Thrawn's Revenge

Mod & Network News => News, Dev Diaries & Announcements => Topic started by: Corey on April 13, 2017, 05:51:41 AM

Title: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: Corey on April 13, 2017, 05:51:41 AM
Imperial Civil War & Ascendancy

The Empire of the Hand has always been one of our favourite aspects of the mod to develop, giving us an opportunity to explore an area of the Legends universe which never received much attention. That being said, there are a few places we intend to change them in upcoming releases of both Imperial Civil War and Ascendancy in order to make their art more consistent (being an area with not only some of our earliest 3D work, but also an area where that early work didn't have the crutch of pre-existing designs), flesh out their progression, and fill in some of the holes. In this post, we're going to cover a broad overview of the Empire of the Hand- who they are, what they've been in the mod, and what we plan to do with them.

What is the Empire of the Hand? (What's Canon?)

Firstly, the Empire of the Hand is neither truly a part of the Chiss Ascendancy nor part of the Galactic Empire, although it contains elements of and connections to each. The original plan for the Empire of the Hand was devised between Grand Admiral Thrawn and Emperor Palpatine, growing out of an mutual understanding between the two during the Outbound Flight crisis, decades before the Battle of Endor, that the Unknown Regions were home to many threats to galactic civilization. After eventually being brought to the Empire by Voss Parck and rising through the Imperial ranks during the Rebellion era, Thrawn was granted Imperial resources to explore and pacify the area, and formed his new empire from the Hand of Thrawn, a base on the planet Nirauan. This was a well-kept secret within the Empire. Most believed Thrawn's time in the Unknown Regions was a punishment- an exile imposed by Palpatine. After Palpatine's death, much of the connection between the Empire and the Empire of the Hand would have been lost. Thrawn was still in contact with the Imperial leadership to some extent; he once forced Ysanne Isard, acting ruler of the Empire, to essentially kidnap and send him Soontir Fel, for fear that he would return and take over the Empire himself. Generally, though, the Empire of the Hand was kept separate from its counterpart in the known galaxy, and its command staff was loyal to Thrawn, not the Empire. Even after Thrawn's death, Voss Parck, Soontir Fel and Kress'ten'tarthi, who had de facto control over the Empire of the Hand, refused to rejoin the Empire and at some point surpassed the remaining Imperial territory by several times. They instead were waiting for word from Thrawn (who they believed to not actually be dead) on whether they should align themselves with the Empire or the New Republic. By 19 ABY when Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade discovered the Hand of Thrawn the Empire of the Hand had established control over 250 sectors.

The relationship between the Chiss Ascendancy and the Empire of the Hand was slightly more complicated. The Chiss had a strict policy of non-aggression for their military, the Chiss Expansionary Defense Force (CEDF), which had frustrated Thrawn throughout his career. This sentiment was shared by many Chiss, who saw the Empire of the Hand as a way to secure the safety of the Ascendancy. Thrawn often used the Empire of the Hand's forces as a way to secure the Chiss' interests by proxy, and some of the Empire of the Hand's Imperial-sourced commanders ended up gaining some official standing within the Chiss Ascendancy, such as Baron Soontir Fel.

MainAppearances: Crisis of Faith - Hand of Thrawn Duology - Fool's Bargain - Survivor's Quest - New Jedi Order (Dark Tide II & Balance Point) - Fate of the Jedi (Ascension & Apocalypse)

(http://media.moddb.com/cache/images/mods/1/8/7376/thumb_620x2000/swfoc_2016-05-24_00-58-37-72.png) (http://www.moddb.com/mods/thrawns-revenge/images/active-duty#imagebox)

The new Intego, in ICW and Ascendancy

Developing the Hand Fleet

Because there's so little known about the Empire of the Hand, a lot of the work to develop them falls to us. Our approach with canon is typically to try to hold ourselves to the same standard we would any new book or game; do not contradict what's there, and don't introduce things needlessly (for example, we would never add more ships to the New Republic or Remnant when dozens already exist). There are a few instances where we're given specific class names for Empire of the Hand ships and vehicles, like the Nsiss-class Clawcraft, and the AirStraeker, as well as the more vague Chiss Star Destroyer designation. Overall though, the Empire of the Hand fleet is pretty underdeveloped in the lore. The amount of territory they controlled, and the nature of the threats they confronted indicate a fleet of significant size and resources. Their early fleets were comprised primarily of Imperial hardware, but as the links between the Empire of the Hand and the Remnant became more tenuous (to the point of being almost completely severed by Endor, before they did most of their expansion) it would make sense that more and more of the Hand tech would have been directly Chiss, or of the Imperial-Chiss hybrid style developed within the Empire of the Hand, like the Clawcraft and Chiss Star Destroyer. So, when fleshing out their roster for Ascendancy and ICW, we've developed two types of ships- those that were strictly Chiss, and those that were a mix of Chiss and Imperial technology (noted as Empire of the Hand below). We used to have a third style which we called Sycan, based on their primary shipyard which we introduced in the mod, but we've decided to roll that back and keep it to two main slightly different but still connected styles in order to keep them more thematically consistent.

Next up, we're gonna go through our plans for each ship. Those marked with NEW have been introduced since ICW 2.1's release, although may have been in Ascendancy 1.0, like the Intego. REWORK  means some significant changes to its design are planned or already done, UPDATE means we plan to do some touchups to the model. Our focus with ICW 2.2 and Ascendancy 1.1 is primarily on the new capital ships, after which we'll be working on the reworks. This means that some of the reworked content will likely be saved for an update after Imperial Civil War 2.2 and Ascendancy 1.1. As some of you may be able to tell, most of the names are Greek words, which we decided to go with as a sort of play on the Republic/Imperial use of Latin words (like Venator, Accdlamator, Imperator).

(http://media.moddb.com/cache/images/mods/1/22/21018/thumb_620x2000/Sins_of_a_Solar_Empire_Rebellio_2016-04-24_16-49-51-83.png) (http://www.moddb.com/mods/star-wars-ascendancy/images/intego-preview1#imagebox)




Ships of the Fleet Fleet

Intego-class Battlecruiser - Family: Chiss NEW
Length: 2200 Meters
Role: Tank
Complement: 4 Squadrons.

Phalanx-class Destroyer - Family: Chiss
Length: 1850 Meters
Role: Anti-Capital/Frigate
Complement: 4 Squadrons.

Efodio-class  Cruiser - Family: Chiss NEW
Length: 1500 Meters
Role: Freighter/Fleet Tender
Complement: 4 Squadrons.

Ascendancy-class Star Destroyer - Family: Empire of the Hand REWORK
Length: 1500 Meters
Role: Carrier
Complement: 8 Squadrons.

Peltast-class Star Destroyer - Family: Empire of the Hand NEW
Length: 1400 Meters
Role: Anti-Capital
Complement: 1 Squadron.

Syndic-class Destroyer - Family: Chiss UPDATE
Length: 1500 Meters
Role: Anti-Frigate/Capital
Complement: 6 Squadrons.

Frigates

Chaf-class Star Destroyer - Family: Empire of the Hand UPDATE
Length: 1100 Meters
Role: Anti-Frigate
Complement: 2 Squadrons.

Prosvoli-class Heavy Cruiser - Family: Chiss UPDATE (Formerly Bu'direch)
Length: 600 Meters
Role: Anti-Frigate
Complement: 1 Squadron.

Prolipsi-class Interdictor - Family: Chiss REWORK (Formerly Massias)
Length: 600 Meters
Role: Interdictor
Complement: 1 Squadron.

Nuruodo-class Broadside Cruiser - Family: Empire of the Hand REWORK
Length: 500 Meters
Role:Anti-Frigate
Complement: 1 Squadron.

Afthonia-class Fleet Tender - Family: Chiss NEW
Length: 500 Meters
Role: Fleet Tender
Complement: 2 Squadrons.

Ormos-class Carrier - Family: Empire of the Hand (Formerly Au'riette)
Length: 600 Meters
Role: Carrier
Complement: 4 Squadrons.

Frouro-class Cruiser - Family: Chiss (Formerly Kariek-class)
Length: 350 Meters
Role: Light Frigate
Complement: 0 Squadrons.

Vigilance-class Cruiser - Family: Chiss
Length: 200 Meters
Role: Long-Range Missileship
Complement: 0 Squadrons.

Asdoni-class Frigate - Family: Chiss UPDATE
Length: 150 Meters
Role: Anti-Fighter
Complement: 0 Squadrons.

Warlord-class Gunship - Family: Chiss REWORK
Length: 400 Meters
Role: Torpedo Ship
Complement: 0 Squadrons.

Synoro-class - Family: Chiss NEW (Formerly Frontier)
Length: 50 Meters
Role: Gunship (ala Millenium Falcon)
Complement: 0 Squadrons.

Fighters

Nsiss-class Clawcraft
Role: Fighter

Krsiss-class Interceptor REWORK
Role: Interceptor

Syca-class Bomber REWORK
Role: Bomber

Scarsiss-class Interceptor
Role: Heavy Fighter/Interceptor

Furion-class Bomber REWORK
Role: Heavy Bomber



(http://media.moddb.com/cache/images/mods/1/22/21018/thumb_620x2000/20161105031946_1.jpg) (http://www.moddb.com/mods/star-wars-ascendancy/images/frontier-defense-oto-command-station-eoth-starbase#imagebox)(http://media.moddb.com/cache/images/mods/1/8/7376/thumb_620x2000/20170413052145_1.jpg) (http://www.moddb.com/mods/thrawns-revenge/images/oto-command-station#imagebox)

In terms of gameplay, a lot of the ships in the Empire of the Hand ended up being a lot more versatile and therefore powerful than we would ultimately have liked in previous versions because they had a few serving double or triple duty in different roles. This is another thing being addressed by several of the changes. Overall, with a properly-composed fleet, this isn't meant to be a nerf to them in either Ascendancy or Imperial Civil War (unlike ground, which is getting significantly nerfed for them), but should make people have to think a bit more carefully about what ships they want to bring instead of "I'll take 50 Phalanx, please" regardless of what they're trying to do.

But I still don't see an SSD?

And we don't intend to give them one. In general, Thrawn considered the use of superweapons a waste of resources. Also, considering the needs of the Empire of the Hand (a presumably smaller force to lock down a huge territory), the Hand fleet would likely rely on a larger number of smaller, faster ships they could deploy as needed, and the loss of which wouldn't cripple them. When it comes to planet lockdown though, we have given them the largest starbase in the mod, which allows them to have strongly fortified planets, and lets their fleet focus more on fast strikes than planetary defense (especially in Ascendancy). Their defense structure options in general are being expanded, from just the Brask and the Visvia into something which allows a bit more coverage.



Brask-class Tactical Defense Station
Role: Hangar Defense

Iero-class Defense Platform NEW
Role: General Defense

Teichos-class Defense Platform NEW
Role: General Defense

Visvia-class Defense Platform
Role: General Defense

Oto-class Command Station NEW
Role: Battle Station



Boots on the Ground

We intend to do pretty much a complete overhaul on the Empire of the Hand ground forces in ICW at some point, but that probably won't be done for 2.2. The changes in 2.2 focus more on balancing what's already there, and bringing them back into line with the other factions, especially the Rapid Fire Tank.

If you would like more information about upcoming features and releases, check out our site and forums at www.thrawnsrevenge.com or our ModDB profiles for Imperial Civil War (http://www.moddb.com/mods/thrawns-revenge) andAscendancy (http://www.moddb.com/mods/star-wars-ascendancy). If you're interested in longer-form "Let's Play" style previews of versions in progress, lead developer Corey regularly plays through early versions of Imperial Civil War and Ascendancy on his channel, Corey Loses (https://www.youtube.com/c/CoreyLoses).
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: Helix345 on April 13, 2017, 09:36:24 AM
Everything looks great! The only thing that I'm really questioning is that the ornos class carrier only carries one squadron.
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: Slornie on April 13, 2017, 11:23:51 AM
All those new names to learn and remember. RIP Massias, Kariek, Au'riette and Bu'direch. :(
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: HobbesHurlbut on April 13, 2017, 11:35:07 AM
Everything looks great! The only thing that I'm really questioning is that the ornos class carrier only carries one squadron.
Pardon? You mean in fluff it carries only one squadron? So four squadrons for the TR mod is too much?
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: Lord Xizer on April 13, 2017, 02:52:29 PM
One note, when Mara and Luke found them they had around 260 sectors.
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: Corey on April 13, 2017, 06:52:12 PM
Pardon? You mean in fluff it carries only one squadron? So four squadrons for the TR mod is too much?

No, there is no lore for it. There was just a typo.
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: Sith of Steel on April 13, 2017, 11:23:04 PM
Looking forward to this!  Half the fun of this mod is not just seeing the sheer amount of material brought from canon but also the holes plugged for factions like Empire of the Hand and the Pentastar Alignment.
Definitely looking forward to more EotH starbases though, it felt odd not having better defenses, both gameplay-wise and lore-wise.
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: yutpaeksi on April 16, 2017, 12:14:57 AM
Great stuff guys. Always a huge EoTH fan. The best aspects of the Empire upheld by a honorable fighting force.
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: DarthRevansRevenge on April 17, 2017, 10:16:58 AM
what eras do the ships fit into?

and i agree. just taking only Phalanxs does get annoying to fight, nice that a balance is being found. also, can the bigger ships have a cost increase? so no one continues to spam capital ships had has to find a balance

as for stations, can we find a larger spread of stations for the different factions, instead of always being Golans for non-Hand factions?
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: kucsidave on April 17, 2017, 11:58:45 AM
as for stations, can we find a larger spread of stations for the different factions, instead of always being Golans for non-Hand factions?
It is already in progress
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: DarthRevansRevenge on April 17, 2017, 01:45:22 PM
It is already in progress

can't wait to see it.   ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: Halcyon on April 17, 2017, 09:42:42 PM
Ah the EotH... I have a love / hate relationship with them. However with that said I'm kinda digging the new changes, and the new stations, ships, etc. It makes Me WANT to maybe play them, which I've NEVER done before! I'm mostly Republic / Pentastar now. Can't wait for 2.2.

ALSO... Thrawn Lives!! For those who don't know Thrawns now Canon and in seasons 3 and 4 of Star Wars Rebels!! And a new book by Timothy Zahnn about him is coming out! Will He be the same old Thrawn? Idk. Just happy he's alive and well in Canon now!!! ;)
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: DarthRevansRevenge on April 17, 2017, 10:02:24 PM
oh, he's the same... he has the same deviousness, and weakness...
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: carpemark on April 19, 2017, 02:47:19 PM
Frouro-class Cruiser - Family: Chiss (Formerly Kariek-class) - I rather liked using the 1 pop point for bring in a ship as well 1 fighter. It brings about a harder justification for building the Frouro (accountants)...
The additional star base defense options are welcome!
Thank you all!
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: Avarice1987 on May 28, 2017, 02:56:15 PM
Did we see the First EotH Lets play on Tuesday?
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: Corey on May 28, 2017, 03:02:14 PM
Not quite yet, possibly Saturday if all goes well.
Title: Re: Empire of the Hand: Past, Present and Future
Post by: DarthRevansRevenge on May 28, 2017, 04:27:49 PM
does this mean the next GC preview will be soon, so we know a little before you start?