Thoughts on a "Total War" style mod

I’m a fan of both the Homeworld and Total War series. In Total War, the game is broken up into two parts: A turn based campaign map with cities and units and real time battles with formations of thousands of men.

In the campaign mode, players were free to build up their cities, start research, or initiate diplomacy with other factions, recruit and move units, and attack other nations. Attacking another faction’s forces would lead you to a real time battle or give you the option to auto-resolve (if you are lame like that).

Units would be moved in stacks of up to 20 units per stack and when a battle was started, these units represented the formations you would have at the beginning of the battle. Men lost in the battle would also be lost from the unit’s total number of men in the campaign mode- multiple battles would kill off your men.

Obviously in Homeworld, we have no campaign mode. Unit recruitment, resource gathering, and research always take place in the real time battles.

Now, to get to the point, I am considering eventually starting a mod which would add a campaign mode to Homeworld, along with space bases and planets. Research would be more interesting and take place in campaign instead of in battle (this would make more sense).

Fleets will be constructed in both battle and campaign, but I am thinking of a few sneaky mechanisms to reduce player dependence on real time construction of ships… Things like crew limits, longer real time production times, and rarer resources.

I was wondering if anybody:
A-is interested in helping me make this far down the road
B-is interested in playing this
C- believes it’s even possible (code-wise) to integrate a campaign map with the homeworld engine.

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I’d be curious code wise how possible this is; because the campaigns carries your ships over.

My real curiosity personally is - sort of like your plan - to be able to move between maps/systems. So WAAAAY more fleet actions as players move between maps. I.e. I “jump out” like in campaign, and load a new map (map 2) and start mining the “enterance”, player 2 is still on map 1, and slowly moves towards the exit and follows me to map 1 to hunt me down before I reach map 3 where player 3 is defending the main base/flag etc. etc.

Simply put, campaign based fleet save between maps - but for multiplayer.
A metamap like TW would just make sense at that point - but would probably be most doable in a 3rd part app that feeds unit and map data to the game (this was done in CoH by multiple mods).

Gametype lua scripts allow you to write and read external files. So it is possible to switch between strategic and tactic levels. However afaik the major limitation in HW2 was a linear campaign progression. There was not realistic way to pick up a tactic battle depending on where forces made contact in strategic stage. I have no idea if there would be a workaround in HWRM.

Anyway it would involve a really big scripting effort because there is no such thing as strategic AI in HW.

Ya i would love something like that… But possibly only in a hw3 wirh a new modern engine done from scratch and adjusted to it plus the basic hw stuff we all know and love…

A little bird told me this might be possible… maybe we ought to talk, DeepStrike 101.

Great idea, would love to play it, no idea if it’s possible!

Didn’t Mikali try to do this once? Someone did.

I made a grid-based map for HW2. You could travel between sectors, return to old sectors, etc. The main issue was that the custom save code was incompatible with the game’s internal save commands. And there was no way to record stuff like what subsystems were built on your MS for instance.

Also the HW2Path function I relied upon is an ugly hack that causes Windows to switch between programs for an instant when you use it.

http://hw2bsg.org/wiki.hw2.info/UserFunctionHW2Path.html

I asked GearBox to give us a better function for writing data but got no response.

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Well keep on track… I would certainly love those possibilities…

Mikali, what sort of plans did you have for your mod?
I think it’d be pretty hard to not only balance a dynamic campaign where units carry to the next battle, but keep it interesting also. The Homeworld campaign relies on some fairly advanced scripting to keep changing things up, otherwise wouldn’t things get pretty stale fast?

Does anyone have any interesting ideas on how homeworld should play out in a dynamic campaign? DeepStrike101 has mentioned the campaign side of things, but not really how things should play out in the homeworld engine. There’s a fair amount of issues, particularly the balance between having the player participate in fleet battles and idling their time away because unit construction times would need to be much longer (otherwise you’d have a massive fleet the entire time with zero pressure in combat).
Homeworld is built for much more confrontational scenarios and rarely has the player doing economic or strategical activities that don’t involve combat, which might mean you would spend the majority of your time doing absolutely nothing and we know that it wouldn’t translate to a fun campaign. I’m not all that familiar with the Complex mod but perhaps some of their features could fill some of the gaps?

What would be really useful is if there was a way to use command line switches to launch straight into a campaign mission defined in a file - .big or otherwise (which could be generated by a third party app) without going to the menu first. Just have the GBX logo and then the cinematic/ships jumping in.

If this could be combined with a script that wrote the end of mission status out to a file that would be very useful. Especially if we could have a command in the script that could close the game - other than deliberately doing something that would cause a CTD.

This would require in engine work though - basically a way to launch games with command line switches and a command to end a game (as I believe we now have the ability to write to external files using in game LUA?).

I was thinking of creating an RPG, not a strategy game. I wrote a dialogue system for it too, and a simple quest.

Here are some command line switches:

-campaign Select a ‘custom’ campaign to be used (best used in combination with -startinglevel)
-startinglevel Select a ‘custom’ level to load at start up (best used in combination with -campaign)

Here is a gametype function:

FE_ExitToWindows()

If those switches are in fact in place already - then all we need is code that can generate .big files on the fly and a script that writes out the end of mission state (ships remaining, whether the mission was a success or failure and what secondary objectives were achieved, stuff like that) to an external file.

At which point you can write whatever third party app you want over the top of it all. You could even speed up the load time a bit since you wouldn’t have to load all the game’s geometry every time, as by compiling the big at runtime you can only load stuff that is relevant ot each specific level.

Yes, Galactic Conquest Online already did all that.

http://gco.nickersonm.com/phpBB2/index.php?sid=e911b39d9011a15d6ae5bbfc5c2214ce

I also explored getting Xconq to output HW2 missions, but it requires the developers to make changes.

https://sourceware.org/xconq/