Modding, Mission Design, and Coding > The FRED Workshop

[Dev blog + Updates] Blue Planet: Mote in the Sunbeam

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A campaign in the Blue Planet Continuity

We sifted the clues from silicon, blood and smoke.

We saw the shape of the enemy in history's shrapnel: the rebel Galactic Terran Intelligence's nightmare research. The corpse-choked corridors of Bosch's Iceni. The half-century-old screams of a doomed pilot who could feel the Shivans chasing him.

When Bei's silver ships complete their mission and they see what we have ordered, they will call us monsters. They will cry out our sins: irrational evil, thoughtless aggression, monstrous and arbitrary cruelty.
But MORPHEUS must proceed.

Over a decade ago, community member Darius released the seminal Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius. Astounding players and inspiring storytellers, Age of Aquarius fused torrid monomyth with psychospiritual mystique.

AoA's sequel, War in Heaven, stunned fans with Mooreian military scifi, liminal cosmic horror and profound character drama. Gnarly FRED wizardry met engine-pushing experimentalism in a mod that shattered the standards of community created freeware.

Blue Planet: The Battle Captains  took the capital ship command mechanics introduced by WiH's third act to a crescendo. DilmahG's exemplary The Battle of Neptune combined classic Blue Planet battle-of-Endors with contemporary FRED  and Voice Acting talent.

These achievements inspired a generation of modders and creators. In their own way, they've inspired Mote in the Sunbeam.


A fully voiced fannon campaign bridging the narrative gap between Blue Planet: Age of Aquarius and Blue Planet: War in Heaven. No half measures here - the mod will only release when MitS's gameplay quality meets expectations. 

Each update will be released as self-contained 10-mission narrative arcs. There will be no critical cliff-hangers to avoid act one syndrome.


Why: I'm a fan of worldbuilding and extensive character narratives. Blue Planet provides a pre-existing universe primed for character-rich storytelling.  Mote in the Sunbeam is the cumulation of  seven years of personal script writing experience and a passionate reverence for the original work.

How: The HLP of the 2020s offers creators a plethora of models, knowledge, and, most importantly, LUA scripts.  With these tools, one creator can create SEXP logic that once required an entire team - or a tertiary education in mathematics.  In short, the FRED of the 2020s contains enough tools to enable grander ideas on a smaller timescale. There's never been a better time to work on a Blue Planet paraquel.

Mote in the Sunbeam is the tale of a universe in metamorphosis. By the time War in Heaven starts, the UEF and the GTVA have irrevocably crossed the event horizon. Their respective societies are already far removed from the enlightened humano-spiritualists of Earth, and the principled defenders of the Beta Aquilae convention.  We already know the destination - it's time to explore the journey.


The Mission balance, vessels and factions.  MitS is attempting to recreate Blue Planet's tone, atmosphere and narrative voice without replicating the storybeats.

The occasional cameos, hero ships and characters from Blue Planet canon will occur throughout the story. These will be few and far between to avoid minimising the perceived scale of the universe.

Hud icons and cockpit audio FX  have been imported from DilmahG's Battle of Neptune to maintain a consistent atmosphere.


Mote in the Sunbeam takes gameplay minigames and plot devices introduced by War in Heaven and morphs them into interactable mechanics.  Much-loved SEXP chains have morphed into running gameplay logic appearing in each and every mission.  EWAR, Beam Jamming, AWACs and SIGINT have been reworked as dynamic elements of the battlespace. Shape and control the battlespace by sniping radars and communications subsystems. Boost and jam warhead and beam guidance at will - but be careful - the AI plays by the same rules.

Squad-based AI intelligence. Kill wingleaders to demoralize the enemy and lower the effectiveness of hostile wings. Mission-crippled hostiles will attempt to retreat. Be vigilant - retreating strike craft and warships can reappear later in the mission or campaign.

Diegetic forces tracking. The forces you destroy (or choose not to destroy) will actively shape future mission logic.

Master the battlespace with indirect fire. From Player-designated beam targeting, to remote Trebuchet guidance, area-of-effect tagging, standardised stealth, line-of-sight visibility mechanics and many more.

The battle isn't over when the shooting stops. SAR and pilot ejection is factored into each and every combat mission, both as plot devices and gameplay mechanics.

Point-based reinforcement systems maximise player agency.

Improved subsystem balance for UEF vessels gifts canny players fresh tactical options. Kill reactors to cripple combat effectiveness. Destroy rotors to reduce rates of turn.

Two entirely new factions will be featured within Mote In the Sunbeam. One faction, the Transjovian militia, features unique assets and weaponry.

Wage combined arms warfare above, on, and below, the surfaces of major astronomical bodies. Fight alongside armoured vehicles and settlements across the Solar System's numerous outer planets.

Build (or quash) relationships with your wingmen through RP-lite dialogue options. This will not change the wider course of the campaign, but it will impact the flow and tone of the campaign.

Destroy to Preserve, or Preserve to Destroy. Where Blue Planet canon explores Agency verses Predestination in its Nagari sensitives, Mote In the Sunbeam uses player behaviour to determine cosmic alignment.

Call in Subspace strikes, chase targets into subspace and tag targets remotely. Hop between in-mission battlespaces and fight against the jump clock.

An extreme minority of legacy Blue Planet assets will receive updated visuals. For example, the Balor and Balrog will use different sprites.

New ships, fresh equipment, original conspiracies and insidious mcguffins.

Until now unused assets from Blue Planet canon, including GTA, GEF and UEF assets.

Explore the internal politics and societal upheaval of the BP-era GTVA.

Multiple kitbashed assets, curtesy of MatthTheGeek.


Several key mechanics have been successfully demo'd and 12 missions are in various states of production. The script is effectively feature complete. More to come later.


I will use this thread for regular content updates - stay tuned; both this thread and the OP will grow as Mote in the Sunbeam develops. Please treat this post as rather initial.


Colonol Dekker:

Will voice act for free :yes: :yes:

So just to state the obvious, this campaign is from the GTVA point of view right? So we get to attack federation ships?

This is a dream come true.


--- Quote from: starlord on November 01, 2021, 11:43:37 am ---So just to state the obvious, this campaign is from the GTVA point of view right? So we get to attack federation ships?

This is a dream come true.

--- End quote ---

Thanks! That's highly motivating.

Yes, you  will play as GTVA humans for most of the campaign.

Colonol Dekker:
**will VA tev side


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