WC4 Mod For Homeworld 2 In The Works (June 5, 2006)

Lilja

Ensign
... yep, I'll probably have to do that.
I had the idea of trying to recreate WC3 as a campaign for your mod, I haven't read so much into how to do it with HWRM , but I have spent some time in the WC3 walkthrough making notes about the types and layouts of the missions, and ships involved.

At least how I look at it, it certainly seams that it could be made within HWRM. The best way that I could see how to do it would be each WC3 system campaign would be a single mission within HWRM. This would mean that there would be 11 HWRM missions.

I haven't got too much left to do to my notes to finish them off, but I started to get a little put off as I started to look into the HWRM side, then life and time got in the way :(

However from what you say @L.I.F. and it can be made quite simply perhaps it is something that I can try to get going again. If nothing else I can certainly share my notes.

And a bit of useless information - in WC3 there are a total of 702 enemy ships (not including the unlimited waves that are faced at Kilrah or on the loosing missions)
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I had the idea of trying to recreate WC3 as a campaign for your mod, I haven't read so much into how to do it with HWRM , but I have spent some time in the WC3 walkthrough making notes about the types and layouts of the missions, and ships involved.

At least how I look at it, it certainly seams that it could be made within HWRM. The best way that I could see how to do it would be each WC3 system campaign would be a single mission within HWRM. This would mean that there would be 11 HWRM missions.

I haven't got too much left to do to my notes to finish them off, but I started to get a little put off as I started to look into the HWRM side, then life and time got in the way :(

However from what you say @L.I.F. and it can be made quite simply perhaps it is something that I can try to get going again. If nothing else I can certainly share my notes.

And a bit of useless information - in WC3 there are a total of 702 enemy ships (not including the unlimited waves that are faced at Kilrah or on the loosing missions)
This was one of my initial ideas, but after a bit of thinking, it appeared less interesting than initially envisioned. The thing is that Wing Commander III is, first and foremost, a space sim, where your pilot defeats his Kilrathi opponents through skill, wingmates and flying competence. Such a thing cannot be properly reproduced in HWRM. After all, if we had the same setup as in the game, then just send twice or thrice the amount of fighters and crush the Kilrathi without thinking. Or if you are forced to send the canon forces, you would have very limited control over the actual fight and it would end up being uninteresting at best, frustrating at worst.

Then, it would be weird as the Kilrathi would only have half a dozen to two dozen fighters per system while it's a bit obvious that stuff happens to other pilots in WC III and Blair isn't doing all the Victory's flight missions. These would have to be considered all over the game and would each face the same issue as before.

Thus why I honestly think sticking with Heart of the Tiger would be a tremendous amount of work for a limited result. It could be done with the Freespace 2 engine, but at this point, why not do like Saga and add one's part to the greater universe?

HWRM is a RTS, and with coding work, could be stretched to the realm of a single player 4X. It should be treated as such: you are in Tolwyn's boots, or Eisen's, not Blair's, and the campaign should reflect it.

In a way, it makes things simpler for the design, as the first goal should be to tell a story. For example, before I settled on porting End Run, my idea was to follow the TCS Eagle as it stumbles on Kilrathi raiding Confed' medical supplies and transport to bring material behind their lines. As it follows the trail, it realizes it's not an isolated event and goes in a mission behind enemy lines where it finally discovers the lab where the Kilrathi designed their final bioweapons. The raid on it goes bad, and some Marines are unwittingly contaminated, making one of the destroyers a hotspot for the virus, but they get the intel. As they go back to Confed lines, they get intercepted by a Kilrathi dreadnought and manage to run away when the doomed destroyer rams the dreadnought, slowing it down a bit. Race towards Confed frontlines and they finally get saved by Border Worlds/Landreich forces.

Here, as you can see, we are centered around the task force, the capital ships, for which fighters and bombers are just a force projection tool, and tell their story. The thing is, there are a lot stories to tell about the fleet. The final days of the TCS Concordia, the fleet actions during the Battle of Earth, a hypothetical Behemoth run towards Kilrah, etc.

One thing I am afraid this mod will be bad to, however, will be to tell the story of a few pilots. I can create special fighter units that are better than the standard ones, and I did that already with, for example, Maniac's Excalibur for'the Confed, but once again, if a SP pits him against Kilrathi, there will not be much skill involved, just a bot flying against other bots automatically and winning through better stats.

In a way, we are talking about the difference between Command and Conquer: Tiberià Sun and Command and Conquer: Renegade. Both are in the same universe, but they cannot tell the same story because they are completely different types of games.

One could dream, however, of synchronizing Freespace 2 and HWRM so one player could give orders to FS2 players and see their actions reported straight into the HWRM engine, but unless someone gives me a few dozen millions and a dedicated dev team, that won't happen.


As a last item, I did port the first WC 4 mission in game, and it ended up being:
Go to Nav 1
When in Nav 1, wait for Blair and Maniac to kill the Pirate fighters.
Go to Nav 2
When in Nav 2, spawn Seether to attack and destroy Orlando.
Go to Nav 3
When in Nav 3, land on Bluepoint.
Go to Nav 4
End of mission.

From the beginning to the end, the entire player interaction is less than five mouse clicks.
 

Lilja

Ensign
Wow you have given things alot of thought !

I certainly see what you are saying, and can see the flaws of following the WC games exactly - not something I was considering.

What I had thought was that the HW mission is based loosely around the WC3 Campaign, so the player is Eisen. As Eisen you are given the Victory and a number of fighters and support ships, likewise the enemy has a fleet (refelcting roughly what was found in the game). Individual named pilots (generally) do not exist, it is more here is the Victory with X Hellcats, Y Thunderbolts and Z Arrows, somewhere in this system is an enemy fleet. The resources that you have are finite and you don't want to loose them, likewise a convoy with new resources is very precious.

For example there is a convoy that needs escorting to a jump point within an allocated time window. Where shall I place my carrier (within the map) ?, should I send out a search and destory mission before sending off the convoy ? - this essentually is the first 3 Orsini missions from WC3. The player has the choice to keep the convoy back and route out the enemy force thus risking missing the time window, or send everything to the jump point in defense of the convoy and risking high losses or alternatively the player does something in between. Pesumably mission scripting would be able to handle several different sernarios.

Your analogy of renegade and tiberium sun is perfect, they are diferent games in different genres based around the same story from different aspects.

I do like the idea of widening the WC universe with other stories, but we already have a story that could be shown from a different aspect and then add new branches, what if I could save the Behemoth ? and there then be a several missions centered around the Behemoth and its journey to Kilrah.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Wow you have given things alot of thought !

I certainly see what you are saying, and can see the flaws of following the WC games exactly - not something I was considering.

What I had thought was that the HW mission is based loosely around the WC3 Campaign, so the player is Eisen. As Eisen you are given the Victory and a number of fighters and support ships, likewise the enemy has a fleet (refelcting roughly what was found in the game). Individual named pilots (generally) do not exist, it is more here is the Victory with X Hellcats, Y Thunderbolts and Z Arrows, somewhere in this system is an enemy fleet. The resources that you have are finite and you don't want to loose them, likewise a convoy with new resources is very precious.

For example there is a convoy that needs escorting to a jump point within an allocated time window. Where shall I place my carrier (within the map) ?, should I send out a search and destory mission before sending off the convoy ? - this essentually is the first 3 Orsini missions from WC3. The player has the choice to keep the convoy back and route out the enemy force thus risking missing the time window, or send everything to the jump point in defense of the convoy and risking high losses or alternatively the player does something in between. Pesumably mission scripting would be able to handle several different sernarios.

Your analogy of renegade and tiberium sun is perfect, they are diferent games in different genres based around the same story from different aspects.

I do like the idea of widening the WC universe with other stories, but we already have a story that could be shown from a different aspect and then add new branches, what if I could save the Behemoth ? and there then be a several missions centered around the Behemoth and its journey to Kilrah.
Branching a campaign is going to be quite hard with the game engine we have. As for what you are describing, it shortens massively the story of the game. For example, the demo mission I released concentrated the content of four or five missions in a normal Wing Commander, with the escort mission, the recon mission, the attack on escorts and the capital ship battle. All of these would have been content for one hour or ninety minutes in Wing Commaner III, with each exhilirating dogfight and so on. Here? It takes place much faster. Take for example the Caliban system (I chose it randomly), https://www.wcnews.com/guides/wc3caliban.shtml, it has 2 destroyers and 5 corvettes as its main opposition for the entire series of missions. It's barely a single strike with the carrier group. This means you would have to pretty much create the Kilrathi order of battle from scratch in every mission and system as well as reorganize the battlefield, etc.

Then, the problem is to avoid being repetitive, which a Wing Commander III situation would inevitably end up being with a handful of exceptions. Thus why I suggest to create something to fit the narrative support rather than the reverse.
One word . . . kickstarter

while you are at it why use old games?, have one of your funding goals to be to create something from scratch :p
Given the number of people with the mod, I'll just need every single one of you to give me 1,000 €.
 
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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
My friends... and Derek Smart too. Here's the Border Worlds' starbase for your enjoyment:









A tad smaller than the TCN one, of course, but Tolwyn is someone with something to compensate, unlike Wilford. I'll get some proper glow on the windows of the station ASAP.

EDIT: Ignore the last part, I made a mistake in the size of the mesh. Here's the proper one for comparison:



 
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Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Gave the most recent version a go last night. The ships look great.

The new gameplay mechanics were a bit...interesting. Definitely still getting used to them. One thing I did notice was that seemed if I grouped a large number of fighters together some of them got, for lack of a better word, "dumb stuck." As in, they would sit near a carrier, naval base, or HQ and appear not to dock or respond to move commands. The rest of the group would respond, but small batches would not.

Then I got run over by the Kilrathi AI using some lighter ships (frigates I think...I was a bit too busy dying).

Progress, still a long way to go for this fleet commander.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Gave the most recent version a go last night. The ships look great.

The new gameplay mechanics were a bit...interesting. Definitely still getting used to them. One thing I did notice was that seemed if I grouped a large number of fighters together some of them got, for lack of a better word, "dumb stuck." As in, they would sit near a carrier, naval base, or HQ and appear not to dock or respond to move commands. The rest of the group would respond, but small batches would not.

Then I got run over by the Kilrathi AI using some lighter ships (frigates I think...I was a bit too busy dying).

Progress, still a long way to go for this fleet commander.
Huh, if possible, there's one thing that could help me. When you launch the game through the mod selection menu, type in the small window at the bottom of it -luatrace (with the -). Then, when there's a bug or a CTD, look for the file called HWRM.log in \steamapps\common\Homeworld\HomeworldRM\Bin\Release\ and send me its contents. It should show whether there's something going wrong. Otherwise, for the fighters, I had such reports on and off for some time, but can't really isolate the issue. I think it might be linked to the collision meshes...

As for the AI, I guess it kinda is a good thing if it beats you. At least, from the programmer's PoV! :-P

I'll probably get back to it this WE (we have a long one here in France).
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
I'll make sure to do that next time.

It seemed like to me that it was related to the large number of fighters in a group. Now, it could just be my imagination, but it seemed that they behaved more like normal in smaller groups. Again, I was trying to figure out the new systems so wasn't paying a lot of attention.

Heh, yeah, it just threw a stream of stuff at me and I did not effectively manage my ships. Part of it was the fighter issue because I had groups just sitting pretty instead of saving the fleet. haha
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I'll make sure to do that next time.

It seemed like to me that it was related to the large number of fighters in a group. Now, it could just be my imagination, but it seemed that they behaved more like normal in smaller groups. Again, I was trying to figure out the new systems so wasn't paying a lot of attention.

Heh, yeah, it just threw a stream of stuff at me and I did not effectively manage my ships. Part of it was the fighter issue because I had groups just sitting pretty instead of saving the fleet. haha
Yep, setting up groups is highly suggested to deal with the various types of enemy units. Also a possibility is to create formations so that when you click on one of their units, the whole formation is selected.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Yeah, I had organized a primary interception group (Hellcats, Bearcats, Excals, and T-Bolts) and set into a fighter screen formation (even though there were no capships with them). And as the group grew I started to notice little groups of fighters get dumb stuck around bases. I also noticed that it sometimes happened with harvesters near the HQ and you'd have to tell them to harvest again (at least that's what I thought...they might have been waiting in queue to unload but it didn't seem that way because they were sitting there).
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Yeah, I had organized a primary interception group (Hellcats, Bearcats, Excals, and T-Bolts) and set into a fighter screen formation (even though there were no capships with them). And as the group grew I started to notice little groups of fighters get dumb stuck around bases. I also noticed that it sometimes happened with harvesters near the HQ and you'd have to tell them to harvest again (at least that's what I thought...they might have been waiting in queue to unload but it didn't seem that way because they were sitting there).
Yeah, the huge size of the HQ tends to cause issues. Try to move your carrier away from it or your HQ away from the asteroids.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Yeah, I noticed that in the second game. I usually push the Ranger out at least 5 klicks from the HQ. I'll move the HQ more away from the asteroids the next time.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Yeah, I noticed that in the second game. I usually push the Ranger out at least 5 klicks from the HQ. I'll move the HQ more away from the asteroids the next time.
Refurbishing the Hit Zones and collision spheres is on my to-do list, particularly as for the multi-mesh units like the carriers and large stations, my workflow breaks them into a single of the meshes.

There's a reason my "method" to get units ingame made the devs annoyed at me. In any case, I do not guarantee anything, but I'll try to have a working Border Worlds faction in the next few days. Maybe not for full release, but to get it working in my game with building and research would be decent enough. Reminds me I'll stil have to write up the research tree for it and to get the new modular turret system to work. X_X
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
It would be sad if the Border Worlds did not have their high-end heavy fighter too, don't you think so? Well... here comes the Morningstar. With its plans painstakingly recovered by sympathizers, nostalgia amateurs of the short-lived superfighter and dedicated intelligence operatives, this fighter represents the pinnacle of the strike crafts available to our favourite underdogs.





Still much a work in progress, its armament will be defined later on, though I'll try to get its nuke to work if possible. Both as a reference to its role in canon, its status of prototype superfighter reminiscing of the Dragon/Lance and Klavs' aesthetic inspiration for the model coming in part from the RL Dassault Rafale, I'm pretty sure it will also be an omnirole fighter, with pretty high anti-fighter/bomber firepower and a capship attack capability, but obviously no camo... yet. Maybe, juuuuust maybe, if it doesn't unbalance everything too much, it might have a short-duration camo capability (possibly a one-shot if I can make that work). Obviously, very expensive, on the same order of magnitude of the Dragon/Lance, but with inferior capabilities: the UBW can get a top-of-the-line fighter, but it will cost a lot.

OTOH, if they capture a BL carrier, they should get discount Dragon/Lance for fun to be had by all.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Oh, and here's the Durango-class converted carrier too:









Right now, I'm getting the ships themselves as objects into the game. Once this is done, the main job will be one of scripting to get the faction working properly. X_X
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
And to finish the fleet review, an oldie but goodie, the early-game UBW fighter, Klavs' Scimitar!





Reminds me, right now, I think I'll have the UBW work as a faction into faction-wide "tiers". In the first one, Militia, the player gets cheap units such as the Scimitar and perhaps a handful of other obsolete fighters (why not an Epee for the recon, I don't know yet). Then, for a large research value, you can go to the Main Fleet tier, where you get access to the battle line with destroyers, cruisers and most fighters (Arrow, Banshee, Vindicator, Avenger, etc.). More expensive stuff, but admittedly better. For another very large amount of RU, you can unlock the last tier, AKA the Experimental stuff. You throw the proverbial kitchen sink at it and unlock the weird units. For example, the Morningstar, or maybe some unique turret configurations, some quickly thrown together copies of enemy units (more expensive and less effective, of course), possibly some one-shot camo for your Avenger groups, Vindicator fighters with Leech guns to neutralize and capture enemy fighters etc. In short, everything Tech Chiefs Pliers and Morgenstern can think off in their free time, or, more importantly, whatever I can code out of my behind.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
From time to time, the Border Worlds' Militia ends up facing somewhat bigger fishes, such as Pirate frigates. At this point, higher-ups did agree that resorting to kamikaze runs with a bunch of Scimitar had the peculiar problems of making the Milita run out of Scimitar (and pilots) at some point, which would look bad: some kind of bomber was needed. So, in their great wisdom, they found that an old concept could work perfectly well as a solution to this issue. The fact that the Confed thought it was absurd outside some very specific situations was not really a problem for said higher-ups. Plus, it would be a great way to dispose of some old torpedoes. Thus came the Epee very light bomber.

Two engines, two laser guns and one hopelessly obsolete (read: weak yet bulky) torpedo. Armour? Who needs that! Proper shields? Bah! Lightning speed to outrun the defenders? No can do, that torpedo is heavy. Cheap as hell? Eyup!








The Border Worlds' Militia has its legends say that a squadron of these managed to destroy a Kilrathi Light Cruiser once. Kilrathi legends say that Sivar took a look at the battle, then laughed at the hapless crew in front of him and kicked them out of the afterlife, 'cause seriously, this bomber does suck. It will go down with barely a hit from the lightest of fighters, it's not that fast when it has its torpedo (it's another matter entirely when said torpedo is dropped, BTW), it's guns are not a joke because it would be an insult to honest and hard-working jokes, it doesn't carry any missile whatsoever and its torpedo might not even kill some corvettes. But it's cheap and it's available, which are the two main criteria for the Militia's procurement department.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Time for some good old In-System Patrol, with the venerable Ferret. Decently fast (though not as much as the more recent Arrow) and armed (once again beaten by the Arrow), it represents the mainstay of the Militia's light fighter capability. Its role is mainly to plug some holes in the sensor coverage and provide some additional firepower to keep the Epee light bombers a few more seconds, a far cry from its glory days as the premier light fighter of the Terran Confederation Navy.







 
but obviously no camo... yet. Maybe, juuuuust maybe, if it doesn't unbalance everything too much, it might have a short-duration camo capability (possibly a one-shot if I can make that work)
Personally, I'd avoid giving the UBW any kind of cloaking capability. As we saw in WC4 the cloaking Avenger was a one off plot device, not something that would be reasonably repeatable (even with Kilrathi assistance). Additionally, the cost of mass producing cloaks and then retrofitting existing fighters that weren't designed with stealth in mind would be pretty onerous. In-universe we see that ships with cloaking tech are specifically designed with cloaking and stealth in mind, retrofitting cloaks most often wouldn't work as expected.

In my mind the UBW is more of a Zerg-rush type faction, they can overwhelm you in the early stages with tons of cheap and expendable fighters, but will struggle in the later stages of the game as more technologically advanced factions (ie Confed and BL) gain their super-tech ships like the Dragon and Excalibur.

Speaking of the BL faction - I know the mod currently defaults to giving the faction the BL carrier as a default. I was thinking that they should start with Rangers and Concordias (since they're basically Evil Confed) instead and have to research to get the stealth carrier. Let's face it, a cloaking-capable carrier with a wing of cloaking arrows, Dragons and Excaliburs is fairly OP, and starting out with something like that might throw off game balance - and that doesn't take the Vesuvius into account. :)
 
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