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Frontlines 2322

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Damn, this looks rad. I just came across 2334, and it's hard as hell IMO(i'm out of practice). Looking forward to this! Hopefully it hasn't gone by the wayside.

Black Wolf:
Thanks, I hope 2334 keeps delivering for you. :) We worked hard on that campaign and the whole team is proud of it.

2322 has definitely not been left by the wayside, it's just suffering from the fact that it needs a bunch of mods completed before FREDding can really start, and I'm the only one doing them. If I get stuck into other projects, then Frontlines, unfortunately, tends to stall.

But stalls aren't fatal, and I definitely want to see FL continue. There are, if my memory serves, two major ongoing ships, and a few much smaller projects still to be built for the mod. The major ones are the Jupiter frigate (modelling stage) and Blowfish's version of Stratcomm's Naunet (that was at the texture stage, but then I lost a big chunk of the UV, so that's back at UV stage).

Minor ones are things like an interceptor variant of the Leto, it tweaks to the Ceres to make it more like a mining station - relatively small projects that I just need to focus on to complete in a relatively short time.

I'll try to post some more frequent stuff though, make sure we don't get forgotten. :)

Black Wolf:
Been awhile since any new content got added, so here's a couple of WiP shots of the textures for the GTFg Jupiter.

[EDIT]I should point out, to prevent the model being partially covered in black and white spaces where it hasn't been textured, I've put a plain Fenris texture layer under everything else. That's why, in a few places (like the part at the top of the nose) you can see the colour and texture change a bit. They will be much more in line with the rest of the ship before it's finalised.

Black Wolf:
June 2017 Update.

Looking at this thread made me realise it's been over a year since I announced the second chapter, and work had begun on that chapter a good six months ahead of that, so this project has been ongoing for awhile. Longer than I initially thought, but, to be honest, I'm not hating the progress that's been made. I knew from day 1 that building a fleet would require a lot of model work, and that's happened. When the original mission plan was decided on, thirteen ships were identified that would need new models. Not all of them were entirely new - variants and things meant that a lot of work could be used more than once. But I'm pleased to point out that of those models, only four remain. The ships that have been released since then (and will be used for 2322) are (in no particular order):

The Endymion Station
The Ceres
The Titan, Assault Titan and Recon Titan
The Cleopatra
The Jupiter
The Assault Leto
The Neith

Still to come are a large intersystem ferry transport, two sentry cannons, and another Leto variant*. In other words, we're well and truly over the worst of it when it comes to making this mod pack happen. When those last few pieces are out of the way, it'll be FREDding time.

Of course, I realise that's probably not what anyone is actually interested in hearing. The big question is: What does this mean for release time? Well, there's a bit of good news there: The campaign has a pretty firm plan for eight missions, none of which rely on any particularly complex scripting or anything like that - FREDding takes time, of course, and getting mission balance right is hard (not to mention modpack balance, which is still very much subject to change). I don't want to imply that all that needs to happen is the completion of these last four relatively minor new ships and then a few weeks later we'll have a campaign, but I do think that the >2 years spent (to date)
building the fleet will represent significantly more time than will be taken building the missions.

That, of course, brings up a second point - that's not a very efficient distribution of time for a project like this. If a new FREDder asked me a bout a project like this I'd tell them to use existing assets and focus their time on FREDding. But the modifier to that rule in this case is that Frontlines is more like a banner than a single project, and when 2322 is completed, we'll have examples of the Terran and Vasudan fleets at the beginning and end of the 14 Year War. While I doubt that future projects will be able to be made entirely with the existing mod pack (there's at least one Jupiter variant yet to be built, for example) the amount of work will be far lower as the two species' fleets simply transition from one into the other, rather that ever needing again to be built from scratch. If there's a third Frontlines campaign (and while I'd be happy to simply have bookended the TV War, a thir campaign is not out of the question - the original plan was five minicampaigns after all), it will probably be set in 2333 or 2334, and require almost no new assets at all, which will massively reduce the amount of time required.

Also, without wanting to be arrogant about it, and with no disrespect to the old U War team, one of my aims here was to create something like a "definitive" pre-FS1 shipset that others could use as their basis if they wanted to tell a story set during this period. Even if they didn't want to be linked up in any way with FL, or be constrained by the stories we tell and the limitations we place on the history of the era, having a fully fleshed out, reasonably high quality pair of fleets custom built for the era will bean extremely useful place for future campaign designers to start from if they decide they want to play in the TV-War era sandbox. To me, there's value in that even if it has meant a fairly outrageously long development period for an 8 mission campaign.

*The GTI Acheron hasn't been forgotten, but its role in 2322 is essentially as a piece of furniture - it's in one mission, but the Vasudans don't attack it, so it's just kind of.... there, covering the Sol node. It's fully UVed, and probably would be very easy to complete, and I expect at some point I probably will take a crack at getting it in game, but it's not something that I would let hold up completion of the mod, so I don't consider it part of the core modpack.

Black Wolf:
What's this? Another update a month after the last one? Might it be becoming a regular thing? Well, err... probably not. But hey, maybe! I can try! What progress has been made though? Well, see below:

The GTT Monarch was among the first custom built warships of the subspace era. It was designed to carry fighters through interplanetary space with its  then newly developed subspace drive, though it lacked the internal hangar space that allows that function on more modern vessels like the Jupiter class frigate. Instead, it was equipped with four external dockpoints to which fighters could dock, allowing them to leave the orbital facilities where they were primarily based for the first time. This method was relatively inefficient, but was necessary due to the very limited space available on ships of the era. Technological progress saw the development of the Canberra class carrier, and while the two classes briefly coexisted within the fleet, the significantly more flexible Canberra class soon displaced its predecessor.

The spaceframes were given a second life after intersystem subspace nodes were discovered. They were converted from carriers to transports, essentially redesigned to be subspace ferries - small shuttles and transports that lacked intersystem drives could dock on and be carried between systems. The conversion involved adding a number of additional external dockpoints and removing the defensive turrets that had previously been equipped. In 2322, that remains their primary role, though as unarmed transports, their ability to operate outside of secure systems or without escort is limited. As the war has heated up, Command has investigated the possibility of rearming and modernising the vessels to operate as patrol craft, or simply to allow them to expand their footprint as transports into contested areas.

So, the Monarch will hopefully be the next FL ship released. It's designed to work with my Mercury class shuttle, which dock neatly onto those 4 ventral dockpoints, basically solving the problem of medical evacuations and things for a Terran fleet that can't really afford to divert warships to get people between, say, Delta Serpentis and Sol, in a period where warships are among the few classes of ships that actually have intersystem drives. It's also kind of designed to integrate the Canberra better with the rest of the fleet. There's a degree of design consistency (even just with the textures) between the Fenris, Jupiter and Titan, whiole the Goliath (again, at least in texture form) has a clear lineage towards the Orion, as well as the Ceres, Endymion, Arcadia etc., but the Canberra is isolated and doesn't look like anything else. This ship will add a bit of context, I guess - old Terran capships look like this, newer Terran capships look like the Fenris, and really big capships (or stations) look like the Orion.

I'm expecting it'll be finished relatively soon, though it will take a little longer yet as the plan is to build several iterations - the Pre TV War era version (seen here with the big missile turrets),  the 2322 version (basically this, but with the missile turrets stripped and some additional docks added) and a later version, which will probably keep its dockpoints but get its missile turrets back, and a couple of plasma turrets too - basically the rearmed transport version discussed above. There's still some texture work to do as well - it's close, but there's still detail work to do.

There are a few tricks in this model that the images don't make clear. Those panels at the back slide in when the engines are off, and are only deployed when the ship is moving. The other moving parts are the blue-grey metal bits in the middle. It's not immediately obvious, but those are sliding doors, as opposed to just parts that the armour doesn't cover. When they open, it reveals a spot for the TGas-1 to dock. Essentially, this is meant to be a quick refueling method - these things were, after all, the Terran fleets only way of ferrying fighters (or anything, for that matter) around in the early days, and the ability to refuel this way meant that they wouldn't have to stop for any signfiicant length of time to refuel during an emergency.


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