Ironclad made some very considerable changes to modding possibilities in Entrenchment, and I decided to throw together this post to encourage modders both new and old to take advantage of these things.
The Huge Stuff
Manifest allows for stacking of mods, meaning the game basically merges mods for you. It is a priority system so higher priority mods override lower priority ones if the same things are changed.
Before, anything in the mod folder was checksummed which meant that no mod could be played in MP without every player having the mod. This is no longer the case. Only the GameInfo and Mesh folders are checksummed, allowing for visual-only mods to be played online without everyone needing them. With Manifest, it also makes it cake to run these mods along with others.
Each game version now creates its own mod folder in the user path. That means you don't have to worry about having a mod launching on startup when updating the game, since the new version will not care and not try to load an older version mod. It also keeps them nicely organized, especially between Vanilla and Entrenchment mod folders.
The Big Stuff
- Ships can use fighter attack physics
- Ships and structures can use "upgrade" meshes to change appearance linked to research or upgrades (for starbases)
- Weapon unlocks can now be tied to research or upgrades. Meaning, ships/buildings can be set to require research before they are allowed to fire a weapon
- Ships can be set to engage multiple targets for each of their banks (FRONT, LEFT, RIGHT, REAR)
The Smaller But Still Cool Stuff
- Ships can now have 5 abilities (up from 4). Capital ships and starbases with their level-up/upgrade UI buttons cover the 5th ability slot, but an ability can still go there.
- Carriers are now allowed to host up to 4 different strikecraft entities (up from 2).
- Strike craft squads can now use some abilities. AoE-only, I believe.
- Ships can now be set to attack only structures, if desired.
- Many new ability/buff dynamics: percentage damage/antimatter drain, frontal shielding, sucking up debris, etc.
- AI retreating threshold can now be changed.
I'm sure I missed something, so feel free to post any additions and I'll update the list. And, a big thanks to Ironclad for continuing to expand modding possibilities!