1. Implementation of computer programs
Because to the Ricochet Effect, the collapsing GTA first and the factions then had to adapt quickly to a different and unpredictable subspace field. Jumps to any specific region of the system began impossible for reasons that went well beyond the known limits of energy consumption. Without accurate calculations taking into account all factors that influence Sol's altered subspace field, performing any kind of jumps became dangerous. The most famous accident was the one that involved the GTD Orion-class destroyer Adamanthea. Because of the RE, the Adamanthea's attempt to reach Pluto and strike the first rebels to the GTA cause did not proceed as planned: the destroyer arrived in the middle of the asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter. In the consequent accident, the destroyer had to be evacuated and its devastated derelict remained there.
In this particular environment, it became clear that all assets were to be implemented with special sensors and programs that enabled on-board computers to process all obtained data and energize subspace drives accordingly. The first program to be developed and distributed was the Ricochet, named after the phenomenon that forced such a radical change in terms of engineering and programming.
The success of the Ricochet was promising, and several other programs were developed to boost the effectiveness of combat spacecraft. Advanced modular computers enabled quick and convenient upgrades, and the progresses on program continued well after the Secession. Each faction of the Sol system continued to develop its own programs according to its needs. The Martian Republic, the faction for which the player will fight in INFASA, was no exception.
2. Representing the results
Thanks to FRED (FreeSpace Mission Editor) and the Source Code Project, representing the use of programs is very easy. Several features allow to link keyboard controls to in-mission events and graphical effects. One of the most impressive effects the INFASA team intends to represent near the end of the main campaign is the possibility of taking photos for reconnaissance purposes. The engine already allows developers to work with a large variety of parameters - speaking of photos, the most important parameters are going to be influenced by distance, heading, field of view, coordinates and the target's orientation. Thanks to these options, it will be possible to represent a fully realistic reconnaissance mission in which the player is tasked to get accurate photos of certain enemy assets.
Every program will have its own and specific use. Some programs are self-activated, meaning that the player will have no influence on them, but many others will work depending on the player's direct controls.
3. Standard programs
Here's a list of the standard programs the player will have at his disposal at the very beginning of INFASA. Other programs will become available through the main campaign. Several programs will be upgraded following the implementation of new technologies and the discovery of vital information.
The Ricochet-MR is the most basic program used by the Martian Republic. The letters "MR" on its name define the variant of the program that the Republic had to develop on its own. Without it, performing a subspace jump without risking to face certain death would be impossible.
The player has no control over the Ricochet, but this program will have a lot of importance during the main campaign. The Ricochet marks a faction's capability to adapt to the characteristics of enemy territories - an advanced and upgraded version of the Ricochet that is capable of elaborating data regarding enemy territory at impressive rates is a strategic tool of vital importance during a conflict.
Originally intended to disrupt systems by transfering viruses, the Voodoo can also be used to transmit data from a ship to another without relying on communications. The program can transmit virtually any kind of information providing that the distance between the spacecraft that uses the Voodoo and the object that needs to receive the data is short enough.
The program is linked to the scanning system, with the difference that instead of receiving info the Voodoo transmits data at short range.
Working as a "bridge" between the player and Martian Command, the Red-Eye displays vital messages on the HUD of the player. The content of the messages is various and depends on the situation.
It's still to decide wheter or not INFASA is going to link the Red-Eye program with training messages, which have always been supported by the FS code. Training messages, unlike actual messages that come from a specific source, are smaller and appear near the center of the HUD. Image subtitles, which allow better looking graphical effects, are a valid alternative.
Just like the name suggests, the Pathfinder is a handy program that helps with navigation. The program itself is easy to upgrade and can also work in pair with other programs. The Pathfinder generates navigation points, which are marked on the HUD as blue squares. The distance to nav points is also showed on the HUD.
Depending on the version of the Pathfinder and the mission's objectives, the navigation points can mark different things. The program may be used to mark the position of a waypoint, a given ship's predicted location, the place from which strange signals are coming, the source of a disturbed transmission and so on.
4. Additional programs
This program has been revealed on July 13th, 2009. For more info, check the related news.