What would it take for Nomads to be FAF's 5th Faction?


What would nomads need to be worthy? Some said nomads would never become ranked. As many of us may be aware, most of the FAF userbase plays campaign and solo skirmish. With all Nomads has going for it after 15 years of development, including extensive co-op campaign missions, it's time to embrace Nomads as FAF's official 5th faction.

I am in no way attached to any specific aspect of the nomads faction, every single unit could get reworked and I would personally be happy simply that there is a 5th faction. An amazing job has already been done, and every bit of polish that continues to be added is a massive boon. I'd like to see nomads campaign at the very least integrated, as needing to jump through hoops to play it greatly reduces it's exposure, and thus potential to become better.

I wouldn't dream of suggesting that nomads in it's current state should be simply thrust into ladder, it clearly needs work, but maybe it wont get that without a drastic change of circumstances. Whilst an additional side brings balance challenges, it also brings opportunities to enhance balance, given more room to work with. Considering a mod to play vanilla supcom balance on FAF exists, im suprised a vanilla 1v1 ladder doesn't exist. Integrating nomads into FAF does not require changing any existing ladders. A dedicated 5 faction ladder could exist when Nomads is ready.

The vast number of Youtube videos coverying Nomads suggests that this move could be well recieved by the casual community.
Gyle's 2020 interview with exotic retard is especially noteworthy and a must see. Gyle sure would be pleased with Nomads as FAF's 5th faction.

I look foward to everyone sharing their opinions and perspectives.
Live long and prosper, and may the Force be with you, always.
Please be as critical and passionate as possible.
Thank you for your time and consideration.

Generations ago, the Earth Empire deported a group of separatists across the galaxy. After what seemed like an endless amount of time, the huge transports reached a remote desert planet in a spiral arm far away from the old Empire. Removed from their home, they became a legend and the last remaining records of their existence were lost in the Infinite War. While the UEF, Aeon, and Cybran fought over the remains of the Earth Empire, the separatists adapted and regained their strength. Resources were scarce on their new homeworld, and the deported began to build a large fleet to seek out more. The Nomads were born.

The Nomads used their fleet to conquer neighboring species, and forced them into submission. Scavenging the technology and resources of their victims, the Nomads learned to manipulate time and space on a level far superior to anything the Earth Empire and its descendants had ever seen. When the first prototype of a quantum fluctuation drive was successfully tested, the Nomads knew the time of their return was close.

The new FTL drive allowed them to strike at will and without warning; they were no longer forced to rely on Quantum Gates to travel long distances. The Nomads kept raiding the systems in their spiral arm of the galaxy increasing their numbers and strength and nurturing their wrath on the successors of the old Earth Empire. After traveling a millennia the Nomads are at the doorstep of their old foes. They have only one objective: Exterminate!
  • To-Do list for the balance team is alrdy way too long aka it'll take 1-2 years until the base game without Nomads is gonna be balanced

  • If majority of ppl are against it, then you can't implement it anyway -> Hard to tell since you could waste months/years of balancing them just for them to not get added into the game

  • Can't tell anything about the units since I don't rlly play Nomads but I remember upgrades like Orbital Bombardment just utterly broken and you'd need to nerf the shit out of quite some units of that faction (primary what I've heard)


@sladow-noob I wouldn't be opposed to a perpetual beta, what's another 15 years?

Community interest really is the deciding factor.

All of the nerfs, and then some more, would be completely justified.


I look foward to everyone sharing their opinions and perspectives.

I'll share you mine as the lead of the game team that would be responsible of integrating it, only then the balance team comes in and tries to balance it. All of the mentioned issues are those that I collected over the year of people asking me the same question. There are likely a lot more when we would start integrating it.

What would nomads need to be worthy? Some said nomads would never become ranked. As many of us may be aware, most of the FAF userbase plays campaign and solo skirmish.

I've got some numbers for you, these are from 2022 as a whole:

Players per reason why game is unranked (note the AI section)

message num_unique_players num_player_games
No results were reported by peers 59,358 933,257
The game has at least one AI 40,380 384,982
An unacceptable mod was used 38,986 844,815
Valid 34,953 2,535,854
Game was too short (probably had a technical fault early on) 34,326 368,491
Too many desyncs 21,657 137,612
The game was FFA 16,757 125,076
An unacceptable map was used 16,349 107,452
Unranked by host 15,282 99,677
Unacceptable unit restrictions were enabled 14,922 154,352
Coop is not ranked 13,122 137,427
The game had unbalanced teams 9,670 38,441
Team were unlocked 8,018 20,851
More than two teams. XvXvX+ games cannot possibly be ranked, for the same reason that FFA cannot 7,757 24,997
Cheats were enabled 7,199 33,099
Difficulty was wrong 6,423 40,789
Only assassination mode is ranked 6,040 13,198
Expansion was disabled 3,612 31,125
Prebuilt units were enabled 3,086 6,334
No rush was enabled 2,771 6,283
Fog of war was disabled 2,090 4,486

Players per game type

name num_unique_players num_player_games
FAF 75,094 5,135,790
Coop 27,517 568,697
Nomads 22,100 186,907
FAF Develop 7,770 51,735
Xtreme Wars 7,571 48,641
FAF Beta Balance 6,475 29,067
Phantom-X 3,812 18,151
Murder Party 1,452 2,864
King of the Hill 1,301 3,127
Claustrophobia 1,282 2,548
LABwars 494 1,071

With thanks to @Sheikah for running the data. Given these numbers we should work on:

  • The base game
  • AI-related functionality
  • Co-op

And then Nomads maybe next, depending on how you interpret the data. Luckily we are working on the base game and AI-related content already - soon with the navigational mesh all maps will have a decent marker setup available. At some point this year I'd love to look into co-op too and maybe even produce a few missions of my own.

For those that are unaware: Nomads is ranked, all game types are. Therefore it is just not part of the matchmaker.

Technical issues

Let us start with numbers, and specifically about framerate. I'm not sure why but the game runs poor at best when you have 4 Nomad AIs ditching it out against each other. It has been an issue on Github since June 2020. The framerate would usually be at 200+ it is at around 20 - 40 with Nomads:


Fixing just this issue is likely not trivial and the solution will likely have a large impact on on the visuals of the faction.

A lot of code in Nomads is not written to perform. It is written to function. That is fine, but in order to not lose some of the performance we gained over the last year we'd need to spent just a few months improving the code base before we can even start integrating it.

Sound and visual issues

Then we move on to the general feeling of the faction. All of that is of course subjective, but there are some issues that I'm sure we can all agree to.

  • A lot of (sound) effects are not on par with the existing factions
  • A lot of units are not on par with the existing factions, take the land factories:


  • A lot of naval units feel unfinished. The only unit that feels complete to me is the Frigate. All the other units either lack the 'wow' factor, or are simply not made for the part:


  • A lot of units lack LOD1 or further, which is bad for your framerate
  • A lot of effects are visible for too long, which is bad for your framerate
  • I'd argue that a lot of units lack the baked-in ambient occlusion that some of the base game units have, causing the units to look flat:



Everything takes time. Integrating Nomads properly would quickly take more than a year with the issues mentioned so far. And all of that, instead of:

  • General gameplay improvements, like the improved terrain deformations
  • Better graphics for the base game, like the pbr project
  • General improvements to performance
  • Navigational mesh so that AIs can play on any map
  • Introduction of new features
  • Fixing bugs
  • ...

We'd be delaying all of that for a project that is barely touched upon by the community: only 85K games according to the data. In comparison to co-op it is nothing, let alone when you compare it to AI games in general.

But don't get me wrong - I do think the project is epic. Some units and effects are really well made. And that is why it is a featured mod, one that is ranked. That is on-par with any other game mode, such as the FAF game type that everyone plays.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned


@jip Fair points, and well made.

Nomads isn't much less popular than 1v1 ladder, and with co-op being as popular as it is, Integrating nomads campaign seems like it should certainly be a priority, even if nothing else gets intergrated. The current hoop jumping required to install and play nomads campagin is grossly prohibitive to the casual player.

more context for the 2nd chart would be greatly appreciated, especially the half million no results reported.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


it would take gas powered games coming back and getting the supreme commander IP back, then integrating the mod into the game themselves

this game is forged alliance, not nomads, it should never be mandatory to have them in the game which is what you are asking for, you can already play with the mod if you want, why do you want to force everyone else to have to?


Nomads was never completely finished and its active development is in a permanent hiatus, because the head dev went to go work on Sanctuary. Funnily enough there is a faction in that game that very closely resembles the halfway completed Nomads remodels, so that's where all the time and energy needed to finish this mod is going. Not the end of the world, and Nomads is still very fun and playable, but still a bit too buggy and unpolished as of now to fully integrate imo

put the xbox units in the game pls u_u


The main thing about Nomads would be to finish all the models, textures, effects and sounds.

The code should be better than what the first iteration was.

Balance should be ok, all the major changes that got introduced to FAF were added to Nomads as well.
There are couple of issue, like the mentioned bombardment upgrade. And maybe some other upgrades, as those were suppose to change with the new ACU model.

So as it looks like now there is currently not enough people in the community with the required skills who would like the Nomads enough to finish it. And until all that is done, I guess there is no point of discussion implementing Nomads.


@mach im not asking for mandatory nomads, just tigher integration, which at the very least would eliminate any hoop jumping currently required to play the nomads campaigns. no changes to ladder would occur, and disabling/enabling nomads would remain as easy as it currently is.

@Zeldafanboy i 2nd your motion to put the xbox units in the game. And yes, buggy and unpolished/unoptimized does seem to be the main problems.

@speed2 here's to another 15 years of improvements. maybe this thread will inspire new contributors to join the project. fingers crossed.


Every game I played would have Nomads, until recently. The bugs are too much as of late. Games don't finish even if every unit is destroyed, ACU orbital bombardment 2 is just broken shield towers being destroyed but still exist, nothing is getting fixed. I love the idea, the faction is extremely interesting and I can deal with poor polish, but the bugs that prevent proper gameplay is depressing.


@cunnismeta said in What would it take for Nomads to be FAF's 5th Faction?:

@mach im not asking for mandatory nomads, just tigher integration, which at the very least would eliminate any hoop jumping currently required to play the nomads campaigns. no changes to ladder would occur, and disabling/enabling nomads would remain as easy as it currently is.

what you are saying (and the thread's title) sounds like you imply that nomads should, with whatever amount of development and balancing, eventually become a faction equal to existing original ones (uef, cybran, aeon, seraphim) where they are already considered a norm to have in every game to point where someone can just select them as a faction by default in any lobby they join, rather than an optional mod for those who all want to play with it to do so, I don't want to at one point join an unmodded lobby and see someone having nomads selected as their faction and have to ask "can we please have a normal game with no modded factions" despite it being shown as an unmodded lobby

I wanted it make it clear that (imo, I have no say in anything) they should always be a mod, if you make it as easy to play with them as other factions, those who want to play unmodded game will have to go out of their way to play the "normal" game they all know and like

I don't have anything against nomads itself btw, nor against making it easier to play the mod (no hoop jumping) or making the mod itself better, but it should always remain that, a mod, something optional, and asking for "tighter integration" can easily slip to being mandatory part of base game even for those that don't want to play with it, making them jump through hoops to play without it


@speed2 said in What would it take for Nomads to be FAF's 5th Faction?:

Balance should be ok, all the major changes that got introduced to FAF were added to Nomads as well.

Factionally it wasnt balanced at all though. Iirc t1 land was absolutely nuts with a hover lab, 2 different main tanks where 1 was basically an aurora and 1 a striker, and a unit that mixed t1 arty and aa into 1.

On the other hand the t4s were very weak and i think their t3 land was underwhelming as well.

Dont really remember much more since i didnt play it a lot, but it would require a lot of work before it would work balance wise


@mach yes, eventually, but not before it's ready. After another 15 years of balancing and polishing if that's what it takes.

Using unit restrictions to disable a whole faction is a single click. Unit Restricting entire factions is a WAY smaller hoop to jump though than joining Nomads discord, downloading the campaign, editing files in "C:/Program Data/FAF". and then editiing settings in FAF. Campaign integration ASAP is a no brainer, most everything else im sure will come to pass in good time, even if it takes another decade, or two.

For everything other than the campaign, it's as accessible as it needs to be in it's current form. And even as a mod, maybe it could have it's own ladder, but it's clearly not ready. Personally I would be entertained to see a SCTA ladder, with and/or without the other 5 factions, I'm sure other's would be horrified by that notion, and yet more others would be as entertained as myself.

I think nomads is really cool, I'd hate for anyone to be forced to play as something they don't like... I personally dislike seraphim.... though i've developed a soft spot for their nothas..... I honestly have no idea what any of the buildings are when I look at them in the build menu... I avoid playing them like the plague. Eventually as Nomads' balance and polish becomes truly of the same standard as the official factions, does the faction choice of your opponent really matter?

And again im certain there is some audience who would be happy with a 'vanilla' supcom ladder, just as im sure in time, a nomads inclusive ladder suplementing existing ladders will be appreciated by some portion of the community.

No one would be forcing anyone to play with nomads, no more than anyone is forced to play survival , pvp, or coop. Having to select Nomads from the featured mod list is perfectly acceptable, however there is one major limitation not yet touched on, other featured mods cannot be played with nomads. Phantom with nomads would be cool, though from what I read in another thread, looks like PhantomX is now a sim mod? im sure there are other featured mod combinations that might also be cool. Maybe enabling support for multiple concurrent featured mods is the solution.

It seems everyone agrees Nomads "has potential" and "is cool" but that 'jank'.... oh no the horrors of the jank "run away..." and fair enough. I wouldn't want my match ruined by broken bullshit either. Ideally this thread will result in a very long list of every single flaw nomads has. Clear direction for future Nomads maintainers to move forward with will certainly benefit the project.

The performance issues @jip mentions IMHO are way worse than any balance issue, it's worse than turning on RTX in cyberpunk, way worse. Like wow thats bad. not even with your 10 foot pole bad. Though not quite 2006 single core 2ghz during the beta bad.

"I demand campaign", nothing more. The rest is wishful thinking with great respect for everything that has already been accomplished. Nomads needs as much critical feedback as possible. I'm sure a mock ladder and accessible campaign will certainly generate some. Could a nomads inclusive ladder exist whilst remaining a mod?


I don't know if Nomads is going to developed day in and day out until 2038...

put the xbox units in the game pls u_u


I mean I don't care if nomad campaign gets put into the coop tab. It just isn't good for competitive games. Up to devs to think about the work in implementation and whether that warrants doing it.


I don't mind integration of nomads campaign (idk why it isn't yet), nor making it easy to play nomads with other mods (featured mod system imo makes things harder like you explained), nor anything else about improving it


@cunnismeta said in What would it take for Nomads to be FAF's 5th Faction?:

Using unit restrictions to disable a whole faction is a single click.

no one would be forcing anyone to play with nomads, no more than anyone is forced to play survival , pvp, or coop

by having to use unit restrictions, you are forcing everyone to play with them, I already explained why it shouldn't be a base faction, but here is more detailed example

current situation:

  • those that want to play nomads: use featured mod to host the modded lobby or join existing one
  • those that don't want to play nomads: host normal lobby or join existing one

with your proposal:

  • those that want to play nomads: host normal lobby or join existing one (such difference?)
  • those that don't want to play nomads: host normal lobby, then go into options, unit restrictions, disable the entire faction, probably unranking the game because you can't have restrictions in ranked, or join normal lobby, check if it has nomads off, ask host to disable them if not, host probably disagrees or doesn't care and you are playing nomads anyway

effectively it creates massive friction to play normal game if nomads are just another vanilla faction, they have to be kept as an optional mod and the current mod system is fine for that (it would be better if it was just a normal sim mod instead of featured so you can play other featured with it), host a lobby, enable the mod, FAF makes it really easy to join modded lobbies without having to do anything more than joining the lobby, and mods can be ranked

so for tiny more convenience for nomads players by making nomads available as a faction by default in all lobbies, those who don't want to play with nomads have to jump through more hoops to play a normal game than nomads players have to to play the modded game even with current system

(off topic? comparison) I see this exact same problem in minecraft, microsoft keeps adding things to vanilla version with every update, things that already existed as mods before (and were done better in mods than by microsoft, but that's even more off topic), things that players had option to get before if they wanted it, or not if they didn't, but now that they are added to the base game, they have no choice, they have to deal with new additions, previously mods, if they don't want these new things they have to go out of their way to remove them by adding mods that remove those features, just to play the game that it originally was, and these are not mere rebalance things such as playing an earlier balance patch in FAF, but entire features and systems that change the gameplay significantly

so even if all jank is fixed and nomads runs as smoothly as vanilla factions with 100% balance, it should still be a mod, a faction that doesn't exist in base game should not be in base game because you are forcing everyone else to have to deal with it for minor convenience of those that do want the mod

all else about nomads, like I said, I don't mind, but having it on equal grounds as base game factions is unacceptable, it is a mod and must remain so, the base game is of paramount priority

sorry for essays


also offtopic comparison, dota and lol add new heroes and items all the time, their additions enrich the greater potential for balance. dota2's introduction of talents again gave more room for balancing. with a 5th side actively considered for the overall balance of the meta, even if no one chooses it, it's affect on balance will still exist. i see this as a good thing, and i can empathise with those who do not. it is truly a double edged sword and i believe in the long term it is worth it.

speaking of microsft... halo infinite as seasonal content update for MCC would have avoided the entire mess they've got on their hands... halo5 crossplay splitscreen... i love when all the things get added, and cry when they dont... but what a mess. FAF does a good job of avoiding messes. FAF actually gets things done.

I've been in plenty of Nomads lobbies where no one picked nomads. I think statistically this is the most likely scenario. In most matches most people wont pick nomads, well no more nor less than any other faction not getting picked in an 8v8. And this is the pvp context for my personal appreciation of nomads, it adds more flavour to the chaos, without getting silly like blackops and mayhem.

We must remember that ultimately FAF is viewed by many as just a mod. Arguably the greatest supcom mod. I view Nomads as one of the crown jewels, it just needs to be cut and polished.

How about nomads as a lobby option, disabled by default?

Love the essays, keep them coming 🙂


That would require loading Nomads content every game, for basically no reason


@deribus are unused assets really loaded into memory?

it would certainly make initial installation of FAF take longer.


@cunnismeta said in What would it take for Nomads to be FAF's 5th Faction?:

We must remember that ultimately FAF is viewed by many as just a mod

it may be viewed as a mod, but last I checked, as a mod to continue the support of the original game (supreme commander: forged alliance) and improve it, not change what it is as if it is some kind of unofficial sequel or fan game/spiritual successor, unless it changed, the point of FAF, as I understand it, is to make the base game the best it can be, you can't do that if it is no longer the base game, these additions (mods), however amazing, must remain completely optional

and it is not an excuse to deviate "because we are already technically a mod, so it doesn't matter how far from original we decide to change it" nor should what people see FAF as change what it is, I can't check, but I think many more people come to/stay on FAF not because of how far it deviates from original, but because of how close it manages to stay to it while improving to the point where the game is unplayable without it, I know I do, nomads (or any other modded faction) just can't fit into that no matter how good it is, because it wasn't in the original game (SC:FA) and thus should remain optional

before you mention units that FAF added, those were added (again afaik) because of existing gameplay necessity (t3 maa) or other kind of improvement of some aspect of existing gameplay (engy mod), nomads aren't needed for gameplay, they are a completely optional addition that base game doesn't need to function, they may be great and all but they are great as an optional mod, not as part of base game

FAF does a good job of avoiding messes.

this is why

In my opinion the "crown jewel" of FAF you speak of shouldn't be what it adds into the base game whether you want it or not, but what it allows to be added to modded games if you do want it, but the base game should remain base, a crown can be taken off