A public newsletter in the middle of June and a Media Release teaser three weeks ago - besides the occasional chit-chat in the public sections of the forum these aforesaid media reports were the only sign of our activity since Media Update 20 had been released. Lots of things have happened during this period, good and bad alike; now we tell and show you our current milestones.
Ladies and Gentleman, the subspace signal entitled "Media Release 21" is hereby decoded!
Reg. number: UE-SF-4312-ETCW
1. First the good news...
Heaps of work have been done in all the major areas of development since the last Media Release. Our dedicated team members are unsparing in their efforts to move the modification out of its current internal alpha state and make it look like an actual, playable computer game. Hopefully, after you have read through this Media Release, you will be able to affirm that they are on the right track.
Now, let us show you the major improvements of the past four months...
Our modellers were diligent as usual and produced a great number of starships, character models and level props since the previous Media Update. Let's showcase the vessels first!
The first starship below might be familiar to those readers who receive our newsletter (or regularly visit our main website). The vessel is the Kumari-class battle cruiser, probably the most widespread warship in service of the Andorian Imperial Guard. The class is equipped with four particle cannons (and ten torpedo launchers on models built after 2155), duranium hull plating, an engine capable of accelerating the vessel well beyond warp 5 and an advanced shield generator. This impressive list of specifications proves that the class rightly composes the backbone of the Andorian Fleet.
The vessel has been modelled by Abs (who sadly can not help us out anymore) and textured by CaptainSource, as usual.
The second starship is also a warship; a Bird-of-Prey belonging to the Romulan Star Empire. For more than a century, the species that founded this large and powerful empire proved to be a real mystery to the United Earth Government (and later the United Federation of Planets) as neither humans nor their allies have known anything about the Romulans, including their looks. This fact becomes even more peculiar if we consider that the Coalition of Planets (consisting of the Andorians, Tellarites, Vulcans and Humans) had even waged war with the aggressor Romulan Star Empire in the middle of the 22nd century.
The mystery of the species was eventually solved in 2266 when a Starfleet vessel could establish visual contact the first time with the crew of a Romulan ship.
Although the designation "Bird-of-Prey" has been in use for centuries in human terminology to label Romulan warships, the name first came to be used in the middle of the 22nd century, when the United Earth vessel Enterprise encountered with the first known variant of the class. The "Bird-of-Prey" excelled the NX-class starships in every way; its advanced weaponry and experimental cloaking device made it a fearful enemy to the Coalition of Planets during the Earth-Romulan War.
The model has been built by our talented and resident modeller, TripTucker, and has been textured by CaptainSource.
Since March, our modelling crew has been strenuously working on new character models to be able to populate our maps as soon as possible. The results of their work can be seen below.
On the left, a screenshot of our custom Enterprise-crewmembers can be seen. Of course we are planning to make more than just ten models, so expect more to come. All of them are FacePoser-ready actors, and as such, they are ready to be choreographed for specific parts in the mod; from crucial storyline characters to extras in the background to give the maps life. On the right, you can see a picture which was already featured in our last newsletter (and on the main websites front page), the first screenshot of the Enterprise crew, who are already being set into choreographed scenes, in the maps, who have been superbly voiced by our talented voice acting crew.
The following two screenshots showcase four members of an organization that played a pivotal role during the Xindi-mission in 2154, and who became a permanent part of the NX-01 crew following the mission's successful completion. They are the M.A.C.O.s, the operatives of a special military contingent of the United Earth Military Forces. Even though their organization is not part of Starfleet, Starfleet Command accepted Captain Jonathan Archer's recommendation in 2155 and transferred a detachment of M.A.C.O. troops to every existing Starfleet vessel to serve as additional protection.
Usually, M.A.C.Os are deployed either when a precise surgical strike must be performed against enemy forces or when the escort of Starfleet personnel require additional protection on away missions. 2156 onwards, they became a constant participant of the aforesaid away missions and Starfleet assault squads.
On the left you can see the first commanding officer of the M.A.C.O. detachment stationed aboard Enterprise, Major Joss Hayes. On the right, a trio of M.A.C.O. troops can be seen.
Besides starships and character models, the team has also been busy in creating additional level prop to fill our existing levels with portable and (some) usable objects. A selection of these can be seen below.
First of all, engineering equipment. The left shot shows a corridor section on Deck-E which was under minor maintenance when the picture was made. It features an equipment case, various engineering tools and an enginner who cannot be seen as he is spending his coffee break in the Mess Hall. :)
On the right, you can see the injector housing of the Warp Core. As its name implies, its role is to house the injectors (equipment pivotal to the undisturbed operation of Enterprise's warp drive). The reason why the housing did not contain any injectors when the picture was made is unknown, but probably the engineers were in the middle of replacing them (or they have been stolen by Romulan spies - I mean the injectors, not the engineers). :)
The next pair of pictures showcases some additional decorative elements.
The left picture shows the clean and arranged desktop of Captain Jonathan Archer, while the right screenshot features a large pile of standard-issue Starfleet containers. No one knows what these containers actually contain, but they look really nice. And besides, they can create a nice labyrinth for hide-and-seek if they are embarked to the cargo bay without any logical arrangement.
All the abovementioned objects have been created by CaptainSource and TripTucker.
Our resident mappers, HerbieZ and LordHorusNL did their best to enhance all our existing maps and populate them with our custom NPCs. Hopefully, all of you will like the results. Let me show you some screenshots about all our current maps in the works.
1. The Bridge
2. Mess Hall
4. The transporter and minor repairs on a corridor
5. Jefferies Tubes (standard Starfleet maintenance shafts) on Deck-E
6. Dry Dock (pay attention to the improved lightning effects)
All the levels have been (and still being) mapped by HerbieZ and LordHorusNL.
Cpangrace, our new and talented animator is busy in creating new custom animations for our NPCs while CaptainSource has started experimenting with FacePoser to be able to create the most important scripted sequences and scenes of the upcoming demo. Our crew of talented voice actors are also working very hard and record their lines every time when their schedule permit.
To demonstrate the talent of the animating and voice-acting crew, CaptainSource created the following featurette, starring our talented Croesus as Captain Archer.
Besides voice acting work, the video also demonstrates the fully-functional FacePoser-compatible 3D facial muscles of our custom NPCs in action. Enjoy!
You can find the original file here.
2. And now, the bad news...
As you can see from the media above we are still working very hard on our modification. However, development takes a lot of time (almost all of our free time, to be more precise) and to make things worse, several crewmembers have left our team in the last couple of months creating thus a small core developer team - probably smaller than the one required to complete this project.
The departing crewmembers include Abs (modeller of the Andorian cruiser), ManaT, Rickenbacker (our two talented coders), Shadow (designer of the new HUD) and Stavaas (a member of our mapping crew). They were unfortunately unable to continue working on the mod for one reason or another. We thank them their dedication and all the hard work they have done. A very special thanks goes to ManaT, who (among others) wrote and implemented a fully functional Zero-G environment to our modification.
Currently, we are looking for several experienced developers in the areas of mapping and coding.
The would-be mappers who apply for the position must be able to produce quality maps that are optimized without leaks. Knowledge of how to create realistic lighting effects and single-player coding events within the map is a great advantage.
Just as I wrote above, we are also in need of experienced coders. The applicants must possess a deep and thorough knowledge of Source-coding.
Besides these, we are also looking for a person who is confident in the usage of the Source Particle System Tool. This tool would allow us to create all the custom effects required for our maps currently in production - from console explosions to sand- and snowstorms.
Knowledge of the Star Trek universe is a great plus for all the applicants, though it is not a requirement.
This help-wanted section above concludes our 21st Media Update.
We would like to thank you for your continuing interest and your votes that constantly keep us in the Top20 list of Half-Life 2 modifications. Keep up the good work!
We guarantee that we will...