These instructions are out of date. The currently recommended solution is to use the FreeSpace Open Installer.
This installation method is based on using an online installer. The installer itself is rather small and the idea is that you get it running and it'll download all the components you choose and place them into appropriate places. In theory, the Installer should be able to resume its downloads, meaning that you do NOT have to download everything on a single run. If for some reason you must stop downloading, you can resume the download by repeating the same steps you took on your first attempt. The Installer will notice what files it has already downloaded and won't try to download them again.
Alternative methods include:
The (Noob Friendly) Guide to Installing FreeSpace OpenWiki:
Well, the wiki is here and will tell you everything you want to know, but I've summed it up here:
The FreeSpace series is quite simply in my opinion the second best hardcore space-combat SIM ever made after TIE Fighter. Yes, I did say ever
, like in the history of gaming as we know it.
Not only did it boast visuals that were at the time like being in some kind of film, it had one of the greatest, most epic story lines to boot. Nothing made you feel like you were fighting the greatest battle in history like this game. We're talking an engine that supported oodles of ships on screen at once without breaking a sweat, cruisers so big that you had to fly down the length of them for a minute or two before you got past them, and which fired Babylon 5 style beam weapons at each other while you sat there in your piddly little fighter. Added to this the atmosphere was immense... frequent comms chatter from allies giving a real feel of being part of something, and the constantly changing dynamic mission objectives giving everything a "wing and a prayer" feel. The sense of scale was (is) simply unparalleled in my humble opinion.
The reviews agreed: FreeSpace Roundup FreeSpace 2 Metacritic
Basically the story revolves around Terrans (humans) meeting an alien species called the Vasudans. The Terrans offend the Vasudans, and as a result, a war starts, lasting several years. After much pain and suffering a new threat arrives in the form of a xenophobic alien species whose sole aim is to exterminate everyone they meet, simply because err... they can. As a result the Terrans and the Vasudans stop fighting and start pooling their resources to fight this new enemy. Thus begins the 'Great War'.
Duh, re-read the first paragraph. Stunning visuals? Epic gameplay like being in a movie, possibly even better? A dogfighting engine and HUD/comms system second only to the greatest space sim EVER made? Intelligent and clever AI that behaved exactly like it was supposed to? We are talking about gaming history here, you owe it to yourself to play this, you owe it to the creators of the game to play this, and by God you owe it to your children and your childrens children. Ahem.
- Ok ok I get the message... but aren't they a bit old now?
Well, yes and no. You see, a community of fans dedicated a significant portion of their free time enhancing the now open-source game engine of FS2 into a "bells and whistles" epic, OpenGL-capable version that not only significantly upgrades every ship model, planet etc etc in the game... but even runs like a dream both in widescreen resolutions (I use 1680x1050) and using AA. Concourse and briefing screens/sequences are still in low res but if this bothers you then you are quite frankly a plank, and should be worrying about the in-game bits instead.
Let me stress again that you can not only play FreeSpace 2 in extreme graphical goodness, but also the original FreeSpace and Silent Threat expansion pack with the help of a mod known as FSPort. Hell, Silent Threat has even been completely revamped and re-written to make it the campaign it should have been in the original game. We're talking new missions, new scripting, new voiceovers. Epic.
- Do I need anything special to play?
- OS: XP, Vista, 7, Linux or MacOS
- OpenGL capable GPU (Shader Model 3 recommended)
- CPU: Anything respectable made after 2003
- Joystick (not required): (proper one preferred) or X-box 360 pad
- HDD space: a few gigs
- Alright, I'm sold. So what do I do?
Right, I will attempt to provide as a simple guide as I can to getting all this up and running as painlessly as possible... follow the guide below to get yourself in space-combat bliss: ------------------------------------------ Step-by-Step Installation Guide for FreeSpace Open (Windows) (it's really not difficult): Required!
for your operating system. If you are a Windows user, download the file named "oalinst", extract it and run the exe. Click "Yes" or "Next" once, the "Finish". That's it.
There's no need to be concerned about installing OpenAL. It is just an open source audio API developed by Creative. It will not do anything evil and won't break anything.
This is required, and is all you need to purchase to play all three games. Though it would be appreciated if you bought all the games for the sake of clear conscience. If you have a half-decent internet connection and a paltry $5.99/game to spare, then head right over to Good Old Games now and buy them, safe in the knowledge that not only is it one convenient to use install file (no CD's) and DRM-free, but that it will run on Vista just fine and dandy.
- 1) Get a legit copy of FreeSpace 2:
Install it to to wherever you like, but I recommend C:\games\Freespace 2 if you want minimum effort and not have to do anything really complicated like change an install path when you install FSO. (Moderator person's note: anything under \Program files\ can be tricky with Vista/7, so yeah, C:\Games\FreeSpace2\ or something like that is a good option.)
- 2) Get a copy of
Turley's Turney's Turrey's Turkey's Trey's Turey's FreeSpace Open Installer (and learn to spell it, dammit!):
It's the Win (Zipped .exe, 19 MB) link at the top of this thread
Once it's downloaded, run it, and click Next, then point the program towards the install path of your FreeSpace 2 installation. The default is C:\Games\Freespace2, but if you changed it to something different then you'll need to do the same here so that everything is pointed towards the right place.
Click Next again and it will now give you a choice of options of what the program will download. Click "The Works: Absolutely Everything" if you want to get the full benefits of all this. You can also select what components you want to download, but remember: if you want the new eyecandy, make sure the MediaVPs are selected.
Click "Next" again and you'll see all the options ticked. Click "Next again to start the download process.
The updater will then go away to the internetz and download every component it needs to update the game, and install it for you too. It WILL take a while, so leave it to run for an hour or two or however long it takes until the log displays "Done" and the "Next" button becomes selectable. Congrats, you've just installed FreeSpace Open. :D Good, now we're almost there.
- 3) Initial configuration and Launcher update:
Woo-hoo, you're almost there, all that's left now is to spend a few minutes ensuring we are using the correct 3.6.12
executable, and then configuring the engine using the updated 5.5f Launcher
which should be in your FreeSpace 2 installation directory.
Go to your \freespace2\ directory and now open Launcher.exe. Create a shortcut on your desktop to make things easier in future. Once it's been opened you'll see a bog-standard Launcher.
At the moment the Launcher may be set to use the older 3.6.9 version of the FSO game engine, and we want it to be running the newer 3.6.12.
To do this click the "Browse" button at the top of the launcher and it will open up to your root directory. Scroll down to where the "fs2_open_3_6_12....exe
" executable is and double-click it to set the Launcher to point to the 3.6.12 build sort of like in the screenshot below. Make sure you pick the one that has an "r" instead of a "d". "d" means debug and those exes just aren't meant for actual playing. 4) Graphics/MediaVPs configuration for maximum eye-candy:
Thanks to this thread
If you opted to download the MediaVPs, they should be located in \freespace2\mediavps\ . This is how we'll use them:
Click the "MOD" tab of the Launcher and click the "Select MOD" button. This will open an explorer window. Locate the "mediavps" folder and highlight it then click "OK" like in the screenie below: Some boneheads seem to think that you should move the MediaVPs from \freespace2\mediavps\ to \freespace2\ so that life would be easier. Feel free to ask any seasoned HLP member why this is stupid and should not be done. -- Jeff Vader------------------------------------------ IMPORTANT CAMPAIGN INFO: The main FreeSpace 2 campaign is the one enabled by default. If you want to start from the very beginning of the FreeSpace 1 campaign (and I see no reason why you wouldn't) then you need to use the "MOD" tab on the launcher and select the original campaign using the instructions below:
Simply click "Select mod", select "fsport-mediavps" folder from the list, and click "OK". Then start the game, create a new pilot, go to the Campaign Room and select the FS1 main campaign. Voila. When you are done with the original campaign and want to try "Silent Threat: Reborn", follow the instructions in this thread
. Note that you should have ST:R already installed so there's no need to download anything. When you're done with both of those and want to play the daddy, FS2, then simply change your current mod folder to "mediavps" from the Launcher, as we've done before. ------------------------------------------
Now to finish the rest of the settings and get all the graphics options set in the launcher:
First set the basic resolution and engine... Select OpenGL (though this shouldn't matter since the FSO engine uses OpenGL regardless of what is selected with the Launcher). Mine are currently as follows:
Now click the "Features" tab and use the drop-down box to select the different aspect of the settings, like in the screenshot below:
Under "Graphics", enable:
- Environment Maps
- Normal Maps
- Lighting to Missiles
Enable everything under "HUD"
Under "Gameplay" enable:
- Use Models For Ship Selection
- Enable 3D Warp
- Enable Flash Upon Warp
That's enough for the Features tab. Now go through the other tabs and set all the rest of the stuff that you'll need to get sound and joystick goodness etc, you know the drill. ------------------------------------------ IMPORTANT PILOT PROFILE INFORMATION: I am told that using the same pilot profile across different mods can can cause erratic behaviour in-game. Go to the pilot selection room from within the game and click the "Clone" button to create a duplicate of your pilot profile, and rename it to reflect the mod you are running (eg: RICHDOG FS1), and do this for each mod, ensuring you load the correct profile each time in each different mod. ------------------------------------------
How to get Freespace 2 Multiplayer working FAQ and Guide
- 6) Configuring Multiplayer:
- 7) ZOMG that actually wasn't too painful... is that it?
Err, yes basically. All that's required now is to launch the game and configure it for how you want it. There may be a few detail settings to max, and remember that all campaign/options screens that are not in-game look like the originals, ie: low-res. You get in the game and that's where the difference lies.
Also remember this is a hardcore space-sim, so there are a LOT of controls to master and configure, though to start with you can get by with the core basic shoot/targeting/comms options for a good few missions until you really start to gel with the game and then start hungering for more. ------------------------------------------ That was awesome! Are there any MODS?
Yeah baby yeah... there are mods... quite a few actually FreeSpaceMods.net's downloads section
(some as yet unreleased) very briefly that I personally consider suitably epic and that I'll definitely be keeping an eye on:
Babylon 5. With the FSO engine. Yes, think large beam weapons and awesome looking ships. This does not require a FreeSpace 2 installation, it is completely stand-alone. It is now at final release and looks simply awesome, but I think the devs would have liked to polish it a bit more but never really got chance to before the project reached an end.
I downloaded the "DVD Install" just so that I got all the extra goodies, user-made campaigns, missions etc and just installed the lot. Make sure you get Zathras too, if you start installing TBP! Screenshots Video 1 Video 2 Forums here
Epic, epic mod... and again completely stand-alone. These guys are basically converting the re-imagined TV series to the FSO engine, complete with a re-written physics engine to emulate the ships in the series, and some BADASS models. Think the most epic moments of BSG (Finding the pegasus, fleets of baseships firing nukes while supported by swarms of fighters, the hwole shebang).
There is currently only a demo of this on the site, but the full release is most definitely live and well, and is scheduled for some time pretty soon. Screenshots Video 1 Video page on youtube Forums here
Wow how did I miss this one? Awesome looking TC, the screenies look VERY impressive. This could well be the FS2 TC to end all FS2 TCs! Screenshots Videos (old) Forums here
Another one I forgot to post originally... this is another TC that has been given a LOT of love. Those of you who were gaming in days of yore will remember Wing Commander as one of the grand daddies of space sims, and this looks to be very faithful to the original concepts. Screenshots Videos: Forums here: ------------------------------------------
Well that's it... I'm spent. Even if this guide only sucks in one or two people to this awesome game then I will consider my work done. I hope the guide helped to make the process as simple as possible, and if you have any questions please let me know.