Author Topic: Words From The Author  (Read 226 times)

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Offline herkie423

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Words From The Author
This write up is in a file "Words From The Author" that came with the download. I don't know how Knossos works, if it was included in the download or installation of the mod so I'm guessing you haven't read this...


 CONCEPTION

When I was working on this project some years ago (2012), I wanted to make a pure all out shooting game. And that's not all, the missions here require a strategy just like basketball. Stray off from the objectives and you will surely lose the mission. However, in some missions, just to shake the minds of potential gamers, I sadistically, deliberately placed objectives that are utterly useless and a different, radical strategy is the actual solution and the player will just have to figure that out and improvise. Which is actually the same with real life. You're superior officers tend to make bad calls (they often do) and its up to you to set it right. The missions will be chaotic and you will definitely feel like you don't know what to do. This is what I intended, closer to realty, closer to what a real war looks like. I say "closer" because reality is far worst. Some critics will say that it is poorly done but if you really look into it, you'll see otherwise. You will find that it will be overwhelmingly challenging like a real war. And its not just a war, its an epic, you'll be smacked in the middle of a galactic war. Hundreds of fighters, endless waves of them. Numerous big ships involved. To other gamers, it would seem like a chore. Well, it wouldn't be an epic if we only have 2 to 4 enemy wings to deal with, would it? But then a pure all out shooting game is not enough. Everything must be justified in a storyline. The story might be effective if I had adequate CG progamming skills, I just do not have that talent nor can I make it in a FRED cutscene. I might make the dialogues in a mission but I feel it will just be dull. I wanted action, avoiding long dead air in a combat mission. In dogfights, there is no time for small talk. The only solution for that is to put the story in the briefing screens, we could place the dialogues there. That would be a good idea ---But no. In the end, I decided why not just go back to the tradition of Freespace 2 where command briefings will give you the current news of what's happening and the briefing screen is what it was intended to be. Now, that was a challenge. Then it hit me. Why not make a sequel from FS2? And not only reading or watching or playing the story of John Richter. This time, the gamer (you) is John Richter. Placing you in the seat of the character where the Command briefings and the briefings and the in-game dialogues are directly addressed to you. And the missions themselves are the storyline that you get to experience first hand. Not just reading about an obscure mercenary. You get to play the role and as the missions unfold from a seemingly unrelated chain of sorties, you will suddenly find yourself playing an important role in a war campaign that will decide the fate of the GTVA and becoming the greatest hero of mankind. By the way, this is not really a "character-driven" story that is why Richter doesn't have a single in-game dialogue line as in games like "Fear" or "Halo." However, you will read John Richter's views in his personal logs. The real story is actually the campaign itself. The "Battle of Endor" type missions (BoE) were indeed problematic to design as it involved a number of destroyers and more than a hundred fighters. I wanted to depict the missions effectively in an epic scale without sacrificing PC performance and game stability. That is also the reason why I only use models with fair number of polygons, models that are not too heavy (and my computer is not that high end). Usually in BoE missions, player actions don't account much because all hell break loose. But I designed those missions in such a way that your decisions and strategy will spell the fate of your fleet. Leadership is the key. Command your wings, you're not alone out there.

THE OLD VERSUS THE NEW

The original release of the Mod (SectorGames and not the "Reboot") was flawed and crappy beyond reason. I was a newbie at that time (perhaps, I still am but I know a lot better than before). There were tons of details that I had overlooked, from mission scripting, model errors, to grammar and spelling. Those feedback in the forum were indeed helpful and I am thankful for those who posted those comments. I have learned a great deal. Because my mod was dependent on the Blue Planet releases, I got a message from one of the BP creators saying that their mods were updated constantly and that means "The Aftermath" will be broken. I got discouraged and did not update my mod anymore considering my meager knowledge in mod making. Actually, Cyborg17 made a compatibility fix for the mod and he have done a great job. I was inactive for about three years...or maybe four (Crap! I cannot even remember) since I first release the original mod. Until one day I happen to visit the HLP site and I found posts and comments about "The Aftermath" and the credit, of course, goes to CT27. Players were downloading this. And that got my attention. So I decided to ressurrect the mod and did a lot of research and testing. Cyborg17 have already fixed most of the model issues, so I used his compatibility fix. After about a month, I have managed to release "The Aftermath" from its dependencies, the Blue Planet mods (thats when I made the first post about the mod in the HLP forum). From then on, everything fell into place, modifications, grammar and spelling editing, re-balancing. It is also at this time that Cyborg17 offered his help in model fixes and testing. So I was no longer alone in this endeavor. The changes from the original are huge. I have modified the look of the game interface, the screens and their buttons (edited individually more than a thousand of them) but not the layout, if only I have control over that. Ten in-game soundtracks, seven briefing music, and 2 main hall music were added. I have made tech anims (full motion) for the new weapons and CB anims for the missions (only static images, it will take me forever to do them in full motion). I have made a new look for the loading screens and loading bar for each Act (there are 10 so 21 Loading screens). The radar blip issue is also fixed, the new ships will have radar icons. I replaced almost all the models and re-textured them. As of now, the models no longer register an error (thanks for the Debug). There are new ships as well because the campaign had expanded further, new missions are added (I had to because I noticed holes in the plot). The missions themselves are fixed, some were re-done and some were scrapped and the entire campaign has extended from the original 56 to 68 missions. The entire mod itself has grown from 200mb to 2.7gb. Loadouts were adjusted so that it will be realistic. I did what I could to correct the grammar and spellings. But there might be errors that I overlooked. Some changes in all the briefings were also made. Enemy wings are properly designated except in later epic missions where there will be hundreds of fighters, I don't think I can do that without running out of wing names. The GTVA command will actually mention it sometime in the campaign (although, I do have a list of 297 possible wing names). So in these crazy missions I designated the targets by "squadrons" and not by "wings." What will happen if I did named them by wings? I will have a long list of "directive" events in my editor and not more than 12 directives (I added more) will be shown in the HUD. If I have to re-spawn the enemy wings, I will hide their names like I did in the first mission. I got a feedback before from a player noticing the same wing popping up again and again. There will be numerous fighters in important missions but the priority targets will be designated and directives will be added only if they are relevant. If players get distracted with these unimportant enemy wings ("mission fillers" or "mission populators" is what I call them) and not concentrating on the objective, they might fail the mission. Well, that is the point in all of this. But players need not to worry for I have made use of the "recommendation" feature. There will be hints.

WRAP UP

I made the command briefings (news), briefings (addressed to you by your CO), and the missions, in such a way that they are the story line themselves, some missions will succeed or fail regardless of what your action is. These are what I call "story missions." Actually, it has been done in FS2 (ex. The destruction of the Psamtik or the FS2's final mission). When you encounter these missions, you can either sit back, move your craft away from danger (if you can) and watch all that is happening or have a good time blasting the enemies. Its like playing inside the cutscene. To be safe and not actually failing a real mission, you just have to pay attention with the in-game dialogues and maximize the use of your radar. I will appreciate feedbacks, especially the bad ones.

--Herkie