Mike.nl's tools source code are now available on GitHub
Posted by Banshee at Petrolution News on January 24, 2017
Hello everyone! Our friend Mike.nl, from Petrolution Mod Tools, has posted the source code from pratically all his tools on GitHub. It uses the MIT License, so anyone can fork it follow this license... and yea, you'll need the latest Visual Studio to compile the code and some C++ skills to understand it.
His GlyphX Tools includes:
So, it's a jewel! Everything you need to know about the file formats used in the Alamo Engine, from Petroglyph Games, is there. Have fun!
Happy Holidays: OS BIG Editor support for 8-Bit and Site Updated
Posted by Banshee at Petrolution News on December 25, 2016
Hello everyone! We wish you a happy holidays, regardless of your religion or if you even have holidays in the next days. And, in order to celebrate the occasion, we've decided to bring some life back to this place. Starting by the fact that many of you might be aware that Petroglyph Games has released 8-Bit Armies, 8-Bit Hordes and 8-Bit Invaders, in this year. In fact, 8-Bit Invaders was released only 9 days ago. You see? We are not that late into bring this news for you. Only miserable nine days. And of course, there is a trailer to explain to you what is it about and give a glimpse on the graphics and some of its features:
In fact, we've repaired all our content and updated the game icons for some of them, for the site revival.
But... some of you may be wondering... after all, isn't Petrolution a site about game modifications? Are these 8-Bit stuff moddable? To be honest, we don't know how much it could be modded. The Steam Discussions Forum for 8-Bit Invaders doesn't have a single topic about modding the game. If you browse its directory, you'll notice that it reminds a lot Empire at War in some sense. Afterall, both use the Alamo engine, except that it has received some upgrades in these years. And EAW is very modding friendly, which means that the current Alamo engine is still friendly with many things. However, so far I only could figure out that they allow you to customize the in game music quite easily there. However, we certainly want much more than tweaking the music of the game, right?
So, there is another occasional bonus of this place: we are offering you in first hand the latest version of OS: BIG Editor. This tool was supporting .MEG files for a while, but now it opens the encrypted config.meg files from Grey Goo and 8-Bit Armies, Hordes and Invaders. Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out the Key and Initial Vectors from End of Nations beta, otherwise, I would have added support for that too .
So, that should allow you to modify the XML files that are used to specify the features, powers and weapons from each unit. Does the Alamo engine used in 8-Bit Armies reads external files? Is there any volunteer to figure it out and share this knowledge with us? Post your thoughts here and, if these games are really moddable as they seem to be, we'll create dedicated modding forums here.
So, share the word and enjoy the place: Petrolution lives!
Posted by Ghostrider at Phoenix Rising News on June 7, 2016
After weeks and months of testing, and trying to figure out how to get the AI to react as a human does in a galactic environment, the PR team have finally achieved a significant AI breakthrough:
The AI now aggressively attacks independent planets, takes worlds, builds fleets, and stomps all over unwary humans if given half a chance.
The AI equasions to do this have been in place do this for years, but for months the AI has lain dormant, effectively asleep. We have tried hundreds of different ideas to get the AI to activate - all to no effect.
And how did we achieve this?
The frustrating answer, familiar to most modders out there is simple. We changed 1 value in the XMLs, instead of increasing the value from 1.0 to 1.25 we should have decreased the value to 0.75. It just took 6 months of testing to realise that is what we needed to do!
WOW. Did the AI react or what?
It annihilated one of the testers in Core Worlds in under a quarter of the time taken for a human player to "WIN" Core Worlds if unopposed.
Now that we know the AI is working, I have to go back and undo many of the campaign changes put in place that were an attempt to make the AI respond, but the mod is finally alive and kicking. We need to test and polish a bit more, but this makes us a lot closer to where we want to be.
Posted by Digz at Petrolution News on March 11, 2016
Petroglyph have just released a video announcing a new game they are working on and looks close to release from the games Steam page. It's features currently indicate a simple, back to basics retro-style RTS game that will get us playing what we love: a simple, fast paced RTS! Check out the video below they released:
Here's what Petroglyph are describing this game as on their Steam page:
A Blast from the Past
8-Bit Armies is a classic, C&C-style Real-Time Strategy PC game. It's our most fast-paced, friendly, and accessible RTS game to date. Featuring offline single-player missions, co-op mode, skirmish, and PvP multiplayer modes running on dedicated servers.
Initial release includes:
- 25 offline campaign missions
- 10 co-op missions to play with your friends
- 10 multiplayer/skirmish maps that support up to 8 players online
- AI with multiple difficulty options to play with cooperatively or fight against
- Classic Base-Building mechanics let you construct the ultimate HQ from which to launch attacks against your foes
- Destructible environments on maps ranging from small to very large
- Easy to understand modern military units and structures lets RTS beginners jump right in
- From the same team that brought you RTS classics such as Star Wars: Empire at War, Universe at War, and Grey Goo
8-Bit Armies is for anyone that enjoys RTS games, or felt overwhelmed by more serious games. With hours of solo and co-op gameplay included, there's something here for everyone!
Campaign #1 - CORE WORLDS
Posted by Ghostrider at Phoenix Rising News on December 9, 2015
At the centre of the galaxy, you find the oldest, richest, most heavily populated... and the best defended planets in the galaxy. Single planets in the Core have more financial and military influence than whole sectors in the Outer Rim.
CORE WORLDS is the first of the campaigns in the Rise of the Empire Era, which is set at the end of the Clone Wars. The formation of the Galactic Empire has been announced, but many worlds are either actively opposed to the New Order or are highly independent planets that will resist the Imperialisation of trade, commerce and law. You get to rewrite history with either the early Galactic Empire, or the scattered elements of the Phoenix Rising Movement.
All of these campaigns start with a handful of planets and outdated Republic-era and Clone Wars technologies. Many of the neutral worlds will be far stronger at the start than your small fleets, and these campaigns are lengthy. It is vital to plan for long term growth, and in many cases your production capacity will far exceed your initial income, and it is important to grow both militarily and financially.
The political influence of leaders also cannot be underestimated, and many politicians give time reduction bonuses on construction (motivation), and best of all, price discounts for the most influential.
You should also be aware that the larger starbases need considerable fleet strength, with destroyer and capital-class warship support for the level 4 and 5 starbases, before an invasion can be considered. It is no longer feasible to effectively destroy a starbase with corvettes alone, but your Level 2 starbases are vital to continued financial growth, so don’t ignore them.
It is worth noting that the income created by light transports is a percentage of the planetary income, so make sure your light transports are in orbit over your wealthiest planets. You receive light transport revenues once units have made 1 trip into hyperspace. XQ5 platforms add 25% to your base planetary income, and are well worth the 3 week production time on your richer worlds. However, there is a limit of 2 per planet, and many of your Core holdings already contain at least one customs station, with a welcome boost to revenues.
Before considering invasion, make sure you scout target worlds by espionage, stealth heroes, and attacks by a lone scout unit to ensure any invasion is feasible, and that you can escape if it gets too difficult. Many worlds have interdictors in their fleets, trapping invaders to certain doom. And don’t forget about small infantry raids with up to 3 infantry units. This can be a quick way to capture lightly defended units, with the advantage that you destroy the orbiting starbase if you manage to capture the planet.
In Core Worlds, you start with 6 influential planets : -
PRM Abregado Rae
The smuggler port of Abregado Rae is fiercely independent and highly resistant to being ruled, and is looking to Corellia for guidance in the growing opposition to the Galactic Empire. If the smugglers on Abregado-rae can join forces with the Corellians, they could form a powerful syndicate.
Strategic Considerations: Threat from Byss.
Heroes: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Alderaan has been a staunch supporter of the republic in the fight against the Separatists, with the Royal Alderaanian Shipyards providing the engines for the Acclamator-class Assault ships. Both influential and with excellent facilities, Alderaan is politically opposed to the New Order and Bail Organa is one of the key figures in promoting the idea of active resistance to the ever-growing power of the Office of Chancellor.
Strategic Considerations: No Immediate threats.
Heroes: Bail Organa
Chandrila is a world of free speech led by Senator Mon Mothma, who led the Delegation of 2000 to limit the powers of the Chancellor. Chandrila has a strong defence-fleet and is working with both Bail Organa and Garm Bel Iblis to take increasing military action to oppose the New Order.
Strategic Considerations: Major threat from Corulag.
Heroes: Mon Mothma
The free world of Corellia is the leading manufacturer of light freighters and corvettes with unrivalled construction facilities. Invoking an ancient law, legendary Senator Garm Bel Iblis has kept Corellia out of the Clone Wars and is strongly opposed to the changes imposed by the New Order.
Strategic Considerations: Major threat from Byss.
Heroes: Garm Bel Iblis
This smuggler world has a vibrant underworld and finds the Galactic Empire and its new taxes a considerable threat – especially as this is increasingly backed up by the Imperial Fleet and a growing Imperial Customs Service.
Strategic Considerations: Major threat from Coruscant.
This tiny island population is the home to Incom – producers of one of the most popular basic fighters towards the last days of the Old Republic – the Z95 Headhunter. Incom’s fortunes have dramatically changed for the worse with the creation of the Galactic Empire and the move towards disposable TIEs – and disposable pilots, something that the Fresians object to morally.
Strategic Considerations: Isolated, but Coruscant could be a threat in the future.
Coruscant has everything – vast research capabilities, diverse production, immense wealth and a huge pool of talented individuals to nurture and develop.
In addition, both Sith lords – Darth Sidious and Darth Vader - are present on Coruscant, giving the Imperial faction a huge advantage. The political and financial influence of Darth Sidious is worth several star-systems, and Darth Vader frightens whole armies, both in space and in ground combat.
Strategic Considerations: Minor Threat from Farrfin.
Heroes: Darth Sidious, Darth Vader
While the temptation is to focus on military research, some effort should be spend to upgrade the trade fleet and add to Coruscant’s fleet in case the threat from Farrfin increases. Military expansion, both north to Dolomar and south to the Deep Core should be considered.
Byss is the center of secret holdings in the Deep Core. With a massive 20bn population of immigrants tricked into travelling to a utopian world, Byss could become a major planet of influence.
Strategic Considerations: Major Threat from Abregado-rae and Corellia
Much effort should be made to consolidate holdings in the deep core and expand as if the smuggler fleet on Abregadoe Rae is able to merge with the Corellians, then the Deep Core is in danger.
This model Imperial world is isolated from Coruscant by the republic influences at the Naval Academy on Anaxes, and threatened by political activists on Chandrila. It must rapidly expand its fleet and defeat pro-republican sentiments.
Strategic Considerations: Major Threat from Chandrila
Heroes: Gilad Pellaeon
The Kuat Drive yards have unrivalled military production capacity – as long as you have the credits to spend.
Kuat has strong neighbours, but no immediate threats, and while it may be tempting to immediately start construction of a destroyer fleet, current limited incomes may prove this be an unnecessary strain on finances. It may be wiser in the short term to divert funds to more vulnerable holdings until their security has been established.
Strategic Considerations: No immediate threats. Powerful neighbours.
Heroes: Onara Kuat
Gandeal is a mineral-rich resource world with small freighter yards that supplies the shipyards of Fondor with raw materials. This should be considered as facility for financial rather than military growth.
Strategic Considerations: Weak Military. Powerful neighbours.
Heroes: Barrow Oicunn
Prakith is the secret headquarters of the Inquisitorius in the Deep Core. With no immediate threats, this facility should be expanded to a support facility, building fleet and trade units.
Strategic Considerations: Light Military. Powerful neighbours. Medium term strategy Corsucant should make efforts to connect to Prakith.
Heroes: Antinnis Tremayne
Overall, this is a campaign for long term strategy. You certainly have far higher incomes than any other campaign in this era, but early opportunities for expansion are limited – and most be considered carefully. However, you have access to unsurpassed shipyards and with a solid financial base, your regions of influence should expand steadily.
GreyGoo's third patch is online
Posted by Banshee at Petrolution News on March 13, 2015
Yesterday, the third patch for Grey Goo has been released. It should be a quick hot fix patch with the following changes:
March 12, 2015 Update Notes
Alhazen Human AI will no longer build all air pads and no units
Fixed an issue that could cause the AI to stop attacking
Fixed an issue were hotkeys were inconsistent when using the Goo interface
Human Teleporter eject hotkey now works properly
Fixed issue where hotkeys were not properly displaying for tech upgrades
Bastion taunt now properly affects Beta units that are mounted on walls
I guess that the issue that could cause AI to stop atttacking was the critical one that needed to be wiped from the history, considering that single player games are played by many people. That's probably the reason that they've made this hot fix in first place. They've been announcing some heavy ballance changes for the upcoming patches and you are able to test it already.
Anatomy of a Starship
Posted by evilbobthebob at Phoenix Rising News on June 22, 2014
Probably the best way to introduce the new space combat mechanics is to take a detailed look at our new (WIP) infobox layout. You may recognise many of the elements from the revamped land combat; many of the elements are also new. I'll go through each in the order they appear using the classic example of the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer. Please note that all values shown are WIP.
Tactical Population Cost
This is a new number based on the total volume of the hull (or hulls in the case of a starfighter squadron). It is balanced around the idea that an Executor-class Super Star Destroyer consists of 400 population points, the maximum available space population. For carriers, it also includes the volume of all the starfighter squadrons as in the case of the Imperial II. This means that you can field 5 Imperial II-class and their entire complements at one time. These values are currently in the process of testing and tweaking, and the exact values may be different in the released version.
All the starship icons have been brought into lineusing uniform lighting and rendering settings to create a better quality icon set.
As usual, we retain the full names of all ships, including their upgrade version.
From Starfighter through to Dreadnaught, a starship's class helps shape its maneuverability and sensor range statistics. It also determines which shipyard type is needed to construct it.
With the new version, we have many greatly improved autofire scripts for ship special abilities, so we feel comfortable including more than the two accessible from the GUI. In most cases, the tractor beam will be the hidden, autofired ability, and it will usually target whatever the ship has been told to attack. Note here the Imperial II has a Tractor Beam, Emergency Thrusters (power to engines ability) and Blast. Blast is a new ability we have added to many main-line combat ships. It moves the firepower of the main battery (in this case, the octuple turbolasers and turboions) up a notch, so that has increased range and firepower.
We have always included manufacturer bonuses on various appropriate planets such as Kuat. Now you can see exactly which ships will benefit, with the inclusion of the Manufacturer in the infobox.
This is the base hull cost, not including complement (which is included in the final cost at a 50% discount). Costs have been modified across the board to provide a more challenging economic planning experience.
This is the base hull construction time, measured in galactic time. For the Imperial II, this is 15 weeks. Note that building over a world with appropriate shipyard bonuses, or by building more of the same class of shipyard, this time can be dramatically reduced.
Width x length x height, in meters, the basic size of the hull.
The total volume of the hull in cubic meters, often using exponential notation. Here for example, the Imperial II is 121 million cubic meters in volume. This statistic informs hitpoint calculations and has a great effect on the likelihood for a ship to be hit by enemy fire.
With the change to the new space combat mechanics, we have moved towards a more "realistic" approach. While ships still have a capped top speed, it is directly proportional to their acceleration. This is measured in terms of G-force, the acceleration experienced by a being on the surface of a planet with standard gravity, roughly 10 m/s2.
This statistic is the turning speed of the starship, measured in degrees per second. It is primarily class-based.
The class of the hyperdrive in the starship (if any), which determines its ability to travel across the galaxy in hyperspace. The smaller the better!
Here is one of the new statistics. Shielding is now measured in Shield Points (SP) and has an absorption percentage shown after it. This is the amount of damage the shield can absorb from a single shot before it takes SP damage. So for example, a turbolaser shot hitting the Imperial II shield with a damage of 96 will do around 58 points of shield damage.
Hull has also changed a great deal. It is now measured in Hull Points (HP), like that of land combat. This value is primarily volume-based. Following the HP is the armour value and type. The Imperial II has 32 Vehicle armour. This means that it absorbs 32 damage from any incoming shot before the hull itself is damaged. For example, the same 96 damage turbolaser will do 64 points of hull damage on impact.
This statistic shows the maximum and minimum ranges of the weapon systems on the ship, followed by its line of sight range. All values are in meters. In this case, the longest range weapons are the octuple turbolasers, while the shortest are the individual turbolaser cannons.
We have greatly condensed the weapons display into a shorthand that provides much more information. We have done away with "light", "heavy" and so on, instead simply telling you the weapon type, their number, and their damage output. So, here the Imperial II has 6 octuple turbolasers with 240 damage per bolt, 2 octuple turboions with 240 damage per bolt, 2 triple turbolasers with 144 damage per bolt, and so on. Note that ion weapons do 200% damage to shields, but cannot damage anything except Droid armour. The number of tractor beams is also noted, which adjusts the cooldown of the tractor beam ability.
I hope this little snippet has provided some insight to the changes we've been making over the past 18 months. If you have any questions, I will endeavour to answer below, however note that I did not implement these changes myself.
News. Now that's a name I haven't heard in a long time...
Posted by evilbobthebob at Phoenix Rising News on June 17, 2014
Hello Phoenix Rising fans.
First off, I'd like to apologise for the extremely long time between news posts. If this was the only way you kept up with the mod, I can forgive you for thinking we'd ceased development. Those of you who read more of the forums see the team members making comments from time to time, and we made a call for alpha and beta testers for the latest version over the past year. Still, this doesn't make up for the silence we've sustained up to now.
I'd like to change that myself, primarily because I finally have some free time and partly because our team leader and the prime driver of the mod, Phoenix Rising, is without a computer capable of doing modding right now. This isn't particular cause for alarm, because the current build of the mod is very feature-complete. However, there still remain areas that need polish and improvement.
So what have we been doing for the past two years? Our initial plan for the next version of the mod was primarily based on integrating the information provided by the release of The Essential Atlas. As software project tend to do, we experienced some rather strong feature creep, and as one thing led to another, we realised we had a version of the mod that is no longer a mere incremental update. In fact, we have:
- Made numerous changes to improve performance
- Remade and rebalanced the hero system
- Rebalanced tech trees
- Galactic Mode
- Brought our galactic maps in line with The Essential Atlas
- Added new planets
- Entirely rebalanced and remade our core sandbox campaigns (still a work-in-progress)
- Created a new planetary bonus system
- Created a new hyperspace system
- Rebalanced freighters, including the addition of light transports
- Improved the display of research
- Improved land combat
- Begun the process of adding infantry weapon models
- New units
- Improved weather system
- Added many new maps in land and space
- Entirely revamped space combat to be in line with land combat:
- New armour, health and shield system
- New weapon balancing and types
- Better display of unit statistics
- New units
- Increase in map size to accommodate the changes
- Improved land combat
Many of these changes, especially those based around planets and maps, have already been mentioned in prior news posts. Check those for more information on those specific topics. As for the rest, I hope I can bring you more news posts in the near future providing examples and details. In the mean time, I'm happy to answer questions you may have here on the forums.
Grey Goo, the next game from Petroglyph
Posted by Banshee at Petrolution News on March 13, 2014
Petroglyph has recently announced their next real time strategy game: Grey Goo, which should be published by a mysterious company called Greybox. It should feature 3 new factions and all the good and solid mechanisms that makes real time strategy games fun, such as base building, resource collection and a focus on macro-management rather than micro-management. The game will be Windows only originally and it should be sold on Steam. It can be played online and offline (skirmish) and it should feature a story driven campaign. According to Petroglyph, the game should be available on late 2014 and it will feature soundtracks from Frank Klepacki. For more information, head to Grey Goo's Official Website.
Battlestar Galactica at War is back!
Posted by Darthbyron56 at Petrolution News on December 28, 2012
Hey Guys, Byron here. Avid BSG fans will be well aware that between 2010/2011 NBC issued a take down notice of a single BSG mod from Moddb.Since Moddb didn't want to get into trouble they decided to remove all BSG related content from their website.
However, we have started up our Battlestar Mod project again, and hopefully we can continue to develop it without NBC feeling threated by its presence.
So what have we been up to?
Well most of the content used in BSG Colonial Wars needed upgrades. Textures weren't great and most models need re-rigging.
Our Priority at the moment is to re-rig enough units to get you guys a mini-mod by 2013. We are aiming for something small, but quite diverse. We aim to change the graphics of the game so you feel like as if your playing a Total Conversion mod.
As mentioned all models are being Re-rigged, and re coded to be more accurate to the ships shown in the show. We have already re-rigged the Battlestar Galactica, and have put its Flak Shield ability to test against some cylon raiders, and the results are fantastic. The video below from our November update shows you this ability being used.
Due to some set backs re-rigging was placed on hold and minor modding of Factions, Galactic Conquests and Planet placement has taken over at this moment. But I am pleased to announce that we have finally overcome the rigging issues we were experiencing with the rigging process, but I'd like to show you what I've been up to in the meantime.
This video shows the new and updated effects that we are looking to create with our mods Galactic Conquest. As you can see we've taken to offering an accurate representation of a Galaxy by adding in Nebula and Star effects, we've even gone as far as adding Suns to each Galaxy.
The area of space you see in this video is known as Helios Alpha, and is one of the primary Helios for the Tweleve Colonies. It features the following planets:
Let us know what you think, after many attempts at getting the effects to work correctly I cracked it. We are aiming to develop another 3 of these areas for the other Helios' within the Twelve Colonies. You'll also notice some sound updates for the GC.
The mod is well and truly back in production, however as always we must say that Real Life events to come before any modding, so If you haven't heard from us in a while don't assume we are dead, we might just be very busy.
If you want to keep up to date with is visit www.bsgmods.com/forum and register there with us. The forums is quite New and we still don't have many members.
The Road To Coruscant
Posted by Phoenix Rising at Phoenix Rising News on December 10, 2012
Two-and-a-half years after the Empire was sundered and beaten at Endor, the war against its successors has stagnated. The New Republic has failed to gain more than a foothold in the Core and member worlds are beginning to doubt its legitimacy as a galactic government. The risk of this fragile coalition unraveling is too great, thus Supreme Commander Ackbar has drafted a campaign to thrust into the fortified Core and seize the galactic capital. This is the Road to Coruscant.
Director Isard acquired the throne a little more than a year ago; however, it took the sacrifice of Brentaal to the New Republic in a complicated coup to put her there. From Brentaal, there are two paths to Coruscant: through Anaxes, or through Borleias. With Admiral Ragab locked in a standoff with Commandant Wermis on the Brentaal-Anaxes front, any movement on Borleias would require reinforcements. The answer came in the form of resurrecting the all-hero Rogue Squadron.
A secret training base was established on Folor, with General Salm in command. There, six new starfighter squadrons will be forged, including Commander Antilles' Rogue Squadron. The reformed Rogues are made up of seasoned pilots with a variety of leadership skills that, in most cases, also happen to hail from key worlds. They are equal parts elite unit and poster subject.
The plan is to temper the Rogues with a series of active duty exercises against Imperial forces in the relatively quiet Rachuk sector before commencing the main offensive. Rear Admiral Devlia coordinates the sector's Force Escort from the capital of Vladet.
When the time comes, the Rogues will rendezvous with the New Republic Special Forces units staging on Noquivzor, along with whatever Fleet elements Ragab can spare. This group will move on Borleias under General Kre'fey. A word of warning: Borleias may look mundane, but the name has been linked to General Derricote, the eccentric bioweapons engineer.
In addition, Isard has a noted obsession with Rogue Squadron, who had previously helped foil several of her schemes. If the Rogues were ever annihilated to the last pilot, not only would it be a personal victory for her, but also an insurmountable propaganda nightmare for the New Republic.
A more conventional victory for the Empire would occur if loyalist forces were able to reconnect the Perlemian, pushing the New Republic from Brentaal, Ralltiir, and, finally, into the Colonies. Such a position would all but spell an end to the New Republic presence in the Core - and any hope of claiming the capital - for the foreseeable future.
Coruscant, of course, is the only prize for the New Republic. Controlling the Palace would secure the Provisional Council's authority, while the Rotunda would allow a senate to convene for the first time in years. The expected battle will be anything but easy: some of the best units in the Empire are garrisoned here. That's why Rogue Squadron will lead the way.
Recopia: Base of the New Republic Defense Fleet
Posted by evilbobthebob at Phoenix Rising News on December 7, 2012
Situated between the Corellian Run and the Hydian Way, the planet of Recopia is ideally located to strike the other planets of the Core Worlds. This strategic position, and the relative anonymity it provides, made it the base of operations for the New Republic Defense Fleet in the period immediately after the Battle of Endor.
The reason this planet is ignored by the rest of the Core is its geography: sulphurous seas, poisonous fog and a lack of natural resources meant that a mere 200 million sentients call it home. They live scattered across the kilometre-high plateau islands that are dotted across the oceans, connected by bridges or airspeeder.
Due to the sizes of the islands, vehicles cannot be deployed to the surface. Instead, airspeeders and infantry are required of any garrison or attacking force that wishes to take the planet. Any structure on the planet must be carefully chosen to make best use of the limited space available.
The bridges provide choke points and defensible locations, while the small islands end up filled with skirmishing and air-to-air combat amid the lashing rain.
Traveling Through Hyperspace Ain't Like Dusting Crops
Posted by Phoenix Rising at Phoenix Rising News on November 29, 2012
Research has always been an integral part of our development process. No demand has been more of a challenge in that regard than our need to place each planet at a definite galactic location for strategy mode.
When I began the process in the alpha phase of v1.0, there were maybe four official maps available that held any degree of accuracy; all were clearly related by the reference angle. Beyond that were hundreds of raw sources netting thousands of remarks about regional or relative location. Had that been the end of it, my task would have been nearly impossible.
Fortunately, an adolescent Wookieepedia was available to help cut through much of the clutter. And then I found this fellow called Modi, who had translated the askew maps onto a Cartesian plane, allowing me to derive coordinates that could be fed to the engine. It was the Internet equivalent of striking gold - a starting point. Later, JustinGann expanded on Modi's work to include speculative placements, which afforded me a second opinion. The end result was an independent interpretation of the galaxy unique to Phoenix Rising.
It took the single most important update to the canon to void all that effort - for the better. Midway through v1.2, The Essential Atlas hit bookshelves. Every star system that had ever been mentioned was now bound to a region of space 1/576th the area of the galaxy. A great many were placed with certainty. The unprecedented accuracy of the atlas created a dilemma though, as several campaigns had already been finalized for the release. Rather than scrapping them and starting over, we chose to forge on knowing that v1.2's astrography would be flawed. I am pleased to report that the next version will be anything but.
TEA contains dozens of maps, each with its own scale and set of planets. My first step in replotting the galaxy was to composite them at a scale of 1 pixel = 10 lightyears to create a supermap. The digital Mid Rim sector map served as the foundation, since it had no loss of precision from scanning and little artifacting.
With that done, the actual measuring was trivial. The results were better than I ever could have expected: the first planetary coordinates for Abregado-rae came in identical to those already in use. They were not alone. Although I had corrected our most glaring differences - generally those with no frame of reference or cases where TEA chose to reject Rebellion placements while I did not - when prudent in v1.2, our interpretation really held up to intense scrutiny. Only Spuma, which Children of the Jedi had confused with Protazk, and Orinackra were completely off.
The present and final representation of the galaxy is 20% larger than v1.2 and approximately 92 times the area of vanilla. That should be enough space to prevent planetary overlap in all future cases. Several worlds always have to be manually relocated regardless of scale, but not so much as to be a distraction.
As profound as it is to finally have set astrography, a different facet of TEA had an even greater impact on strategic gameplay. The once-sporadic and eclectic collection of hyperlanes was replaced with a vibrant trade network.
In v1.2, we had two kinds of routes: "the Big Five" and "other". There are now four classifications, the most I could objectively derive from official maps. These can be thought of colloquially as "super", "major", "minor", and "trace" routes. Their benefits are scaled linearly, so while traces provide only meager income, they are much quicker than using a navicomputer to punch though an unstable course, as is the case with non-route connections. Obviously not every system can be linked via hyperlane, so we have tried to balance between using intersections and minimizing campaign planet counts.
These connections are now critical to military operations in the Galaxy Far, Far Away. In the next release, fleets will not be able to travel from a planet unless there is an explicit line - we have eliminated proximity jumps. No longer can an invasion bypass Anaxes on the way to Coruscant, players need not guess where to attack and defend, and the AI has fewer perceptions to crunch when executing plans. This is arguably the single best change that has ever happened to strategy mode.
When FoC was released, I never imagined we would be able to deduce coordinates for every star system. If our trials and errors played even a miniscule part in affecting that change, then it was all worth it.
Revora News - Petrolution
Posted by Pasidon at Petrolution News on March 26, 2012
Oh, hi. Pasidon here. So we got the weekly Revora news stuff back up, and you're all invited. Yay... hopefully that made you feel special. But yea, I will be posting news from all around Revora and you guys here at Petrolution are encouraged to get involved. So if you are involved in a project and want it posted in the news, PM me. Or if you guys want, you can get one active member in your community and just have him send me stuff once a week. Send me project links if they are new projects or get a big update. I really want to see you guys get me some news before this Friday for the big reveal... big PR opportunity for the whole community.
Sci-Fi At War Mod Latest Release v0.8
Posted by Digz at Petrolution News on February 26, 2012
A new version of the Sci-Fi at War Mod has been released, we have been informed by Spinobreaker that this may be the last update for a while, so make sure you get this update of the mod and treasure it! Click the download button below to start your modgasm!
Also please be aware that some people are having some issues starting this mod up, if you are getting these problems please look at the file ModDB page located here and check for comments. If you have any problems please post here too and when a fix has been found a news post will be posted here so everyone can see the fix.
But I've learned so much!
Posted by Ghostrider at Phoenix Rising News on January 7, 2012
With the stunning potential of the Freerunner model in full view, combined with the skeletal structure of the land mod in place, Phoenix Rising approached me the end of 2010 with a challenge: resurrect the Training Manual for the mod.
I had initially tried to write a training manual during 2010, but the idea never had any real structure and the project was put back on the shelf to gather dust.
The need for a manual had been building unseen for months. When we started development of V1.2 all those months ago, the mod was still small enough to be able to play by instinct and a few basic tool tips. As mod development continued, we were able to keep track of the expansion in units through simple documentation. However, as time went on this became more involved, with some fairly complex spreadsheets to keep track of space forces, the expanding number of planets and their advantages.
Then we added heroes. Lots of heroes. The complement system changed and more independent space units were added. Somewhere in the future the sheer scale of the mod would be too great to simply play by instinct alone, and too complex to try and remember everything as a developer.
The decision to redo the land mechanic from scratch became the focus for some form of supporting literature. However, the new land combat system is so totally different in design and depth that it would be hard for even the most experienced players to learn how to fight well on land. Support literature was needed, for players and designers alike.
But what form should this documentation take?
The old concept of the Training Manual came back to life and this time it had real purpose – help explain the nuances of ground and space combat and help players to make the most of all the development work that has created Phoenix Rising. The Technical Manual was born.
As a graphic designer by trade with access to some high-end design software, I wanted the manual to be both informative and visually exciting. The design software can output to PDF, making it an ideal package to create an easy to read and near universal distribution format, and in shape I wanted the manual to fill the screen nicely and frame the new 3D renders created by Nertea. In addition, the copious library of screenshots could serve to illustrate units in action and key points of gameplay if required.
Once the basic structure of the manual was underway, a framing device was needed for the top and bottom of the page, and what better than an iconic screenshot of an Imperial-class Star Destroyer underbelly taken during initial testing of Operation Skyhook, deliberately taken to mimic the opening frames of “A New Hope”.
Tinted starscapes of Bespin space battles would initially serve as a background colour for the main text, but were since dropped in favour of another Skyhook screenshot featuring all the classic rebellion era units, including the DEATH STAR.
For the land pages, Phoenix Rising’s epic initial battle of Freerunners vs AT-AT’s on dusty Brentaal were unbeatable as background images and we simply had to include Nertea’s efforts in full detail.
But what of the text itself?
For me, nothing short of a full technical manual would do, as part of the fun of being involved in development is discovering what actually happens if you push the Power to Weapons button mid battle, or wondering exactly how much more firepower you get if you upgrade those Dual Laser cannons to Quads. There have also been a tremendous number of esoteric discussions about almost every aspect of the mod, for example wondering why Dark Empire-era AT-AT’s are so terrifyingly effective. With the manual we can add this information in and fill in all sorts of interesting details and share some of the development buzz.
It also gives us the opportunity to thank in detail the vast number of contributors to the mod, and highlight some of the hidden work that often goes unnoticed by testers and other members of the team.
Although it would be nice to have a full technical readout of every weapon, starship, upgrade, planet, hero and tank in the mod, clearly this would have to wait and to be built up chapter by chapter. For V1.2 an introductory General Overview and a Military Overview would suffice, hopefully giving players enough information to understand the basics of space and land combat, with the shorter space section covering useful updates while the Land section required a a complete breakdown of the new combat mechanic in its entirety, as trying to make the most of the new combat system would be a serious challenge without literature, and most players would miss out on critical tactical information this would make play harder and much less enjoyable.
Little did we know at the time that these two chapters would develop over the last year to over 100 pages, positively crammed with hints, tips, screenshots and enough technical data to keep an R2 unit happy for weeks. The manual also gives us an opportunity to thanks all the huge number of contributors to the mod over this lengthy development cycle, including the efforts of the various campaign testers and the output of our newest addition to the Phoenix Rising Team, evilbobthebob – our lead mapper.
The Space section of Chapter II includes data on all the space-based weapon systems, a detailed review of unit abilities and a look at the underpinning mechanics of space unit classes, covering armor types accuracy, damage control parties and other useful information. A full section describing all the different defensive and offensive abilities and a review of the compliment system rounds off the technical aspects of
A Recent Addition
In the last month a new major section has been added to the manual. A rather innocuous comment on the forums – on a completely unrelated topic naturally – made me realise that there was a gap in the manual. Many players are not aware of the full potential and fleet roles of the huge variety of units in the Rebel and Imperial fleets.
This has now been resolved with a full 20 page review of all player fleet units, together with indications of their upgrade potential in the General Overview section. This and should provide commanders with greater insights into how to improve their combat skills, especially when paired with the technical briefings contained in Chapter II.
Discussion with the testers has since added a couple of pages of tactical notes and some great gameplay tips, together to make the General Overview complete.
The Land Section of the Military Overview provides complete details of the Land combat mechanic, describing the key difference between 5 units classes of Droids, Infantry, Walker, Crawler and Speeder, describing in detail the strengths and weaknesses of each class, how units are produced and full technical readouts of upgrades. Tips and strategy are included, indicating all the facets of gameplay, from bombing runs to infantry garrisons in vehicles.
You get to see the full weapon load-outs of all independent enemy units, and some stunning images of all the new units that have been introduced or converted for the intensity of planetary invasion as seen from a mud-hugging trooper or armoured assault carrier.
And if this was not enough, we have full listings of all land weapon systems with damage tables for the multitude of pistols, rifles, carbines, grenade launchers, flamethrowers, mines, and heavy vehicle-based weaponry that are now in regular use!
These two chapters are just the beginning. As indicated earlier, the aim is to eventually put together a comprehensive technical manual for the mod, and the plan is to slowly release additional chapters as and when they are written!
The next chapter to be written will be Galactic Mode, used as a guide to help players make the most of all the information available to them, and this will also include details on hyperspace travel, trade routes, spying, information gathering and so on – but that won’t be started until after the release.
Following that will be chapters on Economy and Production at the very least – but this will all take months to complete, and as we progress into the development of V1.3, more time will be required to update existing chapters as well as writing new ones.
The V1.2 Manual will be included as a PDF with the release, and as always, we look forward to the ideas and comments this generates on the forums and I am sure V1.3 development will benefit as a result.
We Would Be Honored If You Would Join Us
Posted by Phoenix Rising at Phoenix Rising News on December 28, 2011
For two years, Nertea has been my Shadow Hand, operating strictly behind the scenes in our effort to transform land combat. While it was great for the suspense of the announcement, admittedly, that was a terrible way to welcome someone to the team. I'd like to use this post, which highlights his remaining vehicles realized under v1.2, to give him a proper show of community appreciation. Without his contributions, the ground revamp would not have been possible.
Mobquet designed the Overracer Speeder Bike to do one thing: zoom. In terms of raw velocity, it's one of the best bikes on the market that isn't hampered by the control issues shared by swoops. Other than the optional light blaster cannon, there are few amenities of note, which is fine to the racers and scouts that primarily employ the Overracer. It's become a favorite of groups opposed to the New Order, which have been known to strip it even further to maximize stealth potential.
The newfound Empire conscripted Uulshos Manufacturing to build an armored command landspeeder to replace the LAAT in the role of ferrying officers in battle. The result was the QH-7 Chariot Light Assault Vehicle. Despite the bulk associated with tactical computers, encrypted comm units, and active countermeasures, the Chariot boasts impressive speed thanks to five thruster engines. On backwater worlds, the belly laser cannon allows it to double as a combat vehicle.
The Arrow-23 is a utility landspeeder that Aratech markets towards nature enthusiasts on semi-developed planets. It is larger and better armored than the typical family speeder to provide a certain level of comfort in the wild. It's also blazingly fast and highly modifiable, qualities that make it attractive to paramilitary organizations. The Alliance ended up with so many Arrow-23 Landspeeders that it became the default option for tramp shuttle, heavy scout, and battlefield ambulance.
When the Confederacy collapsed, the potential size of the Empire effectively doubled and, despite omnipresent propaganda, its forces were continuously spread thin as it pushed Rimward. Nen-Carvon offered a solution in the form of the PX-10 Compact Assault Vehicle, a self-driving light tank with a singular crew requirement. The tracked chassis is near impervious to pre-industrial technology, although its sensory inputs can be electronically jammed. Still, the PX-10 has been used against unruly Core denizens.
Ubrikkia Transports debuted the Talon I in the interwar period when galactic crime was on the rise. It is a modern example of an older concept: a militarized airspeeder built to engage starfighters in atmosphere. Although lacking the shields and powerplant of a spaceworthy craft, its sleek fuselage allows the Talon I Combat Cloud Car to excel at dogfighting. They are common to metropolitan defense forces and are occasionally fielded by the Empire in favor of noisier TIEs.
New Maps Part Two
Posted by evilbobthebob at Phoenix Rising News on December 5, 2011
As promised, here is the second news post about the new maps coming to Phoenix Rising with the release of version 1.2. I hope you'll enjoy fighting on them as much as I enjoyed making them!
We begin with the grey ecumenopolis of Denon. Situated in a strategically important hyperlane intersection, this is an important world to control in many campaigns.
The landing zone at Denon offers a number of paths to the main base, and provides ample space for heavy equipment to be landed.
The long, wide streets are excellent for walkers and speeders alike. Infantry can shelter between some buildings to keep them out of the line of fire.
Altogether a nicer planet than Denon, Champala is an oceanic world, home to the Changrian species. Its rapidly changing tides meant that the native coastal cities are adapted to being partially submerged for extended periods.
One of the coastal cities of Champala nestles below an eroded cliff face.
Repulsorlift vehicles are recommended for attacks on Champala and all oceanic worlds, though walkers and wheeled tanks can ford some of the shallow sand banks.
The base on Champala is set on massive concrete foundations with heavy drainage pipes to keep the worst of the tides away from the main structures.
Far in the Outer Rim, New Alderaan is, as the name suggests, the homeworld of Alderaanians who escaped their planet's destruction. Much like Alderaan, it is a temperate world, though with strong seasonal variation.
A landing zone directly outside the main base, this should be held by defenders for as long as possible. It provides an excellent flaking route for attackers.
Deep in the mountains, this pass can be used to ambush attackers or flank round heavy defences.
AT-ATs emerge from the mist to assault the New Republic defensive line. The forest can provide cover for ambushing infantry.
A relatively unimportant world in the Outer Rim, Ord Biniir was covered in canyons and as a result, favoured by podracers.
The initial landing zone on Ord Biniir gives attackers a number of different canyons to choose from, some leading to the enemy base, some going to more hidden corners of the map.
The main base on Ord Biniir, built on one of the plateaus separating the winding canyons. Part of the rear base wall has collapsed, giving attackers an alternate route and providing defenders with a way to reinforce their ramp if necessary.
The main canyons surrounding the base. If turbolaser defences are present, heavy vehicles or anti-vehicle infantry are a must!
Well, that's all from me for a while. I have plenty more maps in the pipeline. Other big map changes in 1.2 include revamped structure positions in Galactic Conquest: now your ISDs can navigate those station defences! All space skirmish maps have been scaled up too, so starbases can no longer bombard each other as soon as the battle begins and ships can pathfind much more effectively.
Vote Us Mod Of The Year 2011
Posted by Phoenix Rising at Phoenix Rising News on December 1, 2011
There's a really easy way for us to get all the talent we need to complete v2.0, and that's to be awarded Mod of the Year. Well, maybe it's not easy to win, but it does only take five seconds of your time to vote. Just follow the red button to Mod DB and click the green "Vote For This Mod" box on our profile.
Look, awards are nice and all, but the real goal here is to increase our exposure. If one person downloads PR because they saw a vote for us on the live scoreboard, then that's a success. So please vote for us if you can spare five seconds, and if you can spare ten, hit up The Dwarf Holds as well. Cheers.
Prepare For Ground Assault
Posted by Phoenix Rising at Phoenix Rising News on November 30, 2011
In December 2009, I received an unexpected message from a fellow mod leader here at Revora that would alter the path of v1.2 development. Nertea, from The Dwarf Holds, offered his expertise on vehicle modeling. This set in motion a course of events that would come to define the release. What v0.1 was for space combat, v1.2 will be for land combat. In effect, this will be our Land Mini-Mod.
The last version was a false start for ground battles, more raw specs than mechanic. While there is still much work to be done before we can declare a PR v2.0, the essence of Land is here now. We have a robust framework in place that is just waiting to flourish into a complete game mode. Our goal? To bring epicness and accuracy planetside. And to do it even better than we did for space.
There are obvious drawbacks in our decision to delay ground development, but one of the benefits is veterancy: we're all better at this than we were five years ago. Given the opportunity to start again essentially from scratch, I'm certain we can craft a superior experience.
The difference between land and space, however, is more than a matter of gravity. There is a real dichotomy here for a number of reasons, at the root of which is the science fiction axiom of "why bother with land battles when you can fight in space". We know relatively little about ground combat during the Galactic Civil War - it just isn't written about. This leaves us with a fairly open canvas.
While depictions of army battles in our era are few, we fortunately have some phenomenal roleplaying material from which to draw individual units - great concepts that have been perpetually trapped in stat blocks and two dimensions. Given the movie models we had on-hand already from EaW, our most dire need was clear: the Armored Freerunner. That was the unit Nertea first set out to recreate that winter, thus commencing our renewed take on land combat.
The Freerunner is the product that put its manufacturer, Kelliak Arms and Armor Company, out of business. This nefarious distinction had little to do with battlefield performance - the medium repulsortank features great speed and fire coverage. Rather, it was the result of walker bias beginning to take hold on the Imperial Army following the Clone Wars. The Armored Freerunner never entered general deployment with the Empire and KAAC went bankrupt, forcing the units to be sold off to anyone who would pay. Ironically, the versatile Freerunner quickly showed up in the hands of dissidents, where it would become the foundation of the Alliance cavalry.
As the model neared completion in February 2010, I began jotting numbers down on my whiteboard, starting with damage values and recharge rates for blaster archetypes. The roleplaying literals used in v1.1 failed for us because that genre is handicapped for player characters; the new format would be customized and exclusive to PR. Small arms got weaker, while cannons became more powerful. Recharge times, which used to mimic relative cyclic rates, would return to the familiar two-second cooldown of space combat, with two notable exceptions: carbines and repeating blasters fire 50% faster; turbolasers fire 50% slower.
The next step was to come up with armor and shield classes. Normally, this is where EaW applies its rock-paper-scissors logic, but that's not us - our armor works by subtracting from damage received, while shields offer protection in terms of percentage. The mistake I made last time was allowing units to become invincible if armor exceeded damage, so a half-point minimum is now in place for any regular hit. The exception to this is special damage, which is tied to armor type: Organic, Droid, or Vehicle. An Organic attack, such as a poison, ignores armor reduction when used against Organic armor; however, it does no damage to other armor types and generally should not target them, in practice. Non-lethal effects, such as stun, are also largely based around armor type.
Ranges then rapidly fell into place. From v1.1, it was clear that literal distances and speeds would not work in a game that rarely represented more than 200 meters of a planet using its own scale. Authentic values could still be used for small arms, but they would need to be condensed. The range of cannons, which can even exceed the size of our biggest land maps when done exactly, would best be planned around the camera and how much can fit on-screen at a time. Once I decided that blaster accuracy should be inclined towards infantry and laser accuracy should be inclined towards vehicles - similar to the laser/turbolaser dynamic of space - the basis of combat was established.
Before anything could be put in data though, it would be prudent to go back to the source materials and reevaluate mechanized armaments under our new framework. Problematically, different titles use "blaster" and "laser" interchangeably, or seemingly at random. On top of that are RPG damage values, which tell another story of how the gun works, separate from the caliber descriptor. These inconsistencies were largely mediated by role and context, so while our armaments may not match every official claim, we stand behind their legitimacy.
At this point, I began updating the damage-to-armor matrices, projectile code, and hardpoints - enough to get vehicles running. By March, the new ground mechanic was ready for its first real test. I built Freerunners and headed for Brentaal. The ensuing battle was one of the most rewarding moments I've had as a developer. Land was playable again. And, for the first time ever, we had an exclusive unit that we alone took from paper to game, fighting on a map made for this mod.
With vindication came distress: the number of land models available to us was still terribly limited, perhaps unbalancingly so, and there was no quick way to remedy that. The best option, we decided, was to delay the release and commence work on upgrades, essentially adding the functionality for what we dub a "mini-mod". That meant that Ghostrider would more or less have to scrap the ground portion of the campaigns that were already finished. Nertea moved on to the next model and I went back to the whiteboard.
Just as space upgrades were originally metered by the prolific X-wing series, the AT-AT would serve as our gauge for land. Everything we needed to accomplish with a unit - both historically and for depth of gameplay - could be done in four variants. Breakthroughs for armies seemingly progress at a slower rate than they do for navies, so this represents only half the improvement of a fully upgraded space unit, but also costs half as much.
Once again, I've tried to ensure a niche role for each faction unit; however, in a departure from space, abilities are no longer mostly class-based. Instead, we have some innovative powers that might only be available to a single unit: self-healing armors, repulsorlift jammers, point-blank EMPs. Pure combat abilities in the style of Power to Weapons are less common and have been reserved for true battlefield juggernauts.
Dealing with upgrades gave me a chance to clean up unit tooltips as well. Obviously anything would be an improvement over the non-descriptions in current use, although the space unit block text isn't ideal either. I had naively thought that EaW would parse newlines for popup strings when I first started writing them for space; of course, it doesn't, and the format just stuck. The only way to get text on different lines is to use multiple strings, so I trialled a modular format this time to take advantage of that. The stat blocks are much more clean and readable now and buildable land units have even begun to show prose descriptions, for those that prefer words to numbers. Progress!
Hitpoints took a while to calibrate. We've normally used strict conversions from official figures to determine the amount of punishment a unit can take before it's considered destroyed. Those numbers were in place from the previous release and were immediately quadrupled for all vehicles. That gave them the longevity that was missing, but certain units still felt off during testing. On paper even, some of the canon stats just didn't make sense - speeder bikes were rated tougher than skyhoppers. It became necessary for us to find our own way. So, while I haven't abandoned our sources if they can fit, I will supersede anything that does not with a value that works in the engine. And the game plays better for it.
The vehicle focus up to this point is intentional, as infantry had suffered from longstanding coding complications dating back to retail EaW, when most land units and all infantry had perfect aim by virtue of non-working XML accuracy tags. This is the default implementation and was never acceptable to us. The alternative is to use hardpoints, which were not meant to go with containers, the "circles" that form infantry into squads, since they create a disconnect in targeting, among other issues. The jury-rigged fix for the previous release was to use the simplest container possible, but that meant that individual troops were doing their own pathfinding, were uncohesive, and were getting stuck all over the map. When I sorted out team targeting and locomotion in April and infantry started firing on their own, all the intricacy and nuance of our small arms design from v1.1 became apparent for the first time.
Is Han the same character without his DL-44? We think not: blasters are too varied in terms of damage, range, and capacity to simply call two pistols equal. Although lacking art and tooltips, our soldiers have always used specific weapon models where it counts, in data. And not just a single weapon like vanilla - thanks to hardpoints, combatants can brandish as many arms as they can realistically carry. In fact, we've simulated almost every weapon in existence for this era, down to the esoteric, from power hammers to wrist rockets to shatter guns, with special care taken to preserve connotation and rarity in how they are used.
These were essential in correcting my previous oversight of indigenous units and structures. Due to release expediency, many files were simply left in their original state. These have since either been converted or met the delete key, with the most noticeable changes for players being to indigenous. Houses are still in place on the maps, but nothing spawns from them, there is no associated bounty, and they're not destructable. Essentially, they're just ordinary props now, with mobs being placed exclusively through starting forces. 19 alien species were added under the civilian archetype, which will be the standard way of representing non-Humans to prevent excessive variantation. Civilians are also unique in that they come in double-strength platoons of 80 to showcase their numerical advantage.
Unfortunately, no one was ever missing in a firefight. I'd always thought of in-game accuracy as an angle and thus was sitting around doing trigonometry trying to figure out better values to use, until Ghost mentioned in May that it's actually a measurement of spread between a group of shots at maximum range. The last point is key, since that's what ultimately determines the fire cone. All land hardpoints were redone to account for the mistake. Infantry were divided into accuracy groups - civilian, military, elite, and hero - with each group using a consistent angle, irrespective to range to simulate shooting with the naked eye. In other words, at 100 meters, a pistol and a rifle are equally inaccurate, even though rifle fire likely has triple the effective range. The opposite approach was taken with vehicles: we've assumed that targeting computer quality is proportional to weapon range, so all mounted cannons are just as inaccurate at 50% of their respective maximums.
With ground combat in excellent shape for testing, my focus shifted to aiding Ghostrider with Operation Shadow Hand, which hadn't been overhauled since v1.0. By June, Nertea had completed his second vehicle, the Heavy Tracker.
The Mekuun Heavy Tracker is a repulsorlift support vehicle designed to house an omniprobe sensor array. This technological breakthrough in the wake of the Clone Wars allows for ground-level detection unimpeded by terrain, a blind spot for existing omnidirectional sensors. Long-range scanning is used to great effect with the topside artillery laser. Trackers typically double as command units for the Rebellion, where they are able to set up rogue reinforcement points with the aid of a landing zone beacon repeater. Although very well armored, the abundance of electronics makes them fat, somewhat fragile targets.
Much of the remaining year was consumed by countless attempts to implement a custom AI, although I continued to expand our projectile roster and convert vanilla units that had been missed. In total, five previously unused troopers, three droids, and eight vehicles were adapted from Petroglyph assets, while the T-16 Skyhopper, Luxury Sail Barge, B1 Battle Droid, B2 Super Battle Droid, Low Altitude Assault Transport, and Mygeeto land map were assimilated from community releases.
One of the last major changes was to reinvent the bombing run for PR. When bombardment was added in FoC, little was done to differentiate it from the carpet-bombing runs of EaW: both were indiscriminate area attacks. Additionally, there was only nominal difference between bomber types. Given our emphasis on statistical transparency, this grew intolerable in the new mechanic, so I devised a way to reliably bridge space and land. All ground bombers were afforded the same characteristics as their orbital counterparts, including weapon systems. There is now a huge difference between supporting an invasion with TIE Targeters and Scimitar Assault Bombers, although in case both are present, the game will automatically pick the better unit. Pilots strafe with energy weapons and actively target enemies with warheads - no more dumping the bomb bay. This is accomplished with conventional land projectiles; the only special case is for reloads: bombers can't launch more warheads on a run than they can carry.
The rest of the time was spent collaborating, documenting, experimenting, implementing, testing, fixing, balancing, and optimizing - the daily grind that often isn't newsworthy. Special thanks must go out to the testing team for a year and a half of silent toil. I put off announcing the land revamp this long to avoid a repeat of the last release, where when it came time to wrap up, land was barely a concept. This time, we ended up with something tremendously polished, yet still very much incomplete. Whether or not we can see this through to the end partially depends on fan and community support, so after you download the upcoming release, tell us what you think about it on the forums, and if you like it, tell a friend! That friend might just be the next member of our team.