I'm not sure if it fits perfectly, but what is actually the status of FringeSpace, how much has been achieved of what needs to be done? All I know is that the team members have run into some horrible RL issues, and it's hard to estimate from the outside what the general status of this TC is.
The answer in general is it's messy, complicated, and not as far along as you think.
I guess what I'm about to feed you is the reader's digest version of the mod history...
The mod started September 26th 2006, which might as well be a different universe from today. We went from 2 people to a height of which we had at least 13 people working on it at one time, as of currently we have 3-4 people willing to work on it, but not actively working on it.
The first 6-8 years we were plagued with having to restart work, namely model assets, and the documentation on FSO was much worse back then. It was fairly hard to get info out of people too.
I lost count of how many times we restarted making models somewhere after 8 times. Not having the knowledge of how to properly model, texture, rig, caused a good chunk of that. RK handled a lot of the "admin" and modeling role for the team. I was more utility, I did all sorts of things hunted down what was left of the modders and picked their brains, tried to run events to keep the community alive, and eventually took on texturing, tabeling, and rigging.
Keep in mind that during this period we had to take photos in game, make videos, to get references as no one ever had gotten at the model files before us. There was a very broken model converter out there that was unfinished. The textures and the models were in a container together too. A lot of stuff we had to figure out for ourselves as we went. So that tied into some of the restarts too.
I think Katrina (hurricane) was the tipping point as Razor's family and him had to flee, and they had major damage and ended up moving. Kids, life, jobs had to change, so he had to step away from the mod for really a period of years but kept up supporting the website, forum, and so on.
Razor was more... focused I guess? Than I was/am? He could set everything that needed to be done in a job system, and lay it out where I'm better at keeping track of myself on paper. But I don't like having to fill out tons of spreadsheets and document every step that gets done. Naturally, that creates issues when you have two different systems at play.
So Raz was busy. Somewhere around that time our lead modeler Carl disappeared off the face of the earth. He made the very nice hi poly versions of the weapons and Gal Span ships. Backslash who was often around here had some life stuff happen and started distancing himself from the Internet in general, he was in charge of coding type things. Nutritious who is still featured on OCRemix, waited a "very" long time for us to get things together, but we just couldn't get something polished down to be properly ready to demo. We have some tracks he provided. We touch base every once in a great while. Still waiting.
Around in this time, I was getting as much info as I could from the old modders, talking to the devs, collected and reworked the mod packs that existed for Tachyon and learned a lot about the game guts
by experimenting. Eventually, I made the Service Bay mod pack and the Visual Enhancements mod, so it basically still played on Win 10 like it did back in the day and we had more ships and the best of the best community maps. Service bay took a solid 3 months work one summer.
Amongst the model problems, we kept hitting barriers in FSO. Can't do this, can't do that, not editable yet. Maybe in LUA... Someone somewhere was working on that but they vanished... etc etc.
So whenever we hit one of those walls (and it was generally me), we dropped whatever that thing or function was... and shifted gears to something else. So there are whole bunches of stuff like a junkyard or a garage, in various states of not finished, because we hit a wall. A big one that took the wind out of our sails was after Beyond the Red Line released and Stellar Assault I was helping test with here. We found that multiplayer just wasn't playable, in terms mostly of hit detection/netcode at the time. The server player could hit, everyone else could park and just fire away and nothing really happened. For FS2 single player was the focus, not multi, there wasn't really anyone who knew what to do with it, or how to fix it or how deep the hole from PXO went, so that being the primary point of our mod, at least initially... discovering all that really was like a kick to the gut. It wasn't like we had other options for a modable space game engine to jump to either, it was slim pickings in those days, and to a large degree, even still today in terms of mods.
After that period we were short staffed again, but a crafty feller by the handle z64 joined us and helped with texturing, modeling, coding, eventually made a model extractor that was able to spit out working models and textures from Tachyon. That was a really big deal. Now we didn't have to guess. But that meant we had a good couple thousand assets to deal with. Plus we really couldn't "use" them in the final product as they weren't our content. So we determined to use them as test objects like placeholders, again to get things moving.
So still ongoing was Novalogic doing their best to destroy their gaming community by breaking the server lobbies or patching things. Moving the servers and forgetting to backup their code, maps, etc.
So Tachyon went offline completely. About 4 months later we figured out how to restore games, but it hurt because testing in multiplayer was a lot of how we did things. It also kept us in the game, and we had weekly games that a handful would show up to, ask us how things were going, etc. So Nova changed the game IP 3 or 4 times, then moved the server hosting, and we couldn't update the IP anymore. That killed multi and the community for about 3 years. We eventually got a tip and figured it out "again" but by then the damage had been done. The game exe is also not quite "stable?" so it's more prone to crashing. The word had got around the multiplayer had broken, people got older, stopped bothering to try to play.
Here about... 2-3 years ago, our file hosting service decided we were too large and outside the scope of service, so we had to download everything and have never put it up anyplace accessible since.
We did formally have a SVN which was working fairly well over the years, but we lost that and the FTP. Note we didn't lose any files, it just wasn't online any longer. We ended up shipping hard drives around the US
so some staff could have a copy. Why not upload to Mega or whatever of the time you ask? Because our internet access was poor for some staffers and better for others. No one wants to download 55GB or so on dialup.
For my part, we tried to get what we had together, even if it was ugly, to show some kind of demo that would illustrate the idea. Make it pretty later. To that end towards the end of when I was active I was cataloging every asset in game and what level of "finished" it was. In 2006 we were a year into my parent's divorce. In 2014 my father started showing signs of what we found out later was Parkinsons. He had a million dollars in debt. Bunch of factors combined to finally destroy his health and with it his ability to work. He'd lost control of his business and simply deteriorated. Without other family, I had to step in and manage pretty much everything and eventually that culminated in bankruptcy. Lost our house last year, quite a few things. I turned down work after my long term contract job ended, was told we'd be taken care of and there was plenty of work... well I barely saw a week of work every few months, for 3 years. It was really rough to go day to day for about 5 years there.
So I got a new permanent job last September, we moved into a rental. Thought we could finally start to breathe, maybe rebuild again. The Parkinsons that had the old man having psychotic episodes and hallucinations to the point of him trapping himself in rooms, talking to nonexistent things, getting violent, suicidal, were more or less finally under control. The bankruptcy, while it left me personally with a hole of about 30K in my pocket, and 40K in my old man's... got rid of the other 930K in debt. The new job's 11 hour days are killing me, but I'm looking to get back to modding and such... I bought some new PC hardware.
Here April 1st of all days. The old man has a heart attack. I'll save you the figures, but thank God for medicare. Even then there's some leftover and follow up care is costly.
Pretty much, I work, I come home exhausted and deal with bills. Clean and fix what I can, rinse and repeat.
In the last month or so, Razor has gotten back to living in a house, not a semi truck cab. Which is rather difficult to mod and model from on the highway with no decent internet or PC.
Z64's still with us bless him, and his internet isn't using a Pringle's can and string anymore.
Provided my basement stops flooding out making me move all my electronics up and down stairs, and we don't move at the start of the year, I'll be kinda sorta in "one place" again.
So where do we stand (ie what you really wanted without all the above drama)?
We have a bunch of models, the very large vast majority we can't use, and are extremely low-poly.
We have almost all the fighter ships with a higher poly model of our own making. A third to a half have updated textures.
If I recall all the fighters were in game.
We had a gate, a small roidbase, the fenris arena parts, and powerups in game.
We polished ship and weapons tables I think about as well as we could for what was worked on. Still a lot missing there, but we've got probably 8 weapons that are "doneish".
We made several test maps, mostly static test peices, or like the Fenris that were to illustrate something could be done and what it'd look like.
We have a lobby menu which was pretty neat/unique for its time but is dated nowadays.
There's a ton of functionality type things that are not where they need to be and are key to how tach looked or worked.
We have 1 high poly capital ship.
We've got a handful of music tracks.
We've got a mountain of chat logs, ideas, plots, lore, where we know what we wanted and some of the path to get there, but it's not be written out in a clean 1 2 3 4 5 progression.
No scripted missions worth mentioning.
No working turrets.
No pilots or proper campaign map.
No completed library of what status every object is in... which is where I was when I stepped away.
We gained a whole lot of knowledge on what not to do.
In short, it's a large list of set pieces we've worked 13 years for as of Thursday.
So where are we going?
First off we're still not really "back" as much as things are improving and more stable on the home front. Setting a date and expecting it to magically all work out we learned the hard way doesn't happen.
The issues that we ran into long ago with FSO, granted I don't read the wiki religiously anymore and a lot has changed around HLP over the years, but I'm willing to guess many still exist.
This has created the question of, should we shift to another engine? We are not in the same drought of space games we were in 2006. Unreal and Unity are very different now. Tachyon is no longer
owned by Novalogic, but by THQNordic, who wants a legitimate game practically finished for them to resell.
But is jumping ship the right move? I don't think it's appropriate to answer that now. That's a massive deal IF we were to do that. It means completely starting from the ground up.
Not like "lets convert table values" ground up, as in lets script, blueprint, or buy the most basic of building blocks and make lights or glows turn on - ground up.
Can we finish if we go down that path? There's a mind-boggling number of factors to consider.
By the same token, maybe we're better off right where we're at and making the best of what we've got. Maybe get up to demo level. See if that generates interest again.
Will it be Tachyon? Probably not. But it'd be proof of concept.
Right now, what I want to do and what we talked about in our Discord, which is where most of the chat happens... is take inventory of where everything is. It's honestly been years and I'm getting
mighty fuzzy on things. We need an asset status list and a bug check against current exes, and a checklist on tables among other things.
Somewhere in there, we need to get all our working files back online along with this status list, maybe a Git repo. If I'm in one place, I can host the files myself.
We need to try out other games, I bought a Valve Index and a new GPU to that end. Does that mean Tachyon 2 is VR, no. It means I have an open mind to trying different ways to play and see what options
are out there. If VR is done it should be done well. Tach is a cockpit and 1st person fighter through and through. That ain't ever changing.
We need to try out other engines. See how hard is it do some of the things that have us stuck now.
We need to take inventory, get smarter, and write out the game narrative and project plan. Those things missing over the last 13 years, along with life being real nasty, have cost us dearly.
I aim to not make the same mistakes going forward.
For now, if you want to help, we're on Discord and clearly, you can still get a post out of us here.
Otherwise, we're still intending to fight the good fight as we always were, one pixel at a time if need be.
Tach still works, the mods and patches we support are also still kept up to date through the Discord.