Hello there KA2 followers, well, it's been a busy few months. Where do I start? Okay, let's start with some of the new ship models.
First up is the new Salazar Class Torpedo Cruiser (FCT for those who like hull designations). The Salazar has always been "my baby" as it were, and this represents the pinnacle of the design iterations that I've gone through over the years since KATC. This is what the Salazar looked like in my head, and finally I've got good enough at kitbashing to bring it to you.
Next up are the new Klingon Non-Combat ships. I say 'Non-Combat' but, well there is no such thing as an unarmed Klingon ship. As much as I liked the quirky A2 Klingon ships, I couldn't edit them (they won't import into Ms3d or UU3d) and they needed an update. Given the ubiquitous nature of the D7 Hull, I decided that any non-combat orientated Klingon ship would probably use that hull as a base. Why would the Klingon Empire devote the time and energy to making a specialised ship design for something NOT designed for combat? Modifying a commonly available hull makes more sense.
Firstly, the least radical of the redesigns, the D7Q Chava'Kal (Poisoned Barb) Class Assault Transport (KAPA).
Next up is the D7F BehK'TaH (Lifeblood) Class Cargo Freighter (KAK). More or less a Poisoned Barb with a long cargo section built into the usual D7 'neck'. Naturally the detachable pods on the Lifeblood are for additional cargo stowage, but they are modular pods which can be refit for a variety of purposes, hence their inclusion on all of these support vessels.
Finally, the most radical redesign. But, then again, getting a D7 Hull into a condition where it can successfully enter the atmosphere of a planet is going to require a major redesign. Given the relatively expendable nature of Colony ships, the D7U tuQ'jaCh (Brave Settler) Class Colony Ship (KFB) is built around a modified cargo pod with D7 structural components. The entire 'hull' is more or less an empty cargo pod with a small command bridge above it, and as such it can easily carry the large prefabricated constructs used to form the various buildings of a fledgling colony.
An in-game shot of the Poisoned Barb and Brave Settler Classes, showing off their lightmaps.
Next up are some revamped Romulan ships. It has always bothered me when torpedoes seem to randomly appear out of thin air, and this issue seems to effect Romulan ships more than any other (except possibly the Tholians and their Heavy Disruptors, which I have also fixed). Even in the original Klingon Academy, the Centurion Class RCA and the War Eagle Class RDN lacked visible torpedo tubes. Not any more...
Centurion Class Cruiser (RCA)
Not a huge difference, but enough. In a similar vein, the Peregrine Class Torpedo Cruiser (RCT)
I have modified the weapons loadouts for the various torpedo cruisers. The Peregrine now has the least number of torpedoes, but given as they are Medium Plasmas, the pair that it does have are equal to 3 or 4 Photon Torpedoes anyway. Note that the green tubes here are not Heavy Plasmas but "Parallax Torpedoes" basically Plasmas inside a photon casing designed to 'burst' into a shockwave.
War Eagle Class Dreadnought (RDN). I thought the triple Heavy Plasmas it had would look best positioned in the lower hull. I also redid the engine details to mimic those of the Condor Class. Looks more detailed than a big solid bar of bright green.
On the subject of Romulan ships, I redid their rather sub-standard lightmaps. I understand that they are supposed to be hidden and stealthy, but we need to see *something* when the light is low.
Finally on the new model front (besides some modifications to various Gorn and Tholian ships to feature the correct number of torpedo tubes and heavy disruptors) the Federation gets a new nicer looking Starbase model...
and the Reserve Fleet gets an overhaul, partially to look better, partially to match better.
There is also a new 3d model for the supreme Tholian warship, the Emerald Class Battleship (TBB), but, we don't want to give away all the surprises now do we?
There have also been some weapons changes, namely phasers for the Federation Prime and Reserve Fleets (TMP and TOS basically).
Notice each phaser is now a dual beam. They look a tad weird from certain angles, since the way the game displays phasers means they look the same from every angle. Not noticeable with single beams; with dual beams it becomes very apparent.
Now for the 'boring part". Gameplay and other changes since my last update. No pretty screenshots here.
- Ships now have differing shield and hull strengths, based of original KA stats. For most races, hulls are weaker than shields (or at best near parity) for the Gorn however, hulls are stronger than shields. This fits the Gorn mentality. Gorn ships are essentially armour plate fitted with crew cabins, guns and engines.
- Deuterium replaced with Precious Metals. Works better from a lore perspective.
- Ships now cost more Tritanium to build than Dilithium. Again, better from a lore perspective AND changes around the in-game economy so now planets and such are far more important.
- Updated all wireframes, build buttons and admirals log images to reflect current models. New build buttons have clearer, brighter text that is easier to read.
- Brand new planet textures and descriptions (Far more representative of the type of planet they are supposed to be)
- Added Vulcan as a new unique homeworld planet in the map editor
- Map races overhauled. Added Starbases and Freighters for the Hydrans, Lyrans and Mirak. These starbases can refine Dilithium and Precious Metals and can construct their respective freighters. In addition, the Reserve Fleet Starbase can now construct all Reserve Fleet vessels and can be used as a map object for that purpose.
- Changed weapon damage system. Primary weapons (Phasers, Gatling Phasers, Disruptors, Light Disruptors) now cannot kill crew. Secondary weapons (Photons, Heavy Photons, Scatterpacks etc) still effective at killing crew due to concussive effects (i.e a lump of solid matter hitting the ship). You are less likely to kill off the crew of a vessel prior to it going critical and blowing up now. (Before it was too easy to capture ships this way). Heavy weapons (Heavy Disruptors and the like) somewhere in between. (Apart from those with special functions or effects, FMPA and CFDI Cannons etc)
- All 3d models now have proper emitters for engine damage, life support failure and critical crew casualties. I would have done damage textures for all, but animating them in Ms3d is too time consuming.
- Many ships rehardpointed for better weapon firing effects.
- Many ships have new or enhanced lightmaps
- Mining rates now variable on different planets. The thicker a planets atmosphere, the slower the mining rate (the exception being Gas Giants, as they are all atmosphere essentially, and it's this that is mined not the tiny solid core)
- Various miscellanous fixes, tweaks and improvements
- Massively tidied-up the code
The United Federation of Planets:
- Miranda Class armament reduced to 3 Phasers and 2 Photon Torpedo Tubes (was 4 Pha 2 Phot)
- Okinawa-S Class removed. Oberth now fulfills scout duties.
- Clydesdale Class Cargo Freighter (FAK) 3d model updated. (Corrected some texture mapping issues, and added some detail)
- Liberty Class Construction Tender (FACS) 3d model updated (Corrected some texture mapping issues)
- Freelancer Class Mining Freighter (FDF) and Independence Class Colony Ship (FFB) new 3d models. (Same edits as the Liberty, new registries to make distinguishing the Liberty, Freelancer and Independence easier).
- Salazar Class Torpedo Cruiser (FCT) new 3d model
- New phaser graphics for Type A and Type B (TOS and TMP) Phasers
The Klingon Empire:
- F5B pIH (Suspicious) Class Battle Frigate (KFF) updated model (visible Heavy Disruptors)
- New 3d models for Klingon Assault, Cargo and Colony ships
The Romulan Star Empire:
- Centurion Class Cruiser (RCA) updated model (visible Torpedo Tubes)
- Peregrine Class Torpedo Cruiser (RCT) updated model (visible Torpedo Tubes)
- War Eagle Class Dreadnought (RDN) updated model (visible Torpedo Tubes)
- New lightmaps for War Eagle, Imperial Hawk and Romulan non-combat ships
- Imperium Class Battlecruiser (RBC) no longer requires Multiple Torpedo Tube research (since it only carries Dual Tubes and Dual CFDI Cannons)
The Gorn Confederacy:
- All Gorn ships now have updated 3d models reflecting the correct number of torpedo tubes
- Reptillon Class Torpedo Cruiser (GCT) new 3d model (added correct number of tubes)
- Reptillon Class Torpedo Cruiser (GCT) revised armament (now 3 Plasma-Gs, 2 Parallax Torpedo Tubes)
The Interstellar Concordium:
- New computer and ship voiceovers (previous ones were low quality)
- New unique 3d models for most 'variants' (i.e Scouts, Disruptor Refits etc now look visibly different)
- New superweapon (ISC Subspace Research Facility). Has same mass-transit Subspace Portal as previous superweapon building, with a few other hidden surprises.
- Updated ISC Plasmatic Pulsar Device (PPD) weapon. Now functions as a beam/pulse weapon like the SFC original.
- Changed graphics for ISC Mining Beams.
- ISC Mining Beams now mine resources faster than other races (to make up for the lack of orbital stations)
The Tholian Assembly:
- New voiceovers (sound more Tholian, if slightly less understandable)
- Citrine Class Defence Monitor (TDM) updated model (new central Heavy Disruptor pod)
- Amethyst Class Battlecruiser (TBC) updated model (visible Heavy Disruptors)
- Sapphire Class Dreadnought (TDN) updated model (visible Heavy Disruptors)
- Emerald Class Battleship (TBB) new 3d model
- Fixed bug which stopped the Calcinite Class Colony Ship (TFB) from colonising correctly.
Well that's about all I can think of. This first release of the new improved Klingon Academy II: Empires at War will not feature that hidden 7th race I spoke about previously. I want to ensure this first release works as seamlessly as possible before adding in anything else. Before I can release this version, I just need to fix a few issues with the implementation of Fightercraft and Carriers and work out a few possible imbalances in the economy, then we're good to go.
Watch this space!