Plus, I don't know about you, but I find the idea of going back to my 16 year old selfs work kind of embarrassing. I mean I'm proud of UE having the ambition that other projects may have been inspired by, but I'm not really proud of the end product.
That's a very significant part of the problem, even if my particular self was 20 year old rather than 16. UE was a tremendous achievement given our limitations, but that doesn't make it great. For me, what that means, though, is not so much that I'm embarrassed to go back to it, but rather that I am constantly tempted to start improving on it. There's always that one
thing - you know, if only I could change this one thing, the whole mod would be so much better
. And if I do decide to change that one
thing, next thing you know, there's another one
For that matter, you kept the Border Worlds in check in terms of war capacity.
Uh, yeah... with a strike carrier and a special magic capship killing cannon carried by Scimitars, of all things
. It's true, we didn't go completely overboard, and the strike carrier was, if not actually justified, at least reasonably handwaved in. The only crazy thing was the viper cannon, and its capship-killing capacity was so out of place, that we actually had to make enemy capships invulnerable in most missions to prevent you from using that capacity - with the implication that it could be removed now, and this removal would improve rather than detriment from the game.
I will say, though, in terms of war capacity, there is one thing I remain completely happy with, and I think actually remains a sort of shining exemplar of how fan projects should go about these things: that's the Rapier IV, and the... uh, other one, that only appears in the ship database. Now, granted, its name and SWC-based appearance have since been kind of spoiled by Arena recycling the SWC Rapier - you really can't justify two ships with the same appearance and utterly different development histories co-existing alongside each other in the same timeframe
. But setting that aside, and, setting aside the viper cannons that it carries, I really like how it was never a super-fighter, and actually in most ways it was inferior to most Confed fighters. The other ship - Dagger, was it? - was a similar story: a generally barely-capable design that was made actually pretty good by the incorporation of a new engine system. It's exactly the kind of aircraft a second-rate power determined to develop its internal aircraft industry would use. At the time, I was reading a lot about the pre-1939 Polish Air Force, which went very much through a similar cycle of being first an amalgamation of equipment abandoned, surrendered, or donated by other powers, to importing second-rate aircraft from allied nations, to developing its own aircraft industry, only to find, when push came to shove, that they just did not have the capacity to keep up with all the technological developments bigger powers like Germany and Britain were going through. Our fighters had infinitely superior manoeuvrability, at a time when nobody cared any more. Our medium bombers were genuinely brilliant and actually superior in many to their German and British equivalents in 1939, but nobody cared since there was like a couple of dozen of them on the front lines, and in any case, lacked proper escort fighters. Like the Border Worlds (well... like the Border Worlds that UE presents!), Poland, ironically, was more evenly matched against her neighbours in terms of technological innovations in 1918, when it was using hand-me-down equipment, than twenty years later when it was fielding her own aircraft and even exporting them to other countries. Perhaps in another twenty years, Poland would have achieved a level of technological almost-parity that Sweden would accomplish many, many decades later, but not at that time. This was very much the feeling I was trying to convey with the Border Worlds - of a nation consciously choosing inferior aircraft of its own internal production over superior imports, with the hope that in the long-term, this will pay off. A nation building its forces to match its situation, where any conflict in the predictable future would not be against Confed, but against pirates, retros, and Kilrathi clans using war-era technology (here, of course, the analogy breaks: Poland knew they wouldn't be facing German militias flying old Albatrosses and Fokker DR.Is - we knew we'd be facing the equivalent of Confed, and simply ran out of time to prepare).
So, yeah, that aspect I remain hugely proud of. If I were to completely remake UE today - you know, not just improve a few bits and pieces, but just start from scratch on a project with a similar "Border Worlds against bugs in the early days of WCP" story - there's a lot of things from UE I'd throw away without a moment's thought, but this one aspect I'd not only stick with, but actually strongly amplify. Though, of course, given the doors Arena opened up, we'd probably see the Border Worlds using Arena's upgraded weirdo Rapiers, Arrows and Broadswords, too.