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

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
not sure the Excal would have unlimited fuel. Remember in WC3 they had to stop at asteroid depots to repair, rearm, and refuel. I would agree that the lance should have unlimited range as it has a micro M/AM reactor in it.
When we used to debate this sort of thing 20 years ago, we'd reference this passage from the Price of Freedom novel. Of course, WC3 doesn't refill the Excalibur's engines like WC4 does the Dragon/Lance.

He pointed up at the large intakes mounted behind the pilot and along the leading edges of the wings. "See those Bussard intakes? They scoop in everything, hydrogen, dust, anything their magnetic fields catch. The matter feeds a whole new power plant—matter/antimatter. Do you know what that means?"

Blair nodded his head. He'd first encountered the antimatter engines on the experimental Excalibur fighters he'd used for the attack on Kilrah that ended the war. Those engines, the first successful attempt at miniaturizing the cap ships' drives, allowed virtually unlimited range.

He peered at the fighter, scrutinizing its lines. Shave here, add there, change the camber of the wing and reposition the intakes. He could see the family resemblance once he knew what to look for. The Excaliburs had been prototypes for the Black Lances.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
When we used to debate this sort of thing 20 years ago, we'd reference this passage from the Price of Freedom novel. Of course, WC3 doesn't refill the Excalibur's engines like WC4 does the Dragon/Lance.
The old debates uncloak when you expect them the least, like a Dragon piloted by a Spanish Inquisitor. Sneaky!

Looks like we're having the Excalibur with unlimited range. After all, I haven't modelled the afterburner bursts. Yet. At the moment, the code is integrated on the ships and I'm updating completely the AI, since a few weeks ago, the Chinese team in charge of the massive Fairy Empire mod (when I say massive, I mean it, these glorious mad men and women managed to turn Homeworld in some Privateer-like game including trade and RPG elements) released a standardized AI package for modders which I will now use to allow better SP experience.

EDIT: the AI seems to work nicely and I am seeing the Paktahn made by the bots properly firing the new missiles at a poor Ferret sent by the Border Worlds bot, with the results you can expect. Pro-tip, if you play BW, don't let anyone come near your scouts because they WILL die quick to anything else. Though, it can outrun missiles fired from too far away.

There is still a leak with one or two of the scripts printing stuff to the log that I cannot identify at the moment and some unit listing issues wih the AI that can be corrected. Plus a regular CTD after five to ten minutes, which MIGHT come from a specific unit being built, and I will definitely have to check if this is it (I hope so, it would mean an easy fix).

Long story short, the new version is advancing pretty well and as soon as I can guarantee a working system for single player, I will integrate it to the Secret Missions factions then release the whole thing. Just, I might lose some time from tomorrow onwards, because World of Warships will have the public Beta of French Battleships, and I've been waiting for years to cruise with Richelieu. :)

EDIT 2: I have a frakking ghost in the machine now. That leak comes from a version of the code that is two or three generations obsolete and which should not be anywhere anymore. Yet it still runs...

EDIT 3: most other bugs have been removed, I'm letting the AIs play by themselves until I see the CTD. Now to understand its cause.
 
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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Ha! Let me show you how important it is to properly set the AI values. The Scout Transports got a combat value set a bit high, so we got a redux of the Battle of Earth, with a bot launching an offensive with... a convoy of medical transports:



The other bot simply decloaked a Prowler special ops corvette and started having fun with the hapless doctors (and it built a destroyer which is coming in hot too):



Note how the AI now use formations with its ships. That code from the other team is really good.

EDIT: the CTD seems to not appear with the Confed, so that can most likely be fixed (it's not an issue directly linked to general code like missiles or AI). Scratch this, I might be facing a deeper issue.

EDIT 2: OK, it's somehow linked to some strange conditions happening during a torpedo launch involving also missiles and decoys. Not exactly sure what leads to the crash, but I'm cornering the bug... it might be an issue that occurs when a missile is targeting a decoy and the decoy dies in the meantime.

EDIT 3: found the ghost and took it down, but the CTD bug is still there. Pretty much the last obstacle before a gameplay-complete situation (AKA only numerical values to change for balance if this is solved).
 
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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Perhabs it's time to turn these transports into Q-Ships. :D
This could be an amusing idea for the Black Lance, actually. TBH, at some point, I worked on the Zartoth EW variant of the Vaktoth, featured in Saga. The idea was that it could have built "subsystems" that would look like transports or capital ships to the enemy to mess with them. Never got it to work, though. I'd have to try it again with what I know now. To make for a good ambush ship, you would need to get a reinforced convoy mechanic, IMO, for juicy targets to appear.

Now, on to the CTD bug, it feels nastier than I initially thought. I tried getting between every instruction of the code creating the missiles, decoys and managing them a "print" instruction so I could see at precisely which point of the logic chain the whole thing broke down. The result is that it doesn't break within a script but right after a decoy management script. And all of this with varying numbers of missiles and decoys sent, so it's not a hard number. But at the same time, it does occur when the shipID, the single identifier for the ships and ship-missiles that I use to track stats such as missile fuel or decoy battery, is around 3,000. So it might be some addressing issue, particularly as I use the shipID value as a reference for the big data table. I will have to try and check whether modifying the way I reference the shipID helps in any way.

It really seems to be a tricky thing, and I honestly doubt anyone in the modding community faced it before, given that I'm getting on entirely new grounds for the game with this.

(sorry for bothering you all with the debug quest, but I find that it helps a lot describing the issues, and maybe getting some alternate points of view)

EDIT: stranger and stranger. I started a game with 150 (!) Arrow for me and a bot, pushing the shipID way over 5,000 (no, I won't make the "it's over nine thousand!" joke, so sue me), and it worked fine, except for some expected lag as everything updated.

The good news is that it isn't some sort of hard limit for the addressing (which would have been a complete disaster, as you can imagine), but the obviously bad news is that I am no closer to finding the source of the CTD.

EDIT 2: I went into slideshow battle mode, with all these squadrons fighting and dropping decoys at once, and it crashed way later than I expected, after dropping literally nine times more decoys and missiles than in all previous crashes, with the shipID for these missiles and decoys reaching 17,500. This means the shipID hypothesis must be scratched entirely, as there is no relation whatsoever between the number of weapons/decoys deployed, the identification number of these and the crash.

I need more coffee.

Bonus shot:



The triangles are fighters, the inverted Y are missiles or decoys. The decoy code was activated a bit more than 4,000 times before the crash, and there were, within these 15 seconds or so, around one thousand missiles and decoys flying around. If I can find and fix the issue causing the CTD, I bet you can imagine the kind of things that could be done with a more modern computer.

EDIT: well, crap. I'm currently at a loss trying to understand what is going wrong. Deactivating the decoys didn't remove the CTD, and it seems to happen between the execution of ships' scripts, with no clear pattern to identify.

EDIT 2: I located another issue linked to how the missile/torpedo script considers its targets if you select a group of targets. It also influences decoy drop as all fighters of the group will "feel" attacked if a missile is sent at any of them. Worse, if the group selected contains, say, 50 Arrow and 1 Frigate, it will be valid for torpedo targeting and the torpedo will likely be sent at an Arrow. I'll edit the code to reduce the targeted group to a single craft and see how it works out; with a bit of luck, it will eliminate the issue altogether as well as the CTD bug.

EDIT 3: I rewrote the missile code as well as increased the time between code updates. It seems to have done the trick. Honestly, I have no clue what happened. I'll do the same things for decoys and keep my fingers crossed.

EDIT 4: false hope, people. The stress test makes the game crash as usual. I will have to see if there is a stability limit under which the game can still run reliably.
 
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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I'll be blunt, people: this is bad.

The CTD issue happens specifically during missile fire, AKA the core asset of the massive update I planned. It flew under the radar initially because it seems to trigger after numerous shots, but it cannot be ignored, as even with four dozen fighters firing missiles (without decoys), it still crashes under three minutes of total gameplay (including the game setup). I have tried tracking the whole thing without success or playing a bit with the update times, but it doesn't seem to affect the entire mess. It doesn't look a code error either, as the tracking procedure did not report any script interruption, and given that the scripts work just as planned for some time before the crash, it excludes the whole issue.

As I said, I rewrote the code, this time with nice comments and a clearer structure, without the legacy bits of code commented out like I had before. It did not work either. It is not linked to a table overload or stuff like this as I can get almost arbitrarly large numbers of missiles shot if I increase the number of available fighters.

This is both frustrating and infuriating as I am this close to a fully working clean ammunition system. What I will be able to do, however, is to release the AI script provided by the FE team, which works smoothly with Flag Commander and seriously improves the enjoyability of the game. I think I will do this during the week-end, after adapting it for the Secret Missions 1 factions.

I am sorry for not being able to deliver after raising hopes, though I will continue trying to make this thing work, one way or another.
 

FekLeyrTarg

Commodore
I've been thinking a bit on the WC1/2 era factions. If these are planned already, I apologise.
Perhabs a few WC3/4 era design could be replaced by some good WC1/2 counterparts.
For the WC2 Confed Starbase, there are two great models, one by Scooby (used in Last Line of Defense) and one by Klavs (used in Flat Universe).
Cybot078 released an untextured model of the WC1 Kilrathi Starpost.
I'm not sure about a fitting replacement for the Confed shuttle though.

If you could use a few more models, there are lots of good untextured meshes by cybot078 still available here on the CIC:
https://www.wcnews.com/chatzone/search/4964741/
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I've been thinking a bit on the WC1/2 era factions. If these are planned already, I apologise.
Perhabs a few WC3/4 era design could be replaced by some good WC1/2 counterparts.
For the WC2 Confed Starbase, there are two great models, one by Scooby (used in Last Line of Defense) and one by Klavs (used in Flat Universe).
Cybot078 released an untextured model of the WC1 Kilrathi Starpost.
I'm not sure about a fitting replacement for the Confed shuttle though.

If you could use a few more models, there are lots of good untextured meshes by cybot078 still available here on the CIC:
https://www.wcnews.com/chatzone/search/4964741/
I will check this, but your link does not work for me.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Teaser for something to come soon (TM):















This is the Dead Zone area in which most detection, cloaking and accuracy stats are halved for enemy ships, and a sphere of 30 km radius has all long-range sensors blocked, making it almost impossible to see the EW ship coming.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Development update for the upcoming Black Lance content, the Pirates/Privateers:

The Black Lance faction has been using Pirates for deception and false flag attacks, which is why they are capable of building and deploying Pirate units such as the Razor, the Thunderbolt and the Caernaven frigate. However, if it was just this, the only result would, let's be honest, be to give low-level units for the Black Lance and that's it. There would be no interest beyond their lore and unique appearance, and that, people, would not do.

So, to have these ships become slightly more interesting, I just added, for the next update, a new gameplay feature that will complete the convoy system: pirates. Right now, every player has a jump buoy spawning a transport ship bringing supplies to their main base. The idea would be that attacking these ships would be profitable, as well as defending them, but trusting the AI or the player to just use this opportunity is a bit too passive, so from now on, the same jump buoy will also spawn a pirate unit made of two frigates, two Thunderbolt and four Razor which will automatically head towards enemy convoys and attack them on its own. Just like the convoy ships, the player will not be able to give them orders, and if they lose their target for a reason, they will automatically reacquire a new convoy to loot and plunder (and pillage and all other synonyms for easy yet not exactly legal money). First of all, it will force players to protect their convoys, add some more action to the games as the pirates could stumble on other units by chance. Second of all, it will be useful for the players to know the heading of at least one enemy convoy, by following the privateers (when bloodthirsty criminals attack your foes, they are privateers, not pirates, this is a very important distinction, people). Last, and very much not least, this will make pirates a common sight in-game.

At which point building and controlling pirates units can become much more interesting for the players of the Black Lance faction, who will be able to sneak recon units as random pirates, add more pressure to convoys and so on. Or maybe more painful surprises such as creating an exactly identical pirate unit as the ones spawned but escorting it with a cloaked carrier full of Dragon and maybe a minefield or a jammer to annihilate the enemy's quick response force.

This feature MIGHT be extended in neutral base spawning ships from the Privateer series once captured, options to get more pirates from the jump buoys, etc. But right now, only the above feature has been successfully implemented in-game.














Required "Arr, mateys!" here.
 
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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
The Black Lance faction has been released as part of the main Flag Commander mod (nothing new to download, it will get automatically added), and the pirate/privateer gameplay feature is included. Enjoy, people!

A really big thanks to @DefianceIndustries without whom this would never have been possible, the mate having remastered the ships of this faction. After a bit less than a dozen years, the mod is finally showing the same faction lineup as the initial version by @czacen. Dang, it's been a long time. But the work is not over! If I can make work the missile/torpedo/decoy script, there will be a massive new gameplay update. And there is some content to add too over the next few years. Still, the factions are there, the AI is working. Feels damn good, people. Thanks to all of you, to the Wing Commander Saga team, to @Deathsnake, to @Klavs81, to @Howard Day, @NinjaLA and all others for their creative work, their willingness to share with their community. And to everyone in the CIC community!

EDIT: the mod is now available in its latest version here for non Steam users.
 
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Sylvester

Vice Admiral
L.I.F. - have you ever encountered the "general failure" error with HW2 in your travels, and if so, how did you correct it?
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
L.I.F. - have you ever encountered the "general failure" error with HW2 in your travels, and if so, how did you correct it?
If it is with the mod, then there is on the Steam page for said mod a detailed procedure to solve it, as it is linked to the way Steam downloads stuff.
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
I tried the instructions you linked to - didn't work. I'm going to uninstall HWR and unsubscribe from all mods, then download with just HMW and your mods and see if that works.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I tried the instructions you linked to - didn't work. I'm going to uninstall HWR and unsubscribe from all mods, then download with just HMW and your mods and see if that works.
Weird.

Next time you start the mod, in the mod selection menu, there is a small text window below it. Type the following, - included: -luatrace

If the game crashes again, go to your game folder, \steamapps\common\Homeworld\HomeworldRM\Bin\Release\ and open with Notepad the file called HWRM.log and then send me the last twenty lines of that file. It will help me see what went wrong. Thanks!
 
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