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

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Tinkering a bit with the code. I haven't solved the landing pattern issue yet, but I did find why there was this very annoying issue of a lot of shots constantly missing their targets, like if the turrets and torpedoes were aimed by this guy:



Found where the problem was and fixed it, so when the next update will come, that should be a problem of the past. Also, a kinda fun thing was added to our Border Worlder friends, in particular to their VLS grid for destroyers and battlecruisers. The long-range missiles are now two-staged, like the Russian Klub (look closely, you'll see that the missile is actually in two parts):



The long-range missile goes quite slowly to its target, but once it gets at 2,850 m of it, it drops a short-range torpedo which goes significantly faster (though not to the point it cannot be intercepted anymore). By the way, for the people who thought about it, yes, this does mean that the Tracker MIRV from Prophecy is entirely doable in-game. I might give it to the Confederation as a special ship-mounted anti-fighter/missile weapon later on. :)

Edit: oh, and I found the problem with the Confederation AI, which now seems to work properly.

Edit 2: update online. Merry Christmas everyone!
 
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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Oh, it doesn't help at all unfortunately. They still get dumb stuck. I didn't explain it very well.

I'll try to break it down a bit more so you understand my opening moves....

1. Build fighter production facilities on HQ and carrier

2. Set rally point for both about 4-5 km away from both at central location between them

3. Typically build the following at each: 4 Hellcats, 4 Bearcats, 4 Excaliburs

4. Eventually, I'll have enough fighters to organize them in a formation. Which requires them to move. Now, they haven't really done anything save fly to the rally point but sometimes it's clear some of them are running out of fuel because they'll start back towards the carrier or HQ. This is where I meant I selected them and tried to force them to dock. Sometimes, they do, sometimes not.

5. If I order the group to move away, more fighters will drop out over time and move back towards the carrier and HQ. Some will dock, others will just sort of sit pretty around them.

6. I've tried building a Confederation dreadnought at times and using it as the forward base. Sometimes fighters will dock with it but I've noticed a lot of times fighters will try to get back to the HQ or Yorktown carrier. That's why I asked earlier if fighters might be tied to their base of creation.
Great news! I think I've just fixed that issue. I've written a new version of the code that will make each Bingo Fuel strike craft first go to a carrier and then check if anyone in close proximity is trying to land. If this is the case, it bugs out of the landing pattern and guards all of the mates. Once the landing pattern is clear, the first craft to go through the code again starts landing, locking out everyone else from the pattern until it's over. I will post the update for this tonight.

Edit: update online.
 
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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Ladies and gents, other good news, but no update right now.

I've been working on a script to get the convoy mechanic working in a gameplay-friendly fashion. Definitely not good enough for proper release, but you can expect the following features: your starbase will automatically spawn a jump point in a random position (currently at a distance between 20 km and 25 km, it might be subject to change), which will also spawn a transport ship headed straight for your starbase. As soon as it reaches it, you get a cash bonus and the transport heads back to the jump point. If it reaches it safe and sound, it jumps out and another transport will do the trip. If, however, it gets destroyed at any point by the enemy, the jump buoy will self-destruct and another one will be spawned automatically at a mostly random place. There's a pattern, I've made an algorithm, but good luck ever finding out what the next position will be, which means that if you find the enemy buoy, it will only be a temporary boon for you and killing the transport means you will have to look for the next position.

The code is mostly working but I will have to test it a bit more (balance the travel time and cash reward, for example, or to get the AI to behave in a competitive way with this new feature). Thing is, I'm asking for suggestions. For example, the respawning buoy is a makeshift solution to avoid having a player camp the jump buoy and kill transport after transport. If you have suggestions, I'm open to them, just explain what you would envision and what would be the desired gameplay effect.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I like it! It'll make resource management a bear though. :)
Mining operations would remain there, it would just be an additional income source. I will probably make the income rate similar to two asteroid operations with half a dozen collectors each, so that a player who concentrates on escorting convoys gets to keep a proper resource income. I'm just not sure about making the jump buoy move after a convoy destruction. Keeping it in one place would allow really nasty tricks like setting up minefields with the Prowler or with upcoming Black Lance units, but I need a way to make buoy camping difficult.
 

DefianceIndustries

Rear Admiral
Mining operations would remain there, it would just be an additional income source. I will probably make the income rate similar to two asteroid operations with half a dozen collectors each, so that a player who concentrates on escorting convoys gets to keep a proper resource income. I'm just not sure about making the jump buoy move after a convoy destruction. Keeping it in one place would allow really nasty tricks like setting up minefields with the Prowler or with upcoming Black Lance units, but I need a way to make buoy camping difficult.
How about make the buoy move something the player can trigger for an RU cost? That way if the BL or Confed player plays it right, the other player won't know until the trap is sprung, also if you're low on RU it forces you to detail units to protect a convoy until you can get your RUs up.

Thinking of it like a real convoy route, you can keep using the same one until it's discovered, then HQ sets up a new one, but it takes time and resources to do it.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
How about make the buoy move something the player can trigger for an RU cost? That way if the BL or Confed player plays it right, the other player won't know until the trap is sprung, also if you're low on RU it forces you to detail units to protect a convoy until you can get your RUs up.
Interesting idea... maybe have the Headquarters able to build a new randomly-positioned jump buoy that would make the other one self-destruct. In any case, it would probably need to cost quite a lot, a full convoy cargo or more. But I will keep that idea in mind.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
OK, I think I have a working version now (I still have to get it for the Kilrathi Empire's and Union of Border Worlds' factions as well as to find a way to push the AI to hunt the transport) For the players, what will it mean once this is online? At the beginning of the game, a very tough Jump Buoy will be spawned in a random place 35 to 40 km from your main base. After a random time, a transport will be spawned and will start its trip towards your base, and does not accept any order from the player, though can be selected for escort goals. Once it reaches your base, roughly 180 seconds after arriving, it will deposit 12,500 RU (for example, a Fralthi II heavy cruiser costs 4,500, so, yep, you want that revenue to come safely to your base) before starting the return trip to the jump buoy, where it will jump away. A short randomized timer will decide every time how long before the transport jumps back in to do the whole thing again. If the transport is destroyed, then a longer randomized timer will tell the time before a replacement transport gets spawned.

The transport itself cannot be built normally but has a coded building cost of 12,500, making its destruction in a Bounty game a quite worthwile endeavour to say the least (you get a fraction of the destroyed unit's cost when you kill it).

In-game, it has a speed similar to that of destroyers and the Confederation's Escort Carrier, so will be ideally escorted by Corvettes, Frigates or, if you can find a ship to spare, a full-blown Destroyer. The long distance to the starbase will make finding the jump buoy a really difficult and time-consuming endeavour, but an autonomous raid group could lead to amusing results, to say the least. I do not think I need to tell you how entertaining a mine field would be, or long range cruise missile attacks, etc.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Aaaaand it's live! A pal from Phoenix Interactive told me how to get AIs to consider convoy transports as priority units to defend or attack specifically. I might rework the stuff later on to give the AIs specific raid/counter-raid tactics, but even now, it should give you people an interesting challenge to find and take out the enemy transports. Don't forget to set the Bounty option to "on" so you can grab some juicy bounties from the downed transports.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
In a more general Homeworld news, the Complex mod got released in its new version, and I gotta admit, they did a superb job on the User Interface. What it does mean is that the next updates, during this month, will be less about new content or features and a lot more about improving the User Interface. Getting the fuel to show properly as a value in the screen, bigger icons, etc.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I'll update the ModDB version with the latest Steam version tonight.

If you read this edit, then the file on ModDB has been updated. :)
 
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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Sneak Peek: I've just finished, after many, many, attempts, a pseudo-countermeasure system for fighters. Long story short, if an enemy missile gets under 500 metres in the rear quarter (45° in each direction around the rear axis of the fighter) while in combat, it drops quite reliably a mix of the usual chaff pod as well as flares with, if my coding does what I want, a 40 % chance of neutralizing said missile. It is actually an antimissile flak gun because I have failed to come with a way to force the retargeting (there might be a way to do it, but it would be so code-heavy the lag would be unacceptable, period). This should improve a bit the survivability of fighters and bombers to missiles, though it won't help if you fly straight into them.
 
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