Modders and those interested in how to mod the Homeworld 2 Engine.
Slipstream: The Price of Freedom is Back, with a new objective, new management, and a long-awaited goal of reviving the Homeworld 2 modding community, and to give the community the mod they've been waiting for...
Posted by T-Mckenney on May 2nd, 2011
Hello Everyone, Good to see you all again.
When I finished TPOF a year ago, I felt I was rushed, and that what we (SRI) shipped as a mod, was horrible. A example of non-cooperation, unfinished features, and horrible design decisions. While TPOF does have a lot of good points, there are a bunch of negative points that have eaten away at me for some time. I was pressured, by my 2 jobs and now ex fiancé, to get this project out the door so I could get on with life. I realized that I rushed into a new life without looking at the consequences. After loosing both my job and my fiancé to a really bad week, I have now slowed back down to the normal college-goer's life, looking for a simple part-time job in computer repair, or programming. Having a lot less pressure, and a lot more time to myself, I realize that I have left the TPOF community with a disappointing end to a promising mod. With that being said, I am bringing back TPOF, but not with the full dedicated time that I had before hand. I will work on TPOF during stretches of down time, and/or late nights of boredom/sleeplessness. Don't not expect a huge release, but do expect a few releases here and then. The point though, is that it's back.
So what exactly are we talking about? Well, TPOF is getting re-branded. Instead of being “Slipstream: The Price of Freedom”, it will be simply: “The Price of Freedom”. Why am I doing this? Well, we need to revisit TPOF's history. In late 2007, a group of people left the Homeworld2 PDS Mod to create a mod with better game play than the then current PDS v11. It was a 5-man group dedicated to creating a separate universe from Homeworld, without the restrictions of breaking in-universe rules. We privately released several versions up to v0.4. After that, our universe-creator and writer, left under bad terms. He also took all the material that he wrote with copyright threats. With no where to turn, and with the possibility of scrapping the whole mod due to copyright concerns, we thought of shutting the mod down. Instead, We found another way out. I was writing my own universe, called Slipstream, in the hope of releasing a full-featured independent game eventually. It had a premature back story that somewhat matched our TPOF story. So, we made TPOF a chapter of the Slipstream Universe. But as Time went by, TPOF never fit into Slipstream correctly, and vise versa. But I let it go. When we released it, I was disappointed by the inconsistencies, and dead-ends in the story. However, after a few years of building up Slipstream, I have found what elements work in a good story. So, I am separating the universes again. Making The Price of Freedom its own universe. Will we see Slipstream again? Not for a long, long time...
Also, we are going to be looking at lot of other things, like code clean up. TPOF had a mess of code, and after a year of mastering the skill of PHP and MySQL, and sharping my skills at programming all together, I want to tackle out all the bugs. Experimental features are getting torn out, better code is going to be written. We are also getting rid of the “snap over” code that made the UNCG and DSCG, Hiigaran and Vaygr Like. This means building two new races from scratch. Which, in Homeworld2, is not all that hard. The User Interface will also be cleaned up, with functionality polished something fierce.
What about new ships? Well, I'm going to mainly focus on doing away with third party models. I never sat comfortably with them being in there. It was nice of modelers to let us use their models, but it just makes dependencies a real pain. So, does that mean we're making custom models? No. I have never been able to make anything in 3D but a box, and we'll just leave it at that. If someone wants to signed an agreement to make, texture, and put in game custom ships for me, and hand over all IP to the stuff (Yes, there will be payment we can discuss. Donations accepted too.), then yeah, I'll do it. Until then, no. However, I have CFHodEditor, which can modify models in a lot of cool and interesting ways. Being on Linux & OS X full time, CFHodEditor does not seem to run correctly on WINE at the moment, but I can fire up a VM if necessary. We'll see how that goes when we get to that part of the game.
Another set of good news, is that I will be merging OpenCore and TPOF. Yes, TPOF will be fully open to the community to use as a base. However, the agreement is, you must give credit, and please don't plagiarize the story. Yes, you may think “It's just a mod..for a game that came out in 2003..”, It's still illegal, not to mention insulting, and of course, shameful. So please, use your head. If you question somethings legality, then please get a hold of me, I check my email inbox everyday, and my Moddb account everyday. So, not asking me is no excuse. However, I know a lot of the community members, and I trust you all enough to know that you'll do the right thing.
I'm sure all of you are surprised, and want to help. That's Great! However, since the last “Team” I had fell apart (See: Sub-Real Industries), I won't be assembling a team. If you wish to donate code, or help out by reporting bugs or fixing bugs, I have already thought of that. I have set up a bug reporter, and I will link it as soon as it is good to go. It is running off my laptop, and I have to take it with me on some days, so If you cannot get to the reporter, wait a bit, and try again. If it persists, please message me. I will also be setting up a development, public FTP server somewhere, so as you can check out the code and play with developer versions. Keep in mind, it is still a developer copy, and it will crash, contain bugs, and of course have experimental code. I don't know where I will set it up at, but if it's out of my laptop, then I will have to limit bandwidth, etc. We will cross that bridge when we get to it. I will try to cooperate with the community and help get TPOF polished and shiny, and give the version everyone wanted to see.
With Summer around the corner, and a new job coming up, I do not know what kind of development time frame we will be looking at, nor what release cycle we will be using. I'm also in the process of getting another project off the ground, but it isn't insanely huge as of right now. Time willing, I will try to get TPOF out there. If it takes a year of compiled downtime, and sleeplessness, then so be it. But I will promise a full release at least to version 4. I'm also pondering reseting the release system, back to v0.3.0, pushing the entire mod back to Alpha/Beta status. That means, v1.0 will be the polished release everyone has been waiting on.
I know Homeworld2 Has been put through a lot, in regards to age, functionality, loss of interest, and of course other things. But, It is still the best game of its class. A Class that the original Homeworld defined. 2003 was almost 8 years ago. However, I think it still has life in it. I will try, in cooperation with other mod leaders, to get homeworld2 popularity drummed up, to make it the “Half-life 2” of it's genre. This possibly means social networking groups, and other means of communication. Who knows, if Homeworld2's popularity skyrockets, maybe Relic and THQ will throw us a bone. Who knows, stranger things have happened. This project will go as long as there is demand for it, when the community dries up, so will the mod, unfortunately.
I will follow in the next week or two with a status update. As for now...
Let's get to work.