[DEV] Elemental Shift

A place to discuss mods in development and concepts for new mods.
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Song
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Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:08 am

A bit over a month since I decided to end development of Shrike's Mines & Missiles (after 7 years, it was about time), I'm now able to start talking about the long-term project that's replacing it: Elemental Shift

Elemental Shift will come in two main parts: The first is the resources, items, devices, etc. I may or may not make this into a library...I haven't decided yet. Running this in SOTP (possibly also EP) will override vanilla items as per SM&M++ and add the extra stations and enemies into the game. This may or may not include an optional add-on for Corporate Command users. It's basically SM&M++ with some things ripped out, everything modernised and future-proofed, and a few extra features.

The second part will be an adventure extension. I have rough ideas for it (plot, characters, some of the key plot missions), but at this point I'm focusing on getting the functional elements working first. Then I'll try working up. I'm no coder, so this will be hard. The player character will be a former Commonwealth citizen, now forced into a life on the run as an Outlaw. While I do have a dramatic arc planned....which I am not sharing.....there will be no Domina V Oracus stuff, no alien influence, etc. I've been of a mind for a while that we need a good villain who isn't god-addled. And I have some truly wonderful ideas of how to do that.

IF that adventure extension works out (and there's a high chance it won't, let's be honest. This is not my first "yes it's time to do an adventure" project), I will probably release it via Multiverse as a registered extension, with a secondary release on steam in the 2030's once George fixes the workshop implementation. It will probably not mesh or work with TBR/TSB/Renegade, simply because I need to confine the playable area for it to work with my current concept. The core code though will work on an SOTP game with those mods, however. Compatibility beyond those big three is beyond my ability to test, and will be a "at your own risk" endeavor. Given it's basically SM&M++, there should be very few issues.


At the moment the first part of the mod is going...well enough. It can't be loaded yet, but I've assembled 15 out of the roughly 20-25 modules that will make up the first version. Given how long SM&M++ got in it's final versions.....there is a lot to go through. There is a lot of old code to revisit, revamp, or remove. I've also updated my armors slightly for 1.8, removed some alterations to vanilla armor, and updated all solar panel devices to the new system (this also makes them far more useful, especially the smallest one). I've also added some new tinker weapons in preparation to reworking their recipe lists entirely. This includes the quadruple TeV9 as their ultimate weapon, so it should be fun.
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0xABCDEF
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Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:11 am

I truly hope that this is one of those adventure ideas that do not get starved of creativity/motivation/time or just somehow develop a severe case of [Future Release]. Many ideas get written down now but often they remain [Future Release] for some time because there's only one person working on them; I want to change that. PM me if you need any code or documentation help; I want to make sure that we get more released adventure mods.

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Song
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Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:24 am

0xABCDEF wrote:
Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:11 am
I truly hope that this is one of those adventure ideas that do not get starved of creativity/motivation/time or just somehow develop a severe case of [Future Release]. Many ideas get written down now but often they remain [Future Release] for some time because there's only one person working on them; I want to change that. PM me if you need any code or documentation help; I want to make sure that we get more released adventure mods.
Thank you. There's certainly some of your prior work that interests me greatly. When I'm in a position to do some of the more challenging (to me) things I'll definitely get in touch.
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Song
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Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:25 am

Well I guess I should get back to this.....


In short, I had several months of extremely bad mental health in the first half of this year. Dropping SM&M++ development was part of my coping system. Unfortunately, modernising the code was....rather more difficult than I'd thought. However these days I've had a few months of (relatively) good times. So I'm going to resume work. Scope is TBD: to start off with I'm going to try modernising my old code and stripping out parts that aren't needed (some of which I'll use to infrom things I'm writing from scratch as a community contribution for the outlaw miners). I'll also see about getting a version of SM&M++ out for Transcendence 1.7. It won't work properly with the 1.8 alphas: some things (notably solar panels) have changed and would need a rewrite.
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Song
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Fri Dec 14, 2018 8:20 am

Well, it's been more than a year, so I should probably provide some sort of update. This has been another lost year for me, but during the times I haven't been having serious mental health problems, I've made good progress (and AP ended up breaking up ES into modules for me, which helped a lot).

The first part of Elemental Shift, comprising overhauls and new items, ships and factions, is getting close to a releasable condition. It's not quite ready, but I'm focusing on getting it good enough for George to run through on his livestreams. Watching that should give me the playtesting info I need to polish it a little more for the public release.

Here's what you can expect in the first public release:

Massive increases in the variety of guards and civilian traffic in Commonwealth space.
Promo1.png
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Tweaks and changes to 42 core vessels and 28 stations
DrakeTest.png
DrakeTest.png (245.44 KiB) Viewed 1319 times
Nine new playerships based on the Elemental Shift version of vanilla vessels, and one entirely original vessel for advanced players
EI100MSelector.png
EI100MSelector.png (172.63 KiB) Viewed 1319 times


Over 80 new weapons, with changes, tweaks, and alterations to more than 40 vanilla weapons and missiles
P58Omni.png
P58Omni.png (142.02 KiB) Viewed 1319 times

55 new variations on existing vessels, both friendly and hostile
MarauderCorsair.png
MarauderCorsair.png (342.15 KiB) Viewed 1319 times

29 brand new ships featuring art by AssumedPseudonym and Aury. (It would be 35 but I've had to drop everything that Xephyr did art for due to problems with the sprites)
SyracusiaFinalSetup.png
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22 new or variant space stations
BushidoPlant2.png
BushidoPlant2.png (403.72 KiB) Viewed 1319 times

7 new autons, and changes to most of the vanilla ones to create a progression system that lasts most of the game.
AutonSwarm.png
AutonSwarm.png (71.14 KiB) Viewed 1319 times

....and much, much more.
PromoShot1.png
PromoShot1.png (360.41 KiB) Viewed 1319 times

ETA: "Soon" (I hope)
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Fri Dec 14, 2018 7:03 pm

Looks very promising to me! Good work!

Hope your health keeps up, wishing you all the best. :)

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Song
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Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:52 am

Work continues, with this coming week largely dedicated to polish, balancing, and test runs. Here's me loading up on autons using an exploit in the core game (bulk-buying unidentified autons at a low price).
AutonSwarmES.png
Autons in use: 1M Battle Auton, 1M/a Aegis, 300D Defender, TX3 Explorer, 1M/i Battle Auton, 2M Battle Auton, Urak Sentinel, Urak Advanced Sentinel
AutonSwarmES.png (273.09 KiB) Viewed 1284 times
The 2M battle auton is a civilian version of a lategame military craft. it's the most powerful civilian auton that most players will be able to bulk buy (the 2M/a Aegis is considerably more expensive), and makes a useful workhorse for Constellation players. It sports a heavy particle beam weapon, an R1 deflector and reasonably capable armor. The military 3M model (not in this picture) from which it is derived is visually very similar, but sports improved armor, extra reactor capacity, and an SAR/10 cannon. Aegis autons have also been expanded and rebalanced: you'll no longer find 50,000cr devices on a level 4 auton. Point defense autons now also gain increased armor capacity, but reduced reactor limits compared with a standard auton.

Urak autons are still in testing. They're extremely aggressive but rather fragile, as they can't mount a shield and don't really retreat from combat. In my current dev version it's possible to loot them from higher-level Urak stations, and from wrecked Destroyers (subject to change prior to release). They cannot generally be purchased. The advanced version is unique to Elemental Shift and serves as a more powerful station guard, while the standard Sentinel is effectively the same vessel you see in vanilla, modified to be usable as an auton.


This week also saw the return of six ships that were going to be cut from the mod, courtesy of some heroic re-rendering by AssumedPseudonym. The newly re-remade Sovereign Domain use modified Marauder vessels, but are a much more dangerous foe, packing starcannons and powerful particle and ion-based missiles. You'll find them late in the game, from about the middle of the Outer Realm.
FreedomRemastered.png
Ion resistance will be somewhat important when fighting these folks
FreedomRemastered.png (410.14 KiB) Viewed 1284 times
As with many things, the Sovereign Domain aren't entirely finalised yet and still use some placeholders here and there. So they may well change before the mod goes public based on my testing.
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Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:15 am

While I'm waiting for a reply fromGeorge to some balancing questions, I've added a few more things to the Tinker crafting lists. Specifically, some gear intended for pilots of larger vessels with lots of utility slots:


-You can now craft autoturrets from point defense units. These will engage any hostile ship within 15ls of your ship, and don't count towards weapon slot limits. Unless you get very lucky and find one somewhere you'll need a targeting ROM for each unit you craft. They're both laser weapons, so they're more for swarm-busting than any serious work. They're certainly very nice to have though.
-There's a pair of new kinetic omni weapons in the crafting table as well, coming in at level 3 and level 5. They should make for an extra option for pilots who don't like lining up guns in the less agile vessels of Elemental Shift (or indeed vanilla or other mods)
-I've recently gone over my craftable shields and swapped a few of the enhanced recipes over to all-new 2-slot shields that serve as improved or "overcharged" versions of vanilla shields. These aren't balanced yet...it's one of the things I'm waiting for a reply for George on. This gives heavy vessels the option to boost their shield strength a bit at the cost of a device slot. Not bad for a freighter, generally a poor idea on a gunship.

BlackCenturion.png
There are some gunships that do make use of such shields, however.....
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Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:54 pm

I'm now in the final stages of getting things ready for the first releasable version. Unfortunately a few things haven't worked out yet (some extra encounters, a few more NPC variants of common ships, item tuning, and problems with balancing certain weapons), so it may be a more limited release than I'd initially intended. Regardless, things are getting very close to 'done enough'. It'll be either this week or next, I think.
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Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:18 am

I've now shifted work over to Corporate Command assets. Elemental Shift currently requires corporate command (though I may see about options for a non-CC version) because a playership I wanted only exists in the libraries for it. As well as new versions of the Troglav, Likho and Anika (the latter two of which also go reclassified as gunships and re-statted to make more sense) I've implemented the Naga as a playership (with NPC variants) and rebalanced the existing playerships a bit to make them a bit easier to start off with. More fuel, slightly more money, slightly refined setups.


My reinterpretation of the Naga-class is a high-speed gunship from Earth Industries, based on a similar hull to the Scorpion (which is now a heavy gunship, replacing the Heavy IAV/Protector-class in the heavy gunship options). The key differences are size and speed: the Naga is incredibly light and has a top speed of 0.27c. However, it has very little cargo space, a mere 5 device slots (with no restrictions on device types), and a speed reduction on any armor other than ultra-light types. This makes it a fast and fragile fighter, relying on agility and precision to make up for a lack of hitpoints.

I'm currently waiting for George to reply to a PM on a balancing question, but I'm hoping that when this CC stuff is done I'll be able to move to a public release.
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Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:37 pm

Sadly I've had to postpone the public release due to a couple of engine-side problems that my code triggers. I'm hoping to reschedule the release for about the time 1.8 Stable comes out. :)
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Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:47 am

Ok! With the release of 1.8 Beta 5 it's looking like everything will be ready for the initial public release. I've made a few adjustments based on George's rather limited experience testing it:

-Better reactors and less power drain for starting ships (I'm still working on this)
-Borer II's and the improved Oromo and Sotho vessels now turn up later in the game (as enemies)
-Revised starting setups for a few ships for better weapon performance

There's still some work to do before I push a release onto multiverse:

-Need to finish getting power consumption under control for the starting ships, possibly using the Hephaestus reactors on one or two of them
-Balance checks on Sovereign Domain, Children of Eden, outlaw miners
-Revise AXTIR loot a bit
-Update playerships to possibly use the new style of speed adjustment introduced by 1.8b4
-allow the Sotho to use sidemounts again since Beta 5 should fix a bug with them
-Finish the 2-slot shield lines
-Remove ship table entries that Corporate Command now appends directly
-Finalise tinker recipes and items
-Some small tweaks/additions to low-level kinetics
-Possibly a slight buff to the Naga

Edit: EI100/M is mostly done, apart from armor changes for Beta 5 and some testing. It now uses the Hephaestus G2 reactor, a fission powerplant that cannot be refuelled, but has a lot of fuel to start with. It'll last at least half an hour to forty minutes for most players.
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Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:50 am

Not even with uranium fuel rods?

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Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:21 pm

NMS wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 6:50 am
Not even with uranium fuel rods?
It has no user-serviceable parts. :)

I figure the Hephaestus corp has a bunch of solar panels somewhere and this is how they sell their energy. Imagine owning an electric car with a swappable battery pack.

(That said, if that were the case then describing it as a fission reactor wouldn't make much sense)

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Song
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Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:29 am

Hephaestus reactors are an Archimedes Industrial product, and they're designed to run until the fuel runs out, at which point you send them to be refurbished.


...unfortunately there are some technical issues with how they're implemented, though AP has done an extremely good job getting things ironed out.
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