*** Notice: I have experienced ongoing cyber attack(s), including increased difficulty in uploading/updating the mod, please see following details;
One of the new units I included with Version 9.B of the mod is the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), and in my article for V9.B describing this unit I gave it the following description: "The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System can be considered a lighter, more mobile/maneuvreable alternative to the tracked M270 MLRS. This wheeled platform is given added versatility by being able to fire it's load, and relatively quickly relocate. In game, it will have a smaller payload than the M270 and it's foreign counterparts such as the Tos-1A, however it will have better mobility and range (even more so when ranked up). The system has recently seen action in being illegally deployed to help occupy the Al-Tanf region in southern Syria, where the U.S. is protecting it's 'moderate' militants/terrorists."
Since the 1st attempt to publish Version 9B, I have experienced attack(s) on my computer, as well as technical difficulties with regards to uploading the file (doing nothing different from any previous versions). Experience tells me Someone doesn't like what I have said, and wants it silenced. ***
Version 10 will finally include a major new feature that has been requested for a while now; the possibility of Online play! This is achieved via CNCNet, which is where online play is supported for multiple command & conquer games, including Officially Supported mods. The New Horizons mod is not 'Officially' supported, as it is just myself that works on it, and I have done my best to implement this new compatability without any direct support. The release of Version 10 will give the option to launch the game via a CNCNet launcher, enabling players to create or join a game online. There will be some initial limitations with online play; the Campaign Missions won't be selectable, and the New Countries that New Horizons adds won't be playable, so you will have to make do with the game's original countries (including Yuri's faction!). Apparently anyone can add any mod to CNCNet, not just the maker of the mod, so if anybody makes further progress on compatability, feel free to share any advice? Players will still be able to launch the game the traditional way via RunAres however, where normal Skirmish, LAN, and Campaigns will have full 100% New Horizons features capable.
New Old Modes :)
One major feature I've wanted to do for years (but haven't got round to till now) is the introduction of new modes; specifically, inspired from the original Red Alert 1. For those that have played it, you could select a 'Tech Level'; thus limiting what technology level the units would go up to. So if you were to set it to 10, all technologies would be available (including superweapons), whereas if you were to set it to level 1, you would be setting up a pretty much Infantry Only game. Of course, Red Alert 2 is not that simple (it still has Techlevels in it's code, although they serve a different purpose), so I've created specially-tailored modes that achieve similar results. The 2 new selectable modes that will be available are:
'Mechanised Infantry Mode', where the use of heavy equipment such as tanks will be limited, instead focusing on the use of mechanised infantry divisions. This will include the combined use of Infantry Fighting Vehicles and infantry.
'Infantry Divisions Mode', where commanders will have access to only infantry divisions and generally light support equipment. Heavy and medium equipment will be limited, with a greater importance being placed on infantry, as well as the speed and location of their deployment using various transportation means.
These new modes give a nice added variety, should you want a more chilled-out game that doesn't involve worrying about the next swarm of enemy attack aircraft coming in, for example. Please do bear in mind the new modes are another feature that will initially be limited on the online setup via CNCNet, and will only be available by the standard launch of the game using RunAres.
Other small changes are included, among which are some updated MBT models, including the experimental Challenger 2 Megatron.
Log of recent changes (in order of most recent):
This is a small update over Version 9D, that resolves an issue with the Chinese Heavy Mining Facility becoming invisible. Other small changes were included, but mostly it was to address this annoying (to me) issue.
Version 9D includes a variety of fixes to previously caused crashes, including both Skirmish and Campaign modes. Much effort has been made in making all of the campaign missions functional again, especially after issues resulting from the Advanced Destruction buildings being added earlier in Version 9. I would like to extend a special thanks to AlexB whom is the current developer of Ares, whom has over the years assisted in various technical troubleshooting, and this has proved crucial in solving the issues with this really cool new feature. I would also like to thank G-E from PPM (Project Perfect Mod) for developing helpful tools; 'AI Check' and 'Map Check', both of which were helpful (despite lacking in instuctions) in resolving some issues in the AI as well as some maps.
Version 9C is somewhat of an overhaul/cleanup of files; back in 2012/13 a friend of mine encouraged me to take up modding, whom I collaborated with for a year on an early version of RA2: Apocalypse privately, as well as moving onto New Horizons, and since then I have worked on the New Horizons project by myself for the last 7/8 years. However, I have recently discovered that the identity of the original creator of the Apocalypse mod was not whom I thought it was, as was confirmed after contacting the mod's ModDB creator's page. The actual person is Borg.Overmind (whom wishes to be known just by this alias), whom confirmed is a seperate entity to whom I thought it was originally. From early collaboration with this friend back in 2012/13, some assets that were shared, now turns out were compiled by Borg.Overmind. I reached out to Borg.Overmind to work things out, and Borg.Overmind has been kind enough to show understanding in the situation, and kind enough to agree to even share some of the assets (both open-sourced and of Borg's own), with Borg.Overmind's permission. As such, an overhaul (or perhaps a 'Spring Cleaning') has been carried out, removing many unnecessary files, as well as giving me the opportunity to implement the replacement of multiple .vxl's and .shp's with a series of overhauled items I had been planning to use.
Some units and buildings have just had a visual overhaul, some a deeper overhaul, and there are some that are entirely new. Versions 9A and 9B are still very fresh in terms of the new equipment, so I would like to still include them in this article (continued below). While most of my modding efforts (if divided into countries/factions) can be categorised as falling into the traditional Soviet / Allied countries (plus the new countries I have added), less attention (in my opinion) traditionally has been given to the Yuri faction. I have always compared personally the Yuri faction to that of Ordos, from the Dune game (another Westwood classic), and as such, I have implemented units based on Dune and/or Ordos. The Yuri faction now has the Raider trike (as well as the more advanced derivative), as well as the Devastator Tank (and yes, I know in Dune it has *additional* features, and I will be considering altering it to meet those, however I do like it styled as a part-time IFV-MBT as it is at the moment), and the Sonic Tank (this is a test version, I may make it more Dune-esque in future). There are plenty of overhauled/new items added, and I don't want this article to be Too long, so I will leave it to be discovered. Some of the new/overhauled items are pending new features I plan on implementing, and may become even more interesting over time. I would like to take the opportunity credit Douyao for multiple open sourced vxl's that have been added recently, and cxtian39 for a pretty cool plasma animation downloaded for the new Plasma Howitzer.
The previous version (9 & 9A) saw the introduction of New Horizon's 2nd Campaign Mission (Operation: Pacific Storm), as well as some key New Equipment, in keeping with modern developments of the Russian Federation's military technology. As a reminder, this included;
The Iskander-M is a tactical ballistic missile system, that can be thought of as a successor to systems such as the Scud, or the Tochka-U, (or in Red Alert terms, the V3 Rocket systems). It is a mobile missile lauch system with a firing range of up to around 500km. What makes this system so special, is it's ability to fire nuclear-capable stealth missiles at speeds multiple times higher than the speed of sound, that are capable of ultra-high maneuvreability to avoid being shot down. The system is known to have a very high accuracy (5-7 metres). While this latter feature is not quite possible to implement in the game, the system will be able to fire it's 2 missiles at a high altitude, and at a high speed, making them very difficult to stop. Elite ranking Iskander-M's will have a small tactical nuclear payload. Having one of the longest ranges of any weapon in the game, and a hard-hitting weapon, it will also be very expensive, and time-consuming to produce. The system will also be slow firing, and slow to maneuvre, as well as being lightly armoured.
The K-300P is primarily a mobile anti-ship missile system. Depending on the missile used, it's range is said to be up to 350km for sea targets, and 450km for ground targets, however in the game for balancing purposes, it will only be able to target sea-based units. The system fires missiles that travel multiple times the speed of sound, and have a devastating impact on ships. It can be considered the similar to the S-300, but for ships.
Also implemented was the much more talked-about system (at least in media hyseria terms), the S-400 air defence system. You should all be familiar with this system, as it's predecessor is already implemented in this mod (the S-300). The only difference in this system being the increase in effective renge.
I've taken the opportunity to include some missing tech from the Allied/NATO faction, which although may not be direct competitors to the previously implemented units, it does offer the faction more options for the player's disposal.
M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS):
The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System can be considered a lighter, more mobile/maneuvreable alternative to the tracked M270 MLRS. This wheeled platform is given added versatility by being able to fire it's load, and relatively quickly relocate. In game, it will have a smaller payload than the M270 and it's foreign counterparts such as the Tos-1A, however it will have better mobility and range (even more so when ranked up). The system has recently seen action in being illegally deployed to help occupy the Al-Tanf region in southern Syria, where the U.S. is protecting it's 'moderate' militants/terrorists.
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD):
Although not necesarily a direct competitor to the S-300 and S-400 systems, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, combined with the use of Patriot SAM systems are the Allied/NATO alternative when it comes to air defence. When it comes to mobile medium-long-range air defence systems, the THAAD system is chosen to defend against the longer-range threats that the Patriot system alone is not designed optimally for. Although having less maximum range than the S-400 system, as well as less target velocity interception potential, less flight speed of it's own missiles, less target altitude engagement range, and a poorer minimum range, this system Does offer an increase in range over the Patriot system (and it's variants). In real life, the system isn't quite fully 360-degree directionally optimised, but rather intended to focus more on a primary zone of concern (unlike the S-400). However, it is an excellent cash cow for the U.S. to market to it's allies, despite protests (in South Korea for example). In game, the one-directional focus isn't ideal to implement, so it will turn to face an opponent. It will be best used alongside Patriot systems, which compliment each other.
Even More Advanced Destruction:
Players will be familiar with the traditional destruction mechanics in the game; namely, a building can be damaged to the point of a damaged 'frame' (art) being displayed, before dissapearing after being destroyed. Now however, I have made it so multiple buildings can still remain standing after being destroyed, taking on a more battle-scarred form (something I have dedicated much time into creating unique art for). This further-damaged formcan itself be damaged, and eventually destroyed, leaving rubble in it's wake. More structures will be given this possibility in the future!
Besides this, the A.I. was given a usual small tweak.
As always, watch this space for updates, and in the meanwhile, enjoy the mod!