Author Topic: FSPort; What You Never Knew.  (Read 4081 times)

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Offline Stormkeeper

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FSPort; What You Never Knew.
Stormkeeper: Ladies and gentlemen, tonight ... for them, today for me ... we have with us three individuals. First off we have the illustrious Goober5000...

Goober5000: O HAI

Stormkeeper: Next, we have the Galactic Emperor, better known as Galemp...

Galemp:  lo.

Stormkeeper: And finally, we have Cobra.

Cobra:  Hiss.

Stormkeeper: Leader of a terrorist organization.

Cobra:  Wait wait. COOOOOOOBRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

Stormkeeper: Well done. You may all call him Cobra Commander... Right. So. FSPort. What inspired you to start work on FS Port? Goober?

Goober5000: well, that might be jumping the gun.  let's have Galemp go first

Stormkeeper: Alright. Galemp?

Galemp:  Uh, okay. Let's see. I have to give credit to Dark, I suppose. Let's go back to the far-off year of 1999... So I had played FS1 to death, and had finished FS2 and I wanted to get started with FRED, missions, campaigns, that sort of thing, and was rummaging around looking for mods. I was at SectorGame at the time and was really impressed by some of the work going on at HLP. I remember Bobboau's Ancients were especially good, as well as Dark's work, like the PVB Maahes and PVI Karnak. Cardinal Spear was I think the first FS mod I ever played. So anyway, browsing Volition Watch I found that Dark had ported the Apollo, Valkyrie, and Athena to FS2 POF format. With a little bit of research, I decided I was going to try and port the FS1 main campaign to FS2, for two main reasons: 1024x768 resolution, and beam cannons on the Lucifer. I approached HLP for hosting, Setekh approved, and that's how I got started.

Stormkeeper: Your site says you started around 2001? Was that right?

Galemp:  I think that was when I got hosting and started releasing stuff

Stormkeeper: Oh? But you actually started before then?

Galemp:  Well, I was playing Freespace before then of course, but FSPort was the first mod that I had attempted.

Goober5000: did you play FS starting right when it first came out, or was there a bit of a delay?

Galemp:  I got the FS1 OEM DVD bundled with my new computer back in... well, I dunno. It was in the 20th century at least. I was playing X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter online at the time.

Cobra:  Oh god. You're one of those.

Galemp:  it was the explosions that really grabbed me

Stormkeeper: ... Explosions of FS1?

Galemp:  Oh yeah. You never saw the explosions in XvT?

Stormkeeper: And how did XvT lead you to FS?

Galemp:  It didn't, not directly, except that I was a huge fan of the genre. I've always been a fan of spaceships in one form or another

Stormkeeper: Well. What about you, then, Cobra? How did you start on FS?

Cobra:  Well. Gotta think back here ... Cobra:  When I was, like, 8, my Dad used to play FS1 a lot, and I liked watching him blow aliens out of the sky.

Stormkeeper: Your DAD introduced you to FS1?

Cobra:  Sort of.

Stormkeeper: And when did you fly your first Apollo?

Cobra:  After I moved out of his place with my grandmother, which was a couple of years later.

Stormkeeper: So ... 10? Or 11?

Cobra:  About that, yeah

Stormkeeper: Mmm. Young. What about you, Goob?

Goober5000: Similar story to Galemp.

Stormkeeper: XvT player too?

Goober5000: so when TIE Fighter first came out, in 1993 (which was a banner year for outstanding games, btw) my uncle bought a copy. Whenever we used to go over to his house, I would play it, so eventually he got me my own copy :)

Stormkeeper: And how did that move you to FS?

Goober5000: but then I got the FS1 OEM DVD along with my new DVD-ROM drive in 2001

Stormkeeper: Mmmm. Quite similar to Galemp indeed.

Goober5000: that got me hooked on FS1, and it wasn't long before I figured out that -- unlike TIE Fighter or X-Wing -- it was quite easy to make your own mods or install mods made by others

Stormkeeper: On to the main thing; Galemp. You said that you wanted to port to main FS1 campaign to FS2. How difficult was it? To port the missions and the like.

Galemp:  I actually started, originally, by opening FRED and FRED2 side by side, and manually re-creating all the ships, events, messages, and briefings one step at a time. It was a tremendously educational experience, seeing how Volition accomplished everything they did. I think I actually reproduced eighteen or twenty missions of the main campaign that way before someone informed me they could be opened in Notepad. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn FRED fast

Cobra:  *cough* even though the way they went about it was a little silly. Especially their event names.

Stormkeeper: Their Event Names?

Cobra:  The event names in FS1 and FS2 are things like "Oh no". Some of the events were like that, anyway.

Stormkeeper: Back on track ... Reproducing missions like that must have been very time consuming.

Galemp:  Mm, well, at least I had control over what was going on. I got one or two missions done every day. I'll tell you what, it was a lot easier than feeding it through a batch converter, having the mission not work, then spending the rest of the day figuring out what went wrong.

Stormkeeper: I'll bet...

Galemp:  I had several opportunities to make tweaks, too, which are going into a future version of FSPort. For example Mission 2, where you hunt the Vasudan squads in the asteroid field. You know how your wingman says 'Asteroid field interfering with sensors!' ? Well, the mission actually has four different messages, one for each wingman, but only the one is used. So in the first release, I changed it to a send-random-message event, to use one of the four.

Cobra:  Wasn't that fixed in 3.0.4 or something?

Stormkeeper: But?

Galemp:  All those tweaks were lost, though, when Goober re-ported the missions using his FRED tool. You can ask him why he felt the need to do that...

Stormkeeper: Heh ... So Goober? Why did you report the missions with your FRED tool?

Goober5000:  Aww :(

Galemp:  Nya nyah.

Cobra:  AHA

Goober5000: well, let me back up a bit, to that first question of how I got involved with the port. So, I first got hooked on the Port when Galemp announced that he would be cleaning up Silent Threat and rereleasing it under the Port. Which leads to another story, but we can cover that later. Suffice it to say, my work on the Port started with ST:R, but then I got more and more involved in the main FSPort release, via adding fixes and tweaks. So, Galemp had a pretty stable version of the Port - version 2.0 - for which we were making minor adjustments from time to time. Or version 2.x, I should say ... and the way version 2.x was set up, you could play the FS1 campaign or the FS2 campaign side-by-side. Which was great back before we had the -mod command line feature for SCP, because you didn't need to worry about switching mods, you could leave the Port in your main FS2 folder.

And it also proved useful for projects which planned to use both FS1 and FS2 era ships in the same campaign, like NTV or Alternate Paths. But the more I studied the minutiae of the tables and missions, the more I realized that there were more differences between FS1 and FS2 ships and weapons than were readily apparent; a trivial difference is that the FS1 hornet is blue whereas the FS2 hornet is yellow. But a more important difference is that the FS2 demon has 160k hitpoints, whereas the FS1 demon had 100k, so that made missions like Clash of the Titans substantially harder.


Galemp:  There were problems with the table entries I had added, too, since I was using the ones Dark had provided.

Goober5000: the Horus also received some upgrades to manoeuvrability in FS2, which made HOL missions more difficult. Also, we were using the Prometheus S as a stand-in for the Prometheus, even though they weren't the same weapon.

Galemp:  And then there was the old retail ships.tbl size limit which was a huge headache

Goober5000: Yea. So, I finally decided that we needed to turn FSPort into its own dedicated mod. After much argument (aided by the introduction of the -mod feature), I was able to convince Galemp...

Stormkeeper: To make FSPort a TC ?

Cobra:  I don't think total conversion is the right word. Term, sorry.

Goober5000: Well, it sorta turned into that, but the original intent for version 3.x was just to be a separate mod with unique ships and weapons tables.The nice thing about that though, is that with the removal of FS2-specific ships and weapons, we could add a lot more FS1-specific stuff.

Galemp:  What finally did it for me was A) the -mod function and B) the possibility of adding more FS1-era mods... like the ones from my hero, Dark.

Goober5000: The Karnak for one. And the SF Gorgon, which was originally a FS1 ship, plus Dark made medical ship reskins for a bunch of ships.

Galemp:  The Karnak was one of the first models I had ever played with. I imported all the chunks into TrueSpace, re-glued all the lights to the turrets, and exported it as a single model.

Goober5000: Yeah, I remember when you released the fused version -- it was a big hit. So, to return to the original question -- since we were making a clean break as a separate mod, I reviewed all the ships and weapons tables from top to bottom.

Stormkeeper: And batch-converted the missions.

Goober5000: And I decided to reconvert the missions so that I could catch all the differences in those too. Now the good news is that I had previously made a mission converter for the SCP version of FRED. So, the task of going through the missions was made much easier -- though there were still the jobs of adding backgrounds and such.

Galemp:  This was circa 2006.

Goober5000: The end result was, we had a fresh conversion of all the FS1 missions (including all the third-party missions released as part of the Silent Threat mission disk) but we lost all the tweaks that had been made over the course of 2.x development.

Stormkeeper: Why, though?

Goober5000: Well the original missions, as Galemp said, were created by running two copies of FRED side-by-side, which lends itself to human error; for example, in mission 2, we had numerous problems with the arrival cue of the Vasudan Ace

Galemp:  ;_;

Cobra:  I think you hurt Pete's feelings.

Goober5000: I'm sorry Pete :(

Galemp:  That's ok.

Goober5000: But those problems never really went away until the fresh conversion in version 3. The idea is that doing a fresh conversion allowed us to restart with a solid foundation. And now we are continuing to add tweaks over the course of 3.x development.

Galemp:  Except that, back when I made the tweaks, I made them unilaterally...

Goober5000: Yes, since it started from the original FS1 versions of the missions, not the tweaked FS2 versions.

Galemp:  now I have to fend off Goober every time I want to do something.

Goober5000: But the converter does reduce the effort of porting missions

Galemp:  But Ian means well.

Goober5000: I don't think we would have gotten around to porting the third-party missions in Silent Threat, or the multiplayer missions, without it.

Stormkeeper: In making FSPort ... you had to convert models, tables and the like, including the interface.  Your interface artist...

Goober5000: Ah yes, Sesquipedalian.:D

Galemp:  ...

Goober5000: Sesquipedalian did do some interface art for us back in the day. The original Dragon overhead loadout ani, for one. He made the shield icon for the Lucifer, too.

Cobra:  Still love that word. Sesquipedalian.

Goober5000: Me too. It was actually my original nickname, before Goober5000, but I digress.

Stormkeeper: Back on track though ... Cobra. You're responsible for the pretty interfaces, also other 'odds and ends'.

Cobra:  Well... not 100% responsible

Stormkeeper: What odds and ends?

Galemp:  well, to give credit where credit is due, I would not have even considered replacing the interface if it were not for FlamingSword.  I used his templates for a base conversion, then Cobra cleaned it all up

Cobra:  Still not done with the menus.

Stormkeeper: Still not done?

Cobra:  Wish I could shoot the multiplayer menus, then I wouldn't have to do them.

Stormkeeper: Why?

Cobra:  Well, uh. I got... distracted while in the middle of doing the menus. I had all the main stuff done, the single player, some of the multiplayer, and main menu stuff done. Never got back to doing the multiplayer menus.

Galemp:  Cobra, you should clarify what you mean by 'doing' the menus

Cobra:  You know the black stuff in the text spaces and stuff like that? There used to be the original FS2 background, colored blue-ish gray. That's pretty much what I did. I also gave myself handcramps going through them pixel-by-pixel in Photoshop.

Stormkeeper: Pixel by pixel.  I'd call that dedicated.

Cobra:  Ehh. I'm a perfectionist, but not as much as Goob or GE here.

Stormkeeper: But how did you get working on FSPort?

Cobra:  Hmm. I actually can't remember what I did first.

Galemp:  Good question.

Cobra:  But ...  You know the overhead loadout images in FSPort right now?

Stormkeeper: Yea.

Cobra:  I made a couple of those at first and showed them to Galemp before I got on the team.

Galemp:  Aha. Then I insisted that he be hired to do the rest.

Cobra:  To be honest, I would've done them all anyway. Hah, when I first found out about FSPort I was the groupie n00b. "OOH HIRE ME I CAN FRED REAL GOOD".

Goober5000: Yeah, and you kept pestering us for details on ST:R. That was why I was so reluctant to let Cobra on the team :p

Stormkeeper: I've also heard it said that you've become much more mature.

Cobra:  Yeah. Looking back I could probably place myself a few dozen feet away from takashi, apparently. >.> Anyway, if I remember right, Galemp had actually toyed with the idea of making FS1-style load-outs.

Stormkeeper: But?

Cobra:  He just didn't have the time, I think. So I just thought "Ehh, what the hell, it's something to do." I whipped up an Apollo and Valkyrie and showed it to Galemp.

Stormkeeper: Did you work on ST:R too?

Cobra:  Well... I don't believe I had any real involvement in ST:R.

Stormkeeper: Wait, wait. Back up. So you did FS1-style loadouts too?

Cobra:  Yep, the ones with the blue lines were the ones I did.

Stormkeeper: Oh I remember those. Pretty they were.

Cobra:  Painstakingly recreated from those tiny-ass images from the FS1 VPs.

Stormkeeper: What odds and ends were you responsible for?

Cobra:  Well... I did some texture work for Galemp.

Stormkeeper: For which model?

Cobra:  Models, actually. Missile models to be exact

Stormkeeper: Just the missiles?

Cobra:  I made textures for the Hornet and Synaptic.

Stormkeeper: You textured my favorite missile.

Cobra:  which one would that be?

Stormkeeper: Hornet.

Cobra:  Err. Not synaptic, the cluster bomb. The hornet was actually a kind of collaboration effort between Galemp and I.  I made the base but couldn't get the details quite the way he wanted.

Stormkeeper: So he detailed the base you made?

Cobra:  Yeah. Hang on. This is the Cluster Bomb... And the Hornet.  I also did the medals case and accompanying medals.

---------------------------
Okay, at this point, the interview drifted off to ST:R; so I'll amend it to that interview when I put it up in a coupla days time. I have to admit I'm a bit stumped as to how to smoothly join the two, but I'll think of something. The IRC session log is attached below for those you want it.

IRC Log.


changed blue to cyan, 6 years later // G5K
« Last Edit: October 07, 2015, 11:16:33 pm by Goober5000 »
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Offline Mobius

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Re: FSPort; What You Never Knew.
Hey, this is a nice one! :) I would have loved to see Nelson, but he's no active at the moment...

Also, four different colors would have improved the result, I think.

 

Offline Stormkeeper

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Re: FSPort; What You Never Knew.
Coloured. The ST:R interview will be up after one to two days.
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Offline Goober5000

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Re: FSPort; What You Never Knew.
That attachment is going to be deleted during the next file purge.  Is there a place you could put it?

 

Offline Stormkeeper

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Re: FSPort; What You Never Knew.
Yep. Mediafire'd it.
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Offline Tomo

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Re: FSPort; What You Never Knew.
Interesting stuff there... Thanks for a good interview!

But, please don't use dark blue text. It's almost unreadable on a black background. Cyan is a better colour.

 

Offline Colonol Dekker

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Re: FSPort; What You Never Knew.
As long as it's not the mobius tag......
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Offline Stormkeeper

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Re: FSPort; What You Never Knew.
Interesting stuff there... Thanks for a good interview!

But, please don't use dark blue text. It's almost unreadable on a black background. Cyan is a better colour.
K. I'll keep it in mind for the ST:R interview.
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