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RELEASE: New Path Chapter 1

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After a lot of work and finetuning I am happy to announce the release of part 1 of my campaign series:
New Path
Chapter 1: Scientific Revenge

The GTVA survived the Second Shivan Incursion and the Capella Catastrophe. But more challenges lie ahead and the question remains: What is the best way to approach them? Does humanity learn from the mistakes of the past and change its way or do they continue as before?
Five years have passed since Capella and a new administration has taken the reigns and tries to answer that question. Their goal is to not repeat past mistakes and put humanity on a New Path...

This campaign is now available on Knossos or here. It features:

* 20 playable missions
* 5 cutscenes, 4 of them live action (think of them as a nod to the good old C&C cutscenes)
* extended content for the Tech Database to reflect the passed time
* a lot of new anims for Command Briefings and the Intelligence section of the Tech DB
* as the campaign suggests, a new path for the story of the GTVA after Capella
Setting and Story
This campaign takes places 5 years after Capella. This event had - unsurprisingly - caused a massive shakeup in the Alliance and its consequences can be felt to this day. But despite the odds the Alliance, for the most part, has weathered that storm quite well so far. While a lot of issues still remain to be solved, the GTVA seems to be on a good path, in part thanks to recent political changes. A new adminstration has taken over and they vowed to learn from the mistakes of the past and put humanity and the GTVA on a new path to the future. So far this has played out decently. But will that new path work out with the threat of another Shivan attack looming on the horizon? Only time will tell...

You are Carl Bristow, a veteran of the Second Shivan Incursion. After several months of injury absence you return to your post onboard the GTD Phoenicia as squadron leader shortly before the 5th anniversary of the Capelle supernova. What seems to be routine at first, will turn to anything but routine quickly as you come across new threats and notice things happening around you. Can you face the new threats of the GTVA and keep the GTVA on its new path?

Sorry, no more spoilers. You will have to find out the rest yourself.

Q: What's the focus of this campaign?
A: The focus is on story telling. While I tried to also make a decent and varied gameplay, the story always comes first. So, if you want to have challenging dogfights, massive space battles or really long missions all the time, this might not be for you. If you want to see my take on a continuation of the FS story (or at least the first chapter of it), be my guest.

What mission or gameplay style can I expect?
A: My style is what some would call "Vanilla FreeSpace", so missions with a variety of objectives and classic FreeSpace gameplay as you would find it in the original campaigns. There are some improvements of the SCP used by my campaign, but carefully dosed. While I applaud those campaign devs who push the engine to new grounds gameplay-wise, that isn't my personal style and preferred gameplay. That's why I kept this campaign fairly traditional.

Q: Does this campaign take place in the same universe as other campaigns?
A: No, this is a seperate timeline, literally a new path. But there are references to other well-known campaigns like ST:R or Blue Planet.

Q: Is there voice acting in this campaign?
A: No, there is no voice acting so far. While I hope to add that one day, it's not my priority at the moment. I want to focus on the remaining story first. And maybe then add a full voice acting later. Since I have a lot of named characters, having their arcs completed and being able to record all their lines at the same time would also lower the risk of having to re-cast them between chapters.

Q: When can we expect the next chapter? This better not be another campaign left hanging in the air after the first part...
A: While I can't promise a certain date (and don't want to either), I have the next chapters already planned out. But before I start fredding them, I always take my time to flesh out and refine the scripts. This first chapter took a bit more than a year and a half from first script idea to final release. The next chapters will be a bit shorter, so I hope to do it in about a year. Still, as I can't predict the future and what will happen in RL, I won't commit to a certain date. In that regard, my attitude is a bit like the classic Blizzard style: "It's done when it's done".

Q: I found a bug, where can I report it?
A: Just report it in this thread or contact me on Discord: SilverAngelX#8757

Have fun playing.

Patch 1.1.0 Changes

This update contains a major rebalancing of almost all missions in chapter 1. The intent is to remove some spikes in mission difficulty, trying to smooth out the difficulty curve over the course of the chapter. Another important aspect was improving on the default behavior of the AI wingmen, making them less suicidal and more helpful (which in turn reduces difficulty).

Besides that, there's a lot of individual changes:

* General: compatibility checked with latest versions of FSO engine and mod dependencies
* General: rebalancing of all missions (e.g. friendly AI behavior, hostile timings, hostile weapon selection, and more...)
* General: MV_Compatibility package added as required dependency to avoid missing textures
* General: some wording changes to texts in the missions (briefings, messages, etc.)
* Mission 1: some tweaks to avoid confusing messaging bug
* Mission 1: wording issues in briefing and mission corrected
* Mission 4: wording error in debriefing corrected
* Mission 10: added some security features to ensure outcome of scripted events
* Mission 10: removed player orders from the Ibis
* Mission 10: timing of Ibis opening fire synced to the messages
* Mission 11: wording error in command briefing fixed
* Mission 11: arrival paths of hostile bombers are less random
* Mission 12: typos in briefing and debriefing corrected
* Mission 14: arrival paths of hostile wings are less random
* Mission 14: AI orders of hostile ships adapted slightly
* Mission 14: removed success music for some goals before the end of the mission
* Mission 15: Intrepid hull integrity reduced to reflect damages from previous battle
* Mission 16: ship class of the Sisson in briefing corrected
* Mission 16: Alpha 4 and Beta 4 have been told to use silent mode with the rest of their wings
* Mission 16: silent mode now disables glow-maps of friendly fighters
* Mission 17: older bomber classes added to the mission (due to popular demand)
* Mission 17: some AAA turrets of the Intrepid were replaced with laser turrets
* Mission 17: the Intrepid's repair crews now tire quicker
* Mission 18: short range sensor threshold increased for targetting
* Mission 18: arrival conditions for later enemy wings now contain a stop condition
* Mission 19: escape pod departure delay increased by 10 seconds
* Mission 19: messaging bug fixed
* Mission 19: Lambda transport secured against disabling
* Mission 19: Bosch missile launchers now have a less dangerous ordnance
* Mission 19: escape pod secured against accidental destruction during warp-out
* Mission 20: viewpoint of player ship corrected while under AI control
* Mission 20: explosion radius for the scripted explosion reduced so it doesn't look that much like overkill
* Mission 20: timing of scripted events corrected to reduce downtime
Patch 1.0.1 Changes

* General: MV_Advanced packages removed as required packages
* Mission 17: Intrepid's hitpoints reduced by roughly 10%
* Mission 17: engine repair interval increased
* Mission 17: repaired engine HP percentage reduced
* Tech Database: entry for GTB Boanerges rewritten to include some community feedback on the class

Colonol Dekker:
I'm curious about these live action cutscenes.... Curious and excited.


--- Quote from: SilverAngelX on July 18, 2021, 09:38:34 am ---
* 5 cutscenes, 4 of them live action (think of them as a nod to the good old C&C cutscenes)    

--- End quote ---

No capitalism in SPAAACE!

Took me several hours, but I beat it.  Was quite a challenge so I definitely needed a beer afterwards.   Decent story, nice callbacks to the vanilla Freespace 2 campaign, the cutscenes are well made, and the cliffhanger leaves me wanting more.  You even made a scanning mission that does NOT give me aneurysms.  The custom made credits scene is also a nice touch, and more custom made campaigns should have end credits like that.   Two major negatives though,  the mission to destroy the intrepid is tedious because of how hard it is to damage the engines, and having to do it 5 times. Also, on the mission to disable the Bosch, poor wingman A.I make it hard to get your wingmates to attack the Bosch.  Lost it at least 4 times due to wingmates ignoring orders and attacking fighters instead

Thanks for the feedback. In regards to your negatives:
- Mission 17 was meant to be kind of tedious, and I already toned it down during playtesting compared to my first draft. But still, maybe it could have been a little bit shorter and less frustrating. It was (and is) really hard to find the right balance for that one. Maybe I'll do some more rebalancing in a future update.
- With mission 20 I agree, the wingman AI doesn't help a lot. In most of my test runs I basically let them play with the enemy fighters and did the disarming and disabling mostly by myself, with some help from Alpha 2 who has a higher AI level. I at least had the impression that it helped a bit compared to the rest.


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