Mechcommander Gold open FST files

Mechcommander FST files are a special format of compression file (think .zip) used by Mechcommander Gold that contain descriptions and data values for various objects in the game, e.g. mech variants and mechwarriors. This tutorial describing how to extract Mechcommander Gold FST files is based off of CMunsta’s command line extraction tool and some great tutorials that he wrote.

Note: All FST files have been fully extracted in the MCGExtracted GitHub project, in case you simply need the source files rather than the explanation on how to do the extraction yourself. You can read more about the project in the Mechcommander Gold extracted post.

To extract a Mechcommander Gold FST file follow these steps:

  1. Download the FST file extraction tool fstextract.exe
    Download link 1 <– Cmunsta’s website  (under “Tools used in the guide”)
    Download link 2 <– GitHub mirror
  2. Place your fstextract.exe file into the directory containing the target .FST file.
  3. Open up cmd and navigate to the directory containing the target .FST file and fstextract.exe. To change directory within cmd you’ll have to use the cd command for example:
    cd C:\Program Files\MCX
  4. Extract the file at the index in the .FST file you would like to. FST files contain various files which will contain the data you need. The name of the file varies by the specific FST archive it is in. For example to extract the data for the Raven J variant into a file called raven_j.txt you would execute:
    fstextract.exe MISSION.FST PM102300.FIT raven_j.txt

Once again, if you need the fully extracted source for a specific FST file, all FST files have been fully extracted in the MCGExtracted GitHub project. There are also scripts you can run to automatically extract each FST file that are located in the extraction_tools directory of the MCGExtracted project. For more information about extracting specific FST files see the sections below.

MISSION.FST Mechs
Mech variant FIT files in MISSION.FST are in the format:
PMaaabcc.fit
aaa  –> 3 digit number that represents the mech id
b      –> 1 digit number that represents the variant id
cc    –> 2 digit number that represents the special variant (if there is one).
This chart lists all the possible variants with their respective names and files listed. If you need it – the mech id, variant id and special variant list can be found here.

MISSION.FST Mechwarriors
Mechwarrior FIT files in MISSION.FST are in the format:
PMnnnnn.fit
nnnnnn –> 5 digit number that represents the mechwarrior id
This chart lists all the possible mechwarriors with their respective names and files listed.

If you have questions/issues with Mechcommander Gold FST extraction please post them in the comments below!

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    IronArthur
    April 22, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Thanks for the info, some months ago i tried to look for some of this info. I would kill for the info to access raw/bin sprite data of the mechs in the game.

    Thanks for your work.

      I’ve been meaning to get to that. I believe the sprites can be found in the .PAK files in MCX\data\sprites. There’s a tutorial on extracting .PAK files here. Unfortunately I haven’t figured out what data format the files are. If you’re keen on figuring it out I would start by reading some of the docs on http://www.freewebs.com/therealcmunsta/downloads.htm

          scriv07
          May 20, 2013 at 7:15 am

          Ive been looking into the sprite format too. Ive scanned the contents of a few .pak files with trid and found a few signatures that match .HSB and .CEL. Leads me to believe the format may be FLIC

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLIC_(file_format)
          More on that later I guess..

            If that’s the case and they happen to be FLIC files I think Autodesk Animator has been released as open source software:
            github project
            binary download

            Unfortunately it looks like these binaries will not run on 64 bit Windows but hopefully it’s a start!

    October 22, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Hey, thanks for all these great resources. I am getting back into Mechcommander GOLD as of late, love it, and with that more advanced editing (solo missions) I have played around with the Mission Extender, and think I know how to get that to work.

    So with FST files, is that where I can change the “in game” description of a mech. For example in the pre made solo mission “ACEHUNT” There was “Ward’s Madcat” instead of the normal variants, also can weapon loadouts be modified here too ?

    Thanks, as I would really love to learn all this stuff in depth, and start contributing some material to the re-emerging Mechcommander GOLD community :)

      Tigress
      October 24, 2013 at 11:03 am

      In-game descriptions for logistics screen are in misc.fst, mechtext.fit, that’s your logistics screen descriptions only. The actual display names in-mission are hardcoded into the executable, they can be edited but it’s not for the faint of heart and there are serious limitations in doing so.

      Ward’s Madcat, Furey’s Vulture, etc are all (to my knowledge) named based on the variant file located in mission.fst, extract it and navigate to missions\profiles\PMXXX150.fit, 350.fit, 450.fit, and those are going to be your ‘Ace’ mechs. You can create ‘new’ variants with PMXXX101, 102, 301, etc but they will have the name of the base variant, such as Mad Cat A, Masakari J, etc.

      If you want those in a custom mission, you’ll need to manually edit the mission fit file. I’ve done it a few times, I forget off-hand what file it is, but if you look through the custom mission files, there should only be one FIT per mission, and it’ll be in there, just look for the PMXXXXXX entries and change the appropriate ones to your new variant files. I had the PA campaign with ‘IIC’ custom variants for the IS mechs at one point, so it’s doable, just takes some manual editing.

        October 24, 2013 at 11:52 pm

        Thanks heaps for that, so let me see if I have this right ?

        Open misc.fst, mechtext.fit with the guide above, for logistics, then mission fst. What do you mean by they will have the “name of the base variant” ? is this like if you manage to salvage Furey’s Vulture, the text in the logistics screen would be changed, however when you put it in the ready area, it still has “Vulture-J” ? as for custom missions, so make the mission, and then open up its own FIT file, based on what you did in mission.fst. Also, as far as putting gfx’s on the briefing map, is that a similar process ? Thanks :)

          Tigress
          October 25, 2013 at 12:19 am

          Furey’s Vulture, Ward’s Madcat, and the other already-existing ones will show the correct names, but if you make your own, then you’re correct in your understanding, the logistics description will change but the ready-area name will not.

          Spot on with changing the missions too, if you can’t find the line in question just post back and I’ll figure out where it’s hiding, but all you should have to do is search for PMXXXXXX where the X’s are the original mech ID.

          Never messed with graphics on the briefing maps, I’d imagine you just open the TGA associated with the mission and edit it as appropriate, I believe CMunsta had objective/dropzone/etc markers available on his site for a while.

    IronArthur
    February 19, 2015 at 3:58 am

    After some time from my last post. I´ve have success extracting mech SHP. They are just modified shp. i don´t know why the difference but if you delete the first 6 bytes (to let the first data to have on the file to be 1.10 like the rest of the sprites) shped opens them just fine.

    Hunchback maybe ?? ;)

    http://i.imgur.com/t1Y5EEc.png

      Probably! Could be a commando with a boombox though haha.

      Thanks for the update. Can you like the shped version you’re using (or where you got it from)?

        IronArthur
        February 20, 2015 at 1:37 am

        My main info source has been this post:
        http://www.nogutsnogalaxy.net/forum/index.php?topic=1725

        He has some info regarding structure of the sprites packs. He also linked some file with examples and a ready to use color palette (important).

        When you have extracted the SHP files from paks you have two types of shp the ones that start with 1.10 and the ones who had 6 byte before 1.10 (torso, legs, larms,rarms).
        If you delete those 6 bytes you can open the shp file (and export to bmp) with SHPed and SHPSym. You can donwload the source code and exe from:
        http://www.wargamer.com/Hosted/ChlandaWorkshop/index.htm

        SHPed it´s very old (1999) but you can preview the shps. SHPsym is newer and can extract all the frames from each shp to bmp in one step (and source code has less dependencies).

        I´m trying to modify the source from shpsym to get a command line exe to easy things, and ignore those 6 bytes it they exist.

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