*This article was updated on 29 July, 2019. Expanded on the "New Frontiers" section -WH
After traversing space for several months the end of the Shimmering Path is at last coming within view. But this is no moment for relapse - the biggest challenge of them all remains, and only the most skilled commanders will be able to push through and uncover the secret that awaits at the end of Skirmish Mode.
In this newsletter: a preview of the next build, and a first look at what is shaping up to be the most eventful and ambitious year of the FXmod yet.
A little more than a month has passed since the release of build v1.35a of the FXmod and the previous update. We hope that the new year has greeted you well, and that your journey on the Shimmering Path is coming along nicely. The challenges can get brutal later on, but if you find yourself truly stuck don't hesitate to ask for help in the comments section - other fleet commanders may have some tips to share with you for clearing specific stages.
So, progress. Since the release of 1.35a we have been working on completing the content that couldn't make it into the beta build we released. This content will be released with the next update, along with some extras, as a "full" version of FX v1.35 (which will also be the final update in the v1.3x series).
One of the key aspects of the upcoming build is that it will see the conclusion of our Skirmish Mode, The Shimmering Path. We are currently working on the grand finale for the mode, which will include a special reward for the first ~10 or so players who managed to beat all 33 stages and uncover the secret at the end. We are also collecting feedback and will make a last few adjustments to stages 27~32, as well as some of the earlier stages.
The full package (finale, adjustments, instructions on claiming the special reward) will be released with the next update along with a fix for the Stage 32 crash, so we recommend everyone to try and get as far as you can before then.
New: Tactical Report Function
Another feature that we aim to release with the next build is the now fully operational Tactical Report function. This new option can be set to "Enabled" in the match settings, and if done so it will output both the basic match data and some additional data - in graph form.
The tactical report setting telling the story of the match. If you ever found yourself wondering at what point during the game the tides of war shifted, where there is still room for improvement, or just want to see some fancy statistics this is for you. After the initial match results have loaded simply click "Continue" to load the next page and the tactical report.
In addition to the conclusion to Skirmish Mode and the Tactical Report function you can also look forward to a couple of other things not mentioned in this newsletter, such as additional balance tweaks and improvements to AI behavior.
While the next update will mainly be about wrapping up the v1.3x series of the FXmod, it also marks the start of a new period. Without indulging in too many details I can say we have two "big" things in the works (or technically, one big and one big-big). Today I'd like to talk about the lesser or smaller of the two "bigs".
As you may know, one of our ambitions is to release a sort of Single-Player Mission (Mini-Campaign) for each of the FXmod's races. Right now (v1.35a) there are two mini-campaigns in the FXmod, Eden (Hiigaran) and Thaddis Sabbah (Vaygr), of which the latter was ported over from one of HW_Lover's older projects and then adjusted to work with the FXmod.
But as time goes on we get more familiar with HW:Remastered, and we learn many new things about scripting, mapping, modelling...so, I imagine that ultimately you'll be able to see a selection of mini-campaigns in the mod that not only tells the stories of the races, but also of our development as modders. The next step towards that has been made, as I can inform you that the Turanic Raiders will be the next race to receive their mini-campaign. In the future, after realizing this long-term concept and making some more progress on the other "big" (the big-big), we hope to at last get around to implementing the reward that was chosen by derek.brook68 for winning our Skirmish Campaign launch event - which was a Kadeshi mini-campaign.
The bar for the current (upcoming) mini-campaign has been set higher than the existing ones, as besides the map we have also tried to invest in a wider variety of objectives, and a deeper immersion (story/atmosphere). Fans of the Homeworld series will also notice we have taken the opportunity to pay some more homage to the "forgotten" title of the series, Cataclysm, in a variety of ways - as we have done before with the completely re-textured Turanic Outpost and the appearance of the Acolytes in the Bentusi fleet. But what shape(s) this will take? You will have to find out for yourself.
For a bit of trivia, the concept for this new mini-campaign came to mind as we looked at a certain piece of Homeworld concept art drawn by the amazing Rob Cunningham (see below), which in many ways speaks volumes about the magic of the Homeworld series: entire missions or stories can come to life through one single image, and a whole game (DoK) can born from a single sentence in HW1's opening cinematic...
Mini Campaign - Karos Outskirts
A Turanic Raider fleet dispatches to a previously uncharted region in the outskirts of Karos’ Derelict Hunting Zone to look for salvageable wreckage, but soon finds that they are not alone.
Set after the events of HW2 (in the FXmod timeline).
A new age is dawning in Raider history. A first few planets have already been colonized, and the overhaul of the traditional Raider fleets into the new standardized style is coming along well. But as the Raider territories and numbers flourish, so does the need for resources and materials.
After the Hiigaran-Vaygr war, in an effort to prevent new large-scale conflicts, the Hiigarans sought ways to ensure that all races could participate in the Age of Discovery and its wonders. One of the measures taken was that the Karos Graveyard, long since a restricted area, was declared a free open zone; all who were brave enough to venture into it were welcome to do so.
No longer bound by the shackles of war, many races soon started to dispatch fleets into Karos, drawn by the promise of riches or the thrill of exploration. Some fleets undertook the journey in the hopes of finding rare derelicts or ancient artifacts, and thus new technologies and power. Other, typically smaller and more adventurous fleets, were focused on exploration instead; these fleets ventured into the dangerous unknown first, making a living by mapping the region’s areas and selling these valuable, rare star charts to interested parties. Yet other fleets started offering their services as mercenaries, as bodyguard fleets.
Now, the once silent Karos Graveyard has become somewhat of a lawless area. More and more of it is being uncovered as fleets penetrate deeper, and fierce free-for-all battles are being waged in and over so-called “derelict hunting zones” – areas where the Progenitor defenses are few or have been disabled altogether, and where there is much to be found. As a result, most of these areas have also been nearly completely excavated already.
Your story is that of a Raider fleet that ventures into a yet unexplored area within Karos' outskirts. What you will find here and what will be asked of you will be revealed with the next update, but until then you'd do well to remember that the galaxy remains a dangerous place.