What is this thread?
A place for me, Sovereign Echo, Sins 1 modder extraordinaire, to post musings, thoughts and progress on the subject of Sins 2 modding. If I end up with something I feel like releasing before the game has official support, I might also post about it here.
What I've been up to thus far:
Since Ironclad was kind enough to leave much of the game exposed to modding, I have already begun. I started on release day in fact, because #ModdersGonnaMod. Initial escapades were mostly things like giving the Kol all Gauss turrets and the attack pattern of the Shriken - meme stuff for fun. Day 1 also involved experiments and file hunting to determine how mechanics like armor and new mitigation worked.
In the following days it was time for limit break stuff like putting labs on everything (yes that works) and trade on everything (also works - but it gets weird if you put trade on a strike craft). Shipyards can also go on most things - but sadly there was an error message telling me in no uncertain terms that I couldn't make a planet into a shipyard. I felt called out by that one - well played Ironclad.
Then I put a few weeks into an exhaustive examination and experimentation process - tweaking stats on existing units and abilities in an effort to slow down combat pacing in a satisfying way. This proved slow going because without a proper Dev Mode the only recourse for testing combat pacing was to play the game... And with current map and settings that takes me about 3.5-4 hours.
With a limited roster, only one map and a relatively dumb and predictable AI to play against, even the most dedicated of us will burn out after a while - I think 2 and a bit weeks of non-stop Sins 2 was impressive under the circumstances. But alas, I have Sins 1 mods to finish and non-modding related hobbies to attend to so I took a break.
Further to this, the initial experimentation was, perhaps, too limited in scope - I was adhering closely to many of the existing numbers (which are Sins 1 numbers for the most part) - particularly HP. I was also trying my best to divine, using existing gameplay elements, what Ironclad's intent was for roles, fleet composition and pacing was. I don't know if even they have a solid plan for that yet, and I don't know them that well, so trying to get into their heads proved a futile endeavor. Not to say that this time of experimenting was fruitless - far from it - but it was... Taxing. Moving forward I will not be holding so closely to existing numbers or trying to reverse engineer their plan without any real solid information to go off of.
So that brings us to now - about a month after the game released. Mere minutes before beginning to write this I came back to Sins 2 modding by creating a simple new refit for a capital ship, together with its accompanying research. It took me about 15-20 minutes - much of which was tracking down all the relevant files. Sins 2 has a file structure that is at once familiar and yet different compared to Sins 1.
Nothing too fancy with this upgrade - no active component to it - I just wanted to start simple and prove that I could do it before making something with too many moving parts. It was pretty straight forward to do this, helped greatly by the truly excellent error handling Sins 2 has to make sure I don't miss any commas anywhere. And no, this isn't templated off the Minor Faction 'Salvaged Armor' refit because I sorta forgot that existed until I was nearly done...
Whats next for me?
Well, I'll be trying my hand at abilities next I suspect, probably some basic frigate abilities at first. Then I'll tie an ability into a refit I imagine.
Along with that - I'm not done with my combat pacing work. I specialize in designing combat interactions (and strategic / economic ones too but that side needs less work / has less tools to play with at this stage), so I am going to keep tinkering until I get those into a spot that both creates tactical depth and feels right relative to Sins 1.
I'll also probably write a post on this thread about what can and cannot currently be done in Sins 2 modding - short version - its a lot. Sins 2 is amazingly flexible already.
I might also do random other things - I'm not being paid to do any of this so I can and will do whatever modding strikes my fancy on the day.
Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to engage in a time honored internet tradition as I post this post into the modding sub-forum.