Author Topic: Freespace 2 RE  (Read 1718 times)

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Offline mr.WHO

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Recently after many years of break I got back to Freespace 2.

Currently I'm trying Bem Cavalgar as well as Freespace Blue. When reading about Freespace Blue I found out it's FS2 campaign with minor adjustments. Somehow I expected some more changes - several years ago I played some fan made FS port campaign which was FS1 campaign with major technical changes (e.g. Terrans and Vasudans having flak guns, while Shivan ship got beams on many ships, not only Lucifer) but no changes to story.


Therefore I started thinking about Freespace 2 campaign:
- there are many plot holes and story forced events there that are out of player control
- there are many battles in the background/mission briefings that sounds interesting
- the original campaign scale itself to the old times, where computers and engine were less powerful and players were less experinced.


What if we could make Freespace 2 RE (Revisioned & Expanded) with following assumptions:
- what if we could really impact the storyline? Board Belisarius, stop Repulse from ramming Collossus (why do you jump into ramming range in the first place), what if we could save Collossus and Psamtik? What if we would be able to lure Sathanas in "Speaking in Tongues" to face against Toeris, Psamtic and Aquitaine?
- redesign some ships weapon configuration to make more sence and be more effective
- buff NTF - I imagine they are like North Korea, they are forced to use old soviet (FS1 equipment) therefore their ships are more heavily upgrade/modernised than what GTA
consider economically viable (e.g. you don't consider to upgrade soviet T-55 if you have access to T-90)
Also they wouldn't be able to hold GTVA if they weren't more impressive that FS2 tell - they were able to put an impressive force:
http://wiki.hard-light.net/index.php/FreeSpace_2_Rebel_Ship_Database#Neo-Terran_Front
- add some more ships to the missions without affecting the core of story/mission direction
- adding some more ships and secondary/bonus objectives that if completed contribute to GTVA streght (some of secondary/bonus objective would take effect in additional ships in later missions)
- all performance accross the campaign will impact how final act would be going on - kinda like Mass Effect 2 where your actions during the game have impact on final mission. This would vary from massacre bigger than original campaign to 10/10 swift action where GTVA is able to evacuate Cappella and most of it's fleet before nova.
- expand campaign with several more missions that were mentioned in the background (e.g. NTF front battles, Collossus chase of NTF, Cappella front evacuation and node defense)


Example:
In "Speaking in Tongues" Sathanas didn't took a bait, but if we look at "The Great Hunt" it took two corvettes to lure Ravana.
If we would be able to capture NTD Repulse in "Feint! Parry! Riposte!" it wouldn't be battle ready, but undergoing the repairs - with it in dock GTVA would be more willing to use something bigger as bait, for example GTD Carthage. This would be effective in luring Sathanas into trap which would result in Collossus beign in better shape for final Act.

Alternatively if you didn't captured the Repulse and going with original timeline - if you manage to deal with Sathanas beams, before it inflict major dammage, Collossus will still be in operational shape for final act.

Finally ships that you save would contribute to final act battle/evacuation - appearing in some missions and/or impacting the battle from the background (e.g escorting other convoys or assisting with military actions).

However I think that some "perfect performance" could also lead to negative outcome:
If we deal with Sathanas in "Speaking in Tongues" then Collossus wouldn't be able to be tested against Juggernaut (e.g. problems with power grid not keep up with firepower needed to kill Sathanas). Success of that mission would also make GTVA too relaxed and actually delay/hold the Capella evacuation.


I think there shouldn't be too many "Crossroad" points because it would lead to too many "routes/branches" - again kida more like Mass Effect 2, where you have linear storyline, but actions you make do have impact in the end.
FS2 campaign has 3 acts - I could see that your action could have a minor impact on final of each act, slight changes to particular missions or mission braching, but the major impact would be on final act.


IMO the draft and branching should be draved from following:
- check every original FS2 missions and see if from logical point of view it could be run better for GTVA (e.g. "perfect scenario" instead of "FS2 scenario")
- then check the perfect scenario impact on strategic level (would GTVA success and NTF/Shival failure would lead to different actions/outcome within current act and within final act)
- I think this would be most effective if we could draw "FS2 campaign" wargame with node map and ship deployed based of the wiki ship list:
http://wiki.hard-light.net/index.php/FreeSpace_2_ship_database


Trouble points:
Viability of alternative routes - would it be possible to capture Belisarius and Repulse? considering NTF fanatism they might want to scuttle the ships...but is it easy to scuttle 1km+ ships in the first place? I mean in reality somehow I doubt US navy has any plans for Carrier scuttle in case of boarding.

In some other cases it's easy - you don't send your flagship to make a deep recon in the nebula, especially after both Ravana and Sathanas attacks - Psamtic died in very stupid way.
Other case with sending several corvetes, cruisers and destroyer to stop Sathanas when you already know that Shivans ships dominate in frontal firepower. It would be much more plausible if these ships tried to flank Sathanas and got destroyed by Sathanas back turret and fighter/bomber contingent (this also explain why Sathanas doesn't deploy more fighters when player attack it) - this would be perfect candidate for new mission made of battle mentioned in brefing.



P.S. It's been ages since I did anything in FRED and I don't have as much free time as 10 years ago. This is more or less  just a concept - if someone find it inspring then feel free to use it and modify it as much as you want :) .

 

Offline General Battuta

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The problem is that FS2 has super good voice acting and there’s no way to get more of it.

 
Well, then all new lines would have to be spoken by new GTVA ships.

 

Offline mr.WHO

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The problem is that FS2 has super good voice acting and there’s no way to get more of it.

Yeah - this was the first obvious problem that pop-up when modifying the original campaign. Even if some lines could be voiceacted there is still problem with "command" voice.

 

Offline Droid803

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Retail FS2 campaign is fine though, in terms of story and what happens. It tells the story it sets out to tell. Some of the changes you propose would seriously take away from that, and make the story considerably weaker thematically.
There's just a few missions that could be touched up FREDding-wise (and people have already done that).
(´・ω・`)
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Offline mr.WHO

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Considering that I finished FS2 campaign at least 10+ times I can't say it's bad either.
This would be more like alternative scenario where you have a slightly more meaningful impact on the story...while the 80+ Sathanases would still kick your ass in the end.

Somehow this alternative scenario reminds me Battlefleet Gothic single player campaign where (on higher difficulty) you didn't played for victory, but more like for minimizing the asset losses to Gothic sector.

 

Offline Novachen

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Actually i think that FS2's campaign is fine. I always liked that there are battles the player does not participate and that he is only one pilot of many others.

Nevertheless i actually work on a reimagination of Freespace since many years, even i do not think, that i will ever find the time to finish this completely. And because i knew that right at the beginning, i never made an annoucement for that.


But well, i think this Thread is a good place to give away some details and ideas about it.

Actually it is a trilogy, where the middle part is advanced at most.

Synopsis:
2335 - Nova
Is a FreeSpace: The Great War reimagination which is more or less still at pre-alpha stage. The main difference so far... Shivans are using their FS2 stats. So all Shivan capital ships actually have beams and flak cannons. Also  all Shivan ships have a shield system, even freighters and destroyers. But in the contrary, their hull is weaker, and no ship is invurnerable but it simply takes much effort to bring down Shivan shields on a Lucifer for example, especially with the 2335 tech the PVN and GTA have. Because both have only weak Anti-Shield weapons and also have to fight most of the War without their own shield system. This is only introduced near the end and is not so powerful as their Shivan counterpart aswell it only work with flaws (shield breakdowns in-mission etc.)
Have to say, that i never liked it, that the heavy advanced alien shivan technology was decoded so quickly by the PVN and GTA, so the development of effective weaponary and defense systems will take much longer in 2335. For the general course of the story there will not much difference however. Maybe some more missions here and there to deepen some plot points, but altogether not very different.

2335 - Nova: Rebellion
Well, a addon reimagination that centers about the Hades rebellion. Actually i think that this would be Silent Threat: Reborn with some changed stats and technologies. I think the experiments to reverse engineering shivan technology would have be a bigger focus here. But because even the 2335 main story was never really worked out so far, i never make big thoughts about the Hades Rebellion. Does not have any priority right now, because of:



2367 - Supernova
The actual Freespace 2 reimagening i am working on and already have some (well at least 1/3 of it) finished missions for that. Of course, the course of the story would also be more or less the same, but it would be different in some points. I actually have a story that have 7 acts that are 5-10 mission each. So a 55-60 mission campaign.
Capital ships are by the way more durable, Shivan ships thanks to their shields, GTVA thanks to their hull. So battles takes much longer, even with Beams in 2367. In 2335 the GTA/PVN has much better Anti-Capital-Ships weapons than in the original FreeSpace universe, but they lack big Bomber and Fighter defenses because they did not have AAA and Flak.
In 2367 the GTVA has also its own reliable working shield system now at least. But it is still much weaker than the Shivan one. Also the Shivan weapons are still much more powerful, because the GTVA still not understand, how the Shivan can generate so much energy for that comparatively small ships, so they still try to understand and to adapt to the Shivan technology.

Act 1: Neo-Terran Front
The fight against the NTF at the beginning of the game would take a few additional missions, where the NTF is actually able to gain some ground. The shivan appear at the end of this act like they do in FS2.

Act 2: Second Shivan Incursion
The Shivan are much more aggressive in this version and are actually able to get into Epsilon Pegasi and Vega aswell. They have to be driven back to Gamma Draconis where the Knossos is found.

Act 3: Nebula
This act is actually mostly about exploring and about testing of nebula warfare. Also there are more missions with EMP storms. This act actually ends with the appearance of the SD Ravana, which is a more powerful destroyer than the Demon here.

Act 4: Endgame
The SD Ravana with its fleet break through Gamma Draconis and pushes into Capella... worse, the NTF is also starting its Exodus into the Nebula with most of its fleet after some decisive victories by the GTVA in Deneb and Sirius. Only with the help of the initial engagement of the new GTVJ Colossus the Ravana can be stopped. Because of its size it is the first ship that actually can house an energy generator that is powerful enough to create a shield and weapon power that is at least comparable to the Shivan one, even it can not use both at the same time at full potential. The Colossus have to choose if it goes into a defensive or offensive mode (the big energy generator is the in-universe explanation why the GTVA built this oversized baseball bat in the first place. Even i actually do not have an explantion for the Hades so far). Unfortunately, because the GTVA is occupied with the Ravana fleet, the NTF is able to get into the Nebula nearly undisturbed. So the GTVA try to follow and to hunt down the NTF ships in the Nebula. So there are some more Nebula missions against NTF ships, also the Colossus is actually in the Nebula, because of the several other Ravana class destroyers that were detected. This act ends with the destruction of the (my beloved) GVD Psamtik by the first SJ Sathanas.

Act 5: Sathanas
A series of missions with the main purpose of stopping the SJ Sathanas, but also some last NTF encounters. Actually in its idea it is not very different to many of the Sathanas 1 Missions in FS2. Except that the Sathanas is actually underestimated by the GTVA which becomes obvious only in the battle against the Colossus in the nebula. But because the Colossus emerges victorious, the GTVA still think, that they are on the road to victory with the Baseball Bat.

Act 6: Knossos 2
After the destruction of the Sathanas, the GTVA is in the upper hand and find another Knossos Portal which they actually traverse and so get the view of some Shivan Installations. This act actually ends with a reconnaissance mission to an Unknown Jump Node (yep, no Knossos 3) where you get a glimpse to a SSJ Amritaya which is jumping out, but more importantly, there is a whole fleet of Sathanas' which are begin to swarming in this system. Causes a complete withdrawal of course.

Act 7: Capella
Well this acts focus on the withdrawal out of the Nebula, the failed blasting of Knossos 1 and the Capella evacuation which is identical to FS2's final missions. Well, the Aquitane gets destroyed, because of an engine breakdown in the nebula (like Argonautica, only with a Sath instead a Moloch), the Colossus sacrifice itself to hold the line at the Node out of the nebula and to give the units time to prepare the destruction of Knossos 1, which does not work of course. Well actually this whole Act resembles much of the third act of the original FS2.

Currently i have missions from all seven acts so far. But some missions are still only slightly edited ones from FS2 aswell Flames of War and Into the Depths of Hell to fit into the story. It is a project i work sometimes if i feel like, but i do not make much progress, because i actually like it more to edit and to improve existing missions as to create completely new ones (which is the reason why there are some edited FOW and ItDoH missions currently)
One mission is even partly voiced by me, my twin sister and my husband. She is speaking a Corvette that is named after me, i am speaking its sister ship which is named after her... and my husband speak one of the wingmen. Actually totally hillarious.



2399 - Hypernova
Well, another 32 years for some kind of conclusion of the story. Also very pre-alpha stage except that this one is based upon Inferno tech and follow the established FreeSpace formula that there is a war against another Antagonist before the Shivans reappear. I can only say, that there is no Sol faction, because Humanity destroyed itself in Sol during the previous 64 years and Earth is nothing more than a clone of Vasuda Prime now :lol: .
But well, apart from that and the consequences of a destroyed Earth (which is one of the reasons for the conflict at the beginning) there is not a very big worked out story so far, except for some SSJ Amritaya stuff, that i tease in 2367 as mentioned.


So, as i said in the beginning, i do not think that i will ever bring a whole trilogy to live. But maybe the 2367 part in a couple of years at least. But it is also possible that this one will never come to an end :).
Female FS2 pilot since 1999.

If you want to know, what my nickname means, -chen is a german diminutive term, so you can translate Novachen as something like Little Nova or Novalet.
Even my original meaning of this name is more like "Sweet pretty deadly (Super)Nova" ;).

German Translations created by me:
Between the Ashes 1, FreeSpace Port, The Destiny of Peace, Silent Threat: Reborn, Awakenings (in development)

 

Offline Goober5000

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Re-imagining the entire FS2 campaign would be a huge project.  Why not try making one mission, or just a few missions, that cover an event described in the main campaign but not seen?  Examples of these are Blaise Russel's The Fall of Epsilon Pegasi, Sesquipedalian's The 4th Vial, and my own Deneb III.

 

2335 - Nova

2335 - Nova: Rebellion

2367 - Supernova

2399 - Hypernova

Novachen, you really like novae don't you ? :D
/captain obvious

Anyway, while I second the opinion that a large scale rework of FS2 is unnecessary, I kinda like the idea of a more drastic, BSG-esque re-imagining. (Hell, come to think of it, my old personal mod project thingy ended up treading on that path after I started having fun with tables & stuff.)

My own advice for someone undertaking such a project would be to go for an episodic release scheme, but avoid sticking to a chronological order, eg. don't wait until you've released all the FS1-era episodes before working on FS2 or post-FS2 stuff. It helps keep things fresh & fun for the modder(s), and the project ends up getting downsized or people get burned out, it ensures that every era gets a chance to have its share of missions.

 
I always wanted to do something similar that let the Colossus survive and retreat just like Alpha 1 could in the end.
Got Shivans? The SOC Ezechiel is the schnitzel! Don't leave base without it.

 

Offline Firesteel

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I'm definitely with Goober on the start with something smaller advice and X3N0 on the non-chronological stuff (since I'm in the hole of chronological hell on the project I'm working on).

As someone who's worked with branching narratives, it adds an exponential amount of work with whatever you're doing even when you have a really good content request system. You still have to author content at some level and every branch adds another possible precondition for you to keep track of. Basically having a ~30 mission long branching campaign structure means you might wind up with 90+ missions to author unless you can create templates and drop content into them based on tags or something (I don't know if FSO has this capability in an easy to use state).

As a few people in this thread have said already, Freespace does an excellent job telling the story the way it wants to and giving you the right amount of agency over things (read not much) in the grand scheme but you have a ton of freedom with the game's systems compared to many more modern games.
Current Projects:

- Ongoing analysis of games through video segments
- A short campaign inspired by a certain command briefing animation

 

Offline asyikarea51

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I doubt I'd get back to FS any time soon (heck, what of the super little everyone-should-already-know basics I used to know has gone to ****, no better than a total newbie by now), but before FS Blue ever existed I was thinking about what would the original FS1 and FS2 campaigns be like with a personified player like with the BP series.

(gotta admit the release of FS Blue was a shock to me in a way because of the old thoughts cooped up in the brain. Haven't played it past half the very first mission because RL  :banghead:)

Had this what-if idea, if the player pilot in FS1+ST and 2 was one and the same, but canon almost certainly makes that a big no, what with the 'cog in the machine feel' and only the 4-legged dudes glowing deathly red having things that defy rules...
Inferno plz
The Power of Nightmares
TheHound: "Nice idea, but I have a thing against announcing campaigns before having them already finished."
G5K: "The flipside of that is that if you don't announce your campaign, yet take too long to finish it, other people may independently come up with some of the same ideas."

 

Offline Goober5000

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Had this what-if idea, if the player pilot in FS1+ST and 2 was one and the same, but canon almost certainly makes that a big no, what with the 'cog in the machine feel' and only the 4-legged dudes glowing deathly red having things that defy rules...

Well, the player from the FS1 main campaign is still stuck in Sol...

 

Offline karajorma

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There was however a theory that Alpha 1 from Silent Threat was Admiral Bosch. He does say he fought against the GTI so that much at least fits.
Karajorma's Freespace FAQ. It's almost like asking me yourself.

[ Diaspora ] - [ Seeds Of Rebellion ] - [ Mind Games ]

 
But so did Alpha 2 :D

  

Offline mr.WHO

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As someone who's worked with branching narratives, it adds an exponential amount of work with whatever you're doing even when you have a really good content request system. You still have to author content at some level and every branch adds another possible precondition for you to keep track of. Basically having a ~30 mission long branching campaign structure means you might wind up with 90+ missions to author unless you can create templates and drop content into them based on tags or something (I don't know if FSO has this capability in an easy to use state).

Correct. I never fooled myself that tree branching is possible, because it increase work expotentionally. Moreover lets be honest - the more work the lower chance of completion and lower quality.
That's why I put Mass Effect 2 as an example - the story is linear, there might be some minor differences depending on your actions (e.g. the ship you saved/captures in Act 1 might appear later to help you) - the real impact/difference is in the end/finale. Thus you don't have to make 90+ new missions as the branch would start at the end (Act 3 or middle of act 3).



P.S. Does anyone remember that alternative FS port campaing that I mentioned in OP? It was so long ago that I completely forgot the name of that campaign.

 

Offline Novachen

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  • The one and only Capella supernova.

2335 - Nova

2335 - Nova: Rebellion

2367 - Supernova

2399 - Hypernova

Novachen, you really like novae don't you ? :D
/captain obvious

I do... actually FreeSpace 2 take a very important role in my life.
The capella supernova was the reason for my nickname, it was the reason why i had the dream to be a game-developer in the first place back. A dream i fulfilled nine years ago. Because i want to give people the experience and the feelings, i had, after i have finished the game.

This game is simply everything for me :)

But well, the Name of this trilogy is only, because one is the follow up of another. Nova -> Supernova -> Hypernova, what actually also describes how i also had the impression of the games. That in every later conflict bigger and more mighty ships are involved than before. Lucifer -> Sathanas -> Amritaya is also fitting in this analogy. Because of this i always had the Inferno Assets in mind for 2399, because the GTVA ships there are also bigger than the FS2 ones, as well it still uses some FS2 assets as FS2 does with FS1 does.

Quote
My own advice for someone undertaking such a project would be to go for an episodic release scheme, but avoid sticking to a chronological order, eg. don't wait until you've released all the FS1-era episodes before working on FS2 or post-FS2 stuff.

Well, yes, you are right in both cases.

Actually i would not even stick to an chronological order of the episodes. If you have a laid out plan for the story and it is easier to create Missions for Episode 3 first... i do not know why you should not do them before. The desperate attempt to finish Episode 1 & 2 before you came to the missions you really want to make is maybe wasting your time aswell.

Especially in a Remake/Reimagining where it is possible to recreate only one act or even one mission of them without problems.

For a concrete example, i actually never liked that "Clash of the Titans II" plays totally different than its The Great War counterpart, because it does not have another Titan to clash with. With a Demon destroyer that jumps in during the mission in an attempt to stop the Bastion to reach the Jump Node this mission always has much more in spirit with the eponym. And that is only a small change you can do to cause that a mission plays out totally different.


But as i said before, i actually like, that the Player does not participate in all battles during its Tour of Duty. There are several side storys available like Fall of Epsilon Pegasi where the player is another Pilot in one of the conflicts that are mentioned, but he does not participate.

For the Freespace 1 timeframe this cases also exists. Shivans: Echo Gate is a good example for that, because a operation is playable there and is mentioned in Silent Threat: Reborn.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 05:52:35 pm by Novachen »
Female FS2 pilot since 1999.

If you want to know, what my nickname means, -chen is a german diminutive term, so you can translate Novachen as something like Little Nova or Novalet.
Even my original meaning of this name is more like "Sweet pretty deadly (Super)Nova" ;).

German Translations created by me:
Between the Ashes 1, FreeSpace Port, The Destiny of Peace, Silent Threat: Reborn, Awakenings (in development)

 
Quote
But well, the Name of this trilogy is only, because one is the follow up of another. Nova -> Supernova -> Hypernova, what actually also describes how i also had the impression of the games. That in every later conflict bigger and more mighty ships are involved than before. Lucifer -> Sathanas -> Amritaya is also fitting in this analogy. Because of this i always had the Inferno Assets in mind for 2399, because the GTVA ships there are also bigger than the FS2 ones, as well it still uses some FS2 assets as FS2 does with FS1 does.

That's why I love INF so much, too. :)

On the other hand, I grown to like the idea behind BWOs Golgatha and some Terran OTT ships which focussed on long-range combat rather than "bigger, with more beams".

As for the Shivan part (as I posted in the other thread), I'd prefer Lucifer+few destroyers => Sathanas-armada (80+) => something REALLY big. :D

 

Offline Goober5000

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P.S. Does anyone remember that alternative FS port campaing that I mentioned in OP? It was so long ago that I completely forgot the name of that campaign.

I believe you're thinking of "What If: Another Great War".

 
P.S. Does anyone remember that alternative FS port campaing that I mentioned in OP? It was so long ago that I completely forgot the name of that campaign.

I believe you're thinking of "What If: Another Great War".

I think there were several campaigns that dealt with that throught the years, this was just the only one that ever made it to release. There was also Woolie Wools "Twist of Fate" and some HLP project called Alternate Paths or something like that I once read about (not sure about the latter though).