. You won't get your home field landing credit, but you won't get shot down either.

Playing in the Moderate level is fairly easy. You start close to your target area and the opposition is not all that difficult. Also, you don't have to fly as many missions as you would in the more difficult levels of play. On the other hand, you can gain more points, and advance quicker, in the more difficult levels of play because there are more planes to soot down, and because pilots at higher levels of opposition are worth more points.

All other scoring considerations are the same as for the historical missions. (See the SWOTL/TFH:BOB Scoring Page)
 
 

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Campaign Mode "Cheats"

There are some methods I've come across for "cheating" during a SWOTL campaign. I must state, first, that I don't play the Campaign mode, so I can't offer much additional input about these techniques. You may, however, write to the people who sent them to me. These are just for the American side, but you might be able to adapt them for the Luftwaffe too.

This short and sweet tip was posted by Brian J McCann in the SWOTL Web Site Guest Book:

When playing a campaign, send level and dive bombers to every available Luftwaffe airfield, then load up a P-38 and bomb and strafe the  closest Luftwaffe airfield to its foundation. The other units will do as well as you do, and the war will be over in no time. Don't forget to strafe targets of opportunity on the way home.
This is from Dan Crone (you can also try him at dcrone %40 banda.ntu.edu.au if the other address does not work.) He claims this has a 100% success rate!
      Start a new campaign as the Americans, doesn't matter if you choose it to favor you or not.
   Now create your first sortie. Let's say you want to start working on the German munitions factories. Create a flight group of 6 B-17's and set them to attack some German target, whatever you want, but don't put yourself in this flight group.
   Now, create a second flight group well away from the bombers, either P-47 or P-51 (I find P-47's are best for ground attacks) and get it to start near a German munitions factory. Deck your plane out with ground attack goodies, bombs, rockets etc. This is the flight group you will be in, there should only be 1 aircraft in this group - allocate the rest to the bombers.
   IMPORTANT: Make sure the flight orders for your group is "Escort top cover" or "Escort close" AND NOT "Dive bomb and strafe" or any other form of ground attack.
   When you start the mission, you'll be near a munitions factory armed up with bombs and rockets AND... not a German plane in the air anywhere near you! They'll all be over attacking the B-17's that are going for the specified target, which leaves you as a free marauder and you can attack what you wish without harassment from aircraft, only flak or gun towers.
   In one mission you can decimate several facilities and after relatively few missions, you'll have beaten the Germans!
Another technique came to me from "Kto Nate". It seems to need virtually no actual combat work on your part!
Okay :) This is what you do. Go to the American campain-final victory.
Favors of American side. Then, send every single bomber group from every
airfield there is to one single airfield.  Once they all are there (26 or so) transfer them all to another airfield (press the ALL button.) It will say you have about 263 bombers or so. Send them all. Then when you secondary attack on enemy places, you will have so many, you can put 2 bomber groups on every single place!!

You may also find it useful to use the Campaign Score Sheets, from Frank McKenna to help keep track of your progess.  They are available on the utilies page in both MSWord and Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

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Artificial Intelligence in SWOTL (How the Enemy Thinks)

Maneuvers Used By Computer Controlled Planes

It may not seem like it, but the computer controlled pilots are always thinking. Actually, they are always looking at what is going on around them (like any good pilot should be) and reacting to the situation. Their programing, called "Artificial Intelligence" (AI) to flight sim buffs, is based on set of responses. Just like the Aces who studied the enemy's tactics, knowing what you can expect your opponent to do in various situations can help you be more successful as well. The following information amy prove useful. As with a real pilot, the computer controlled pilot's maneuver decisions depend upon the plane he flys. The first thing the AI checks is, "Where is the attacker or intended victim; Above, Level, or Below?" Then the AI looks at some additional info, and then picks a maneuver to employ.
In SWOTL there are seven basic evasive and 3 attack tactics used by the computer controlled pilots.
 

# Evasive Maneuvers: # Attack Maneuvers:
1 Turn Inside 1 Head on
2 Split S (German 190 or 109) 2 Stern
3 Immelmann 3 Side
4 Scissors
May Attack from Above, Level or Below
5 Zoom

6 Dive

7 Throttle up, pull away

Here are some other factors that affect the decision of which Evasive Maneuver to use, and the order in which each one is chosen:

  • If the attacker is flying a P-47, don't dive. (Depending on the experience of the pilot)
  • If the attacker is above, use Evasive Maneuver 1, 3 or 5.
  • If the attacker is level, what quadrant is he coming from?
    • If a level attack is from the side, use Evasive Maneuver 1.
    • If a level attack is from head-on, use 5 or 6, or counter with a Head-On attack.
    • If a level attack is from astern, or if his aircraft is faster than mine, use 7, 2, 6 , 3, or 5.

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Tending to your Pilot Roster

Of course you want to keep your pilot alive as long as you can, and you want him to get promoted and earn some medals as well. Why you want to do that is pretty obvious, but what you may not realize is that pilots with a higher rank will also perform better in battle. At least when you use them as wingmen, their aim will be a little sharper and their instincts a little better.

Having a few pilots in your roster is very important since the trick to succeeding in the harder missions is to assign wingmen who are of an advanced skill level. But how do you get so many experienced pilots? Here are a few tips:

Building a Roster and Adding Wingmen
Every pilot needs experience, and the only way to get it is in the air. However, you can't do this too quickly or you won't survive long enough to have much of anything. Start out on a few simple missions that will build up the score. Remember that Training missions don't add to your score, so they are for Training only. Rather, you can use the Missions Builder to make a few "simple" missions that can give you some easy points. I've done this with my B-17s since I'm not very good at bomber missions. Once you have a few of these under your belt you can go out on a few of the "regular" SWOTL missions.

Now, suppose you want to get a new "squadron" formed up and don't have time to build up several pilots from scratch? You can always "clone" a few! Sure, take one of your best scoring pilots and make copies of him with a different name (see the section below on using the DOS COPY command.) So HARRY.USA can also become TOM.USA and DICK.USA in a matter of seconds. Just be careful to use the same type of pilot. For this reason, I like to name my B-17 "crews" with a plane name, like SWEETSUE.USA, or BOCKSCAR.USA for example. (I also like to "alphabetize" the names of wingmen and bombers so that they stay together in the Roster, which always lists the names in that kind of order.) With a little care, you can also copy pilots from one side to the another. A Top Ace Me262 pilot can be copied as a Mustang pilot by changing the extension from *.GER to *.USA instead.

Reviving "Lost" Pilots
There are several ways to put pilots who have been "lost" back into service. A number of utilities will do it for you, some of them can even be run from within SWOTL. The ones I use the most are the SWOTL Manager, and its companion program, TDC (Tour of Duty Center), for my TOD pilots who are "lost." There are also 2 things you can do yourself, without any extra utilities.

  1. Make a back up of your pilot with the DOS COPY command something like this:

  2. From the SWOTL directory type:
    "COPY HARRY.USA *.SAV"
    Then when your HARRY pilot gets "lost" you reverse it:
    "COPY HARRY.SAV *.USA"
    The draw back here is that you have to go to DOS each time you complete a mission and want to save this pilot.
  3. Using DOS DEBUG you can edit the file and "re-activate" a pilot like this:

  4. From the SWOTL directory type:
    DEBUG HARRY.USA
    E 102 00
    W
    Q
    If your pilot was in a TOD you will need to reactivate that TOD add this line
    "E 1AF 01" before the "W" line. (Omit the "quotes"!!)
    If your pilot is an American, you need to use
    "E 1AF 02" if he was flying a "dual role" TOD, or bombing Oil Fields in a B-17.

    NOTE: ALWAYS back-up your pilot file before doing this (as listed above), until you get the hang of it!

Using a *.BAT file can make these steps easier. You can find some on the utilities page, along with other utilities written specifically for this purpose!
 
 

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Writing Custom Missions

How To Become A Master Mission Builder
Before creating a custom mission you should plan it! By planning a mission on paper, you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration. Figure out your mission goals ahead of time. Then, design it. I know at least one person who likes to make a "screen print" of the full SWOTL map to use for marking his mission. Many people find that having some type of "check list" really helps them get the details right. If you are doing a "Historical Mission," based on some research, this may be very important! The following check list is just an example (Fill in a line for each flight group):

|Group|Aircraft|How Many|Formation|Skill|Orders|Begin Point|Altitude|Way point|Altitude|Target|Altitude|Land|
  #1
  #2
  #3

As you enter all of the information you've gathered thus far, pay close attention to details like locations on the map. If you want different units to stay close together you may need to "zoom", or magnify, the map to make precise locations. Using land marks helps a lot!

Now you must test your mission to see how it performs, and undoubtedly, go back and make some changes. It's a good idea to jot down some notes as you fly it (hit [Alt][P] to pause first) so that when you return to the Mission Builder you can make the proper changes to anything that's not quite right. There will be a lot of this fine tuning in any truly good mission.

Making your Custom Mission More Difficult

    If you find your mission too easy, there are some things that can make it more difficult:
  • Start the your mission on the ground and climb to altitude, or to intercept the attackers.
  • Use fewer planes in your flight group or increase the number of enemy planes.
  • Add "waves" to the enemy groups so that they regenerate once you shoot them all down.
  • Change the experience level of the enemy to ACE or even TOP ACE.
The "16 Plane Limit"
The following section is part of a message by "hexmaster" Keith Heitmann:

I'm afraid you are stuck with a 16 plane limit. The problem is that the program will not know how to handle more than sixteen aircraft at any one time. To make it handle more the entire program code of SWOTL would probably have be rewritten.

The only way I have found to give you at least the "feel" of more planes is to construct missions where each plane is a "group" or, in other words, each group only has one plane. You then set the "waves" function to the appropriate number. If you load BODEN.MIS or AIRRAID.MIS that I created into the Mission Builder you will see what I mean. You start with 8 planes against you. However, each enemy plane is a group all by itself. As you engage this enemy group and shoot down the first enemy and start after the second, the first plane's replacement aircraft is already on its way into the battle.

Normally, the new planes are not created until all the planes of the group are shotdown. However, since you only have one plane in a "group" as soon as he gets shotdown his replacement is created. So instead of having to shootdown 3 or 4 enemy planes and have 3 or 4 new ones finally created and sent into battle you only have to shoot one down and his replacement is on its way. This has the effect of keeping the pressure on the player. He will rarely face less than 6 or 7 aircraft at any one time in the battle and the combat should be nearly continuous until the "waves" run out.

Writing SWOTL Briefing Files
Briefing files can add fun, and clarity, to custom SWOTL missions.  Mission Briefings are simply ASCII text files. These can be created with any word processor or text editor capable of saving a file as "plain text" (no formatting codes.) You might want to look over some of the TXT files from the missions that come with SWOTL, or those written by some of the legendary Mission creators (like Keith, Sturmer or Tom Dugan, to see what they look like in your text editor.

There are a few rules you must follow when writing Briefings:

  • The file name must match the mission name, but with the extension TXT rather than MIS.
  • Like the mission file itself, the *.TXT file will reside in the main SWOTL directory.
  • The first line of your file should be a title as SWOTL will automatically center, and highlight that line.
  • Leaving a blank line between the title and the main body of your text is a good idea.
  • The width of each line is about 40 characters, more or less.
  • The length of the file is usually about 45 lines.
I find it best to write the file, and then enter SWOTL to see how it looks. If something runs off the edge of the screen you will need to go back and change things accordingly.

Be descriptive, and/or creative in your briefing. If this is a historically based mission, tell about the real one you based it on. In other missions, set the "scene" with a short story. You can give some idea about what to expect, but don't give it all away; be careful how many hints and tips you put in the briefing!  And, lastly, give yourself some credit!   If you share this with friends, or other SWOTL fans, add a line at the end about who conceived and wrote the mission and briefing.

Additional information can be found in the custmiss.txt file available on-line.
 
 

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Lost your "Code Wheel" ?

Eliminating the need for the code wheel

There are a few ways to do this. Let me list the three major methods here. Two require a bit of file editing, so you will want to make a back-up copy of the file in question first!! The first replaces some files, so I'd still make back-ups, just in case.

The easiest, and by far the best way is to "upgrade" to the Air Combat Classics version of SWOTL. This version no longer uses the code wheel at all! You can try using the ACCSWOTL file to do this. If you have TFH:BOB and/or BH1942 as well, you might try the BOB-BH_U.ZIP file instead of the fixes below.

These next two methods require some file editing. The easiest is to simply change all the "codes" that you would have to type in to "empty strings" so that you don't have to type in anything! You do this by using the DOS program called DEBUG, like so:
 Go to the DOS Prompt and type the following
   COPY \SWOTL\FE\NAMES.PAC *.PA
 (This makes a backup of the file in case things go wrong...)
    DEBUG \SWOTL\FE\NAMES.PAC
    F CS:100 0357 00
    W
    Q
This "blanks out" the entire contents of the NAMES.PAC file. Now, when you run the game, at the "code" prompt press ENTER and things will run just fine!

Another technique is to edit the FRONTEND.OVL file. To do this you need access to a program that allows "Hex Editing" and "Hex Searching" on your files. Under DOS you can use HEX-EDIT.ZIP located here, or UltraEdit for Windows. Of course, you would FIRST make a back-up of \SWOTL\FRONTEND.OVL !! Next, use your editor to search for the following string (NOTE: 0 = Zero, NOT "oh") :
   3D 1A 00 75 21 0E E8
and change it to:
   3D 1A 00 EB 11 0E E8

OR, you can search the NOTCAMP.OVL file for :
   42 DE 74
and change it to:
   42 DE EB

Either way, this will eliminate the ID code prompt entirely! If you don't want to try these yourself, you can look for some ready made fixes using an internet search. (Sorry, the link I had is no longer valid, and I don't won't post them here to avoid trouble with LucasArts.)

For TFH:BOB you can try either of these methods:
   COPY BOB.EXE BOB.ORI
 (Just in case...)
   REN BOB.EXE BOB.BIN
 (DEBUG won't do .EXEs)
   DEBUG BOB.BIN
   E 7758 90 90
   W
   Q
   REN BOB.BIN BOB.EXE
 (Make the file Executable again.)

OR, you can search the BOB.EXE file for :
   36 24 75 08 b8 01
and change it to:
   36 24 90 90 b8 01

You now will no longer need to "Tune your Radio"!!
 

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