Welcome to the official Journey To Hiigara recruitment thread!
This mod will bring the Homeworld and Homeworld: Cataclysm universes to the Freespace Open engine! Since TAP is focusing on Homeworld 2, myself and others felt a mod for the original Homeworld we all know and love would be incredible and something of beauty.
The plan with this mod is to release a small campaign of about 10 missions taking place in the first part of Homeworld to generate interest and proof of concept. The mod initially will use retail HW models and textures, with a few additions along the way.
New to modding? This mod is perfect for you! While we've all played and loved such works of art as Wings of Dawn. Blue Planet, The Babylon Project, and amazing campaigns like Derelict, Sync, and Transcend, the quality of work that went into these projects can be intimidating to say the least! Fortunately, very little for this mod needs to be made from scratch, and it's a great way to cut teeth on modelling, scripting, FREDing, texturing, etc.
So without further ado, here's how you can help, and what we need!
Modelers: Right now, the plan would be to convert and get the retail HW1 models imported into the engine for at least the first campaign. Many people that I've spoken to on HLP would like to see a mod that focuses on gameplay and mechanics to make it seem like Homeworld, and HTL hi-poly models can be added later.
However, not all the models in game are optimized. A lot of the debris and some of the ships have single sided polygons that are overlaid with a texture with an alpha channel (the wreck of the Khar Salem, many objects in the Karos Graveyard, along with a few faces on some of the Kushan strike craft). These would need to be tweaked and optimized. The larger ships from Frigate class on up would also need to be turreted over their hulls.
There also exists the possibility to add a few new ship designs for each fleet for pilotable craft (Kushan, Taiidan, and the Turanic Raiders) and can even be done in the low-poly style until the time if/when HTL models are made.
Some invisible polygons also need to be put on some models (over hangar bays and inside derelict wrecks for example) and around models that have subobjects outside of their main bounding box. (Drone frigate, Turanic Ion Frigate)
Texturers: Homeworld and its models are extremely inefficient when it comes to texture usage, at least as far as FSO is concerned. Ships with similar textures or parts of similar design will share textures easily. The problem occurs because these are not tiles that scale over the surface of the ship.
Some ships in game use as many as 20 to 30 texture maps applied to various polygons on their hull, and this can double for Cataclysm ships.
Every model would need to have its maps combined, and be retextured to combine the maps together onto one or two larger scale maps for each ship, along with glow maps and if possible, normal maps. Normal maps would go a long way in making the geometry of the lower poly ships stand out, until they can be replaced with HTL models (if they ever get made and greebled.) Once again, a great way for people to practice and experiment for those that have never done it before.
The texture format native to HW1 is LIF. This is a layered image format that includes alpha channel support and can easily be converted to PSD format. In PSD format, there will usually be three layers. The base texture is the lowest layer. On top of it may be two other layers, labelled COL 1 and COL 2. COL 1 is an overlay layer that will color parts of the ship whatever color you set it to as part of the team color picker at the beginning of the game. COL 2 is the stripe color. It's easy to colorize these in Photoshop by using a Hue/Saturation command on the layer and colorizing. There are standard values to be applied to all of these values to make them the same across all ships.
It may be easier to take these already-colored maps and combine them to make one large map, or combine them with their layers in photoshop in order to allow players to pick their own colors if they have photoshop (in a much later project)
Story and Mission Designers: It takes a lot of creativity to turn a 16 missions covering 6 months in an RTS into a larger Space Sim game, but as long as the key events are the same, there exists the possibility for new mission types, new miniloops, and new direction in the Homeworld story so this mod is not just a clone of it.
Artists: Everything from interface art to ship icons needs to eventually be done. Some hi-res renders of the Kushan, Taiidan, and other factions' logos need to be produced for interface art and also the art used for communications chatter. There is no indication of what any of the characters look like throughout the game. Instead of talking heads, it may be a neat visual effect to have each faction have its own communication animation for when they come up on screen with something to say.
We would also need people who were familiar with Homeworld to recreate and visually enhance the look and feel of the backgrounds in Homeworld into skyboxes. We have the panoramas from the original game, but they need to be remade with proper resolution and smoothing.
Web person/people: I suck at HTML and website design. I just can't do it. If anyone can help set up and maintain a website with news updates and screenshots here on HLP, that would be fantastic. My HTML knowledge is limited to "Oooh, that looks nice in Frontpage!"
If you want to help out or have any questions, post away!