Freeworlds: Tides of War is a fan built Star Wars total conversion mod for Digital Anvil's Freelancer game that was released several years ago. When fans began to make mods for Freelancer, one of the many things people were keen on seeing was a Freelancer mod based on the Star Wars universe developed by George Lucas. Freeworlds and Tides of War were the answer to this outcry. The development team of both mods have now joined forces to create an epic new Star Wars TC, Freeworlds: Tides of War.

Post news Report article RSS Feed Basic Shadows & Open Beta Info

We implemented basic, dynamic shadows! Also, there are news about our upcoming open beta.

Posted by w0dk4 on Feb 17th, 2012

After implementing deferred rendering, shadowing has always been a secret priority for me. I think shadows are a fundamental feature of next generation graphics as they add a crucial visual clue about the environment and where things actually are. Next to obviously making a game look better in general, shadows can also play an important role in gameplay. In the case of Star Wars and space games, I think the most prominent example for that would be star fighters hiding on the shadowed side of an asteroid or moon. This would tie in with another feature planned for later where you would be able to turn off your ship engines and electronics to hide somewhere, without popping up on the enemy’s radar. Think the Millenium Falcon on the back of the star destroyer in The Empire Strikes Back.

Now, let me give you a technical insight into what has been accomplished. Since we do not have access to the source code of Freelancer, implementing shadow mapping was not a trivial task. As shadow mapping requires rendering the scene from the light’s perspective, the key was to have control over the camera including frustum culling. After this had been figured out, the implementation was rather straight forward as shadow mapping is not really complicated. I won’t talk about shadow mapping in this article as I think a Google search will point you to a lot of articles that will explain it a lot better than I could do here, including comparisons with other shadowing techniques such as stencil volumes.

As of now, only a basic shadow mapping technique is implemented, with only the player’s ship casting shadows. The actual shadow is smoothed using percentage closer filtering on the shadow map lookup, and then blurred using a standard Gaussian blur. So, it is a pretty standard, basic shadow implementation. You will be able to see this type of shadowing in our upcoming open beta.

Shadowing Teaser #2

Here is a little video, also showing how shadows fade out with increasing distance:

For our release version later this year, I want to implement more advanced shadowing techniques such as cascaded shadow mapping with variance shadow maps to get nicely smoothed shadows over vast distances. This will allow us to let every object cast shadows, from small fighters over star destroyers to big planets!

Now, some words about the overall mod progress. As real life is taking its toll on many of the developers, we are currently in a feature lock-down to ship this mod sooner rather than later. You can expect more graphics features for our final release, however for our upcoming open beta release there will be no more improvements other than optimizing and bug fixing.

Since we want to release the mod with a minimum set of features so that beta testing actually makes sense, we are not sure we can make our March deadline. Even though the basic framework is pretty much complete, there is still a lot to do on the gameplay side. We are confident to reach open beta status within the coming months, however do not expect it to be March.

Thanks for all your support so far and see you in space, in a galaxy far far away, soon!

As always any comments, suggestions or questions are always welcomed!

Post comment Comments
the-middleman Feb 18 2012 says:

I am soo looking forward to this! Best of luck to all developers!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Sanguinius Online
Sanguinius Feb 18 2012 says:

Not in March ???

+4 votes     reply to comment
CloneWarrior85 Feb 18 2012 says:

its coming, it's finally coming :D

+2 votes     reply to comment
ChadaFACE Feb 18 2012 says:

Quote:We are confident to reach open beta status within the coming months, however do not expect it to be March.

Still,the wait will most certainly be worth it

+4 votes     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Creator
FW:ToW_Sushi Feb 18 2012 replied:

Thanks for the positive thoughts

+2 votes   reply to comment
oobe Feb 18 2012 says:

This is so worth waiting for :)

Thanks for all the hard work guys.

+4 votes     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Creator
FW:ToW_Sushi Feb 18 2012 replied:

Thank you very much for the kind words. It's greatly appreciated!

+2 votes   reply to comment
alenoguerol Feb 18 2012 says:

take all time you want guys, i can and cant wait at the same time

+2 votes     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Creator
FW:ToW_Sushi Feb 18 2012 replied:

I definitely know what you mean. Thanks again for the support!

+2 votes   reply to comment
Erd Feb 19 2012 says:

Stunning update. You guys are doing incredible stuff with such a dated game.

What was the tune from the shadow trailer by the way?

+2 votes     reply to comment
w0dk4 Author
w0dk4 Feb 19 2012 replied:

That's "Peace The Jedi Consular" from the SW TOR soundtrack.

+2 votes   reply to comment
POORBOY13 Feb 19 2012 says:

Dang it. Another delay T.T I wanted to play in December last year.... Oh well I shall be patient. (not like I have a choice.)

+2 votes     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Creator
FW:ToW_Sushi Feb 19 2012 replied:

Yes, we realize it's hard to wait for this game but we want to release it when we feel it's ready for mass consumption. Nothing worse for us to release this mod after all this wait and it sucks! lol. Anyways, thanks again for the patience.

+2 votes   reply to comment
Grensid Feb 20 2012 says:

The more you're improving this mod, the more I want to play it perfectly released ;D You're doing a fantastic job there, keep it going forward in this great way! :)

+3 votes     reply to comment
Tomm1 Feb 22 2012 says:

I've never commented on your work before but I would like to thank all the developers for the time and effort you guys have put into this mod. I've been watching this mod for quite some time now and it is a pleasure to follow the progress you guys have made. Considering that this game is almost a decade old, I think you've done some amazing and fantastic tweaks to it and it will be great to one day finally play FW:ToW. I shall await patiently until it happens, even if another year must pass. Please keep up the good work and may the force be with you all!

+3 votes     reply to comment
Post a Comment
click to sign in

You are not logged in, your comment will be anonymous unless you join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) which we encourage all contributors to do.

2000 characters limit; HTML formatting and smileys are not supported - text only

Freelancer Icon
Send Message
Official Page
Release Date
Released Apr 11, 2014
Mod Watch
Track this mod
Post news
Report Abuse
Report article
Related Games
Freelancer Futuristic Sim
Related Groups
Freeworlds: Tides of War Development Team
Freeworlds: Tides of War Development Team Developer & Publisher with 9 members