Post feature RSS Development updates Nov 2021

A summery of the systems in development in the current mess of the unreleased version of the mod.

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  • Significantly updated star-fighter combat
    • Fighters now have 4 ship formations, this is part of a complete balance overhaul.
    • Smaller squadrons means improved performance for the same number of fighters on screen.
    • With smaller squadrons it means star-fighters will be significantly more powerful relative to other units in the mod.
    • Rebel fighters utilize the new shielding system I'm developing. Shields have low HP pools compared to health, but have high refresh rates. This means they act as a kind of "switch", a dps threshold needs to be reached in order to do significant damage to rebel fighters. This makes them much more survivable if you choose your engagements wisely.
    • Imperial fighters aren't left out of this. Due to natural snowballing, if you have enough fighters in a furball you will win with minimal loses.
    • All fighters have much slower acceleration and turn rates compared to vanilla (speed is about the same but on average a little slower). What this produces is a complex relationship between 1-circle vs 2-circle dog fighting which exists in real life. When I better understand how the furball engine works I'll be better able to exploit it for desired outcomes by stat tweaks. The larger loops that fighters take at slower speeds also makes it much easier to tell what's going on and imo looks more visually pleasing.
    • Plan to tweak weapon ranges to avoid kills in the merge and encourage dogfights while also allowing dps to properly be utilized in strafing larger ships.
  • Started work on from the ground up balancing of the other units following the formula bombers > capitals > frigates > corvettes > fighters > bombers. There are three important elements of this re-balance. Largely in the conceptual stage.
    • The shielding system. Shields have a low HP pool but high refresh rate. This acts as a kind of "switch" where units of the same class cannot damage each-other well until you reach a dps threshold from having some number of ships firing. We'll have to see how well this system works, I'm not sure yet.
    • Weapon types will have different max and min ranges. What this will produce, is layers of damage potential that change with fleet composition and formation. Large caliber anti-ship weapons will have a max range covering the whole map, but a restricting minimum range. Sensor range will be limited, so it will be important to scout out the enemy fleet in order to make use of your long range firepower. What this also means is the closer you get to larger ships, you can get inside their optimum dps range. This should allow for the tactic of smaller ships being able to take on much larger ones if they can close the distance.
    • Thirdly, the damage system. Laser weapons will explode on "contact" with the hull and deal splash damage if they don't directly hit the hardpoint they are aiming for. I've been able to improve this system so splash damage is localized and only affects one target at a time (no more insane damage to fighter squadrons above the fight getting wiped out by splash damage). This is my anti-overkill system as described elsewhere.
    • Other minor points about combat. On principle, I will resist using the armor system to generate bonus damage and produce hard-counters. Instead, I will try to rely on the intrinsic properties of ships and game mechanics to get the balance that I want.
    • Experimenting with lua scripts to try and make totally "new" unit special abilities to encourage some automation in the mirco of fleet battles.
    • Probably some other stuff I can't remember right now. Ah, I remember. Tying special abilities to non-weapon hard-points to provide different kinds of bonuses to combat capability, either in the form of bonus the single ship, are in auras to benefit other ships in formation.
  • Galactic Level
    • Not sure if I mentioned it before or not, but I plan on having upgrades of the type called "doctrines". Doctrines will be one time exclusive upgrades that will significantly change game-play mechanics to benefit a particular play-style. For example, a star-fighter based doctrine might unlock special abilities for fighters and reduce their cost.
  • "Rebellion" Corruption Mechanics
    • I recently cracked how to create new corruption tactical missions. All you need is a map, the associated xml tags in the planet.xml, and a story event with a basic start event. This apparently has been "known" that corruption missions used the story mechanics in the game without any extra barrier to use. The complexity and work involved in making story missions has apparently been the hurdle that no mod has managed to jump. I will attempt to sneak under that hurdle by making missions with the bare minimum that I need to get it to work in a release, then build the complexity up from there in order to be the first :P . Ideas for corruption missions would be much welcome!
    • Tangent to corruption tactical missions, I've started diving into the story driven mechanics present in the game. imo this is a area of vast potential in the game that not many mods have attempted utilize. As you can probably tell, I am way in over my head with this game.

If you like what you're reading put a comment on the article or on the mod page. Also check out my other mod Cylon Empire at War which was made first, but ARM has been the main focus of my hobby for a few years now. I do dearly want to get CEAW off the ground, but I'm lacking ship model assets and there simply can't be a mod if there are no ship models.


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