Welcome to June, everybody! I'd like to begin this newsletter with some FreeSpace related poetry, if that's okay with you. I'll take your silence as an affirmative.
O, my friend, the Orion destroyer,
The beams that you fire surely past muster,
For the evil foes, a great forceful kick,
For the many friends, a home in a brick.
Now lets get down to business!
Not too much to talk about here this month. Things have been slow on this front.Shadow Genesis announced work on a version 1.1 patch
that will hopefully clear up any issues people have been having with it.
Since things are slow, I'll also show this neat and interesting video
that was linked to in the celebration thread, showing off a gameplay preview for some random upcoming mod! (Heh, real smooth there Axem, that was so flawless- wait. Computer, stop dictating. Delete. NO. Whatever, I'll remove that in post.)
Quiet on the coding front as well! Well that's no good! Remember to help test the latest release candidate for 3.7.0!
Find bugs, help test changes and lovingly remind coders that we're total fans of them and not to stop with the code progress! (And wait a year for the final release like a certain other build!)
(Also the rumour mill says that RC2 will be along very soon! I'm on to your game, SCP coders!)
Now HERE we have some fun stuff being released!
BlackWolf continues his crusade to ensure that everyone has small installations to play with for their campaign with the PVI/GVI Abydos, a small vasudan installation
that would go great in those many Vasudan campaigns we play with!
In other wolf related news, ShadowWolf has finally released the GTF Pharaoh, his very first model and fighter!
Complete with maps, tables and shield icon. A perfect addition to any fighter fleet.
UnknownTarget comes from unknown space to deliver us a... Taiigara transport? Hirgani science ship?
Point is, it's pretty fricken cool, especially after BlackWolf converted it to POF for us.
And while not really new, we should give a quick shoutout to the rediscovery of the GTF Icarus.
PLEASE do not fly the fighter near suns. Actually on second thought, don't fly any ships near fighters.
Enioch shows off a cool ship from the Renegade Legion, the Revenna
(not to be confused with Ravana!). There's a lot of other cool ships at the beginning of the thread as well, be sure to check those out too!
rhettro has come out of nowhere, doing a gorgeous job of texturing this beautiful Dagger starfighter
by mandobardanjusik for the Star Wars TC, Fate of the Galaxy. Impressive.
there's been some asset releases from the old Terran-Vasudan War Project.
It's a pair of gas miners, one already was released, but the other is NEW! Get it while it lasts!
And again, hidden in the depths of the New Eyecandy Thread in the Inferno board we have... a pretty cool looking vasudan fighter/bomber/ship/thing!
Another great Vasudan model from The Dagger!
When we last left our brave hero, Oddgrim, he was making steady progress with the Anuket model.
A month later, we find him in bed with ANOTHER Vasudan model.
What a playboy. He must enjoy docking with the Nephthys, IF you know what I mean.
Oh and Hades also has some updates to the Levi
. Yay for 10m/s cruisers! (Also the model link in that post has been updated since the original date, so this isn't a belated update!)
Headdie continues his work with small containers with... a large container.
C'mon man, spice these up with cool names. Again this one isn't quite finished, but it shouldn't need anything more than a simple texture job to bring it to life!
And finally, this month on ScoobyWatch (I'm going to have to come up with a graphic for him), we have a bunch of new cockpit models in development.
Perfect for the new render-to-texture hud gauges!
Forgive me if you've heard this story before. A lone guy makes an original campaign with community released assets, throws in some amazing unique missions, has a certain cinematic vibe to it all AND... branching missions. Oh and voice acted too.
Sounds too good to be true? At one point it would be considered the holy grail of a campaign release, but now its becoming just a given. So let's take a trip to Burning Heaven.
The campaign has an interesting take on things. The story is placed in the pre-GTVA days of the FreeSpace universe, before we even left the solar system. Yet there are recognizable ships everywhere, from the FreeSpace 2 fighters we know and love to the Orion and Hecate. It's an odd mix of old and new, and I think we've got enough ships around to have replaced those, but it doesn't really break it for me. It just feels kind of weird sometimes.
But those feelings go away quickly when you start playing. The opening cutscene, is awesome. We've got our subtitles that give us the setting. (Earth government is jerks, people on other planets don't like this. So we're fighting. A squadron prepares for battle.) Then its some amazing camera work as we slowly fly out from a station to the squadron assembling. The music builds the sad atmosphere that this campaign is full of. We've even got opening credits for work done! Maybe it could be considered a little pretentious to go this far, but it shows we're having fun.
So the first playable mission is one big battle of endor, where the player is just there to shoot stuff. It's basically a death throe of the rebelling forces that you're flying with. There's no way to win and there's nothing the player can do about it. Earth's might reigns supreme! The mission ends with the rebel forces either dying or surrendering. Most campaigns (or stories even) usually don't start with the protagonists side surrendering. But here it gives us a window into the methods of where the campaign takes us. Which is Earth cannot be taken on with a straight military force, atleast not yet. The next mission is rebels surrending to the Imperial Navy over Earth, which has them executing everyone on the spot. This sends the player and Phoenix Squadron to rethink their surrender and start a guerrila war against Earth's Imperial Navy.
Because its a guerrilla war, it just gives us a reason to have great fun with missions. They're unique, tense, and very focused. Gain entry into a restricted area by "replacing" an escort to a freighter, then use the defenses in the area to destroy your target for you. Sabotage reactors, sneak into shipyards. If you liked the Fedayeen missions in BP Act 3, then you should like these (and they don't require a PhD to win either).
Probably the most powerful moment of the campaign is
when the Imperial Navy attacks Titan. They're glassing the whole moon and your objective is to basically record this war crime in action. I don't know how the mission actually tells if you've recorded enough of it, but I felt I had to try and capture as much of it as possible. Ignoring the fighters on your tail, dodging missiles all while keeping your view on the planet.
It should be considered an immersion success when the player feels they should be doing something because its what feels right, not just because the game tells you to do it.
Similarily, a pretty tense mission afterward is when you're hiding in the atmosphere of a gas giant and the enemy is trying to hunt you down. With sonar. I'll admit, the sonar part is pretty crazy (the inner science/physics nerd inside wants to say how many kinds of wrong this is), but we can pretend they're active sensor sweeps or something. So you're on the run, but you've got to go slow or else they'll pick you up so easily. So all throughout this mission, its this weird erie feel where you hear the "sonar-like" beeps and hope that's not the one where they finally find you.
Something I also really liked was the command briefings. They're presented as newscasts for the events going on at the time. An interesting look to see how the enemy views your little rebel rousing party. You see them and think "boy I hope I made the news tonight!". Hopefully without "resulted in 10,000 civilian deaths" being in there of course.
Also the branching missions! Okay, its kind of minor branching. The branched missions are mostly variations of each other with a few changes. I haven't played through all of them, but certainly kudos for actually doing stuff like that. Its not easy and certainly shows the devotion to the craft of campaign making.
Burning Heaven is another great example of what one guy can do. Its not a perfect campaign, but it still rises above and stands up to other great campaigns very nicely. If you can get past the future-anachronistic ship classes, I'm sure you will enjoy it.
So Burning Heaven was pretty bleak and not happy, next month let's do something a little more lighter!
We're going to go fly with some Neo-Terrans in... Crossing the Styx.
Wait, that doesn't sound any better. (I believe it was made for 3.6.10 mediavps, so just re point it to the 3.6.12 ones if you have just those!)
Nope! Doesn't work! Lets punish this campaign by playing Rogue Intentions instead!
Lots of cool pics this month! The theme was giant beams, quality large beams (and not a quantity of beams!!). And boy was it a hard decision this month. But ultimately it goes to...
Belisarius and his striking picture of himself not surrendering.
He will be remembered as a victim of showing off eye candy.
But I also want to give a mention to Arpit for recreating the scene from the FreeSpace 2 box art!
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This month's theme shall be: The Quiet Life. No enemies or weapons being thrown around. Just a peaceful day in the life of FreeSpace. Maybe a fighter patrol around civilian stations, or transport groups going about their business. Something relaxing.
And remember the rules: No HUD. No Photoshop. Max 3 entries per person. Final Destination.Screencap script makes taking pictures easy and affordable on a low income budget.
In sort of space sim related news, Mesotronik linked to a game called Void Destroyer
, a hybrid RTS/Space sim with a free alpha as well as a kickstarter to make the game grow even more. There's videos and pictures to give you things to drool over, give it a glance!
And finally... FreeSpace poetry slam! Give me your best!