|Differences between SWOTL and TFH:BOB||Joysticks (and Pedals) in SWOTL|
|SWOTL won't load with SWOTL.EXE (SW.BAT)||Firing the Me163's Rockets|
|Aircraft and Custom Aircraft for SWOTL||How do I use "Custom Aircraft" files?|
|SWOTL says "Insert Disk 2"...||What is Air Combat Classics?|
|Where can I find a copy of SWOTL||What are Mods?|
|Using Modules with Air Combat Classics SWOTL.||What is "Hex Editing" and how can I do it too?|
|Lucas Arts Technical Reference Guide for SWOTL||SWOTL CD-ROM FAQ Page|
|SWOTL and "Fast" (486/Pentium) Computers||SWOTL / TFH:BOB Scoring Page|
||Hints and Secrets Page|
(Background photo, Spitfire over Duxford England, by Richard Muth)
Do you have additional info, or questions,
should be listed here? E-mail
|SWOTL Home Page||Utilities||Aircraft||Missions||Modules||View Guest Book|
The scaling of the aircraft graphics is more dynamic. This means that you can still see aircraft about eight miles away, but it isn't until they're realistically close that you can actually get a good shot at them. Additionally, they don't "hang in space" forever on a head-on pass as they tended to in TFH:BOB. The resulting feeling of speed is really great, but also makes the game a wee bit more challenging!
Also, the missions themselves are probably, on the whole, more challenging than most in TFH:BOB. However, you should note that the first two historical missions for each aircraft are always the easiest to complete.
The replay camera was revamped, more resembling the one in Battle Hawks! You have the ability to "fly the camera." Also, they added a few more view combinations that can produce pretty stunning results!
The Mission Builder is more powerful, and allows much more flexibility. For example you can order German planes to intercept B-17s, escort fighters or fighter bombers specifically, or they can be ordered to dive bomb, dive bomb and strafe, strafe and level bomb, fly formation, fly a fighter sweep, or return to base (whew!) The same level of diversity applies to the American side in flight... you can give your wingmen "orders" to attack specific enemies or targets by using the map.
Ground Attack has to be one of the most fun aspects of SWOTL, and one that was not really in TFH:BOB. The use of Rockets, to hit ground or air targets, is another addition by this time in the war. Granted, these rockets didn't have the accuracy of your average modern rocket, but they sure are fun.
Did you know ...
Joysticks and Rudder
Pedals with SWOTL
The Pilot's Edge, by Dwight Ennis, was the first program released to allow the Thrustmaster, and other multi function sticks, to be used with LA's flight sims. It also will also allow you to use the TM Rudder Pedals with SWOTL as well! I have been using it for years. Dwight made 3 versions of the program for various games. One version works with virtually all the LA flight sims, including the Star Wars series. There has never been a Shareware version of The Pilot's Edge and -- although Thrustmaster was carrying it for $14.95 -- it was tough to find a copy. Until now!
As of February 2000, Dwight has released TPE to SWOTL fans through this site for free! You can download your copy here, or from the Utilities page. Please note that Dwight is no longer providing support for this venerable old utility, so you're on your own in that regard. If you use a multi function stick, particularly the Thrustmaster, you should try this utility!
Prostick is a program that comes
in a shareware
version. I haven't seen it around much lately, but I have own a
copy of version 2.1, which I used for sometime. Prostick had
advantage of allowing you to "program" the "extra" keys in more ways
Pilot's Edge did. But I found it a bit quirky. Additionally, my
didn't seem to want to run under Win95/98 like TPE does.
have to "Boot to DOS" each time I want to fly SWOTL, I chose to go back
to my "first love" and keep SWOTL running under Win95/98 just fine.)
Software has written to me and sent the latest Shareware version
of their product which is what I have posted here. They also said the
thinking of releasing the full version as Freeware, so you might want
drop by their site and check on this! As always, let me know of any new
There is one other way to use a
stick that I know of. If you have the TM Advance Weapons
or a similar product, you can plug your stick into it and program it
you want. A few people I know swear by this system (whereas a few
I know just swear at their joystick...)
SWOTL V S 5 Y Y Y 64
All it does is run the SWOTL.EXE program with 7 "parameters" to control different settings, as follows:
NOTE: The manual says you can set the cache to a maximum of 2048, but LA later stated that settings above 248 can cause the computer to lock-up when reviewing the film.
BTW, if you used my trick of "patching" the SWOTL CD files to eliminate the need for the CD you will have to write this file yourself. Be careful to choose the proper settings!! (For most of you, my example will work fine, but not everyone can use it as is.)
Another problem folks have when loading SWOTL is not enough memory. The documentation will remind you that you need to have at least 580K of free Conventional Memory and at least 1,024K Expanded Memory (EMS) to run correctly. If you are working under DOS, you can run type "MEM" to display your available memory. Under Win95/98, be sure that you set the MEMORY options in the PROPERTIES of your shortcut to allow for these limits. You may also want to try using a "DOS Boot Disk" to get enough memory and not be constrained by the Windows OS.
If SWOTL keeps crashing, or locking
computer, even though you have followed all the instructions above, you
may have a hardware conflict with your CPU. Take a look at the
below on SWOTL and "Fast" (486/Pentium) Computers
more info. CYRIX users may be out of luck entirely. You'll find info on
this in that section as well.
Well, a few die hard fanatics <G> (that is, the core members of the old SWOTL Group on Prodigy) couldn't wait for LA to make more planes, so they made their own! Well, sort of... They "Hex Edited" the aircraft files to change the characteristics of the planes LA wrote for the game. They even figured out how to "swap" the external views from the cockpit to make the plane look a bit different from the pilot's view. Eventually, they also discovered they could change the aircraft's color scheme and even use some of the graphic files from TFH:BOB (Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain) to make the external view look different as well. Unfortunately, the side effect of the TFH:BOB files is that the planes sometimes appear to fly sideways! This is due to the fact that SWOTL included more angles to view the plane from than TFH:BOB did. We learned to live with these limitations, because now we could fly just about any plane we wanted, and could "tweak out" any existing plane! And so started a wave of hex editing that still continues. At last count, I found over 300 different aircraft variations in my "Hangar" (even more than SManager 200 can deal with!) Some of the "custom planes" are very historical aircraft, some were experimental production models (or "prototypes"), and some are pure fancy!
We eventually developed some
"standards" when making
and distributing these files. Each of the "hexed" aircraft is named
an extension of *.EXP (from EXPerimental.) All of the planes that came
with SWOTL need to be copied to backup files, and we decided to call
*.ORI (for ORIginal.) Most of us keep these files in our "Hangar"
Additionally, many of the most fanatical "Hexperts" would include short
text files (with a *.TXT extension) with the aircraft to tell you
about it, and maybe even how to use it. For more info on working with
files, see the next section.
Example: COPY \SWOTL\HANGAR\SPITFIRE.EXP \SWOTL\AC\P51D.SPC
(Do you see why I recommend the SWOTL Manager?)
Example: COPY \SWOTL\HANGAR\P51D.ORI \SWOTL\AC\P51D.SPC
Other Users Note: Some "hexed" plane files require the user to have one or more of the "official add-on" planes from LucasArts, such as the P-38. If you enjoy SWOTL, it is HIGHLY recommended to invest in the additional disks. Unfortunately, they are now "out of print." However, you can still get the extra aircraft in the Air Combat Classics set which includes all the LA WWII sims and all the add-on disks for about $20 (plus shipping.)
If you do not have the required planes you may be able to trick the computer into thinking you have the extra planes. The following examples will replace the "missing" P-38 files with those of the P-47.
Example: COPY P47ICN.PAC P38ICN.PAC
Example: COPY \SWOTL\AC\P47C.SPC \SWOTL\AC\P38J.SPC
and COPY \SWOTL\AC\P47C.SPC \SWOTL\HANGAR\P38J.ORI
Use this info to check your SWOTL directories for the file. Sometimes you'll find it is in the wrong directory. Sometimes the name is misspelled. Sometimes it was a file that you needed to get from another source (like TFH:BOB) but didn't. Or, maybe you just don't own that add-on aircraft.
If you're just not sure what is wrong, go back to the instructions for the modification you were trying to use (the aircraft, or mission, or...) and read them very carefully. Sometimes the installation is a bit complicated and you may have missed something the first time through. Some modifications use a *.BAT file to install themselves, and the directory names in those *.BAT files may not match your directory names. A little editing should fix that problem.
Be sure to read all the information on this page about
with Custom Aircraft and with Mods. If your still can't figure it out.
Write me an e-mail with all the details, including what
tells you when you get dumped back to DOS. I'll try to get you flying
* Battle Hawks 1942
* TheirFinest Hour: Battle of Britain
(plus "Their Finest Missions" add-on mission disk)
* Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe
(plus the 4 add-ons: P-38, P-80, Do335, and He162).
Is this worth it? - I've tried many WWII flight sims, and the one I keep coming back to is SWOTL. And I'm not alone... - TFH:BOB is a bit dated, but it's still fun. Also, it's a good "starter" sim for first time PC Pilots. - SWOTL and TFH:BOB both allow you to make your own missions!! Or, fly a full campaign and decide "how to run the war". It's hard to get bored when you can write your own custom missions, and fly hundreds written by others too. So, "in my humble opinion", at $19.95 how can you go wrong???
If you already have SWOTL, why try
That's just my opinion about what I
think is a
pretty good deal. (You can thank me later. <G>)
Each of these modules opens new possibilities for an "old" game, and adds hours of enjoyment. They are well worth the download. I have 4 copies of SWOTL on my hard drive so I can play SWOTL, Afrika, Russia or Lucky Strikes when ever I like. That's not as crazy as it sounds since it is highly recommended that you install a separate copy of SWOTL for any Mod you wish to use. This ensures that there will be no problem "uninstalling" it when you want to play a different "version" of SWOTL. As for the installation of the Mods, refer to the Instructions that come with each of them. You will also find some rather generic instructions in the MOD-INFO.TXT file.
NOTE: Except for Lucky Strikes, these mods all require you to have version 2.1 of SWOTL. If you have an earlier version you can try the SW-UPG upgrade. (Remember you can check your version of SWOTL by pressing [ALT][V] anytime during a mission. The version info will show in the lower left corner of your screen. This can only be done when you are actually flying a mission.) If you have a later version, see the next section regarding Air Combat Classics. Also, many mods require aircraft PAC files (graphics) from LucasArts' Battle of Britain. If you do not own this you will need the BOBPAC file.which you can also find in the Mods list. Additionally, many Mods make use of the "add-on aircraft" disks from LucasArts, but you may be able to do a "work around", as described in the Mod's documentation.
SWOTL CD-ROM users Note: You
do a "Full Install" of all the SWOTL files onto your HD (I'm told this
is one of the installation options) to use these modifications.
the "Mods" found here will not be able to "swap" the necessary files
SWOTL will only look for them on the CD-ROM. Better yet, I've
that it is possible to use the "update" files located
to "convert" your CD-ROM version so that it no longer needs the CD!!
the SWOTL CD FAQ for some additional info...
However, you can work around this with minimal disruption to the module by simply NOT replacing any of the *.OVL files with the modified ones from the add-on. (You may edit the installation *.BAT file(s) to avoid copying over the *.OVL files.) The game will run properly, and the module will work well, but you will miss some of the "flavor" of the module as changes to the text material will be lost.
The best option, however, is to obtain the modified ACC version *.OVL files. I have packaged these "patches" into sets for each mod and titled them accordingly, starting with the letters "ACC". Look for ACC-AFRK, ACC-RUSS, ACC-NITE, ACC-1940, ACC-1946, ACC-JET, ACC-USA and ACC-PACF. You can find these "patches" on the Mods page.
NOTE: None of this applies to
STRIKES module, since it uses special programming and files to alter
EXISTING *.OVL files on an as needed basis. (Another reason why it is
to install a separate copy of SWOTL for this mod, and really, for each
In SWOTL, hex-edited files are usually the aircraft specification files (*.SPC files) which allow us to make planes that are not normally found in the game. A few other program files can be edited in order to do things like allow a custom mission to do something that the Mission editor won't let you (like get planes to "taxi" as I did on "Suppress"), or to change some of the text and map references as was done in most of the SWOTL Mods.
Since most folks confine their "hexing"
aircraft files things have gotten even easier. You can use the SPManager
program to make many of the changes for you, without knowing anything
all about hexadecimal code. Now this program is not at all
but with a little work you can make several basic changes to your
However, if you want to be more ambitious and create a totally new
you better get a good hex editor, a copy of the "byte listings" for the
*.SPC files and spend some time learning the fundamentals of
There are a few files to help you do all this right in the Utilities
section of the SWOTL site. And there is a pretty darn good tutorial
from "Hexmaster" Greg "Sturmer" Smith there as well. Take a look
at it, and then see if you are up to the challenge. Heck, your a
SWOTL Ace, of course you are!
I stumbled across an interesting section buried deep within the LucasArts Entertainment web site, under the Support section. The "Technical Reference Guide" for SWOTL! A quick scan of some of the information proved there shows a few things that are worth a look. Rather than copy it over to this site, I'm simply referring back to the original source. Though I have far more information on some topics, they do list things that I don't cover at all, so it's certainly worth a look. (NOTE: This link is apparently broken as LA may have dropped the file from their system)
Their Table of Contents includes:
Though SWOTL may appear to run just fine on your old 486 or Pentium, you will find that strange things happen even on those older machines. Trouble with "bombs exploding in mid air" is the most widely reported "bug" (though there are others) associated with a machine that's just too fast. LucasArts summed it up like this:
However, there are utilities that help your computer run at a speed that is compatible with older games and other programs. I have had good luck with one called "Mo'Slo." The most recent evaluation copy is available on the company web site. An older (v1.31) freeware copy of Mo'Slo was sent to me by the author, and is available on the Utils page. That version is from 1997 and does directly support Pentium processors. An even earlier version (also in the Utilities section of this site) is from 1993 and does not directly support Pentiums, however, I have read reports from users who have had a lot of success running other "old" games on a Pentium with it. There is a full version called Mo'Slow Deluxe, which works with fast Pentiums, allows speed adjustments in 0.1% and runs batch files, but it is a commercial product which can be ordered for $15 plus shipping. An even newer version, "Mo'Slo 4BIZ" costs only $23 and offers more functionality. Get more information from the Mo'Slow Deluxe web site. (Much thanks to David Perrell for this product, and his support for fans of older games such as ourselves.)Unfortunately, both [TFH:BOB and SWOTL] are older dos
I have recently had some reports from
using version 1.2 of Mo'Slo, found here. After much experimentation,
fan Ignacio McGuire reports that Mo'Slo works well on his Pentium 133
a setting of 50% while using ACC SWOTL. While the same version on my
II 233 works better with a setting closer to 25%. Other machines, and
versions, may need yet a different setting, but you can use these
as a starting point for your experimentation. As I get additional
I will post it here (be sure to let me know what setting is working for
BTW, the line I use to run SWOTL under Mo`Slo is:
The software technique has been reported to work well by some (and not by others), but, there may be another option as well. Numerous Tech Support centers, and users such as Keith Heitmann, suggest you might try adjusting some settings to your computer's BIOS (or CMOS) temporarily. This means you need to access the BIOS (or CMOS) setup routine, most often done by pressing a key during bootup (this differs from machine to machine, see your manual!) Once there, disable the "External Cache" RAM and save the settings. When you are done playing SWOTL, you will want to reverse this process to put things back as they belong! Also, I strongly suggest that you make a printout of your current CMOS settings, using the Print Screen key, and save that someplace (like in the manual) just in case something gets screwed up at some point!! (I do this this with every new computer I set up, right out of the box!)
Whatever approach you use, I think you should also try running the "fastest version" of SWOTL, from Air Combat Classics. If you don't own it, try using the "upgrade" patch from the Modules page here (CD-ROM users can do this too! See the SWOTL CD FAQ for the details) and see if that helps. With Pentium CPUs you will still have some trouble. I am trying to find a better solution to this, and would love to hear from anyone who has solved it! As I find more answers, or better software, I will post it here. Right now, Mo`Slo seems to be the way to go. However, the unfortunate truth is that the days of SWOTL as we know it are quite limited while processor speeds continue to increase and slower machines are turned to scrap.
I should say one more thing. When trying to figure out if your computer is running SWOTL too fast, the easiest thing to do is to load up some bombs for a training mission, turn on your "gun camera" before dropping a few and then watch the replay. You will need to either "Track" the bombs, or "Chase" them when you replay the film. Note the altitude the bombs are at when they explode. If it is more than 0 feet, things are too fast! You should also note that heavier bombs will drop farther before exploding, and you really should be at no less than 10,000 feet (20,000 may be best) to test this properly. (So far I've been trying 1,000 pounders from about 12,000 feet...)
A final note to users of CYRIX 166+ type processors. I have had a few people write to me saying that their CYRIX based machine locks up when playing SWOTL. This seems to be a hardware conflict problem. From what I have been able to find with internet searches, it seems that the CYRIX chips are not 100% "Intel compatible" and can cause such conflicts with some programs. Despite the various patch files for the CYRIX chips, the reports I have gotten from SWOTL fans have not yet found ANYTHING that works short of REPLACING the chip with an INTEL processor. This truly seems to be a hardware problem. Of course, I'd appreciate any additional info in this problem, and its solution!
I just received the following update on the Cyrix problem from SWOTL Fan Mike Lock:
Those of you who run with Cyrix CPU's of 150+ and
Many DOS based programs don't run properly under Windows (I'm talking about Windows 95 and later, by the way) mostly due to issues with memory usage, changes in the underlying DOS components, drivers, and peripheral devices such as sound cards and joysticks. USB connected devices may not work at all. But, with a little effort, you may be able to use SWOTL and you other favorite "legacy" programs. Here are some tips:
In Windows XP, try this when setting up your game (I didn't write this, so don't ask me to elaborate...):
Open Windows Explorer to the folder holding the program's setup.exe file.
Right-click the file, choose Properties, and then click the Compatibility tab.
Check "Run this program in compatibility mode for" and select one of the Windows versions (95, 98/Me, NT, or 2000) in the drop-down list.
Now install the program as usual.
If you run into a problem, follow the same steps for the file that opens and runs the program.
In Windows 95/98 I have had little trouble getting SWOTL to run. The primary trick is to set the memory options. Try this:
Make a "Shortcut" to the BAT file that starts SWOTL (Windows may do this for you the first time you click on SW.BAT).
Right click on the Shortcut and choose "Properties."
Select the "Program" tab and then click on the "Advanced" button.
I checked both "Prevent MS-DOS-based programs from detecting Windows" and "Suggest MS-DOS mode as necessary."
Click on the Memory tab and be sure they are all set to "Auto." I also have "Initial environment" set to 1024 and checked "Uses HMA" as well.
That should do it, but you can play around with other settings and other tabs if you think you need to.
Finally, there are a few programs out there that help deal with legacy programs and devices to help them run better on modern computers and under Windows. You might want to try any or all of these: DOSBox, Abandon Loader, and/or VDMsound
Note that I have had good reports about them, but I haven't used any. I only have experience with Mo'Slo, which is discussed in the previous section of this FAQ. It helps on Pentium I and II class machines, but may not do enough for newer ones.