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 Post subject: Dev Diary #1: 2014 Update
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:31 am 
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A little over two years ago, on New Year's day, SoGE 2.0E was released. This was a monumental event in and of itself, being the first update for the mod in a long time. The mod has changed greatly since then, in the form of new content, the move to the Rebellion expansion, redefining what capital ships are, building the NR and Vong into their own real factions, amongst many other changes and additions. This year has also been memorable as SoGE made into the ModDB top 100! I thank all who have voted for us this year, and I hope that next year we can push ourselves even further. That being said, let us move on to what you all want to know about, the state of the mod, and what is upcoming in the next version!

Ludo Kreesh, the man behind our music selection, has been working on making on a new UI for SoGE, to finally shift away from the vanilla Sins UI. While this is still a work in progress, it is fairly far along and thus we are confident to reveal it to the public.

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While this looks extremely nice, I'm sure some people are wondering if the Vong will be getting their own unique HUD. The answer to this is a resounding yes; you can expect to see a preview posted of it when it gets to a state of near completion. Speaking of the Vong, their faction will once again be getting a health rebalancing. The current model of ships not truly having any hull, and having shields representing the full health of a ship, will be discarded. Instead, the Vong ships will have an all hull setup instead. Their health regen will be persistent and given to them though a passive ability.

Each ship class (frigate, cruiser, etc) will have the same hull and regen values, however, they will have different armor values. Additionally, the Vong's units' health, and health regen, will improve through research which increases their armor value. For those wondering how armor increases both hull strength and hull regen, the answer is that armor increases the effective hull of a ship, or in plain English, an armor value greater than 0 lets a ship take more damage than it otherwise would. This also will eliminate the inconsistencies between some planet modules (research stations, resource mines, etc) and other units. For those who play as the Vong, the Ro'ik Va'lh will also be getting a slight tweak, to make it into a true ship of the line.

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While it was recently displayed that I had been dabbling with particles, I hadn't revealed everything that I had on the books. Something that I wanted to do with supercaps, when the current spawning system was implemented, was having these ships appear as a particle effect in the factory while they are being "built", so that people know when a ship is under construction and so that people will know, for example, when an Executor is being built when they are attacking or scouting an enemy homeworld, to allow them to take action accordingly.

While we are on the subject of supercaps, I'll note that the next version will have flagship mode properly supported, and that each faction's flagship will be a supercap, one that does not count against your supercap limit. The reason behind putting in a supercap as the flagship is that in vanilla Sins, more often than not, flagship mode becomes little more than a game of hide and seek. In SoGE, where capital ships are even more vulernable than in vanilla, this flaw might be even worse, and is something that should be avoided. It also can work well with turning supercaps off, as in that case the strongest units on the field would be each person's flagship. Specifically, the Imperials gets the Allegiance, the Alliance, and New Republic, get the MC80B, the CIS gets the Geo. SDN, the Republic gets the Praetor, and the Vong gets the Ro'ik Va'lh. The reason the NR gets the MC80B as their flagship is primarily for balance, as a Mediator would be absolutely broken, and as the NR did have a few of these ships in active service.

In addition, Maxloef of Star Trek: Armada III has graciously helped us out in a few ways, namely in making a new particle trail for capital grade proton torpedoes, which was also reworked into a starfighter grade proton torpedo. Pictured below is the former.

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However I didn't mention the other area that Maxloef has greatly aided us in, that being optimizing models. As you can see here, the VSD-II has gotten a much tangent fix, and as a result looks extremely nice ingame.

On the subject of fixes, I'd like to address a concern that many people have, that being mid to late game CTDs without warning. It's known that these crashes are due to Sins hitting the Windows imposed 2 GB RAM limit. Before the release of the Stellar Phenomena DLC, aka. version 1.80, SoGE was tethering on the border of stability. It had virtually no leeway in terms of RAM usage, and a small engine change would tip the balance. The DLC patch unfortunately has done exactly that; SoGE crashes very often, too often for the team's liking at any rate. To that end, the next version of SoGE will include Large Address Aware, and instructions on how to use it, as STA3 currently does. That being said, if you are able, I'd suggest doing it yourselves if you are able to, as this will have a positive impact on game stability. Another fix that's planned, though might not make it into the next version, is unit strings. Simply put, unless you're familiar with Star Wars and/or SoGE, many of the units' description strings tell you jack all about what the unit actually does. This is quite problematic and something I intend to fix.

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A little while ago I started working with, and became part of, the Sins of the Prophets team, and in the various discussions and brainstorming sessions the team has had, a number of interesting and fun ideas have come up for abilities. This particular image does not appear to be anything special at first glance, but in truth it is the proof of concept for a new, nasty, upcoming ability that will be used by Vong. You see, the turret pictured here was spawned by the nearby ship, even though the two are clearly not owned by the same player...

To conclude this article, I'll take this opportunity to thank Goafan of Enhanced 4X and the upcoming Star Wars: Interregnum for his assistance and insight over the years. He has done a number of things for, or indirectly benefiting, SoGE, such creating the supercap spawn system, and more recently improving the textures of the Sentinel and Gladiator.


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 Post subject: Re: Dev Diary #1: 2014 Update
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:08 am 
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Very professional update, Lavo. You put some serious effort into it, and it shows.

That VSD is incredible, BTW. Seriously, wow.

I look forward to the abilities goodies you have in store for the future. Fleshing out the game beyond straight unit-versus-unit strategy is always welcome.


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