This is the first release of QF2: Essence to a Thief.
A total-conversion mod for Battlezone II: Combat Commander.
This is my personal attempt to create a 'Battlezone 3' worthy game.
I have blended all of my favourite elements from BZ1 and BZ2, plus introduced a number of my own.
Everything that you think that you know is a lie.
Three great civilizations are about to fall into an apocalyptic cataclysm.
Nobody is coming out intact.
Akaifa is to be the site of the most horrific event in all recorded history - since the annihilation of the ancient Promethians (Fleshstorm).
Moralities will be shattered. Friends will slaughter each other. The unimaginably horrible truth behind the creation of the Universe will be revealed.
You think that you understand Bio-metal? Welcome to Akaifa...
What the mod includes:
- Nearly 4 hours of dialogue.
- A lengthy, STORY DRIVEN single player campaign. There is less emphasis on Base VS Base combat and more on story and character development. I know that people get sick of RTS campaigns quickly if they are repetitive. I certainly do. My goal has been to AVOID a 'glorified IA' campaign where you simply have to destroy the enemy base each mission. That doesn't happen often.
- Three brand new, fully fledged playable races, plus other NPC only races.
- High Quality 3D models and Environments, far in excess of the original limitations and scope of the BZ2 engine.
- A Deep, Intriguing and Engaging storyline.
- Some explanations to some of the darkest secrets of the Battlezone universe.
- This mod is a total-conversion, so effectively a BRAND NEW game!! No visible content from the original game or any other mod (not even QF Mod) is included.
- Fully UV-Mapped and highly textured models (unlike the original QF Mod).
- All new Sound Effects.
- All new Music.
- All new Models.
- All new Voiceovers.
- All new Everything!!
With this mod, I have done my best to create a game that could at the very least imitate a possible Battlezone 3.
There are imperfections and glitches which are yet to be ironed out. There will be patches released in the future to fix as many bugs as possible.
There may also be a large second release which adds multi-player and instant-action capabilities.
This mod is best played on high resolutions. Anything lower than 1680x1050 may cause issues. It was designed for HD resolutions - specifically 1920x1080 Full HD. For the best playing experience, I would recommend using this resolution or higher.
A high-capacity gaming computer would be the best choice for playing this mod. It uses graphical enhancements which are along the lines of far more modern games than BZ2 original. High-resolution textures, high-poly models and bloom effect (from ENBSeries, an external addon program which I have included with this mod).
I would not recommend using low screen resolutions when playing. The experience of HD graphics in a Battlezone game is effectively unique to this mod. It is not like any other Battlezone mod in existence so far. It has been developed with HD graphics since its conception. The entire purpose was to bring Battlezone into the 21st century. As such, using a decent 21st century gaming system is a must.
Several key issues which I should mention include:
- Music volume is currently locked to 95%. This is the only way to allow it to automatically reduce volume while in-game voiceovers are playing, otherwise you could not hear the voiceovers over the music. This may irritate some people. I may try to patch this at a later date if it is too unbearable.
- There is an issue with the introduction video where 1/3rd of the screen on the right-side is blacked out. This appears to be an internal issue to BZ2, as playing the same .bik file in the native BINK viewer program does not have this issue.
- Mission de-brief files are not showing up. I will try to fix this for the first patch.
- Sometimes the game will crash without warning or explanation. This may have something to do with an audio-glitch involving the music. It is not easily re-produced, so is difficult to fix. I recommend that you save your game reasonably often, just in case it does crash. It is not a common crash, but it does happen at some random times. This may be a problem only on my end.
- Sometimes a mission will crash when you attempt to load it the first time, but load fine on the second attempt.
- At the end of mission 10, you will need to find Major Gibson and drive near his Pariah tank in order to allow the mission to finish. I will correct this in the first patch.
- Mission 2 may be a little too difficult for less skilled players. My advice is to not stop shooting drones. The more you kill, the less damage you will receive overall.
- There may be more bugs, as it seems that there are some which do not appear on my system but may appear on others. As I have stated at times, this is a highly experimental mod. It can be temperamental at times. It was conceived, designed, made and tested by only one person with almost zero outside assistance (bar voiceovers). There will be problems. The game is playable, but it is not perfect yet. Every mission can be won. That isn't an issue.
Despite the imperfections, I have put a huge amount of effort into this mod. It's been my pride and joy for a number of years. So, basically, enjoy! It's been an absolute blast making this mod, and I couldn't have spent my last couple of years any more joyfully.
Thankyou, and good luck!
- Michael Boag (bigbadbogie)
The QF, or Queen's Filchers, are the descendants of a renaissance-era cult from England. They were fully reformed in the late 1990's as a new-age cult which had the aim of seeking the truth about that most elusive of substances, bio-metal. Their history does suggest that bio-metal may have been on Earth and in the hands of humans far earlier than textbooks claim (the 1950's was the documented beginning). Their name also suggests that their origins were something to do with the Tudor family, and that they may have been involved in the practice of theft (of bio-metal?)
Through a series of seemingly absurd events, the QF became a 'terrorist' organisation. They orchestrated attacks against EDF facilities on Earth, aiming to steal bio-metal for their own study (and even for rituals for the more bizarrely inclined members). Their very last attack was extremely ambitious. At a few thousand strong, their entire organisation was coordinated for a single attack against an EDF star-carrier at an orbital shipyard at Earth. Every member of the QF took part in the attack, and they managed to take control of the star-carrier. The purpose of this was to take the ship across the solar-system on a massive bio-metal gathering operation. The EDF fleet was then tipped off by an unknown traitor and a stand-off ensued at the station. The EDF negotiated for several days with the QF insurgents aboard the ship, but it was no use. The QF would not budge, and the decision was made to take the ship back by force. The QF then took the captured carrier out of orbit and began their run across the solar-system. They were pursued all the way to the orbit of Mars, where they were met by another EDF fleet. The QF members were not experienced spacers, and had no expertise in space combat. They refused to surrender yet again, and the captured carrier was shot down on Mars. It crash landed. The EDF assumed that all onboard were killed and that there would be nothing left to salvage, so they left. However, most of the QF people survived the crash. It was from there that they built their militia, and built the first ever non-military human settlements on another world. The QF militia on Mars were trapped at the beginning, but after several years they had created their own bio-metal production units and had even constructed their first star-carrier, the Romulus. The QF were right at home on this alien world, as they had unrestricted access to more bio-metal than even existed on Earth. It was literally everywhere. Meteor showers had delivered deposits all over the place, and remnants from the bio-wars were also scattered across the plains. The QF militia set up bases all over the solar-system, harvesting bio-metal and resisting the EDF at every turn. The QF were considered little more than ghosts to the EDF, who never really believed that they existed, despite the infrequent raids against their transport ships heading to and from the Scion worlds. These were simply put down to EDF traitors. No member of the QF had ever been captured alive to substantiate the conspiracy theories.
It was then that the Hadean war began. The Imperial Hadeans and their Cerberi creations poured into the solar-system with devastating consequences for the EDF and Scions. The remains of the Core planet were infested by the Cerberi legions (to whom the dying world had originally given rise). The QF found themselves the targets of the Imperial Hadeans across the solar-system. They also had some small presence outside of the system, mainly in the Scion controlled Orius System (the Scions' first colonial system).
Struggling to survive against the tide of enemy forces which attacked from every front, the QF were slowly depleted and they returned to Mars to make their final stand against the invaders. Although nobody has ever actually known this for certain, the QF were in-fact the last line of defence against the Imperial Hadeans and the Cerberi that humanity had. Earth was completely defenceless by this time, as disarmament had 'turned the EDF into a paper-tiger', with 3 or fewer functioning recyclers! Only General Hardin's forces in the Labyrinth system stood against the Hadeans and Cerberi.
The QF were easily overwhelmed on Mars, and they escaped aboard their backup star-carrier; Remus, after the Romulus was destroyed by a Hadean mega-gun.
QF2: Essence to a Thief:
The star-carrier Remus had escaped from Mars with the last of the QF Militia on board. The ship had barely managed to get past the Cerberi base-ships that were pursuing it.
Heavily damaged, the ship's engines went into overdrive and there was nothing that anyone could do to stop it. For the next 4 and a half years the 20,000 people crammed aboard had no idea where the ship was headed... only that they had well and truly left the solar system. Only after a special pulley system was constructed on the side of the ship to ferry engineers back and forwards to the ailing engines did they finally manage to fix the directional thrust-rudders and the control lines to the engines. By then it was too late though. The ship had veered far too close to a black hole and was being sucked in past a vast array of alien solar systems and nebulae. The ship was turned around and the engines switched to maximum power to slow the rate of descent, but it was obviously futile.
Colonel Allman took a squad to a planet that they had temporarily managed to get the Remus into orbit around. On the planet they found a strange race of sentient creatures who seemed blissfully unaware that their planet was only weeks away from being sucked into the black hole. When they were warned of their impending doom the creatures seemed to go completely mad with fear. Those that didn't run away just lay on the ground trembling. At the sight of this, Colonel Allman decided to take as many of them as he could off the planet so in the unlikely event that the Remus survived, so would the creatures. They identified themselves as Ruhensphielsetra-Klorenekit, or Ruhens for short. The QF were offered vast amounts of local crops by each of the creatures in return for transport to the Remus. In the end, more than 3,000 of the creatures were taken aboard the Remus by QF dropships.
The Ruhens aboard the Remus watched in awe and horror as the world upon which they had evolved and survived for the past 3 billion years was torn to shreds before them. Although they were heartbroken about the loss of their world, they couldn't thank the QF enough for coming to their rescue. It seemed as though their heroism would be shortlived though as the Remus was drawn closer and closer to the black hole. When only about an hour was projected to remain for the survival of the ship, Colonel Allman spotted another planet heading straight at them. This planet was like nothing anyone had ever seen. It looked as though it was surrounded by 3 sets of rings, although the rings were artificial and composed of millions of very large satellites. They were made of a very shiny material, quickly theorised to be bio-metal. Just as the planet began to enter the black hole, the satellite rings around the planet began to spin in opposing directions. In a blinding flash of light the planet disappeared. The resulting cataclysmic shockwave hit several nearby planetoids and then it hit the Remus. In the void where the planet once was, a huge vortex had opened up. The ship was drawn into it within minutes, and sucked through time and space to an unknown part of the galaxy.
The huge shock of this tore the Remus in two. The rear section of the ship fell free onto a nearby planetoid (which also appeared to have been sucked through the vortex), while the rest of the ship was only a few hours from meeting the same fate. Every working dropship, shuttle and fighter was packed and the entire ship was evacuated. There were actually enough ships to evacuate every last Human and Ruhen from the ship. In the last few minutes of the Remus' life, the ship's captain discovered what looked to be a habitable planet in the same solar-system. Out of options, Colonel Allman ordered every ship to make for the planet immediately, without any reason to be confident that the captain had been right. But he was.
Almost every single ship touched down safely on the planet, and the 19,000 surviving QF members, accompanied by the 3,000 Ruhens, set out to explore their new planet.
It seemed very similar to Earth, although slightly larger and surrounded by several sets of natural rings. The first thing that people noticed was the clarity of the air on the planet. The atmosphere was particularly oxygen and nitrogen rich.
The year was then 2015.
The geographical positioning of the the continents was peculiar, with millions of small islands and dozens of miniature continents. There was one vast super-continent which covered approximately 1/5th of the planet's surface, extending half way across the equator. The planet was named 'Akaifa' by Colonel Allman, after the late founder of the modern QF, Winston Akaifa. It was calculated that the best place to settle was a small to moderate sized continent near the edge of the super-continent that was tested and found to be the planet's most fertile area. All of the scattered QF ships that had landed on the planet were given an order to rendezvous on the continent, which Colonel Allman named Wilkinia after his 'fallen' comrade.
There was an abundance of plants, fresh-water and curious looking animals on the continent of Wilkinia. Over the next few years, massive food plantations were built all over the continent.
A small city was constructed near the head of a popular river. It was named 'Quentin City' after the previous leader of the QF. Meanwhile, the QF Civil Government was created to govern the population of Wilkinia. Most of the original QF Militia people joined the newly formed QF Military, under the command of Colonel Allman. The QF Military established a huge fortress on Arpechio Island, a small island to the north of the sub-continent of Ieztutra (named for the 'exotic' wife of a former QF commander who had become a folk legend in an unsanitary way). There, they redesigned every element of the QF Military production-tree to match former EDF military standards. Due to the abundance of hydro-thermal activity on the planet, the QF Military bio-metal production units were tooled to use geysers as their primary source of power, rather than rely upon the relatively unstable power-generators that the old QF Recyclers used. Also, due to the fact that there were absolutely no bio-metal pools on Akaifa, bio-metal had to be gathered from scrap-veins, meteor crash-sites and from other planets in the system.
Any who didn't join the QF Military decided to either live in Quentin City and its suburbs, or move to the countryside and join or found a farming community. Generous subsidies of bio-metal currency were given for city-folk to move to the countryside to farm the land. A massive genetically accelerated birth program was put into effect by the continent's Prime Minister, Nathan Allman (son of Col. Allman). After 5 years, 1000 babies were born each day on Akaifa, many of them underweight Quintuplets, as that was a side effect of the genetic birth enhancement program.
By 2030, Wilkinia had a human population of over 9 million, with 3 million children. The Ruhens' entire population was just over 300,000, as their gestation period is significantly longer than that of humans. Culture and the economy were thriving on Wilkinia, with the colonisation of several large island chains dotted around Wilkinia and even some settlements on the super-continent, known as Reider (after George Reider, the first 'freedom-fighter' who helped make the modern QF Militia what they were on Earth in the late 1990's).
The QF Military was going from strength to strength, scouring much of the planet for bio-metal resources and building an armada to 'protect the people'.
Naturally, it was only then that all hell broke loose. The year was 2030. A QF Military expedition discovered a very disturbing series of rock carvings deep within the frontier forests of Reider. They were clearly not of natural formation. This fact terrified QF Military Command, and as such a huge operation was launched to discover those who were responsible for the carvings. An expeditionary platoon of tanks disappeared about 100 kilometres north of the initial zone of operations. Despite a considerable SAR mission, they were never located.
An idiotic Major in the QF Military who was in charge of the operation then decided that the region should be nuked to prevent the truth getting out to the civil population, as it is obvious that hiding the truth from the people is the best way to ensure that the problem simply goes away... not. Despite serious 'reservations' from every other senior member of the task-force, they pressed ahead with the Major's plan.
Just when they were about to detonate the nuke, the main base picked up some strange seismic readings. Then, the nuke refused to detonate. Its detonation codes had somehow been scrambled. The entire forest roared to life and a huge army of aliens emerged from beneath the ground, overwhelming the entire QF Military presence there with a pre-emptive strike. Following frantic efforts to contact them, the aliens jammed every radio frequency on the continent, cutting off every human there from the outside world. They sent just one message to the QF Military at this time. The message read "Wwerlna". Pronounced 'WER-NA', this was determined to be what their race had named itself. The message was surmised to be a warning, or an odd sort of declaration of war.
A very short war was to ensue. The QF Military were completely overwhelmed on Wilkinia, as each outpost lost communication links and was then quickly destroyed. It was not that the Wwerlna had an overly superior warfare capability, just that they relentlessly used pre-emptive strikes to wipe out QF Military forces. They seemed to ignore civilians and concentrate their fire purely on military forces. Many civilians fled to the countryside as Quentin City was attacked and left a smouldering ruin within days.
In desperation, the QF Military retreated all of their remaining forces to their fortress on Arpechio Island. There, they made their final stand and managed to last for just long enough. In that time they loaded their carriers and prepared to evacuate the planet. All of their carriers successfully escaped from Akaifa, and observed from orbit the terrible slaughter that was unfolding beneath them. They saw hundreds of thousands of civilians butchered outright, while the rest were herded into makeshift ghettos in towns and villages that had not been destroyed during the fighting. A massive planetary defence grid was built right before the terrified eyes of the QF Military. This defence grid ensured that the QF Military could not possibly return to the planet to rescue their people without being completely wiped out before they could even enter the atmosphere.
The QF Military carriers and battleships proceeded to create a high-orbital blockade around the planet. They sent ships to the far corners of the solar-system to collect bio-metal scrap and resources from every single planet, moon and rock. 30 new battleships and hundreds of carriers would be constructed over the next few years, preparing for any potential way to retake the planet. Communication was established with several human and Ruhen resistance fighters who had escaped the ghettos and formed guerilla bands in the countryside, while the rest of their population endured extremely harsh conditions in the ghettos.
It was discovered that the Wwerlna had actually left the planet's surface and appeared to have retreated underground on Reider, but they had left behind a terrible legacy; an army of robotic killers and slave-masters that now controlled the ghettos of Wilkinia. Known as the Union Government (a name that seemed deliberately designed to mock the pretence that humans had any say in it), the robots controlled every aspect of daily life in the ghettos. They kept the people half-starved and in very poor condition. Those who spoke against them were executed on the spot. Anyone who disobeyed any of their rules met exactly the same fate. Many resistance members attempted to infiltrate the ghettos and steal UG equipment and weapons to use against them.
This where our story begins....