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AI Updates & New Cruel AI Setting | Thrawn's Revenge & Fall of the Republic News

Monday April 15, 2019

In a game as singleplayer-oriented as Empire at War, having a good AI, which supports the intended gameplay loops of the mod is crucial. Today we’re going to talk a bit about what the AI currently does, how we plan to develop it further, and an extra option we’re adding in 2.3. As always if you prefer a video version of this news post it can be found here:    While everyone would say they want a “better” AI, and we’ve talked in the past about certain improvements, we want to take this opportunity to talk about exactly what we mean by better. With 2.2, we began to overhaul the AI in about every possible way. Step one in that was to remove as many avenues for cheating as we reasonably can- on easy (Recruit) in 2.2, the AI makes fewer credits and builds more slowly than the player, on medium about the same as the player and on hard, the modifiers are only enough to help make them remain active as their territory is removed for more experienced players (1.5x credits).While some basic tactical AI improvements were made with 2.2 (the primary one being to make ships come out from sitting under their station, which is an abusable feature in the base game and most mods) a lot of the focus on 2.2 was on the galactic level, determining the basic rules and desires for building up their structures, their economy, and their budgeting for larger projects (like massive Star Dreadnoughts). This also came with unique AI types for various factions- the Empire of the Hand has a more isolationist AI, preferring to build up before attacking in era 5. The Pentastar Alignment also remains somewhat isolationist unil era 3. The other Warlords have their own AI (with Eriadu getting its own more reckless AI in 2.3, which should help the New Republic’s AI survive in the really early eras, whereas currently they struggle because of how spread out they are).      Evilbobthebob, who in addition to developing our AI for Thrawn’s Revenge, is the developer of Phoenix Rising, another mod with a lot of unique features and the same AI components we’re talking about here (you can find PR on the Steam workshop here: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1235783994 ) has continued with more of these optimizations for the galactic level of the AI within 2.3, and the longer term economic changes in the mod are also being developed with the AI in mind. In 2.2, the AI would typically want to build Hypervelocity guns/Ion Cannons on as many border planets as possible, which worked out well in most maps, but in some where their territory was more thinly spread or smaller (like the single-planet start maps), the AI could often end up building too many along their border and not leaving enough room for proper economic or production structures, so this has been adjusted appropriately and is something we’ll be keeping an eye on. Another issue is that with how mining facilities are structured, on those smaller maps the AI often has to spend more slots on economic structures at the cost of defense, so to reduce that burden we’ve shifted more of the economic power into space, bumping up the values of trade ports and reducing the per-planet cap on mining facilities to 2 from 3. There’s other more in-depth changes coming to the economy and even galactic government mechanics in 2.4, so we’ll talk a bit more about that in a future news post.Tactically, we plan to continue to make as many adjustments to improve AI behaviour as we can, along with doing things to diversify fleet and army compositions. Part of this work involves steps that are part of overall ground and space combat updates. Thrawn’s Revenge is an old mod, with a lot of work from over a decade ago, which means there’s some older bits of the mod which carry over older mistakes. Between 2.2 and 2.3, we’ve been trying to go through and standardize, expand, and update the things like the AI Combat Power values (which tells the AI roughly how strong a unit is) and category masks (which tells the AI what role it fills). There’s a new carrier category, for example, which for smaller carriers, will tell the AI that kind of unit needs to stay back- they’re for deploying fighters, not for engaging directly. This kind of work will be ongoing, but we’ll try to be as explicit with AI changes as possible, since that’s a lot better for people to understand changes than just saying “we made the AI have 20% more betterness.”   That brings us to our second major part of the update, being additional options for players. If given the choice most people would say they want an AI which acts exactly like a human, but while we agree with that for tactical behaviours and other kinds of 4X games, Empire at War, as anyone who plays multiplayer GC will likely have experienced, is not set up in a great way for a purely human and fair AI. Our goal with not just AI but economic systems and even other parts of the game like events (for example, the Yuuzhan Vong and other emergent factions) is to make sure the game goes as long as possible while still having some form of challenging component, which is why some form of cheating AI is necessary. In games like Europa Universalis and Stellaris, you have things like Aggressive Expansion and Overextension and Truces which allow a faction to rebuild between wars, but in Empire at War, it’s all war, all the time, and winning one key engagement can mean you take half the galaxy before they can even complete a new capital ship. While there are some background mechanics that may be somewhat similar to those from EU that I mentioned added to the mod where possible in the long-term, AI will always factor into the equation. It is, after all, a tool and a game mechanic as much as an opponent.To this end, we have introduced a new optional set of extra difficulty levels, beyond Easy, Medium, and Hard. If people prefer to stay on the more even-footing of the 2.2 AI (plus the additional logic-based improvements), that will be the default you start with. However, once you get ingame, there is an extra option available, to enable the Cruel AI. This will enable higher levels of AI income and production more similar to the bonuses that you may be familiar with from mods like AotR or RaW, which will allow them to more easily rebuild and continue to push back for longer. While we’re increasing their production capabilities, we won’t be giving them free spawns of units outside of areas where it’s supported narratively, however. In the future it’s entirely possible we’ll be able to offer additional ingame options for other things based on similar principles, as well. I use a similar set of bonuses in my preview LPs, and another youtuber, EckhartsLadder, who has been given a preview copy of 2.3, has been struggling against it in his recent streams if you’d like to check those out as well by clicking here.   That’s going to do it for our look at the AI for now, though. Starting in a couple weeks I’ll be starting my Fall of the Republic (our Clone Wars mod) preview playthroughs on Corey Loses as well, but in addition to that there should be a couple more regular news posts coming out in the next few weeks, including an overview of ICW2.3 and its testing process, the CSA’s We Could Be Heroes post, and the next Vision of the Future post, looking at another new faction. ...

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Legacy of the Vong & The Future of Thrawn's Revenge

Monday April 01, 2019

In today's update, we're going to be talking about extragalactic invaders, Solo Sith Lords, and the structure of future support for Thrawn's Revenge mods. As usual, if you prefer to get your updates in video format, that can be found on Corey Loses with the same information:Shortly after we launched Thrawn's Revenge in 2006, there were four planned mods to come of it; a Clone Wars, Galactic Civil War, Post-Endor, and Vong War mod. For various reasons, by 2010 we had reduced it down to just the Post-Endor mod, Imperial Civil War. Two years ago, we announced the return of Fall of the Republic, our Clone Wars mod, production for which is well underway and like Imperial Civil War 2.3, Fall of the Republic 0.5 is approaching its release. For a long time we've tossed around ideas and even made assets for the possibility of including the Yuuzhan Vong in some capacity, even if it weren't as a standalone mod, and we've been working on certain mechanics like the emergent faction mechanic which we introduced in 2.2, largely with them in mind as an end-goal. While 2.4 will be focusing on the Hapans, in 2.5 one of the major goals we have is that once you reach a certain point in the era-progessive campaigns, the Yuuzhan Vong will attack the galaxy as an emergent faction, giving your established war machine a new and deadly enemy.This, of course, comes with other potential things the Vong could be involved with- dedicated Galactic Conquest maps, a playable faction, and a large number of other possibilities for an expanded timeline. With the last few Vision of the Future news updates, we've spoken about some of what we plan to add to ICW over the next few releases, with overviews of some of the factions and how they'll be used. The idea is that each of these will start with some core set of assets, and the extent to which any of them can be expanded on  will depend on time, resources, and team members; whether they remain non-playable factions, or, like the Hapans are getting, we reach a point where we can fully flesh them out into a playable faction with all the bells and whistles. Because of faction slot restrictions in Empire at War, the idea with Imperial Civil War is that this will ultimately only lead up, story-wise, to a certain point in the Vong War, even at its greatest extent. This does not, however, mean that would be the end of new content.Each of those bits of content has been planned and designed as the starting point for a dedicated, standalone mod covering the events from the Vong War to the Fate of the Jedi books, which we are calling Legacy of the Vong. If we only ever get far enough that the Vong become a fun end-game mechanic, then that's fine. If we get the content for a fleshed out Galactic Alliance, Yuuzhan Vong, Killik Nest, Chiss Ascendancy, Imperial Remnant and Confederation from the period, then that's even better. Valerie, our concept artist, has been working on some renditions of units that could show up in a variety of scenarios, on top of her work designing the Hapans and other concepts for Imperial Civil War and Fall of the Republic. In this update, you can see her take on Yuuzhan Vong Coralskipper, and a Corellian Strident class, which was used pretty extensively throughout the period in question.This brings up a broader point about how we'll be supporting Thrawn's Revenge going forward. The Steam workshop has provided opportunities with Empire at War modding that we've not really properly taken advantage of. It's been just under a year since 2.2 has come out, and while we hope people are looking forward to the new and redone content, balance changes, bug fixes, and reworked mechanics of 2.3, there are plenty of issues in a perfect world we could have rolled out fixes for before this next major release, or some content which could have been sent out incrementally. This has prompted some internal discussions about how we'll be structuring version releases and major content patches.After the release of 2.3, we will be significantly overhauling our internal documentation, file structures, and pipeline for certain aspects of the mod, in order to better address issues, roll out gameplay updates, and keep everyone up to date while still leaving room for larger version differences where we can introduce things like new playable factions all at once, without people having to deal with them in their broken stages and without breaking saves every month or something. We'll be doing our best to structure files and our internal repository in such a way that we can easily cordon off something like the Hapes Consortium as a playable faction from being in public release, while still rolling out things like AI updates, galactic conquest additions or modifications, fixes to major issues, story additions, and so on. This way, rather than having to wait a year for a major problem to be fixed (and dealing with whatever new problems occur) or us having to delay working on certain major projects until older stuff is fixed and we're sure we're done patching a version, we can give people fixed bugs and fresh content in the short term, and still have major releases over the longer term. This will take a bit more setup, but it will also help make things more modular (a process we already started while working on ways to develop ICW and FotR at the same time without repeating work) and makes it all the more possible that Legacy of the Vong can be a real thing.That's all we've got for today. If you'd like to follow development more closely, we have a Discord server which the mod shares with Corey Loses which you can join here: https://discord.gg/t3WJugG , and on Corey Loses itself, I do frequent preview playthroughs showing what's going on with the mod at various stages of development, with Fall of the Republic's preview playthroughs starting soon: https://www.youtube.com/c/coreyloses ...

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2.3 Preview: Imperial Remnant Playthrough

Saturday March 16, 2019

We're approaching the end of the 2.3 development cycle, so today I've launched what's likely to be the last preview LP before at least the beta starts, taking a look at some of the changes being made currently as the Empire. The first episode is up now, and new episodes will go up every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, so subscribe to the channel if you'd like to see them as they come. Fall of the Republic previews will be starting soon, too! ...

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Fall of the Republic: State of the Mod

Friday March 01, 2019

A video version of this news post, with some ingame footage, can be found here on Corey Loses:While we have the Vision of the Future preview series of news posts going on for Imperial Civil War (as well as an upcoming overview post for 2.3) and an ongoing beta for Star Wars: Ascendancy for Sins of a Solar Empire, it's been quite some time since we've done a proper news post for Fall of the Republic. Usually the news posts for Fall of the Republic have assumed a certain level of familiarity with what the latest versions of Imperial Civil War have to offer, which is our Post-Endor mod for Empire at War, but in today's post we're going to be talking about what the first version of Fall of the Republic will include for those without that same level of familiarity. We'll also go over what's been done for the first version, what's still to be done, and what we're less concerned about getting in before starting the beta.What is Fall of the Republic?At its core, Fall of the Republic is a Clone Wars era mod for Star Wars: Empire at War- the primary goal of the mod is to cover the war between the Confederacy of Independent Systems and the Galactic Republic between roughly the Battle of Geonosis (22BBY) and the Declaration of the New Order (19 ABY). Like with our Post-Endor mod, while the main conflict of the era provides a focal point, we also aim to represent the galaxy as a whole how it was over this period, which can take the form of various galactic conquest scenarios which may not be exclusively Republic vs CIS, or may not include the Clone Wars at all- we also would hope to expand the timeline in the future either for specific conquests to cover earlier periods, or scripted one-off events which covered earlier conflicts. This will generally not be introduced until later releases.The mod will also have a focus on narrative story elements- in place of a traditional tech tree where you start with just corvettes and research up to larger ships, the mod implements an era system wherein the ships, vehicles, soldiers and research available to each faction will be based on what was being used during each year of the war, for a total of 3 eras (which would later be expanded to 5 to cover earlier periods, if we go that direction). So, at the start of the war you'll be using Phase I Clone Trooper armour for example, but upon reaching the time period for era 2, further research options will open for the player to introduce Phase II if they so choose, and other similar research options for tech that was introduced later into the war (like the Victory and Bulwark classes). Some of these choices will be influenced or driven by narrative choices available to the player, such as certain options which open up for the Republic player to pursue early versions of Imperial tech like the Imperator and Secutor through cooperation with Kuat Drive Yards if they follow the canonical progression of Palpatine towards Order 66, or perhaps they'll instead support a separate path away from the Empire towards Order 65 and the removal of PalpatineOur goal with the first version (0.5) is to introduce a lot of the core mechanics of mod as they exist in Imperial Civil War 2.3, so the general GC structure, economic systems (with updates to infrastructure preparing for broader galactic and economic changes in ICW2.4/FotR1.0 that we'll cover when the currently developing versions are out) and the main rosters of the factions, with the most iconic units. These were announced earlier in the faction profile news post, but they are essentially just early guidelines- like we've done with Imperial Civil War, we intend to continue supporting the mod and adding/remaking content as we go to ensure we cover as much as we reasonably can. So, while Clones and droids may be what you mainly use in the first versions, in later versions one of the goals is to add more local forces which played a massive role in the war as we have the resources to do so in ways which hopefully help the mod to feel like a real galactic war and give some extra flavour to different planets.So, What is Done and What Isn't?While I've been doing "live" development preview playthroughs on Corey Loses, my Youtube channel, for Imperial Civil War for 2.2 and now 2.3 for about two and a half years now which can give some idea of where development stands for mechanics, this has not yet started for Fall of the Republic, so people are probably a bit less clear on where that stands. I did do two one-off videos in December for the factions to show where they stood content-wise, but since even then there's been a massive amount of progress made. I'll be starting the Fall of he Republic previews in March barring any unforeseen circumstances, but for the moment, we'll just talk about which work remains. For each faction, while we have an overall planned unit list for their heroes, ships, and ground units, there are some we absolutely need done, and some which we'd like done but which, if the core mechanics are done, we're happy to hold off on for the 1.0 update. The biggest thing to be done still are the art assets for heroes; each side has about 7 heroes which still need some amount of work done to get them on the art side. On the positive side, for most of the Republic heroes, Jedi tend to have similar outfits, so the robes I've made this week while working on Obi-Wan and Anakin (models for both of them were finished this week) can generally be used with the other Jedi heroes with appropriate changes to heads and hands- this leaves art for Masters Fisto, Shaak Ti, Windu, and Aayla Secura to be done. For the CIS, after finishing Dooku's model recently, we mainly need to do art for Durge, Ventress, Kalani, Sev'rance Tann, Jango Fett and Sora Bulq. Of these, we'd probably be happy to hold off Secura, Bulq, Jango and Kalani for 1.0 if we reach an otherwise finished state.For units, we're relatively close to being done with all four categories (ground and space for each faction)- while the CIS on ground are currently lacking the BX Commando, Crab Droid, GAT, HAG, MTT and MAF, we're generally happy to hold off on the GAT, MAF and HAG for 1.0. For space, the CIS is probably the farthest thing from completion; they still need the Subjugator (Malevolence), Geonosian Cruiser, Captor, Diamond, Lupus, C-9979, Trade Federation Bomber, Belbullab, Rogue and Ginivex. It's unlikely that any of those will be left unfinished for the initial release, considering the CIS' overall smaller pool of units. For the Republic, between ground and space there are 6 things needing to be fnished; the AV-7, ARC Troopers, AT-RT,  Light Assault Cruiser, Charger and Y-Wing (for which the model is done). We've already decided certain assets for them (Mandator, H60, NTB, PTB) will be held off for 1.0.While none of the actual Galactic Conquest scenarios the mod is shipping with have been completed as a whole yet, the main testbed GC is being used to set up and test all of the mechanics, so when it's time to move on to finishing, that one will be converted with a few changes to one of the larger scenarios (at 100 planets) covering all 3 eras of the war. There will be one larger version of that scenario, and one smaller one, with about 130 and 70 planets respectively. We may include specific regional scenarios in the first version, but those will be determined closer to release. One of the other large tasks to do is updating the UI (HUDS, loading screens, etc) from their current Imperial Civil War assets to those more appropriate to the era and factions present. Hopefully some amount of this will be done by the time that the preview playthroughs go up, but if not, you'll likely see some of that as it happens within those.Hopefully this has given you a better idea of what Fall of the Republic looks like now, and will look like when it comes out. Our policy is to never give release dates until the mod is basically done and starting beta, so we won't comment on that, but it shouldn't be too far off now. - The Thrawn's Revenge Team ...

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Vision of the Future II: The Hapes Consortium

Wednesday February 13, 2019

In the first of our Vision of the Future series of updates where we're taking a look at what's to come for the mod in the long term, we talked about plans surrounding the Unknown Regions in Imperial Civil War, which you can check out here. While this update series is primarily focused on Imperial Civil War, today we'll be talking about the next playable faction coming to both Imperial Civil War and Ascendancy, our mod for Sins of a Solar Empire, the Hapes Consortium.As usual, if you prefer to see a video version of the news post, that can be found here (the information is the same):The Hapes ConsortiumThe Hapans were announced quite some time ago as the next playable faction coming to Ascendancy, but I don't believe we've officially announced them as a forthcoming playable faction in Imperial Civil War, so we wanted to take this opportunity to do that, talk about how they're going to work, and show off what's been underway to flesh them out. While the Hapans didn't play a huge role in a lot of the Galactic/Imperial Civil War, one of the broader goals with Imperial Civil War as a mod has been, with the era-progressive maps, to represent the galaxy as well as the engine will allow and give players the opportunity to play whichever groups the number of faction slots available in Empire at War allow, even if they may not have had the best chances of galactic conquest themselves (similar to how you can play smaller groups or countries in Total War or Paradox games). Because we only have so many slots to work with before the game starts complaining, we're trying to focus on future additions being as unique as they can as opposed to piling on other factions which are essentially Imperial shipsets under a new name, which will usually still be represented on appropriate planets along with some of the other small groups under the amalgamated Independent Forces label. Unfortunately, the Duskhan League (Yevetha) as the 6th faction which primarily relies on Imperial vessels and as the least interesting of those groups currently in the mod will be moved from its current playable faction status to a part of the Independent Forces as of 2.3 with the addition of the Corporate Sector Authority, allowing their slot to be used for other more unique factions down the line.The Hapans, for their part, provide a few interesting challenges with development. While there are other ships that get named in later books (for example the Star Home, Stella Frigate and Beta Cruiser), and while the Hapan fleet is described by Isolder as including thousands of ships, only the iconic Battledragon, Nova Cruiser, and Miy'til Fighter and Bomber ever get depicted properly in Legends along with their mobile palace, the Star Home. Rather than keep them on such a restricted unit list, we're fleshing them out much like we've done with the Empire of the Hand, taking the approach that Battle Dragon also serves as a designation similar to "Star Destroyer" for the Empire, so there would be varying types of Battle Dragons in service to the Hapan fleet, with the standard Battle Dragon now called the Hapes-class Battle Dragon. While we finish the 2.3 content and Corporate Sector Authority units an old team member, Valerie, who originally designed our Chaf Frigate over a decade ago, has rejoined and has already made significant progress designing new Hapan units for the mod, four of which you can see here: the Miy'til Interceptor, Magnetar-class Battle Dragon, Flare-class Corvette, and Beta-class Cruiser. If you click on any of the images, it'll bring you to the ModDB image gallery with a description of the unit.Rather than try to relate how she's handling the designs myself, Valerie has this to say about her approach with the Hapans:Quote from: Valerie"Hapani ships, architecture, and styles of dress are all opulent and rich. In the Star Wars mythos, they often emphasize the fantasy elements over the science-fictional ones. It's such a joy designing these. I drew heavily from their sister world of Naboo (both Theed and the Gungans) and the left over technology of the CIS starships. I also wanted to make sure each ship could feel like it had been in service for generations due to their isolation. We had a handful of existing ships to base the designs around and jump off from. The Battle Dragon is very much an open clam shell (think Venus coming out of the water). Smaller starships, like the Miy'til and even the Nova, are closer to water fowl in shape. Using these observations, I developed a design principle that the larger ships would resemble sea creatures with the other side of the spectrum being closer to birds. The big challenge with the Hapani has been, without a doubt, the balancing act between the eloquence of organic sea life, and the beautiful jury-rigged combinations of CIS technology with their heirloom-like warships. It's been a blast designing them and I'm certain your enjoyment of what we have in store with the Hapans will be a fact."While we we also be working on a set of designs for a unique ground roster for them in Imperial Civil War, we will mainly be focusing on the space units in 2.4 (and Ascendancy 1.2) where they'll be making their debut, at which time any holes in their ground roster will be (temporarily) filled with New Republic units for gameplay purposes. Here is the full Hapan space unit as it will tentatively appear in the first version, organized by shipyard level (though changes may always be made). To go along with some of the existing names, we've generally tried to stick with astronomical terms (and some Hapan planet names) which in most cases we've also tried to match with the function of the ship:Hapan Royal NavyTier IV: AccretionTier III: Magnetar, Corona, Neutron, Pulsar, MistTier II: Hapes, Olanji, Charubah, TerephonTier I: Nova, Beta, Express (Ascendancy only), Stella, Flare, RayFighters: Miy'til Fighter, Miy'til Interceptor, Miy'til Bomber, Hetrinar BomberBold indicates it's a canon class, otherwise it's a class we're designing from scratch.Much like the CSA, the Hapans will be a smaller faction with a more limited hero pool especially, so while they will hopefully get some smaller GCs where they're at less of a disadvantage against larger powers, in the era-progressives they're likely to face a fair bit of an uphill battle, although like with all factions in skirmish and Ascendancy (where you're not trying to represent a specific galactic situation), when starting from an even footing, we aim for them to be as balanced as possible. We're also hoping, both with them and other factions, to continue working our way into each faction providing unique mechanics and playstyles both with their ships and with galactic management, which is something we'll hopefully also start talking about with 2.4.So, hope you've enjoyed this early look at what's going on with the more regal side of life in the Star Wars galaxy, because the next Vision of the Future post will be a little bit slimier. Until then, if you would like to see how development's progressing at any point, I do preview playthroughs on my YouTube channel pretty much all the time, including starting some Fall of the Republic previews pretty soon (our Clone Wars mod). The channel can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/c/coreyloses/ . We also have a discord server shared with that channel which basically acts as the main discussion hub for the mod these days, which can be found here: https://discord.gg/t3WJugG- The Thrawn's Revenge Team ...

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Fall of the Republic - Republic Preview Video

Thursday December 13, 2018

This week, we're going to be taking an early look at what progress has been amde on Fall of the Republic so far. Today, that means a Republic video, and then on Sunday I'll also be posting a CIS video, playing through the early parts of a galactic conquest scenario. In today's we go through a couple land and space battles, talk about which assets need to be done, outline the plans for how to handle specific legions (like the 501st) and fleet insignias, like the Open Circle Fleet, and much more! Once we're a bit further along, I'll also be doing full playthroughs as each faction on the channel.Thanks to all of your support, we've once again reached the Top 100 on Mod Database with all three of our mods! If you would like to vote for Fall of the Republic in the final round of voting, you can do so here: https://www.moddb.com/mods/star-wars-thrawns-revenge-iii ...

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Ascendancy 1.1.6 Testing Begins!

Thursday December 06, 2018

Hello everyone! It's been a long time coming, but we have finally reached the time for our open beta testing on version 1.1.6. The primary purpose of this version is to do some major reworking of balance for the existing factions before we get into the development of the next playable faction, the Hapes Consortium, so if you want to see a general overview of what the goals with the release are, you can check that out in the original overview threads: https://www.moddb.com/mods/star-wars-ascendancy/news/hapan-preview-balance-patch-overview-12-years-of-trWithin that there has been some significant reworking of individual ship stats to be more consistent, and we've started a lot of work to make capital ship abilities feel a bit more engaging. Most capital ships and their abilities have been overhauled to some extent. Along with that, there's also been some work to update some of the models; the 1.1.6 beta version includes new art for the Nebula, Endurance, Secutor and Gladiator, with the new Lancer and Lucrehulk models coming over the course of the testing period. The point of this testing is primarily to see how the current balance changes feel, and see which areas still require work. There's a few things which remain to be done in terms of finishing abilities (the Dominator, Praetor, Secutor, Syndic, Ascendancy and Endurance in particular) along with some icon art and text remain to be updated, but we feel that the bulk of what's needed has been completed, and we will be finishing that off as testing starts in the interest of getting as much feedback as possible(edited)Distribution of the mod and patches during the beta process will be done through a version control system, called a git repository. This allows you to get updates from us without having to redownload the entire mod every time, as we aim to constantly update the mod throughout the testing process and get as much up-to-date feedback as possible. Once the testing process has concluded, we'll be uploading the finished version in the normal way on Mod Database. This will specifically done using the site GitHub. You will need to make an account on www.github.com, and download and install the desktop client from https://desktop.github.com/ Once you have done this, you can go to https://github.com/ThrawnsRevenge/Ascendancy-TestYou will see a large green button which says clone or download. Click on this, and click on "open in desktop'This will follow through and you will be asked where to save the repository. Navigate to and select your ...Documents\My Games\Ironclad Games\Sins of a Solar Empire Rebellion\Mods-Rebellion v1.85 folder (yours may have a different version number). This will create a mods folder and download the mod for you. This can be a lengthy process, so give it some time to complete.In order to receive updates, you only need to press the sync or fetch origin button in the github client, and it will download any changes. The History tab will show you the names of the commit you're currently on at the top. If it matches the latest post in this thread, you're up to date. You do not need to press any other buttons.We will have two places to report bugs and discuss balance or other aspects. One is on our forums at www.thrawnsrevenge.com/forums in the Ascendancy Testing subforum, where there will be appropriate threads for that, and the other will be the #ascendancy-beta channel on our Discord server at https://discord.gg/t3WJugG . Please make sure to read any and all pinned messages or topics before posting.I will again reiterate that this is only for the testing process, in the interest of getting as much information as possible and acting on it as quickly as possible- if you don't want to get github or participate in the beta, there will be a full regular release within a month, depending on the extent of the feedback we receive and the severity of issues that are found. The more testing and feedback that happens, the easier it is for us to iron things out and get to the final release.To that end, we will be running several community multiplayer matches through my Youtube/Twitch channel, Corey Loses ( https://www.twitch.tv/coreyloses/ and https://www.youtube.com/c/CoreyLoses ). The first of these will be tomorrow night at 5pm EST. These will be announced on the Discord server, the Youtube channel, and in the image gallery when they're planned, so if you're interested in participating, watch those spaces.We would finally like to thank all of you for your patience during the development process here. I'd also like to thank Bane who, though he has left the team, spearheaded a lot of the balancing efforts that went into 1.1.5 and 1.1.6.We hope you enjoy the mod, and are looking forward to what the future has in store for it. If you do, we would appreciate your support by voting for us in the Mod of the Year Awards currently in progress on Mod Database at https://www.moddb.com/mods/star-wars-ascendancy ...

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Mod of the Year 2018 Begins

Wednesday December 05, 2018

Hey there @everyone , I'll probably mention this in some videos, but it's time again for the Mod of the Year competition on Mod Database. If you have enjoyed what you've seen and played over the 2018 from us in our mods, we'd appreciate if you'd take a moment to vote for us. we have three eligible mods, being Imperial Civil War, Ascendancy and Fall of the Republic- you're allowed to vote for as many or as few mods as you like in both phases. The links for the three mods can be found here:Imperial Civil War: https://www.moddb.com/mods/thrawns-revengeAscendancy: https://www.moddb.com/mods/star-wars-ascendancyFall of the Republic: https://www.moddb.com/mods/star-wars-thrawns-revenge-iiiWhile all three are able to at least make the top 100, Mod Database does have a rule that mods need to beat their previous finishes to place. As ICW has been 4th, Ascendancy 2nd, and Fall of the Republic 3rd in the last two years, it's unlikely that we'll able to have an actual placing finish (in fact, aside from some specific combinations, all three can't place together), we're unlikely to show up in the top countdown, but it would be nice to continue our top 100 streak if we can, and see what happens. Thanks for your consideration! ...

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Vision of the Future I: The Hand and the Unknown Regions

Friday November 23, 2018

In this series of updates, we're going to look beyond what's immediately planned for 2.3 and talk about some of those broader goals for different elements of the mod. To start us off we'll be taking a look at two related areas of the mod which offer some interesting possibilities but remain underexplored- the Unknown Regions and the Empire of the Hand.As usual, if you prefer video, that version of the news post can be found here:While the main focus of Imperial Civil War is the collapse of the Empire into its various successor states (including the New Republic) as they attempted to reunite or establish themselves as the main galactic power, part of what we attempt to do with our mods is represent the broader galactic situation and allow people to explore that as much as possible, with as many different groups as possible- essentially, we try to approach with as much of the Total War or Europa Universalis/Crusader Kings/Hearts of Iron style as the engine will allow us. Although it doesn't receive as much attention in the various works that make up the EU, and in-universe it isn't explored as much, the Unknown Regions make up a significant portion of that galaxy. Within the mod we currently only cover that via the Empire of the Hand which, while being an interesting group in many ways, doesn't represent the entirety of what was going on in the region during this period. In fact, they spent most of their time busy dealing with the various threats within the Unknown Regions, while in the mod their only option is to immediately invade the Known Galaxy. This is an area which we've always wanted to expand on, and it's something we're going to look to do in future releases. The Empire of the Hand as a faction, while some aspects are interesting or unique, also have a lot of rough edges (to put it nicely) and need a lot of work to bring them up to par, which we'll talk about first.Ssi-Ruuvi ships in Thrawn's Revenge II: AscendancyThe Empire of the Hand"The Empire that Senior Captain Thrawn is carving into the evil that pervades our worlds is not the Empire you chose to leave. His is an Empire of justice and dignity for all beings. His Empire is one we gladly serve. One we are willing to die for." - VaantaarAs a faction, the Hand offer some unique and interesting units, but there are also many places where they currently fall flat. For one thing, since they tend to have some of the oldest models, a lot of their units need and will be getting some level of visual upgrade to bring them into line with the newer assets. Since the hardest parts of making their units tends to be coming up with a suitable design more so than the actual modeling, instead of having a specific release dedicated to updating them like we've been doing or will be doing with the other factions, their updates will happen across a few different releases. In 2.3, we will also finally be releasing their Intego Battlecruiser, which, at 2200 meters is the largest ship in their fleet. We were originally hoping to put it into 2.2 (and it can be used in current versions of Ascendancy, our Sins of a Solar Empire mod where you can see some of this content already) but we felt like its design still needed a lot of work. The current version, before the updates, can be seen below- the general shape will be remaining, but a lot of details have changed since those pictures were posted. Final pictures should hopefully be coming soon. On ground, every unit will be redesigned, and most importantly, rebalanced. Ground as a whole is being rebalanced and reworked in the mod in 2.3, however in 2.2 there are a few units in the EotH, especially the Megamaser Tank, which remain obscenely overpowered. In 2.3 we're rebalancing every part of ground combat, so that will all change, but they need art updates as well. Unlike with their space roster, their ground roster redesign is one we hope to do all at once; this is currently planned for 2.4, but specifics may change. Overall the roles for their units will remain the same, but we'll be bringing them away from the Lego Tanks aesthetics they currently tend to have.While there are plenty of other story or research mechanics we'd like to add or flesh out more for the Empire of the Hand, something else we will be working on with their unit updates is nailing down exactly where their units are coming from, which will be more important as we flesh out the Unknown Regions as a whole. The Empire of the Hand comes from a few different backgrounds- Imperial, Chiss, local designs, and combinations of those. The units in their buildable roster aren't directly Imperial in origin, so we'll be trying to group the rest of their roster into the other categories. Some will be labelled as designs coming directly from the Chiss Ascendancy (as many assets and personnel were funneled directly to the Hand from them), some as designs made by the Hand itself or one of the various member species, and some as the fusion of Imperial tech with another one of those groups (this one is more straightforward- for example, the Clawcraft and Star Destroyer variants like the Chaf and Ascendancy).The Intego as it currently appears in AscendancyThe Unknown Regions"The gulfs of space are not home to us and neither are the barren worlds. The worlds of fire and the worlds of ice are not home to us. Where oxygen burns and water flows, where carbon bonds and ozone protects—there we plant our roots. The seed of our species is fertile; all we require is the soil in which to plant it." - The KeeramakWhile the Empire of the Hand currently starts off controlling everything in the Unknown Regions in the mod, they were in fact trying to combat various threats of different sizes the entire time. It's impossible to represent every little group they would have come across due to lack of information in universe and a limitation to what can put put in game, but we do intend to try to put in some of the more major players in the region at least- ideally, given enough time and resources, we'd like to have entire galactic conquest scenarios based within the Unknown Region. Because these updates are about covering future content, here's a quick look at the major groups we'd like to represent, focusing on those which had bigger impacts or the most opportunity for fleshing out. Keep in mind, all of this is only prospective, and not necessarily set in stone; certainly not content being worked on immediately, though we do have some idea of different phases in which they could be implemented. The ability to do the factions and species listed below will depend on resources as we complete stuff, and keep in mind that being represented doesn't necessarily mean being their own faction- some would be, but some will also be represented through the Independent Forces faction (though with suitable assets) similar to how the more minor Warlords currently are in 2.2 (ie Antemeridias, Elrood). Some may even be in the running to be playable under the right circumstances.Chiss Asendancy - The official government of the Chiss, based on Csilla, and arguably the most influential group in the Unknown Regions.The Killik Colony  - An insectoid hive-minded species which originated on Alderaan and migrated long ago to the Unknown Regions.Ssi-Ruuvi Imperium - A faction of war-mongering religious fanatic reptilesVagaari Empire - Slaving NomadsNuso Esva - A warlord whose forces became one of the first targets of Thrawn's campaigns into the Unknown Regions, on the edge of the known galaxy, and connected parts of Thrawn's Unknown Regions conquests to the known galaxy.Again, this isn't quite coming in 2.3, just a rough outline of some of the ideas we have for fleshing out parts of the mod which currently aren't especially fleshed out. All of it ultimately depends on resources. Some, like the Chiss and Ssi-Ruuvi, we have some considerable amount of work done on already, so they're more likely to show in some form sooner than later. That will do it for our first Vision of the Future news post, all of this will be expanded a bit more as we get closer to the specifics, so hope you're looking forward to that. As usual, I'm running preview playthroughs regularly on my YouTube channel, Corey Loses if you want to see some of the changes in action as they happen. The current Greater Maldrood playthrough is currently wrapping up, and I'll be moving onto the CSA playthrough at the start of December. ...

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Galactic Conquests

Thrawn’s Revenge includes thirteen original Galactic Conquest campaigns spanning the fifteen years between the Battle of Endor in 4 ABY and the Pellaeon-Gavrisom treaty in 19 ABY.  With a mixture of single-era, multi-era, historical and “Infinities” campaigns, you can explore many of the conflicts that were recorded during those years.

Click to view an expanded version of the galactic map.

Single-Era GCs

These five scenarios represent the main campaigns associated with each of the five Imperial leaders that Thrawn’s Revenge focuses on.  The Fractured Empire under Director Isard; the Thrawn Campaign named after its architect, Grand Admiral Thrawn; Operation Shadow Hand plotted by the Reborn Emperor; the Reunification of the Imperial Warlords by Admiral Daala; and the Final Imperial Push led by Grand Admiral Pellaeon.

Note:  You will not advance era by killing the respective Imperial Leader.

Fractured Empire
Fractured Empire
Date: 6-7 ABY
Playable Factions: Imperial Remnant, New Republic, Pentastar Alignment
Non-playable Factions: Imperial Warlords
Planets: 50
Era: 1
Imperial Leader: Director Ysanne Isard
Two years after the destruction of the Second Death Star and death of Emperor Palpatine at Endor the former Galactic Empire has fractured into disparate factions led by squabbling Warlords. As former Intelligence Director Ysanne Isard attempts to re-establish Imperial control, the New Republic is gaining ground and moving towards the core in preparation for a strike to liberate Coruscant.
Thrawn Campaign
Thrawn Campaign
Date: 9 ABY
Playable Factions: Imperial Remnant, New Republic
Non-playable Factions: None
Planets: 56
Era: 2
Imperial Leader: Grand Admiral Thrawn
Grand Admiral Thrawn has returned to the known galaxy to take command of the Imperial Remnant from aboard the Star Destroyer Chimera. Although he is leading a greatly diminished Empire against a well-established New Republic, his tactical genius may be enough to restore order to the galaxy.
Shadow Hand
Shadow Hand
Date: 10-11 ABY
Playable Factions: Imperial Remnant, New Republic
Non-playable Factions: None
Planets: 41
Era: 3
Imperial Leader: Emperor Palpatine
Emperor Palpatine has rebirthed himself on the hidden fortress world of Byss deep in the Galactic Core. He has reunited many of the squabbling Warlords in order to strike hard and fast at the New Republic, equipped with a secret weapon, the super star destroyer Eclipse.
Reunification
Reunification
Date: 12 ABY
Playable Factions: Imperial Remnant, New Republic
Non-playable Factions: Imperial Warlords
Planets: 17
Era: 4
Imperial Leader: Admiral Natasi Daala
Natasi Daala has emerged from the Maw Installation to reunite the warring Imperial factions, while the New Republic attempts to land the final blow on an Empire in its death throes.
Final Imperial Push
Final Imperial Push
Date: 17-19 ABY
Playable Factions: Imperial Remnant, New Republic, Empire of the Hand
Non-playable Factions: None
Planets: 59
Era: 5
Imperial Leader: Grand Admiral Gilad Pellaeon
Gilad Pellaeon has taken command of a dying yet unified Empire, and with the help of Natasi Daala and the urging of the Moff Council, he intends to make one final strike at the New Republic. Meanwhile, the Empire of the Hand prepares to reveal itself to an unsuspecting galaxy.

Multi-Era GCs

These two scenarios, The Art of War and Essence of War, stretch across the entire period covered by Thrawn’s Revenge by following the five main Imperial leaders through their successive campaigns.

Note:  You may advance era by killing the respective Imperial Leader.

The Art of War
Fractured Empire
Date: 6-25 ABY
Playable Factions: Imperial Remnant, New Republic, Empire of the Hand, Pentastar Alignment
Non-playable Factions: Imperial Warlords
Planets: 91
Era: 1-5
Imperial Leader: Isard, Thrawn, Palpatine, Daala, Pellaeon
Play through Star Wars history from the battle of Endor until the Pellaeon-Gavrisom Treaty.
Essence of War
Fractured Empire
Date: 6-25 ABY
Playable Factions: Imperial Remnant, New Republic, Empire of the Hand, Pentastar Alignment
Non-playable Factions: Hapes Consortium, Imperial Warlords
Planets: 50
Era: 1-5
Imperial Leader: Isard, Thrawn, Palpatine, Daala, Pellaeon
Play through a smaller version of Star Wars history from the battle of Endor until the Pellaeon-Gavrisom Treaty.

Historic GCs

These four scenarios represent specific campaigns that occurred during the Thrawn’s Revenge timeframe, yet are not directly associated with any of the Imperial leader based eras.  The Stars Align follows Grand Moff Ardus Kaine’s attempt to forge the Pentastar Alignment from part of the former Empire. The Hunt for Zsinj and Into the Cluster focus on the New Republic campaign against Warlord Zsinj and his skirmishes with the Hapes Consortium.  The Black Fleet Crisis covers the New Republic’s conflict with the xenophobic Yevethan Duskhan League.

Note:  You will not advance era by killing the respective Imperial Leader.

The Stars Align
The Stars Align
Date: 6 ABY
Playable Factions: Imperial Remnant, New Republic, Pentastar Alignment
Non-playable Factions: Imperial Warlords
Planets: 39
Era: 1
Imperial Leader: Director Ysanne Isard
Ardus Kaine, Grand Moff of the Empire’s Oversector Outer, has begun work to assemble several Outer Rim worlds of the former Empire into the Pentastar Alignment under his control. Meanwhile, the Empire is fracturing and the New Republic is struggling to maintain its foothold at the opposite end of the galaxy.
The Hunt for Zsinj
The Hunt for Zsinj
Date: 6-7 ABY
Playable Factions: Imperial Remnant (Warlord Zsinj), New Republic (including elements of the Imperial Remnant and Hapes Consortium)
Non-playable Factions: Imperial Warlords
Planets: 42
Era: n/a
Imperial Leader: Warlord Zsinj
Han Solo has been put in charge of a taskforce to hunt down the elusive Warlord Zsinj on the Super Star Destroyer Iron Fist. The New Republic has made an uneasy alliance with the Imperial forces under Teren Rogriss and the Hapans under Prince Isolder.
Into the Cluster
Into the Cluster
Date: 8 ABY
Playable Factions: Imperial Remnant (Warlord Zsinj), New Republic (including elements of the Imperial Remnant)
Non-playable Factions: Hapes Consortium
Planets: 18
Era: n/a
Imperial Leader: Warlord Zsinj
A smaller version of The Hunt for Zsinj with the Hapes Consortium included as an independent third side instead of the Imperial Warlords.
Black Fleet Crisis
Black Fleet Crisis
Date: 16-17 ABY
Playable Factions: New Republic, Duskhan League
Non-playable Factions: None
Planets: 12
Era: n/a
Imperial Leader: n/a
The warlike Yevethans have invaded the New Republic’s territory, using Imperial technology from the long-lost Black Sword Command.

Infinities GCs

These two scenarios represent scenarios not based on any canon events.  They are of varying scale and involve different combinations of factions and units.  Empires at War is an all-out conflict between the Imperial Remnant and its many splinter factions, including the Empire of the Hand, and the Duskhan League.  From the Ground Up is a unique scenario where each faction starts with only one planet, limited resources and no heroes; and is faced with a galaxy of hostile independent forces arrayed against them.

Note:  You will not advance era by killing the respective Imperial Leader.

Empires at War
Empires at War
Date: 7 ABY
Playable Factions: Imperial Remnant, New Republic, Empire of the Hand, Pentastar Alignment
Non-playable Factions: Imperial Warlords, Duskhan League
Planets: 57
Era: n/a
Imperial Leader: Director Ysanne Isard
An all-out brawl between the splinters factions of the Empire, the Empire of the Hand, and the Yevetha.
From the Ground Up
From the Ground Up
Date: n/a
Playable Factions: Imperial Remnant, New Republic, Empire of the Hand
Non-playable Factions: Imperial Warlords, Hapes Consortium, Duskhan League
Planets: 50
Era: 5 (New Republic, Empire of the Hand), 3 (Imperial Remnant)
Imperial Leader: Grand Admiral Gilad Pellaeon
Grow your faction from one planet to control the entire galaxy.

Multiplayer GCs

These scenarios allow players to play against one another in a different way to the usual Skirmish matches.  The multiplayer Thrawn Campaign contains fewer planets than the single player version while retaining the character of the conflict.

Note:  You will not advance era by killing the respective Imperial Leader.

Thrawn Campaign
Thrawn Campaign (Multiplayer)
Date: 9 ABY
Playable Factions: Imperial Remnant, New Republic
Non-playable Factions: None
Planets: 37
Era: 2
Imperial Leader: Grand Admiral Thrawn
Grand Admiral Thrawn has returned to the known galaxy to take command of the Imperial Remnant from aboard the Star Destroyer Chimera. Although he is leading a greatly diminished Empire against a well-established New Republic, his tactical genius may be enough to restore order to the galaxy.