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#1 Ghostrider

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 08:17 AM

First of all, I would like to apologiese to all of the fans for the total neglect and lack of news in the last year.

 

You may be mistaken in thinking nothing is happening with the mod. - You would be wrong; progress has actually been quite positive recently, but real life cuts back on modding time for most of the team.

 

Before detailing some of the more exciting developments in the mod, it's probably worth a recap of what has happened to date, as this has profound implications on my particular area of focus - the campaigns.

 

Combat Mechanic

The entire basis os space comabt has been rebuilt to match the land mechanic, with a detailed and comprehensive armor and shielding system. Shileds now absorb laser fire, ranging frmo 20% to 45%, depending on unit class. Armor grades range from 8 points in fighters to 32 points for capital class warships, and all the weapons in the mod now have different damage ratings. HP are considerably increased.

The biggest change in tactical battles, is that laser cannons, and especially light laser cannons, are unable to penetrate heavy armor. This does not mean that your fighters are redundant, far from it. A cloud of snubfighters and transports can strip off the shields of destroyers and capital-grade warships, making them much more vulnerable to turbolaser fire, but you can't kill a star destroyer with snubfighters alone - you have to have turbolaser support. Bombers get proton rockets and proton bombs, and can be pretty nasty.

 

We have also added space population. The idea is that in order to crew and maintain a space-based unit, you need a support base. Your planets provide population and without spare population you can't build anything. This explains why the Acclamator and other crew-heavy designs, such as the Dreadnaught rapidly became obsolote. The Imperial class is much more effiecient in terms of deliverably combat power vs population support required.

 

On a strategic level this adds a new dimension to the campaign scenario. You need credits AND population to build warships. As a result, we have rebuilt the entire economy from scratch, with new pricing and a detailed planetary model that calculates planetary economies based on population, tech level, agricultural base, mineral resources, underworld and manufacturing capability. Agricultural wolrds are particularly important to feed and grow your fleets.

 

Proximity Jumps and Trade Routes

We have removed proximity jumps from the mod, so all space-based travel is based on the trade route. This makes strategic planning much more interesting, and you will find that key planets that lie at the junction of major trade routes are extremely important strategically, as these act as choke points to access different regions of the galaxy.

For example. Brentaal IV, which lies at the junction of the Hydian Way and the Perlemian Trade Route, is now probably the most imporatant piece of real-estate in the galaxy and is defended accordingly!

 

Armed colonies

All coloneis, from levels 1 to 5 are now armed with turbolaser cannons, and are heavily shielded and quite difficult to kill.

You will need cruiser support to take on a level 1 or level 2 colony, and multiple cruisers for a Level 3 Colony.

Level 4 colonies are extremely challenging, and need a large fleet, with at least destroyers, if not capital-class warships to have a chance of destroying the base.

Level 5 colonies are exceptionally challenging.

And if you think these are bad news, the asteroid bases are worse, so it is vital to send out expendable scouting parties to see what you are facing before you attempt an invasion.

 

Heroes

Heroes no longer come with elite warships. They now have command abilities but are just that - indivudal beings that need to be attached to a fleet to make a difference. So Darth Vader IV on his own is just a pilot in an TIE, but with a fleet he commands on the bridge of the largest warship.

 

Back to Basics

If we now wind the clock back to early 2014, we are in the process of updating all of the old campaigns with these points in mind. We have always had a goal of adding new campaigns to each release, but had no idea of the change that was about to take place.

Our concept at the time was to create a new campaign to show the difference in strategic planning due to the lack of proximity jumps and have a campaign based on the 5 Super-Hyperrroutes of Perlemian Trade Route, Hydian Way, Rimma Trade Route, Correlian Run, and the Corellian Trade Spine.

60% of the campaign was completed when the campaign crashed on install and it soon became apparent that nothing was going to fix it. The problem was simple - too many planets and too big a campaign. The EAW engine simply couldn't handle it.

 

So we made the critical decision to break up all the existing campaigns into smaller chunks, each with fewer planets.

 

So - Core Worlds lost the Expansion region and shrunk back to the Core Worlds and the Colonies. This was highly successful and led to a better campaign with faster frame rates and quicker load times and much less lag.

 

The roll-out pulled appart the entire campaign set and rebuilt everything from scratch.

Prelminary testing of all 12 campaigns is now complete and the results are rather exciting.

 

I'll let you have more news, in detail, about each campaign in due course....

 

 

Ghostrider

 

 

 

 



#2 Invadious

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 05:20 PM

Well, with the new armor system in place for space combat you solved in a single swat the entire problem of advanced fighters trumping everything and it being a loophole tactic wise. Whether that was your intention implementing this feature or not (probably not the main reason).

 

Great to hear it's still on track.

 

Regards.



#3 Ghostrider

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 05:38 PM

The main reason was simply to have both land and space combat mechanics to be consistent with each other.

Battles are certainly more interesting as a result, and micro-managing you fleets in battle pays dividends especially in target selection. Early snumbfighters and basic transports should be directed at fighters and bombers only as blaster cannons are only really effective against fighters and bombers.

You really need to go for the enemy fighters first, and then when you have eliminated the opposition, then go for the heavies. Bombers and combat transports such as the DX-9 are wonderful at punching holes in targets, but you need a lot of them to take down a cruiser.

 

The graphics in-battle got better too!



#4 skie9173

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 08:48 PM

Have there been any breakthroughs with improving pathing for larger ship classes? With them being that much more important my only concern would be the poor pathing that is inherent in EaW.

Everything else sounds great, great work as always!
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#5 Ghostrider

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 07:20 AM

Evilbobthebob has redone many of the space maps, so that certainly helps.

 

I've not really noticed an issue with pathing - can you describe in more detail please?



#6 Aizen Teppa

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 09:59 AM

Yay some good news. Or should I scream in joy: It's alive, it's alive! ;)

 

No longer Acclamator will be 'fill every hole in the line' kind of ship. Because right now it's fairly obvious that universal ships are better than specialized one. So I'm very happy that there will be time and place for every class and top priority will be shifted from 'universal' to 'right'.

 

Good to know that fighters will be put in place. I sincerely hope that swarming will be gone because its kind of ridiculous in unmodified 1.2. As for proximity jumps, hmm. It wasn't that bad as in other mods (should remain nameless) I've played where you could travel anywhere anytime. I would prefer for proxy-jumps to stay in some limited quantity (like travel to some prison planet far from trade routes), but I can live with this. It will defo help with lag because I've noticed that proxy-jumps are more intensive on the engine that travels via trade routes. One thing certainly you hit the nail on the head is Brentaal IV. I my version of 1.2 it's the most heavily defended place in the GFFA. You need literally hundreds of ships to succeed because CSA is a beast fielding plethora of illegal hardware of all sizes. Bounty factor is quite remarkable :D 

 

Ahh no more defenseless colonies and AI jumping behind your back to destroy it first. That certainly great news. Although in my modifications of 1.2 never went so far to design whole defense system for Colony but still you need at least 2-3 Preators 2/Bulwarks 2 if you want to remove shields in a effective way. Same with Golan 3.

 

Heroes. Well not very happy about this particular shift in policy, but I will wait and see if it actually improves things. 1.2 was a bit weak as I basically beefed all hero ships to most potent version to remove "hero uselessness factor".

 

Back to Basics. Yes... A bit sad that big campaigns are no more. Its massive galaxy out there after all but I understand. Engine is prehistoric and know very well it cannot handle anything more substantial.



#7 Ghostrider

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 01:13 PM

Oh - I think you'll find the campaigns challeging enough. Core worlds ran to over 100 weeks in testing before victory was achieved, and the late timeline campaigns, Thrawn era and beyond are ... quite exhilarating.  



#8 Aizen Teppa

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 02:17 PM

Out of curiosity. What kind of setup have you used for testing purposes?

 

I never hid the fact that I don't like smash&grab kind of games (there is galaxy to conquer outside mission objectives he, he). 300 weeks for some long term fun. That's why I like ICW so much. In particular with fun factions like Empire of the Hand or Pentastar Alignment. I would be utterly depressed if that long-term hang surfaces again in 1.3. Hoping not as unit production will be heavily limited when compared 1.2.

 

Ahh and one other thing. Did you incorporated DeFreezer in anyway into 1.3? 



#9 Guest_BobbehJune_*

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 07:44 PM

I am beyond happy to hear this!!!!

 

I enjoyed the variety of ships you could use. I hope that doesn't become limited to which ones you can use in a campaign I always got the Z95 to AF5 and the R41 X and loved those two for my fighter screens



#10 skie9173

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 09:37 PM

The pathing issues I was referring to was along the lines of Capital class ships turning sideways direction when given a command to move forward, similar to what Imperial Star Destroyers turn when given an order to attack without also being given a direction order.
It's not a huge issue, it can be overcome with heavy micromanagement or a pathfinder unit to drop ships in exactly where you want them.
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#11 Ghostrider

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 07:40 AM

Yes, they sometimes do that. It' snot a major issue.

 

And no - we have not reduced the variety of ships. As always, with each release there are new units.



#12 Ghostrider

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 07:45 AM

Out of curiosity. What kind of setup have you used for testing purposes?

 

I never hid the fact that I don't like smash&grab kind of games (there is galaxy to conquer outside mission objectives he, he). 300 weeks for some long term fun. That's why I like ICW so much. In particular with fun factions like Empire of the Hand or Pentastar Alignment. I would be utterly depressed if that long-term hang surfaces again in 1.3. Hoping not as unit production will be heavily limited when compared 1.2.

 

Ahh and one other thing. Did you incorporated DeFreezer in anyway into 1.3? 

We use ordinary PCs and laptops - jsut the same as you have. The testers are pretty dedicated - I often get reports based on a 50 + week campaign based on 24 - 30 hours of realtime play. I'm lucky to get a couple of hours a week actually playing the game.

This way we get to look for game balance both early and long term.



#13 johnchm.10

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 03:19 PM

making a mod takes time. especially when you are doing an overhaul on the scale of PR, TR, and YVAW. especially because 1, mod makers are doing this as a hobby and don't necessarily have the ability to put in 40 hours a week on this. 2 real life can be an ass at times.

 

hell, the YVAW guys have been putting out redone models of basically everything from Vanilla that they want to include in their mod, plus literally dozens of other units, if not in the low hundreds, with new textures, in addition to things like multiple ways to blow up planets.



#14 skie9173

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Posted 28 October 2015 - 11:18 PM

Were there many changes to land combat, or has that stayed relatively consistent?


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There is no passion, there is serenity. There is no death, there is the Force.

#15 Ghostrider

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 07:25 AM

Land combat is unchanged. We got it right in the version you have.

Besides - messing with space enough for one development cycle! Lol.



#16 skie9173

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 09:44 AM

Good to hear!
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#17 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 11:17 AM

I'm so happy, i can't wait for the eventual release... i have phoenix rising in web favourites and have been checking it every week for 2 years for 1.3 to come out, glad its still going strong... would be an awesome Christmas present! =D



#18 Guest_Curt_*

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 01:48 PM

Thank you for this, and thank you to all those involved from writing to testing.

Im eagerly awaiting a chance to dust off my skills and conquer those rebel scum.

-------

It's been awhile, but what do other people do to 'up' the difficulty? Last time I played I remember giving the rebels 5x starting forces, a TON of money and removing all my starting ships and space structures. That way I couldn't blitz the opening weeks and start the perpetual motion machine of conquest before the rebels even took a system.

Any other techniques?

#19 Guest_Curt_*

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Posted 29 October 2015 - 01:56 PM

Fore got to ask...did I read the narrative right? Is the GFFA campaign no longer available, in favor of smaller localized maps?

#20 Ghostrider

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 07:42 AM

Yes, GFFA is no more.

We now have 12 campaigns. All the historical set use smaller regions of the galaxy, while the Galactic Civil War era and beyond use some fairly complex maps. It's a good mix.

 

As to difficulty, well, we have made some improvements on that score too. Tell you more in the next news.





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