Hello Moddb, and welcome to a slightly late UEAW developer's blog.
Two things I want to talk about in this post: the current state of the mod, and how we intend to move the player between tech levels and era.
The State of the Mod
I'm sure you want to know exactly how far we've got with the mod. Unfortunately, I can't give you a percentage completion because we're not sure ourselves how much work remains. However, I can tell you that we have the Galactic Civil War era units coded in and ready for internal testing. This is not beta stage - this is alpha. No external testers are required. You might think that isn't much, but as we basically started again from scratch about six months ago, and we only have 2-4 active team members, we feel we've made a lot of progress. As you can see from our gallery, we have the majority of the model resources we require, and a lot of the basic coding has been completed that will be a groundwork for the rest of the mod. Because the progress we've been making has been mostly code, there aren't really any nice pictures to show, but head over to our website (link is on the right) to see the full size version of the galaxy map that is the preview image for this news post.
Tech and Era Progression
Probably the most difficult decision we've had to make is how to progress through faction technology trees and between eras in the constraints of the FoC game engine. This has resulted in two types of progression:
- Standard progression with research/slicing/black market as applicable to factions
- Era progression that occurs as the result of galactic events
Standard technology progression will exist for factions in isolated galactic conquest and skirmish games. By "isolated" I mean outside the context of era progression. For example, the galactic conquest may take place only in the Clone Wars era, and so the factions (Republic and CIS) will advance to the highest technology level in the Clone Wars and then stop. In skirmish battles, technology will be governed purely by the level of space stations, as in vanilla. This provides the easiest and moth natural method of progression in skirmish.
Era technology and the related political progression is very difficult to achieve within the FoC game engine. It is not possible to change the player's faction mid game in a GC. So, we have to make two overarching factions, Light and Dark. This leaves us with a choice: using the vanilla tech levels to advance through the eras, or using a more flexible method based on galactic events.
Using the vanilla tech levels would cause some problems. Firstly, it would be difficult to have research within the tech "eras". Secondly, it would make for a very odd game because the player would be paying to suddenly advance in time and gain a lot of new technology, and if the opposing faction does not upgrade, they would be at a severe disadvantage. So, we must find a way to advance technology out of synchronisation, but eras with synchronisation.
The solution: the only era progression will be within a story campaign framework. This allows us to engage the player more within the Star Wars universe through the use of missions, while at the same time providing an historically accurate era progression.
The Dark Side, Order 66 and Era Progression
Here we arrive at another problem: the Dark Side faction, which comprises the Sith, CIS, Empire and Imperial Remnant; and Order 66, the pivotal moment in Star Wars history when the Republic becomes an Empire. There is an obvious issue with this. A light side faction is becoming a dark side faction, and planet ownership is swapping. In fact, planet ownership is not even swapping directly: while parts of the CIS became the Rebellion, and most of the Republic became the Empire, some planets remained allied with the light or dark side factions, for whatever reasons, so CIS planets became Imperial and Republic planets rebelled.
The solution to this comes with the use of a story campaign to progress through the eras. To remain historically accurate, this campaign must be light side only. While it would be conceivably possible for the dark side to be played, it would either require the UEAW team to write an entirely new Star Wars history, pushing back the release of the mod a great deal, or the player would have to repeatedly lose important battles. It would not make sense from a gameplay or historical perspective. By only allowing era progression during a light side campaign, we can keep to Star Wars history while allowing the player to take part in, and win, the important space battles of the Star Wars universe.
So what do people who want to play as the Dark Side do? Well, they will simply have to choose from the era-specific galactic conquest maps we will be including. Each era will have at least one map with specific objectives for that era. So, you can fight as the Sith during the time of the Old Republic, conquering all before you, or you can try and resurrect the Empire as the Imperial Remnant during the era of the New Republic.
Any comments are welcome.