Wing Commander editing god HCl has been busy this year, but he hasn't forgotten about his efforts to import ships into the original game engines like WC2 or Academy. His latest project involves creating a kind of converter that will take regular 3D models and transform them into the array of sprites that the original WC games used to display and scale ships. The results are very promising and could open a whole new world of early WC modding! He's provided new example shots of the Arrow and Tigershark below. Previous work has gotten the Dralthi, Manta and Hellcat working, and it may even be possible to generate cutscenes further down the line!
Just as a quick update: I haven't forgotten about this. I've just had to take care of some personal issues (again, unfortunately this ends up being a recurring thing), and that's been eating away at both my spare time and my energy.
The good news: I've began to slowly reclaim some spare time :) What I started doing with that spare time? Some minimal cleaning on my WC2 conversion scripts, setting them up so anyone with GNU Octave can generate a WC2 ship just by minimal tweaking. Then I'll be releasing this to the community. Many thanks to delMar for keeping pinging me about it :)
So basically the idea is to have a package capable of producing a WC2/WCA ship file as-is, with a couple sample ship tiles included. This will allow anyone playing with this to set up GNU Octave, verify everything is working correctly, and then go from there. Even if I don't have time to do substantial work on this myself, I welcome to folks working on the Covert Missions mod to reuse what you can, push it forward and improve it! :)
This may also be interesting for non-developer folks, for this purpose I had in mind the Arrow and Tigershark as "sample" ships, and they should end up being flyable in the end. Here are the ship tiles I have at the moment, in case anyone is interested :D