General FreeSpace > Archived Interviews

Black Wolf Talks to Galactic Emperor about The FS Port - among other things.


Black Wolf:
16-11-02 Black Wolf Interviewing Galactic Emperor

Black Wolf - Good Morning GE - how are you?

Galactic Emperor - That's purely subjective and has no bearing on this interview.

GE - Seriously, though, I'm doing quite well.

BW - Before we begin, how about you tell us a bit about yourself, your name, hobbies, etc.

GE - My real name is Peter Oliver, I'm 18 and an architecture student at NJIT in Newark, New Jersey. Architecture is a lot like spaceship designing, actually; you've got the artistic, creative side and the technological aspect as well. It's also more fun than being in a Turkish prison. :D As far as my hobbies go, I've been hooked on Freespace and Star Wars for as long as I can remember.

BW – Hey, I like Turkish prisons! :) You've been working busily over the last few days; I know that for a fact - what things have you mainly been working on?

GE - Besides Real Life, I've been working on making cheap, low-poly ship models for the Star Wars mod. This way we can get some internal FREDding done and have a general idea of the shape to start from. Once the nicer models are done we can release them with polished missions.

BW - It's that 'release' bit which I'm sure sounds the most interesting to the community - as a senior member of the Star Wars TC, what have been the most interesting experiences in this project so far?

GE - Interesting? Probably the fact that there are hundreds of dedicated Star Wars modelling sites on the Web, so it's a lot of Public Relations work to glean the work of others. For example, we've discovered a French website making prequel ship sets for X-Wing Alliance. I'm busy practicing my French on their forum to see if we can cooperate. It's terrific, expanding beyond HLP and catching glimpses into other dedicated communities.

BW - Sounds very interesting. I'd like to talk more about the Star Wars mod, but I have a dedicated interview with the project leader Karma and yourself planned for the near future, so instead, I'd like to talk to you about your other TC, the Freespace Port.

GE - That's fine. It's a cooperative effort; if Karma hadn't made his fighters I never would have made the contributions I did.

BW - That's pretty much the way I was thinking - So, how have things been going on the Port front? I can't say I've noticed too many updates recently…

GE - Updates are few and far between. The Port has been put on the back burner, but if we're lucky there will be another release by the end of the year. NTV and AP will be glad to hear that Sesquipedalian is making FS2-style interface art for all the old weapons, and Knight Templar is porting Silent Threat--finally. Once those are done I'll run over everything personally and fix mission bugs and add other extras I've collected. Then things will get jumping again with Silent Threat: Reborn.

BW – “Reborn”? I don't remember that being a part of the original ST title - is that just to separate the ported version from the original, or is there deeper meaning?

GE - "Reborn" is going to be for every FREDder who played Silent Threat and thought, "I could do better than this."  Basically, once Release 2 is out with the original 'rubber-band-around-the-trigger' Silent Threat, I'm going to assemble a team to make it what it SHOULD have been. We'll fix all the annoying bugs and bad game play that was in Silent Threat while keeping the same storyline and new stuff. It will still be Silent Threat, but much more polished and refined, with better game play and mission design.

BW - Well, I think I speak for the FS community as a whole when I say 'Thank God for that!' I always found Silent Threat to be a bit of a disappointment, coming after Freespace itself - my expectations were so high - I'd offer to assist myself, but I'm fairly busy as can people apply to help with this project?

GE – Fredders can go freelance and convert their favourite FS1 missions, then post in about it in the Port or Gen. FS forums. I'll be happy to add it to the page.

BW - Will the additional, fan based missions be ported as well?

GE - That's up to the authors. :) There are over forty stand-alone missions inlcuded in the Silent Threat CD, by some of the best FREDders in the community. I've posted the secret of converting FSMs to FS2 missions in the Port forum, so if you want a single mission ported, feel free to do so.

BW - The process of porting any other game to Freespace 2, even one as relatively close as Descent Freespace, is likely to be a process fraught with difficulty - what would you say has been your greatest challenge in the porting process, and how have you overcome it?

GE - Probably when a mission won't 'cleanly' convert just by changing a few things around, and you have to rebuild the entire mission and all its events by hand. Thankfully mission conversion was relatively easy, with only three or four missions I had to copy from scratch. Unfortunately the Silent Threat missions are very ugly and don't convert well at all; one of the reasons why it's taken so long to do.
It has definitely been worth it, though. The community was brought something it had been asking for, and it's the foundation for pre-FS2 projects like Neo-Terra Victorious, Alternate Paths, and The T-V War. Personally, I experienced the accomplishment of finishing an entire hosted project single-handedly, and learned a great deal about FRED in the process.

BW - Understandable - you're learning from V themselves - will that experience spill over into the creation of the Vasudan Great War campaign that was on the agenda a few months ago, or has that been scrapped?

GE - Well, I've learned from the mistakes of others and tried not to over-extend myself. The Star Wars mod is currently eating up all my free time, and probably will for as long as it's active. :) The Vasudan Imperium campaign was dealt a massive blow when the climax mission of the storyline--perfected all the way down to the scripted fire-beam timing--was lost in a hard drive reformat. Consequently I've put the campaign on hold while I do other things. I will, however, be FREDding for Sesquipedalian's Scroll of Atankharzim, so you can expect to see some of my prowess there.

BW - I think Hard Drives are deliberately designed to irritate people - I've been stung myself in the past. Apart from the Port and the SW Mod, you've contributed to the Freespace community in another major way - you run the unofficial HLP store. How's the community response been to this project?

GE - Unsurprisingly, there are lots of 'oohs' and 'ahhs' when I show them the stuff, but few people are actually willing to pay for it. I suppose it's because we're so used to getting things free here. So far only two people have bought Huge Shivan posters, despite the positive reaction. It's a bit of a disappointment, but it's not costing anybody anything.

BW - So, made any money? ;)

GE - I only charge the base price for the merchandise, as low as Cafepress will permit me. I only manage it - I don't make a dime.

GE - I would be more than willing to turn it over to the Admins and make it a permanent fixture of HLP, if they wanted. They would be able to use it as a fundraiser to help pay for the vB code licence, or possibly have contest giveaways.

BW - Contests would be good - we've been lacking in them lately since the first model contest - what sort of contest would you personally like to see the Admins run?

GE - I think the best contest right now would be to see who could redesign the front page. Everyone's been clamoring for it, but the admins just don't have the time. If the talented HTML, Flash, and PHP editors out there could have a motivation for designing a webpage it would boost morale, update the page, and provide interest and discussion.

BW - It'd certainly be different to the standard Mod or render contest ideas. I feel obliged to ask you this, it seems to be a standard fixture among these interviews - what first got you into the Freespace series?

GE - Descent was one of the best games I ever played back in the day. Then, the OEM DVD-ROM version of Freespace (with the afterburner trails) came with my top-of-the-line Pentium III 450 when I bought it. I had been playing X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter back then, but Freespace's superior graphics, controls, and storyline blew me away. FRED kept me going until I found out about Freespace 2, which I pre-ordered. Once I found out about the online FS community, I stayed away from HLP; seeing models by Bobboau, Dark and Aldo, I figured I was way out of my league! So I found good old closely-knit F2S, signed up there, and gradually worked my into where I am today.

BW - Again, a standard fixture of my own interviews at least, of the campaigns and TCs on show currently, which are you most looking forward to?

GE - The first one done! :P But really, I've mostly been staying out of hosted forums because I want to see the campaign mods as they come out. I haven't even visited the BWO website, but I'm definitely going to be playing it when it comes out. I'm also interested in Inferno because it has the most mods, and NTV because it's run on the Port, and an alternate historical scenario.

GE - It's that sort of thing I was hoping the Port would spawn- an interim campaign, between the two games.

BW - Hey, we have a fan :). Anyway, I think It's time to wind this up, so, if you have any final comments to make, now's the time.

GE - Don't do school, stay in drugs, listen to your greens and eat your parents. Or something like that.

BW - Sounds like a plan. Thanks for your time GE, and good luck with your various projects.

GE - Thank you.

Total Interview Time = 1 hour, 30 Minutes

Very nice interview. It is good to know that somebody besides me thought HLP was out of his league and joined F2S.

he mentions everyone except for me the bastard... and i'm the one that's managing it at the moment

just kidding GE ;)


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