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Old January 8 2014, 05:34 AM   #1
Robbiesan
Lieutenant Commander
 
Artists needed for a new Star Trek mod

Hi,
I'm very new to the community and I hope that I'm not breaking any etiquette rules. I've created a topic here on a new mod that I'm creating as an homage to Star Trek.
http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=234994

If you'd like to see your graphic art of icons, planet terrain from the surface, planets from orbit, 3d modeled ship art, music, sound effects, etc then I'd love to hear from you.

A good portion of the mod has been written already, and so what I'm attempting is populating it with species specific items so that it's not generic.

This is strictly a free mod, but I'm trying to do something different. Many mods borrow liberally from the shows and films which unfortunately breaks copyrights. Instead, I'm far more interested in having fan created art, and the mod would showcase that to anyone playing the mod. In the past, other GalCiv2 Star Trek themed mods were the most popular.

The goal of the mod is not to merely recreate the mood of Star Trek canon, but to follow it as an example as well as to create new situations for the early Terrans, Vulcans, Andorians, Breen, Tholians, Romulans, Borg, Ferengi, etc to do. Many smaller minor species will show up in all of the many quadrants of the galaxy.

If you're interested in showing off your work, or allowing inclusion of some of your art in the mod, then please click on the link included here.

Many of you have created very beautiful items, and I'd love for them to be seen within the mod I'm creating.
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Old January 8 2014, 12:15 PM   #2
calamity_si
Lieutenant Commander
 
calamity_si's Avatar
 
Re: Artists needed for a new Star Trek mod

This sounds awesome! I'd love to take part. My speciality is ships / space battle scenes and interiors. PM me if you need anything like that. If you'd like to check out my gallery here, this best shows what kind of stuff I do.

http://calamitysi.deviantart.com/gallery/

Cheers, CS
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Check out my gallery here: http://calamitysi.deviantart.com/gallery/
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Old January 8 2014, 09:29 PM   #3
Robbiesan
Lieutenant Commander
 
Re: Artists needed for a new Star Trek mod

calamity_si wrote: View Post
This sounds awesome! I'd love to take part. My speciality is ships / space battle scenes and interiors. PM me if you need anything like that. If you'd like to check out my gallery here, this best shows what kind of stuff I do.

http://calamitysi.deviantart.com/gallery/

Cheers, CS
Wow, you're a talented 3d modeler as well as an great artist in general. I'd love to have you participate in the GalCiv2 Twilight of the Armor mod.

The direct link to the galciv2 forum is here.
In this topic I discuss the complex ways I'm attempting to create an homage Star Trek mod with special attempts to deal with the ethical issues of the Prime Directive, futuristic warfare and weapons like Genesis devices, metagenic weapons, and other dastardly things that get dreamt up.

Naturally trade is a big part of the mod, and I'm trying to create lists of things for sale, some of which are declared illegal by several planets, but vastly increase happiness so are smuggled in: Klingon bloodwine, Romulan Ale, Regulan Bloodworms (to detoxify in medicine), Tribbles, Liquid Latinum, etc.

Your ships converted to the galciv2 system would be spectacular in combat. I'm mostly interested in creating ships that adhere to Star Trek canon. However I would expect that new Star Trek ships would be created for many species. Some species will have limited economics and research technologies as they are minor species because they don't have the resources or haven't progressed enough to develop the engineering to do these things. They might end up purchasing or trading with the Ferengi in order to acquire basic ships. Maybe there's some precedent for this in authorized or fan fiction?

Here's my opening mod statement on the galciv2 forum:
http://forums.galciv2.com/451219/page/1/#3432185

"It seems to me that there is continuing interest in GalCiv2 ToA despite it being an older platform. That may especially be true given the announcement of GalCiv3 coming out in the future. Because I also recently began replaying ToA, I'm interesting in assembling a small mod team to make an homage Star Trek mod with original materials. The goal is to create at least 300 events that appear upon colonization or at the end of turns. That way, there shouldn't be much repeating of previous events.

Another goal is to recreate the star map of the Star Trek canon faithfully, which probably means having four custom maps of the quadrants and one simplified overall map of the most important star systems. The later will be used within a scenario or a campaign of many scenarios and so have severe speed limitations so that it will accurately reflect the amount of time to get from Earth in the Sol system to one of the Systems deep in another quadrant.

The major races would reflect the pre-Federation races, so new alliances might occur that are different than the Federation. Otherwise, it's possible that the Federation would have typical Federation ships but also a few other species ships based upon canon. Those would likely be science surveying vessels so limited somewhat.

Because the fanbase is huge, there's a lot of material on stellar cartography, backgrounds of species, history, techtree information, etc. Special effort would be made to give certain races bonuses based upon the shows and film but anything could happen as the game progressed so the players (and AI) wouldn't be limited.

It would not probably be metaverse compatible as that seems impossble to achieve.
It doesn't appear that conversations have been fully utilized to drive a story. I'd like to do that. It might be that the conversation in one campagn might offer a clue in another campaign. It probably will be that discussion with major and minor races that go well based upon similar alignment and/or military inclination will result in special conversations. Those will hint at anomalies, resources that are not obvious, the location of other species' homeworld, potential events, planetary information, etc.

There already are music resources on the web that modders have used in the past, but you're always welcome to offer music or sound effects (that you created) for inclusion that are in keeping with a science fiction theme.

What is especially needed are writers, artists who can create new icons, bik files, planet/sun/nebula textures, SHIP MODELS that look like the correct ships on the shows, etc. If you've already created such things and would like them to be included, then please contact me as this VASTLY accelerates the process.

If you've created ship models from the Star Trek universe into a 3d model, it may be that it's simple to convert these into a format that GalCiv2 understands.
See: http://www.i-mod-productions.com/showthread.php?t=304
If you know someone who has created these, then by all means contact them about the mod so they can contact me.

Naturally what will generate the most interest will be accurate ship models. It's not that lots and lots of models are needed as hulls. What are needed are basic hulls to fit into a few categories, then the team can preconfigure them. Many ships of various kinds will still fit into the same tiny, small, medium, large, and huge classes. While it's great to have lots of these it isn't absolutely essential. Variety is the spice of life, but if we have 25 working hulls that's better than planning on 50 and not ever getting enough to have a fast release date. Having five that work for each species is better.

From modding experience, I'd say that less than 10% of mods end up getting to a Beta offering. Most people have initially a little time to create and that gets used up later by conflicts with work, school, and their social life. I have a bit of time to devote to this, and the inclination and discipline to do so. That's not true of everyone and understandable.

Some people therefore might wish to make an offering of things they've created but not be willing to do things on an on-going basis. Those gifts are very valuble too and I hope folks will consider doing that. Being a part of a mod team need not be a total commitment. One great icon, a race portrait, an mp3, a single Bik, 10 well created planet terrain pngs, etc are HUGELY important to the mod's success.

It's better to create a mod that works on a large map rather than wait more than a year for a fully blown Immense mod (much less four or five Immense maps). As such, the goal will be to create something with a sense of immediacy that people could play in the next six months. I think that's it's possible to do so. This is especially true for making a mod of the Alpha Quadrant.

So far, the Borg have not been given the immense power that they have within the Star Trek universe. I'd like to change that. They are a several thousand year old species who have assimilated from a plethora of other species. What they probably will be unable to do is colonize, only invade or attack from space. They also will have the worst possible growth rate and no means of using trade items to enhance growth, and only able to raise population growth by stealing technology from other species...probably by assimilation. As such, while enormously powerful, they will be quite limited and in a distant part of the galaxy. They probably have terrible economy skills but decent research. Most of their knowledge will be a given amount of technology assigned by a scenario editor. The rest will likely be assimilated knowledge from invading other worlds.

Tech Trading doesn't make much sense. Those are likely state secrets and the trade of them would almost always result in a poor outcome to the giver or the receiver trading in kind. That means they will likely be turned off. That also means there will be more conflict because juicy technology might be learned that way.

There are very limited trade items now, and I'd like to add a lot more. Some of the most critical trade items might come from pre-Warp species, but a good alignment species trading with them might be interfering with their development i.e. breaking the Prime Directive. As such, that's problematic. Pre-Warp species will have their own techtrees where the basic techs that begin the major races come very late to Pre-Warp civilizations...like the universal translator.

It's highly likely that trade items might be limited based upon alignment such that while certain trade items exist, they can only be utilized by species of similar alignment. That's one way I hope to limit the Borg, for while most species are not truly evil, mostly a shade toward good or evil and hence mostly neutral, the Borg by their means of assimilation are pure evil.

If you think about it, the way trading of special items occurs now doesn't compute. Some species might intentionally research trade items strictly to deny access to other species having them. Other times, some trade items might be essential to the success of other species, and not trading them should result in poor relationships (something that might not be able to adjusted). Then because trade items will always come along, and there is so much diversity, alternative trade items might be found that boost other parameters of your culture or ships...and that's vital since your relationships with other species might have suffered at some point. That new trade item might be a significant way to beat them in conquest and it might not come from another major race. This means diplomacy might be as important as conquest.

A big problem with GalCiv2 is the nature of researching XenoEthics. A player can do all manner of evil things all along to powerup their soldiering, research, money, etc during events. Then when they get to XenoEthics choose to be Good. That doesn't make sense. Probably XenoEthics should occur way down the road as an offbranch of Galactic Understanding for what a pre-Warp society thinks is good and evil, might be quite different for an advanced species...especially one driven by the Prime Directive. While interfering in a culture might seem helpful, it might be so affecting in their development, or would in reality result in a long term effort to help them...like the Vulcan helping humanity for decades to achieve Warp engines that worked for more than minutes.

Researching XenoEthics takes the fun out of the events I'm planning too, for once you research and set your alignment, then no more events are allowed and that makes no sense unless one doesn't wish to be bothered with them. It surgically removes a way that a modder can tell a story, and so once researched... eliminates one way of communicating some ideas. So no more taking ten turns to research XenoEthics. Think about it. The only way that a species could research such a thing would be over long contact and study of the culture of many other species and how they respond and react to ethical situations. It's not a snap researchable technology, is it?

Starting out with one homeworld, one colony ship, one miner, and one survey ship...and for all species being equal... makes no sense to me. It will be possible to play that way, but what is more likely is assigned planets within solar systems with perhaps some contested solar systems early on. Most of the galaxy is uninhabited but minor races will have a bit more power.

Extreme colonization tech means that many solar systems won't have uninhabitable worlds. Quite the opposite will be true. Many solar systems will have five inhabitable worlds, but you'll have to work for it. The uninhabitable worlds will be the other than five planets that show up on the map.

Because homeworlds will likely be very influencial and begin as somewhat powerful, then many resources will be located near that star. This only makes sense rather than say the Federation invading into future contested space with the Klingons to take a miliary resource. That would be very shortsighted. But there will be juicy resources found by exploration and certainly the location of them will cause consternation.

Because a homeworld might have lots of planetary improvements, they will begin with class 36. This means those who slowly colonize will still have a way to increase their populations, manage their approval ratings, gets lots of work done, and be able to build military ships adequately. Starting with 10 is too small for a homeworld.

It's possible there will be an alignment cost to using certain forms of planetary invasion. I can't imagine a good alignment species using some of these because they not only kill of the defending soldiers but also damage the planet. That seems evil to me much like using an atomic bomb. In fact some seriously tough weapons technologies might be explored but rarely used because of this alignment shift. This is to create the "horror of war" that occurs with weapons of mass destruction. This is certainly something we can discuss, because while I doubt the Federation would use those tactics, there might be reasons they would allow themselves to use them. Say the powerful Borg invade Jupiter Station and take it over. The Federation might see that they are too weak in their soldiering skills to possibly win. In such a dire situation with the Borg so close and the homeworld imperiled, they might then chose to use these "forbidden technologies" because of the enormous danger of extinction...but at a cost to alignment hopefully. You know how the atomic race begins..."We have to know how to make them, or even have them, because THEY have them...". Researching all of the planetary invasions types is fraught with issues, for some might be germ warfare, metagenic weapons, Genesis Devices, etc.

Because some planets are inhabited already by minor species, then invading those worlds might be seen as evil too.

If you've messed around with custom shipbuilding, you know that the limited number of hardpoints for attaching equipment means that sometimes it's difficult to fully complement a hull even though there are far more points left. I'd like whatever ships there are in the mod to take that into account so that, yes some ships are limited and can't have some equipment because of space, but other ships like the Large and Huge hulls can probably be fully equipped. I doubt you can have medium ships with lots of engines for example... as that makes no sense. Lots of sensors and life support to extend range might make sense though. The latter might be a spying ship or a deep space probe.

If you have something you wish to donate, and the mod that you created is not located here, please send me a link to what you have created. Please don't submit some art that was an alteration of a screencapture from the shows as that technically breaks copyright. Because you're giving permission for including your source material into the mod, please send me a pm demonstrating that so there are not issues later. I need for it to be crystal clear that you're willing for the mod team to use your materials so a lot of work isn't done, only to have support withdrawn later.

It's important to me as a modder that I get permissions and be as respectful as possible to your creative work all while maintaining a proper sense of copyrights. The goal is only to make an excellent Star Trek homage mod, not to do anything commercial nor to steal other people's hard work."

An earlier modder of Star Trek and Star Wars has graciously allowed me to use his programming xml files. As such, a huge portion of the major and minor races have been fleshed out with their own techtrees (types of technology used within the system for a variety of things and some are interchangable with other species), planetary improvements which lend both practical elements to the economy, military, and for artistic reasons, etc.

For anyone who would like be a part of the creative process, please leave a message here. I'm new to the community, and so I need a much higher post count before I can send pms.

Because I really love Star Trek and am a devoted fan, I want to be especially careful about properly following the correct community etiquette standards. Often the fans are enormously gifted in the arts as well as knowing history and lore even about very esoteric things. As a result, I don't want to incur any wrath from the moderators or community here, but only seek to help create a free universe that people could play in for their amusement.

Last edited by Robbiesan; January 8 2014 at 09:45 PM.
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Old January 8 2014, 09:57 PM   #4
Robbiesan
Lieutenant Commander
 
Re: Artists needed for a new Star Trek mod

Here's a link to a ship battle in GalCiv2 so people understand the kind of weapons effects that are seen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVVqJYMX1Rs

Ships and weapons effects are completely modifiable. Likewise any mp3 files can play during regular play or combat. There are plenty of opportunities to showcase art during the icons of species on the map, in the actual terrain maps, in the planet maps from orbit, in the profiles of players, in events that happen upon colonization or turns (which determine the alteration of alignment through ethical choices), special planetary improvements like the Zefram Cochrane memorial, etc.

The majority of starship parts are prebuilt and any user can customize the ships to their heart's content. So a starship can be pre-built, but later modified as technology changes. Others may decommission some ships as better ships come along. Here's a video demonstrating the kinds of ships that can be built using the included editor. Because it's modular, then creating one small section, which can be animated along three axis results in some spectacular ships as they are constructed as a whole.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WawAFisGpDw

This means any components build in 3d modeling could then be added to other ships as they learn that technology. The only problem is cloaking as that doesn't seem to work well as a weapons tech.

A component can be "jewelry" i.e. has no function other than aesthetics. Other components act as hulls to place other components into, or they may have functions like life support, engines, beam/missile/mass driver weapons, boost armor, shield types, amplify existing weapons or defense, etc.

As you can see in the video, you can not only size components, but also animate them using simplified tools within the program. However I need 3d modelers who can build components that are from Star Trek canon so that they more accurate depict the hulls and components like nacelles from the universe. You can even make components be so small that they don't appear, and this is important for 3d modeling since the overall design would be cluttered with the addition of components as the original art model was created to include those components.

Planet surfaces are completely modifiable as well. Here are some:


Likewise some of you may have created plausible planet surfaces from an overhead view, and these can be applied to specific planets showing cartography as well as color and land masses...even the elevation or depression of the terrain, though these are aesthetics elements that don't affect the game. There are tiles on those planets and within those tiles routine or special improvements can be placed. That means that artists can create special 3d icons to depict the improvements placed upon tiles.


Stars have a pretty set appearance that only varies by color and size. This is applied by creating a specific png format texture. These could be very varied to be more representative of celestial phenomena. Here's what the vanilla stellar surface looks like for Sol and our solar system, the orbits are incorrect because the map editor demands that planets be only up to five in number and located no more than three spaces (coordinate points away, which limits realism. For mapping, those planets like Mercury which would be uninhabitable due to the proximity of the star, no matter how much terraforming would be done, would simply not be included on the map. Others would that were potentially terraformable (allows more tiles to be improved)or colonized by extreme tech (for heavy gravity, radioactive worlds, barren worlds, toxic worlds, and aquatic worlds). This means that while there are not all of the canonical Star Trek planet types, a lot of the famous ones could be created.

Other textures applied to the planet can result in things like an icy planet like Andoria, or a desert planet, or an arboreal planet, etc. Planets can be ringed and that the mapper can adjust the tilt and the distance of those rings as well as planet size. Likewise one moon can orbit a planet (you cannot have rings and a moon) so some of the lore of Star Trek can be included in the created map. The range of the moon's orbit, the size of the moon, all can be adjusted such that a moon can be quite far from a planet...almost looking like a potential for the moon to escape from the planet's gravity.

What I'd love is something more accurate...say one including a neutron star:


There are green and purple stars included with the base program, though these are incorrect for astronomy. That means that if an artist created two other star types, whenever a mapper (like me) placed the stars of the quadrants or overall galaxy, then more proper star types for those two slots could be placed upon the globelike models used in-game. This means unfortunantly that binary stars are out.

Here is an example from the vanilla game for an event firing. I'd like to create 300 some events that would be the equivalent to colonizing away missions or events that occur in space as the species comes across things like graveyards of ships from ancient space battles.


Animations that were created in the bik format (called bink among animators) or can be converted to bik files from animation work you've already done, can be fired by a variety of things that happen in-game. So, if you've ever wanted your animations to be seen by a community of Star Trek fans within a game setting or you're interested in creating some simple animations, then by all means contact me.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqrDEzMsc3s

Because the program is eight years old, I'm certainly not encouraging anyone to purchase it. But if you do play GalCiv2 and you'd like to be part of the mod, or feature your art to see it come alive within a Star Trek mililieu, then I'd be happy for artists to participate.

Last edited by Robbiesan; January 9 2014 at 12:03 AM.
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Old January 10 2014, 12:13 AM   #5
Robbiesan
Lieutenant Commander
 
Re: Artists needed for a new Star Trek mod

Just a short note of encouragement to those who who have read or will read this topic. Thanks for musing over the idea of sharing your art and collaborating on this project. I know that's a tough decision to make. The goal is to create something in which you can play and enjoy the reality of Star Trek, and your contributions will only enhance that experience and make it more immersive.

The amount of text is quite limited in the event screen. As a result, what I might do is include a pdf file with further descriptions. That doesn't matter for the AI as it will only look at the end result of choices. It also won't be important for those in which are more interested in playing than reading.

But for those who enjoy the ethical challenges as well as enjoy the process of fiction within a Star Trek milieu then a pdf file will give the writers of the mod's events (which may be one of you reading these posts) as well as those who enjoy reading, a chance to more fully flesh out scenarios. Then puzzling over the pdf, the player might make entirely different decisions based upon their personality as well as ethics and roleplaying their species. That's why things like the Prime Directive and the dynamic way it changed over the course of the shows and films, and based upon the history of the mythology, created times when a captain might choose something that another captain wouldn't choose at all.
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