The public 2.7 alpha is live! That's right, after a long 3 years of development it's finally here! It's been a long time coming for you, the fans, and us as developers. So let's get into the release, it's past, and the mod's future. We encourage you to go subscribe to the new version on Steam Workshop, and then enjoy this article to get you ready for the experience.
A New Development Process
Recently in our development process we came to the conclusion that our old release process was a bit flawed. There was a lot of overall tiredness of not seeing any of our work being enjoyed and a bit of dread looking at the work that we still wanted done for 2.7. As such, we decided for a couple of reasons that it would be best to change our release structure from long grueling major version releases, to smaller content updates. At a fundamental level this meant that we could have more people playing the game sooner which would also test our game a lot quicker and it provides us with smaller chunks of the game to work on.
So going forward we are going to be dividing the releases down even further, with 2.7 Alpha being the first of these content releases. Keep in mind that we are calling this an Alpha, which means we are no means done with 2.7. There's tons of stuff for us still to do before we call this a "full" release. This is the first time a lot of the systems and new changes are reaching public hands, though you might have seen a bunch of videos up to this point showcasing the development. As with all alphas, expect issues and don't be afraid to send them to us (join our discord server as well if you already haven't).
For now, there will not be a release on moddb, and you will only be able to find the mod on the Steam Workshop. This is because of Petroglyph only supporting the Steam version of the game with their current Save game crash fix, along with other fixes. As such, you will run into these problems trying to play the mod on the disk or GOG version. So to avoid a lot of hassle, we will only be offering the download on Steam Workshop until the other versions find a way to have the patch implemented.
While basically every part of the game has been changed in some way since 2.6, here's a high level change list of all the new features. I'm probably not going to remember all of it either.
- New Galaxy with redone planet abilities
- Three new non-playable factions
- An entire AI overhaul for galaxy and some minor combat AI tweaks
- Difficulties have been changed to Normal/Hard/Expert and rebalanced
- New building and unit upgrade/downgrade/delete systems
- New story missions and side quest (intervention) missions
- Heroes are now permanently killed, and some can return through our new Hero Rescue mechanic
- Tons of new and overhauled units
- Tons of graphical and effect updates
- A new damage/shield/armor system to balance weapons
- New unit abilities
- Completely redone unit and building roster for each faction
- Landing transports now have weapons
- New bombing run variations
- Black Sun Mercenary Wage system
- Space ship random heights
- Defense station garrison upgrades
- Lots of balance changes and back end system optimizations
- Most Importantly, we have added a Tector Star Destroyer.
In the future other features you will see...
Looking forward we are aiming to categorize each release around a major overhaul we are working on. The following are a list of themes we are still aiming to do to finish off 2.7. They are not in any particular order, and are not all the things we plan to do for the final 2.7 release.
- Space maps visual and gameplay overhaul
- Space Tactical AI behavior overhaul
- Ground maps visual and gameplay overhaul
- Ground Tactical AI behavior overhaul
- Story Campaign for all three factions
- Death Star Destruction to New Republic Era
- Formation of the Empire to Death Star Destruction
- New Republic Era to Imperial Warlord/First Order
- Custom set of side mission "intervention" missions and system overhaul
- Hero Rescue Mission backend system overhaul and stability enhancement
- Skirmish gameplay overhaul for both space and ground
Among these content releases we are going to continue to work on finishing the visual and audio overhaul of all units, effects, and environments. This is a more fluid process and will be interwoven with each release depending on how much gets done. So expect more incremental public releases moving forward. There’s a lot of really cool stuff coming down the road and we want you to get your hands on it as soon as possible!
Words from the Boys
To close this article out, I wanted to have the team chat about this release of 2.7 and what it means to us.
Bullet: For all of us at SMG and even those that are working with us closely, I think we can all say that this release is a monumental one for us. Our team had shrunk and then grown, and in the process of this release we have met new friends, refined our development skills and processes, and made some really cool stuff. In the holiday season of 2015, AotR 2.6 had just released. It was then only my first large scale public game project. Back then it was me, Steiner, Wolf, and a dream. We knew there was still so much more stuff to do for AotR, it was sort of a nebulous cloud. At a certain point it was just me holding down the fort, and this was definitely one of the most difficult times of my life. Working on the next release alone with this massive backlog of ideas was almost too daunting.
But my perseverance paid off. Eventually Sly and Maxim found their way on the team, and Steiner had returned in all his glory (as he always does). We formed what, in my opinion, is one of the strongest team bonds I have ever had the pleasure of working with. We gave ourselves a long term goal. The most interesting part of this to me was how well we all meshed together. There were many times where we thought of the exact same ideas or directions to move forward. It was sort of magical to see how we all fundamentally understood what AotR is supposed to be. And the magic really didn’t stop there. Even now we continue to grow with Wolf, President, Octravon, Leyamasa, and our other mod contractors helping out wherever they can. Through either Youtube, the EaW modder discord, and even our own AotR discord we have also met some fantastic community members who, whether they know it or not, I also treat in my mind as if they were developers of our mod. Because without a lot of these people, many of the things you have seen thus far would not have happened.
I have never met a more passionate and talented group of people in my life. It really is an honor to be amongst this group of individuals and it’s an honor to be able to present you with what will now be my second AotR release. This mod has always meant the world to me. It has been magical when I first played it, my first youtube video on it, my first code edit, joining the team, releasing 2.6 and now 2.7. It’s a project that I thought I would never see in my life, or at least not this early in it had it just been me. Seeing it all come together and sharing it with the team and with the public has brought me so much joy and fulfilment. Maxim and Sly you guys never cease to amaze me both with your work and your wonderful shenanigans. And of course, I have to give props to the OG Steiner himself, because without him and his magic there really wouldn’t be an AotR in the first place.
Steiner: Thanks Bullet to your kind words, it makes me cry in a unmanly manner. ;)
But well, yeah it was a up and down for me in the last 12 years… yeah, 12 years...
After my start in 2006 to make a Mini Mod that growed to Steiners Advanced Units and then, in that fateful Summer 2006, the idea to bring Star Wars: Rebellion/Supremacy in the Empire at War Game Engine, Awakening of the Rebellion was born.
We started with a afterburner and soon the first version was released, it was buggy and some mechanics, like the Shipyards or the Storyscripting might gave Bullet and Maxim 10-12 years later restless nights..well sorry at that point, we didn´t know it better... :P but it was a unicum at his time and worked more or less. :-D
We also got some publicity in some german PC Magazines:
In 2009 and Version 2.5, the old SMG Team collapsed and AotR was floating in space for many years… some Remnants (Jedi Lu) from the old Team tried to work on 3.0 “Tour of Duty” but it seems it was too late. The community was shrinking and so the years went down the road.
Until the Moment Bullet took the actual version and started to fix that many many bugs and all that stuff with a new Version: 2.6.
I was amazed that AotR is still in love and joined the Crew, also Wolf and Sleeper and we started to continue the process… but after the release of 2.6 I need a break… because i am a old man right now :P
Well, with the new Star Wars Movies and Bullets “Hold the Line!!!”staying power... and his great articles back in 2016, I got some new fire and rejoined the crew (Hi Sly) and we went right to 2.7. Maxim also soon joined the Team and everything worked hand in hand… it's great what happened to Aotr and the “neo smg” and I am in love with the bois. So much unity and eagerness I never experienced in the old SMG. Great work dudes and…
ah come one old man... no one is readin that shit… just download 2.7 and enjoy!
I came about helping Bullet when he posted that one update article in 2016. Hard to believe it’s been two years since I’ve been in this. I remember the first thing I did back then was rig some New Republic troopers with PLX’s. Shortly thereafter they were replaced. xD
Those two years haven’t seen much improvement with my modelling skills, although I’m doing what I can to improve, so I hope the ported content will be enough for now. But I’ve seen animating is definitely something I enjoy a lot more but that might be because I’m a lot more better in that aspect. Working on AotR has been a great thing for me since it opened me up to this entire new realm so I’d like to thank Bullet for giving me the opportunity. By extension Steiner Modding Group since their mod, AotR, came to me at a time when I was just getting sick of Clone Wars, The Force Awakens was out giving way to more curiosities outside the Clone Wars era. AotR was there to open up the Imperial Era and beyond for me. The time I started helping was also a good thing since I didn’t have anything else to do in that period and you know how humans can be when they have no direction in their life. :P
Directly contributing to it is definitely an honor and to have a chance to spread happiness to such a large amount of people is a big thing for me. The research I do for AotR has also given me knowledge of so much useless stuff that I am truly grateful.
I hope I, and the team, did good to give you guys something to be happy about and enjoy. Let’s hope the wait has been worth it.
I’d also like to dedicate this space to this brave individual.
Poopy di scoop
Scoop di di woop,
Maxim: So its been a little more than a year that I found out, that there are still people working on AotR. After I lurked the ModDB page for some time, Steiner posted pictures of the new galaxy map and background he made. I read in the description of that picture, that they want to put the planets in more canon positions, but they don't have the resources to do that now.
I made a personal mod back in the day, changing the planets to be more lore-friendly and messaged the team, offering them to use that. After that I quickly became their galaxy designer and then expanded into everything AI, Story and programming.
Now, after roughly a year of constantly working on this project we feel finally ready to do a public release. It is the first release of mine, so I'm very excited for all the feedback, but I'm also very proud. Of course over the time I have been a member of the team a lot of things have changed, and with that I mean for example the size of the team. When I joined we were only four people, the OGs, Steiner, Bullet, Sly and then me. Nowadays the team has grown quite a bit, we now have our voice over and sound experts Mr.President and Leyamasa, our modelling pros Wolf and Morthon, who recently joined, and our community manager Octravon, who also models a bit. With all these people comes a lot more organisation, but also a lot of fun.
This project has really been one of the best things I ever did, and it has always been a place to go to when the real life hit me with some hard times. Besides that I made a great friend while working on this project, I'm talking of course about Bullet. I knew him from Youtube and was surprised how fast I got to be with the team. Since then we spend countless nights working on mechanics, AI and everything else. Most of the time our work together ends, because the sun is rising and I still haven't slept. Because of spending all this time together we also talk about not mod related stuff, so if I ever need someone to talk to, I know Bullet will listen to me, and vice versa.
So I think that pretty much sums up my personal note, I hope it wasn't too long, but most importantly:
Have fun playing! I'm certain this is the strongest AotR has ever been, and it will only go forward from here on out.
Yours truly, MaxiM
President: Hello everyone, I am a new member of Steiner modding group. I was brought in to help with audio. At the moment I am working with the community to get as many units as possible with full audio voice overs. If any of you are interested in being part of the mod, join our Discord and sign up to voice some units. I am excited to see what you guys have to offer.
Leyamasa: Greetings to all of you AotR community members! If you don’t know of who I am. I am one of AotR’s mod contractors for the SMG team in management of voiceover stuff in working alongside with the main voiceover dev of the team, -ICO- Mr.President, in helping to provide the SMG mod team voiceovers from the community. I started following AotR as my second FOC mod I’ve ever played and started playing it when AotR 2.6 was around at the time. I grew into loving this mod as it was the idea of playing the events of the Galactic Civil War era as a much larger experience than what the base game SWEAW/FOC had to offer. I was devoted to the mod from watching the Youtube streams from Bullet and hang around AotR’s ModDB page, and I started contributing to the SMG to help improve the mod into helping that large experience more better than ever. One of those greatest contributions I made alongside -ICO- Mr.President was the need of voices for this mod. Pres. and I helped out with the mod in need of voices as it was a dream goal of having every single role of the mod would need to be fully voiced. However, this contribution cannot be accomplished without the massive support of the AotR modding community in which it makes the contribution a much more greater meaning to me and Pres. and the SMG team to those of you who contributed to do voiceovers, for that I cannot thank you enough. If you are interested into to do voiceovers for AotR, it’s best that you should join the AotR Discord, so I keep in contact with you better. I’m looking forward into helping you all to be apart of this mod!
We hope that you enjoy the mod and we hope it brings you great moments, immerses you in the Star Wars universe, and most importantly inspires you to be a part of this community even more. So thank you from SMG, and enjoy the 2.7 alpha. I hope you are excited for the future of this mod. And I hope the Expert AI gives you a swift kick in the butt ;)