June has been a good month for the Luyten Civil War. Finally, as the saying goes, "there's light at the end of the tunnel," and I'm fairly certain it's not the train. The surge in activity is due to several reasons. First, my only remaining exam is scheduled for the 29 June, so I have plenty of free time this month. Second, my other HLP projects are mostly silent nowadays, so whatever time I planned to spend on FreeSpace modding could be dedicated to LCW.
In the previous month's newletter, I mentioned that I was not entirely satisfied with the middle and the end part of the plot, and did not have much motivation to sit down and sort them out. As I kept working on the missions, the need to do something with the plot grew more alarming than ever before, so I put everything else aside and concentrated on the Big Plot Problem. The first few days of June were spent on finalizing the story, and by June 4, the story was complete. Some smaller details ("Do I really need two stations for this mission?" "What if the player had a different role in this mission?") remain, but these uncertainties will straighten out as mission design progresses, and it does progress at a good pace.
Mission 5 is the "Attack drydock" concept mission you may remember from the previous news item. It has been successfully inserted into the story, so now there's a rationale behind its existence. It's currently at a very early stage of development, but there are some other missions which I'd like to take care of before returning to this.
Mission 6 has gone a long way from a rough concept into a full-fledged, content-filled, and extensively tested mission. In this mission, you must find a hostile Deimos corvette in a nearby nebula. Its destination: unknown. Its mission: unknown. You will be escorted by Major Kemmler, a top SOC agent, and both of you fly Pegasus stealth fighters. When you stumble into a small Luytenian patrol, you can choose to stay away (like it's expected) or take risks and go right for the kill. The third possibility is that you choose the first possibility, but barge into the enemy force as if you were flying an Erinyes with dual Kaysers. Whatever your choice, Kemmler will comment on your performance, offer some relevant advice in light of it, and (of course) watch your back. He is technically your superior, however, so obey his orders and don't do anything stupid.
Mission 8 is at a comparable state of progrees, but somehow I have a nagging fear something's missing. Sure, the mission is definitely playable, and I'm sure it's bug-free. There are a lot of messages, and several ways to gain some extra compliments (or reprimands). As far as difficulty goes, the mission currently plays itself, but that's not what I worry about. I'd rather have the mission very easy at this stage of development, because if I want to test the ending of the mission, I don't fancy restarting it even once. Balancing is something I do last. I get the feeling that I need to find the unknown "Extra Factor" to be satisfied with the mission.
Some of you may be now inclined to ask the obvious question: "You mentioned mission 5, 6, and 8, but where's mission 7?" Well, I'm not FREDding the missions in sequence. Instead, I maintain a priority list. I'd like to get the lower-priority missions out of the way before I get to creating the high-priority ones. The scheduled release date is the end of the year, so the sooner I finish the low-priority missions, the more time I can spend on the high-priority ones. This way of categorizing is possibly misleading a little bit, though. Low-priority missions aren't necessarily secondary to plot progression or easy to FRED. Mission 6 is a significant mission, and I added lots of additional content to it already. I simply want to see some missions done better than others, and this subjective "bond" to each mission decides whether it's high- or low-priority.
While many new ships make awesome screenshots, LCW is played a meager 3 years after Capella, which does not justify the inclusion of so many fan-made ships, but who said new ships must be next-gen military ships? Since LCW is set in a populous Terran world, there will be nonaligned (=civilian) ships around, who are from time to time caught in the crossfire of the two belligerents.
I already included two civvy ships: the CL Majestic and the CivL Splendid. The Majestic is a big, luxurious liner. Mission 8 is centered on a Majestic liner. The above screenshot is taken during said mission. The Splendid is, originally, a corvette-sized medical ship, but I rescaled it to make a personal transport kind of ship. Thanks to HLP member Betrayal for showing me the rescale feature. For models, credit goes to TrashMan.
This time this is not a mission idea, but a gameplay feature. Due to the nature of this addition, I don't plan to include it until I see how all missions play out (what kind of orders you receive/you can issue, how many wingmen you typically lose, etc.)
Based on your actions in missions, you get reward and penalty points. If you gain enough reward points, you may get an extra medal or be allowed to fly a new, experimental yet powerful fighter in the last couple of missions. If you gather too many penalty points, however, your superior will dismiss you of your position, and you will not be allowed to progress in the campaign. If you follow your orders, you will not be issued this penalty, but you do have to perform well to get the extra rewards.