Dark Nova 4

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Dark Nova 4 Mod for SEIV

Alt text
Dark Nova 4 Intro screen


This Mod is all about diversity!! The basic game play is essentially the same as stock SEIV. This opens up the options available to players with the introduction of several key aspects. Over 90 Unique techs, additions to racial techs, racial cross-over techs, racia/unique cross-over techs, almost 70 Mounts, FQM Deluxe, and 162 vehicle sizes!!


Dark Nova mod began as a group effort after playing a stock SEIV game called Dark Nova on the now defunct original PBW system. Dark Nova game was originally created by The Admiral and was a successful game that ended with everyone at maximum tech levels. This resulted in huge ship battles where everyone's ships were almost identical. It was just a matter of who had the most ships would win a battle. A group of us looked at this and thought of ways to increase the available options within a game.

Version History:

Dark Nova 2: DN2 was just a massive increase in ship/unit sizes, related research areas and a slightly modified Intel Project progression. The original inspiration for the increased ship/unit sizes came from Andres Lescano's Ultimate Vechile Sizes Mod. DN2 included 65 levels of ship construction as well as troops,satellites, bases and fighters. As well, a few smaller changes such as a shorter range for warp point openers, reduced ability for Quantum Reactors and a new Planetary Shield Base facility were added.

Dark Nova 3: DN3 made several improvements and streamlined the Ship/Unit size research areas. Key among these changes was the breaking out of the various ship types into their own research area. Additional levels of some standard techs were added (cargo, small weapons) as well as the integration of Draco's Event Mod and another Intel-type events mod (sorry, lost track of the author) into DN3. Events were also modified so that there was a much higher rate of lower catagory events than High and Catastrophic. Ground combat was also beefed up making planet capture significantly more difficult. A modified version of DeathStalkers Mount Mod was incorperated along with custom mounts for various ship sizes.

Another improvement with DN3 was the inclusion of Unique versions of various Racial technologies. Though not as powerful as the racial versions, these options greatly increased the options available as well as massively increasing the number of Unique technologies. The ImageMod was also incorperated into DN3 as well.

The Cloak/Sensor system took a major overhaul in that each sensor could only detect a single type of cloak. All sensors/cloaks were increased to level 9. This created a situation where you could have a type of cloaking device (one for each sensor type) that worked against one opponent but might not against another, depending on what type of sensors they chose to research.

Dark Nova 4: The current version of the mod has gone through 28 revisions to correct problems that were discovered. DN4 also materialized the current gridded tech tree for shipsize research as well as adding multiple levels of all Unique technologies. Racial and Unique cross-over technologies were added as well as multiple alternative resourse extraction facilities. DN4 also saw the introduciton of fully functional AI's for all the stock races. Many enhancements were made to already entered features such as several mounts specific to various ship sizes to maintain usefulness of some of the smaller hulls as well as different damage types for warheads and several fighter weapons and point-defense options.

DN4 also introduced Space Yard Enhancements through the Advanced Resupply Centre facility. Though to use them required special application. Lower level Resupply Bases can be upgraded to Advanced Resupply Centres which would give a modest boost to an existing Space Yard's construction rate. To build them, a planet must have a Space Yard already in place and a lower level Resupply Base had to be built first THEN upgraded.

Fyron's FQM Deluxe was integrated into DN4 along with several new type of Unique hull types reflecting racial hulls (Organic, Living, Crystal and Crystalline hulls).

Colony modules, technology and hulls received some special treatment which made it so that it was slightly more difficult to built colony's for a type that was not native to your race. This was done with special "scaled" mounts for colony ships. Multi-Colony Module types were also added.

Another interesting addition was Ship Shells. Shells are intended to be an outer coating on a hull that gave a specific benifit to that ship. Only one was allowed per ship and they used special Scaled mounts which changed the kt size of a shell dependant on the size of the ship hull.

New and advanced propulsion systems were also added radically increasing the research options for ship propulsion.

Key Features:

  • More ships/Unit sizes. 162 in total
  • 70 Mounts
  • 90 Unique tech levels
  • Racial and Unique Cross-over techs
  • FQM Deluxe, ImageMod and Neo-Standard shipsizes compliant
  • Alternative Resource Extration facilities
  • Expanded propulsion tech tree with advanced options
  • Scaled Mounts for Ship Shells (hull coatings) and Colony Modules
  • Improved fighter combat options and weapons
  • Racial Cross-over techs and Unique Cross-over techs
  • Redesigned sensor/cloaking system

DN4 has several unique items added that bear special note:

Unique Features

CHON Factory - Taken from one of my favorite book series, 'The HeeChee Chronicles', The CHON Factory ship hull (Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen) was a huge mobile base able to process asteroids to produce the basics needed for food production, Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen. I made the CHON Factory as a dedicated remote resource extraction hull, able to extract some resources with abilities built into the hull. By adding dedicated Remote Resource Extractors, CHON Factories are able to provide a substantial amount of Remote Resources.

Orbital Fighers - A Basic Unit available at the start of the game. Orbital fighters are 5 kt fighters that have built-in combat movement but cannot have any engines. As a result, they cannot move in a solar system at all if launched. Designed as a planetary defense unit.

Zero-G Troops - A very small figher hull designed to represent armoured troops with jet packs that can be launched in battle. VERY difficult to hit but can only be mounted with infantry weapons.

Organic/Symbiotic/Living Hulls - Organic racial traits have organic equivilant to standard hull sizes, which can slowly heal damage taken. There is a Unique Tech that grants Symbiotic Hulls to non-organic races. Basically a smaller version of the racial hulls. Living Hulls are what results when an Organic race finds Symbiotic Hulls. This gives a special hull that is a living ship and functions as part of the crew, reducing crew requirments.

Crystalline/Lattice/Ceramic Hulls - Crystalline racial traits have a crystal equivialnt to standard hull sizes which can channel some damage back into the ships shields. Lattice hulls area a unique tech equivilant. Ceramic Hulls are what results when a Crystalline Race finds Lattice hulls. Very strong hulls.

Deep Space Array - A special satellite that provides a small amount of Intel points. Designed to represent a deep space network of navigational, communications and spy network.

Tugboat - Special hull available at the start of the game. It is a very small Space Yard ship that has SY abilities built into the hull. Very good to have at the start of the game, but become out dated as soon as standard Space Yards can be built on larger hulls.

Orbital Research Facility - Special Base hull used to represent advanced research labs built in orbit around a planet. Generates Research points.

Unique versions of Racial Techs & Enhanced Techs - Many of the various Racial technologies have been made into weakened versions of Unique techs. Not as powerful as the racial versions, they sometimes give an extra edge to an empire as well as increasing available options. If a race that has both the racial trait and finds the unique version of a racial tech, they will have available an Enhanced version that is even more powerful.

Individual cloaking devices for each Sensor Type - Each of the sensor types has been broken out into their own sensor and cloak device. What's more is that each sensor level has been increased to 10 levels. This has the effect that one type of cloaking device may work well against one empire's sensors but may not work at all against another, depending on what type of sensors they chose to research.

Racial Infantry Weapons - Small hand-held versions of racial weapons have been added to all racial traits that have weapons in order to improve the use of Infantry troops and Zero-G Troopers.

Different Sizes of cargo and supply storage components - For the simple reason that with the much increased hull sizes, it can take a lot of clicks to add cargo and supply storage to ships. Both type of components now have a 40 kT, 20 kT, 10 kT, 5 kT and 1 kT option. Also, because of all the mounts, often ships have an odd number of unused kT that can now be filled with cargo or supply storage.

More PD weapon options - New Point-Defense weapons, researchable under different weapon tech areas, provide more options to ship designs. Some are better against seekers, some better against fighters.

Solar Sails/Laser Sails - Solar Sails have been changed so that they are now damaged like Armor, representing their fragile nature. Laser Sails are more advanced and are Not damaged like armour.

Base Space Yards - Bases have their own Space Yard components. Better than the ship-mounted ones, but more expensive.

New Talismans - Addition of several new Talisman types. They have been broken into 2 types: Major (very powerful and expensive) and Minor (weaker versions but still very useful) Only one Talisman of either type can be put on a ship but they provide different tools, such as radically reducing maintenance or increasing sensor/scanning ability to incredible defensive bonus or the infamous Alwasy Hit ability.

Airlock component - Available at the start of the game. Provides no cargo space but can launch one of each type of unit per game turn.

Shells - Using Scaled Mounts, a system of Ship Shells has been added. Various different types of shells are avialable that do different things to the ship they are mounted on. The larger the ship, the larger the Shell component will be.

Tech Grid Propulsion Research system - Propulsion Technology now grants access to different, more advanced forms of propulsion. A low Tech start will give large Chemical Rockets. Very large and use large amounts of supplies. Research into Propulsion will grant new tech trees that will lead to Stock Engine types (Ion, Contra-Terran, etc), Stellar Propulsion (Solar Sails, Laser Sails), Nuclear propusion types and eventually Advanced Concepts.

Cybernetic Research - Still a work in progress, this tech tree is suppose to represent options available to cybernetic research. Seems a bit over-powered and is in need of some work still, though fully functional now.

Expanded Resource Extraction options - Homeworlds all begin with massive Resource City facilities. Huge equivialants to standard resource/research facilities but provide much more per facility. Standard resource facilities have been increased to 10 levels. Starting levels are much lower but at highest levels they produce more than in Stock. Also added are Hybrid Resource facilities. Slightly less effective than normal facilities, each type of Hybrid resource extractor (Mineral/Organic, Mineral/Radioactive, Organic/Radioactive) also provides a special ability.

Advanced Resupply System Facilities - At higher levels or Resupply Tech, Resupply Depots can be upgraded to Advanced Resupply System Facilities. These provide a maintenance reduction to all ships in the system but also provide a small increase to the planet's space yard construction rate. **SPECIAL NOTE** Because of the way Space Empires IV handles Space Yard constuction, a lower version of Resupply Depot MUST be built first and then upgraded to Advanced Supply system to get the bonus Space Yard rate. Further, if an Advances Supply System facility is built on a planet that does NOT have a Space yard, the planetary built rate will be REDUCED, not increased!

Mounts researched via Theoretical Tech - DN4 has over 70 mounts available. Some are available at the start of the game, some are available only with certain hull sizes. Most of the special mounts are available via Theoretical tech research. Theoretical Techs have all been increased in levels but decreased in cost for balance purposes.

Colony type Racial Trait system - Though not unique to DN4, it bears mention that when creating a race for Dark Nova 4 Mod, you MUST select the 0-point racial trait for the planetary type of your race (Ice, Rock, Gas Giant). Dark Nova 4 uses a system that makes it easier for rock planet races to build rock colonies but harder to build Ice and Gas Giant colony modules and vice versa.

Previous Game Empire Names - The Empire and Emperoro name files in the mod have been added to after every Dark Nova PBW game to date. As a result, Dark Nova 4 now sports a very unique and full list of Empire and Emperor names that have been provided over the years by actual players.

Tech Tree

Coming soon.

Creating Dark Nova 4 Compatible Shipsets

(This Tips sheet was put together by Rutger. Thanks for this. And I hope it helps! -bearclaw)

Dark Nova is configured to substitute alternative images for incomplete shipsets, so a stock shipset may be used. A neo-standard shipset will serve better, displaying more variety of images. You could leave it at that, however there are MANY additional class variants in Dark Nova and in putting together a dedicated shipset it's a question of how far you're willing to go.

An easy way is to take an existing neo-standard set (assuming it's complete) and make a few adjustments:

  • Empirename_Portrait_Resourceship.bmp is not used in Dark Nova, and can be renamed to Empirename_Portrait_Tugboat.bmp for a suitable fit. (Also rename the related mini portraits.)
  • Barge.bmp (not used) can be renamed to TugboatLarge.bmp
  • CarrierMassive (not used) becomes Behemoth.bmp
  • ResourceStation is unused, and good for OrbitalFacility or CHONFactory (or both).
  • TroopInfantry is not used and should at least be duplicated and renamed to both TroopInfantryLight and TroopInfantryHeavy.
  • TroopHuge is not used, and can be duplicated and renamed to both TroopHuge1 and TroopHuge2 (more on troops below).
  • Some sets will have images for DMH, Starliner, Cutter, Juggernaut, Jumpgate (etc) which may be suitable for Dark Nova classes.

That should get most people an acceptable Dark Nova shipset. For the brave and foolhardy among us, read on...

Ship images supported

Classes are shown in size order, using the image filename. Classes in [brackets] are specific to Dark Nova and not present in Neo-Standard shipsets. It isn't necessary to provide extra images for all (or any) of these ships, but here they are:

Warship Hulls

[ScoutLight], Scout, [ScoutHeavy] [EscortLight], Escort, [EscortHeavy], Corvette [FrigateLight], Frigate, [FrigateHeavy] [DestroyerLight], Destroyer, DestroyerHeavy LightCruiser, Cruiser, CruiserHeavy, Battlecruiser [BattleshipLight], Battleship, [BattleshipHeavy] [DreadnoughtLight], Dreadnought, DreadnoughtHeavy, [DreadnoughtWar]

Carrier Hulls

There are MANY carrier classes...

CarrierTiny, [CarrierPocket], CarrierLight, Carrier, [CarrierStrike], CarrierHeavy, [CarrierFleet], [CarrierSuper], [Behemoth], [MothershipLight], [Mothership], [Mothership Heavy], [MothershipHuge], [MothershipMassive].


And bases...

[OrbitalFacility], [CHONFactory].

[SpacePlatform], SpaceStation, [SpaceFortress], BattleStation, WarStation, Starbase, [UltraStation], [MegaStation], [GigaStation], [Superbase].

[BaseshipLight], Baseship, BaseshipHeavy, Worldship

Colony ship Hullss

[ColonyShipSlug], [ColonyShipLight], ColonyShip, [ColonyShipHeavy], ColonyShipLarge.

Transport Hulls

TransportTiny, TransportSmall, TransportMedium, TransportLarge, [TransportHuge], [TransportMassive], [Freighter].

Unique Tech Hulls

There are images present in RaceGeneric which will be used by default, but if you want something matched to your set, you'll need to include the following:

[ScoutOrganic], [ScoutCrystal], [EscortOrganic], [EscortCrystal], [CorvetteOrganic], [CorvetteCrystal], [FrigateOrganic], [FrigateCrystal], [DestroyerOrganic], [DestroyerCrystal].


The three standard weapon platforms are adequate, but if you want to finesse it, the images supported are: [WeapPlatformTiny], WeapPlatformSmall, WeapPlatformMedium, [WeapPlatformStandard], [WeapPlatformHeavy], WeapPlatformLarge, [WeapPlatformHuge], and [WeapPlatformMassive].

Same goes for fighters. Stock has 3 sizes (s/m/l), Neo has 5 (s/m/l/huge/massive) which are all supported, and Dark Nova has 11. At minimum one should include [ZeroGTrooper.bmp], to go further you'll need the following (additional to Neo-standard): [FighterOrbital] (5kT), [FighterFly] (10kT), [FighterTiny] (12kT) -- all smaller than Small -- and one very large (50kT) [FighterSquadron].

Troops will substitute well enough into the 3 stock sizes, but the Neo-standard TroopInfantry and TroopHuge will be ignored (see above for recommendations). If you want to go all the way, the supported images in Dark Nova are: [TroopInfantryLight], [TroopInfantryHeavy], [TroopSmall1], [TroopSmall2], [TroopMedium1], [TroopMedium2], [TroopLarge1], [TroopLarge2], [TroopHuge1], [TroopHuge2].

If assembling or building a set from scratch (rather than adding to an existing one), remember to include portraits and minis for the following: Drone, FighterGroup, Fleet, Mine, Minegroup, Satellite, and SatelliteGroup. And of course: race_portrait, pop_mini, pop_portrait, BigExplosion.bmp, Shields.bmp, and Main.bmp (extra nerd-brownies for your own custom flag). :)

A quick and dirty way to recolour images to match, is to tweak RGB balance (always reduce so as to preserve the black background) until you get something close.

List of DN4-compliant Shipsets

[Sethillan Imperium] http://pbw.spaceempires.net/shipset/SE4/sethil - Star Wars Imperial shipset with custom race pic and flag. Artwork done by Andres Lescano.

[Bartellian] http://pbw.spaceempires.net/shipset/SE4/bartelian - A more or less "normal" shipset. Originally a Neo-Standard shipset modified for DN4. Artwork by Strategia In Ultima.

[LNAW] http://pbw.spaceempires.net/shipset/SE4/lnaw - League of Non-Aligned Worlds. Art supplied by several different contributers. End result is a very diverse shipset with lots of variations and little to no over-arcing theme/style.

[Brotherhood] http://pbw.spaceempires.net/shipset/SE4/brotherhood - "Mutant Chronicles" inspired shipset. All artwork by Nomis. A very clean looking shipset with a very well-defined theme throughout. No custom AI.

[Chitin] http://pbw.spaceempires.net/shipset/SE4/chitin - Unique organic/insect style shipset. All artwork done by TauCeti Deichmann. No custom AI.

[Tau] http://pbw.spaceempires.net/shipset/SE4/tau - Fully expanded shipset based on shipset. Compiled and added to by TauCeti Deichmann. Fully compliant with DN4, Adamant Mod and Eclipse Mod with appropriate working AI for each mod included.

Full Version History

Coming soon.


Original DN Team

bearclaw :Main modder, DN-compatible SW Empire shipset
Dead Meat :Playtester, backup modder, DN-compatible LNAW shipset
Flatline :Playtester, de-bugger.
The General :Playtester, Intel modder.
BeeDee10 :Playtester

Additional Team

Aiken :AI modder, playtester, de-bugger.
Chris_Tann :Playtester
Ed Kolis :de-bugger, playtester
Captain Kwok :feedback and suggestions
Strategia_In_Ultima :created custom shipset for DN4 mod
Atrocities :feedback and suggestions
Rutger (Simon) :de-bugger, playtester Drone Plague Warheads
normlphil :feedback and suggestions/originally thought of colony-mount options.
TauCeti Deichmann :de-bugger, playtester, balance issues
Will :suggested additions Separate Shields into different families./Alternate propulsion system

Other Modders

(Sources for inspiration and various components incorperated)

Andres Lescano :Ultimate Vehicle Mod Highly drawn from/original source for gridded shipsize tech tree
DeathStalker :DeathStalkers Mount Mod Modified to match expanded shipsizes.
Draco EventsMod :Altered so that Low events x10, medium x5, High x2 in frequency than Catastrophic
Admiral :Admirals System Mod Added Giant and Titanic planets.(since removed and replaced with FQM)
Imperator Fyron :Ultimate Stratigies Mod Stratagies and Formations.
Journe Highliner Mod :Balanced Cultures.
Imperator Fyron :FQM Additional Quadrant types
Suicide Junkie :Pirates & Nomads Racial Crossover techs.

See Also

Coming Soon.

External Links

Coming soon.