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

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
I got in to a match 1 out of 5 tries. 1 out of three with WCIII ships. 0 out of 2 with WC1/2 ships. Here's the log info:

Unable to retrieve UI (animated) texture ()
Error, LoadScreen failed to screen of type GameBalanceScreen when loading section GameBalanceScreen from file DATA:\UI\NewUI\Developer\GameBalanceScreen.lua
Error, LoadScreen failed to screen of type DeveloperScreen when loading section DeveloperScreen from file DATA:\UI\NewUI\Developer\DeveloperScreen.lua
Era
2
Table joueurs créée.
build available
generic build available
build available
generic build available
ACMC has been successfully initialized.
EngineTrailStatic::getTweaks requesing index(0) that doesn't exist.
EngineTrailStatic::getTweaks requesing index(1) that doesn't exist.
EngineTrailStatic::getTweaks requesing index(2) that doesn't exist.
EngineTrailStatic::getTweaks requesing index(3) that doesn't exist.
EngineTrailStatic::getTweaks requesing index(1) that doesn't exist.
EngineTrailStatic::getTweaks requesing index(2) that doesn't exist.
luasobgroupactions 2757: SobGroup_FillSubtract: could not find sobgroup (Arrow0)
parameter: bad argument #1 to `?' (string expected, got table)
parameter: unable to recover; exiting
Lua -- Critical error -- FATAL EXIT -- luamem/103:! --stack trace--
Restoring video mode
Display: (0, 0, 100, 100) - (8, 31)
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I got in to a match 1 out of 5 tries. 1 out of three with WCIII ships. 0 out of 2 with WC1/2 ships. Here's the log info:

Unable to retrieve UI (animated) texture ()
Error, LoadScreen failed to screen of type GameBalanceScreen when loading section GameBalanceScreen from file DATA:\UI\NewUI\Developer\GameBalanceScreen.lua
Error, LoadScreen failed to screen of type DeveloperScreen when loading section DeveloperScreen from file DATA:\UI\NewUI\Developer\DeveloperScreen.lua
Era
2
Table joueurs créée.
build available
generic build available
build available
generic build available
ACMC has been successfully initialized.
EngineTrailStatic::getTweaks requesing index(0) that doesn't exist.
EngineTrailStatic::getTweaks requesing index(1) that doesn't exist.
EngineTrailStatic::getTweaks requesing index(2) that doesn't exist.
EngineTrailStatic::getTweaks requesing index(3) that doesn't exist.
EngineTrailStatic::getTweaks requesing index(1) that doesn't exist.
EngineTrailStatic::getTweaks requesing index(2) that doesn't exist.
luasobgroupactions 2757: SobGroup_FillSubtract: could not find sobgroup (Arrow0)
parameter: bad argument #1 to `?' (string expected, got table)
parameter: unable to recover; exiting
Lua -- Critical error -- FATAL EXIT -- luamem/103:! --stack trace--
Restoring video mode
Display: (0, 0, 100, 100) - (8, 31)
OK, got it. I seem to have forgotten to update the motherships of both Wing Commander I/II factions to the proper convoy/pirate code. I'm uploading the new version right now and it should be online within a few minutes. Wait a few hours for the ModDB version to be updated too. In the meantime, the Wing Commander III/IV factions should work. EDIT: it's been uploaded, so wait until Steam downloads the update and tell me how it works, OK? Thanks for the bug report!
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I think I got it. The Steam version of the main mod has been updated to the 2.5 version of Flag Commander, which is defined by complete rework of the ammunition and fuel management system:



As you can see in the screenshot above, there is a new feature appearing in the unit screen on bottom-left. In the vanilla game, you can see three stats items, the speed (green arrow), average damage per second (red target) and HP (blue shield). From now on, however, there are two more items for fighters and bombers, the remaining fuel indicator (radioactive sign) and the torpedo indicator (small torpedo below the fuel sign). Most fighters/bombers have limited fuel, in different amounts, with crafts like the Arrow being able to patrol for a long time compared to other ones, for example. Now, however, you'll be able to see much more effectively the remaining fuel in a given plane (I'll try to have a fuel bar present at all times in a later update). The big change was in the way torpedo launches are accounted for, given that there is pretty much no built-in feature in the game to allow this. After various semi-working models (the first one, called "seriously bad juju" by one of the devs at Gearbox, worked for a while, and the second one involved rewriting from scratch an entirely new way of simulating missiles in Homeworld and throwing the game's missiles to the garbage, which worked like a charm and even allowed Skipper missiles or functional decoys among other things but had the slightly annoying issue of making the actual game engine crash completely with no way whatsoever to debug), I settled down on scanning frequently around each bomber for friendly missiles in very close proximity and counting launches this way to keep a count on the remaining torpedoes. It works and should be really more reliable than the "seriously bad juju" code and while not absolutely reliable in counting launches than the complete rewrite, it shouldn't cause micro black holes to appear in the immediate vicinity of your CPU, which is a plus, according to CERN. Of course, when a craft goes Bingo Fuel or Winchester, it will automatically stop fighting and return to the nearest hangar for refuel and reload services.



The new system is currently only for the Wing Commander III and IV factions, the I and II waiting a bit for some feedback. You'll notice that some crafts do not have limited fuel, such as the Excalibur, Dragon, Asteroid Fighter, Sorthak, etc., which give them another tactical use compared to cheaper alternatives (note the "N/A" on the second picture).
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Oh, and since I was on a streak, I went back on the solo mission I made a long time ago and updated it to work again before uploading it in the main mod (the upload should be online in a few minutes from the time I post this).





The whole ammunition schtick should be really interesting for campaign editing.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
On a roll this week. I'm sitting on a working second solo mission. Once again, pretty simple and straightforward, with a couple of events taking place during it, the goal being to give the player setpieces in which to test tactics, weapons and the such in a scenarized environment. Here, intercepting a Kilrathi convoy running towards a jump buoy and destroying its ships before they can jump out, giving to the player a hang on attacking escorted targets and planning ahead to direct both an air group and the capital ships on time-sensitive targets. Among other things, I've reintroduced the music to the mod and added custom loading images for the campaign missions. I'll try to upload a final version for the end of the week with stuff like consequences carrying on over missions, like depending on how many transports escaped your strikes, the enemy battlegroup I plan for the third mission will have varying amounts of fighters and bombers, or maybe some additional escorts if the convoy's escorts got out too. For the loading images during the missions, my current setup is this:



It's kinda basic, obviously, MS-DOS basic even, but there isn't much more I can do with my artistic skill (or lack thereof). The idea for this mini-campaign is to move around with the Victory on the long way around to Orsini on a patrol where there will be the opportunity to display various units and their specialty roles. The first mission had the Kilrathi cruisers and corvettes with their long range missile capability. The one I'm uploading (in a fully playable and winnable but not complete version) has frigates and destroyers acting as escorts. The next one should show the Kilrathi carriers. Perhaps a quick jump through the Border Worlds to meet Captain Dominguez, that kind of thing. Not promising anything in terms of schedule, though.
 
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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Bit of an update for Thanksgiving: I'm mostly done on the third Victory single player mission and will upload it as soon as I finished the icons as well as made sure all the scripts work well. Following the successful destruction of the Kilrathi supply convoy, the Victory and her battlegroup are holding position next to the jump point. The InSys station that noticed the convoy in the previous mission left EMCON and discovered two problems:

* Some Kilrathi stragglers are still around, some are launching an attack on the InSys depot while others are dashing to the jump point.
* A sizeable Kilrathi task force, most likely the elusive carrier's full escort, is getting ready to jump in Cambria, on top of the Victory.

The player will have 10 minutes before the Kilrathi jump in and must use this time to its fullest: protect the InSys depot to get some help from it against the task force and just as importantly prevent the runners from jumping out, because if they do so, they'll tell the task force how outgunned the Victory is, leading to an immediate attack before the end of the countdown (pro-tip: you don't want this to happen to you). The fun thing is... the runners all start in random positions every time you play the single player mission, meaning you'll have to patrol the ingress to the jump buoy to make sure you can take out the blockade runners. If you do so, however, you might very well get to plan a very, very satisfying ambush on the Kats.

Pictured below, a jump buoy, some specialist Longbow, a countdown to the enemy attack... and a few hundred megatons worth of mines.

 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
So, thanks to a lot of help from @Dark Sentinel, a potential feature has reached the demonstrator stage. DS made a custom shader allowing part of a large texture to be used on a smaller area of a ship. In this case, the name plate area of Confed carriers. With a texture file containing more than a dozen individual name plates and a dynamic selection script I wrote later, it is possible to have several ships of the same class to show different name plates during the same game, the entire thing being smooth from the PoV of the player. It still needs some improvement and, of course, the texturing (that I'll try to do over the next few months) of the plates, but it could be a pretty amusing feature to give more personnality to the ladies of this universe. The ships on which such a feature could be added in 2019 are the carriers (Eagle, Ranger, Lexington, Jutland and Concordia classes) but I suppose that the models of other capital ships could eventually be modified to receive a dedicated name plate texture to allow individual destroyers and cruisers. Or, for particularly idiotic yet awesome development, it would theoretically be possible to have every single fighter in the game wear different numbers, squadron insigna and pilot names.

No promise, of course. This is a proof of concept and there are things which are much more deserving of both time and work. Pictured below, a close shot of two Jutland with different name plates, 02 and 07:

 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
I'm uploading now the third mission for the WC3 demo campaign after polishing the scripts and logic for the scenario. A couple of modifications, though. First of all, I buffed the torpedo turning speed as I noticed repeatedly that they missed their first pass on the blockade runners and had to come over, which could lead to the runners getting to the jump point through no fault of the player. Additionally, I increased the time to arrival of the Kilrathi reinforcements from 10 to 15 minutes, as 10 minutes were barely enough for me to get an acceptable minefield while knowing the mission perfectly.

After playing it completely in release conditions, a few bits of tactical advice:

1) You have two focuses at first, the InSys base to protect and the jump point to blockade. The assets you have are enough to do both of them, but the blockade will need constant attention and to detect the runners early enough to kill them ASAP.
2) You have slow and persistant firepower with your capital ships and fast but momentary firepower with your squadrons. Each can be used to solve each side of the problem in time, but only if used adequately.
3) Your Arrow are recon/patrol fighters. Use them in this role if you want to win.

As usual, I would love to have some feedback on the missions. :)
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
After some discussion with @DefianceIndustries, @Dark Sentinel and a few others, we decided it was time to make a game more faithful to the original Wing Commander manga rather than trying to fit the bad gaijin adaptation. Don't you remember fondly when Blair-kun was asking advice to Paladin-sensei on how to deal with baka-Tolwyn?

This is why I'm working on the proper implementation of a true Wingo Commanderu no Blair-san experience for the next update, with the proper Macross Missile Massacre:



More seriously, that's the Wasp's Swarmer missile burst being scripted for future integration of the MUP ships.

 

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L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Yay, Nephilim War Era Addon confirmed. :D
I do believe it was an open secret at this point. Though FC comes way after the MUP, which is the main raison d’être of the Nephilim Era ship models so don’t hold your breath. For that, of course. There’s quite a number of other goodies being prepared. I feel pretty confortable with the mission scripting by now, so once I’ll have released the fourth and last Victory mini-campaign mission, my modding focus will be on learning how to make map backgrounds so that End Run can feel right instead of re-using old assets. I have, in particular, two big missions in mind: an atmospheric interception of Kilrathi troop ships by the main Confed fleet’s air wings, which will require an atmospheric background map. Something like this:



That also means I’ll have to configure the fighters so that they behave as atmospheric ones.

The other would be the infamous slingshot maneuver over Kilrah, which will require a close-up view of the planet as the background, while the Tarawa’s battlegroup zips through the entire map at neck-breaking speeds. Here is an example of custom low-orbit map done by another modder:



Such a low-orbit view over a moon could be used as part of the Tarawa’s raid on the shipyards where many Marines lost their life. This will most likely take a lot of time to do, but is entirely within the realm of possibility with friendly subject experts available, which is a lot more than what could be said a couple of years ago about some critical features like AI or ammunition. It’s about learning how to do the thing reliably and then finding gorgeous open-source space-themed pictures to use as background, but these aren’t that hard to find.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Oh, and a big thanks to @DefianceIndustries and @Dark Sentinel for their work on the MUP and for letting me use one of their assets to check the viability of the code:





A lot of missile tubes programmed here:



The Wasp tested in-game copies pretty well the workings of the Prophecy one. It has a limited amount of Swarmer salvoes that will use different clusters from each shot - using the high-definition Swarmer missile made for the MUP - until it spends all of them and goes back to normal missiles or reloads at the carrier. In addition, it can use its one-time booster to get its top speed multiplied by 5 for a few seconds, giving it the famous capability to intercept bombers or missiles at standoff ranges. Once used, the booster will disappear, to be refurbished for a small resource expense.

Overall, it should fit really well its role, with a focus on the high-value targets and a very fast speed when needed. It will probably be nerfed by a sub-par agility and speed outside boost mode as well as a low fuel reserve to limit its deployment range to the immediate proximity of a carrier.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Here's a new update to the single-player experience of Flag Commander: the final mission of the prologue campaign. Over the development of this campaign, I learned a lot in coding the events and logic of SP missions, which helped making the missions smoother and more reactive, so this update also includes some modifications of the first three missions to add proper backgrounds as well as character icons when someone is speaking.

This campaign is self-contained and follows the Victory soon after the Battle of Earth, in a series of skirmishes to deal with a strong Recon-In-Force Kilrathi raid unit that will allow the player to get familiarized with most of the gameplay features of the mod. Outside possible bug fixes, this should be the final release for this campaign, allowing me to shift to updating the WC 1/2 content to the current standards as well as using the experience to finally get End Run going.

The prologue's missions are the following:

Raiders Sans Frontières: an escort mission where the Victory's air group must protect a convoy from cruise missiles then destroy a small group of capital ships by using the combination of allied ships and fighters.
The Great Hunt: a convoy attack mission where the Victory's forces must intercept a convoy and prevent any stragglers from alerting enemy forces beyond a jump point.
MineCraft, the McAuliffe's Legacy: the combination of a base defence to protect an InSys starbase and a seek-and-destroy where randomly-placed frigates will try to break through the Victory's blockade of the jump point and bring overwhelming reinforcements. Setting up a minefield in a limited time can turn the tables on an incoming force.
To kill a mockingcat: the final push against the heavy carrier that got progressively de-clawed with the destruction of its logistics and most of its escorts, yet still has many tricks up its sleeves. Recon, fleet defence and finally pursuit through a nebula to run down the carrier before it can escape.

I really hope people will enjoy playing it, as I do believe the RTS style can bring a lot to the Wing Commander experience.






Feb, 18th, update, the mod package has been uploaded on ModDB with the latest version for those who bought the game on GOG: https://www.moddb.com/mods/flag-commander/downloads/flag-commander-25-single-player-campaign
 
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