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Warhammer Why didn't Final Liberation and Chaos Gate modding took off?

Discussion in 'Tactical Gaming' started by Firesworn, Jun 10, 2021.

  1. Firesworn Novice

    Firesworn
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    I'm writing this half knowing the answer already. Final Liberation didn't seem that moddable in the first place (although there's talk of how the developers released a set of modding tools for it), and Chaos Gate had hardcoded factions and a not-as-robust-as-it-could-(should?)-have-been editor. But still.

    I've always wondered about CG in particular. The squad management and combat range from pretty serviceable to damn fine, and I'm sure a couple of 40K diehards (I know some of you hang around the Codex) could come up with an Ultramarine-based campaign, probably something during the Shadow Crusade, which still makes use of the Word Bearers - the enemies in the game. I couldn't come up with a good 40K campaign. If one of the modern games told me Guilliman travelled the Warp riding a gothic flaming unicorn, I'd probably believe it. Well not really, but I can never get too much into 40K lore for some reason.

    But in terms of tactical planning and mission design, why hasn't anyone tried something? I've never seen a campaign, let alone a single fanmade map. I know the editor has issues or I should say, not enough meat to even have many issues. Some are technical, such as it crashing when using the middle mouse button to scroll the tile window too fast. Or not being able to drag around triggers and reactors, or even laying one on top of the other, which kind of reduces some of the things you could do. I guess the hardcoded stuff doesn't help either; you're always stuck with Ultramarines, which may not really please everyone.

    But there's set list files which handle damage, unit and weapon availability and even presets for levels, though I think the latter definitely requires more work than simply typing the name of a tile reserved for other scenarios. There's also a document detailing a localization string table, which indirectly points out escape sequences (even if limited) can be used in dialogue, and how to set up color and text effects for messages.

    Does it feel too limited for modders? Is there a focus on some other WH40K moddable tactical squad game(s)?
     
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  2. Parsimonious cook Learned Patron

    Parsimonious cook
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    Strap Yourselves In
    Actually 40K games dont get moded much in general. As far as I know, the only 40K game with huge moding base was DoW1. Outside of that there were 40K mods for all kinds of games, but GW used to be extremely anal about them and many were shut down (for example there was a really cool 40K mod for Homeworld, DoW1 had a Spacehulk mod, which was shut down too, hilariously enough).

    As for Final Liberation, I think it really wasnt a mod friendly to begin with. The in-game codex had (empty) entries for Chaos, Tyranids and Eldar (IIRC), so the game was probably meant to be bigger and got abbandoned by the devs before any extra stuff could be added (perhaps including more moding support).

    In case of Chaos Gate - dunno. People fucked with the game files a lot to make the game run on modern machines (the las pistol sound bug etc), maybe the editor just wasnt good enough...
     
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  3. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
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    40K games don't get modded much in general, because people make mods to turn things *INTO* 40K. When the game is ALREADY 40K, why would they need to mod that?
     
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  4. Firesworn Novice

    Firesworn
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    Yes, I heard DoW1 had the most active modding community out of all the WH40K games; too bad I never got into the game. They shut down an SH mod? :lol:

    Oh, didn't know that. Guess that might explain it. Wonder if it wasn't profitable enough for Holistic Design back then.

    Well sure, but that's not the only reason people would have to mod the games, surely? Why wouldn't fans want to explore new tactical scenarios, missions or campaigns in WH40K games other than the official ones provided? If anything, most recent games in the series have shown official WH40K aren't exactly cream of the crop, and I haven't seen a whole lot of mods for the games that provide editors.
     
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  5. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
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    The number of people who are willing to do that is apparently much less than the number of people who want to turn a game into 40K. Plus, if the game wasn't cream of the crop, maybe it just wasn't popular.
     
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  6. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Did the mod tools even allow creating a new Chaos Gate campaign? I had the impression it was mostly for one off maps.

    Regarding Final Liberation, I tried modding a few things but here were a ton of issues:
    There are no existing sprites, so you need to make them.
    Someone modded chaos units in actually, so it was significant.

    There were constrains about adding units iirc. It would make the game crash when loading the encyclopedia or watching stats during troop selection.
     
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  7. Parsimonious cook Learned Patron

    Parsimonious cook
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    Yep, it was fairly hilarious and pissed off lots of people - there was a very nice standalone Space Hulk game that some dudes released for free at about the same time, GW shut them down (the game was then re-done to remove all 40K stuff and remained available with a generic sci-fi setting) and then killed the Space Hulk mod for DoW1 too. Mind you this was ages before the official Space Hulk games started to come out. There were still lots of cool mods for DoW1 though, for example someone made even a Tyranid mod, which however tended to break the game because of the huge number of units, that could appear on the screen.

    Yeah, I dont know the sales numbers, but I remember that the reviews werent that great when the game came out back in the day (it was usually 7/10, ie. "OK, but not great," there were lots of complaints because of frequent crashes etc), so the game most likely didnt do well enough financially to justify further work, which I guess was planed at the start (probably datadiscs with other armies and campaigns, perhaps moding tools etc).
     
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  8. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    Indeed, the encyclopedia entries exist for chaos and eldars, but they never materialised.
    I think the chaos mod uses the models that were planned for the chaos expansion actually.
     
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  9. Firesworn Novice

    Firesworn
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    You can create a new campaign, yes; but setting up your missions as part of a new campaign requires editing some text files. Unfortunately, without deep knowledge of the game's inner workings, some things are out of reach:
    • Can't edit sprites or animations (other than mucking up some of their movement definitions in text files);
    • Can't edit menu backgrounds or screens, so for instance: no custom artwork for Victory of Defeat;
    • Can't edit sprites of map elements;
    • Can't edit menus, other than through heavy doses of trial and error, and these mostly concern interface positioning;
    • Can't edit some of the sounds. You can edit the uncompressed sounds or make new ones but it seems they require the same filenames (maybe it's editable through text files as well);
    • Can't edit movies but you can disable them somewhat. On the other hand, the compression algorithm for the movies is still freely available through RADTools, so you can compress a movie you made into the Smacker (*.smk) format. I assume they'd still require the same filenames, though;
    • I *think* mission structure (a series of linear missions + 3 optional missions + another set of linear missions + the end) must remain the same but don't quote me on that.

    What you can do:
    • Create missions, where you can define squads and individual units, from troops to vehicles, items, placement, mission objective experience, etc.;
    • Define parameters like movement, weapon damage, Marine exp. growth, unit availability, mission descriptions, visibility parameters for the scenario objects, etc. through text files;
    • Write custom messages to be used during missions (if you want those, at least);
    • Define a fair amount of conditions and effects in maps (triggers, reactors, lose/win conditions, traps, reinforcements, unit AI/behavior, etc. and then link several of these for added effects);
    • Planets can also be renamed in text files.

    I think the more annoying issues with the editor are:
    • It crashes a bit. It can crash when browsing the Tile/Object windows too fast. It can crash because screw you.
    • Setting up locked doors is easy on paper, but almost always results in failure for no apparent reason.
    • You can't overlay elements like Triggers or Mission Objectives on top of each other. Though you can "stack" or make use of adjacent space, these are not always optimal.
    • Not so much an issue but it would be nice if some form of scripting could be done. Dialog messages only seem to support minor text effects, formatting, and color. If it supports scripting, I never found how to do so.

    Because sprite editing is out of the question, I guess any new campaign would have to stick with Ultramarines and Word Bearers + Tzeentch + assorted Chaos Forces. Want to do some scenario with Angels of Vengeance or Vanguards or fight off Orks? No can do. So in terms of story, you'd either tell players to pretend they're not Ultras or come up with a very specific place in the timeline. Which is why I never started one, though thought about it a while back.

    There was that Chaos mod in the works. Too bad the tools seem to be lost.
     
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  10. Firesworn Novice

    Firesworn
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    Now that you mention it, I think I remember that Space Hulk game. If it's the one I think it is, I played it at the time and liked it but never returned to it. Too bad it got stomped by GW.

    :(
     
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  11. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    I think there was a gog thread with working links, or were there more than that?

    I backed up everything I could here.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
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  12. Firesworn Novice

    Firesworn
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    Oh, brilliant! Thank you for this. :love:
     
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  13. Pocgels Novice

    Pocgels
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    Vermintide 2 wouldn't allow custom maps to be fully integrated into the main game because they wouldn't be canon. GW is kind of weird about this sort of thing
     
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