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.
Freelancer's capabilities of rendering dynamic lights has always been massively lacking. Not only was there a 4-light per object limit, once there were more lights affecting an object, lighting would get bugged quickly, not drawing the closest lights. To counter this major disadvantage in rendering lighting I've been converting Freelancer's forward rendering pipeline to deferred rendering.
In deferred rendering, the geometry is first written to geometry buffers in a single pass. Then, in further passes, the geometry buffers are used to calculate the correct lighting. This allows us to render many lights per object without critically affecting the frame rate. However, there is still a noticeable performance decrease due to the nature of deferred rendering. I wont go into more detail at this point since its very technical. For further info, simply search the internet for deferred rendering.
Besides much improved dynamic lighting, deferred rendering also enables us to implement more next generation effects into the 7 years old Freelancer engine, such as Soft Particles. Soft Particles basically get rid of hard edges where particle effects collide with the environment. On intersection, the depth buffer is queried to make the particle fade out seamlessly, resulting in effects that feel a lot more natural. This is especially useful for smoke and fire effects as well as explosions.
Now to the eye candy. We are still exploring ways to add light sources to the game, however, FriendlyFire has added light sources to many beam/impact effects (and to stations) in order to show off the power of deferred rendering:
Since 2002 we have explored, played and enjoyed mods of all shapes and sizes just like Freeworlds: Tides of War. We love games like Freelancer that have opened themselves up to modding. Because of communities like Workshop, Nexus, Curse, RTSL, GameBanana and Mod DB, more games support modding today than ever before.
Let's celebrate modding
As mods play a bigger role in the future of gaming, we believe it is important to recognize the effort the teams behind the work put in, giving us countless hours of enjoyment while asking nothing in return. We have the power to change our games and that needs to be celebrated to ensure it remains a big part of PC gaming's future.
It all started
In 2015, when the paid modding dispute left many gamers and modders worried about the direction the industry is headed. Things have since settled down, but we believe it is important to continue this small tradition to show we are not alone in our love for mods, and the open platforms that embrace them.
Mod Appreciation Week
Nothing is more motivating than knowing something you've built is being enjoyed by others. So this week if there is a mod you love on Mod DB (or anywhere else), make the effort to shout out to them, mention and link their mod in a tweet, blog, forum or facebook post with the hashtag #modlove2016 (or click the icons above for a pre-built post).
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