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 content RSS feed Normal and Specular Mapping comes to Freelancer

This article details the updated graphical engine w0dk4 has created for Freelancer.

Posted by FW:ToW_Sushi on Feb 11th, 2011

By: W0dk4

Welcome back to another Freeworlds: Tides of War update. "Finally!" you might say. We have indeed been very low on developer activity over the last couple of weeks (or even months). Nevertheless, we are still working on the mod and we are committed to actually releasing it. So dont worry, we are here to stay.

For those who have been brave enough to follow us, be prepared for some more eye-candy: We recently got Normal and specular mapping working! Now, being a gamer that keeps up with the industry you might not be impressed at all. However, we are talking about a now 8-years old game engine based on Direct3D8. This and deferred rendering have been huge steps towards bringing the Freelancer engine to current state-of-the-art graphic levels.

On the technical side, implementing normal mapping was really no easy undertaking, since we had to change the existing Freelancer mesh formats to handle the tangent/binormal data that is required for normal mapping. Normal and specular Mapping can greatly enhance existing models, giving them a lot of depth. You can see the difference in the following dev-video where at some points I switch normal and specular mapping on and off:

Normal maps by Dr.Knickers.

Coming back at our developer activity problem, we are actually searching for interested people that would like to help us out. We've had multiple developers go AWOL and others just being plain busy in real life. However, I think we've shown that we are an ambitious project that is well worth the effort.
Due to our normal/specular mapping breakthrough, we are actively searching for any talented texture artists and/or modelers that can help us out with specular and normal maps.
Also, if any Freelancer developer is listening, we are searching for an .ini coder to help us with mod development in general. We are only looking for experienced Freelancer developers though, since our mod structure has become quite complex.
Finally, we are looking for C++/C# programmers to help us with tools and engine hacks around our mod and Freelancer.
If you're interested in helping us, simply write a short but informative application to or contact us via PMs here at ModDB or at our developer website.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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

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Post comment Comments
KodY Feb 11 2011 says:

Thats fantastic work
Major difference, especially when light sources pass the object (like the lasers in the vid)

+2 votes     reply to comment
Filipus Feb 11 2011 says:

Play it i will.

+7 votes     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Author
FW:ToW_Sushi Feb 11 2011 replied:

That's what we like to hear :)

+3 votes   reply to comment
Tharapita Feb 11 2011 says:

Looks very nice, and on a personal unrelated note it reminds me of the U3 UDK engine now with the normals/specular. In a good way.

Hope I'll get to play this at some point, still have to find a copy of Freelancer.

+2 votes     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Author
FW:ToW_Sushi Feb 11 2011 replied:

You can find a copy of Freelancer for less than 10 USD on ebay, target, walmart etc.

Thanks for the kind words :)

+1 vote   reply to comment
Firehawk13 Feb 11 2011 says:

Sushi, i was wondering if you were going to add post processing effects like DOF, Sun godrays (for partly obscured bigger light sources) or motion blur to the game (from the sun it looks like youve got HDR or bloom in already). Nice work btw, didnt think the freelancer engine would ever be this revamped

+2 votes     reply to comment
TSP-FriendlyFire Creator
TSP-FriendlyFire Feb 11 2011 replied:

It's in the pipeline ;)

We already have color correction, if you look at past updates. Motion blur should make it in, maybe depth of field too. Godrays, not sure because they shouldn't technically happen in space ;)

w0dk4 could give a more detailed reply.

+2 votes   reply to comment
Firehawk13 Feb 11 2011 replied:

@friendly fire
thanks for the quick reply, sounds good, i suppose god rays could exist in an asteroid rich dust cloud or nebulae where light is more likely to be scattered but sounds good still,

+2 votes     reply to comment
w0dk4 Creator
w0dk4 Feb 12 2011 replied:

Actually, I want to do god rays but only near to the light-source on screen so that its less of an atmosphere effect but more of a lens-flare effect (it's also easier to implement, actually).

+2 votes   reply to comment
TGx300 Feb 11 2011 says:

Second video is gone! D:

+2 votes     reply to comment
n0way Feb 11 2011 says:

"This video includes content from partner Sony Music Entertainment, and as such has been blocked in your country by the power of the copyright law."

.. what the **** ;(

+1 vote     reply to comment
TSP-FriendlyFire Creator
TSP-FriendlyFire Feb 11 2011 replied:

That's why we tend to post videos on both ModDB and YouTube so that if the latter blocks videos as they love doing (you can thank big media conglomerates), you can still access and see it on the former.

+2 votes   reply to comment
NTF_PXzib Feb 13 2011 says:

I have a question; are the planets bigger in this mod compared to vanilla? In the Halo mod for Freelancer, the planets were blown up to real life size, millions of times bigger than the original.
And also, is this for singleplayer?

+1 vote     reply to comment
FW:ToW_Sushi Author
FW:ToW_Sushi Feb 13 2011 replied:

Ya, planets in this mod range from 25km in radius to over 250km. Not as large as the Halo mod, however.

As for SP, no there will be no SP. However, players will be able to load the mod on their own servers and play via LAN

+1 vote   reply to comment
TALON_UK Feb 15 2011 says:

Nice, very impressive what you've managed to do with the old girl (engine that is ;) ).

+1 vote     reply to comment
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