Author Topic: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)  (Read 770 times)

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Offline Firesteel

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Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
After my lovely vacation of cramming an entire season of theater into a week, here's 20 minutes of me obsessing over the Shivans and why they're so goddamn good. I only get up to Pandora's Box but I hope I point out some things that'll shake up the rest of Freespace 1 (which it did for me after I finished writing it :P). I will warn you, about half of this is talking about Out of the Dark, Into the Night (and I got 2 sets of playthroughs of the mission in there because of that). I also decided to have a few of the Ancients' monologues in there untouched to some degree (and mjn.mixael fantastic work on the redone cutscenes btw) so let me know what you all think of that.

Also Goober, I hope my extolling of Paving the Way's virtues lives up to your expectations.

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Offline Luis Dias

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
Wooooooo

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
Cool. I've been looking forward to this. I'll watch it in a bit.
Karajorma's Freespace FAQ. It's almost like asking me yourself.

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Offline Admiral Nelson

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
The evil of "Paving the Way" was that every user made campaign thought therefore that they needed at least one asteroid busting mission... ;)
If a man consults whether he is to fight, when he has the power in his own hands, it is certain that his opinion is against fighting.

 

Offline Firesteel

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
Even Freespace 2 didn't escape this :P

Actually Freespace 2's general mission structure is very similar to Freespace 1 though you won't really notice it without directly comparing the two on a per mission basis.
Current Projects:

- Ongoing analysis of games through video segments
- A short campaign inspired by a certain command briefing animation

 

Offline Goober5000

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
Even Freespace 2 didn't escape this :P

Nor did the original Silent Threat. :)

This is an excellent video.  I like the way you elucidated some of the aspects of the Shivans' introduction that most of us only recognized on a subconscious level.  I had appreciated the fact that Paving the Way stretched out the number of missions where you're nearly helpless against the Shivans, but I hadn't recognized some of the other points, such as the mission being a nice "boring" contrast to Out of the Dark, Into the Night.

(As an aside, setting up an ebb and flow of frenetic/temperate missions is something we tried to do in ST:R.  Apparently I had consciously learned the principle by that point.)

 

Offline Snarks

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
I've always argued that Freespace 1's writing and plot was excellent. Sure, the actual writing might be a little wonky compared to Freespace 2, but the game really does a good job of creating dread, which you've so noted in your videos.

 

Offline Firesteel

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
Thank you all for the kind words!


@Goober: I haven't played retail Silent Threat in years. I don't even remember if I beat it on account of how insane the final mission is.

What's actually a little funny with Freespace 2 is that the ebb and flow is less present from what I can remember. But since FS2 doesn't do anything like in Out of the Dark, Into the Night, :v:  didn't need to slow down that much. In a few months when I get to Freespace 2 the Shivans' reintroduction might wind up being just as long a video :P

@Snarks: Freespace 1  has a fairly standard plot at the absolute macro scale and even without Jason Scott writing for them at that point they managed to execute unbelievably well on what they wanted. A lot of the finer points of world building are left at the beginning but with what the Shivans are, the complete shift over to them makes sense. Freespace 2 opens up a lot and goes further with that pessimistic view of humanity, something I'll be talking a lot about with how Freespace 2 opens.
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- Ongoing analysis of games through video segments
- A short campaign inspired by a certain command briefing animation

 

Offline Goober5000

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
@Goober: I haven't played retail Silent Threat in years. I don't even remember if I beat it on account of how insane the final mission is.

It really is a rubber-band-on-the-trigger mission.  The Hades has 8x the hitpoints of an Orion and you have to destroy it with (for all intents and purposes) a single fighter or bomber, after having already destroyed an Arcadia. :rolleyes:  The entire reason ST:R was started was because of that mission - the original plan was to replace that mission and just polish the existing missions.

Quote
What's actually a little funny with Freespace 2 is that the ebb and flow is less present from what I can remember. But since FS2 doesn't do anything like in Out of the Dark, Into the Night, :v:  didn't need to slow down that much.

FS2, interestingly, takes an entirely different approach that nonetheless accomplishes the same effect.  With the switching from squadron to squadron, it's like a bunch of 3- or 4- mission minicampaigns strung together.  Also, these minicampaigns alternate between NTF missions and Shivan missions.  The conclusion of each minicampaign produces the same sort of satisfaction and contrast without necessarily requiring a change in mission intensity.

(The Vasudan section, being 9 missions long, blurs these distinctions somewhat, but still contains mini-arcs and alternating NTF/Shivan missions.  Then the 5-mission Blue Lions minicampaign is an extra-long sprint to the finish.)

 

Offline Firesteel

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
It's sad how horribly rushed retail Silent Threat was. It had a bunch of good ideas but, especially with the last mission, it's pretty clear they had no time to test and revise compared to FS1 and 2. But hey, HLP made one of the finest campaigns available because of that and added some great stuff to it!

The mini-arcs were overall a great decision both giving the squadrons some actual personality and a way to have more consistent stories. Freespace 1 sort of had this but it was a lot messier. Small Deadly Space, Avenging Angels, and Out of the Dark, Into the Night are a micro arc about the Avenger but they don't have quite the same continuity as the  Suicide Kings missions for example. If anything I wish you had 2 arcs per squadron since you get transferred around so much.
Current Projects:

- Ongoing analysis of games through video segments
- A short campaign inspired by a certain command briefing animation

 
Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
We need to get these videos some attention on a super-high traffic site, I'm loving the analysis so far and it deserves some outside-community attention!
"Do you plunder?"
"I have been known to plunder..."
"I refer ye t' darkstar one, one o' th' newer big budget spacers - it's lack o' variety were bein' insultin', an' th' mechanics weren't polished at all.  Every time a title like wot comes out, it pushes th' return o' th' space shooter genre further down th' sea." - Talk like a pirate day '09
"Hope for the best, expect the worst." -Heinlein

 

Offline Firesteel

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
Well thank you! YouTube is technically a high traffic site but I don't have a big enough channel to do much about it. I'm trying to grow the thing (hence pushing up some more Dark Souls content I've had on the back burner for months) but it's slow going. Part of the problem is it's video content and getting any game site to look at video content sucks and plus I don't have many connections to bigger channels, constant trying with Extra Credits be damned.
Current Projects:

- Ongoing analysis of games through video segments
- A short campaign inspired by a certain command briefing animation

 

Offline Goober5000

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
Maybe try contacting SpaceGameJunkie or even Volition themselves.  I'm sure both would be interested in these videos.

 

Offline Firesteel

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
Thanks! I'll try SpaceGameJunkies. I think once I get to the Silent Threat stuff I'll be linking to their Freespace staff podcast since it has some nice nuggets related to ST's development. I hadn't thought about Volition but since Jason Scott and Adam Pletcher are still there among other staff members it might be worth a shot, and hey, it might be nice for them to see someone over analyzing stuff from going on 20 years ago.
Current Projects:

- Ongoing analysis of games through video segments
- A short campaign inspired by a certain command briefing animation

 

Offline Goober5000

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
FreeSpace staff podcast?  Where is this?

 

Offline Firesteel

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
Here! It's with Adam Pletcher, Mike Kulas, Jason Scott, and David Baranec. I think it was originally for Freespace 2's 15th anniversary.

Current Projects:

- Ongoing analysis of games through video segments
- A short campaign inspired by a certain command briefing animation

 

Offline Goober5000

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
Excellent!  I had not seen this before.  Will add it to my playlist.

 
Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
Oh, for sure - what I meant was a site that could drive traffic toward your video series - slashdot or GiantBomb or Polygon.  All it takes is for one editor to have a slow news day...truth is, youtube sucks for discovery on its own.
"Do you plunder?"
"I have been known to plunder..."
"I refer ye t' darkstar one, one o' th' newer big budget spacers - it's lack o' variety were bein' insultin', an' th' mechanics weren't polished at all.  Every time a title like wot comes out, it pushes th' return o' th' space shooter genre further down th' sea." - Talk like a pirate day '09
"Hope for the best, expect the worst." -Heinlein

 
Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
Listening and watching this while I work and it's been well done so far. :D

 

Offline Firesteel

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Re: Analysis Part 3- Rocks are Good (and Some Stuff About Shivans)
Hope it met your expectations! (exceeding them is cool too)
Current Projects:

- Ongoing analysis of games through video segments
- A short campaign inspired by a certain command briefing animation