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Author Topic: KA2: The General War (mod for A2 with possible ports planned)  (Read 3980 times)

Offline Squire James

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Hello there,

Some of you may be aware of KA2, a TMP Era mod for Armada 2. The vast majority of you probably are not, since I am completely 'censored' at any kind of 'PR' work to promote the thing.

Anyway, KA2, or to give her full name, Klingon Academy II: The General War, has been around for a while now, almost 4 years since its original conception actually, (an amazing 7 years since its predecessor, KATC). The first sentence of this post is kind of a lie. She is not a pure TMP Era mod. Yes KA2 is set in the TMP Era (ST:TMP to ST VI) and yes she features all the elements you would expect from a mod in the era (Enterprise-A, K'T'Ingas and so forth) but she also features elements you would not expect.

To fully explain I'll go back all the way to 2002. I produced a (in retrospect) badly made little conversion that basically took some of the SFC models people had converted and kitbashed for ST Armada and make it into a very rough facsimile of the Interplay/14 Degrees East game "Klingon Academy". As mentioned the balance wasn't great, but it was playable and quite fun.

So, several years later and I decide that as a 'warm up' to get back into modding Armada again, I should convert my old mod to the Armada 2 Engine. Well, queue a long and often dangerous journey.

What started as a mere conversion turned into an almost entirely new mod. Physics were overhauled (thanks to Starfox) weapons tweaked, and the entire balance of the mod was changed to attempt to match that of KA itself. Using a set of algorithms I devised, I converted KA statistics (from the website, manual and strategy guide, often contradictory) into usable data for Armada 2. An important part was storyline and setting. Starting with the KA storyline (which neatly fit in between ST V and VI) I gradually smoothed over the gaps between regular Star Trek TMP 'canon' and that of the Starfleet Command series. The result is (I hope) an interesting, unique and yet distinctly "Trek" feeling strategy game.

The final destination of this journey is what you can see before you at http://klingonacademy2.hailingfrequency.com/ . Leaving aside the conflict I had with the A2 community (which I hope to solve soon, it's been almost 2 years and I just want to start a fresh) , Zach kindly offered to host it and the updated 1.1 version has been available for some time.

Why do I post now? Well, I replayed KA2 today for a year and a half, and I realised that I actually made something that was pretty good. However, it was a bit of a rough fit for the Armada 2 Engine, so it is my hope to port it to something like the Legacy or Sins of a Solar Empire engine. Which one depends on ease of conversion and what elements of each are suitable for a KA2 based mod. At the moment I am leaning towards Legacy. It's come a long way since it's release and it not only shares it's engine and file system with A2 (easing the port significantly) but also has more of the ship to ship combat element I wanted for KA2. SOASE however does have the epic Empire Building feel that I was attempting to achieve with my aborted KA2 Addon "Empire at War".

Anyway, so I am trying to get the word out as it were and get the ST Gamers communities input on what they want in a Star Trek Strategy. Huge, Epic and Galaxy spanning like BOTF? Up close and detailed like SFC? Traditional RTS like the Armada series? I'd personally love a combination of the three, but I don't think that's really possible.

Anyway, so again the link was http://klingonacademy2.hailingfrequency.com/ Just download, run the installer, install to a BLANK directory (critical) and then copy over the files the installer tells you to. It's a weird way of installing but it solves many of the crashes that 1.0 had with incompatible files being present in most peoples A2 install.

Enjoy

Squire James
« Last Edit: 05 February 2010 11:14 AM by Zach »

Offline Squire James

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Re: KA2: The General War (mod for A2 with possible ports planned)
« Reply #1 on: 15 February 2010 10:58 PM »
Just to show some of the overhauls i've been doing, heres the same scene (different background unfortunately, must have swapped the original out, shame it was nice, anyhoo) but the second one is a larger resolution (due to my new screen) and with the new more detailed models i've converted for EAW. Both the Sword of Kahless and the Accuser were originally made by WickedZombie45. I lowered the number of textures, lowered the poly count on the SoK slightly (6k to 3k) and as you can see, retextured them back to a KA Style look and added extra light maps (the sweeping spotlight type effects for example).


Anyways may I present "Defenders of the Empire" from 2007


and from 2010


Offline Squire James

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Re: KA2: The General War (mod for A2 with possible ports planned)
« Reply #2 on: 19 February 2010 10:09 PM »
May I present the Warships of the KDF.




















and the vessels of Starfleet :)


















« Last Edit: 20 February 2010 04:23 AM by Squire James »

Offline Zach

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Re: KA2: The General War (mod for A2 with possible ports planned)
« Reply #3 on: 20 February 2010 12:43 PM »
Awesome

Offline Squire James

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Re: KA2: The General War (mod for A2 with possible ports planned)
« Reply #4 on: 20 February 2010 03:16 PM »
Thanks, the Warsaw, Salazar, VoD and meK'letH are my own kitbashes. The others are, as mentioned, conversions. I am unsure who made the Federation ships though, the originals use a lot of KA filenames (different texture, same filename if that makes sense, as if they imported the KA model, enhanced it and changed the texture). I converted them, lowered the polycount down to the 2.5k to 3.5k range, and changed the textures to SFC/KA Style ones. (as I pioneered with the Excelsior some time ago)

Naturally I will endeavour to discover their creator (they were simply listed as FCA, FDD etc on Battleclinic) prior to release. It's difficult since most of the community is not available to me.

Offline Squire James

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Re: KA2: The General War (mod for A2 with possible ports planned)
« Reply #5 on: 27 February 2010 02:31 PM »
Right, well last night I decided to check out A2files again. A little perturbed by some of the things I read. You'd think I ate a child or something. Anyway there was one thing worth bringing up, as it was a design critique of KA2. While I doubt the writer will see this post, i'd like to address it here regardless.

The basic issue was that there were too many similar Klingon designs and too many variants for the Klingons in KA2.

I assume they are referring to the pIH Class Frigate when it comes to variants, since until my recent expansion efforts there were no other variants in the Klingon side. The complaint was that the variants served no purpose and that how could you tell the difference in battle.

Well, actually not to take an offensive stance here, but you couldn't be more wrong. Each of the pIH Class variants has its own specific use and unique 3d model (except for the cargo and repair versions, they share a model, but the repair variant was my own idea anyway).

Your basic pIH Class, call it a Battle Frigate or just plain ol' Frigate is a light warship with an interesting weapons loadout of 2 disruptors and 2 heavy disruptors. This makes it a perfect pairing for the B'rel, since it's heavy disruptors are excellent at softening up a target ready for the Bird of Prey to lob a Photon in there. My model is actually slightly wrong, since I inadvertently chopped off the disruptor roll bar, but anyway, its the plainest looking of the three.

The pIH-S Class Science Frigate also pairs well with the B'rel (and throw in a pIH Frigate and you have a winning team early on). It has powerful long range sensors and when sufficiently researched, an extremely useful Communications Jammer that blocks enemy sensors. Great for either lightning strikes or covering a withdrawl. It is distinguishable from the pIH by the larger ventral "belly" pack, an oversized dorsal sensor array and the large antenna arrays on the bow and stern.

The pIH-C Class Cargo Frigate gives the Klingon Empire the earliest available Assault ship. While smaller than the dedicated Chava'KaL (and the other empires Assault transports) it is available far earlier in the tech tree, and is also armed with a unique tractor beam setting; Grappler. This immobilises the target and thanks to a shield dampening side effect (discovered during an analyst of the Gorn Graviton Harmonic Resonance Cannon) forms a strong transporter lock, with Klingon Marines commencing boarding operations as soon as a positive grappler lock is achieved. This makes it a powerful adversary against smaller vessels, which it can literally grab and board at will. Even against larger targets, it can prove more versatile than it's larger brother the Chava'KaL since it can beam through shields. Essentially the Chava'KaL is designed for station and planetary assaults, and the pIH-C for boarding vessels. Visually it is distinguished by the large cargo pods mounted dorsally.

The final variant is actually more of a modification of the pIH-C. The pIH-R is a pIH-C with it's cargo space taken up by a molecular repair beam. A miniature version of a shipyard replicator, this beam can repair ships and stations far from friendly lines. Smaller than most empires repair ships, again it is available earlier, and is also more combat capable than others (being armed, as all of the specialised pIH variants are, with 4 disruptors).

The other complaint was the large number of K'T'Inga/D7 based ship designs. This is partially true, however if we look at the number of kitbashes (and the nature of such kitbashes) in other TMP era mods and other TMP era publications (FASA for example) then really we have it good with the Interplay designs used in KA (and ergo, KA2). For example, at least we have the C9A Accuser and B10 Sword of Kahless, rather than the (FASA I believe) B-1 Kahless and C-9, which basically consist of a D7 Hull with a third nacelle and a modified nose. Even the tri-nacelled designs, (one of which is my own kitbash) in KA2, namely the Warriors Anger (and Shortword), is a considerable modification of the D7 design. In fact all it shares is the basic "Boom and Wing" layout. The wing platform, command pod etc are all totally different. Finally the Emperor Class Battlecruiser, while resembling a K'T'Inga in shape and form, when compared side by side, you can clearly see that in fact it has more in common with the later Vor'Cha than the D7 (as Interplay referenced on the Klingon Academy website). It's neck, wing platform, command pod, warp nacelles, as with the Warriors Anger, are of a totally different design.

Like them or loathe them, I'm not changing them. In my mind, I can add to the designs shown in Klingon Academy, but I cannot subtract, otherwise it's not really KA any more is it? I have faced this dilemma again over the past few days when trying to update the Romulan models. There's some nice Imperial Hawk-like and War Eagle-esque models out there, but the designs are clearly different. If I used them over the (admittedly lacking in detail) models I have now, i'd be betraying KA2s roots.

So, in summary, I am sorry if you dislike the choices I made with KA2, but some were largely out of my hands. I tried to give each variant a role, and I think I succeeded. I think having some unique and original Klingon models, especially for the period (as mentioned, the majority of TMP designs are even more D7 derived) is a good thing, not a bad one. I notice no-one ever levels that particular criticism at the Federation with their (if you go by all the FASA and fan designs, designs from other games, designs from Technical Manuals etc) 4001 different destroyers, a billion or so Miranda variants that differ only in the position of the weapons etc etc ad nauseum.

Not to mention the fact that 99% of other mods out there are extremely well (some would say over) stocked with Federation designs, but when it comes to the Klingons might only have 4 or 5 models (usually Bird of Prey/K'Vort, D7/K'T'Inga, Vor'Cha, Negh'Var and a few 'non-canon' designs like the K'Vor'Cha or Felk'lr. When you get to the Romulans the problem gets even more severe (usually only 3 or 4, Shrike, Griffin, D'Dereidex, and now the Norexan) and for other races like the Dominion, Cardassians etc, well, need I go on? Hardly makes for a fun mod when all the other sides feel positively anorexic compared to an enormous obese Federation side with such obscure ship classes as "Advanced Medium Tactical Assault Battlecruiser" to describe yet-an-other Federation starship design.

This is one of the reasons you don't see the Constellation Class in KA2. A) I never really cared too much for the design, it's definitely more of a retrospective design (i.e an older looking ship designed for TNG, rather than designed to fit in with TMP, so it's more Lost Era than TMP) and B) It just doesn't serve a purpose. The only place it could fit is as the Galactic Survey Cruiser, but I took a vote back in 2008 and people said they preferred the SFC/SFB styling where the GSC was a variant on the Constitution Class hull. I agreed, and from an in-universe perspective, the whole point of variants was that they could be made cheaper than a whole new dedicated class of vessel. Even radical variants like the Soyuz or the Salazar could at least be produced using a majority of components from other designs. The Constellation has virtually no interchangable parts with other vessels of the Era.

Anyway I digress, but, there we go, you gave constructive criticism and I responded explaining my choices and why I made them. 


Offline TheD

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Squire James,

Thank-you.  Thank you for SFB in A2 land.  Thanks again. 

Cheers,

D