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Frontlines 2322

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Black Wolf:
What feels like a long time ago, when we released Frontlines 2334, we promised a short delay before restarting development on the next chapter of Frontlines. Well, although we've not been public about it until now, that's exactly what we did.

So today, I am officially announcing the worst kept secret in Freespace modding - Frontlines is coming back, and also going back. Way, way back.

2322 was the first setting I originally tried to build Frontlines for, but difficulties with balancing (specifically getting Capships to be both meaningful and not completely devastating to fighters) eventually led to it being abandoned in favour of a setting closer to FS1. Now, I'm much more confident about balancing the modpack, and, in fact, have made some decent progress towards that end.

So, while there'll be lots to announce over the next several weeks, I thought I'd start with a brief overview of what 2322 will be, and what the project goals are, and the best way to do that, I think, is to contrast it with our last release, Frontlines 2334. So, what changes when you go back in time 12 years? Unsurprisingly, a lot of things.

First, the fleets. 2334 was set immediately before FS1, so while we did get to see some new ships, especially on the Vasudan side, the fleets from the first few missions of FS1 were essentially the fleets we were using in our first release. That's all changed now. As far as combat warships go, the only ship you'll recognize from the original games will be the Fenris (although you'll likely recognize a few non combat ships, as well as some of the Vasudan ships from 2334). This represents a pretty big opportunity, in that we can tailor the ships, their weapons and everything about them precisely to our needs, however it's also a big burden, because a lot of stuff just has to be made from scratch. That's more or less what I've been doing since restarting the project in mid 2015.

A lot of those new ships, you've already seen. Others you'll see here, and still more as they're completed. But expect further movement on this issue and, thanks to the open development model we follow, expect releases in the leadup to the campaign.

A Terran and Vasudan gunship locked in combat.

The second big change is the level of technology employed by those fleets. In 2322, the Terrans had no small ship subspace drives - intra or intersystem, and were completely reliant on carriers. The Vasudans have some fighter scale drives, but they're rare and expensive. This changes the process of mission design quite a bit - battles are smaller and shorter, more reliant on capships. Another factor there are the weapons used - the Vasudans have plasma cannons as standard, but the Terrans are still primarily reliant on missiles and ship to ship torpedoes, even on their capital ships - only their newest, largest and most powerful Fenris class cruisers and Goliath cruiser-destroyers have a primarily energy based weapons system, and that also changes mission design for one key reasons - missiles rely on magazines which can (and do) run out. Expect restricted capship strikes, hit and run attacks and defenceless, out-of-ammo gunships to add to the excitement and the tension of many missions.

You might also note another change from that paragraph - while in 2334, like FS1, the Terrans and Vasudans were on a rough technological par, the same is not true in 2322. The Vasudans are clearly the more advanced race technologically, and you feel that in the campaign.

A Terran Claymore fighter engaging the Vasudans.

The third big change is setting. This is a pretty straightforward one - in 2334, we were on the offensive, enagaging the Vasudans in Deneb tryng to push through to Vasuda Prime itself. But twelve years earlier, the shoe was very much on the other foot, with the Terrans scambling to contain the Vasudans in the colony system of Delta Serpentis and out of Sol. Why does this matter? Because it means I can fill the missions with stations, of course! :p Expect appearances from the Endymion, Ceres and others.

Serpens Station, during a quiet moment in Delta Serpentis.

The Final big changes will be technical. One thing we had a few comments about with 2334 was the lack of Fury AI. While I still agree with the decision not to include it, advanced AI will be integrated completely with FL 2322, with each mission designed from the ground up with the changes implemented and in mind. You'll also have some challenges to deal with with your ships, be it limited ammo, heat maangement, or slow subsystem repair times, you'll find that evasion, high quality piloting and precision shooting is even more valuable in 2322 than in 2334. The skills you developed in 2334 will help, but that won't stop you having to relearn elements of how you fly a fighter in Freespace for 2322.

An Assault equipped Leto class fighter, loaded for bear.

So, there you have it. There's still got a lot to do - finalise the mod pack being the big one - before mission design can start in earnest (although the campaign is basically plotted out, nothing is final as yet). But I'll be posting updates, and hopefully semi regular content releases - over the next several months as we progress towards that point and hopefully beyond it.

sounds exciting, looking forward to what you & the team can cook up  :yes:

A high-quality FS1-styled mod. That's what I like and look forward :D! I hope it will be as cool as first release.

I'm super happy that Frontlines saga continues  :pimp:

Keep up the good work!

Awesome  :yes:


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