Absolute Chaos 2.0: Pre-Release Rundown
With only a week to go until the official release of Absolute Chaos 2.0, we bring you a preview and summary so you know what to expect when it finally gets here. Here is our executive summary of additions, overhauls, edits and tweaks.
The basic game play orientation for version 2.0 will be the same as its predecessors, with an emphasis on large scale, open ended Galactic Conquest scenarios. ACM 2.0 will feature three 140 planet UGC-style scenarios (2 Equal Footing style, 1 Ground Up style) and 5 more GCs adapted directly from Absolute Corruption 2.4, all of which are expanded into a 104 planet format. The UGC map has been redone significantly- it is larger, and it has been rotated to exhibit more of a "north-south" axis of the sort that you see displayed in the Star Wars Atlas. We have also added many new planets and replaced a number of obscure ones with worlds that are more strategically relevant. New planets include Aridus, Bandomeer, Denon, Metellos, Tynna, Mechis III, Etti IV, Trandosha, Kril'Dor, Ord Trasi, Kothlis, and Zhar. Additionally, the time frame has been pushed back somewhat, with all scenarios now opening in a period prior to Episode IV and continuing through the New Republic era via tech progression. Death Star II has been replaced with the first Death Star, and a couple of heroes from Rogue one have been added. In general, we prefer Legends to Disney, but we have gone ahead added some RO content to the mod. At bottom, we prefer to think of this mod as "Canon-ish"- while we don't adhere strictly to canon and lore, as a general rule we try to avoid taking too many liberties with the established Star Wars universe- keeping things canon unless we have good reasons not to from the standpoint of game play and balance.
Graphics and Visuals
One of the biggest changes to this mod has been the almost complete overhaul of the visuals. We have not tried to bring the mod up to current high def standards, but the newest version of the mod still looks better than its previous iterations by an order of magnitude. Our approach has been to take what was an average looking mod from 2009, and to turn it into what could be considered a fairly good looking mod from around 2012. Many dated and sub-standard models have been replaced or retextured, and we have dug deep into the free release vaults to find better looking assets than the ones we started with. We also got some help from other modders such as the SMG, The Farseer, and The Thrawn's Revenge Team, all of whom have graciously permitted us to use some of their content. Particle effects are completely redone courtesy once again of the Farseer, and the turbolasers have been upgraded using free release assets by Cheesecake645 and Jeroen(imo). We have also redone the GUI completely, added 40 new space skydomes, and included a lot of new music that should be familiar to fans of the old Pandemic version of Star Wars: Battlefront II. Additionally, we have worked in tandem with RadicalEdward2 from the UGC:CE mod to deliver a number of brand new, highly detailed land maps, some of which will appear for the first time in this upcoming release. We have also added a lot of new space maps as well, and almost every planet has its own unique space map now- nearly 140 of them.
CONTENT AND UNITS
From the very get go, ACM 2.4 has been a content smorgasbord. We have continued in that tradition, adding a plethora of new space and ground units. All three sides have received no fewer than 10 new space and ground units, and we have added a large number of special structures, star bases, and minor buildable heros into the mix as well. Very special appreciation goes to Warb Null and EvilleJedi, whose prodigious free release outputs have permitted us to expand our unit roster significantly. See the readme and credits for full details, and for a more complete rundown of what all we have added. The sheer number of new units should allow for even more of the variety and role play potential that made ACM 2.4 such a treat to play.
A.I. and Balancing
The A.I. has gotten a major overhaul, and we have made substantial changes to the perceptual equations and scripts. The difficulty level have been increased markedly, and the A.I is generally a lot smarter than it was before. One of our biggest challenges, in fact, has been to rein in the aggressive A.I. so that the mod remains challenging for the average player without prompting rage-quits. We have also taken pains to ensure strong GC performance- minimizing lag and reducing load times. I think most players will be pleasantly surprised by how well this mod runs even when they get deep into a 140 planet sandbox scenario. We owe much to EvilBobtheBob of the Phoenix Rising team for his helpful advice and his excellent tutorial on modding the A.I.
The balancing follows for the most part the pattern established by ACM 2.4, but we have made three major departures: First, we have re-balanced all of the fighters, because the original mod gave us more or less symmetrical fighter balance which worked great for the Empire, with its huge advantage in capital ship firepower, but completely threw the other factions out of whack. Now, the Rebels enjoy fighter superiority in most match ups and fewer low level Imperial ships pump out advanced fighters. Second, we have nerfed the Battlecruisers. ACM features a lot of big overpowered ships which are hard to balance because they are practically unstoppable in large numbers. This imbalance was compounded by the fact that many of these ships had anti-fighter batteries with corvette like accuracy, which made the balancing rather like a game of "scissors, paper, rock" with rock-cutting scissors thrown into the mix. Naturally, these anti-fighter batteries have been completely toned down, so no longer can a Titan or Allegiance single handedly fend off an entire flotilla of K-Wings without corvette defenses or fighter escort. Third, we have decided to give the underworld access to battlecruiser and SSD class ships. This was a tough call, because from a purely canonical perspective it isn't terribly plausible to suppose that a criminal organization can field ships of that size. Nevertheless, the high end imbalance was so glaring that something needed to be done from a game play perspective. So the Underworld can now, under highly circumscribed conditions, build the Mandator, the Eclipse and the fanon design for the Nemesis SSD.
When 2.0 comes out, there will almost certainly be little things that need attention: features that don't quite work optimally, minor bugs that need fixing, and balance issues that need resolution. We plan to continue working on this mod after release, and a 2.1 version is already in the works. Down the road, we want to build off the base we have here and to try some new and different things in future iterations of the mod. Some of these might be new gameplay features and mechanics, although bug fixes and tweaks will of course continue to be an ongoing part of the process.