Author Topic: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix  (Read 8774 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
tbh that setting interests me a lot more simply because it doesn't necessitate the use of fs1 ships
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 

Offline Lorric

  • 211
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
Yeah, a 25 to 30-mission campaign is far less likely to outstay its welcome the way a 50-mission campaign does.

You know, regarding WCS, some of the missions are extremely long, like 30-40mins. I’ve thought WCS would actually benefit from having more missions, breaking those big ones up into several smaller ones. It kind of kills the enthusiasm when you have to replay a mission you've just spent 30-40mins on then you die.

Unlikable, yes, distant, of course, all of these are things you would expect to see. But there's a difference between having such a character in your story, and having all characters be like that. When you write wingmen who will stick with you for some time, it's a really really bad thing if the player isn't given a reason to care about them. In BP, we tried to give the people around you distinct personalities so that you would care about them, their opinions and their eventual fates. WCS misses this crucial step (at least for me).

That noone around you seems to be willing to ackknowledge your skills and results is part of this issue.

Yes, I agree with this, really they're not all unlikeable are they, some are nice enough. But yeah, that "you're still a rookie" thing is grating. At the very end I took it to be some sort of running joke, but even if that is a joke, it still goes on far too long, and I would certainly appreciate that being put to bed.

Quote
Again part of the experience I got working on BP. In WCS, one of the first things said to you in the Prologue is "Look at all these capital ships. It's your job to protect them, they're way more important than you"; yet those same ships never really do much except catch torpedoes. That's something I feel should be addressed, it should be shown on-screen that there are good reasons why these things are still around.

Of course they were talking I think more about the fact you’re screwed without a carrier to land on, and the lives that will be lost if a capital ship is destroyed, not the military value of such ships.

So are you thinking more to rebalance the gameplay, rather than change the look of the models? Rebalancing the game would be number one for me. I actually rebalanced a lot of the missions myself, but this really only involved lifting the invulnerability from the ally ships, and then if necessary tinkering with the ships in the mission, adding or taking away ships on either side or adjusting AI levels. I never really did anything with the capital ships.

This tinkering showed me some glaring balance issues in the game. You’ve already hit on the capital ships, but the fighters are badly balanced too. Once you take off that invulnerability and see them pitted against each other, it becomes obvious that heavy fighters and bombers are king and the rest is fodder. The gap is so glaring that there would be no need to build anything but bombers. Bombers kill fighters and capital ships much more efficiently than anything else in the game. They’re packed with those lethal missiles, and have all the manoeuvrability they need to lock them on targets and even dogfight.

The campaign gives me the impression that fighters have somewhat obsoleted capital ships, and it's all about carrier warfare. Especially the part where
Spoiler:
Deathfang is enraged that his fleet is destroyed by the fighters from three seperate carriers, and he didn't get the fleet battle he wanted.
Carriers obviously have their role, and their lack of bite is understandable. I think for the most part the capital ships are just fine in terms of how much bite they have. It's just how fragile they are. Oh and get rid of that ability to fly inside them and gut them from the inside, that's a glaring flaw. I’d like it if that ability was closed off. Fighting from the outside, fighters have a hard time with capital ships, but bombers tear them apart, with one torpedo enough for lighter classes. It's similar fighter to fighter, one missile is enough to do for lighter classes. I would consider toning both of these right down (missile and torpedo power.) We have our homage to Wing Commander in Wing Commander Saga, so I would like it if this was optimised to be gameplay first, even if it meant tinkering with things and making it “not quite Wing Commander.” One thing, you’ve already talked about it is the waves, something Wing Commander basically runs on, sending waves and waves and waves at you, all the games do it. No game of this genre comes close in my experience to the blatant use of the concept of waves. Even though the navpoint thing does give you the illusion somewhat that it’s not just waves and waves, but you still get waves at individual navpoints. You could do away with/tone right down this waves thing in the remix quite comfortably and I‘d be surprised if there were any complaints.

Quote
The impression I get is that over the course of WCS' development, certain things were essentially abandoned when they were good enough, with not much in the way of feedback or internal review. They certainly did their homework with regards to testing these things to make sure the missions work, but I doubt there was much thought given to bugtesting, reviewing and revising the writing. These are all understandable flaws, but flaws nonetheless, and at least for me, they ruin a lot of the work and effort that went into this, like all those rendered briefings and stuff.

Hmmm, you’ll have more ability to make such a judgement on this than me. But this seems a much more fair-minded assessment than the lacklustre thing. I too was very impressed with the missions purely from a technical standpoint how much FREDding and testing must have gone into them is surely insane.

Quote
Blaise Russel demonstrated what you can do here, and I would really like to explore this concept in at least a few missions. My plan, as far as it goes at this stage, is to abandon the "single protagonist" campaign and go for a more multiangled narrative so that you can experience more facets of the war than just the fighter pilot's perspective. Being able to have input on mission planning, or even capital ship control, is something I would like to see (Of course, that's contingent on finding places in the story where such an approach would be appropriate).

This sounds interesting.

 

Offline MatthTheGeek

  • Captain Obvious
  • 212
  • Frenchie McFrenchface
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
You know, regarding WCS, some of the missions are extremely long, like 30-40mins. I’ve thought WCS would actually benefit from having more missions, breaking those big ones up into several smaller ones. It kind of kills the enthusiasm when you have to replay a mission you've just spent 30-40mins on then you die.
There's such a thing called checkpoints. You'd think that with the whole waypoint-based mission design, WCS would be idea for implementing checkpoints. But from what I've seen of WCS (ie everything and a half), reducing player frustration was low on their list of priorities, if not right on their list of things to actively avoid.

I too was very impressed with the missions purely from a technical standpoint how much FREDding and testing must have gone into them is surely insane.
Facts disagree with you. A simple playthrough makes it obvious that at least 90% of WCS mission design involves heavy amounts of copy-pasting.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 12:55:24 pm by MatthTheGeek »
People are stupid, therefore anything popular is at best suspicious.

Homeworld: Blue Planet     -     Help us help you     -     FSO Installer     -     BP extras portal     -     My legacy

666maslo666: Releasing a finished product is not a good thing! It is a modern fad.

SpardaSon21: it seems like you exist in a permanent state of half-joking misanthropy

Axem: when you put it like that, i sound like an insane person

bigchunk1: it's not retarded it's american!
bigchunk1: ...

batwota: steele's maneuvering for the coup de gras
MatthTheGeek: you mispelled grâce
Awaesaar: grace
batwota: oh right :P
Darius: ah!
Darius: yes, i like that
MatthTheGeek: the way you just spelled it it means fat
Awaesaar: +accent I forgot how to keyboard
MatthTheGeek: or grease
Darius: the killing fat!
Axem: jabba does the coup de gras
MatthTheGeek: XD
Axem: bring me solo and a cookie

 

Offline The E

  • He's Ebeneezer Goode
  • Global Moderator
  • 213
  • Nothing personal, just tech support.
    • Skype
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
WCS missions are a testers' dream, because there is so very little nonlinearity in them. Actually complex missions are something else entirely.
**** every cause that ends in murder and children crying. ― Iain Banks
Join the fun at the HLP IRC channel. Get the latest spam and gossip as long as it's fresh!

 

Offline Lorric

  • 211
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
There's such a thing called checkpoints. You'd think that with the whole waypoint-based mission design, WCS would be idea for implementing checkpoints. But from what I've seen of WCS (ie everything and a half), reducing player frustration was low on their list of priorities, if not right on their list of things to actively avoid.

Yes, checkpoints and dialogue skips alone, if you did nothing else to the campaign, would be a huge improvement.

I still haven't played a mission involving checkpoints yet, but now that my 3.6.12 problems are solved, I should get to that eventually. Someone (I think it was Axem, but I'm not sure) said that you can play individual checkpoints from the techroom, and if so, I'm all for it.

Facts disagree with you. A simple playthrough makes it obvious that at least 90% of WCS mission design involves heavy amounts of copy-pasting.
WCS missions are a testers' dream, because there is so very little nonlinearity in them. Actually complex missions are something else entirely.

Hm. I guess you can chalk that one up to my inexperience.

 
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
Yes, checkpoints and dialogue skips alone, if you did nothing else to the campaign, would be a huge improvement.

I've heard that dialogue skips at least were explicitly turned down, as sitting through dialogue was meant to be a punishment for failing the mission.
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 

Offline MatthTheGeek

  • Captain Obvious
  • 212
  • Frenchie McFrenchface
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
Like I said,
Quote
reducing player frustration was low on their list of priorities, if not right on their list of things to actively avoid.
Those guys simply fail basic game design.
People are stupid, therefore anything popular is at best suspicious.

Homeworld: Blue Planet     -     Help us help you     -     FSO Installer     -     BP extras portal     -     My legacy

666maslo666: Releasing a finished product is not a good thing! It is a modern fad.

SpardaSon21: it seems like you exist in a permanent state of half-joking misanthropy

Axem: when you put it like that, i sound like an insane person

bigchunk1: it's not retarded it's american!
bigchunk1: ...

batwota: steele's maneuvering for the coup de gras
MatthTheGeek: you mispelled grâce
Awaesaar: grace
batwota: oh right :P
Darius: ah!
Darius: yes, i like that
MatthTheGeek: the way you just spelled it it means fat
Awaesaar: +accent I forgot how to keyboard
MatthTheGeek: or grease
Darius: the killing fat!
Axem: jabba does the coup de gras
MatthTheGeek: XD
Axem: bring me solo and a cookie

 

Offline Lorric

  • 211
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
Like I said,
Quote
reducing player frustration was low on their list of priorities, if not right on their list of things to actively avoid.
Those guys simply fail basic game design.
Remember I talked about rebalancing some of the missions? Mission 24. You have to endure 5mins of chatter in that one before you even get started. It won't surprise you that I haven't done that one, I was just like urgh... and skipped past it.

This is something I thought about with regard to testing though. When the Saga team was testing mission 24, would they have had to sit through those 5mins every time?

 

Offline Dragon

  • Citation needed
  • 212
  • The sky is the limit.
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
I agree. Dialogue skipping and checkpoints are a must for the remade Saga. Checkpoints in particular should be easy, since WCS' mission format lends itself to them perfectly. Just save after each checkpoint is cleared, simple as that. That way, there'd almost nothing to store in variables (even ship positions can be fixed, it won't be noticeable at that point).

 
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
This is something I thought about with regard to testing though. When the Saga team was testing mission 24, would they have had to sit through those 5mins every time?

I guess skipping dialogue is something which, like cheats, they consider a 'developer tool' which must be removed before release.
The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

 
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
Well I think you guys hit the major flaw with Saga's design.  Take a look at a WC game, any even that fan made one I linked too earlier: there isn't a whole lot of dialog in mission during the action (some, granted, but not 15 minutes worth).  Any actual military would tell these guys to get off the radio and use it for essential conversation only.  In wing commander the story is driven inbetween missions and during the briefing. And of course the player has the option to ignore parts they don't want to sit through.  Instead the player must sit through hours and hours of unskipable dialog in mission to account for story, increasing mission length upwards to 40 mins (god forbid you die late in mission and have to sit through all that again.)  when the player should be playing the game. That is, after all, the whole point of the autopilot system, to be cinematic way to get the player into the action.  Immersion is one thing, but when it breaks logic and playability, it is rather unimmersive.  Too bad the writing is what it is.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 04:25:07 pm by Darklord42 »

 

Offline Dragon

  • Citation needed
  • 212
  • The sky is the limit.
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
Note, we're hitting an engine limitation here. There's no real way to do interactive out-of-mission cutscenes in FS2. They were always a huge part of Wing Commander, and without them, you need to find alternate, less immersive methods of telling the story. It's one of my major complaints about FS2, too. Aside from the mainhall, the rest of the ship could as well be nonexistent. That probably helped modding (cutscenes are difficult to make), but it takes away from immersion. While one could probably do a set of cutscene for each mission with a large enough budget, the amount of work needed for that is staggering. Also, they still wouldn't be interactive. Allowing that would probably require an immense amount of coding.

 
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
While true, it wouldn't be easy.  FS2 just wasn't designed with character driven story telling in mind.  And shoehorning it in the way WC saga does midmission just doesn't really work. It is annoying, illogical, and cumbersome.  Characters simply wouldn't say the same stuff while on the job in the cockpit that they would outside of it.  And despite FS logic, the person on the comm of capships isn't the guy in charge of the capship.  Comm officers are people, not ships!  They just don't stand there yelling on the horn while the bridge comes down around their ears.   (Diaspora suffers from this too)  Its all fine in FS2 but as soon as you start writing about people, you have to take these things into consideration.

A mod certainly has to get creative with the FS2 limitations.  Perhaps if saga stuck with the reading bits in between missions as in the prologue, only had a narrator and voice actors to play it out. With some decent sound editing for environment, that would have been enjoyable.   Also there are ways of doing cutscenes on the cheap, say Ace Combat style with Ken Burns type still images and voice acting under it.   Or modders can just get really creative with the briefings. Just something to get what you want across with out sacrificing game play.   

[EDIT]
Just wanted to point out, with these techniques you can  get a story telling style similar to WC2.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 09:50:13 pm by Darklord42 »

 

Offline Dragon

  • Citation needed
  • 212
  • The sky is the limit.
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
Agreed about the comm officer. In fact, that's one thing WC3 and 4 did better than most games and FS2 mods. Rollins (the Victory's comm officer) was a fully developed character, really likable and fun. Lt. Sosa in WC4 was also quite important (though she was more than a comm officer, justified considering the state of the Intrepid). In just about every other game, it's either as if the captain is speaking to you, or the capships are completely impersonal.

 
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
You know what would be a great idea for a mission in some campaign?  What if a capship com were disabled during a firefight, but the ship was still mostly intact and functioning? 

WC4 almost did this with the intrepid with the destroyed bridge. Perhaps the Comm Officer is injured and it takes a second for someone to respond.  One can think of a lot of reasons to make it real.  Take this one step further characters, being people and not ships, are fragile and can be killed without the whole ship blowing up.   Limitations in writing aren't only in Saga.  I applaud BTRL when you found the captan's viper and it was intact but she was dead in it.  Holy Cow!  It's like a first in a space game.  Although Wing commander did have it's share of characters be killed outside of the cockpit.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 09:14:03 pm by Darklord42 »

 

Offline Mongoose

  • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
  • Global Moderator
  • 212
  • This brain for rent.
    • Minecraft
    • Steam
    • Something
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
There are some things that can be done even with pre-existing FS tools to facilitate more out-of-mission character development.  The fiction viewer provides for readable long-form text passages, and if there was the ability to integrate animations or video into it, you could probably do some really creative stuff.  (I'll go ahead and assume that this would be a ***** to implement code-wise, though.)  You can even do a lot just with command briefings...if you set up an animation and play a corresponding audio clip, you have ready-made multiple-stage cutscenes.

 

Offline Dragon

  • Citation needed
  • 212
  • The sky is the limit.
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
Fiction viewer is the best we have for now. You could do extended inter-mission cutscenes since retail, but the amount of work required for making a WC-style "interactive movie" like that would probably be prohibitive.

 

Offline CT27

  • 210
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
Since we're talking about WCS plot issues (and I'd like to say that overall I loved WCS):  What did you think about Avatarr?  I could maybe see him doing what he did on ship, but to me it seemed he flirted with the women too much during actual missions (and sometimes it bordered on harassment).

 

Offline The E

  • He's Ebeneezer Goode
  • Global Moderator
  • 213
  • Nothing personal, just tech support.
    • Skype
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
I haven't looked at those parts yet, but given the general quality of the dialogue writing, I shudder to think about it.
This is definitely getting handled differently here though.
**** every cause that ends in murder and children crying. ― Iain Banks
Join the fun at the HLP IRC channel. Get the latest spam and gossip as long as it's fresh!

 

Offline Lorric

  • 211
Re: Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Remix
I haven't looked at those parts yet, but given the general quality of the dialogue writing, I shudder to think about it.
This is definitely getting handled differently here though.
You're going to hate Avatarr. With a passion. He's got a one track brain. Avatarr is my least favourite character.

But Avatarr shows up less than half way through, how far did you get? I thought you must have played the whole thing to make this thread.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 03:26:41 pm by Lorric »