Star Trek: Armada 3 is an upcoming mod for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion. Beginning around the time of the Dominion war the mod will progress on it's own branching timeline. Players will have access to four races initially on release...
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Message: Priority One
Starfleet Command Headquarters
Planetary Sciences Division

- Dev Diary 2 -



Starfleet Patch


Hello again everyone! Ambarenya back to give you another glimpse into the work being done on the Final Frontier expansion! In our first Dev Diary, Max expounded upon the details of creating planetary textures and atmospheres - certainly an important aspect of realizing the Final Frontier expansion, and something which he has done admirably, with great fidelity and attention to detail. However, today I will be talking a bit about an equally important aspect of the Final Frontier -- our planetary framework.

In summary, the sum of new Final Frontier items includes an extensive list of the following celestial objects and phenomena categories (numbers potentially subject to change):

  • Stars (32)
  • Planets & Moons (88)
  • Gravity Wells (180)
  • Nebulae (14)
  • Random Events (94)

Let us begin an exposition on the topic of stars. As a person with a background in astrophysics, it was important for me to take a look at the general representations of stellar bodies within both the Sins of a Solar Empire and the Star Trek universes, and develop a happy medium between real science and fiction for our mod. Some sources, such as the Star Trek: Star Charts, provide information regarding spectral and size classification of various stars, and so this was taken as the general guideline for star designation. From these varied sources, you will see the usual OBAFGKM spectral classes (yes, including brown dwarf spectral classes L, T, and Y), along with a good number of rare star types, and lots of other surprises. Each distinct star type will not only differ in visual representation, but will also impart certain gravity well effects based on the type of star that it is. Some stars may be potentially destructive or deadly, others helpful or of curiosity. Space is not always not forgiving – there are often natural dangers lurking in the starscape.

Nova-starBring up local star charts.


On planets. When I first began brainstorming for the Final Frontier, I decided that it was important to represent not only the planets in a macro sense, but also to simulate the various physical details about the planets as well. After all, is it not that planets within the Star Trek universe are defined not only on their size and composition, but also by their surface features and ecosystems (or lack thereof)?

This is why colonizable planetary bodies within the Final Frontier currently fall under two main categories, “planets” and “moons”. It was determined early on that due to the way that Sins of a Solar Empire represents planets, and also the way bodies are described in Star Trek lore, it would make most sense to simply categorize bodies in this way, as opposed to specifying a planet as a “Large” or “Small” type (keep in mind Star Trek planet classes typically fall under narrow size ranges anyways, so the visual differences are often negligible). Not only does this seem to me to be more immersive, but it also makes sense from a lore standpoint, where we often find these objects being differentiated with these terms. A “planet” in this case refers to a full-size body of a certain class based on its physical or environmental features. A “moon” does not necessarily refer to an orbital satellite in our game, but to a size class notably smaller than that of a planet. For example, a Class A ‘Geothermal’, one of the standard classes in the game, can appear in The Final Frontier as both a Class A ‘Geothermal’ Planet or a Class A ‘Geothermal’ Moon, with the moon naturally being of a smaller visual size and possessing fewer resources or capability for expansion.

ClassKIt's a place...where no one has gone before.


The system as designed is 'smart' in that it does not provide a 1-1 lineup of planets to moons – some planets, based on their structure or size, cannot be found as moons. For example, you would never see a Class J ‘Gas Giant’ Moon. Asteroids fall under a specific category that does allow certain types to appear as moons (based on what we observe in reality or in Trek lore), but again not all. Naturally (as the ‘string master’) to avoid awkward phrasing, be rest assured you will also not see something like “Class D ‘Planetoid’ Moon”. All terminology in Star Trek: Armada III - The Final Frontier makes sense both lore and science-wise.

The size and naming of planets is not the only thing that has changed, either. Revamping our old planetary system, each planet’s stats are now defined by a very complex set of parameters that include over 20 definition points, ranging from basic physical features such as average mass and radius, to more complex and abstract ones, such as magnetic field strength, availability of potable water, and ecosystem biodiversity. All of these parameters define, in an immersive way, tangible in-game features of the planet, such as the amount of resource asteroids it supports, its population, etc. Of major importance is the Planetary Habitability Index, which defines (using all 20 definition points, on a scale of 0 to 1), the ease with which a planet may be adapted for humanoid colonization. Some planets, such as Class K ‘Adaptable’s possess a relatively modest habitability index of 0.5 – suitable for colonization with pressure domes, whereas Class M ‘Homeworld’s have a habitability index approaching 1.00 – ideal for humanoid life. The habitability index helps to define a number of important colony parameters, in particular, the maximum population of the planet (which also takes into account factors such as surface area, possible settlement size, and surface typology) and as well as its Colonization Class [which will not change from A Call to Arms, still being Class 0 (instantly colonizable) – Class V (extensive adaptation)].

TMPWe've done our bit for king and country.


Lastly, it should be mentioned that some planet classes will have multiple “subtypes” that possess similar physical characteristics to the base class, but may differ slightly in composition or environmental features. Class M’s will have the widest variety of subtypes; Asteroids/Planetoids, Gas Giants, and many others too you may find have several variants as well. It is hoped that virtually any kind of planet seen in Star Trek can be realized using this Class + variant system, providing a highly varied and immersive Armada III experience. This does not, however, preclude the existence of a number of "uniques" corresponding to the most important planets in the Star Trek universe. New planets will also receive new textures and new textures and models for resource asteroids. And you can be rest assured that planets will draw from a vast pool of new immersive planetary bonuses too! There will be much more to come on this front in the future.

Nebulae and gravity wells, too, will receive a major revamp. Currently, we are planning on expanding nebula types to include all of the original Armada nebulae (in addition to the existing ones), as well as a few new ones too inspired by real-world astronomy. Each of these new nebula types will have appropriate graphics and effects. In a subsequent dev diary, we will go over the details of the wide variety of new gravity wells (including nebulae) that will be entering the Armada III universe.

tutorialAdversity breeds innovation.


There are many other aspects besides planets and gravity wells that are being worked on as of late, one of the most recent accomplishments has been (through a great deal of testing and effort) the inclusion of in-game tutorials featuring the units and factions of Star Trek: Armada III. We hope that this will help new players to gain a grasp of how to play our mod in a fun and immersive way. We have not ironed out all of the bugs yet, but we will continue testing/updating the tutorial strings to ensure an optimal experience.

This concludes our second dev diary. Stay tuned for further updates in the near future!

This is Ambarenya, signing out.

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Post comment Comments  (10 - 20 of 12,164)
jonsin1459
jonsin1459

Hmm let's see if I can trick them into some information.....

I really fancy giving Armada 3 another go...however I don't want to burn myself out with it and then TFF is released. Do you suggest I play or wait?

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OrionSlaver
OrionSlaver

Play away, good sir. TFF is a fair ways off.

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Schuchart
Schuchart

And what would you strong slaver with your mighty biceps be saying when being coerced to elaborate on patch 1.4?

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OrionSlaver
OrionSlaver

Ah, my insatiable Schuchart, you can try to coerce me all you want.

I.imgur.com

Basically 1.4 will involve lots of tweaks and fixes. Expect more balanced random events, some NEW random events, adjusted strings, etc. We're also looking into lingering AI issues, especially into how the AI on certain factions can sometimes pack it in and call it a day.

Draconis is working away behind the scenes but rarely steps into the limelight, as is his way. Nevertheless, I'd like to point out that a lot of what players don't see, i.e. the stuff that makes the mod actually run, is his work. So all hail the mighty, hidden Draconis!

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Corby1909
Corby1909

Hey guys, I apply the LAA but the game still crashes after about 10-20 minutes. Not sure why.

Running Windows 10 Pro
Running game on max settings.
Running 1.80 through the beta option too.

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Maxloef1990 Creator
Maxloef1990

You really didn't read the instructions did you....

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Guest
Guest

It crashes for me to it happens on all the mods I got

STA3: A Call To Arms
Sins of the Prophets
and Sins of a Galactic Empire
I do not know what to do

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ValhallasAshes
ValhallasAshes

Top rules to getting STA3 to load and not crash (except for known bugs such as the planet culture rebellion crash)

1: You must apply the LAA patch. Put the LAA patch into the the Mod folder (it doesn't have to go in there, it's just for ease of finding it.). Run -> Browse to and select Sins exe (non dev) -> Save and close. (DO NOT DELETE THE SETTINGS FILE THE LAA EXE WILL CREATE) Run the LAA patch again and select the exe again to make sure that the second time shows the box automatically ticked. If you have to tick it again, then you didn't apply it correctly the last time you did it.

2: Do not enable the mod IN GAME. You MUST edit the contents of EnabledMods.txt file to read as the following:

TXT
Version 0
enabledModNameCount 1
enabledModName "star-trek-armada-3-1.3"

Again, DO "NOT" TRY TO ENABLE THE MOD IN GAME. IT "WILL" CRASH EVERY TIME IF YOU TRY!

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Corby1909
Corby1909

I just played again lowed my settings and it crashed within 5 minutes. just thought this information may help.

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Corby1909
Corby1909

Okay so i switched to 1.82 still crashes.

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wheelmandan
wheelmandan

turn on laa put it where you have star strek folder after you EXE.

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OrionSlaver
OrionSlaver

Are you certain you applied LAA correctly? Go through this list step by step just to be sure:

First, find your Sins.exe, located by default here:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\sins of a solar empire rebellion

The relevant file is simply called 'Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellion'. This is your Sins.exe. Right click, go into Properties and ensure that the .exe is NOT set to Read Only.

Then go to wherever you're keeping your CTA files, kept by default in your Rebellion 1.82 mods folder located here:

C:\Users\USER\Documents\My Games\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellion\Mods-Rebellion v1.82

Find and open the program called Large Address Aware that came with your download of CTA 1.3.

Browse and select your Sins.exe mentioned above. Tick the box indicating that yes, you want the game to access more than 2GB of memory, and click 'Save'.

Play the game.

Let us know how that goes. Good luck. :)

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Corby1909
Corby1909

I have followed this 100% before posting and sadly the game still crashes after about 20 minutes I just don't know why, I've honestly tried everything.

I've verified my files.
Re-downloaded the mod.
Re-applied the LAA
Deleted the setting LAA applies and re-applied.
Changed to different versions of SOASER. Made sure I was on 1.82 as stated.

And for some reason my textures of ships are loading correctly? but let's focus on the game crashing i can handle the textures for now i'd rather play.

I used to play this mod for a long time it's just the latest version and though it's been out for a long time now DID work, however it doesn't now but I haven't changed anything that would stop the game from running.

I feel like the game is running out of memory but I've tried everything with the LAA and nothing. Same problem.

*sigh*

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OrionSlaver
OrionSlaver

A common mistake people make is to leave the Sins.exe set to Read Only. Make sure this is not the case.

I know you think the problem lies elsewhere but early game crashes and textures failing to load are almost always symptoms of LAA not being applied correctly.

Alternatively, you could try Fellrunner's more in-depth solution for early game crashes. Find details here: Moddb.com

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Corby1909
Corby1909

I have followed everything that it has stated. Went to section 11 and followed it all. everything was already perfect. I then read over the other things and there was nothing that applied to my system.

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Corby1909
Corby1909

the sins.exe is not set to read only.

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Corby1909
Corby1909

S000.tinyupload.com
This is my log. I also watch my memory usage whilst playing and it sits at about 1.5GB on my task bar then crashes just after about 10-20 minutes, the memory barely changes throughout the game.

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AtlantaSS
AtlantaSS

Run LAA as administrator.

Regards

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Corby1909
Corby1909

Yeah i figured it out last night. I actually had to run it as non administrator for some reason as i was previously running it as Admin..

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OrionSlaver
OrionSlaver

Hallelujah! Glad you got it sorted.

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Highest Rated (39 agree) 10/10

A wonderful mod. - 5 Unique Factions to play with (Federation, Klingons, Romulans, Borg, Dominion+Cardassians+Breen - Well balanced mod experience. - Vast graphical improvements and high quality models+textures. - Lovely music remastered out of other former Star Trek games, very fitting. - The spiritual successor to Star Trek Armada2. - Hero units + their voices included such as Picard, Sisko, Martok, Locutus of Borg, Sela etc. - Many custom maps. - Fully working AI support. - Custom Ui. - Custom…

Mar 2 2014 by 23-down

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