Fiction Viewer

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The Fiction Viewer, FS2 style (click to enlarge)
The Fiction Viewer (Wing Commander Saga style) with the first few paragraphs of Tell A Story (click to enlarge)

Fiction Viewer is a feature of FreeSpace Open 3.6.10 implemented by Goober5000. It is sort of an advanced Command Briefing that mission designers could use to deepen the story that they want to tell without using the actual Command Briefing.

The Fiction Viewer is the first window that will come up in a mission, followed by the Command Briefing—if the mission has both.

Using the Fiction Viewer (3.6.12 and newer)

  • Create a text file (.txt) that you want to show off with the Fiction Viewer, then put it into FreeSpace 2/data/fiction or FreeSpace 2/<your mod's directory name>/data/fiction.
  • Open the mission in FRED. Select Editors --> Fiction Viewer and type in the file's name that you want to display, with its extension (for example: intro.txt).
  • The fiction viewer requires additional interface art not provided by Volition, since this is a FSO enhancement. Without this, the game will not be able to display the fiction viewer and will skip right to the standard briefing (or command briefing). These files are available in mv_core in the mediavps, or you can download them separately from The files in that archive must be extracted into the mod's data/interface folder.
  • There are two modes for the fiction viewer. The default one is the "FS2" style, which retains the standard layout used by the FS2 interface art. The other is the "Wing Commander Saga" style, which moves the "Accept" button to the lower left side of the screen, and is customized for the interface art style of WCS. If you have interface art for the "WCS" style, you need to use "fictionviewerb" as the filename for the main interface background, and a fitting interface mask file named "fictionviewer-mb.pcx". For the 1024x768 resolution art, the filenames must be prefixed with "2_" (2_fictionviewerb, for example).

General notes

  • You must provide the file's extension (.txt), otherwise the game engine will assume the file has no extension, and look for that.
  • Since the text file is not in the mission file, semicolons (;) and double quotation marks (" ") will not break the mission code.
  • The length of the text is effectively unlimited, since it is loaded on the fly and not subject to any of the hard-coded string limits.
  • Color tags such as $r and $h will work.
  • Characters that are not in the English alphabet (such as á, é) will not be displayed.
  • The interface art can be modified by extracting the files from the VP.
  • In 3.6.12 and later, the filename for the main interface screen has changed from "fvw" to "fictionviewer", to better follow the precedent set by the rest of the interface. Old interfaces must be adjusted for this, else it will cause a "No interface graphics found for the fiction viewer" error.
  • In 3.6.12 and later, the fiction viewer allows a music track and a font to be defined for the fiction viewer. The font must also be listed in fonts.tbl.

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