I hope this is the appropriate sub-forum:
Spilt from planetary specials thread.
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Which leads to another question: "how extensible is FO supposed to be?"
I haven't found discussion of this topic. Some elements, like much of universe creation are highly changeable from a text document, but the number of planet types and the position on the EP wheel is hardcoded. If FO was supposed to be highly moddable without a recompile, arguments like, "There are effects that can add specials... Therefor the UI needs to support it" would be more powerful, because it's hard to guess what a Babylon 5 Mod (for instance) might do with specials.
If somebody has a lot to say about extensibility please start and/or link to a new thread.
I think the way to think about it is that game content and balancing is very moddable, but the basic game mechanics aren't. It's easy to add buildings or techs or specials, or to change the distribution frequency of star colours when generating a universe, or (in future) the power and other characteristics of weapons and other ship components. However, it's not easy to remove the concept of starlanes from the game, or to add/remove planet environment types or star types or add/remove resources from the economic model. These latter things are what the above game content is defined in terms of, and is thus hard-coded... If this distinction is hard to see from a the perspective of someone who hasn't played around with the code or scripted up some game content, I'm not surprised... though I'm not sure how to describe it more clearly.
I'm quite familiar with using/editing text files to mod game content. I'd agree that keeping content accessible, and the core game-mechanics is a good plan. I disagree that planet/star types need
to be defined in code. I'd guess it's more likely a stop-gap measure, than a purposeful choice. It's certainly not a coding necessity. The core game-play, rules and interface are not effected at all, if a modder could change it to 30 planet/star types or just 3. I'd like to see other content aspects available outside of the code, like the pixel widths of the various planet sizes in the sidebar. Even though we're a long way from needing it, i'd like to do a modest EP-wheel for gas giants, with some variation of size, to make systems look better (3 gas giants in a row, all exactly the same size looks very unnatural).
I'm not trying to bust on the coders for not having done this yet, i'm just arguing that it would be a good thing.