Welcome to the first post in a series that will document the new features included with Neo Terra!
This is Pagan, one of the core developers of Neo Terra. I will be releasing a series of updates that document the new stuff in Neo Terra in anticipation of its release.
Update #1 talks about factions, ships, atmospheres, and bases.
Neo Terra is a total conversion mod for Freelancer, the open-ended space combat and exploration sim. We've been in very active development for over a year now. Neo Terra contains many new features never thought possible in the Freelancer engine, breaking boundaries to create a new and exciting game. Every feature discussed in this news update is currently implemented. This means that they are completed, fleshed out features that are currently functional in-game.
So, let's dive into some of these new features!
Three unique Nations, a dozen new factions.
Being a total conversion, one of Neo Terra's biggest draws is its diverse new setting. The Procyon sector is inhabited by millions of people, the children of migrant colonists from Sirius (the world of vanilla freelancer). While the sector's history began peacefully, the modern political environment is filled with intrigue and strife.
Enter the Major Powers. Major Powers are the dominant political bodies in the sector, with their own militaries and governments. There are three major powers in Procyon: The Terran Systems Confederacy, the Allied Stars of Procyon, and the Neo Terran Dominion. Each major power has its own space, its own technology, and its own history, lending each power to have an incredibly unique feel. With special faction banners, tradelanes, and stations, it's hard to mistake which Power's space you are in. Unique ships and weapons also factor in to the mix, creating a unified feel for each faction's artstyle.
The Allied Stars of Procyon are a peaceful secessionist state that was founded early in Procyon's history. They have a long history of enconomic growth, freedom, and spirituality. The ASP has become the last standing bastion of freedom and peace in Procyon. Alliance technology is sleek and clean, with sharp angles and sleek form.
The Terran Systems Confederacy are a war-torn military state, sworn to protect the people of Open Space from the Neo Terran Dominion. They are locked in an escalating war, fighting tirelessly to dismantle the government of their oppressors. Their technology is sturdy and rugged, with little aesthetic beauty.
The Neo Terran Dominon are a post-human society that encourages genetic enhancement, the use of technology to alter the body's function. The Dominion has declared war on those outside their borders, plunging Procyon into chaos. They are well organized and fearsome. Their technology is elegant and smooth, with beautiful shapes and geometry.
Among these powers are a dozen splinter factions that inhabit the larger, open regions of space.
There are deadly pirates, the Raiders, who live for plunder and combat. There are the scrap-scavenging Vultures, whose ingenuity and craftiness have made them infamous across the sector. There is the money-loving Syndicate, the peace loving Solar Sailors, and the chaos hungry Disarray. These are just examples of some of the factions inhabiting Procyon.
And last but not least are the fledgling factions lead by members of our playerbase, destined to strike out and claim new regions of space as their own. These factions are organized by players, for players, with player made assets and equipment.
Speaking of equipment, let's look at the combat layout in Neo Terra.
Combat in Neo Terra is unlike any other Freelancer mod to date. Gone are the scaling ship classes, replaced with a wide range of 18 different ship types that each possess a unique role. Fightercraft now have 5 distinct classes, ranging from Interceptors to Assault Fighters. Each fighter has different loadout potential - Some ships have weapon hardpoints in addition to utility slots for equipment like cruise disruptors. Other ships specialize in mounting normal weapons alongside powerful heavy weapons like the Dispersion Cannon or Railgun.
Let's take an in-depth look at the new fighter classes!
Interceptor(INT): Interceptors are the fastest ship class. Fit with a ‘tackle' hardpoint that allow for cruise disruptors to be mounted, Interceptors are excellent at tracking down enemy targets and preventing them from fleeing. Their speed is their best defense, without much armor to keep them safe from enemy fire.
Strike Fighter(SKF): Strike fighters carry heavy armament but are extremely fast. They are designed to swoop in and out of combat, delivering heavy payloads with each pass. Their primary drawback is a weak powercore and small cargo capacity, limiting the long-term effectiveness of their heavy weapons. Due to this, Strike Fighters are often utilized by outlaws for hit and run attacks, or for surgical strikes behind enemy lines.
Multi-Role Fighter(MRF): The Multi-Role Fighter is the jack-of-all-trades, and loved by Freelancers all across the sector. Capable of mounting either a cruise disruptor or a heavy weapon, the MRF is armed to the teeth and has decent maneuverability and armor. It is the easiest ship class to get acquainted with, and can take on a variety of combat roles.
Space Superiority Fighter(SSF): Space Superiority Fighters are highly specialized dogfighters. Without any fleet support equipment, the SSF mounts as many normal weapons as possible, coupling the firepower with incredible agility and speed. They are excellent for taking down targets their size, but may be an easy kill if caught by themselves.
Assault Fighter(ASF): Assault Fighters can mount two heavy weapons, have large power cores, and ample cargo space. They are slow but deadly, capable of wrecking ships larger than they are. Specifically designed as gunboat and bomber hunters, ASFs are a great way to beef up an attacking fleet's strength.
Bombers are now true to their name, with devastating torpedoes and bombs at their disposal. Their heavy payloads are useful for destroying larger ships like Gunboats, Gunships and Corvettes. Even larger ships are the backbone of any serious fleet. Battlecruisers and Destroyers are excellent fleet escorts, designed to tackle other ships of their size. Fightercraft can dock with Battleships and be carried directly into the fray, launched together when the fleet needs them.
Weapons are also completely redefined. Choose between ammo-based Kinetic Energy Weapons, energy-consuming Directed Energy Weapons, or hybrid Gauss Weapons. Each set of weapons has their own strengths and drawbacks. Each weapon class also has a heavy variant that does increased damage in exchange for less range and higher resource consumption.
In Neo Terra, your loadout becomes an extension of your identity, with the option to specialize into any playstyle you prefer.
Neo Terra features dozens of new environments. Among these new environments are planetary atmospheres. Planetary atmospheres can be accessed on habitable planets, allowing you to enter into the sky above a planet. Due to the increased gravity and environmental changes, you ship moves slower in atmosphere. Atmospheric environments range from gas mining hotspots to bustling capital skycities.
Atmospheric environments are great places to set up player owned bases. That's right, Neo Terra has player owned bases that can be constructed almost anywhere!
Player Owned Bases
Neo Terra features many different kinds of player-owned-bases. Player owned bases are stations that can be constructed by players using materials harvested from around the sector. There are four different types of player owned base: Merchant bases, Industrial bases, Research bases, and Military Bases.
Merchant bases are simple stations that can be used as player housing or as a location to sell your items to other players. A great place to store weapons and equipment you aren't using.
Industrial bases are stations that can manufacture and refine new materials and equipment. They can manufacture ammo and repair items. Industrial stations can also craft ships from blueprints.
Research bases are stations that can create ship blueprints, specialized equipment like cloaks and jump drives, and craft codename weapons.
Military bases are fortified stations that can build a number of military addons, like weapon platforms and capital ship docks.
Player owned bases require upkeep to maintain functionality, and encourage player collaboration and trade.
And finally, I'll talk about something less exciting, but equally important: Our game launcher!
Neo Terra comes packaged with a launcher that will automatically install the game into a new directory. The launcher will also automatically download game updates as soon as they are released, automatically patching them into your game for you! If you are familiar with game launchers for Free-to-Play games (like Warframe or Warthunder), the concept is very similar. The launcher has a list of patch notes that inform you of recent changes and upgrades.
The launcher also comes with some handy tools. There is a settings tab where you can control the game's resolution and a myriad of other graphical settings. The launcher also features a built-in account tool. When playing online, Freelancer checks your game's 'account', and allows you to create up to five characters with that account. This is fine until you want to have more than five multiplayer characters. With the Neo Terra launcher, creating and switching multiplayer accounts is extremely simple, and can be done on the fly! This means that you can have a potentially unlimited amount of characters, and can organize each account easily. This feature is part of the main install and can be used immediately.
The features discussed above are just some of the many unique things available in Neo Terra. Our next news post will document player made factions, crafting, exploration, and the Breach! Neo Terra is planned for release within the coming month.Until then, we invite you to join our community at Neo-terra.net and follow the mod here on ModDB.
Hope to see you in Procyon, space cowboy!
-Pagan, Neo Terra core developer