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31-12

2018

Yuuzhan Vong at War Mod Spotlight

Posted by Digz at Petrolution News on December 31, 2018

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The Yuuzhan Vong at War Mod got an honourable mention in this years Best Upcoming Mod of the Year Awards and did so in 2016 in a similar category, so what is all the fuss about? 

 

The mod looks to bring a new era into the game, one talked about in Star Wars lore as being the greatest threat to the galaxy, we see Grand Admiral Thrawn mention it several times in the books and it brings genuine fear that a threat so large can come from the Unknown Regions that could destroy the entire galaxy. The mod is looking to be released as some point in 2019, with various stages of releases to accompany the different elements of the mod, it's a refreshing approach from the development team to release in stages and focus on the elements of getting those right whilst working on the larger incremental updates. 

 

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By focusing on just one of the game modes, "Aftermath" below is the description of the game mode which describes it better than I ever could, source can be found here:

 

The Aftermath mode is a unique and exiting experience. You are the commander of a crippled battle cruiser that was left behind after a fleet engagement. Your job is it to not only protect the beings under your command but go even further and get your ship back up and running. Resources are scarce and limited, and you’ll have to send out your transports to gather resources from debris fields and wrecked ships on the battlefield.

Once you started to scour the battlefield for scraps and debris, you will make a scary discovery: It’s not only your ship that was left behind. An hostile battle cruiser suffered a similar fate, and its commander is trying to repair the ship as well.

This is the moment you will enter into an arms race and whoever manages to repair the ship first will have the fire power to defeat the enemy once and for all.

 

The mod even has its own technology upgrade structure which it has aligned to the Yuuzhan Vong war which lasts five years, aligning it with that makes much more sense and each faction will upgrade differently according to their own characteristics by lore. More information on the technology upgrade can be found on their Mod DB page here.

 

The mod also features updates to the galaxy map and adds realism and authenticity to it, it also adds in a concept of "nav points" they allow for re-routing during the longer hyperspace routes. So with all these exciting changes to the gameplay mechanics, new factions too, and adhering to the lore that captures the imagination of most Star Wars fans it is no surprise why this mod was an honourable mention for best upcoming mod category.We expect great things here!

 

If you want to get the latest updates for the mod make sure you stay tuned here and also visit their website and their Mod DB page. 

18-12

2017

v2.0 Changelog

Posted by evilbobthebob at Phoenix Rising News on December 18, 2017

Below is a summary of changes to v2.0, as well as notes regarding what will be included in the demo version, coming soonTM

General

 

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  • Rewritten AI to be more intelligent and challenging
    • AI now has some factional differences in style
    • AI will correctly build units and structures based on its planetary bonuses
    • Improved AI in tactical mode
  • Rebalanced tech trees
  • Functional CSA faction (full release only)
  • Sweeping optimization improvements
    • Addition of “light” campaign options for those who prefer high performance
  • Many quality-of-life improvements
    • Tooltips for all units contain all the statistic information you need
    • Improved advisor hints to introduce you to the mod’s features
    • Building and shipyard tooltips tell you what they can produce
    • Improved research display
  • Difficulty levels:
    • Easy: AI gets 10% fewer credits and takes 10% longer to build units
    • Normal: AI is exactly on par with the player
    • Hard: AI gets 10% more credits, takes 10% less time to build units, and units have 20% more damage, 20% more health, and 25% more shields.

Galactic Mode

 

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  • Rewritten galactic conquests (Demo featured: Operation Skyhook)
  • All hyperspace travel now done via hyperlanes, with bonus speed and income from different sizes of route
  • Starships now cost population proportional to their crew requirements
  • Complete overhaul of planet locations, bonuses, and abilities
    • Planets now provide population carefully calculated from their statistics
    • Bonuses are rebalanced and clarified with improved tooltips
    • Planet info screens notify you of environmental or population conditions that affect production
  • Many new planets added
  • Overhaul of planet icons and base level display
  • New planet textures
  • Over 50 new ground maps for v2.0, many new space maps
  • Restoration of classic EAW sandbox missions (full release only, not demo)
  • Rebalanced freighters

Skirmish Mode

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  • Both land and space skirmish are available (though land skirmish is still unfinished for the CSA)
  • Space skirmish has been completely rebalanced to be more of a competitive experience
    • Units build faster and are cheaper
    • Income scales better with station level
    • Unit costs and build times balanced per unit and per unit class
  • AI greatly improved compared to v1.2

Space Combat

 

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  • New armor/shield/damage system for space combat, bringing it in line with our ground combat changes from v1.2.
    • Damage is now applied after armor subtraction e.g. laser damage 16 vs armor 12 does only 4 damage to a starship hull.
    • Torpedoes and some other weapons can pierce armor.
    • This means that light craft can barely damage capital ships. All weapons do a minimum of 0.5 damage if armor is equal to or greater than weapon damage.
    • Shields absorb a percentage of damage from incoming fire based on unit class
  • New space units (* = buildable in demo): Lictor-class Dungeon Ship, Providence-class Destroyer*, Belbullab-22 starfighter, Defender Starfighter*, TIE Vanguard, Diamond-class courier ship, Manka-class war Frigate*, G-1A Starfighter, Sheathipede-class Transport Shuttle, Y-85 Titan Dropship*, YV-100 Light Freighter, YV-330 Light Freighter, YV-929 Armed Freighter
  • Rebalanced starship and starfighter weapons for the new combat system, rewriting thousands of hardpoints
  • Space Colonies are now armed with turbolasers at all levels, and provide minor fire support to defending fleets

Ground Combat

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  • New ground combat bunker system, with many civilian structures available to hide your infantry
  • New ground vehicles (* = buildable in demo): AAT, HMP gunship, MTT, OG-9, S-1 Firehawke*, V-Wing Airspeeder*
  • Improved weather system and atmospheric effects- don’t let infantry get stranded on planets with a Type IV atmosphere!
  • Infantry carry appropriately-modeled weapons in most cases
  • New ground structures: Bank, Listening Outpost

Heroes

  • New hero system with consistent hero ratings and upgrade paths
    • Space heroes now require a flagship to attach to in many cases
  • New heroes (* = playable in demo release): 4-LOM, Adar Tallon, Andoorni Hui, Apailana, Appo, Barrow Oicunn, Bevven*, Blitzer Harrsk, Bror Jace, Clyngunn, Cody, Comeg, Corran Horn, Crueya Vandron, Devlia, Erisi Dlarit, Evir Derricote, Gavin Darklighter, Ghorin, Haashn, Havet Storm, Hurst Romodi*, Kirtan Loor, Kosh Teradoc, Laryn Krefey, Lujayne Forge, Male Dee, Mawsh’iye, Meena Tills, Morteos, Nawara Ven, Odd Ball, Onara Kuat, Ooryl Qrygg, Osted Wermis, Peshk Vrisyk, Ragab, Rhysati Ynr, Riv Shiel, Rojahn, Sander Delvardus, Shaak Ti, Shea Hublin, Talon Karrde, Tensiger*, Terrinald Screed, Thaneespi, Theol Drost*, Treuten Teradoc, Tundra Dowmeia, Uwlla Iillor, Verrack, Zel Johans*, Zsinj, Zuckuss

Operation Skyhook- Demo Release GC

  • Experience the lead-up to A New Hope from both sides of the Galactic Civil War, as told in the Legends universe
  • Selection of missions provide guidance in the early stages of the campaign. The later stages are up to you!
  • Command the Rebel Alliance from hidden fighter bases, striking against Imperial convoys and trying to discover the location of the Death Star construction site
  • Lead the Galactic Empire to victory, protecting the Death Star and crushing the Rebellion across the galaxy
  • The Galactic Empire is recommended for first time players of Phoenix Rising.

4-9

2017

New Patch for Star Wars: Empire at War (Steam)

Posted by Banshee at Petrolution News on September 4, 2017

It seems that Disney has recently made some kind of deal that made Petroglyph add some interesting updates to the Steam version of the game. Here's their developer note about this subject:

 

A note from the developer.


Hi Everyone,

We have continued to watch the EAW community closely over the years and appreciate all the excellent support you have given us and the game. Thanks to all of you for the great feedback, awesome mod packs, and overwhelmingly positive reviews.

Check out the full press release here.

Here is a list of improvements made to the game.

· Steam multiplayer support in both FOC and EAW
· Enabled selection/list of player mods on hard drive, including mods via Steamworks
· Enabled windowed mode support
· Additional bug fixes and optimizations

We hope you enjoy this special update.

- Petroglyph

 

 

In a small note: the original multiplayer worked with GameSpy, which is gone for a very long time already.

10-12

2012

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.

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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.

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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.

30-11

2011

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

16-2

2011

I Think, Therefore I Am

Posted by Phoenix Rising at Phoenix Rising News on February 16, 2011

It never worked.

No one could tell in the beginning, when we were still like vanilla. We got our first hint of the truth with research. Then the attacks began to quiet, and colonies disappeared. If we continued to change, there would soon be no game.

We changed anyway.

The task ahead was unprecedented: create a fully customized artificial intelligence. Despite a community's best efforts, it had never before been achieved. All attempts to alter the equations, the AI's means of perceiving the state of the game, had failed.

It turns out that FoC actually runs two distinct AIs: its own and EaW's. There is no way to alter the original EaW AI through modding FoC. It can, however, be circumvented.

And we have finally done so. After an arduous process of black box testing with no debug tools and too many distinct exception fixes to remember, Phoenix Rising can think.

My main objective with the AI in this release, besides deciphering a confusing system architecture so that it might work, was to return all the functionality it had out-of-the-box. It would need to be taught to reason in terms of our rules instead of those of the original game. Every line of every script and equation would need to be reviewed and, if necessary, converted.

In previous versions of PR, the base AI became dysfunctional as gameplay gradually changed. Some features went unaffected, while others shut down entirely. This iteration should return everything to its disposal.

A few aspects of the original AI would explicitly not make the transfer. Gone are the cheat scripts that spawned everything from cash to structures to dreadnaughts. The future will be won or lost on our own merits.

Before I began, a unique category type was created for each unit class in the game. It's now possible to easily distinguish between freighters and corvettes in the code, which, despite their very different roles, wasn't previously practical. More than just an AI improvement, this has benefits for anything that deals with units.

The conversion yielded an operational AI adapted to our scope and terminology, but with essentially the same logical processes as vanilla. For the space and land portion of the AI, this was acceptable - reformulating equations from scratch and adding new behaviors are projects for a later date.

Galactic AI was another matter. In EaW, a surprising portion of it simply did not work - rarely would you see an enemy Infiltrator Facility, Officer Academy, Cantina, Hutt Palace, or Mining Facility. Given its reaction to our splitting the Star Base, there was little left to salvage. Infrastructure, as it were, would have to be built from the ground up.

Once again, a subproject was called for and all structures were reevaluated. Why teach the AI how to build when the blueprints might be outdated? Basic stats like cost, time, and integrity were tweaked, but that's just the start.

We had a clean slate for land, so nothing would be held sacred. Starships are naturally organized into classes based on their size, but what about ground vehicles? EaW split them into indiscrete groups of "light", "heavy", and "advanced". I prefer to think of vehicles in terms of their method of locomotion. In that trend, there will be three types of factory: the Crawler Factory, for traction-based units; the Walker Factory, for legged vehicles; and the Speeder Factory, for anything that hovers. All building prerequisites were removed.

What's the difference between SecForce and SpecForce? We felt it was more than just a letter - the need for dichotomous barracks has been apparent for some time. With generic heroes steadily approaching pointlessness in favor of named, the Officer Academy no longer made sense. Its models were cannibalized to create a new concept for Stormtrooper and Special Forces types, the Elite Barracks. The suddenly redundant Infiltrator Facility was discarded.

"Hutt Palace" felt too factional, so it was replaced with a functionally identical Guild House. The HVs-2 Hypervelocity Gun and m-68 Planetary Magnepulse Cannon are no longer buildable by the Empire; in their place is the w-165 Planetary Turbolaser. The term "Star Base" has been retired in favor of "Orbital Shipyard". Finally, space research and upgrades are now conducted from a Research Station, which opens up use of places like The Maw and its Research 3 advantage.

With structures settled, work on the AI could begin in earnest. For every strategic and tactical goal available to the AI, there is an underlying equation that resolves to a number representative of desire to perform said action. Goals are organized into likewise sets; the goal with the highest desire in a set is executed by a plan - provided that the cost of the plan fits into the AI's budget. This process is repeated after a time interval given by the goal for every applicable object or area in the game. In the case of infrastructure, it's always considering friendly planets.

The first step in a new equation is to establish a constant desire to be modified by factors in the game. For production facilities, we use a large number that scales down as the faction reaches an "ideal" galactic ratio of structures to planets. For something like a Mining Facility or Golan SpaceGun, we're more concerned about not exceeding a local ratio. Others require unique considerations.

In all cases, it's prudent to include some basic checks to eliminate choices that break the rules. For example, the AI should not try to build stations if there is no colony, or a Walker Factory if it is Rebel, or two Research Facilities. Decisions should also be weighted by the relative value of a target planet, whether it is connected to an enemy player or not, and possibly by what other structures are present.

The aforementioned logic could work for any FoC mod, but this is our AI. Remember the planetary advantage update I posted about last year? It understands them intrinsically. Clone worlds get Elite Barracks. Research Stations are built at places with Archives. And Mining Facilities become increasingly difficult to pass up the greater the bonus.

It all adds up to an opponent that can do everything a human player can do - including win. Sure, it may throw units at you like it always has in battle, but its bases will be laid out with master precision. And that is the foundation.

10-9

2010

“I don’t like you!”

Posted by Ghostrider at Phoenix Rising News on September 10, 2010

Step into the wrong cantina, tell fat jokes to a Hutt, or fly against illegally modified fighters and transports are three quick ways to die.

As the campaigns have evolved, so have the pirate variants and assorted semi-legal and illegal starfighters, transports and even larger pirate vessels. Some of the semi-legal variants are simply custom modifications using more expensive shielding and standard weaponry components, but there are a handful of very unpleasant surprises in the galaxy, using some extremely illegal technologies.

Any planet with a shadowport or underworld is likely to have some of the shady or semi-legal units, but as the true illegal units carry an automatic death mark on most civilised worlds, these are seen only where organised crime has the upper hand.

Semi-legal or customised variants

Aggressor Assault Fighter
This large and rugged heavy fighter/transport is the perfect craft for bounty hunters, with heavy laser cannon, good shielding and a secure hold for up to 8 prisoners. Additional power cores gives this a Power to Weapons ability.
Era: 18BBY onwards

Preybird-class Starfighter
The original Soro Suub product is a very rugged fighter with medium Laser cannon and concussion missile launcher, while the Mark II upgrade is the staple production model of deep space pirates and features a major overhaul with increased shields and significantly upgraded weapons. Dual missile launchers and heavy laser cannon make this a raider to be feared.
Era: Mark I – 18BBY onwards. Mark II pirate production model: 7 ABY Onwards

Barloz Heavy Raider
This rugged transport is a favourite with deep space pirates and scavengers, and features a light turbolaser, 3 dual laser cannons and a rear-facing torpedo launcher to discourage active pursuit.
Era: 18BBY onwards

Delta-class DX-8 Transport
This older model troop transport is armed with forward facing laser cannon and torpedo launchers and is relatively easy to obtain on the grey-market.
Era: 18BBY onwards

Gamma-class ATR-5 Assault Transport
As a military specification transport, this usually requires excellent contacts to obtain, and often finds service as a heavily armed scout/exploration vessel or as a premium armoured courier sporting 3 turreted dual turbolasers and a proton torpedo launcher.
Era: 18BBY onwards

Guardian-Class Assault Shuttle
More gunship than light cruiser, this semi-legal variant packs in heavy lasers on every facing and adds a rapid firing missile system to counter heavy starfighters. Often deployed to protect shadowports from intruders.
Era: 18BBY onwards

HWK-290 Medium Raider
As true quads are illegal in the Empire, this craft mounts fixed forward facing quad blasters and quad ion cannon as well as a turreted octuple blaster cannon to comply with customs regulations – barely. Often used by opportunistic types to snag the odd cargo when no-one is looking.
Era: 18BBY onwards

YT-1300 Medium Raider
More armed smuggler than true pirate, this is still capable of packing a punch with top and bottom turreted quad blasters, side-firing concussion missiles and a forward facing laser cannon.
Era: 18BBY onwards

YT-2000 Blastboat
This custom upgrade is perfect for bounty hunters and smugglers alike. Heavily armed and manoeuverable, this performs more like a high performance self-escorting bomber with the added bonus that it carries a decent amount of contraband and can punch through most blockades with ease.
Era: 0ABY onwards

YV-666 Assault Transport
Very much the poor-man’s version of the ATR-5, it still hits corvettes hard with turreted dual turbolaser and turboion cannons and a modest torpedo armament.
Era: 18BBY onwards

Fire Ships
Some of the medium freighters have been packed with explosives and converted into Fire ships.
Explosions come in 3 sizes; small, large and very messy. Era: 18BBY onwards

Marauder Missile Cruiser
This is a rather expensive conversion as the standard armaments have been swopped out for 4 concussion missile launchers that each fire one missile every 3 seconds in a terrifiyingly deadly barrage. Although not illegal, this is definitely only obtainable on the black market!
Era: 18BBY onwards

Super Transport VII Interdictor Frigate
Perfect for pulling convoys out of hyperspace and stripping them of escorts, this converted heavy transport carries Dual Laser Cannon, Ion Cannon and multiple warhead launchers to make a killing as a pirate raider.
Era: 18BBY onwards

Super XI Fleet Carrier
A poor man’s Venator or a large pirate cruiser, this dumps multiple squadrons of cheap fighters supported by modest turbolaser, laser cannon and missile launcher emplacements, but is no match for a decent warship.
Era: 18BBY onwards

Illegal Fighters

Alpha-3 Nimbus-class V-Wing (Illegal)
Readily available to those with contacts and cash, this is a superior Disruptor-armed dogfighter.
Era: 18BBY-0BBY

Cloakshape Fighter (Illegal)
Modest shielding, Disruptor cannons and an Advanced torpedo launcher make this multi-role heavy fighter a favourite craft for outlaws and pirates.
Era: 18BBY onwards

Mankvim Light Interceptor (Illegal)
Almost a contradiction in terms, this is a cheap, disposable illegal fighter with light shields and slugthrower cannon, and is a favourite of bargain-hunting crime-lords, such as the Hutts.
Era: 18BBY Onwards

Preybird-class Starfighter (Illegal)
As the Preybird eventually became the staple pirate raider, an illegal variant was swift to appear, and is deadly. Heavy Dual Disruptor cannons and 2 advanced concussion missile launchers usually result in a swift demise for any opponent.
Era: 4ABY onwards

R-41 Starchaser (Illegal)
Wingtip mounted Disruptor cannons and a rapid firing slugthrower cannon in the nose act like a chainsaw to opposing fighter squadrons. Advanced missile launchers add to the carnage.
Era: 18BBY onwards

StarViper-class Attack Platform (Illegal)
Modelled on Prince Xisor’s personal craft, this can blow away a medium bomber in a single burst from two Double Disruptor cannons. It’s probably the worst thing ever.
A cargo of Buzz Droids makes this craft a match even for Shadow Droids.
Era: 7ABY Onwards

T-65 X-Wing (Illegal)
4 fire linked Disruptor cannons and Advanced proton torpedoes mounted onto an Incom T-65 X-wing make for a very hard-hitting heavy fighter. These are normally extremely hard to get hold of, and as such are rare.
Era: 4ABY Onwards

T.I.E. Starfighter (Illegal)
With huge numbers of salvaged Republic T.I.E Starfighters left taken from Clone Wars battlefields, this rapidly became the basic Disruptor-armed fighter of choice for many early pirates, and is moderately dangerous when encountered in large numbers.
Era: 18BBY, very rare by 0BBY

TIE Fighter (Illegal)
Fast moving disruptor-fighter replacing the obsolete T.I.E Starfighter (Illegal)
Era: 0BBY onwards

TIE Interceptor (Illegal)
Exceptionally fast and agile this is a superb Disruptor-armed interceptor, normally commanding a very high black market price, and often limited to senior criminal commanders and renegade imperials.
Era: 4ABY Onwards

Z-95 Headhunter (Illegal)
Triple slugthrowers on each wingtip fire an average of 18 armor piercing slugs per trigger burst, making the illegal R41 look like a cheap toy in comparison. Cheap and very nasty en-masse.
Era: 18BBY – 10BBY

The semi-legal variants and illegal snubfighters are the most common form of custom pirate modifications on the black market.
Part II of this study will explore the heavy guns of the pirate world – illegal bombers and anything of corvette sized and larger that has been modified with illegal disruptor weaponry, mass drivers and the very expensive black market missile systems. . .

3-9

2009

No, There Is Another

Posted by Phoenix Rising at Phoenix Rising News on September 3, 2009

Given the new mechanic for hero leadership, it would've been cruel to simply reform the existing heroes and leave it at that. Breaking up that news into two posts, however, is merely deceptive.

While working on the aforementioned changes, I concurrently took the opportunity to introduce a whopping 18 original heroes to the mod - 9 for each faction. This was mostly done with an eye towards fleshing out our historical campaigns, but it's a diverse lot and a few serve other purposes. Since most of them are leaders, some will provide complementary qualities to old heroes, while others will populate previously underrepresented service branches. Here's the list for the Alliance:

Afyon - ornery veteran of the Clone Wars who joined the Rebellion when his native Alderaan was obliterated. Afyon served as the commander of several starships throughout the war, including the Eridain and the Larkhess, the latter of which was eventually converted to run cargo from Sluis Van for the nascent New Republic. In spite of this duty, he still takes great pride in keeping his vessel in top form.

Arhul Narra & K-3PO - as wing commander of the venerable Renegade Flight, Narra saw plenty of action behind the stick for the early Alliance, all of which he recorded in his protocol droid, K-3PO. Storing this information accidentally made the droid into a tactical expert and it became one of the few droids to ever receive a commission. Narra is at his best when raiding Imperial interests, with K-3PO providing tactical advice.

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Bria Tharen - pre-Alliance Rebel cell leader romantically linked to Han Solo, Tharen preys on slavers from the Retribution, having famously busted Hutt operations on Ylesia. She's known for her unrelenting brutality in combat and ability to complete a mission.

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Hiram Drayson - formerly of the Chandrila Defense Fleet, Drayson was tapped by Mon Mothma to coordinate the overall security of her personal flotilla for the Rebellion. When the New Republic captured Coruscant, he was placed in charge of its space defenses, a position he still held upon Thrawn's reemergence. Drayson thrives in the relative peace, but would be outmatched by more militaristic flag officers.

Huoba Neva - female Sullustan officer in the Imperial Navy who defected to the Alliance only after seeing her career stagnate due to systematic prejudice. She now commands the Rebel Star as Imperial forces spew from the Deep Core. Neva is a promising tactician, with a business sense that comes from her connections to SoroSuub.

Judder Page - skilled SpecForce lieutenant who served in General Solo's strike team at Endor and would later go on to lead the prestigious Katarn Commandoes. As the ranking commander in the field, it's up to Page to orchestrate tactical deployment.

Sarin Virgilio - captain of the Quenfis under Admiral Drayson's Home Guard during the Thrawn Crisis. Virgilio is a competent starship pilot and gunner.

Syub Snunb - a senior officer of the Sullustan Home Guard, Snunb became a Rebel when allegiances shifted for his homeworld before Endor and he was given command of the Antares Six, the ship that would later rescue survivors of the Liberator caught in the Imperial Civil War. Snunb is skilled at counter-piracy and keeping his command in good working order.

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Ten Numb - during the Battle of Endor, Numb led members of Blue Squadron in assaulting the Executor, actions that got him promoted to squadron leader. He's an aggressive commander who also has experience as a bounty hunter.

And Empire:

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Bevel Lemelisk - father of the modern superweapon, Lemelisk is a genius at devising engines of doom, having famously worked on all iterations of the Death Star. His input provides inspiration for all technical and R&D staff.

Brandei - rose from a Fleet Support role to the captaincy of the Judicator on persistence and talent. His varied assignments have left him without a specialization though.

Dorja - an old guard star destroyer captain who led the Relentless in an auxiliary role in Thrawn's Offensive. Dorja is noted for his caution in battle.

Freja Covell - the ranking army officer of Thrawn's armada, Covell was groomed by Veers to be a walker prodigy, the two both commanding AT-ATs at Hoth. He's an innovative tactician who's respected by his subordinates.

Khabarakh - leader of the Death Commando team sent to capture Leia on Kashyyyk during the Thrawn Crisis; he would be the first to recognize her as the Mal'ary'ush, setting in motion Thrawn's downfall. Khabarakh is able to both protect friendly heroes and assassinate enemy ones.

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Nahdonnis Praji - lieutenant colonel in charge of the Devastator's Stormtrooper complement while it served as Vader's flagship. A decade later, he would be part of a successful wave assault from Byss that would see him made governor of Kaikeilius. Praji excels at efficiently positioning his troops.

Raith Sienar - arguably the greatest engineer of his generation, Sienar pioneered countless innovations, among them the revolutionary twin ion engine. The mere presence of such a luminary is enough to put your engineers in top form.

Rukh - Thrawn's bodyguard following his return from the Unknown Regions. Rukh would exact the Noghri's revenge on the Empire by slaying Thrawn at Bilbringi. He's capable of performing, and protecting against, assassinations.

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Titus Klev - model CompForce recruit who joined the Imperial Navy and became a prominent admiral in the early stages of Operation Shadow Hand; Klev would lead the World Devastator fleet against Mon Calamari at the behest of Executor Skywalker. His command style is a cross between political policing and shows of brutality.

Full details are listed on the hero pages for the Alliance and Empire.

4-9

2008

Economic Stimulus, Part I

Posted by Phoenix Rising at Phoenix Rising News on September 4, 2008

Contrary to traditional strategy games, we've never been one to shun non-combat units - in fact, we've devoted the large part of three ship classes to them. The galaxy just feels like an empty place with only military units in it and these civilian classes help give it life. Realistically speaking, any army is only as good as its bankroll and supply train, which is what freighters are meant to represent. In v1.0, these units produce income in proportion to their population cost, mainly due to the fact that I was restricted from modding in alternative methods of income generation. With the latest changes, things just got a whole lot more interesting in what is just the first part of a veritable rethinking of the game's economy.

Freighters obviously produce income by hauling cargo. Thanks to numerous roleplaying sourcebooks, most ships have a well-documented cargo capacity expressed in metric tons. The problem: these numbers represent a measurement of weight opposed to volume and thus can vary widely between ships of a similar size, not to mention they also depend on the extent of local gravity. For the sake of balance, that's what made me discount using them as the basis for a direct scalar conversion of income when I originally explored the idea. So that's not what I've done here.

Instead, freighter income is now based on a relative scale of cargo capacities from ship to ship. In other words, if one ship has a greater tonnage than another, it will also produce relatively more income, just not the same as you would get from directly comparing the two. The exact values are also partially derived from the volume of the ships themselves with prudence given to economies of scale in bulk freighters, which is just my in-universe way of saying that balance played a small role. The foremost example of this is in light freighter/transports, which have cargo capacities some orders smaller than anything in the freighter class, yet still produce comparable incomes. They are, however, fast enough to run blockades and evade customs patrols, so it's assumed that transports can haul illicit, and therefore more lucrative, goods. So it's not an exact science, but it's a lot more interesting than having every freighter be equal.

When that was the case, there was no reason to have more than one light freighter and one bulk freighter per faction; after all, why spend credits researching a ship that isn't meaningfully better? Since freighter income now varies, there's suddenly quite a good reason: more credits. And that can only mean more ships. To fill this need, I've revived the classic modular conveyor and container transport designs under the designations MCF Modular Conveyor and CTF Container Transport, as well as given the BFF Bulk Freighter a makeover to match.

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First, my reasoning for the prefixes. Since these are descriptive of a specific model of ship, just using "modular conveyor" or "container transport" would be insufficient; those are ship classes, like an "assault frigate". The X-wing series only gave us the model name for one of these units, the BFF-1 Bulk Freighter. Unraveling the "BFF-1" designation, I surmised that it stood for its class attached to its role, followed by the model number. That would yield "Bulk Freighter, Freighter - Model 1". They're all designed to haul XTS cargo containers, so if you assume the trio is part of a cross-company product line akin to the DX/ATR/ETR series, you can produce the names for the other two. Hence, MCF and CTF.

The Alliance gets the MCF Modular Conveyor after the GR-75 and the Empire gets the CTF Container Transport after the Action IV. The MCF isn't as capacious as either of the other two container freighters, but it's value lies in being able to move a small amount of valuable goods securely. The CTF, on the other hand, is the queen of bulk freighters, able to haul massive quantities in a compact package. Both start with a respectable armament for self-defense against the stray squadron, but neither can stand up to a direct assault alone and should have a proper escort. Overall, they should invoke some interesting choices into your upgrade decisions.

As I mentioned earlier, the extent of income upgrades has already been reduced from 400% to 250% of the starting value for v1.1. This was, however, for the old system. As a final point, I want to mention that this is still the case. All income upgrades are relative to their initial numbers; they are not fixed by any means. So that should be added incentive to research up.

Stay tuned for Part II in the series!

19-2

2008

An amazing tutorial of EAW's AI, by Drieick.

Posted by Banshee at Petrolution News on February 19, 2008

Drieick has recently posted an impressive tutorial explaining how to play with the AI XML files that triggers .lua scripts from Empire at War. The tutorials explains the variables, categories, expressions, functions, and much more... and it features some examples in the very end. Here's a snippet:


Variables and how they're interpreted
Here are the variables, which obivously start with the word "Variable_":

Variable_Target
Variable_Enemy
Variable_Self

What they mean depends on how and where they're used; for example, if it's Galactic mode, Target could mean a planet and Variable_Self could mean the player attributes. However, in tactical mode, Variable_Target could mean a unit or a location on the map. Currently, on Target appears in the Lua source (defined in PGBaseDefitions.lua)
I'm not sure how exactly it determines locations, because there's no obvious grid, so I'mjust going to assume it's square pixel by square pixel, which is inefficient (Grid would be faster... or a bigger squareXsquare scaled grid).



And this is just the beggining. You can read the whole tutorial HERE and discuss it. Thanks a lot, Drieick. If anyone is interested on providing tutorials, post it on our modding forums or wait the new site goes live (which we recommend, since it will include a nice articles/tutorials system).

26-2

2006

Imperial Assault II Render

Posted by AdmiralGT at Petrolution News on February 26, 2006

Imperial Assault II have released a render of the IMP: Gunboat which can be seen below.

Artillery of the stars as it is known by many - these fighters can unleash a volley of rockets on any enemy ship with dire consequences for their target. Luckily for the Alliance, these ships are slow and can easily be taken down by snubfighters. Unfortunately for them, though, they are equipped with deflector shields, making them tougher to take down than the average TIE Bomber.

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Some very nice work coming from the Imperial Assault Team.

25-2

2006

Planet Information Database

Posted by AdmiralGT at Petrolution News on February 25, 2006

Empire at War Heaven have released a Planet Information Database, which lists all the bonuses, atrributes and lots of other informations. A very good resource presented very nicely. You can check it out for yourself here.

24-2

2006

Petroden Updates

Posted by AdmiralGT at Petrolution News on February 24, 2006

Lion has updated Petroden with some Player Submitted Strategies and some more Mini-mods from the community. The strategies can be found here while Petroden's full collection of game mods can be found here.

24-2

2006

More Mini-Mods

Posted by AdmiralGT at Petrolution News on February 24, 2006

Empire At War Files have released some new mini-mods. The Tie Advanced Mod by Thyalin and a Pirate Mod by dookie23 which can be seen below.

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24-2

2006

Dev Chat Transcript

Posted by AdmiralGT at Petrolution News on February 24, 2006

All the questions, and all the answers from last night's Dev Team Chat can now be found here.

23-2

2006

Post Release Dev Chat

Posted by AdmiralGT at Petrolution News on February 23, 2006

The Developers of Empire at War have announced that they are going to hold another Dev Chat tomorrow to answer some of the communities questions. The details are as follows

Date: Thursday 23rd February
Time: 5pm-6pm Pacific Standard Time (PST, GMT - 8)
Where: Lucas Arts Forums

23-2

2006

New Mini Mods

Posted by AdmiralGT at Petrolution News on February 23, 2006

Lion from Petroden has added some new mini mods such as
-Rebel Easy Mod v1.0 by Joshua
-EAW Mirror Mod by Mithrawnundo
-Absolution Mod v2.0 by Shadowtrooper
-EAW: Star Wars Realism Mod v1.1 by MistenTH

Full information on all the mods, and downloads can be found here.

23-2

2006

Troubleshooting Network Configurations

Posted by AdmiralGT at Petrolution News on February 23, 2006

Lucas Arts have released a useful guide for those having issues when trying to connect to multiplayer games with other players which can be found below.

If you are experiencing issues trying to connect to multiplayer games with other players, first ensure that your network configuration and in-game network options are setup properly.

- Ensure that your Connection Type option in the in-game Network Options is properly set for your Internet connection.

- If you are playing behind a router or other NAT device, be sure NAT Negotiation in the in-game Network Options is enabled.

- UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) allows the game to automatically open the proper ports on your router that the game requires to use for online play. If you are playing behind a router that supports UPnP and you wish to use the UPnP feature of the game, both your router and operating system must be properly configured. Please see your router documentation for more information on configuring this.

- If your router or operating system does not support UPnP, disable it in the in-game Network Options.

- If you are playing behind a router that does not support UPnP, you may need to configure port forwarding to properly connect to an online game. You may also need to open ports in your firewall configuration if you are running behind a firewall. More information can be found in the Empire At War troubleshooting guide located on Disc 1.

If you are confident that your network setup is properly configured and are still seeing issues, we suggest the following:

- An online game involving multiple routers may take some time to connect. We suggest all players wait at least one full minute at the Forming Connections screen to give the game a chance to resolve the necessary connections between systems.

- Have another player try hosting the game.

- Be sure everyone playing in your online game has their network setup properly. It only takes one person with an improper network setup to prevent a game from successfully starting up.

- Your router may have a compatibility issue with another particular model, which is preventing your system from connecting to a particular player. Consult your router documentation for possible solutions.

20-2

2006

C&C King Reviews EAW

Posted by AdmiralGT at Petrolution News on February 20, 2006

C&C King from Empire-At-War.com has given a personal review of Empire at War.

Empire at War is an unusual mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. But if you are prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt you will see that there is an enjoyable game within. Single player missions do prove repetitive, but if you can look past that and the poor AI, then there is some fun to be found here. Multiplayer however is in a league of it's own. The AI feels and plays alot better, especially when teaming up against you, and the online portion is just superb. GameSpy can be frustrating most of the time, but if you have the time and the patience to get into a game, then you'll be in for a real treat. Basically, this game is much more multiplayer orientated, and it shows.


A very good account and well written review from a long standing member of the C&C Community. You can read his full review here

20-2

2006

Lion's Epic EAW Mod

Posted by AdmiralGT at Petrolution News on February 20, 2006

Lion from Petroden has released his own Epic EAW Mod allowing you more units on the battlefield so that we can all experience those epic Star Wars battles we remember from the films. Available for use in Skirmish mode, you can get Lion's Epic EAW Mod here.
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