As has been mentioned throughout this thread, this game/mod/total-conversion is a remake of a game developed in Japan for the Sega 32x and Sega Saturn. Visually and Stylistically this game is going to be closely based off of the 32x version. Most of the remodels I have done have been strongly influenced by the Models found in the 32x Game. Gameplay will also take most of it's cues from the 32x Version.
However, nearly all PC Space Sims have a strong and heavily outlined story. The 32x game, did not. The entire story to the 32x game was told in three paragraphs in a black & white instruction manual. Not much to work with. To paraphrase; “Our old enemies have attacked us in our home system and have deployed a massive laser cannon in orbit around the sun. Fight your way to solar orbit and destroy the weapon!”
That was the gist of the original story. No lie. The game consisted of 6 Missions;
The first has you attacking two enemy frigates and 12 Fighters. You destroy them all.
The Second Mission has you attacking a gravitational acceleration gate which was just used to Launch an asteroid at the earth. You fly in, destroy the acceleration gate and its capital ship escorts (1 Frigate and 2 Destroyers).
The third mission had you flying into the asteroid belt and killing off the booster ships that were used to move the asteroids into the acceleration gate in the first place. These booster ships are of course guarded by a compliment of fighters and two light cruisers.
The 4th Mission has you taking on an entire fleet of ships. 4 Frigates, 3 Destroyers, 2 Light Cruisers, and a Battlecruiser.
The 5th Mission has you launching an attack upon a Carrier and its two BattleCruiser escorts, the Carrier is called the Ganazula and is a beast of a ship. (Re: Gigantic). You actually fly inside it and destroy it's main reactor to kill it. It is invincible otherwise.
The Final mission has you in close orbit around the sun (omg, blindness). Where you confront the big bad laser weapon. You destroy it and win the game.
Why did I bother explaining every mission? Well, there was only six, and you could beat the whole game in under 30 minutes if you were good at it.
The Japanese-only release of the Sega Saturn version expands on the original by creating a total of 14 missions and they are insanely hard. (I've only made it to mission 12 myself.) Unfortunately, whatever story was made for this game will never be known because ALL of the dialog is in Japanese and no one has bothered translating it. I would also like to point out that it had too much dialog to begin with, and that 55 – 65% of the time in every mission was spent in autopilot listening to the moonspeak between you, your wing mates and your nav-computer. So the Saturn version while an improvement, has its flaws.
My goals in this PC version made by westerners is that we take the good points of both the 32x game and the Saturn game, combine them, and leave out the bad parts. Many of the missions in the Saturn Version are based off of the 32x missions. You still need to destroy an acceleration gate, and fight in an asteroid belt. There is still a HUGE fleet battle halfway through and you blast your way through a lot of light cruisers.
However, there were several really cool missions original to the Sega Saturn version. Like flying inside the giant asteroid Ceres, and flying 3 missions in orbit around and in the atmosphere of a Terraformed Venus. The game did a great job immersing the player within its Universe, even if you don't understand Japanese.
So, while the story is a blank slate, one thing I heartily thank the Japanese developers for in this game, is the SOLID and SIMPLE gameplay, and absolutely beautiful ship designs, I mean, the ships in both games are completely gorgeous. Its my firm opinion that every ship designed by every Western Space Sim developer is completely ****ing ugly compared to the ships and fighters found in these games. The mechanical designer who drew up these ships was one inspired dude. Every ship looks FAST, even when sitting still.
With all of this in mind, I think that with the combination of some damn beautiful ships, and a story written by a westerner, inspired by the combined missions of both games; a great game could be made legendary. The originals are just SO DAMN GOOD, that I want to relive them on modern hardware with modern graphics, and hopefully even great a great multiplayer game.
Thats right, I said it, a multiplayer game. First and foremost, the core gameplay will be ironed out, and a few multiplayer missions will be made. As a means to test out the game mechanics and perfect the gameplay before the single player game is finished. As a general rule, I intend to do for the Space Combat Genre what Soul Calibur, and Counter-Strike have done for the 3D Fighting Game, and First Person Shooter. I want to create a fun, noob friendly game that also Challenges and Enthralls veterans of the Genre. Hopefully bringing back a few more people to these games that I've grown up loving, and have spent the last ten years sorely missing. Maybe that would convince some commercial developers that there is still money in the Genre.
( I AM SO SICK OF FPS's, RTS's AND MMOs!!!)
Now here is the deal, I am an artist and writer, not a programmer. I can pull together a story, the artwork, and the 3D Models, but putting them into a usable engine is a road-block I am having difficulty crossing. I badly need programmers to help me pull this all together into the great game I imagine. I am fully willing take suggestions and criticism from potential team members so long as they at least take the time to play the 32x version of the game. (The Saturn version is ultra rare and insanely hard to acquire even on emulator. The going price on retro game resellers right now is $100 for the 32x cartridge and over $200 for an imported Saturn disc.) I can provide the 32x Rom for anyone interested (just pm me.)
This game will NOT be in closed development, as it is going to be based on an open source engine (either Freespace Open, or Vegastrike), anything discovered during the course of it's development will of course be shared with the community surrounding the respective engine. I still haven't decided on an engine that I want to use, the FSO in the title stands for “First Strike Operations”, not Freespace Open. Its just a convenient acronym. Just as the Saturn Version was called “Stellar Assault SS”, I'm keeping with a theme. Third game --> three letters in the acronym.
Alright, I've spent a lot of time talking about the ideas behind the game, and how much I love it, and that I want you to love it too. But what about this story written by a westerner that I keep promising?
Here we go...
The setting is some time early in the 33rd Century. Mankind has not ventured very far outside the solar system, but we have developed highly advanced technology, and have colonized and terraformed all three Terrestrial planets worth terraforming. Venus, Earth, and Mars.
Wait, what? We terraformed Venus? How?
That is central to our story here believe it or not.
Venus is the same size and mass as the earth and orbits within the sun's “habitable zone”, however, there are several factors that lead to it being a hellish hothole.
First, there are a ton of volcanoes. So many that they created a massive greenhouse effect and forced the planet into having the hottest surface temperature in the solar system.
Second, the other factor to this super hot surface is the fact that the planet's day takes longer than it's year. So it spends a lot of time baking in the sun. This probably isn't helping things.
Third, the whole atmosphere isn't just hot, but acidic, so not only do things get baked, they get dissolved away at the same time. There is water on the planet, but it is just so damn hot, that all of the water stays evaporated in the upper atmosphere.
So how does Hellish Venus get turned into the paradise that was imagined during the Victorian Era?
During the 22nd Century, the world eventually unifies due to a heavily intertwined global economy and a general desire worldwide for peace. The UN forms global government and massive monetary and human resources are put into the rapid development of the Martian colonies, the planet is colonized by rapid industrialization with factories the pollute worse than 1950s factories. The greenhouse gases raise the Martian temperature and thicken the atmosphere and allow the planet's water to liquefy. Mars develops nicely and over a few hundred years, turns into a global Tundra/Siberian climate. To facilitate the rapid Martian colonization, the global government creates a corporate entity whose sole purpose is to develop, exploit, and colonize the solar system.
The Company is called “Synthesis” and anyone familiar with their 18th and 19th century history could label this company as a historical parallel to the British East India Company or the Dutch East India Company. Synthesis is the first to begin financing the full scale exploitation of the Solar Asteroid field and puts their Base of Operations buried inside the dwarf planet Ceres. Synthesis makes incredible profits from the mining operations throughout the asteroid belt and actually possess more funds than the United Earth Government.
Using this money, Synthesis proposes to the UEG the possibility of Terraforming Venus and creating a tropical paradise there. After a long deliberation, the UEG gives Synthesis the “Go-Ahead” and they begin building a fleet of mobile gravitational acceleration gates. Over 100 were built in total and they were all moved from the asteroid belt to the Kuiper Belt. 1 Gate in particular was large enough to move a KBO the size of Pluto. Booster Ships originally meant for moving asteroids around in the asteroid belt were now being used to shove whole Comets into the 100 Acceleration Gates. Each one carefully aimed on a crash course for Venus. Each comet was put on course to impact venus as just the right angle to give the planet a 24 hour rotation, instead of it's original 584 days. These impacts also served to implant water and oxygen into the planets atmosphere.
Finally, using the ultra gate, a large Pluto sized KBO was launched towards Venus with the careful trajectory to give the planet a moon so that it would have a stable rotational axis. (A smaller KBO was sent to Mars as well to stabilize the Martian axis. It took 300 years for the Venusian atmosphere to calm down and stablize. The water in the atmosphere, finally cooled off and began raining back down upon the surface. Oceans formed and it was soon found that Venus would have even less land cover than Mars. (The combination of water from the upper atmosphere combined with the water from the comets created a rather large ocean.) Synthesis genetically engineered tropical plants to survived on Venus just as they had Alpine plants for Mars. By the end of the 31st Century, Venus was fully habitable for mankind and the profits gained from Venusian habitation has earned Synthesis even more money than the combined mining operations system wide.
And so, it is now the early 33rd Century, Venus, Earth and Mars are ruled by a combined government called the United Solar Worlds. Synthesis, has begun projects outside the solar system, mostly in and around Alpha Centauri. However, profits have been limited in that area and life is difficult for the colonists. However, less than a decade ago, a probe returned from the Vega star system revealing a solar system ripe for colonization. No earthlike worlds, but several moons that were Terraformable by way of comet collision (as was done with Venus). Synthesis gathered 50 acceleration gates (25 completely brand new, and a lot larger.) And took course for Vega.
At this point, it is important to mention the Military culture that has grown within Synthesis, much like the British East India Company, Synthesis has their own military that answers only to the board of directors. Known as the Sythesis Space Force (refered to as the SSF from now on). The SSF is a full blown military organization with its own fleet. It is also the SSF that protects and controls the Gravitational Acceleration Gates. When Synthesis sent their gates to Vega, they also sent more than half of their fleet.
2 Battle Carriers, 4 Escort Carriers, 18 Light Cruisers, and 66 Frigates.
The total military size for Synthesis consists of 3 Battle Carriers, 8 Escort Carriers, 26 Light Cruisers, and 108 Frigates. None have ever seen combat.
The Solar Government also has 3 large fleets. Mostly because many on Earth did not trust Synthesis as being the lone military force in the Solar System. (By this time, much of the population has grown to distrust Synthesis and wanted protection from unjust corporate policies.)
The Solar Government Navy consists of 5 Battle Carriers, 7 Escort Carriers, 44 Light Cruisers, and 130 Frigates. Military strategists and thinkers in both the SGN and SSF have long believed that combat in Space would consist of massive Carrier Engagements with Fighters to destroy the enemy Carrier. (Much like naval warfare in the 20th and 21st Centuries).
Fighters used by both the SSF and SGN are the Feather 1 Interceptor, Feather 2 Space Superiority Fighter, and the Feather 3 Torpedo Bomber. Most ships in the SSF have a Red/White/Graphite Color Scheme while ships in the SGN use a Blue/Off-Blue/Graphite Color Scheme.
Both the Feather 1 and Feather 2 have atmospheric flight capabilities.
Also, Here are some updates regarding the Artwork. I've remodeled the Feather 1, and a few other ships. Here is a picture of the new Feather 1. And also a Size Comparison chart for the fighters.