While we work towards the next release for the FXmod we would like to take you on a journey through 15 years of mod development, and give you an overview of the features that are currently in the FXmod - and give a preview at what is to come still.
A key characteristic of the 9CCN Mod Team is a desire to innovate and create many new, exciting things. Over the years this has led to many unique, previously unseen features appearing in the FXmod for Homeworld2 and, later, Homeworld Remastered.
As the FXmod developed the amount of features in the mod has accumulated to the point where it is easy to lose track of them. As such, we created the overview below for your, but also our own convenience.
HW In-Game Music Player
One of the first tools that was scripted, the HW In-Game Music player was designed to allow players to customize the BGM music while in-game. It supports the entire HW1/2 OST, as well as several other tracks by Paul Ruskay and others.
By default the Music Player will randomly select a track at the start of each match, and then select another one after the current track is finished. Press [F1] or click the music note icon on the left sidebar to open the Music Player, which supports the following functions:
- Play the next track (in order). If enabled, it will move from track 04 -> 05 -> 06 etc.
- Shuffle/Random (default).
- Repeat the current track indefinitely.
- Open OST Index. This will toggle the song list you see in the screenshot above. Here you can browse and manually select the track you want to play. Click the < > buttons in the middle of the music player to navigate between pages.
Staff Officer (Advisor)
The Advisor System was added in FX v1.37, and was developed to aid new and returning players to the mod. If set to [Enabled] in the match settings, players can press [F9] in-game or click the staff officer icon in the menu bar on the left. The mod will then analyze the situation and give you live advice on a variety of matters - your resourcing situation, your relative fleet strength (vs. enemies), and what you should build next.
There is no limit to how often the Staff Officer can be consulted, but there is a short cooldown between uses. The Staff Officer is also enabled by default in our Single-Player "The Shimmering Path" (Challenge Mode).
Everyone enjoys collectibles. That said, we felt that the Steam achievements were a bit lackluster - so we designed our own in-game Achievements system for Homeworld. There is an achievement for each type of content in the FXmod, so this system also functions as a way for you to keep track of your exploration progress.
The Achievements tab can be found in the Main Menu and can also be brought up in-game. It is also covered in our Tutorial mission.
In the v1.3X series of the FXmod we looked new ways players could customize their experience. As part of this Lone_Wolf developed an in-game tool that allows players to name their ships. This system is still being polished.
Players can click on the new button above the selected unit's UI box to bring up the input menu. Names can be entered a name via direct keyboard input or by manually clicking the letters. After clicking [confirm] the chosen name will hover over the ship, distinguishing it from other units and allowing you to more easily keep an eye on it. Names can be changed or removed at any time.
The background of the main menu will change depending on the type of content you played last (vs.CPU/Multiplayer or Single-Player). Right now there are two main menu backgrounds, both animated, but we will be adding more later.
You can also click anywhere in the background to hide the menu to admire the scenery, and then bring it back by clicking anywhere again.
This is an advanced match statistics system that was developed for those players who love Multiplayer, and want to improve themselves. If enabled, the Tactical Report function will display both the basic match data and additional data on a variety of matters in graph form at the end of match.
For instance, you can now see how you did with resourcing as compared to the others, or at what points in the match the balance started to shift.
The Tactical Report function can be set to [Enabled] in the match settings prior to a match. After the match, click [Continue] after the default results screen has loaded to view the tactical report.
Concept Art, Literature
In the v1.37 update we added an in-game image library and document library, both accessible from the Main Menu. The Concept Art ("Original Design Drawing") menu contains our own concept arts that preceded the modelling and, ultimately, addition of many of the new units in the FXmod, such as the Progenitor Demolisher you see below, as well as some existing Homeworld concept arts that stood as the basis of other units such as the new Turanic Attack Carrier and HeavyGunCruiser. Among the 100+ images in the gallery you may even spot previews of future units.
The Literature menu is a series of documents that details the backstory of the FXmod timeline, and what we believe happened in the Homeworld galaxy in general.
Custom Map Support
Since the v1.35 update the FXmod supports custom gameplay maps. New factions such as the Kadeshi and Progenitors can now be brought to community favorites such as Ace's HWRM Map Pack. Other custom maps are supported as well, and can be included as following:
- Place both the map(s) (*.level) and thumbnail (*.tga) files in the following folder:
- Maps need to be tagged with “dm” or “fx_dm” in the index (*.levels) file. !! A .levels file is NOT the same as a .level file !! .levels files are map index files that were added to HWRM after the 2.0 update. See Ace's HWRM Map Pack linked above for an example of supported maps, the intended folder structure, and a properly made *.levels file.
- The map must be compatible with HWRM 2.0+ (e.g. contain no broken dustclouds or other objects that are not supported in this version of the remaster)
At the core of many the new features we were able to develop in and for Homeworld Remastered, as well as new unit abilities such as stance switches, is the team's core script system library, the X-System. Development on this began back in 2009 as a way to expand on the ways units could be controlled and marked. Since then it has grown into a repository for scripts and other coding work that opens up many new possibilities within the Homeworld2 engine.
Players of the FXmod will not see much of the X-System beyond the "Powered by X-System" message in the menu header, but fellow Homeworld modders and scripters can view the X-System on our Github page. You'll also find some of the team's other open-sourced scrips and contributions to the Homeworld modding scene on our ModDB Team Page.
Some of the features not touched upon in this post are the live comment system and unit summoning interface from our FX:The Legendary Fleet mode, or the addition for Observers to view real-time tactical data such as RU gains per player in our new Standard PvP mode. Still, the most prominent features are listed above - the rest will come to you via the Loading Tips and exploring the mod.
New gameplay modes such as Bentusi Defense or Artifact Retrieval were not listed in this post either; but if you follow the Achievement system you'll automatically come across every bit of new content the FXmod adds to the game.
Even in the present day we continue to try and create many new things. As announced in the recent newsletter, we have a testrun of the new selectable conversation system coming in the next update, which will add an overhauled version of the Diplomacy system from Multiplayer to Player vs.CPU (offline) mode, allowing you to better work with AIs and do things like co-ordinate attacks better.
We are also working on a new camera system (details to come), and of course there is still our most ambitious project that is RPG Mode: a sandbox-themed, realtime, dynamic Single-player campaign that steps outside of the idea of a linear campaign that has defined Homeworld up to this date.
Until then, feel free to drop by our Discord for behind-the-scenes updates, an occasional FX Multiplayer game, or just a Homeworld-related chat. We are also happy to see any of your screenshots, Youtube videos or other visuals that show your journey in the FXmod, and in turn help introduce it to a broader audience.
Until the next time,