About two weeks ago we posted an article detailing the extensive remastering process of the FXmod. The punchline of this article was that, although there was much to be done, we were closing in on a post-2.0 release of the FXmod at long last. And now, we are able to show you a preview of what we have been working on for the past six months, and of what is still to come.
In this newsletter we'll talk about we have come to call "Aftermath": the first public post-2.0 (test) version of the FXmod. There will also be a special something for our fans at the end of this article, so do read on ;)
FX:Galaxy v1.20.1 - "Aftermath"
Aftermath is the first HWRM 2.0 compatible release of the FXmod. It was posted to our BETA Steam page a few days ago, along with the message that this version is still only in a "basic support" state: bugs and glitches are everywhere, and some non-critical functions of the FXmod will not work in it.
So, why was this release not posted to ModDB? As you may remember, we decided to only upload stable releases here, and being only an initial port to HW:RM 2.0 this first release of the FXmod is far from stable. The second and biggest reason however is that to make this version of the FXmod work with HWRM 2.0 was had to rely on what Gearbox calls the "public patch build" for HWRM (v2.205). So, you may ask, what is the public patch build?
The Public Patch (HWRM v2.2.05)
As many of you know HW:RM v2.0/v2.1 is the (for now) final version of Homeworld Remastered. What not everyone knows, however, is that at the release of 2.0 patch Gearbox had begun to work on future patches for HWRM.
They were unable to finish their work. At some point Gearbox, seeing that the HWRM hype had already neared its end, decided to re-allocate the HWRM assets to other projects. So the people who had been working on the future patches for HWRM decided to release what they had so far in an 'optional' patch, about ~300 MB of data they came to call the "public patch build": Homeworld Remastered v2.2.05.
So what is the problem? First off, the 2.2.05 patch is only available to Steam users. Since it is unfinished, Gearbox never decided to release a standalone version of the patch (for e.g. GOG users). Second, the public patch modifies pretty much all of the HWRM main data files directly. It is not a separate .big file or mod that can be launched via command line or similar methods. So, we cannot just .zip and upload the files of the public patch somewhere that non-Steam users can access it. It is Gearbox' responsibility to make a non-Steam version of their public patch build, but it doesn't look like they will.
For now, this means that our ModDB fans will have to wait a bit longer. It is not only that we don't upload untested/buggy versions here as part of our upload policy, it's also that we simply can't as this new version of the FXmod relies on the public patch for HWRM to work.
What this does NOT mean is that we are simply going to abandon our modDB fans. The FXmod started on ModDB back in the days of Homeworld2, we have a history with this place which made the FXmod big overseas. So, we will look into our possibilities and hopefully have some better news for you next time. To raise our spirits a little, let's take a look at some of the new contents.
Bentusi, Bentuyou, Bentus..
Besides being a (primarily) 2.0 port, v1.20.1 also includes a major overhaul for the Bentusi. As you may remember, the Bentusi race was added as a playable faction back in the HW2 days of the mod. They got new models and units, but were left relatively untouched since. With this build their status goes from "alpha" (incomplete) race to "DEMO" (incomplete but fully functional) race. In this newsletter we will preview one of their new features, and in a later newsletter another.
So first let's talk about what the Bentusi do. If we agree that every race in the FXmod has one distinct advantage or key trait (e.g. Kadeshi - swarm, Taiidan - production, etc), it can be said that the Bentusi are the economy race. Their unique feature is that they are the only race that is not tied to the asteroid or other RU deposits on the map for their resource income; instead, they can build and dispatch their Cargo Barges on remote deep-space trading missions.
The Cargo Barges cannot be moved normally, so you will instead order them to conduct trading missions via hyperspace. Once the order has been given they will hyperspace out of the map, conduct trading missions in other parts of the galaxy, and eventually return to you with its hauls. When it hyperspaces back into your map it will lock onto and exit near the location of your Trading Relay Station, the Bentusi equivalent of the resource controller, where it will drop off its hauls and depart on the next mission shortly after.
The RUs each units carries are small, and income will be slow at first. To speed things up you can invest into constructing additional Cargo Barges, as well as research upgrades to increase their cargo capacity at various points throughout the game. This way the Unbound will always stay at least on par with the other races when it comes to RU income rate, but the experienced traders among you will be able to use the Bentusi's resourcing system to stay slightly ahead of the other races. Money is power, and the Bentusi's expertise in deep-space trading makes them a force to be reckoned with for enemies, and a ( quite literally) valuable asset for allies.
The Trading Relay Station unit itself likewise cannot move, but it can freely hyperspace to and between any part of the map to keep it hidden from enemies. Thus, rather than trying to topple the Bentusi's trading operations, enemies would do well to instead focus their efforts on bringing down Bentus, the core of the Bentusi fleet, as soon as possible. Bentus is so large that it cannot be hidden from enemy sensors, and can thus be seen by anyone on the map. Once destroyed, the entire production chain of the Bentusi collapses as they will only have their surviving units and resource income left for the remainder of the game.
In the next newsletter we'll take a look at the Bentusi's new production system and some of their new units.
Reader Bonus: FXmod Unrestricted 3D-Model Viewing
Dreadnaught9ccn opened up a Sketchfab account the other day where people can live preview and explore several of the FXmod's units in full, unrestricted 3D. So far his page has two entries, one for the re-textured Progenitor Carrier from an earlier update, but also one for the upcoming re-textured Turanic Heavy Gun Cruiser! You may remember it being posted to the "images" section of our ModDB page before.
We hope you enjoy!
Thanks for reading, and until the next time.