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 Consortium
The 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:
"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 Navy
Tier IV: Accretion
Tier III: Magnetar, Corona, Neutron, Pulsar, Mist
Tier II: Hapes, Olanji, Charubah, Terephon
Tier I: Nova, Beta, Express (Ascendancy only), Stella, Flare, Ray
Fighters: Miy'til Fighter
, Miy'til Interceptor, Miy'til Bomber, Hetrinar Bomber
Bold 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