Wing Commander - Privateer Gemini Gold

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posted: 12 Oct 2011, 17:35

Hey everyone!

Here you can download the latest version (3.01 !) of my tweak/fix pack for the Privateer Gemini Gold game.
FWIW, there are thousands of downloads in total :)

ANNOUNCEMENT: there might be few more v3.xx updates later. Less important but interesting aspects are going to be addressed. I'm just still not in a mood to tackle these things.

The pack is about two big things:
• fixes a sick ton of bugs, making the game much more playable and closer to the original Privateer. IMO, there is no point in playing PGG without this pack at all!
• makes slight enhancements that improve the gameplay but preserve the spirit of the good old Priv.

Just download and extract the archive contents into your Privateer Gemini Gold folder, overwrite when asked.

You can also extract the files over a PGG with an earlier tweak pack version installed, there will be no problems.

Old saves will work, but your ship will stay unchanged by the pack, unless you sell it and buy a new one.
The game might crash if you load a savegame that was made while on a mission and something related to this mission type was significantly changed by the pack. So better finish all active missions, save, and update after that.

Additional recommendations
I strongly advice making the following changes to your vegastrike.config (it is in the game installation folder).

1. Make tractoring work much closer to the original game:
<var name="percent_to_tractor" value="1"/>
<var name="tractor.scoop_angle" value="10."/>

2. Turn on the Shelton Slide, see PGG manual for details how to use it. It is not available in original Privateer, but IMO improves gaming experience quite a lot. Also, you will have tough time fighting quick enemies w/o the slide, they will constantly hang on your back and shoot with impunity.

The following binds the slide to the "space" key:
<bind key="space" modifier="none" command="SheltonKey"/>
Ensure no other binding for "space" exists, and that original Shelton key binding removed or replaced.

3. If you run the setup and don't see the resolution you need, find the "#cat Resolution" line in the top of the file, type in the missing numbers and then run setup again.
For instance, this adds Full HD to the default list:
#cat Resolution 800x600 1920x1080

4. The ITTS function of radars is glitchy. But now it's easily 'repairable':
- if the aim is visible but stopped working (eg, after reload): while in space, turn off the tractor beam (if exists), then land anywhere and take off.
- if the aim is totally disappeared (very rare): press 'k', ensure the radar became damaged, then wait till repaired by a droid, then land/take off

5. Escort missions: after using the autopilot, the escorted ship will sometimes try to stray away from the route. I don't know the cause, looks like I can't fix it. But the ship will eventually change it's mind.
If you don't like to wait just communicate something, it usually helps (while he is in front of you and targeted, press "1").

Detailed info about changes
can be found within the pack archive, look through the following files if you are curious:
Pods PGG tweak pack vX.xx.doc
guns_comparison vX.xx.jpg
missiles_comparison vX.xx.jpg
commodities vX.xx.jpg

Also, file gemini_map_v2.png contains the map of the Gemini sector taken from here.

Brief list of changes is below
1. Modified most ships you encounter in one or another way
2. Reworked trading really hard
3. Adjusted prices for a number of equipment
4. Fixed a TON of bugs in different parts of the game, including campaign bugs and adjustments
5. Guns, armor, missiles now balanced somewhat differently
6. Reworked the algorithm of random encounters
7. Massive rework of computer and guild missions
8. Orion is a decent fighter with 3 gun mounts. If you like the challenge, try to finish both campaigns flying it!

This topic covers all the change history. Feel free to comment, report a bug or give a suggestion what to improve.

Last edited by podbelski on 19 Feb 2013, 09:10, edited 94 times in total.
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posted: 12 Oct 2011, 17:41

...probably I will take a look at campaign and computer missions, I think there is something to fix, will do it later if not too hard.
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posted: 13 Oct 2011, 07:32

Quick request. Can you seperate the fixes from the tweaks? I'm sure any fixes that dont stray from the original can be added into svn.. but as this is/was a privateer puritan project I don't see any non cannon tweaks making it anywhere near there
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posted: 13 Oct 2011, 09:13

Probably yes, if we come to agreement on what exactly should be separated.

1) IMO Centurions in PGG are too durable, in Palan missions this is very noticeable. I don't remember I had so much pain blowing them in original priv. But Demons definitely were tougher than in PGG...
And I don't like pilots being a contraband w/o a chance of getting rid of them... thats why I made them legal. In PGG, you can convert a pilot to hitchhiker yes, but you cannot get rid of him other than dumping into space. Quite dumb, and on top of that you can't do it while holding an alien artifact - it will be dumped as well, and become a space salvage :-(
Also, in privateer I remember I often waited for pirates to shoot down a random merchant to grab cargo. In PGG it's much harder to see such thing, that's why I made Tarsuses and Galaxies a bit weaker.
So these 4 things I'd included into the "fix"

2) and 3) 4) are custom tweaks I guess

5) is definitely a good fix

6) armor, steltek sound are 100% necessary. Missiles should be stronger as well

7) guns are tweaks of course... well PGG guns are good anyway, so this will be left out

8 ) not sure... it makes the game closer to original priv, but it's a "hack" I can say... don't know if such things should be put into SVN. I mean even if you think this "hack" is placed properly in the code, it should be "refactored", at least separating data from logic... and I'm not familiar with Python at all, nor have time/desire to mess with it

Btw, I forgot about Eden, Delta, Beta and Gamma systems, have just updated the patch so there will be random encounters (same link as in OP, just re-download)
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posted: 13 Oct 2011, 10:57

... if you want to pick just a part of the patch here are the options you have:

1) \bases and \sectors folders fix only pirate bases, nothing else affected

2) \modules folder fixes only random encounters

3) master_part_list.csv affects prices on ships/equipment

4) weapons.xml changes weapons' stats, and should better be used along with \units, which contains the bulk of tweaks
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posted: 15 Oct 2011, 05:56

I'll go over it and see if I can't dig up my old privateer manual.. or download a pdf of it if i can't find it. Maybe i'll try to get my copy of privateer working as well. Shame my brother lost my old analog joystick... have an old pentium 200 win98 system I could have played it on :(

Anyway, need to refresh my knowledge of the original privateer and i'll try to comment on your patch sometime this weekend unless I get sucked back into working on the vegastrike forums some more.
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posted: 15 Oct 2011, 09:24

Ok, meanwhile I'm going to balance random missions. It looks not that hard to tweak the code, mostly everything is fine, except for some small glitches and disbalanced prices.

I think campaign missions are very fine as is, any change I can think about is very minor.
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posted: 17 Oct 2011, 17:05

So, here we go. I hope this is the last significant portion of changes :)

All random missions revisited and reworked to some degree. The aim was to balance them with the rest of the game, and make them closer to original Privateer or even better. Please let me know if you think something was not done properly.

There were few very minor changes to previously affected parts as well.

Download link is in the original post, doc file updated and incudes everything related.

1. Ejected pilots can be "sold" at any base, the price is lowered however. Think of it like you rescue them for reward.

2. CARGO missions
- now cargo quantity varies from 10 to 40, shown in mission brief and affects payment
- route difficulty affects payment
- average payment is lowered, cargo run is effectively the easiest mission...
- militia/confed per-route-system-search-risk increases payment in contraband runs

3. PATROL missions
- encounter probability is 10-20% per navpoint, but the payment is always based on 15% average
- no capships: it’s a routine patrol, not a clean-sweep mission where we do know the enemy is strong and will be there
- minimum number of navpoints is 6. For smaller systems all navpoints must be patrolled
- expected enemy type now visible in brief. Of course you will encounter random ships as a bonus
- reward based on enemy toughness, number of navpoints, travel route difficulty and overall toughness of a patrolled system

4. ATTACK missions
- added some missing "enemy type" and "additional instructions" hooks into attack_brief.txt
- encounter probability is 60-80% per navpoint, but the payment is always based on 70% average
- number of navpoints can be 2, 3 or 4
- reward based on enemy toughness, number of navpoints, likelihood of (kilrathi) capships, travel route difficulty and toughness of a patrolled system
- separated from "bounty" mission type

5. BOUNTY missions
- reward based on enemy toughness, presence of escort, number of navpoints to look through, travel route difficulty and destination system toughness
- computer does not show at which navpoint your prey can be found
- increased initial appearance range of the prey
- prey does not always attack you (now 50% chance)

6. DEFEND missions
- reward based on attackers power, defendees fragility and travel route difficulty
- enemies are almost always attacking a defendee, and only part of them has a small chance to initially lock on you

7. RESCUE missions
- reward based on attackers power and travel route difficulty, plus a fixed bonus
- decreased risk of a pilot dying before you have a chance to reach him
- there is a 20% chance for the enemies to ignore the ejected pilot

8. ESCORT missions
- 20% chance for part of attackers initially locking on you
- small correction in escort_brief.txt
- reward based on attack deadliness and defendees fragility
- escorts are only for Draymans, Galaxies, Tarsuses, Orions and Broadswords
- Merchant Guild organizes escorts for merchant ships only
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posted: 18 Oct 2011, 03:57

Sounds nice. If you want a bit more freedom on what you can do (so long as its part of WC cannon) you can always check out Priv Parallel Universe. Though I don't like how the remake and gemini privs split, its good to have both. Gemeni for the more "pure" form of privateer, and Remake/Parallel Universe more an expanded look into the Wing Commander universe.

While Gemini is probably dead, PU is just mostly dead until chuck gets back to work (some RL reason has kept him away. For such a long stretch my bet is medical but who knows).

Provided I can get on as a developer or project admin I will try to start reviving Gemini and get it up to speed with the .5.1 VS binaries. I don't know if any of the graphics have been switched from spheremaps to cubemaps (what VS is currently using), so either we get the cubemaps from chuck or see if any of the gemini artists are still around to covert to the new format.
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posted: 18 Oct 2011, 08:46

well, I only played WC Privateer from the series, and it was one of my truly favorite games... I downloaded PU but have no time to look into it yet.

If there will be some activity in these projects probably I can take part in some form, who knows
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