Raw Notes for Independence War 2 – Mods

blue_swirls_crThe following is a raw dump of notes I made while trying to figure out the value of the various mods available for the fantastic classic space sim, Independence War 2. Again, this is quite raw and I may come back later to finalize it. (For now if you want to read the unwrapped text, you’ll have to copy it and paste it into another doc.)

= IW 2 Mods =
my reviews and impressions

- http://www.i-war2.com/downloads.htm
- http://www.i-war2.com/assoc_mods.htm
- http://www.i-war2.com/downloads_5.htm
- http://www.i-war2.com/wetwired/
- http://www.torn-stars.com
- http://mods.firstones.com/buda5/iwar2/index.html

= Installing Mods =
     - Generally, simply place in the game root /mods folder. No need to unzip, much of the time. See the mods' readme files for specific requirements.
     - Backup flux.ini if manually editing or if a mod is going to edit it.
     - Mods may mess up savegames, but there's sometimes something in the readme if they do.

= The Short List =
* - tweaking required/optional

The Essential Mods - worth installing even on a first play
     - Multimod - allows multiple mods to be used at once.
     - Free roaming - allows free roaming play after the game is over.
         - in the GOG version, this mod is preinstalled, but will not show on the mods menu. (Check /resource if you don't believe me.)
     - Custom Jafs - give Jafs a bigger cargo ship
         * these settings appear once the mod is selected:
         - [CustomJafs]
             - jafs_cargo_loading_delay = 0-15 (seconds, 0 default)
                 - not sure what base game default is
             - jafs_comments = 0 (none), 1 (cargo comments off), 2 (all on)
                 - game default is 2, mod default is 0
             - jafs_ship = (ship location?) default is a 20 pod Venice freighter
                 - base game has ~8 slots, often necessitating multiple trips

The Semi Essentials - items you may want to add to the base game
     - Dense Fields
         * might be able to tweak this by digging into the files themselves.
             - readme indicates that asteroid numbers may have been trimmed back for CPUs of the time. Well, it's 10 years later, let's have some more fuckin' asteroids.
             - fortunately, the modded .ini files' changes appear to be mostly documented, and easily tweakable.
     - Multimod Manual Countermeasures - manually launch countermeasures
         - auto xm's still fire
         - hit PGDN to fire
         - edit [ScriptKeys.PreviousPlayerShip] to change
     - Multimod Location Finder - an alphabetical list of points of interest
         - hit TAB in-game to activate
     - Multiplay Selectable Powerups
         * some tweaking is necessary, see readme
     - Crosshairs
         - comes with GOG version by default (disabled)

Major Mods/Total Conversions - not for first playthrough. Will override the default game, possibly making it irrevocable.
     - Ultimate Free Form: Gold Rush
     - Torn Stars Campaign
     - Torn Stars Unstable Space (Alpha, stalled)
     - Unleashed 0.94b (iffy, see readme)
     - Buda5 Missions and Ships (these are huge files) (http://mods.firstones.com/buda5/iwar2/index.html)

Interesting Multiplayer Mods
     * Multiplay Selectable PowerUp (official, safe mod)
         - requires manual settings
     * What Rocks Multiplay 2.0
         - adds new multiplayer modes
         - not sure if it also enables bots to play these modes
     - Multiplayer Ships Pack (pre-patch) - to be used as an example for modding ONLY.

Iffy Interesting - could be buggy/game changing
     - Detachable Comsec (has several dependencies)
         - not included in my modpack
     - UniGUI + addons (see below)
         - not included in my modpack
     - FutureTrader
         - not included in my modpack
     - Assembly Mod (mass ship replacer, an amalgam of community one-off ships)
         - instead of replacing starring in-game ships, these ships will show up for variety in other roles where existing ship types would ordinarily be repeated
             - includes bab5 ships
     - Multimod iFleet        
     - Elite Mod 0.4 - really ramps up the difficulty to an already tough game.
         * use the mod loader below to launch it (cleaner)
         * hopefully this is multimod compatible!
         - makes the game *much tougher*, read the readme to make sure you want it!
         - (it hints that it may make the game "impossible to complete," fair warning)
         - moderate game changes, may mess up saves. But I could be wrong.
         - Among other more moderate changes, elite actually jacks up the speeds of ships to ludicrous levels, and cuts sensors to below visual range. Kind of ridiculous.
     - Elite Mod Loader 0.41 - a simpler way to launch Elite
          - automatically mods the flux.ini non-destructively.
         - appears to perform no other function; only need to *start the game* with Elite.exe/NoElite.exe once to achieve the effect.
         - unzip to the game root and run Elite.exe or NoElite.exe to enable/disable Elite.
         - The following are the changes that Elite/Elite Loader make to flux.ini. These may/may not be mitigated by the other changes that the mod introduces:
             - [icPlayerPilot]
                 - max_rem_range changed from 50000 -> 100000
                 - (increases the detection range for your ship?)
             - [icShip]
                 - critical_damage_scale changed from 0.2 -> 0.5
                 - criticals_per_impact changed from 0.2 -> 0.5
                 - (increases your ship damage)
             - [icTacticalCamera]
                 - field_of_view changed from 1.2 -> 1.75
                 - (fov is increased)
             - [iiSim]
                 - collision_damage_factor changed from 3.5 -> 4
                 - (damage from collisions increased)    
         - Regarding Elite/Elite loader:
             - some really great ideas, mainly evening the odds between player and NPC ships to naturally increase realism and difficulty. Unfortunately, it succombs to some major fanwank ideas, giving some ships just unrealistically stupid amounts of power and speed. The command section itself is capable of 4000kph. Interceptors are capable of 50000kph. Bizarre. Damn shame, as the game really could use a realism shot in the arm.
             * potential project to crawl through the source files and make it unsuck... but would it be worth it?
         * Dark Elite ((to investigate)) (may have german text)
             - looking at the source, DE looks like mostly simple ship buffs compared to the massive changes imposed by Elite.
             - enemy ship buffs
             - your systems take significantly greater damage and take longer to repair
                 - not sure yet, but they may even be broken hopelessly in battle. Not sure that's a good thing?
         * Firepower 0.4b (mrzuk)
             - yet another game balancer. This one appears to be a bit more moderate, but will have to check manually.
         * Unleashed
             - another potentially fanwanky balance overhaul
         * Real 0.1 (c.2009)
             - another balance mod, based on realism and earlier hard mods. Might be a bit better balanced than the others?

= Complete Mod List Follows =

Major Mods
     - Ultimate Free Form: Gold Rush
         - adds alternate career as a miner, plus new tech and abilities, plus large new solar system
         - Likely good to install for a second playthrough for variety's sake. Perhaps out of canon for a first playthrough.
     - Torn Stars Campaign (http://www.torn-stars.com/)
         - appears to be a total conversion with new campaign? Not sure how complete. Obviously makes sense to try out after finishing the main game.
     - Torn Stars Unstable Space
         - Alpha version of the next campaign, likely stalled.
     - Unleashed?

Particle Systems Mods (official mods)
     - Deluxe Starmap with Walkthrough - spoilers, essentially.
     * MultiMod - required to enable multiple mods compatible with multimod.
     * MultiMod Counter Measures - allows you manual launching of countermeasures, auto cm's still fire.
     * MultiMod Location Finder - list of points of interest in alpha order, added as a menu option. If navigation is fun for you, skip it, if you feel it's a hassle, install it.
     - Challenge Course V2 - allows challenge course again and again, tracks your best scores.
     - Walkthrough Encyclopedia - hints for every mission
     - Challenge Course - same as other challenge course, but without a choice of ships
     ? MultiPlay Selectable PowerUp - allows custom powerups for multiplay (requires add'l configuration)
     * Free Roam/Free Form - after you beat the game, free form becomes open (in GOG version, appears to come preinstalled)
     - Manual Countermeasures - non-multimod version of the same
     - No Launch Sequence - removes launch visual, which can be skipped with ESC anyway
     - Location Finder - non-multimod version of the same
     * Custom Jafs - give Jafs a bigger freighter, other custom stuff may require configuration.

Qlippoth's Quality Ships
     - seem to be replacements for in-game ships.

Jet's Mods
     - Systems/Weapons Tweaks - buffing/nerfing various weapons (mostly buffs); the logic behind this rebalancing is not explained, but unlike other mods, they are explicitly listed in the readme.
     - Location Finder - another location finder.
     - EoC Starmap Ref (Deluxe) - another location finder.
     - EoC Starmap Ref (Standard) - another location finder.

The Consortium
     *? What Rocks Multiplay 2.0 - extra stuff for multiplayer, probably pretty good or at least interesting.
     *? Dark Elite 1.1 - makes the game harder by nerfing player weapons, and making ship systems destructible. Interesting. Readme is written in badly translated German, with not much explanation, so this may well be iffy. According to the site, this mod came out just after the other Elite mod, within a few days, so if they're related, they may both be the same versions... hard to tell.
     - FAQ 2.01 - FAQ written in German, obviously not very helpful to an English-only audience.
     - Thruster Animation - who knows, it's in German.
     - Proximity Alarm - changes display of the prox. alarm. How, I cannot say, for I do not know. German.
     - EoC Starmap Ref - German starmap
     - Cruiser Fix for Encyclopedia - probably German also.

BUDA5 Shipyard
     - replacement ships for in-game, to be used for a never-completed Bab5 mod. Skipping.

Pre-F14.6 Mods
     - assuming that these are out of date/incompatible.

Associated Mods - no idea if these are even worthwhile
     - Terrapin Patrol Vessel - ship replacer
     - Beauty Shots 1.0 - allows you to snap a shot of any ship with Hoffer's Wake as the background.
     - Disrupter Gun Turret - a bolt-on part for your ship
     - Skull Squadron - no idea what this is, has something to do with modding Robotech into the game.
     - GusManB's Multi-Ship Pack 2.0 - adds some ships, I guess. The readme in the file assumes familiarity with earlier versions of the mod.
     - NSO-1605 Duelist Heavy Corvette - yet another overpowered/imbalanced fuckoff ship.
     - Colossus Freighter .098b - a huge freighter for the CustomJafs mod. Might be kind of slapdash.
     *? UniGUI 2a - a base for additional screens to be added to the ship GUI, not sure how necessary these sub-mods are.
     *? UniGUI Future Trader 2a - provides a trade screen for use when docked with stations. Perhaps interesting if you want to be a trader. Implements a money system. Not sure how this enhances the ability to already buy/sell in the game? Or can you not buy and sell at stations?
     *? UniGUI Station Assault 1a - Adds patrol ships that defend stations against attack. eInteresting, but sounds like it would be glitchy. "Best with iFlight v6, once it releases." Might be interesting after finishing the game.
     *? Unleashed .94b - adds game-lore-accurate weaponry to enemies, allows you to create drones, other stuff - see the readme for add'l install instructions.
     ? Dense Fields 0.1b - doubles the appearance of asteroids to make space look denser. May want to run a diff against the modded files here and the default ones in the game, to see if the changes are minimal and easliy tweaked. Also not sure if this is multimod compatible.
     - Unleashed Makwa Ship - another custom and probably imbalanced ship.
     *? UniGUI Station Save - weird workaround to allow saving on any station: it warps you back to Lucretia's, allows you to save there, then, when you relaunch from Lucretia's, it warps you back to the station.
     *? Loader .41b for Elite - harder version of the game, nerfing player weapons and increasing damage, etc. Compare to Dark Elite? Same/newer/older/different? Can't say (partially because Dark Elite is in frickin German.) - this is actually a loader for Elite 0.4a, that keeps the mod from fucking up your default.ini.
     ? Detachable ComSec 2.31 - multimod mod that allows you to eject your command section if your ship is about to blow. You can then buy a new ship and carry on. Installing this and using it on a save may cause you to lose your ship. FutureTrader required also, which in turn requires UniGUI.
     - Repair Ship Mod v2b - allows call for a repair ship. Is it free, or is like a tow truck, where you have to pay? Who knows. Anyway, I thought you could repair your own ship.
     * Assembly Mod 1b - seems to claim to add 24 new ships without replacing any existing ships. Uses other usermade ships, combined in a single mod. Not sure how/if they all look like they belong in the universe, or if they affect balance. Might be interesting for a second playthrough. See the readme, it has additional dependencies.
     - UniGUI MP3 player 1.3b - an mp3 player, obviously.
     - UniGUI Location Finder 1e - yet another location finder. How many does this game need?
     - UniGUI BaseMover .1b - allows you to move your base later in the game, at a cost.
     - UniGUI WayPoint Utils - create your own waypoints.
     - UniGUI Location Finder V1d - another location finder, ffs
     - Marauder Fighter - yet another ship replacement, this one replaces the Storm Petrel
     - StormWing Class Destroyer - yet another hugely imbalanced ship replacement. why not just have a fire and kill everything in the universe gun turret.
     - Mission Tutorial V1.0 - shows how to make missions, I think
     - UFO - another custom ship
     ? MultiMod iFleet - allows you to capture ships and form a fleet. Then what? I guess command them like wingmen. Good if you want to do a Mount and Blade type thing, building an imbalanced army and rule the universe. Might be interesting when everything else gets boring..     
     * REM Hacker - control any ship with a remote link. Imbalanced: hack into a policecop! Kill his friends!
     * Mikhael's Navy - mass-ship replacement mod
     - Big ComSec HC - bigger comsec for corvettes, for aesthetics only.
     - Devastator Mk II - another ship replacement
     - 'Banshee' Tariq Class Patcom - what does it sound like. Yep, another overpowered mary sue ship.     
     - Star Wars A-Wing Beta - ship replacement
     - Elite V0.4 Alpha - looks like an earlier version of the elite mod. Wish these were dated and versioned more consistently.
     - Darkheart inc Jet's Starmap - not a starmap at all, according to the readme, it's some reskinned ships. Shocking.
     - Asteroids - no documentation. no idea what it does. something to do with asteroids.
     - Expert Beta V1.0 - buff for capital ships, changes loadouts for other ships. An enemy buffer. Perhaps pair with a weapon buffer?
     - Weapons Revamp V1.0 - designed for Elite mod. Weapon buffs.
     - Super Taxi - replaces comsec with an overpowered space taxi.
     - Defiance - another overpowered ship replacement.
     - Heavy Cop Interceptor - another overpowered ship replacement.
     - Executor Class Interceptor - another overpowered ship replacement.
     - Mantis/Wasp class Navy Fighter - another overpowered ship replacement.
     - Reticle Crosshair - adds a crosshair for when your aiming system is damaged.
     - Super MegaFreighter - a bigger freighter for Jafs. Some would say it is a megafreighter.
     - Player Ship - allows you to select a ship to play from the Extras menu. Probably a selection of the other custom ships? Or maybe just the stock ships. Only one way to find out.
     - Turbo Pods - makes pods move faster, perhaps homicidally so.
     - The Mega Ram Ship - like many such mods, turns the command section into something unbelievably stupid and overpowered.

Associate Weapons Systems - no idea if these are even worthwhile
     - Sensor Overhaul v0.001 beta - replaces active sensors with tunable passive sensors
     - Guided Fusion Missile - stupidly powerful missile
     - Homing Fusion Missile - stupidly powerful missile
     - Fusion Missile - stupidly powerful missile
     - Firepower v0.4 beta - weaponry and systems rebalance mod, for enemies and player ships.
     - Faux Beam Turret - a faux beam turret, how about that
     - Fuch Shock Turret V1.2 - shock turret
     - Fuchs Beam Turret - beam turret
     - Proton PBC - another silly imbalanced weapon     
     - Minefield - lay high damage mines near entrances to systems. Replaces some stock weapon.