Hello folks, been a while. I am not sure if this is the best place to post this but it's Blue Planet related!
Many eons ago I released one of my few toys to the FSO community to play with, my old HEF Blizzard. It was the best thing I've made at the time, a real work of art, sweat, and love. You can imagine how proud I was when it became the UEF Lao Tze of Blue Planet
. As happy as I was, for a very long time since it was added... I was honestly a bit unhappy because my Blizzard never matched BP's aesthetic, not to mention BP stands at the front of FSO's public image as one of the best community projects on an open source engine. A few months ago I decided to not only make something for my future as a portfolio piece, but a gift to the love I have for FSO and the hard work you guys have done for Blue Planet. It is not complete, nowhere near but after over a month and dozens of hours of work I feel it's ready to be presentable. I present thee the UEF Acala A1, the replacement for the Lao Tze.Disclaimer: The TechLab details are placeholders for now. It's not balanced currently!Warning! Fan Lore below!
As read above, the Acala is inspired by the F-22, F-35, and F-14 fighters. The idea being that the Acala is a fighter designed with the most exquisite and finest technology at the time, made to defeat virtually any threats especially at extreme range.... during a time of peace and calm before the arrival of the Terran Expeditionary Fleet. Not seeing a role or use that other frames can fill in (aside from E-WAR/AWACS), the UEF Elders and high positioned advisors canned the Acala within the infancy of overall production. However the sheer power and flexibility of the Acala proved enticing to the White Guard who requisitioned several of the ill-fated Acala into Lao Tze fighters, featuring a unique frontal cannon and the latest electronic equipment.
When war came to Sol, Admiral Calder utilized the Acala in his typical fearsome aggressive tactics, bundling a screen of Acala fighters with Uriel Gunships and Durga Bombers to make a lethal fighting fist of strike craft. The Acala would use their extremely powerful radar to flash a target, disrupt their sensors, and fire off salvos of Grimler missiles all the while providing an ECM screen to their escorts. This proved so deadly that the GTVA deployed heavy counter-tactics against the Acala, deploying Aurora fighters to snuff out the Acala and their ECM, providing AWACs to other fighters to light up Firebrands with swarms of Trebuchet missiles. In the end, Calder lost two dozen in total destruction and another dozen too severely damaged to return to the fight. Admiral Byrne subsequently recalled all Acala fighters to 1st fleet to be used for defensive actions and the occasional escort or raid. A handful remain in the hands of Admiral Netreba and 2nd Fleet.End Lore!
Teal Deer: The Acala is badass, so badass it wasn't meant for the universe. 3rd Fleet used it to kick ass on the GTVA, the GTVA returned to kick ass back and scared Byrne to recall the fighter. Some are still in 2nd fleet.
The Acala is a true to the word 'Heavy Fighter'. It's not as bigass huge and monstrously powerful as the Uriel and Izra'il but it's got a bigger bite than the Kentaroi and shares the same max speed with the Uhlan. It's not as agile as the smaller fighters but it's got good durability and firepower. It also can mount 2 jackhammers and a whole crapload of Grimler missiles. The jewel of the design is the massive nose mounted cannon. I even modeled the barrel extends a huge length down the belly of the craft. The weakness of the Acala in the face of the GTVA is that it has a rather large profile though not nearly as massive as you'd think. It probably won't handle well against enemy craft that feature 10+ primary banks in a clustered position, rather the Acala should engage at range to whittle the enemy away and if it is forced to dogfight.... use that massive cannon which has good effectiveness against shields and hull.
The overall plan is that aside from the fact a variant of this will replace the Lao Tze in my modification to BP, the A1 and B1 variants will appear in some of WiH's standard campaign missions as AI units and maybe be playable in some if it doesn't screw with the gameplay loop. Example: During the raid of the GTD Meridian, Byrne will deploy a grand total of ONE Acala A1 and one Acala B1 in the mission to screen Epsilon or Beta wing. They will also appear in the defense of Rheza Station in the grand show of TWO A1's coming to your aid. Lastly the Acala may be playable during Delenda Est if it doesn't interfere with how the mission is supposed to be played.Conclusions
There's still a lot to do here even without implementation, granted at this early stage it makes for a good time for feedback and suggestions. The overall design is too far in to change at this point and I hope you all find it appealing and fits into BP's aesthetic universe, but there might be room for change. I'm currently working on the high-poly model for normal map projection. The model currently stands at 850,000 triangles though that's mostly due to the turbo-smoothing. Once I am satisfied I have most of the important details for the high-poly normal mapping, I'll project it onto a low poly, game optimized model. From there I'll hand paint on the panel plating and rivets, every other form of needed details too tedious to model.
Once Normal Mapping is done... well... we come to the very reason why I'm such a tryhard on this model. I have to texture it and I suck at texturing. This will be something for me to improve my skill with and will probably take a while. Still it is my end goal to provide a quality piece of art to mod into BP.
I look forward to future progress updates with you all.
I posted this at 1:30am my time, so I apologize for any missing or cut info... I was simply tired XD.