How's this? I didn't want to put it in the official thread, since no one else has looked at it yet.
This installation method is the one where you download everything yourself and then put things where they should go. It may sound scary, but it really isn't.
Other methods include:
- Turey's FreeSpace Open Installer
(DOESN'T WORK PROPERLY AT THE MOMENT)
- Manual installation on Linux / Mac OS X
Below is an ~8-step list of instructions for installing FreeSpace Open (FSO) on Windows the manly way. The orange steps are absolutely necessary and there is no way to skip them.
All other steps are optional.If you encounter problems, please read the Troubleshooting FAQ.Step 1) Install FS2
Install the game to C:\Games\FreeSpace2\ unless you have a really good reason to choose a different location, in which case see the notes at the end of these instructions.
If you already have a directory named C:\Games\FreeSpace2\, either delete it or rename it to C:\Games\FreeSpace2old\ before
installing FS2.Why? Because FSO is just a game engine. Think about it. If you go to the automobile store and buy an engine, it won't do you much good; you need the rest of the car as well.Step 2) Get OpenAL
Download and install OpenAL, which is a free audio library. Choose the one labeled OpenAL Installer for Windows.Why? Because FSO uses OpenAL for producing the sound. FSO won't work without OpenAL. At all.Step 3) Get 7-Zip (recommended)
Download and install 7-Zip
, a free program that will allow you to uncompress a wide range of compressed file formats.Why? Because many of the things you might want to download, including most mods, are compressed using formats that Windows can't handle on its own, such as .rar and .7z. If you get 7-Zip, which can handle these file formats, you'll never have to worry about being unable to uncompress any files you download.Step 4) Get the latest trustworthy FSO build and the launcher
Get the 3.6.12 Final Inferno build and a launcher from the release thread.
If you want to try a more recent but possibly unstable build called a "nightly build," or if you want to know what "Inferno" means, see the notes at the end of these instructions.Why? Because a "build" is a version of the open source game engine, or FSO engine. It is the single most important element of FreeSpace Open. You'll also need the launcher to configure the game, as you'll see later.Step 5) Move the cutscenes to \FreeSpace2\data\movies\
If you got your copy of FS2 from Good Old Games, the cutscenes are located somewhere in \FreeSpace2\data2\ or \FreeSpace2\data3\ or some other folder with the name "data<some number>". They're the .mve files. Move them to \FreeSpace2\data\movies\ .
Want to save a little disk space with the cutscenes? See the notes at the end of these instructions.Why? Because FSO can only read the cutscenes from that folder.Step 6) Get the MediaVPs (also recommended)
If you want FS2 to look its prettiest, download the MediaVPs, which are a compilation of graphical enhancements, including high-poly models, improved textures, and new effects.
Most mods require the 3.6.12 MediaVPs
, but some older mods might only work with the 3.6.10 MediaVPs
.Why? Because they look like totally cool.Step 7) Set things up
Open the launcher, which you downloaded in step 4.
Click on the "Browse" button at the top of the launcher.
Select the build you want to use. This is the FSO game engine you downloaded in step 4. Select the one whose file name begins with "fs2_open_3_6_12r", such as fs2_open_3_6_12r.exe or fs2_open_3_6_12r_INF_SSE2.exe or so on.
If you got a nightly build (see the notes at the end for a description), select the build that starts with "fs2_open_3_6_13r
", such as fs2_open_3_6_13r_INF-20110909_r7690.exe.
Want to know what the "r" means? See the notes at the end of these instructions. Open the Audio/Joystick tab and make sure that Generic Software is selected. If you have a joystick, you can also check that it has been detected properly.
Open the Video tab and make sure that 32-bit colour depth is selected.Click "Apply" at the bottom of the launcher to apply the changes.Why? Because we assume that you'd want to avoid any problems caused by poor settings.Step 8) Set advanced things up (do this if you got the MediaVPs)
If you have the MediaVPs and you want to use them, open the launcher's MOD tab. Click on "Select MOD". Select the folder
called "mediavps_3612" (for 3.6.12 MediaVPs) or "mediavps" (for 3.6.10 MediaVPs) and click Ok.
Open the Features tab of the launcher.
Select "Graphics" as the list type.
Tick on at least "Enable specular", "Enable glowmaps", "Enable environment maps", and "Enable normal maps".
Select "Gameplay" as the list type.
Tick on "Use models for ship selection" and "Use models for weapon selection".
Click "Apply" at the bottom of the launcher to apply the changes.
If you want to enable further options, especially lighting, read through the command-line reference
and sample lighting settings
in the FreeSpace Wiki. Command line flags that can't be found in any of the lists can be manually added to the "Custom flags" text box, which is in the launcher's Features tab.Why? Because you'll improve the graphics mucho this way.
Hurray! You have now successfully installed FreeSpace Open.To update FSO, the launcher, or the MediaVPs:
- To install new FSO builds, just put the new builds in \FreeSpace2\ and use the launcher to select the build you want to use. You can remove old builds, but leaving them won't cause any problems, since you can only run one build at a time. The other builds won't do anything during that time.
- To install a new launcher, simply replace the existing launcher with the new one. Fun 'n easy.
- To install new MediaVPs, delete or rename your old \mediavps_3612\ (for 3.6.12 MediaVPs) or \mediavps\ (for 3.6.10 MediaVPs) folder, then find the latest MediaVPs' release thread (which should be stickied in the FreeSpace Upgrade forum) and follow the instructions there.
Installing mods is very much like
making love to a beautiful woman
installing the MediaVPs. Any reasonably recent mod should have accurate installation instructions in their release thread, but if this is not the case, or if you run into problems, you can always follow these simple instructions below.
First, create a subfolder \FreeSpace2\<mod name>\ for the mod. For example, if you want to install the excellent Wings of Dawn
, create the folder "\FreeSpace2\Wings of Dawn\".
Download the mod files.
Put the mod .vp files and other files (readme, mod.ini, .bmp pictures) in \FreeSpace2\<mod name>\ , or in this example, \FreeSpace2\Wings of Dawn\ .
Open the launcher and select the mod folder
as your mod, in the same way you did with the MediaVPs in step 7. In this example, you'd select \FreeSpace2\Wings of Dawn\ .
Click "Apply" at the bottom of the launcher to apply the changes.Important
: When you start the game, go to the campaign room and select the mod's campaign (in this example, the Wings of Dawn campaign), because the main FS2 campaign is selected by default.
Installation notesIf you must install FS2 to somewhere other than C:\Games\FreeSpace2\
- having FreeSpace 2 in My Documents or the Desktop will cause errors.
- really long directory paths cause errors.
- in Vista/Win 7, having FreeSpace 2 anywhere inside \Program Files\ can cause all sorts of surprising errors/problems.
If you want to be 1337 master, grab the latest nightly build from the nightly builds board
. Grabbing the most up to date **** possible may provide things such as improved performance, new features, money, power, women etc. If you see SSE or SSE2 and don't know what they mean, see the release thread
for an explanation.
You'll need to download and install 7-Zip
to uncompress the nightly builds download. Once you've downloaded your build of choice, find it in Windows Explorer, right-click on it, select 7-Zip then "Extract files...", click on the "..." button on the right, choose your FreeSpace 2 directory, then click OK.Inferno vs. standard FSO builds
When viewing a release thread for a build, you'll notice that there are "Inferno" builds and "standard" builds available. Inferno builds support a larger amount of ship and weapon entries in the table files, thus making it possible to include more ships and weapons in a mod, for example.
You should get the Inferno build, because Inferno builds are multiplayer-valid and are slowly becoming the "normal" build, with the "standard" builds becoming more of an exotic thing.Saving a little space with the cutscenes
Download the cutscenes in .ogg format
, put them in \FreeSpace2\data\movies\, and either delete the .mve files or move them to somewhere else. Note that the .ogg cutscenes only work with FSO; retail FS2 requires the .mve files.FSO build differences (or what the "r" and "d" mean)
When viewing the builds in your \FreeSpace2\ folder, you'll notice that there always seems to be a pair of builds, with maybe a difference of one or a few characters between them. If the file name contains the character "d" or the word "debug", it means that that build is a "debug"
build (for example, fs2_open_3_6_12d
.exe). Debug builds are used for generating debug logs (called fs2_open.log)
when you run into problems using FSO. They are NOT meant for casual playing. Also, contrary to popular belief, debug builds do NOT magically solve whatever problem you're facing.
The builds that are not debug builds are "release"
builds. Release builds have file names where the "d" is replaced with an "r" or is missing altogether (for example, fs2_open_3_6_12r
.exe). Release builds are the ones that you should be using if all you want to do is play the game. So unless you need to generate a debug log, go for a "release"
build, NOT a debug build.
Hopefully at some point, builds will be named so that the one you should use will have a simple name (like fs2_open_3_6_14.exe), while other builds have clear parts in their names to point that they are somehow different (like fs2_open_3_6_14_DEBUG.exe). But for now, you gotta spend money to make money. Or something.If you've spotted typos, errors, out-of-dateness, something that's missing, or if you just think that these instructions suck, tell someone about it.
Please don't bother Vader. He really doesn't care.