Welcome to the second of the articles we’ll be publishing in our run up to the release of First Strike v1.2. In this article you'll get an in depth introduction to a new map that we are very excited about, and we know you will be too. Our setting is the site of the climactic battle at the end of Star Wars: A New Hope, the Battle of Yavin.
For Star Wars fans, this map really needs no introduction. With the Death Star approaching their no longer hidden base on the jungle moon of Yavin IV, Rebel forces launched a desperate attack against the Empire’s moon sized technological terror. Armed with knowledge gleaned from technical readouts of the battle station, Alliance tacticians lead by General Jan Dodonna, exposed a small weakness in the Death Star’s defenses, and the Alliance’s one-man snub nosed fighters were the perfect weapon to exploit it. As the Rebel fighters slipped past the battle station’s heavy turbolasers, Imperial pilots launched their own fighters to engage the attacking Rebels ship to ship. A gruesome battle ensued with the Rebel Alliance’s fate hanging on one pilot’s ability to successfully fire a proton torpedo down a thermal exhaust port less than two meters wide.
”Look at the size of that thing.”
When creating our version of the Battle of Yavin, the focus was on recreating the surface of the Death Star as accurately as possible within the constraints of the Battlefield 2142 engine. According to Star Wars lore, the Death Star was the size of a small moon, so getting a full-scale replica of the entire Death Star into the Battlefield: 2142 engine wasn't going to be even remotely possible. Instead, we had to decide what parts of the famous battle we wanted our map to feature, and figure out the best way to implement them in order to effectively mimic the battle we all know and love from the movie. To recreate the surface of the Death Star, artists worked from photographs of the original pieces of the surface model used in Star Wars: A New Hope. The mapper then slotted these pieces together (just as the model makers did for the movie) to create a believable, endless plane of technological terror. Once the basic surface was finished, work commenced on the important objective targets, and other unique assets across the map such as the TIE Fighter hanger bay, the deflection towers, turbolaser towers, the all important trench, and that most holy of holies, the thermal exhaust port in all of its two meter glory. All of our assets were lovingly detailed to the point that we believe this map is likely the most accurate rendering of the Death Star surface to be found in any game to date.
”Cover me Porkins, I’m going in.”
Aside from accurate visuals, our most important goal for the Battle of Yavin was to create a fun gameplay experience while effectively recreating a lore accurate version of the battle seen in the movie. The portion of the Battle of Yavin experienced in our map begins at the point where the fleet of Rebel fighters has passed through the Death Star’s magnetic field and are about to start their attack runs on the surface of the gargantuan space station. The map is essentially split into two separate sets of objectives for the Rebel forces. First they have to take out a number of Deflection Towers in the immediate area to disable the battle station’s shields, this will allow them to move on to stage two where they may make an attack run on the thermal exhaust port at the north most point of the trench. The trench cannot be entered by Rebel fighters before the shields are down, and any attempt to attack the thermal exhaust port from above the surface is doomed to failure thanks to an unhealthy concentration of turbolaser towers around that area. So you can see it is essential to complete stage one before attempting any assault on the exhaust port.
The sole objective for the Imperial forces in the Battle of Yavin is to defend the Death Star until it is within firing range of the Rebel base on Yavin's moon. The Imperial forces have two options for defending their prized moon-sized monstrosity, they can either man the station’s powerful turbolaser batteries in an attempt to blow the Rebel starfighters out of the sky, or take to space in their own craft, the infamous TIE fighters, and take them on ship to ship. No need to worry if you feel you don’t have enough players to effectively man both the turrets and TIE fighters, the turbolasers are controlled by A.I. when unoccupied and can quite capably turn Rebel fighters into a fiery ball of oblivion all by themselves. The addition of auto controllers manning the turrets really adds to the immersion and atmosphere as players experience a storm of green laser bolts filling space above the Death Star's surface.
“You worry about those fighters. I’ll worry about the tower.”
When you reach the point of the battle when you must arc your X-Wing fighter down into the harsh grey metal canyon that is the Death Star trench, I challenge you not to start spouting Star Wars movie quotes like they are going out of fashion. We have gone to great lengths to make this map feel as authentic as possible, and in no part of the map does that become more apparent than when you first enter the trench. We worked hard to get the lighting and scale of the trench just right using various lore references and blueprints. And the famed thermal exhaust port itself? Yes, it too is accurate, and no...you won't just be shooting torpedoes at a wall at the end of the trench until the Death Star is dead. You will only have to fire but one torpedo into the port successfully, but that will be no easy task, and heroic Jedi-like accuracy will be required. However, once you sink that fatal shot, only then will you finally realize the great satisfaction from allowing the Rebellion to live on for yet one more round.
"The Force is strong with this one."
After playing this map hour after hour with our team of testers I still never grow tired of it. The team has put forth an amazing effort to so diligently and accurately recreate this most famous and iconic of Star Wars locales, and we are very proud of what we have accomplished. We are still in the process of balancing the gameplay and tweaking various aspects of the map to get it just right, but we're sure that you will be thrilled with what we have accomplished here. The Battle of Yavin is destined to be a firm favorite in the First Strike map rotation once v1.2 is released.
In the upcoming weeks we will be hosting a series of community games on our FSMod.com server to bring the First Strike player population together for some fun, intense Star Wars battle goodness. Be sure to check this space soon for details on the dates and times. Thanks again for stopping by and sticking with us, hope to see you on the servers!