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Daniel’s HW2 Mod February 10, 2006

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In addition, Daniel Hawking of the PDS development team has released a public alpha of his gameplay mod, located here:


Inert is also involved in a separate, NGCS-based scripting project of his own.


News for Feburary February 10, 2006

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Here’s a summary on the stuff happening in the realm of PDS and NGCS:

1. Fiction-writing experiment is progressing extremely well. Fun, too.

2. NGCS beta 3 is in the works, and the first release here shall be a intro movie for the upcoming NGCS singleplayer campaign.

More details in following updates to this site.

ASCA RP Entry 1 January 12, 2006

Posted by ngcs in ASCA.

Arienne Shiavi didn’t hesitate as she leaned backwards with arms outstretched over the precipice of the 500-foot cliff, a sheer, almost-vertical drop ending on packed and barren red soil interspersed with the occasional boulder, their weathered dimensions ranging from man-height to some larger pieces that looked as if they had recently broken off from the cliff above. It was as though a giant – or god, had hewn the flank of this plateau in anger. 

A few pebbles fell from the cliff edge above while a gale picked up, traveling towards the plateau and whistling loudly through the canyon, as though to say you’re young yet, dear lady, please don’t jump… 

Undeterred, or perhaps hell-bent on an early death, Arienne deftly put her weight over the ledge, now standing on one leg, keeping contact and controlling the rotation as the other gave a swift kick at the ground to clear the cliff, violently dislodging loose granite as she plunged headfirst towards certain death below. 

Gepard Shain, back seat driver of the reconnaissance fighter Revelation 1 watched the falling combat suit deploy its flight systems seemingly moments before its fatal impact, its variable-geometry wings shifting to generate maximum lift to obey its pilot, easily grasping the thick air as Arienne converted her velocity into flying speed, sailing out of the canyon and into a spiral climb. 

The false-colour synthetic aperture radar display on Gepard’s SMFD display zoomed out to cover a paranomic view of the alien landscape as he manipulated it, the view bleak, desolate and empty. Nothing here, predominantly granite terrain, no traces of metallic substances and water vapour, which would indicate the presence of their target.

A crippled Vagyr starship with its re-entry trajectory plotted to within a few hundred square miles of this dusty planet’s surface should be relatively easy to locate, unless it had atmospheric capability and survived the descent with its airfoils and drives intact. A 450 meter long Sorceress class Battlecruiser wasn’t an atmospheric warship. 

The 71st Mechanised Squadron deployed from the modular frigate Vajra had spent the last six hours scouring the enemy ship’s projected crash landing site, but thus far had turned up nothing. The airmobile combat suits and recon fighters were running low on life support and oxidizer for their non-Terran atmospheric drives, while more advanced equipment was needed to track down the presumably marooned Vagyr warship. 

Resupply was not a problem with orbit to surface dropships. Bringing the Vajra down to low orbit to employ its powerful surface mapping equipment however, was akin to turning on a flashlight in a dark room. Such were the thoughts of the mission controllers as the Vajra executed a retrograde burn to lower her orbital altitude. 

The op plan called for the 71st pinpointing the location of the downed Battlecruiser, following which the Vajra and her sister ship the Chakram, both detachments from the Hiigaran Joint Task Force 22, would deal an overwhelming coup de grace. Just as most plans tend to go into the trash bin as the pieces of a chess board clash in its centre, the units of Task Group 22.5 will have to dynamically adapt to their operational conditions.

The “Asha” Project Begins… January 9, 2006

Posted by ngcs in ASCA.
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This blog was setup initially as a base for the ASCA roleplay effort intended as an experiment in airmobile powered armour operations in the PDS theatre of operations. ASCA stands for “Airmobile Self-deployable Combat Armour” and refers specifically to a 12 ft tall robotic weapon system that resembles a larger version of a man-sized, electro-mechanically augmented suit for sci-fi infantry use.

These units are adapted for planetary use from space combat suits and are large enough that they are handled more like vehicles than a infantry suit. This experiment consists of two phases – technical and fiction development.

The former provides insight as to the history, background, and capabilities of the ASCA weapon system, as well as justifications for its development. The latter roleplays their involvement in a fictional combat scenario based on the PDS universe. In addition this will be a good exercise in planetary combat doctrines and equipment in a sci-fi environment.

Check them all out in the soon to be created ASCA section of this website.

PDS Development – A Short History January 9, 2006

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PDS initially started off as a simple gameplay improvement mod for Homeworld 2 – with the addition of close in weapon systems to capital warships to counter fast attack craft dominance. This gave PDS its name which was retained even with the genesis of PDS into a full-spectrum battlespace simulation concept.

With the success of the tiny pilot release, many ideas flowed in from the resident Relic Community members, while yasotay and gthompsn provided professional support and functioned as a reviewing party for PDS ideas. Soon, it was decided that a dedicated forum and website was required for successful management of the PDS development process and the “1G” or first generation development team (dev team) was born. This crew consisted of the following members below.

From March 2004 to November 2005, the PDS website was located in the www.penguin-mayhem.net domain. Since then we have shut down the old website and have started anew in our present location at www.pds.hwaccess.net in order to provide a more constructive base of discussion for the project and its support requirements.

Our old PDS website had close to 1.7 million hits since its deployment in March 2004.

Idea Generation and Review


Universe Development (socio-political, historical, doctrinal, technical concepts etc)

Cobalt Shiva



The modus operandi of the 1G dev team was that of an open and democratic approach to discussion and project development.

Following version 5.0 and 5.2, it was decided that a higher level of efficiency be required for a major evolution and improvement to the PDS “organic battlespace concept”, and that the development team required awareness and alignment to a specific objective in order to justify the pursuit of said efficiency.

Version 6 was rapidly developed and released to demonstrate the doctrine of the 2G development team, and a paramilitary approach to project management and development was experimented with in the version 6 to 7 evolution. An offer was extended to the PDS community for a focused V7.0 beta testing effort, thus giving rise to the so-called “Beta Platoon” that was half-composed of military and former military personnel.

This highly effective team literally rewrote the PDS battlespace, streamlining many flaws in PDS battlespace presentation in under two months – in short, a decisive blitzkrieg.

Members of the Beta Platoon, and Post-V7 development team included:

Apocalypse7000, Ar-Khanis, BigFish, cannonjack, Cobalt Shiva, DanielHawking, dojoyoda, Drachen, El Mambo, Ghostpsalm, Glacialis, Homeboy, Fu, Inert, Jhereg, mrWHO, myrddin, Natathel, Retired_Commodore, ONLINEMERC, Orion, paladin1, Phyrexus, Relaxation/[G], Roadrunner101, ShibbyAv, Sovrin1, tan79, TekGnosis, Teufel, Thorin, Tribesman2004, Valaraukar, voyagerd, yasotay, zenprime, zgrillo2004

The PDS Development scene today

Following the successful release of V7.0, efforts were made to stabilise the background universe of PDS’s main theatre of operations, the South-Eastern Front in the Homeworld universe in the Post-Invasion Era. However, many fans have expressed concern that we are losing the benefits of the routine of continual and open development that the creator of PDS had pursued since the birth of PDS.

This is the impetus for NGCS, the next generation battlespace.

The Art of Evolution (PDS) January 6, 2006

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One of the reasons for PDS popularity is its “organic battlespace”, where between individual new versions of the project one can observe a seemingly endless chain of advancements in military technology or doctrine based on unit or system performance in the previous version.

For instance, a breakthrough in particle beam weapons (PBW) technology will lead to a faction retrofitting their fleet with the revolutionary new PBWs, where their main armaments previously could be less powerful chemical lasers.

This would lead to an opposing fleet realizing the threat posed by increased enemy capability, and this roleplayed reaction would spur a phenomena we call counter-evolution. Thusly PDS Version 7.0 plays and looks like a whole new game compared to Homeworld 2 from the box. This aforementioned opposing fleet could want to acquire PBW armaments for themselves while developing countermeasures to decrease their relative deficiency in capability against their opponents, and likewise PDS from version 1 to 7 was a continuous learning experience for both the development team and the community.

On the platform or systemic level, ships can be retrofitted with additional defenses, more firepower, better powerplants or better electronics (ECM, fire control equipment etc) based on their present level of combat efficiency versus the ship’s assigned role. Sometimes there are even crew retraining or ship battle computer reprogramming efforts to optimize ship performance and to reflect the progressive maturity of the art of spaceborne warfighting. At other times the creators of PDS could learn something new from a previously overlooked facet of military history or present-day operations (like Iraqi Freedom) and proceed to evolve PDS doctrine!

This disparity between a ship’s designed role and what role the “actual” Navy wants it to play can lead to conflict between ship designer and the “end users”, but in the Real World today, such events can be commonplace. Employing such a realistically roleplayed process of ship development actually makes information management in game design very easy, as the exact same mental processes and competencies we use in the Real World, can be applied directly to the game itself. No need to say “to balance the game I need to add 10000 hitpoints to this ship” when you can intuitively identify a weak point in your order of battle (OOB) through battle simulation, come to a decision on how to eliminate the weak point (phase out the ship from the OOB, modernize/refit/field mod it, alter doctrine to suit mission environment, mothball until modernisation etc etc), and execute your action plan as if you were a member of a military review panel and the troublesome object is something real.

It is that simple – you don’t need to actually execute the task physically as you do in life but following such discipline in ensuring believability in what ends up in the game totally eliminates the need to worry about quality. See, even things that look daunting – and the whole Organic Battlespace thing indeed stumps people right from the get-go in real life discussions, but the challenge, and fun in it lies in making the complex stuff simple, intuitive, and more readily accessible than what it is at the present.

After all, who said only Mu La Flaga from Gundam SEED (mecha anime series) can make the impossible possible?

The graphic below illustrates one such chain for PDS evolution – the Arbiter I to IV cruiser class that more or less “grew” with PDS to keep pace with the PDS battlespace. Arbiters I to III were less than successful but the fourth major modernisation proved to be a decisive one.

The Art of Evolution (Arbiter CF)