Star Trek: Federation Dawn

posted on May 26th, 2018, 4:41 pm
Hello everyone!

I’m proud to announce that a new total conversion called Federation Dawn will be released for Fleet Operations very soon. It is the first part of my decade long project (seriously, I first started working on it in the summer of 2005) called Evolution , which, as the title may suggest, allows the player to play through the ages of Star Trek from the beginning of the series Enterprise until far beyond the events of Nemesis.

The mod will feature the Federation, Klingons and Romulans as main playable factions but other factions will be available later.

Instead of writing a wall of text about how awesome this mod will be, here is a bit Q&A for you.

Q: So it’s one of those often promised, never finished compilation mods?
A: Nope, this mod has a mechanism that makes stronger ships available as time passes. You’ll be forced to keep up in research because you won’t have a chance with Constitutions if the opponent comes at you with Akiras. Plus Federation Dawn is really almost complete. :shifty:

Q: You said “first part”. What does this mean exactly? Will it be only a demo?
A: In Federation Dawn (again, the title tells it all) you will start form the era of the series Enterprise and currently the development cycle ends at around 2245. Later expansions will add more and more playable eras.

Q: Wow… So this will be the Ultimate Star Trek Canon History Mod?
A: No. I created my own version of Star Trek history for the mod. In other words I decided what I consider “canon” material, and what not. I consider Enterprise canon, but instead of following with Discovery that I really-really don’t like, I included Masao Okazaki’s awesome Starfleet Museum timeline. Then comes the FASA and Federation & Empire board game timelines to finally reach TOS. Then “my canon” follows the series and movies up until Nemesis, where instead of following Star Trek Online’s “everyone wages war against everyone at least once in the next decade” I created my own future timeline. This of course created some controversies. But more on that later.

Q: Will I be able to send my NX Classes against D’deridexes then?
A: Technically you will. If you can preserve some until then. As time passes new starship classes become available, but obsolete ships will no longer be buildable so if you wish to see your NXs squatted by a mighty Sovereign, you’ll have to hide them in the corner of the map long enough.

Q: But I’ll be able to start from the Enterprise era and play it through the mod up until Nemesis or even beyond?
A: Technically, yes. But the mod is designed to play though only a few decades or a couple of centuries at most. The research cycle is rather slow. It would take about three hours of playing to reach the future ages starting form Enterprise.

Q: What other features this mod has you would mention?
A: Other than the upgrade mechanism, this is a pretty general mod. It is easier to say what distinctive features it lacks that can be found in Fleet Operations. It won’t have Avatars for example (although the mechanism is used). It just doesn’t fit to choose admirals for a century long game. It also won’t have leveling up or special weapons for every ship. I mean not first, but eventually maybe. There are just too many ships in the mod. The Federation alone has more than 40 different playable ship classes.

Q: Wow, that’s a lot of ships… How can you balance them all?
A: With lots and lots of excel sheets. The factions aren’t balanced to each other like in Fleet Ops. As the balance of power shifts during history, so will the balance of the game. So very early the Romulans have the upper hand, while the Federation (United Earth really) is at disadvantage. But this will change fast as the Federation is formed and new technologies become available.

Q: What’s the status of the mod currently?
A: It’s almost complete. I have one more model to finish, I’ll have about a dozen ODFs to write, create the AIPs (that’s the part I’m looking forward the least…) do some alpha testing to iron out the last few bugs I can find and it’s ready to roll.

Q: So WHEN it will be released?
A: When it is done. During the years everything changed. I grew up, I have a job now, a wife, a son and a second on the way, our family house is under construction, so I have my hands full. By my estimate the mod would need about 30 more work hours but I just don’t know when I’ll find the time for it. Be patient and I’ll try to make some updates as I’m progressing.

Q: Can I apply for beta testing?
A: There won’t be a beta test. Or more precisely, the mod will be released as bugfree as possible and I’ll use the feedback of the community to find the last few bugs and do fine tuning.

Q: What’s the future of your Evolution project?
A: The day Federation Dawn will be released I’ll start working on the next phase. There will be a small expansion for the mod and I’ll keep balancing and polishing it before the release of the next phase. Hopefully it will be much faster now that all the mechanisms are in place and apparently working.

Q: Final question! When will we see some pictures?
A: Soon ;)


And finally allow me a statement to avoid further issues.

Disclaimer:
Many of the models featured in Evolution are the works of other talented artists. I asked and received permission to use their work in my mod, although all those permissions are years old now. Proper credits will be given everyone whose work is used.
I thank those who allowed me to use their work and I ask everyone who plays my mod to respect the work of these artists and do not use any of their material in their own mod without their permission.
posted on May 27th, 2018, 10:08 pm
Awesome news k_merse. Can't wait to see more of your mod as it develops.
posted on May 28th, 2018, 12:39 pm
This is great news indeed! I'm looking forward to try your mod. But I have some additional questions:

1.) Are you planning to add Cardassians as playable faction in the future? And which other races/factions you plan to add besides Federation, Klingons and Romulans? Borg, Dominion, Species 8472?

2.) Do you plan to have some of ships from original Armada 1/2 games and possibly some other games as well like ST Legacy, Bridge Commander, Starfleet Command, Star Trek Online?

3.) You mentioned that gameplay goes all the way to Nemesis period and beyond it. In that case I wonder if we'll be able to progress to 29th century and Wells class timeships or will end up with Enterprise J from 26th century?

4.) Do you plan to return superweapons like they were in Armada 2 or even expand upon it? Every good RTS game has superweapons (Starcraft to C&C and Rise of Nations) so it would be good if you added them too. There are even some that are in canon like Cardassian Dreadnought missile, Romulan Scimitar with Thalaron Generator, Federation ablative armor and transphasic torpedoes like seen in Voyager, Borg transwarp network and so on. I'm sure it would make game more interesting with those in.

5.) What about economy and trading. Will there be just resource mining option as in Fleet Ops, or are you going to bring back trading stations and cargo ships?

6.) Are we going to be able to capture other faction's construction ships and build their stations and ships too like we could in classic Armada?


That's all the questions I have for now. Well, the most important ones anyway. Btw can't wait to see some pictures so post them as soon as you can.
posted on May 28th, 2018, 5:16 pm
1) Gorn, Tholians, Cardassians (+Dominion) and the Borg are on the list.

2) I'm not sure what you mean by that. If you mean designs that were introduced in those games (like the Aegian or the Odyssey) then yes, especially for the Klinks and the Rommies. STO has some really beautiful Romulan ships for example.

3) Currently my timeline ends at around 2500. I don't think I'll go beyond that, even reaching that will be quite a challenge.

4) Fortunately that's not something I have to concern with yet. The strongest weapons in the time period are the Romulan plasma lances and the Phaser Lance featured on the Siegfried Class (that I still can't make work correctly as intended). In the future... Maybe :)

5) Trading is tempting, but I'm considering it only for a later expansion. First I want the mod up and running. I started working on it but it just doesn't add that much to the game. And it's a lot of extra work :P

6) On a very basic level, yes. You can capture enemy construction ships and you'll be able to build some basic ships from the enemy factions, but don't expect anything too strong, like a D'Deridex. I consider technologies to be to alien to be completely copied by the enemy faction.
posted on May 28th, 2018, 7:03 pm
1.) Great! Although I'm not sure about mixing Dominion and Cardassians (and probably Breen/Son'a too). Maybe only for a certain period like it was in DS9. But I understand how that might be difficult to do. Also you might want to add Species 8472 later too. They are interesting to play with as are quite different from other races.

2.) Yeah, that is what I mean. It is great to hear that those designs will be in mod too. Armada 2 also has some beautiful Cardie designs, besides Romulan and Klingon ones.

3.) That's cool, although it is somewhat unfortunate there'll be no Wells timeships. It is beautiful design and one that's rarely seen in Trek games. Other than STO I don't know if any game has it as playable ship.

4.) I know I have already mentioned somewhere what the possible superweapons might be for each race.
For Federation it could be anything from genesis torpedo, to before mentioned ablative armor, transphasic torps, phaser lances you mentioned and of course that temporal stasis field from Armada 2.
For Klingons I guess that could be Jach'eng class ship shockwave weapon, or in more canon terms that could be ships able to fire while cloaked or those large disruptors/torpedoes used by Negh'Var in order to bring down shield of DS9. And there's of course ion storm weapon of Fek'lhr class.
Romulans would have thalaron generator and Scimitar as supership.
Cardassians would have dreadnought missile and Borg's superweapon might come in form of transwarp network.

All in all there are plenty ideas to go with that particular matter. Of course, such stuff should be (somewhat) limited as they are in other RTS games.

5.) Yeah I can see how that could be problematic and not on priority list. Still it might be interesting if it's not all the same like it was in Armada 2, but instead being slightly different for each race. Also here might help some neutral tech structures scattered across maps that (AI) players would be able to capture in order to make this even more interesting. But as you said, you can surely leave that one for the expansion.

6.) Cool. I can see reasoning behind limitations to build-able alien stuff with captured construction ship. I guess same would go if one would try to capture enemy stations/shipyards. But one could always capture any ship, even the strongest ships like Sovereign, Negh'Var or Scimitar.

Oh, and I forgot to ask about few more things:

1.) Will there be warp drive or not?

2.) Will the maps remain in 2d or you plan on switching to 3d like it was in Armada 2?

3.) What about superstations? Under this, I mean huge stations like Federation Spacedock, Klingon Ty'Gokor Borg Unicomplex and such? Will they be present in game, or will it be able to build outposts only like in Armada 2/Fleet Ops 3.2.7.?
posted on May 30th, 2018, 5:29 pm
There will be no warp drive. I like how FO made things slower than in Armada so I'm gonna keep it. In fact I make things a bit even slower.
Creating brand new maps would require a lot of time, so no. But you can play any mod on any map, all you need to do is add the map and edit the max depth in RTS.cfg.

I wasn't aware that the Tygokor station was a "super station". In fact it was a relatively small base with only three docking bays and a few weapon emplacement. Of course there will be strong stations, the Federation will be able to build a spacedock and it will unlock some special features. The Cardassians will have the Nor type station (you know, DS9), the Borg will certainly have some kind of big Unimatrix. Other than that, I don't know for sure yet.
Klingon stations is a special case for several reasons. First, there are not too many good Klingon structures available. Second, I really suck at making Klingon stuff. I just can't get a grasp on the Klingon style... And third, FO stations are just too beautiful, and as Klingons build everything to last for centuries (see the D7/K't'inga) I decided to use the stock FO models.
posted on June 14th, 2018, 8:52 pm
I really like the concept. spent awhile reading the thread so far.

You mentioned that not all ships will have specials though. Has any effort been put into making sure every ship has a reason to be there? something they're good at/terrible at? Are some ships faster/slower for example? Does a nebula have extreme sensor range as implied by the AWACS looking mission pod? Little things like this that make certain ships suitable for specific missions go a long way. It doesn't have to be an activate-able special, but each ship should bring something specific to the field, otherwise you get a bunch of cookie cutter fleets with mobs of one class in every game, and others completely ignored.

This was the one flaw I see in other mods which seem to try to include as many ships as possible, but they all seem to fill the same role as the sabre or galaxy.

I'm not saying that your mod will suffer from this, but your statement that the feds alone have 40 classes, and few special abilities gives me pause.

Still, you have piqued my interest. Looking forward to seeing it come out.
posted on June 15th, 2018, 3:30 pm
Well I'm not at the point where Nebulas come into play yet :sweatdrop:
But answering your question, I'm trying to make every ship different in one way or another. I have three very complex Excel sheets to do the balance on paper, but I don't have the resources (i.e.: time) to make much balance testing. So yes, ships will definitely differ from each other but it certainly will take a patch or two to properly balance everything.
posted on June 17th, 2018, 12:25 am
k_merse wrote:There will be no warp drive. I like how FO made things slower than in Armada so I'm gonna keep it. In fact I make things a bit even slower.
Creating brand new maps would require a lot of time, so no. But you can play any mod on any map, all you need to do is add the map and edit the max depth in RTS.cfg.

I wasn't aware that the Tygokor station was a "super station". In fact it was a relatively small base with only three docking bays and a few weapon emplacement. Of course there will be strong stations, the Federation will be able to build a spacedock and it will unlock some special features. The Cardassians will have the Nor type station (you know, DS9), the Borg will certainly have some kind of big Unimatrix. Other than that, I don't know for sure yet.
Klingon stations is a special case for several reasons. First, there are not too many good Klingon structures available. Second, I really suck at making Klingon stuff. I just can't get a grasp on the Klingon style... And third, FO stations are just too beautiful, and as Klingons build everything to last for centuries (see the D7/K't'inga) I decided to use the stock FO models.


That's too bad. I know why FO creators decided to ditch warp and I don't think it is a bad reason (at least not completely), but I do believe it should be an option.

This is how I'd imagine warp drive could be implemented:

- every ship capable of warp would have either special energy used for warp only, or it would use existing special energy which is currently used for special weapons and abilities
- in order to go to warp, ship would require certain amount of special/warp energy at its activation, and would also spend more energy during its travel so it wouldn't be possible to abuse it like it was case in Armada 2
- it would have to be activated manualy, meaning it would have a special button (hotkey) for activation; it could be called ''engage'' button
- during warp travel ship would be able to do only a slight course corrections in order to avoid obstacles, however if said obstacle is directly in its path, a ship would drop out from the warp and resume by impulse speed
- warp couldn't be used inside nebulas and asteroid fields, and couldn't be engaged in close proximity of stations and planets (and when I mean close, I mean right next to them)
- if ship's special/warp energy drops to zero, it will instantly drop out of the warp and resume by impulse speed
- ship's warp drive would be able to get damage during combat (and targeted as well), as well as warp engines; so as I mentioned before, if ships warp drive gets too damaged it won't be able to go to warp until it is repaired, and if one or more of ship's nacelles get destroyed, it won't be able to go to warp at all until it is repaired in drydock
- after using warp drive, ship that used it would require cooldown time before it could go to warp again
- some ships would have faster warp travel then others and some wouldn't have it at all (like construction ships, mining freighters, cargo ships and such)
- warp travel could be completely disabled before game in skirmish/multiplayer/campaign menu

Ty'Gokor is the only one that came to mind, and besides we haven't really seen lot of Klingon stations in shows/movies. I'm not sure if there were others besides it, so that's why I mentioned that station.
Anyways I'm glad you intend to include powerful stations.

This is how I imagined superstations to work:

- they should cost somewhere from 6000 to 10 000 of dilithium/tritanium and 200 or 300 supply points (depending of faction).
- they would be about three or four times bigger from current starting starbases and also much more powerful, so if current starbases have around 100 offense/defense/system points, those superstations would have 200 or 250 points and twice or thrice more hardpoints.
- they would have ability to construct starships from all shipyards except mixed tech ones and to repair them as well.
- construction of such station would require two construction ships to work simultaneously
- before such station could be built all other key stations would have to be already constructed
- only one superstation could be constructed at time

There is also a possibility that one of standard starbases could be upgraded to such station after all shipyards and science/research station were constructed.


And what about avatars? Are you going to keep them, get rid of them, put more of them or what?
posted on June 17th, 2018, 7:47 am
Doctor Rush wrote:This is how I'd imagine warp drive could be implemented:

- every ship capable of warp would have either special energy used for warp only, or it would use existing special energy which is currently used for special weapons and abilities
- in order to go to warp, ship would require certain amount of special/warp energy at its activation, and would also spend more energy during its travel so it wouldn't be possible to abuse it like it was case in Armada 2
- it would have to be activated manualy, meaning it would have a special button (hotkey) for activation; it could be called ''engage'' button
- during warp travel ship would be able to do only a slight course corrections in order to avoid obstacles, however if said obstacle is directly in its path, a ship would drop out from the warp and resume by impulse speed
- warp couldn't be used inside nebulas and asteroid fields, and couldn't be engaged in close proximity of stations and planets (and when I mean close, I mean right next to them)
- if ship's special/warp energy drops to zero, it will instantly drop out of the warp and resume by impulse speed
- ship's warp drive would be able to get damage during combat (and targeted as well), as well as warp engines; so as I mentioned before, if ships warp drive gets too damaged it won't be able to go to warp until it is repaired, and if one or more of ship's nacelles get destroyed, it won't be able to go to warp at all until it is repaired in drydock
- after using warp drive, ship that used it would require cooldown time before it could go to warp again
- some ships would have faster warp travel then others and some wouldn't have it at all (like construction ships, mining freighters, cargo ships and such)
- warp travel could be completely disabled before game in skirmish/multiplayer/campaign menu

Wem... This is definitely doable but does it worth the work invested into it? By a fast calculation it would require at least 2 additional ODF per ship (multiply it by 6 if it has ranks). Every station should be converted into planetary objects (and I'm not even sure if planets can be producers/yards) and I would have to sacrifice a whole techtree file to make players able to disable warp. About 2-3 months of intensive work.

Doctor Rush wrote:This is how I imagined superstations to work:

- they should cost somewhere from 6000 to 10 000 of dilithium/tritanium and 200 or 300 supply points (depending of faction).
- they would be about three or four times bigger from current starting starbases and also much more powerful, so if current starbases have around 100 offense/defense/system points, those superstations would have 200 or 250 points and twice or thrice more hardpoints.
- they would have ability to construct starships from all shipyards except mixed tech ones and to repair them as well.
- construction of such station would require two construction ships to work simultaneously
- before such station could be built all other key stations would have to be already constructed
- only one superstation could be constructed at time

There is also a possibility that one of standard starbases could be upgraded to such station after all shipyards and science/research station were constructed.

Most of the stations are up to scale to the ships so far, so that may give you an idea how big the Spacedock will be. But as advanced as it is, a Spacedock is not a construction yard, so it won't be able to produce complex ships. I'm thinking about a "superstation" for a faction that will be a mega shipyard, but I'm not telling which one.
By the way, due game code limitations it is impossible to make two construction ships to work on the same building.

I already stated in the opening post that there won't be avatars. It would be silly to choose an avatar at the beginning of the game when the game's timeline spans several hundred years. By the way, I need the avatar mechanism for something else :P
posted on June 17th, 2018, 11:57 am
k_merse wrote:Wem... This is definitely doable but does it worth the work invested into it? By a fast calculation it would require at least 2 additional ODF per ship (multiply it by 6 if it has ranks). Every station should be converted into planetary objects (and I'm not even sure if planets can be producers/yards) and I would have to sacrifice a whole techtree file to make players able to disable warp. About 2-3 months of intensive work.


Yeah, I know it would take quite some time to do. It is just an idea that would give opportunity of using warp to quickly traverse big parts of map, or to escape from potentially deadly situation for ships, but it still wouldn't be overused as it could in Armada 2. If I learn how, maybe I'll modify it. Might try to do it on FO 3.2.7. for a start. Only that thing with stations might be tricky, but I believe it would be still doable, but even in case it wouldn't that would prevent only restriction of using warp drive near stations, which isn't that big deal.

k_merse wrote:Most of the stations are up to scale to the ships so far, so that may give you an idea how big the Spacedock will be. But as advanced as it is, a Spacedock is not a construction yard, so it won't be able to produce complex ships. I'm thinking about a "superstation" for a faction that will be a mega shipyard, but I'm not telling which one.
By the way, due game code limitations it is impossible to make two construction ships to work on the same building.


Yeah, Spacedock is really enormous. It is more than 8 km tall and almost 4 km in diameter. So I believe it could fit at least 10 if not more ships inside. That depends of the size of involved ships too. If it isn't possible for it to build all ships, it could build at least some of them, or some special ships and also be used as repair facility. And it would be most certainly able to build construction, mining, cargo ships and shuttles.
I thought that using two construction ships simultaneously could be problematic to do, but wasn't there a Borg mission that involved three of those building transwarp portal? I know it that most of it was just animation, but I think you had to actually select all 3 assemblers and start construction. I'm not sure, it might be that you just needed to get them to place for building portal, but it is also possible that you had to command them to build it.

As for that faction that will have mega shipyard, I'm going to guess that it will probably be either Dominion or Borg.

k_merse wrote:I already stated in the opening post that there won't be avatars. It would be silly to choose an avatar at the beginning of the game when the game's timeline spans several hundred years. By the way, I need the avatar mechanism for something else :P


Yeah, you're right. I forgot you mentioned it already in the opening post. My bad. And you got a point, it would be probably quite difficult to use existing avatars in constantly changing timeline. However, I do believe you can implement hero ships and maybe even stations with the respective important characters from shows/movies. Picard starting with Stargazer, then moving to Enterprise D and in the end Enterprise E. Sisko with his Defiant and DS9, Martok's Rottaran first, Negh'Var later, Gul Dukat's Galor and so on.


Also what I'd like to know is if you are planning to do some campaign in the future?
posted on June 28th, 2018, 2:36 pm
k_merse wrote:Well I'm not at the point where Nebulas come into play yet :sweatdrop:
But answering your question, I'm trying to make every ship different in one way or another. I have three very complex Excel sheets to do the balance on paper, but I don't have the resources (i.e.: time) to make much balance testing. So yes, ships will definitely differ from each other but it certainly will take a patch or two to properly balance everything.


I'm really looking forward to this too - and hell, 10 years is a long time to be working on the Mod!

Although debate is good, and everyone is very quick to say what they want and don' want, please don't be distracted by it all. Just focus on doing what you have to do to get the Mod out here. If people want to spend the next 10 years adding things they want, then they can do that themselves.

You've made a good list of things we can expect and some surprises no doubt, so that will be half the fun in working out what's new ourselves. I would just like to thank you for putting in the time to get to this stage of nearly releasing it. :thumbsup:
posted on July 4th, 2018, 5:07 pm
A quick update! I made a moddb page to manage all the contents required for the mod. It has some images too, so go check it out here
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