Ship Mods

Attempts to modify the ship models have been limited. Trying to create a whole new class of ship may not be feasible. That said, some new craft can be created, based on the existing ships.

There are some parts of ships which can be loaded independently of the rest of the model. Adding or changing an entry in the ShipData.txt file to include the two dishtypea*.* files in the Federation ship folder will load the saucer section of a Constitution class starship, recreating something mentioned but never seen in the original show.

As usual, I have left it with the armament info of the Constitution ship, but it does not fair as well against other heavy cruisers as the full version. Probably just as well considering it is only half a ship. There is also the body of this class of ship, but it literally a cigar shape with no engine nacelles. The file names are const_body*.* if anyone is interested in making such a ship.

You can create the saucer-less part of the ship, but by different means. By editing the *psp.fission file, you can remove the saucer section from the model. This seems simple enough, but you also need to edit the ShipData.txt to remove the saucer weapons from that particular modded ship. I added a photon torpedo launcher in the third weapon slot (normally unused by the heavy cruiser) which seems to launch from the main dish, and left the rear launcher.

By editing one of the *psp.fission files of the Romulan ships, you can remove certain parts as seen in the above mod of the Dreadnought. I quite like this one, as it echoes the original Bird of Prey seen in the classic series, not to mention the smaller ship seen in the game. The engine nacelles don't quite meet up with the underside of the ship's main body, but that's a minor quibble. You need to create a new file e.g. new01psp.fission with the editied info, then add a new entry to the ShipData.txt file. Edit the weapons as well, or you'll have phasers and torpedos appearing out of nowhere.

Similar to the above, but with the top engines removed. Again, I like this ship. There are co-ordinates for the placement of individual elements of each ship in the .fission files: I'll leave that for someone else to play about with. The only problem with adding new ships is that the game needs to load more files and I have noticed a marked slowdown in the game after only two mods. You could always mod the existing ship files or remove some of the obsolete ones like the untextured shuttles.

Finally, a true mod! This is the single-nacelle Saladin/Hermes class starship, as seen in the Star Trek Technical Manual. It took some editing of the fission file for the frigate to align the one remaining engine with the centre of the model (the first value in brackets needs to be changed to -0.200000).

It's exactly the same as the frigate in terms of weapons, speed and power, but those values can be edited to whatever you want. Needless to say, you have to edit the ShipData.txt accordingly. There is a Saladin class ship in there already, but it's not a frigate. Include the edited fission file in the Fed folder as well.

Romulan Birds of Prey

In the original treatment of Star Trek III, the Romulans were the villains. However, the execs overruled the writers and switched the bad guys to the Klingons, hence the Bird of Prey became a Klingon craft. To recreate the original ship, all you need to do is edit the weapon data in ShipData.txt for any existing (or new) Klingon Bird of Prey ship to match that of their Romulan equivalent. So now you can have a Romulan Bird of Prey with Romulan disruptors and plasma torpedos. The same can be done for a Klingon heavy cruiser to make it into a Stormbird class starship. Some may moan about canon and all that, but considering the game has the Dreadnought class, why not have ships from other sources such as the FASA games? One problem is changing the race designation of the individual ship, which changes both the ship icon (showing which weapons are powered up) and the style of menu. Alter the Bird of Prey race designation to Romulan and you get the icon for the Romulan frigate rather than the Bird of Prey. You do get the Romulan menu styles though. It's a trade-off. I stuck with the Klingon menu style and icon so that I could see what weapons were charged during gameplay.

Cloaking Devices

It is possible to give some ships and space stations a cloaking device. By editing the ShipData.txt file, you can enable this function. Change the Cloak Cost value from 0 to 1 for the specific ship and activate it when you need it. It does not work for all ships (Klingon Buoy, Klingon Starbase, Romulan Comm Array), but the Romulan Starbase, Vulcan Shuttle and USS Excelsior can use it. The AI Mode player ships do not use this option as such, but you can activate it manually and let the CPU do the rest of the fighting.

You can even cloak a planet!!! It is curious that not all Klingon and Romulan ships have the cloaking option enabled. Most probably, these are NPC ships used for window dressing in the game. Activating the cloaking options for all ships alters the dynamics of the game completely, as the CPU ships (e.g. Federation ships) will use it during battles.

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