Author Topic: Reviving An Old Unreleased Mod  (Read 1122 times)

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Reviving An Old Unreleased Mod
Hey everyone  ;)

I was around 6-7 years old when FreeSpace came around. The story and the atmosphere had quite an impact on my gaming and artistic preferences. An existential game to be sure. It became a part of how I perceived myself. As a child, I always dreamed of designing my own campaign.

In 2010-2012 I made an effort to create an original story, a 30-mission mod named "Paradise Bird". I'd estimate that the Fredding took at least a few hundred hours. The end result was a kind of a functional mess. I even announced it but never delivered. A shame maybe, "real life issues" made my focus go quite elsewhere.

From a design perspective, the mod is a mess. From a story perspective, it is incoherent and quite odd. It has custom music and loading screen pictures which today, I wouldn't release under any circumstances. Also separate take-off and landing missions (not included in the 30-mission-count). In every mission I included a gimmick. A new mechanic or an innovation, something I had never seen done before. So essentially, it is full of stuff. Not very focused.

The story involves the Post-Capella GTVA finding a Shivan time device in the midst of another rebellion and sending an excursion into the unknown. Using a simplistic time-logic system akin to that found in "Stargate: Continuum", the plot details how the excursion accidentally prevents the Lucifer from reaching FS1 era Terran/Vasudan systems. Resulting in a timeline where the GTA and PVN do not encounter the Lucifer, and the Great War plays out differently, with the Shivans still essentially "showing up." This serves as a narrative method to unravel more about the purpose/agenda of the Shivans.

Paradise Bird also has quite a number of community models, and I personally fiddled with a bunch of tables. 20 of the missions are quite tested, detailed and polished, the last 10 not so much. Partially designed during the 3.6.10 era, it works with 3.6.12 as well. Using debug builds usually showed up a ton of errors :) There was nothing very professional about how I solved all the problems, since I did it practically without any outside help and without all that much understanding in coding or programming or computers or computer programs in general.

This is a very preliminary post, but one that might lead somewhere later on. First, I'm trying to remind myself that I should not keep the project in stasis forever, but instead do something about it. That's what this community is all about, sharing our creations. There are at least two options.

First is actually digging out the campaign and testing the missions superficially. Do they function, are they relatively playable? Removing all the nonsense-content. Starting with the unnecessary music and artwork I do not have the rights for. Cleaning up and replacing. At some point, I could share the campaign with the community or at least with someone willing to help clean it up first.

The second option which is largely unlikely to happen, is that I start rebuilding and ReFredding everything from scratch, using the ideas and the dialogue I made up almost a decade ago. Seeing that I don't have much spare time or the necessary motivation available currently, this seems highly unlikely.

Much more likely is that I will do some small Fredding project to warm up a little. See how I feel about designing missions these days, and helping myself with getting some momentum. That is probably after I have played through at least a few key campaigns, after an 8-year hiatus. There are no promises that can be made, but the more I bring this up, the more likely it is that some time could be dedicated. And therefore something may come out of it. And this extensive story and gameplay "wasteland", as it is currently, could actually get a release one day, since FreeSpace doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

There is also a cutscene mission, which I would like to show some time later, should I get it up and running. It doubles as a sort of a trailer.

Last things for now, I would like to thank the whole community and everyone who has made this possible. To leave this wonderful game for so many years and come back to see that it keeps on going, (for example, a new MediaVPs release shows up during a playthrough of the retail campaign) is unbelievable. In 2020. The longevity of FreeSpace through the dedication of many key people here has kept one of my childhood dreams alive on the back of my mind through some trying times. Thank you.

Would very much like to hear your thoughts on all of this :)
« Last Edit: February 17, 2020, 05:03:37 pm by MrTealTwo »

 
Re: Reviving An Old Unreleased Mod
It sounds fairly OK to me. :) I think the only real expectation here regarding new stuff is that people dislike bugs (both in the modpack and in the missions) so you should playtest that stuff properly. Aside that, mods that are older than 10 years are still frequently played today. You shouldn't do the mistake of wanting to upgrade everything just because it's not like one of the "big" projects though.

 

Offline 0rph3u5

  • 211
  • Oceans rise. Empires fall.
Re: Reviving An Old Unreleased Mod
From a design perspective, the mod is a mess. From a story perspective, it is incoherent and quite odd. It has custom music and loading screen pictures which today, I wouldn't release under any circumstances. Also separate take-off and landing missions (not included in the 30-mission-count). In every mission I included a gimmick. A new mechanic or an innovation, something I had never seen done before. So essentially, it is full of stuff. Not very focused.

The story involves the Post-Capella GTVA finding a Shivan time device in the midst of another rebellion and sending an excursion into the unknown. Using a simplistic time-logic system akin to that found in "Stargate: Continuum", the plot details how the excursion accidentally prevents the Lucifer from reaching FS1 era Terran/Vasudan systems. Resulting in a timeline where the GTA and PVN do not encounter the Lucifer, and the Great War plays out differently, with the Shivans still essentially "showing up." This serves as a narrative method to unravel more about the purpose/agenda of the Shivans.

I can see that you chose some rather unwiedly concepts as your starting point, so it is hardly suprising that things didn't turn out at the first pass.

Alternatve Timelines/divergent histories tend to have a difficult to manage relationship with their "originals"; starting with the nature of the divergence point and its implication to every known sequence of events in the original.


There is actually little problem in re-using old missions but changing up their context as long as you make it coherent in the end. To that purpose, I highly recommend to sort the constituent elemtents and determine what is your focus, both in terms of narrative and gameplay.
Determining of "what is it about?" - has opposed to "what happens?" - can pull the project together in my experience.


Side Note: I am very curious how the name "Paradise Bird" came to be.... I mean I know its the name of the family of bird species but, you know, a mention of a bird is rarely about the bird itself...
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

==================

"I am Curiosity, and I've always wondered what would become of you, here at the end of the world." - The Guide/The Curious Other, Othercide

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nyrissa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 
Re: Reviving An Old Unreleased Mod
Paradise Bird might be a bit eccentric but I like the title.

 
Re: Reviving An Old Unreleased Mod
The whole concept is unfocused and eccentric, yet it still has a story, which I doubt will make too much sense under closer inspection or even convey the message it is trying to. The name Paradise Bird has something to do with the constellation Apus in the southern sky, but I don't have any idea what I was thinking back then. But it is an original and unusual name for a mod. For example, I did pick a lot of random names from an Atlas book for ship names. It'll be weird exploring my old imagination :P

 
Re: Reviving An Old Unreleased Mod
Well if there'd be nothing new it would be just something generic. :cool:

 
Re: Reviving An Old Unreleased Mod
It is anything but generic :D I opened it up. The first briefing contains 9 steps/pages of text, consisting of the actual briefing, different data entries and dialogue. Is it boring or interesting, I don't know? :p Anyway. Mostly set up the old 3.6.12 build and ran into the first problem. I need the fs2_open_3_6_12r_INF Fred executable. I'm missing it. Is there any way to obtain it?

 
Re: Reviving An Old Unreleased Mod
If it still exists somewhere, you should look on the nightly board (but I don't know if the archives reach that far back): https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?board=173.0

However, the most likely reason for bugs to show up on more recent builds is usually not that the way FSO works would have changed (aside Lua scripts, which get frequently broken), but that newer build are catching mission and modpack bugs better than older ones and throw out a warning where they once just moved along (with the bug still being there).

 

Offline 0rph3u5

  • 211
  • Oceans rise. Empires fall.
Re: Reviving An Old Unreleased Mod
which I doubt will make too much sense under closer inspection or even convey the message it is trying to.

Barely related quotes aside, that's why you take stock of what you have - even if it makes no sense as it presents itself, ordering up the pieces will by the very nature of the process make it so; maybe it will be a bit thin and wobbly but you will also know where to apply *stuff* to make it better.
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

==================

"I am Curiosity, and I've always wondered what would become of you, here at the end of the world." - The Guide/The Curious Other, Othercide

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nyrissa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

  

Offline 0rph3u5

  • 211
  • Oceans rise. Empires fall.
Re: Reviving An Old Unreleased Mod
Determining of "what is it about?" - has opposed to "what happens?" - can pull the project together in my experience.

Because I've been hit over the head (again) with the "that's your thing"-plank, let me supplement what I was saying here:

I am one of those appearently very strange people who prefer storytelling place a focus on the internal logic of a story - when I am asking the "what about?"-question, I am less looking for a grand statement or manifesto. It is more a question about the things that hold the story together.

The convergence of establishing an internal logic and conveying some statement is an optional thing, objectively speaking - I just see them deeply connected and work accordingly, you may have not or may not.
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

==================

"I am Curiosity, and I've always wondered what would become of you, here at the end of the world." - The Guide/The Curious Other, Othercide

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nyrissa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."