|| - June 7, 2016
After weeks and months of testing, and trying to figure out how to get the AI to react as a human does in a galactic environment, the PR team have finally achieved a significant AI breakthrough:
The AI now aggressively attacks independent planets, takes worlds, builds fleets, and stomps all over unwary humans if given half a chance.
The AI equasions to do this have been in place do this for years, but for months the AI has lain dormant, effectively asleep. We have tried hundreds of different ideas to get the AI to activate - all to no effect.
And how did we achieve this?
The frustrating answer, familiar to most modders out there is simple. We changed 1 value in the XMLs, instead of increasing the value from 1.0 to 1.25 we should have decreased the value to 0.75. It just took 6 months of testing to realise that is what we needed to do!
WOW. Did the AI react or what?
It annihilated one of the testers in Core Worlds in under a quarter of the time taken for a human player to "WIN" Core Worlds if unopposed.
Now that we know the AI is working, I have to go back and undo many of the campaign changes put in place that were an attempt to make the AI respond, but the mod is finally alive and kicking. We need to test and polish a bit more, but this makes us a lot closer to where we want to be.
|News. Now that's a name I haven't heard in a long time...
|| - June 17, 2014
Hello Phoenix Rising fans.
First off, I'd like to apologise for the extremely long time between news posts. If this was the only way you kept up with the mod, I can forgive you for thinking we'd ceased development. Those of you who read more of the forums see the team members making comments from time to time, and we made a call for alpha and beta testers for the latest version over the past year. Still, this doesn't make up for the silence we've sustained up to now.
I'd like to change that myself, primarily because I finally have some free time and partly because our team leader and the prime driver of the mod, Phoenix Rising, is without a computer capable of doing modding right now. This isn't particular cause for alarm, because the current build of the mod is very feature-complete. However, there still remain areas that need polish and improvement.
So what have we been doing for the past two years? Our initial plan for the next version of the mod was primarily based on integrating the information provided by the release of The Essential Atlas. As software project tend to do, we experienced some rather strong feature creep, and as one thing led to another, we realised we had a version of the mod that is no longer a mere incremental update. In fact, we have:
- Made numerous changes to improve performance
- Remade and rebalanced the hero system
- Rebalanced tech trees
- Galactic Mode
- Brought our galactic maps in line with The Essential Atlas
- Added new planets
- Entirely rebalanced and remade our core sandbox campaigns (still a work-in-progress)
- Created a new planetary bonus system
- Created a new hyperspace system
- Rebalanced freighters, including the addition of light transports
- Improved the display of research
- Improved land combat
- Begun the process of adding infantry weapon models
- New units
- Improved weather system
- Added many new maps in land and space
- Entirely revamped space combat to be in line with land combat:
- New armour, health and shield system
- New weapon balancing and types
- Better display of unit statistics
- New units
- Increase in map size to accommodate the changes
Many of these changes, especially those based around planets and maps, have already been mentioned in prior news posts. Check those for more information on those specific topics. As for the rest, I hope I can bring you more news posts in the near future providing examples and details. In the mean time, I'm happy to answer questions you may have here on the forums.
|Planets by numbers
|| - December 21, 2012
|The key theme to V1.3 development is conforming to The Essential Atlas, which involves moving all the planets to their correct locations. In addition, a new theme has been added to this which has implications throughout the mod, some obvious, some hidden: Populations.|
Planets vary enormously in their planetary populations, from the trillion on Coruscant to the airless uninhabited moon of Folor, and this now becomes the key economic driver for determining planetary income and industrial output. In general, heavily populated Core Worlds outclass anything else in terms of economic and military output (with a few notable exceptions), while some of the Outer Rim planets are so poor, one wonders if they are worth the military effort to take them. More on this later.
The second major change is fleet populations. Every unit now requires galactic population to build it. The more crew in a ship, the greater the Unit Population. Why? An Imperial-class Star Destroyer has 37,000 crew and requires consumables for 2.5 years. That's over 100 million meals stuck somewhere in the hold, and all this food, together with all the other consumables and parts required to cover every possible eventuality of running a Star Destroyer from spare rank cylinders to deflector shield parts has to be supplied from somewhere. Each planet you control will contribute to Galactic Population, and each land or space unit that is built consumes Galactic Population.
From a Campaign design perspective 2 points are immediately obvious. Firstly, while frigates and below have low crew requirements, the Clone Wars-era cruisers such as the Dreadnaught and the Acclamator Assault Ship are ridiculously crew-heavy designs, and it is not surprising that these designs were relegated to crew training and planetary defense roles out during the Imperial Era, especially with the advent of the Imperial-class Star Destroyer. While this certainly has a high Unit Population, a single Imperial is less demanding on Galactic Population than 2 Dreadnaught Heavy Cruisers, and with considerably more firepower. Yet another example of the technical breakthroughs achieved with the Imperial-class. It's not just a raw demonstration of firepower – it's also more efficient in crew requirements. Population is shown in yellow for negative numbers, such as unit population costs, and green for positive values, as per most planets.
So what defines Galactic Population?
Clearly food surplus is a key requirement to building a large fleet/army, but in addition a vibrant trade network is required to allow fleet supply to move goods around the galaxy to support front line military units wherever they are.
The current system of 10 population per planet is too uniform and simply was not going to work. But what do we replace it with? Answer – a full demographic model of each planet giving a picture of its food production, economy, trade network and industrial output that can then be used to determine a realistic figure for its weekly income and Galactic Population.
Actually this isn't quite as bad as it sounds as I had already started on a planetary demographic model during V1.2 development, but the model has grown and grown and is pretty complex. I'll attempt to break it down into manageable chunks.
The first step in creating a picture of a planet and its economic output is food production, the mainstay of most civilisations. Planets are not just lumps in space, terrain is critical to food production, so we listed a set of primary terrain types, all with different features: Grassland, Oceans, Forests, Temperate, Mountains, Volcanic, Desert, Swamp, Urban, Arctic, Barren, Ruined urban and Primordial and Asteroid. To this we add the civilisation factors: Technology Level, ranging from Neolithic/Primitive through to Super-High Tech. I also wanted a measure of Industrialisation and Pollution, which I call Harmony. Planets with high Harmony scores are pretty, grow lots of food and are good for tourism, while planets with negative scores are increasingly polluted.
Both Tech and Harmony have significant impact on food production and industrial output. Low Tech worlds take big penalties for both economy and food production, while the polluting worlds are penalised on food production but have bigger economies and greater industrial output.
Now we apply the Agricultural Level (which is a separate but related concept to the Advantage of the same name) , which acts as a multiplier to the terrain type. While the normal level of Agriculture is set at 1, some harsher worlds (where the planetary description indicates a subsistence level economy) this may drop to 0.5 or 0.25 depending on the local conditions. High levels of urbanisation will also reduce the Agri-level. Planets with good food reserves increase to Agri-level 2 or 3, while 4 or 5 is reserved for the Agriworlds, where the entire planet is turned into a giant farm. The scale of food production varies enormously, with Tatooine's moisture farmers producing 2.3 units of food, up to the giant of Ukio's world farms producing over 200 food units.
We also decided that planetary diameters will have an impact on food production, so large planets have their food output increased, while small colonised moons with lower surface area produce less food. As a bonus, we've taken the planetary diameters and re-scaled the planets visually in Galactic Mode so you can see size differences now, where known.
And finally, we deduct a measure of food that is eaten by the planetary inhabitants, so that big urban worlds are net food importers, with Coruscant's trillion beings eating over 100 food units worth of population.
The other side of the credit chip is galactic trade. This is based on several areas of industry. First, we take the trade generated by industrial output, which includes mineral resources, general industrial output (with positive modifiers for factory worlds), art & tourism, crime, and population-based civilian demand, so urban worlds score well here. Furthermore, this is intrinsically linked to the galactic trade network, and each planet gets a special "Commercial" ranking depending on its galactic position and access to major trade routes. The Comms rank ranges from 1 to 8, with position on the Big 5 Hyperrroutes (Hydian Way, Perlemian etc) rating an automatic 4. Remote Outer Rim worlds may only rate 1-2, while the super-hubs are scoring 6 or more. This makes a massive difference to the trade created by a planet, and has a major impact on both planetary economy and Galactic Population.
Most of this data remains hidden (actually in a massive spreadsheet used for mod development), but the result is a very personalised planetary economy. Having gone this far, we decided to complete the task by calculating all the important game considerations using this data.
Land and Space slots are now calculated using all the information gathered so far. To build a base you need solid terrain and a local technological culture to build and maintain the base. Key factors for Base size are terrain type and planetary population. Harsh worlds reduce the base size, high populations increase base size. The number of space slots is a combination of local shipbuilding – ranging from general technical skill of the population to specialist shipyards as noted in the planetary advantages, with additional slots for high trade requirements and large colony size. The number of Turret mounts for Planetary Turbolaser Defenses are now biased towards urbanised centres, and low population worlds tend to have fewer turbolasers than high tech worlds. The number and frequency of build pads is often also linked to urbanisation, so don't expect too many build pads to help your troops if you invade a barren planet! And finally, when you capture a planet, you get to steal/plunder all the goods awaiting shipment, so trade planets, mining worlds and planets with medical exports will have higher capture values.
Planets by numbers
If this is confusing, let's illustrate with a few examples; Firstly we collect all the data we know about a planet: Diameter, Population, Terrain types, Atmosphere type, Description. From this we can determine a range of 18 data points that describe the planetary demographics and from with we calculate the number of Land and Space Slots, the weekly income, Galactic Population, Capture Value, Destroy value and a rough guide to the number of possible towers for all those planets with unique maps.
Overall, with 300 planets in the database that's over 5000 data points to determine that describe all the planets in the mod, and 2500 critical data points used by the mod data files. This has then been tested (hence the call for Alpha testers) and re-balanced. While both the economic and population systems worked, the initial scale estimates were a bit high and a quick scalar applied to all values. Incomes now range considerable from negative income scores for barren moons to thousands of credits for the key industrial and trade centres.
Changes to the Campaigns
So what does this mean for the campaigns? Firstly, fleets end up a bit smaller, and Capital-class warships just got a bit rarer as all the campaigns are re-balanced for the population cap. This also has the added benefit of improving game performance due to the reduction in fleet size. Unless you have a large number of Core Worlds or agri-worlds under your control to boost your population limits, those early Clone Wars-era cruisers will end up being unpopular and will put pressure on your research planets to develop more modern and more efficient designs. Overall, the dynamics of play should become even more interesting with this extra challenge.
|"Commenor must be some major-league trading planet"
|| - December 10, 2012
|Sited in the Colonies, Commenor is a bustling, arid trade world. Its surface is covered with starports and landing strips for the tonnes of cargo that arrives and leaves, bound for the Core and the Rim. The planet swiftly became independent after the Battle of Endor, but its strategic location means that it's unlikely to stay that way for long.|
From an initially defensible landing zone, attackers must choose if they want to push up a ramp onto the upper landing strip, or move out onto the open ground below the small clusters of mismatched city buildings.
Commenor's varied architecture is the result of its trading heritage; a melting pot of many different races and influences. Of course, both the Empire and New Republic would like to make their mark on the planet...
Whoever takes control of this world, it will certainly assure them dominance across the Trellen Trade Route and easy access to the Slice.
|The Road To Coruscant
|| - December 10, 2012
|Two-and-a-half years after the Empire was sundered and beaten at Endor, the war against its successors has stagnated. The New Republic has failed to gain more than a foothold in the Core and member worlds are beginning to doubt its legitimacy as a galactic government. The risk of this fragile coalition unraveling is too great, thus Supreme Commander Ackbar has drafted a campaign to thrust into the fortified Core and seize the galactic capital. This is the Road to Coruscant.|
Director Isard acquired the throne a little more than a year ago; however, it took the sacrifice of Brentaal to the New Republic in a complicated coup to put her there. From Brentaal, there are two paths to Coruscant: through Anaxes, or through Borleias. With Admiral Ragab locked in a standoff with Commandant Wermis on the Brentaal-Anaxes front, any movement on Borleias would require reinforcements. The answer came in the form of resurrecting the all-hero Rogue Squadron.
A secret training base was established on Folor, with General Salm in command. There, six new starfighter squadrons will be forged, including Commander Antilles' Rogue Squadron. The reformed Rogues are made up of seasoned pilots with a variety of leadership skills that, in most cases, also happen to hail from key worlds. They are equal parts elite unit and poster subject.
The plan is to temper the Rogues with a series of active duty exercises against Imperial forces in the relatively quiet Rachuk sector before commencing the main offensive. Rear Admiral Devlia coordinates the sector's Force Escort from the capital of Vladet.
When the time comes, the Rogues will rendezvous with the New Republic Special Forces units staging on Noquivzor, along with whatever Fleet elements Ragab can spare. This group will move on Borleias under General Kre'fey. A word of warning: Borleias may look mundane, but the name has been linked to General Derricote, the eccentric bioweapons engineer.
In addition, Isard has a noted obsession with Rogue Squadron, who had previously helped foil several of her schemes. If the Rogues were ever annihilated to the last pilot, not only would it be a personal victory for her, but also an insurmountable propaganda nightmare for the New Republic.
A more conventional victory for the Empire would occur if loyalist forces were able to reconnect the Perlemian, pushing the New Republic from Brentaal, Ralltiir, and, finally, into the Colonies. Such a position would all but spell an end to the New Republic presence in the Core - and any hope of claiming the capital - for the foreseeable future.
Coruscant, of course, is the only prize for the New Republic. Controlling the Palace would secure the Provisional Council's authority, while the Rotunda would allow a senate to convene for the first time in years. The expected battle will be anything but easy: some of the best units in the Empire are garrisoned here. That's why Rogue Squadron will lead the way.
|Our Best Case Yet For Mod Of The Year
|| - December 3, 2012
|2012 has been a transformative year for us. Version 1.2 premiered in March and we've been anything but idle since. After wrestling the engine for years over certain features, we've finally reached a point where our design is beginning to fall into place. There are plenty of updates to reveal over the next couple of weeks, but for now, please help get us into the Top 100 by voting in Mod DB's annual contest. Just click on the wrench and trophy image to visit our page, then click again on the "Vote For This Mod" button in green.|
As you may know, Nertea was busy publishing his own mod for Battle for Middle-earth in between modeling our vehicles. Kindly consider voting for The Dwarf Holds, which also had a major release this year.
|Version 1.2 In Numbers
|| - March 24, 2012
|I had a noble goal when we started work on this version: to keep a record of everything we would change. Somewhere between the advantage revamp and the AI trials, that goal became impractical - nothing was being spared from improvement. So, in lieu of a conventional changelog, here's some analysis on just how different the game is from v1.1.|
Several major code projects were completed in the course of development. The complement formula was overhauled and transports were allowed to be carried (total spawn tags increased from 655 to 1218). Laser color variants were finished (+1641 blue laser hardpoints alone). Heroes were given leadership qualities, greatly expanded, their ships switched to canon variants, and generally don't resemble their former selves (+112 named hero variant net gain). A mechanic was devised for planetary advantages and galactic combat bonuses were standardized (advantage abilities expanded to 372 from 151). Custom AI was realized for the first time, with cunning infrastructure logic (56 novel equations). The land rules were redone from scratch, in essence, making this the Land Mini-Mod (43 new infantry types converted from vanilla assets, 3 droids, 8 vehicles, 15 buildables).
- 532/577 game object XMLs modified or created for this release.
- 3/7 enumeration XMLs changed.
- 82/82 custom AI XMLs implemented.
- 320/320 LUA scripts edited and compiled for v1.2.
Salvaged variants, along with most legacy units, projectiles, damage/armor types, corruption data, cinematic data, and story props were cut for the sake of optimization. It's hard to track every minor change done for performance, so here are some current benchmark comparisons courtesy of Ghostrider:
2.2 GHz dual-core laptop with 2 GB RAM running Windows 7
Logo - 55 s, Menu - 125 s
Core Worlds - 160 s, 2 FPS
Logo - 55 s (-0%), Menu - 110 s (-12%)
Core Worlds - 120 s (-25%), 8-9 FPS (+425%)
3.0 GHz dual-core desktop with 2 GB RAM and a GeForce 7200 running Windows XP
Logo - 30 s, Menu - 80 s
Core Worlds - 100 s, 7 FPS
Logo - 25 s (-17%), Menu - 75 s (-6%)
Core Worlds - 75 s (-25%), 26-30 FPS (+400%)
This will be the first release where we've completely moved away from my time as campaign designer - and so much for the better. Ghostrider brought his vision of the Thrawn Offensive and Operation Shadow Hand to life, redoing every single unit in the process. We added a brand new historical campaign in Operation Skyhook, and the heroes to match. I can't even venture a guess at how many passes were made to update the sandbox set, but assuredly everything has been optimized. Historical campaigns now get free upgrades to start; we fixed the tech slider for Rebels and the credit slider also finally works properly. We assembled a team of testers, led by Reedek, who spent an unfathomable number of hours poring over these campaigns for bugs. Finally, Ghost drafted a 115-page technical manual to explain the intricacies of the mod.
Aside from name strings, all planetary text, all hero text, and all land text was rewritten. The campaigns all have new intro text. Land stats were put on individual lines and all buildable land units were given descriptions. The master text file added 429 kB. 7 GUI dialogs were modified.
8 Conquest land maps were added and the terrain of every GC space map was spread out to better accommodate pathing. A couple map-related exceptions were caught. 2 Skirmish space maps also made it in. Not to worry; evilbobthebob was only promoted from the testing team at the tail end of our beta phase.
28 space unit models added: Acclamator I, Acclamator II, Action VI, B-wing, Cargo Containers B-D, Droid Tri-Fighter, Gozanti, I-7 Howlrunner, IRD, Research Station, Shadow Droid, Space Colony 1-5, TIE Bomber, TIE Drone, TIE Fighter, TIE Interceptor, TIE Targeter, T-wing, Victory I, Victory II, World Devastator, Xiytiar. 7 space unit model spin-offs or significant changes: Im418, Independence MC120, Liberty MC80, Reef Home MC80, Tector I, Tector II, TIE Interceptor RG. 9 space units with new animations: Barloz, BFF-1, BTL Y-wing, Delta-7, DX-9, ATR-6, RZ-1 A-wing, T-65 X-wing, Z-95 Headhunter.
- 326/868 new ALO model exports. +211 model net gain.
- 291/331 new ALA animation exports. +298 animation net gain.
- 958/1402 DDS textures edited. +598 texture net gain.
- 305 TGA icon changes or additions, most hero icons thanks to Invadious.
8 unique Nertea land unit models added: Armored Freerunner, Arrow-23, Heavy Tracker, Overracer, PAS, PX-10, QH-7 Chariot, Talon I. 6 third-party land unit models added: B1 BD, B2 SBD, Greedo, LAAT, Luxury, T-16. Custom single energy bolts sized for damage added. 10 land unit model spin-offs or significant changes: A6 Juggernaut, AT-AP, Digger, Garm Bel Iblis, Guild House, Navy Trooper, Spy Network, Storm IV, T-47, X-34. 21 map props added.
With that said, the release candidate for v1.2 is undergoing a final evaluation by testers at this moment. If nothing goes catastrophically wrong, the release date will be Sunday, March 25th at 00:00 GMT-5.
|A Top 100 Thank You
|| - December 13, 2011
|We made the ModDB Top 100!|
Thank you to all the community support we have received in the last few days, and the news is that we made it into the ModDB's Top 100 Mods.
We are still polishing V1.2 and should update you soon, and just to remind you, a fresh round of voting has started, so please spare a minute or two to follow this link and support this mod.
||This level is not made, distributed, or supported by LucasArts, a division of Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. LucasArts, the LucasArts logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. All other content copyright Phoenix Rising Team 2006-2016.