Twilight Mod (Tarka Only Alpha)

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Twilight Mod (Tarka Only Alpha)

Post by R2dical » Mon Sep 09, 2013 11:47 pm


I am happy to announce my gameplay mod, SOTS: Twilight mod! Which has been in development for a few years now...

The overall concept for this mod does not follow any "theme" or TC but is designed from what my idea for SOTS would be. It is based loosely on game lore, SOTS2 lore and Okim's great ACM mod. It is a grand campaign style mod which touches just about everything moddable in sots. I tried to keep the overall concept in connection with the original race characteristics while focusing more on "realistic", diverse and drawn out gameplay.


Redesigned gameplay
- Strategic: Based off original sots but suited to a more grand campaign style, longer research times, MANY more techs,weapons and more unique stuff for each race.
- Tactical: With all the new addtions balanced to a more RTS style combat. I also tried to make the battles more complex and cover more of the game arena.

New sections
- Over 100 new models per race, some based off existing mods or corrected originals, not including 100's of weapon and turret models.
- New ship classes like Frigates and Corvettes (based of Raptors idea) and Leviathan.

New textures
- All new, hi res racial and NPC textures.

New effects
- 1000's of new effects made from scratch, sometimes based on original or other mod concepts.
- 3D explosions!
- Race specific effects like explosions, weapons and trails.
- Using some custom written shaders for brand new, shiney visuals.

New sounds
- A large project on its own, using sounds from my favorite Sci-Fi movies as well as other games with a few originals thrown in.
- Replace some of the more annoing standard ones (emitters spring to mind).

Redisigned weapons
- 100's of weapons from different, all new weapon families.
- Each race has their own specialities and versions of shared weapon concepts.
- Weapons have greater flexibility reagarding mounts and ship sections more specialized with the mounts they have.
- Each weapon has a new, hi res icon.

Rebuilt tech forest
- 22 tech trees.
- Rooted on the ACM style design.
- New engine eras.
- New drive techs.
- Specialized weapon trees.
- Includes my new Ghost Tree concept which shows a smaller, black and white schematic of all the techs in the design screen.

New race-specific ship sections, weapons and techs
- Rooted in sots lore and race personalities.

Redesigned menaces
- Less mobile but more challenging and rewarding.
- Unique weapons.

Customized AI
- Strategic designed to take full advantage of new techs and research.
- Tactical improved within the limits of what is moddable.

Current Status
Beta Release!
Version 0.2!
See this post for the details.

I recommend you use my skybox mod also for its graphic updates component. Twilight mod gets mounted first.

For those who would like to play with greatly modified research costs, I suggest SavageV's save editor, and change the research scale on a turn 1 save (higher = faster research).

Detailed Overview
The Technologies
The Ships
The Tarkas
The Gameplay

I have quite a full plate at the moment, but plan to post more detailed explanations focusing on the elements of this mod, to serve as kind of a guide/manual as well. In the meantime here are some random pics ;)

Rebuilt tech forest, with Ghost Tree(tm).
3D explosions, using custom shaders.
New engine types
New drive types
...for all ship classes
New race textures, ship sections (count the drive pods) and multi barrel mounts (count the large barrels)
Last edited by R2dical on Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:46 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Lord Primus
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Re: Twilight Mod

Post by Lord Primus » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:30 am

Hi R2dical,

Massively impressed by this.


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Space Voyager
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Re: Twilight Mod

Post by Space Voyager » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:18 am

What Lord Primus said...
ErinysSolForce Intelligence has great difficulty penetrating Liir society to that depth, for obvious reasons. fibioLack of scuba gear?

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Re: Twilight Mod

Post by BlueInstinct » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:48 am

WoW, i really hope u can pull it all.

sounds like 4 years of work to me :D

cant wait for the tarkas beta


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Re: Twilight Mod

Post by serhof » Wed Sep 11, 2013 3:50 pm

i can't wait to see it in its full glory... i wish i got skills like yours


Re: Twilight Mod

Post by R2dical » Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:28 pm

Thanks guys.

This is the first post to focus on an aspect of the mod, this one outlines research.

There is a brand new forest of 22 tree families, ACM players will feel at home here but I think stock or new players will have help from the Ghost Tree. The Ghost Tree is a concept to provide reference and introduction for the mod by providing the location and icon for every single tech in the whole tech forest along side the current selection. These are deliberately greyscale, small and kindof hard to make out to avoid spoilers.

Another feature to help players decide tech choices and explain what techs do is an extensive tooltip system;

Every weapon tech shows stats, mount type and weapon class. Special weapons show special damage type. This links into descriptions of "counter" technologies. Eg Light Ion Emitters (type: Ion Emitter), Hardened Electronics (Reduces Ion Emitter damage by 50%)

All ship section unlock techs show an icon of the ship section type and class, as well as the special mount type if applicable.

All strategic upgrade techs show a tooltip of the effect and the %.

Generally the tech costs have been increased (around 3 - 4 times stock) and there are a large number of techs (about 550 or so, stock has 244), which all leads to focus on longer games. On the other hand the whole tech forest has been greatly stratified into "tech tiers" by making most techs rely on fusion/antimatter and/or cruiser/dread. These upgrades take a long time to research and you generally need a good economy to be able to commit to them. Fusion/Antimatter is more of the economic path and takes longer but brings more long term benefit to your mid game. Cruiser/Dread will allow some more immidiate and useful firepower but not as much strategic benifit. The typical research path for these "tech tier" techs is Fission -> Cruisers -> Fusion -> Dreads -> Antimatter.

Weapons and other tactical techs generally have an upgrade version for each of these tiers with better stats and/or special properties.

Each tree is fairly vertical and linear in the placement of branches. Gone are the stock SOTS branches that reach all the way round the research screen. This makes it easy to see visually how high your tech level is and how the tech chances are treating you. Also this makes it simpler for the AI.

Salvaging has become more important, especially for some races, as almost every tech is salvagable in some way. Also, every tree has a "root" tech which is available from start to each race, which means that you won't miss out on a whole tree since you failed a roll on the starting tech.

Regarding races and weapons, each race generally has its own unique family of weapons as well as a ballistic option and blaster option. Also they have some combination of warhead and torpedo weapons as well as mines and other speciality weapons. Each races has a unique tech profile and research chances but there are a number of core techs shared by all.

Here is a detailed look at the tech forest:

Astro-Engineering Technology
Contains techs relating to ship construction, hull size, weapon mounts and planetary defence. Generally chances are similar for all the races.

Ballistic Weapons
Includes 2 seperate trees Cannons and Mass drivers:
- Cannons have various versions for the mount classes and are a core tech but the races have various chances to roll for some of the many special variants, such as gattling cannon and battle cannon. There are 3 levels of upgrades also which unlock for all avaiable variants. The upgrades depend on hull size for prerequisite.
- Mass drivers are a high tech series of weapons and upgrades which include variants for each weapon mount as well as special type variants.

Biological Technology
Contains all the bio techs as well as the biobomb series of weapons. Biobombs come in both small in large sizes.

Information Technology
AI techs, command techs, CnC ship sections and other strategic and tactical techs.

Cybernetic Technology
A large tree containing strategic techs, drone techs and a large selection of COL weapons.

Drive Technology
Contains all the race specific drive techs. Each race has had a number of new additions to there series of engines as well as some special techs.

Energy Weapons
Contains 3 distinct branches of techs:
- Blasters, a core series of techs for all races with various chances for each race for the extra, special variants. These depend on hull size. These are generally bread-and-butter weapons but also have some unique properties.
- Lancers/Lasers/Phasers, a 3 tier series of mostly beam weapons for all mounts. The higher level weapons have some special uses, like the Phased Scorcher (think short range laser spotlight/flamethrower).
- Emitters, a "fusion" tier series of weapons for all mounts.

Communication Technology
Trade and communication techs.

Metallurgical Technology
Hull armour upgrades.

Forcefield Technology
Contains techs like Deflectors as well as a series of Gravitation Weapons for all mounts.

Mine Technology
Contains a series of mine weapons.

Power Technology
Contains all the Fission -> Fusion - > Antimatter techs generally involving engine upgrades. Of note here are the enhancements for each tier, Pulsed Fission, Cold Fusion and Refined Antimatter.

Particle Weapons
Contains a number of exotic weapon families for each of the 3 engine era tiers; Particle, Proton, Neutron, Electron and Quark weapons. These generally have specialized applications and unique abilities like the AntiNeutron Desintegrator.

Plasma Weapons
Contains a single, large series of weapons spanning 2 engine eras. On reaching Antimatter a special tech becomes available (Shielded Plasmatics), which in one tech research provides weapon upgrades for ALL available plasma weapons resulting in some of the highest damage profile weapons.

Reactor Weapons
A series of weapons directly relating to the 3 engine eras. Each era of weapons opens up some new options. These weapons have high damage and some special properties but are expensive to research and mount.

Sensor Technology
Contains the techs used for strategic and tactical information gathering, such as Advanced Sensors and Jamming.

Shield Technology
All the shielding techs.

Torpedo Weapons
Contains a number of diferent type of large, tracking ordinance all using a Torpedo mount.
- Ballistic torpedoes are perhaps more familiar in the conventional sense, which are similar to large missiles with heavy warheads.
- Energy torpedoes come in 3 types:
- Special: A series of torpedoes, both tracking and not, with special effects.
- Ball: High tech torpedos for each era with heavy damage.
- Direct fire: Long range, unguided torpedoes for each era with good damage.

Mysterious Technology
? ;p

Warhead Weapons
All ballistc missile weaponry for a number of mount types. This is a large tree with a number of families:
- Missiles: Many variations on the old classic. Generally they have a "lock on" period (with cool sound effect).
- Large missiles: Heavier damage or special purpose versions for a large mount.
- Bombs: Specialized for planetary destruction.

Xeno Technology
All the racial relations/diplomancy techs.

A shot of the techtree weapon tooltip
A shot of the techtree tech tooltip
A shot of the techtree ship tooltip

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balti knights
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Re: Twilight Mod

Post by balti knights » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:06 pm

just..... WOW :googly:
The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible. Arthur C. Clarke.


Re: Twilight Mod

Post by R2dical » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:26 pm

Thanks Balti (I think :) )

The Ships

A large number of new ship sections and types have been added in this mod as well as a rebalance of many existing sections.
Overall I based the balance off original sots and most of the stats are similar and strategies which worked in vanilla will work here too.
Here is a general look at how ship designs work in Twilight:

There are many more specific ship sections using designated mount types so if you have researched a weapon mount class you will immediately be able to field those weapons. Eg CRTorpedo (Called the Salvo section) becomes available with torpedo weapons.

Much more flexibility with tactical technologies being applied to ships, like all sections can field all armour upgrades.

New sub class sizes:
- New fighters requiring a carrier for all engine eras, all races and all ship classes (for their carriers). Cost 1 CP.

- A new Frigate class which combines 2 mission sections in 1 provided a cheaper alternative to taking the plunge into Cruiser research. There are currently 11 different section designs based on your current tech. They cost 3 CP and 750 in maintenance.

- A new Corvette class which combines 2 mission sections in 1 provided a cheaper alternative to taking the plunge into Dreadnought research. There are currently 11 different section designs based on your current tech. They cost 9 CP and 4000 in maintenance.

- Currently only has a single Flagship (Cnc + Barrage) double section mission, which is limited to 1 at a time, same as SOTS.
- Leviathan Prototype. A massive battleship with massive weapons and massive cost.

Rebalanced engines
- Destroyers get a large speed boost from higher engine eras, which keeps them tactically viable as combat fighters when Cruiser and Dread fleets are the norm. The AI uses this to great effect to swarm your Dread fleets with highly manoeuvrable, hard to hit masses of high tech Destroyer fighters.
- Most engines have had stat rebalancing (speed, ftl, etc) to reflect the racial engine and drive characteristics.

Bread and butter units
Armour sections have been given a HP boost to compensate for the proliferation of armour tech application (vanilla armour sections had similar or less HP than some other, better armed section). Also they have special bomb mounts used to field the relatively rare planet bombardment weapons so can be used to engage planets as well.

(Smallest to largest: Fighter - Destroyer - Frigate - Cruiser - Corvette - Dreadnought. Not shown: Flagship(1.5x DN) - Leviathan(3x DN))

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Re: Twilight Mod

Post by BlueTemplar » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:22 pm

_Wow_ is the word!
R2dical wrote:Riders
- New fighters requiring a carrier for all engine eras, all races and all ship classes (for their carriers). Cost 1 CP.

How those work? You managed to mod in something like the SotS2 system, or are they just carried like drones? (therefore technically costing no CP's...) Or are they more like drones that have an _additional_ CP cost for the ships that carry them?


Re: Twilight Mod

Post by R2dical » Mon Sep 16, 2013 2:23 pm

Hmm, good question. I encountered, and solved, this issue back when working on my Prophecy Mod so I went back to my notes from then to get details:

So "fighters" in this mod actually come in 2 types, the classic type requiring carriers and a planet bound type (no ftl) built as a single section destroyer:

The classic fighters use tarka hunter code, so can be deployed from the carrier and ordered like normal (not using automatic drone handling and refuel requirement). They cost 1 CP but this only applies in combat, the carriers have normal CP. How this plays out is you can arrange and field a normal fleet size of carriers but in combat you actually go into "CP deficit" due to the additional CP of fighters. This is all necessary to prevent "fighter spamming" by repeatedly deploying and retreating carriers and is balanced by the low weapon mount count and armour of carriers. The carriers + fighters need to be destroyed before you get your CP back. They are designed as riders and mounted on carriers as a "weapon".

The other type of fighter (called cutters) are meant for planet defence and for Random CM, they use similar models to the previous fighter but have different mounts (generally using smaller turrets, not fixed mounts, for better defensive capabilities). These are designed and built as destroyer class ships and have a flat 1 CP cost. There is also a Cnc version which doubles as a Police ship with limited CP allowance in exchange for fighter handling and speed.

On top of these there are also Drones (3 sizes) which are faster and more manoeuvrable than fighters, Tarka Hunters (same as stock), Assault shuttles (3 types), Biomissile/Heavy missile riders and Gunbots (tiny drones used in COL payload and in a unique Hiver section ;) ). So there is plenty of small craft to play with :twisted:

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Re: Twilight Mod

Post by SpardaSon21 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:02 pm

Perhaps you should choose a better name for the heavy cruisers? Corvettes have typically been very small warships unsuited to naval combat. Considering their apparent size, speed, and firepower, perhaps "battlecruiser" would work best as they do appear to fit a niche between cruisers and dreadnoughts in combat, as in big enough to smash cruisers yet small enough to run from dreadnoughts.

Just curious though: how efficient will these in-between ships be at combat? Enough to be worth the 9CP over more cruisers?


Re: Twilight Mod

Post by R2dical » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:04 pm

SpardaSon21 wrote:Corvettes have typically been very small warships unsuited to naval combat.

I am aware of this, and did think someone may say something ;) Truth be told though the size classifications for naval vessels have changed over time and through the war eras and there have been many times where they were inverted or meant something else. Also there is no indication that the current usage will remain, case in point being the new USS Zumwalt Destroyer which will outclass most current Cruisers and even WWII Battlecruisers.

I choose Corvette because I just like the name (always reminds me of those small, triangular kilrathi cap ships from WC :lol: ) and because I wanted to avoid the connotation SOTSII gives of BC riders. All that said I will put it on my list of things to look at, I might even switch Frigate and Corvette since traditionally Frigate > Corvettes.

Regarding stats, its pretty straightforward; these sub-class ships are actually 2 mission sections combined which are built with the normal command and engine sections for their super-class. I literally combine 2 missions in 1, model, turrets, stats, everything so these have all the abilities of both sections (Cnc, jamming, etc) and the combined stats (HP, mass, etc) of each. With this in mind they cost 1.5x the CP of the relative class ship (so Corvettes cost 9 while Cruisers cost 6 CP), so 2 of them costs the same in CP as 3 normal ships:

2 Corvettes have 4 mission sections, 2 command and 2 engines.
3 Cruisers have 3 mission sections, 3 command and 2 engines.

Thats on paper though, in my (admittedly few tests) the fight comes down to weapons and other tactical factors. I'm hoping to get feedback on these in the beta :)

Of course the biggest benefit of these double-mission sections is harder to quantify; the synergy between the 2 missions on 1 ship. There are many combos that provide otherwise unavailable abilities (like a Cnc + shield for Destroyers) and are also useful as support (like R&S + Tanker/Refinery) or other strategic benefits (like ER + Colonizer).

The main purpose of these is to provide a cheaper, but less effective option for the larger hull class. So to do this they need to be able to combat the larger ships given somewhat advantages circumstances (like a hard counter tech, better weapons, more numbers, etc). This falls on the combat versions of the Frigates/Corvettes and their heavy weaponry combined with speed. In my latest few test runs I used a bunch of Standoff class Corvettes (Torpedo + Impactor) to outmanoeuvre and kite an incoming fleet of enemy Dreads. I then lost the same fleet to a defensive fleet of enemy Cruisers, although they did have much better weapons as I gave that AI full tech...

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balti knights
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Re: Twilight Mod

Post by balti knights » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:13 pm

R2...thats WOW as in this is totally awesome... ;)
The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible. Arthur C. Clarke.

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Re: Twilight Mod

Post by BlueInstinct » Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:19 pm

even though i MP sots2 alot lately, i cant waiiiiiiiitttttt

srsly WTF :insane:


Re: Twilight Mod

Post by R2dical » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:57 am

You and me both Blue (though you welcome to do some MP testing with me once the Beta goes live ;) )

Its hard to put a time frame on this but I just have some NPC stuff left before Beta is releasable:

669 .effect files down 77 to go.
558 .weapon files down 51 to go.
Everything else is done.

In the meantime here is a look at the Tarkas:


The Tarkas have been redesigned as a faction focusing on brawler, guerilla style hit-and-run warfare, but at the same time they have a good balance as well, so combined with their intuitive ftl drive are probably the easiest race to play.
They have a well balanced research scope, general chances for most techs but also a good selection of unique techs as well as their own special weapon tree.
Their ships are fast, strong and well armoured, but have a vulnerable engine section. They have cheap and powerful Cruisers.
The Tarkas new unique techs focus on movement, both strategic and tactical which helps them with their guerilla endeavours.


Initially the second slowest (last is Hiver), in AM era they surpass Liir in speed. They have good range over all the eras.
The Tarkas have a new set of unique techs, in their drive tree, which allows them access to special DE and CR mission sections with a drive. These can double the FTL speed of their ships and provides an opportunity in their early game for some quick strike fleets. Obviously these fleets can only consist of these special ships for the speed boost (slowest speed in a fleet = fleet FTL remember) so these sections have some Cnc ability also. So while Tarkas have one of the slowest starts wrt FTL they can use these ships to help counter other races.

Tarkas lack any advantage in biological research, population growth, or expansion speed, so are quite at the mercy of the nearby planets in terms of what they can grab to establish their empire. Later in game the new colonizing sections can be a useful tool to colonize high CH worlds quickly.

Other than their weapon focus techs, drive techs and unique race techs they have no special research modifiers like a few other races do. They do have somewhat higher chances for cloaking techs.

Unique techs
Hyperlink Communication - Allows ships to change course in transit.
Tarkasian Living Steel - Gives ships more health and some repair ability.
Battle Riders - Cruiser sized "hunter" ships with a DN Carrier.
Boosters - An engine module allowing bursts of speed in tactical combat.

Weapon techs
Tarkas use the Reactor series of weapons, which are short range but very powerful weapons. These weapons increase damage over their range so are suited to the Tarka guerilla style.
They use the ballistic bomb series for planet engagements.
Tarkas have good chances for ballistic weapons.
They use ball-torpedoes and direct-fire torpedoes.
Tarkas have access to many of the special missile technologies.

General gameplay
The tarkas have no special bonus in research and have a slow start wrt FTL speed, but do have good colonizing ability and cheap and powerful cruisers. Early game involves a defensive growth stance with strategic strikes with the fast Sentry/Sentinel class ships with double FTL speed. They need a good economy to research their expensive weapon techs. Once Tarkas hit cruisers, which are cheap to build for them, and have a good selection of their unique weapon techs they can mount an impressive offensive.


Good speed and manoeuvring. In AM era and above Tarkas switch from newtonian thrusters to their Hyperdrive, which is quite a boost in speed and turning.

Tarkas have a new unique tech, boosters, which is fitted to all their DE/CR/DN engines. This is a "weapon" which can be used in combat for an intimidate and quite powerful boost of speed. Late game Tarka ships fitted with these are very fast ships and can be used to dodge incoming fire with good timing.
Groups of these ships can be used to kite or hit-and-run with great effect.

Ship design
Commands are heavily armed and armoured, missions have good health and weapons, engines are quite fragile. Tarkas also have the unique ability to include cloaking as an option in rider designs.

General gameplay
Tarka ships have a good alpha strike approach, with armour and weapons in the front and a fast getaway ability. This is generally a required tactic due to the lower range of their main weapons. Once the Tarkas have charged in and are in shooting range they can get off a couple ferocious volleys before moving off to turn and protect their engines. Of course their are many other tactics, like using their wide selection of missile and torpedo techs to kite, cloaking techs for surprise attacks or even Booster mounted Bombard sections to outflank the enemy and rain some pain on the colony.

Tarkian Standoff Corvette
Last edited by R2dical on Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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