"Sivar's Hand" - Kilrathi mod for Wing Commander Saga


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Hey guys!

As I am trying to get the mod development out of its hiatus I figured it would be a good idea to post a development thread. Until now the info about my mod is spread over several threads, I am trying to change that.
I am also going to try and write small updates at least every two weeks, to try and motivate myself to finish this thing.

So here is all the info I am willing to give you now, without too many spoilers.

"Sivar's Hand" Kilrathi mod / campaign for Wing Commander Saga

About the story:
First of all: I don't have many dialogues during the missions, because I don't like that. Especially when there is no possibility to skip them. I love Saga, but IMO that's a weak point of the campaign.
The most important plot points will be in the briefings and a few in the missions. Reading the story is not required to enjoy the missions. I love story, and I am writing a full (and not too short) story that I hope people will enjoy. So I decided to not include the story in the mod itself, but to include it as a PDF file to read on your phone, tablet, PC or whatever you like.
There will be breaks in it that tell you when the missions are supposed to be flown, in order to not spoil them for you.
In good old WC fashion the story is about a rookie pilot on his first assignment.

Mod features:
  • all Kilrathi fighters flyable (although you won't fly all of them in the campaign)
  • custom HUDs for all the fighters
  • a bit of re-balancing
  • campaign with 11 or 12 missions (not sure about that yet)
  • one or two single missions
  • some LUA scripting to allow for special features, including
    • better cloaking scripts for mission designers that like the Strakha
    • cloaking for player ship and wingmen, WC style
    • script allowing ships to lay mine fields, or put turret mines into the mission
    • in-mission refueling / rearming
  • new user interface, Kilrathi style
  • new Kilrathi wingman voices
  • Kilrathi mission template for mission designers
  • briefings, halfway WC style. (actually more FS style, but I did my best. Can't do them Saga style)
  • Kilrathi awards and ranks
  • a new weapon
  • one or two new ships

Planned features that may or not make it into the mod:
  • main hall
  • Kilrathi version of ASSM
  • voiceovers for the briefings
  • voiceovers for the in-mission dialogues
Additional planned stuff:
  • version of the story for people who don't like to play, but like to read. You will be able to read the whole story like a book, including the missions. This is something I really would like to do.
  • more missions once the mod is released
  • a very small trailer/teaser video

Release date:
I have no clue. Really. I hope I will be able to get it done eventually.
If I have the most important stuff finished I might release the missions as single missions, kind of a episodic release. That way you guys could play the mod, even if I never finish it. I could also tackle the missions one piece at a time.

Difficulty level:
Not hard. Not as hard as Saga, and DEFINITELY not as hard as UE or Standoff. I am not that good of a pilot myself, so I wouldn't be able to test the missions if they were hard. I hope people will enjoy them nevertheless.

So where are the blockers?
Well, the story is in my head, but not on paper yet. Most parts of it are finished (9 of 12 chapters, approximately), and thanks to capi the words sound much better now. Keep in mind that I am not a native English speaker, and I am writing that thing in English (what the hell was I thinking?) This is probably what will take the most time. Also this is the first story with more than a few pages that I have ever written. I am probably not the best writer out there, so don't expect high-literature. I don't know yet, since not many people have read my story yet. Those who have read it didn't complain though.

The missions are not quite finished. They are all there, but they lack some dialogues, debriefings, possibly voiceovers, and a bit of balancing/bugfixing. Also the player isn't given any awards or promotions yet.

I still need some graphics. Not many, but a few. A Kilrathi player portrait is the minimum.
If I can't find someone to render or draw it, I will take a Kilrathi helmet from WC3 and use that. But I would like to have that, and a few more portraits for main characters in the story PDF. So if an artist reads this and wants to draw some space cats: PM me! :)

That's all for now.
My first task: I will try and write another chapter for for the story in the next few days.

For the glory of Kilrah, the Emperor and the Empire!
Good succeed mate.

And if you need public forum, private forum with own usergroup for your team, moderator rights for your forums, BBcode status generator, web space for your project and others... you know where you can find me. ;)
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Although to be honest: I don't expect many people to be interested in my mod. But we will see.

But what I would really need from you - once the mod is finished - is an installer! So I'll contact you. :)
Sounds like you got a lot of work to do. Creating some kind of schedule with news sound like a good idea to me.
I appriciate the work you are doing and I will drop this here to cheer you up

Currently I am trying to figure out what goes where and how the Kilrathi equivalent of a workstation could look like and other Kilrathi stuff.
As referance I am using an image of the Kilrathi DN hangarbay..at least I belive its the DN.
Some WC3 cutscene images and an image I found from Privateer 3 (?) concept art.

Its an very early design and I can allready see one or two problems with this.
A) I have just rendered the stuff for Saga back then but don't know how to implement it
B) I can't model people, let alone an Kilrathi. So we would need someone who can help out in that regard. Wasn't there someone creating a Kilrathi in the WC3 style in the forums?

Anyway. I hope to hear more about your progress in the future.
NinjaLa was working on a 3D Kilrathi model not too terribly long ago.

Still standing by to proofread the rest of the story and to lend my voice some more if needed. I don't know how else I can be of assistance.
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Difficulty level:
Not hard. Not as hard as Saga, and DEFINITELY not as hard as UE or Standoff. I am not that good of a pilot myself, so I wouldn't be able to test the missions if they were hard. I hope people will enjoy them nevertheless.

I think this is a great target. Think about your audience. Wing Commander fans don't typically have as much time as they used to to play video games, so they're doing it for the experience more than the challenge. You can create greater challenges later if the core game is popular, but you don't want to turn people off by making it too hard right off the bat.

I like all the Kilrathi ideas you have, but I'd recommend overall to keep it small and manageable. It's easy to come up with extravagant plans and then never deliver. It's hard to come up with a concise package that fits you vision, but you're much more likely to ever release something this way.

Also, Lars, that's a yucky spammy image upload site. :confused: Just upload pictures directly to the CIC Forums.
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Thanks for your comments, guys!

Yeah, sometimes the decisions are hard. Everything sounds so easy in my head, but then delivering it turns out to be lots of hours of work. I should know better, since I am working as a software developer, but it seems applying those guidelines to my private projects is something I am not properly able to. :D

Nice work! I think the best sources for architecture are WC3 and WCP, with a bit of Academy TV (but things look too human there most of the time IMO).

@capi3101: I am working on the next version right now, including corrections. To be honest, most of the time I read your revised version and think "Holy crap! That sounds so much better than what I wrote, while saying the same things". You deserve a HUGE mention in my mod's credits, since I guess it is your work that makes my text sound cool, and not cringeworthy to a native speaker.

As for NinjaLA's work: I often find his sketches and paintings really inspiring. He has really come a long way with his art. I'm not sure what the status of that Kilrathi head is, but it looks like a great point to start with!

Concerning voice work I have an idea that might work and is worth trying I think:
If you take the same "growl filter" you used to record the wingman voices, and apply it to lines recorded by other people, like myself, your wife, or some random guy, do they sound roughly the same, or as different compared to each other as the natural voices do?
So basically what I am asking is: If I find a few people who record stuff in their natural voices - like briefings for example - and apply your filter, would it sound cool? Or does the person who records the lines have to follow some rules in order to not sound ridiculous and/or unintelligible ?
To be honest I've only tried it on myself. I generally start by pitching my voice a little lower when I'm talking. Of course, slow and steady helps make words distinct. I usually then use Audacity to clean out background noise; that's usually my webcam's microphone picking up the steady hum from the computer itself. I'll then pitch it down some more (I've been going with 3/4 of an octave, but then again I'm a natural baritone already) and add some filters to make it sound like I'm talking into a helmet mic. Now, that's what I did when I was recording those earlier samples. IIRC, there was a procedure I followed when I was doing the computer voice - there was a filter that needed to be added. I want to say it was "buzzerringer" or something like that; it was part of a set of instructions to make your voice sound like a Dalek or Cyberman. Once again, I just pitched it low first and recorded my lines with a very mechanical tone.

Adding the growl filter can be done in Audacity - pretty sure these are the correct instructions; basically it involves adding a vocoder effect. I've also tried belching into the microphone and then slowing it down, but it doesn't really give the correct "Kilrathi ambiance" as does something natural like a lion's growl.
Aginor informed me that, oposite to where I belived his story would take place, the big room and hangar where not quite fitting to the story....so I went back to the drawing board and this is the result
Look at you on the FRONT PAGE again! Go get em man! It's been a while since we got anything finished in the WC world. We are hungry for it.
I am really motivated right now, thanks to you guys here at the CIC and on Wingcenter.net! :)
So I spent the last two evenings writing the chapters 9 and 10 of my story document. I expect to finish those chapters at the weekend, at least I hope so.

I will also copy all the dialogues out of the missions and briefings and put them into a text document, to have those texts ready for corrections.
It's possible to do a Kilrathi voice without using Audacity filters (having done it myself). But if you are not used to voice work or are not trained in using your voice in this way, it can really mess it up. Playing Kritharg in Wing Commander: Defiant Few has really given me an appreciation both for the training I've received and for those other voice actors who can do 'non-human' voices.

And I'd love to be a part of any voice work for this mod. Looks great!
I'm not yet ready for it, but I'll keep that in mind.
As soon as the briefings are final (I am looking over them right now to see what I already have and what is missing) I can send those of y'all who would do voices for the mod some texts and you can try to record them with and/or without filters.
I'd like to do one of the voices myself, but I will definitely need someone to check if I sound weird, since I do have a german accent, although I think it is not very strong.

If I include briefing voiceovers I will need somebody who can read those texts in a pretty clear voice. That's where natural voices are better than those with filters I think. I'll get back to you soon.
Considering who is likely to be giving the briefings, there'll probably need to be at least one filter IMHO. Hopefully that's not giving anything away.
Yeah, maybe. But then you'll never know what some people are able to do with their voices, so probably not.

Ok, I checked the briefings. Some of the texts are a bit rudimentary. But I have already taken notes and I guess I will be able to improve them soon.
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I can probably get you a 2d kilrathi player portrait put together post the dimensions you require. dunno if it'll be animated though