My friends, there comes a time in every man's life when he must choose between making a good first impression and actually releasing something this decade.
That time has come. Presenting: the first fourteen missions of The Mantle!
This is what I'm going to call a preliminary release, because that sounds slightly better than "beta". It means that I've checked it over reasonably thoroughly, but nobody's looked at it except me and I can't completely guarantee that it won't shatter into a million pieces when you touch it.
- Playable character: Amenophis! A calm, experienced Hammer of Light pilot who is kind to his subordinates, and enjoys murdering civilians by the hundreds!
- A surprising number of sentry guns!
- A mission that's actually improved by being set in a nebula! (It's also two and a half minutes long, which helps.)
- Blob turrets that aren't terrible, because their ROF has been increased by a factor of ten! (Yeah, yeah, Procyon Insurgency already did that. But I bet they did it by modifying the tables, rather than by manually using turret-set-rate-of-fire on every turret on every ship in every mission! Pff, casuals.)
- Long arguments about esoteric fictional theology!
- A Bethesda-tier collection of bugs, probably, because I'm the only person who's tested it!
- Biblical references from the Neon Genesis Evangelion school of symbolism!
- A story that isn't nearly as comedic as this description would indicate!
- A medical ship named the Whorehouse!
This campaign uses Blue Planet Complete as a base, so you'll need to have that installed. And the 2014 MediaVPs, by extension. I created and tested it in 3.7.4 and 3.8.0 -- mostly 3.8.0 -- so I would recommend using one of those, if for some reason you weren't to begin with. That should be all you need to run it.
It is highly recommended that you have ingame text-to-speech enable while playing The Mantle.
The Hammer of Light is reborn. A mere fifty thousand souls; a drop in the bucket of galactic civilization -- but enough. Enough to make a desperate strike, unprepared for the consequences. Lost upon unknown sands, trapped with an armada of gods...drop the scales from your eyes, and fight for survival and faith.
Cleanse the night.
Well, my screenarchery leaves something to be desired, I think, but here you go.
A single Vasudan destroyer, alone and in uncharted territory.
The HLD Apocalypse, shrouded in fog, fends off attackers.
A fierce dogfight in a mysterious ship graveyard.
HoL craft evade the enemy near a red giant.
STATUS AND KNOWN ISSUES:
So, this is my first time releasing anything even approaching this size. I have a feeling I might be doing something incorrectly, such as not bug-testing adequately. As for issues, there's one potentially big one: I attempted to run through the campaign with a debug build, but near the end of the first mission, I received an error that caused the game to stop working when I attempted to use the debugger. (For the curious or helpful: the error was "sexp_val != UNINITIALIZED".) I wasn't really able to figure out what was causing it or find any information regarding the error, but it didn't seem to cause any issues when using a normal build, so I carried on (perhaps unwisely).
This campaign is subject to the FSBlue gameplay and balance tweaks. This means that it uses their version of the Prometheus R, which is buffed to be about on par with the Subach. If you're wondering why I felt the need to point that out...well, you'll see.
Oh, and there aren't any briefing icon animation things. Because...who designed that system, and why
? What was going through that person's head? Did he harbor an intense hatred of me personally? Anyway. Either I'm severely misunderstanding something, or it's preposterously convoluted and fiddly, and I don't want to deal with it right now. So you're just going to read for now; I apologize.
Should be standard procedure. Download the file, extract into FS2 directory, possibly remove the extraneous shell folder if whatever program you're using created one (i.e. it creates a Mantle folder, which contains a Mantle folder, which then contains the actually data folder and so on. Zip file Matrioska dolls. If you leave it like that, the game won't be able to read it properly.), then just select Mantle from the mod list and you're good to go.
As mentioned, I used Blue Planet as a base, so credit goes to the BP team for all of that. I didn't use many game assets -- the models are 99% retail -- but the gameplay tweaks are present, and I made use of the soundtrack in leiu of anything more project-unique.
We needs it. We thrives upon it. The more detailed, the better; I'm very very eager to find out what you guys think of this.
So, this is somewhere between one-half and one-quarter of the full Mantle story. I stopped here for now because this was as far as I could go using FRED alone, without making any edits to the tables or using any new assets. I intend to continue working on it, perhaps immediately -- I'd like to add someone to the team; I'll post development and help-wanted threads once I've gotten some early feedback from here, and/or extinguished the apocalyptic code-fires my terrible troubleshooting abilities are likely to cause.
I didn't want to make too much of a fuss or ask anybody to join the project until I had something concrete to show, which is why this hasn't been beta-tested properly yet. Anyway. Download it, play it, have fun if you can, tell me what you think. Simple!