Author Topic: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?  (Read 1553 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Rhys

  • 26
Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
I decided to reinstall the age-old space sim after a number of years, and after making it halfway through the story I've come to realize how unpolished and rudimentary it seems. Poor writing, inconsistent pacing, unbalanced weapons, and strange design choices really hinder this game from standing out on its own, especially after all these years. I still love the cutscenes, though. The hall fight on the Azrael is still pretty cool to watch. I do find it jarring when 90% of the story unfolds in cutscenes and command briefings while the rest of the game is this often disjointed series of missions (some missions can be as short as two minutes while others can go on and on while nothing happens (thank god for time compression :p)

The core gameplay is still great, though! Albeit the pacing is a bit strange (constant waves of the same number of enemies and type followed by many minutes of matching speed with a transport as it flies off to some vague point in space so an objective can be accomplished). Bringing fleet flagships to a small engagement with a couple cruisers only to warp out five minutes later really make me scratch my head.

Mods like ST:R, BtA and BP bring home a cohesive narrative with storytelling that takes place both in and in-between missions. FS2 is miles ahead of its predecessor in this regard.

I still love the premise of the series, and the mods are fantastic and I have my own headcanon after putting these mods together. I love it!

All this said, I'm still enjoying the FS1 campaign despite its shortcomings. Though I can't say I'd have the same opinion had I not played it as a kid when it came out. Nostalgia goes a long way with these games.

It's still great.

 
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
I remeber the last time I played the FSPort I was constantly thinking "when do they actually start with the plot?". It felt like it would take forever, somewhere along the way Vasuda was nuked and Artifacts discovered, but then the campaign was already finally over. As someone who played FS2 first my initial contact with FS1s plot was in the techroom, where the summary sounded really super-cool from a retrospective POV. But actually playing it... it was like as if you could dump 1/3 of the missions without missing them.

 

Offline 0rph3u5

  • 211
  • Can we have a better version of this conversation?
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
1998 was just a different time with different standards...
« Last Edit: May 21, 2019, 06:57:52 pm by 0rph3u5 »
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nysa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
Vastly different standards than 1999?

  

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
1998 was just a different time with different standards...

StarCraft came out in 1998, Homeworld came out in '99. FS1 just has poor writing.

The music's cool, though.

 

Offline deathspeed

  • 29
  • i can't think of a good avatar
    • Steam
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
FS2 always seemed to me to be one of those rare sequels where the developers actually addressed most of the shortcomings of the original as called out by players and reviewers.  Much to our benefit 20 years later!
Maybe someday God will give you a little pink toaster of your own.

 

Offline 0rph3u5

  • 211
  • Can we have a better version of this conversation?
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
Vastly different standards than 1999?
1998 was just a different time with different standards...

StarCraft came out in 1998, Homeworld came out in '99. FS1 just has poor writing.

Yes

Also, the quality of the writing is not dispute. Just that [the] standard [by which] to wave it through was lower.

ps. The comparison with StarCraft is also ignorant. StarCraft had a notriously long dev-cycle for its time (1995-1998; including a complete engine change).



Also the metadata for some mission suggest that that FS1 was in development from at least June 1997 (see Eve of Destruction, $Created) to August 1998 (see Good Luck, $Modified). Not much time to incooperate the shifting landscape of 1998, if you factor in that people were actually working instead of absorbing every new game. Or alternatively lead to several itterations of the story outline being slapped together because work didn't procceed as orderly as it could have.

And, if you ever looked at the FS1 tables, you will find goodies such as this:
Quote
$Fire Wait: 20.0 ;; note, damage toned down until ai and turrets start shooting at bombs.
Quote
$Lifetime: 25.0 ;; temporary fix for problem locking onto big ships.
... the writing might not have been the only rush-job here, or rather "good enough"-job.

ps. Side Note: Metadata on FS2 missions suggest work on those started around April 1999 (see Surrender, Belisarius) and was finished around September of the same year (see Apocalypse). The shorter time period suggests a highly organized work process IMO.

EDIT: Corrections in [] - I should really mark post I make on the go....
« Last Edit: May 22, 2019, 03:52:31 pm by 0rph3u5 »
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nysa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
You don’t need a long dev cycle to write good sentences. It just wasn’t a priority for them like it became in FS2.

 

Offline 0rph3u5

  • 211
  • Can we have a better version of this conversation?
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
You don’t need a long dev cycle to write good sentences. It just wasn’t a priority for them like it became in FS2.

... but if you have more time you can spend more on refining the writing you have. Get more feedback, involve more voices etc etc

Not everyone writes pure genius like you, Battuta. /sarcasm
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nysa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
They made FS2 much faster, though, and actually had a lead writer.

My argument is entirely: the year 1998 did not have lower standards of sentence writing in games. You had so much good game writing coming out in this time. Baldur's Gate was the same year, and say what you will about its pulpiness, it's got a lot of perfectly okay writing.

 

Offline 0rph3u5

  • 211
  • Can we have a better version of this conversation?
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
They made FS2 much faster, though, and actually had a lead writer.

Not in dispute. See my comments about the mission metadata.

My argument is entirely: the year 1998 did not have lower standards of sentence writing in games. You had so much good game writing coming out in this time. Baldur's Gate was the same year, and say what you will about its pulpiness, it's got a lot of perfectly okay writing.

My argument is that the standard was not a singular standard yet, rather that different standards coexisted (that plural in my first response wasn't just a turn of phrase). IMO Autum 1998 is a crictially important point in time line for at least passable writing becoming an industry standard, but it is not on its own a transformative singularity. Being released post Autum 1998 doesn't make it so that every work conforms to the standards set through important works at that time - FS1 in particular, I'd argue, is very much ante Autum 1998 in its conception and execution, even if the release falls in the autum of 1998.

There have been plenty of well written games before 1998 but that doesn't mean that it was necessary requirement - some of the more (over-)praised titles of 1998 don't have a good writing either, e.g. Half-Life lacks an expressed theme or conflict in the dramatic sense, its just a inciting incident, a destination and some obstacles.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2019, 03:53:38 pm by 0rph3u5 »
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nysa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 

Offline General Battuta

  • Poe's Law In Action
  • 214
  • i wonder when my postcount will exceed my iq
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
Okay but "the Vasudan foothold on Vasuda Prime" is prima facie, and without context, dumb.

 

Offline Colonol Dekker

  • HLP is my mistress
  • 213
  • Aken Tigh Dekker
    • My old squad sub-domain
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
That does sound dumb, stronghold comes to mind in place of foothold.

I like FS1 cheese though.
Your friendly Orestes tactical controller
GO GO DEKKER RANGERSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
President of the Scooby Doo Model Appreciation Society
The only good Zod is a dead Zod
NEWGROUNDS COMEDY GOLD, UPDATED DAILY
http://badges.steamprofile.com/profile/default/steam/76561198011784807.png

 

Offline Colt

  • 27
  • Needs more dakka
    • Steam
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
Node inconsistencies is a pretty big one. Though I suppose some of them could have gone extinct by the time FS2 starts.

 
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
Node inconsistencies is a pretty big one. Though I suppose some of them could have gone extinct by the time FS2 starts.

*cough* multiple Sol nodes *cough*

 
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
Node inconsistencies is a pretty big one. Though I suppose some of them could have gone extinct by the time FS2 starts.

*cough* multiple Sol nodes *cough*

Sure seems to me that in FS1, a jump node could go to multiple systems (I'm thinking Tenderizer and the Taranis Briefing Cutscene). However, in FS2, it seems to be strictly a 1-1 relationship. I'm not sure which I like more. It certainly makes more sense to have them 1-1, but FS1 just seems like it's more open.

 
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
Maybe they are sometimes so close by that destroying 1 destroys all? In the mission after VP got nuked there were 3 extremely close. Since FS1 and FS2 play in entirely different systems, you could even say it varies.

 

Offline Colt

  • 27
  • Needs more dakka
    • Steam
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
That's the Alpha Centauri node cluster, with three nodes that connect AC to Aldebaran, Sirius and Vasuda.  I believe it's considered canon.

 

Offline 0rph3u5

  • 211
  • Can we have a better version of this conversation?
    • Steam
    • Twitter
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
Okay but "the Vasudan foothold on Vasuda Prime" is prima facie, and without context, dumb.

a) It's "The Vasudan foothold on Vasuda Prime and the subspace node remains solid."

b) Not neccessarily dumb. It's not like an invading, colonizing force never claimed that "the savages" are "tresspassing" on the land that "by divine right"/"manifest destiny" would be colonizers. Granted that's maybe too big an idea for the rest of the writing - but I can work with that.

Actually I made a in-universe consciracy theory out of it - called the "The Empty Planet" - to flesh out the NTF. Basically, the it's a "moonlanding conspiracy"-type (mixed with a "ancient astronauts"-type and a few choice bits from deep down the rhetoric of hate's well) but for the entire Vasudan civilisation, used by Terran Supremancists to "justify" their opinions about "Vasudan Inferioirity".
I was going to post about it but then Christchurch Attack happened and I found it to be in bad taste to talk about just how vile I can make the NTF what paralells to present day and historical racists I can draw.

c) As it is, I would suspect, the final line it a copy and paste job, replacing something else that was in the place of "Vasuda Prime".

d) That's a problem for an Editor to catch - not just the writer. If you don't have an editor, and the writer is also doing a different job, you of course wind up with suboptimal results. But that's not an issue with the writing per se but with work organisation at the studio.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 01:28:47 am by 0rph3u5 »
"When you work with water, you have to know and respect it. When you labour to subdue it, you have to understand that one day it may rise up and turn all your labours into nothing. For what is water, which seeks to make all things level, which has no taste or colour of its own, but a liquid form of Nothing?" - Graham Swift, Waterland

"As you sought to steal a kingdom for yourself, so must you do again, a thousand times over. For a theft, a true theft, must be practiced to be earned." - The terms of Nysa's curse, Pathfinder: Kingmaker

"...because they are not Dragons."

 
Re: Is it just me or does FS1 feel *really* unpolished?
That's the Alpha Centauri node cluster, with three nodes that connect AC to Aldebaran, Sirius and Vasuda.  I believe it's considered canon.

This one is canon for sure.