It has been nearly two months since our previous newsletter. During this time the team has been hard at work with a task most developers know will inevitably come but do not look forward to regardless: bug stomping. As expected our initial 2.0 port of the FXmod had plenty of them nasty critters, but with the help of the community we have been able to make some good progress towards that highly anticipated stable release. In today's newsletter we'll talk a bit about that, as well the Bentusi's production system and some of the other things that you will be able to witness in the new v1.20.
Before we get started on the contents of this newsletter I would first like to give a statement about the FXmod and Gearbox'' public patch:
As you may know, this new version of the FXmod (v1.20) was based on Gearbox' Public Patch, otherwise known as HWRM v2.205. This 'unofficial' patch comes with a number of things that made the whole "getting the FXmod to be compatible with post-2.0 HWRM" project so much more easy and manageable for us. The problem however is that the "public" patch is Steam-only: Gearbox has not released it to GOG or another channel, thus "limiting" this new version of the FXmod to Steam users.
Although it is Gearbox' responsibility to make the public patch available on GOG and similar platforms that sell HWRM, we somehow have a feeling that we cannot count on them for that. So, although we cannot promise anything at this point in time, the team has stated that we WILL try to make a version of the FXmod that works with HWRM v2.0/v2.1. That way our ModDB fans and those who acquired HWRM via GOG and similar will be also able to play this new version of the FXmod. We'll keep you posted, and should have more info on this by the time the next beta/newsletter comes out.
As mentioned above, we have been able to address many of the issues found in the first beta for v1.20. With special thanks to EmptySoul01 and many other Steam users, we were able to locate and fix over 25 bugs in the mod, and thus release a second beta version to Steam some days ago. Especially the Multiplayer people were in for some good news, as we were able to (hopefully) eliminate many of the issues that caused out-of-sync errors during online matches.
While a stable release of the FXmod is still a bit away, I personally like to believe that with this second beta we just got twenty-six steps closer to it. The full release notes for the second beta can be viewed here.
Secrets of the Unbound
In the previous newsletter we talked about the Bentusi resourcing system. So this time we will take a look at their research & production system.
Unlike the other races in the FXmod, the Bentusi do not research like the other races: there are no research modules, no ship chassis researches or a wide range of subsystems for you to construct to unlock units. Instead it works like this: you start your game with Bentus, your mothership and core of the Bentusi fleet, and you can construct a certain subsystem on it: "Sleepless City". The Sleepless City module has three 'levels', and each level unlocks its own set of units/abilities/bonuses. Sleepless City can be upgraded to a higher level throughout the game.
In the above screenshot you see the basic level, Sleepless City - Level 1. This level unlocks the Pulsar Frigate for construction, as well as the Bentusi harbor ship. On top of that, as long as I have Sleepless City at Level 1 I also receive a +200% bonus to the construction speed of my harbor ships. After some time I get the option to 'upgrade' (replace) my Lv1 module by a Lv2 module. Sounds like a good plan, right? I'll get access to stronger ships and bonuses by upgrading. But there is a catch:
Once I upgrade my Sleepless City module to a 'higher' level, I will no longer be able to construct units from the 'lower' level.
In this case it means that I once I unlock the units/bonuses of Level 2, I will no longer be able to construct additional Harbor Ships (and thus Acolytes) or Pulsar Frigates. So any harbor ships that I have by the time I upgrade to Level 2 are all harbor ships I will have for the remainder of the game -- if one is destroyed, I will not be able rebuild it, and thus be unable to build more Acolytes or repair units.
As mentioned above, each level of Sleepless City unlocks its own specific units and bonuses. Higher tiers give stronger units, but once you upgrade you can no longer go back. So, as a Bentusi player you will need to think about what kind of gameplay style and units you want to go for, as well as for when you want to upgrade your Sleepless City module (if at all). Upgrade too soon, and you risk your income being unable to keep up. Upgrade too slow, and you risk being swept aside by your enemies.
While we are on the subject of the Bentusi, let's take a look at one of their new units. This "wheel" is the Bentusi probe. As with other probes it is single-burn, but it can only be moved via hyperspace. It also has a wider sensor range than most other probes.
But, there is more. If it detects enemies, or if enemies come within a certain range of it...a type of shield/sphere will activate! Who knows what kind of effect it has..?
Now that we talked about the Bentusi let's discuss some of the other content that will be included in v1.20.
For starters, a number of Progenitor and Hiigaran models finally had their textures upgraded to HWRM quality. Eye candy is always nice, and it still is our goal to have a lot of custom models in the FXmod and upgrade these to HWRM texture quality. But this is a very long task, and takes a lot of time...so it often is just one unit at a time. Anyways, with the Hiigaran Pulsar Gunship and Light Cruiser most of (if not all) of their units will use now HWRM textures. The super-capital ships facility for the HGN Shipyard also received new textures.
For Progenitor players, you will be able to see a much-improved Light Mover in v1.20. The regular Mover is also finally using it's HW2RM textures. Models like the Keeper and Dreadnaught were upgraded to their HWRM textures over time, but somehow this little guy had always lagged behind. The Heavy Mover is still a WIP at this point, it is about 70% done with just its two massive plasma bomb turrets remaining.
There may be more re-textured or units updated to use their HWRM equivalents coming. We will see. If you have been browsing our Images section you will know that a re-textured Turanic Heavy Cruiser and entirely remodeled/designed Kadeshi Khar-Toba are on the way though, so there is that.
The Return of the Legendary Fleet
Also returning in v1.20 is a past project fans may remember: FX - The Legendary Fleet. We have been able to successfully port this mini-mod to the new FXmod, and have added it as a new campaign under the Single-Player. I may do an article explaining how it works in a bit more detail later, but for now you can think of it as a game of tower defense with some twists. Your goal is to summon all members of the 9ccn modding team, each with their own ship, and use these stronger units together with your stock Hiigaran units to fend off ships from all races in the Homeworld universe that will be coming at you from all directions. After each 'wave' you will receive bonus ships to help you, and you will also be able to build new units from your carrier.
The unique thing about The Legendary Fleet is that each of the 9ccn members' ships display real-time unit statuses ('comments') when you select their ships. The comments are based on the unit's HP, and may be references to the 9ccn modding team, Homeworld insider jokes, or are lines that are 'typical' of the person saying them.
..one more to the count?
With Legendary Fleet the amount of SP missions climbs to three. Wait a second, three (3)? Yes, because in addition to the Legendary Fleet mini-campaign we are also adding a new campaign similar to Eden: Thaddis Sabbah. It is set in the early days of the Vaygr. You command a garrisoned Vaygr carrier that is tasked with protecting the just finished command station when the site comes under attack from a large Taiidan fleet. Things seem manageable at first, but they go bad really big, really fast...until you get some very unexpected help. And this very unexpected help uses a unit that some people might be able to recognize from very, very early HW2 concept art or trailers but otherwise will not have seen in-game...until now.
The new SP missions are currently being tested and tweaked/edited where necessary, and should be ready before the stable release.
And with that we have come to the end of this newsletter. Thanks for reading, and if there are any questions based on what we covered in this article or thoughts you'd just like to share feel free to do so in the comments below.
Until the next time!