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Quake Wars and broken DDS images and textures

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Offline kat

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An updated version of the article is available here ยป

When you're looking at the source files in the PK4 files that are installed to your Quake Wars directory you'll notice something similar to the image below when looking at the thumbnail view in Windows Explorer; some of the DDS thumbnail images are 'missing'. There's actually nothing wrong with the image files, they're not broken, missing, or in any way corrupted, they're just the result of the same 'problem' that previous idTech4 (D3 engine) powered games have had; namely, they use a specific DDS compression filters that only ATI's DDS compression tool, the 'Compressonator', can produce.

Quake Wars DDS textures and the red 'X'!

The culprit is the DXT5 format and Quake Wars appears to be using more than one 'type' of it. The 'standard' DXT5 format previously used by Doom 3, Quake 4 and Prey was "RxGB" which is produced using the UberCompressor filter. Quake Wars however, is using "ATI2" for standard 'flat' (none alpha masked images) and "DXT5" for DDS images that require alpha-masks. The issue here is that there are more than one 'filter' within the Compressonator that can produce ATI2 compressed images so using the wrong one will break your material in game.
We should find out definitively which filter has been used once the SDK arrives [allowing an expansion on this Quake Wars and DDS devNote].

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