Signature Weapons [3.2]
This mod aims to make weapon research a bit more interesting and to increase the individuality of empires while maintaining the highest possible level of compatibility with other mods and without dramatically changing how weapons work. All weapons have the exact same stats as they do otherwise, so all will be familiar. But what the mod does do is guide technological advancement based on what has been already researched.
This mod works fine on its own, but for even better results you can run it alongside either Smarter Ship Design (if you play in English) or Smarter Ship Design: International Edition (if you play in another language).
Each empire is considered to be entitled to researching 2 out of 5 normal weapon types (lasers, mass drivers, disruptors, plasma, autocannons), 1 out of 3 guided weapon types (missiles, torpedoes, swarmer missiles), and 1 out of 2 types of point defense weapons (flak or PD). Once you have that number of the weapon types in any technological tier any further weapon technologies of that type and that tier will have a 90% reduced chance to appear as research options.
For example if you research Plasma Throwers and Railguns you will have a reduced chance to draw UV Lasers, Disruptors, or Autocannons.
This will focus your weapon research while still allowing you to eventually unlock all weapons over time if you so wish, it will just take much longer and along the way your research options will be less cluttered with weapons you don’t need. This makes individual empires more unique, it makes reverse-engineering debris more significant, and it helps the AI to be more effective with it’s research.
In the unmodded game the AI will namely prioritize researching all the weapons it can, whether or not it will use them which leads to a lot of wasted research. And when the AI does use many different weapon types it’s usually in the worst possible combinations (such as putting a plasma weapon on a missile corvette or insisting on mixing lasers, plasma, and disruptors).
Theoretically this creates 60 possible combinations, but in practice the differences between many won’t feel that significant and not all are equally good or likely. It will actually feel more like the AI empires are using 5-10 different combinations, but that’s still enough to make the AIs feel a little bit more distinct than normal and the combinations should hopefully also be more efficient than what the AI otherwise uses.
There are a few additional changes:
- Rebalanced tech cost so most weapons are more expensive to research, though PD is cheaper.
- Whirlwind Missiles have been moved down from tier 4 to tier 3 and are now the same tier as Armored Torpedoes and Quantum Missiles. They’re the weakest missile type, even if they are PD-proof, so the benefit of choosing them as your missile type is an earlier power spike.
- Giga Cannon, Tachyon Lance, and Focused Arc Emitter are now tier 5 technologies instead of being tier 4. I felt the X weapon upgrades showed up too quickly after researching the basic variants and this delays them a bit.
- Kinetic artillery line now uses autocannons instead of mass drivers as the prerequisite.
- Particle launcher line now uses plasma instead of lasers as the prerequisite.
The idea is that each of the 5 basic direct fire weapons unlocks an advanced direct fire weapon and plasma and autocannons are more than just temporary sidegrades that serve no purpose in the late game. You will now need them if you want to unlock the full arsenal of late game weaponry.
This is a gameplay altering mod and as such it will prevent you from getting achievements.
The mod replaces only two files:
It will be incompatible with any mod that also edits these two files, but should be fully compatible with all the mods that don’t. It may also be effectively incompatible with a mod that dramatically alters how weapons work since the AI weights aimed to help the AI rely on certain assumptions, such as that missile weapons ignore shields. Finally, it may be partially compatible with some mods that edit the same file if you load it after the other mod.
To name two examples this mod is fully compatible with NSC2 (which doesn’t affect vanilla weapon technologies) but only partially with StarNet AI (which does). It’s compatible if you load StarNet AI first, but incompatible if you load Signature Weapons before StarNet AI.
I would be grateful if you could rate the mod with either thumbs up or thumbs down. If you rate it with a thumbs up and you really enjoy it, please consider also marking it as a favorite. If you like this mod you might also like AI Personality: Economic Flavor, a mod that makes the AI adapt its build plan to its ethics. You can find all my mods here.
I also created a Discord server