Hey everyone, Unikraken here...
I wanted to take a few moments and explain some things we've never really went into great depth about or have primarily only mentioned in comments that become buried in a few hours by new posts asking if we're going to be including the UNSC Infinity (Yes) or the Covenant Supercarrier (NO) from Halo Reach.
Anywho, just what is Sins of the Prophets (SotP) anyway?
SotP is a total conversion for Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment, based in the Halo universe, featuring ships from the Halo lore, as well as fan designed ships to fill in the holes where necessary. Now, "total conversion" may not be a term that everyone understands, so I'm going to explain what we're doing and hopefully you'll catch on through context. Every ship in game will be changed to something in the Halo universe. The entire user interface is being changed to fall in line with how it would look in the Halo universe. All of the music is being replaced with tracks being composed by our very own composer, Waseem. Every ship voiceover is being replaced by one specifically recorded for this mod by voice actors. Nearly every sound effect will be replaced by one specifically recorded with the Halo universe in mind. Custom particle effects are being designed where necessary. None of the original races from Sins of a Solar Empire will be in SotP, at all, with no negotiations possible for their inclusion. We are literally doing our best to turn Sins into a Halo game.
What factions will be introduced from the Halo universe?
In the Entrenchment release of SotP the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) and the Covenant Empire will be featured. The pirate faction will be replaced by the Flood. After we are satisfied with our UNSC vs. Covenant release for Entrenchment, we will be converting the mod over to Rebellion, and at that point we will begin adding the Forerunners as an additional third faction. Right now, we are completely focused on the UNSC vs. Covenant gameplay and Forerunners are a hazy hope we can see off in the distance.
What is your vision for this mod?
Our primary driving force is to bring a quality real time strategy gaming experience to Halo fans, through the engine that Sins of a Solar Empire provides. We aim to take the Halo experience from the FPS games, mix it with the fleet combat from the novels, and translate that into the engine Sins of a Solar Empire provides. We envision large fleets of beautifully detailed ships smashing together, to recreate those battles you've read about in novels, like Halo: The Fall of Reach, or saw with your own eyes, like the Battle over Earth at the beginning of Halo 2. We want to give you a platform to bring those kind of experiences out of your imagination and onto your computer screen.
Is there a specific time period for the mod?
The Entrenchment version of the release takes place in 2543, 9 years before the first Halo installation is found. This allows us to make better decisions about what to include in the mod, so it is not a mish mash of different time periods. When we move to SoaSE: Rebellion the time period jump up to post-Halo 4, the exact date has not been decided yet.
What kind of gameplay will we see in SotP?
Gameplay mechanics are being changed in several areas to provide that experience, but there are some harsh limitations that require us to make some concessions. Gravity wells have been doubled in size for most celestial objects. We are adding custom planets, like Forerunner shield worlds. In vanilla Sins, asteroid belts had a handful of measly asteroids and were mostly just a nice find. Control of these systems did not determine success. However, in SotP asteroid belts are now a valuable strategic resource often containing up to 8 asteroids. Controlling more of these than your opponents can certainly help turn the tide of any war and fortifying those systems is a must.
We realize many of the potential players of this mod only play against the game's AI, so we are doing our very best to not only keep the AI intact, but in many cases improve its ability to play effectively in our mod.
What is combat like in SotP?
Combat in our mod is very fast paced, much like combat in the Halo FPS games. Fleet battles will rarely last longer than a couple minutes and they often end in a very decisive manner. You will see MAC rounds and plasma torpedoes streaming through space and destroying ships they come into contact with. Our ship to ship combat is heavily borrowing from the battles seen in the novel Halo: The Fall of Reach. We consider this book to be the best representation of fleet combat in the Halo universe. That doesn't mean we won't pull ideas from other sources, it just means that when we're stuck on something we happily reread the book and stay in line with it. The UNSC will often need 3 to 1 odds to win a fight with Covenant forces. This does change with the classes of the ships, but you need 3 UNSC frigates to successfully kill a Covenant Frigate, and you will often lose 2 of those frigates in the fight. We balance out this very obvious imbalance by making UNSC ships cheaper and faster to build. The UNSC is an economic force to behold once you get the hang of the new gameplay. Covenant strategy is less concrete at the moment as we are entirely focused on this UNSC beta we'll be releasing eventually.
How does the UNSC play as a faction?
As a UNSC player, one of the first things you'll notice is the importance of fleet composition. In vanilla Sins a mass of LRM frigates accompanied by a capital ship is often enough to win the day. However, a successful UNSC fleet requires more thought and attention placed on it. Every ship in the UNSC fleet has a role and a suite of abilities to help them fill that role. You'll need Paris-class frigates to provide escort duties, allowing a fleet to travel faster. You'll need Berlin-class frigates to coordinate planetary invasions and ensure a successful ground campaign. You'll need Eion-class light carriers to provide squadrons of strikecraft and their flak batteries to keep the fleet safe from enemy strikecraft. You'll need the experienced engineers of the Halcyon-class cruisers to facilitate repairs fleet-wide. The list goes on, but you get the point. A UNSC fleet is greater than the sum of its individual parts, when composed of the right stuff.
The Fleet as it stands.
The only ship missing at this point is the UNSC Cradle, or Repair/Refit Station as she'll be called in game. Every combat ship has now been modeled and textured. Roles are currently being finalized and requisite abilities are being coded.
I hope this helps you understand where we're at and what you can expect from the impending release. The release date will be announced later, please do not ask about it.
And last, but not least, here is our most recent livestreamed gameplay between CanadaMan7 and myself. (Skip to 1:25 in to avoid crazy annoying sounds!)