As of now, we only have one system left to complete, then the alpha version of FW:ToW is finished, in terms of systems. Oma and Qi have worked tirelessly on making the best systems possible for you guys. I even had Oma fix up my old ones I made when I first started this mod back in August. What he has done with them will surely take your breath away. The attention to detail is outstanding. I'd like to also give credit to Orac65, who has been trying his hand at making a system and is showing a lot of promise through his work.
Hmmm...what else. Well, we have a new shiplist now. I think that's important to tell you folks. Sov had been doing such a fantastic job finding and importing models for us, that it allowed us to really diversify the shiplist for each faction; I'll let him post more about that since it is his creation. What this means is that there is more hardpointing/hitbox making and coding for us to do in terms of ships, but I honestly think it's going to be worth it in the end. Fortunately, we had most of our ship coding done before 94/104 ships. So, the new 15+ ships or so shouldn't take up too much time.
Sov has also been busy making his idea of a combat prototype; more about that later in this post.
Dok and Mirkha have been busy making great .sur files for us. Mirkha has finished redoing the entire Aldebaran Modular Station (AMS) hitboxes which are absolutely incredible. Super d has also been a great addition to the team by helping redo glowmaps for us.
Solostaran has been an fabulous texturist for us. His skill/attention to minute details are what makes his textures so wonderful. He will often whip up textures for us within a day of us asking for them, which is a HUGE help. He's currently working on making the AMS textures just right. Here are some pictures of his work in progress:
Why485 has been busy finalizing his combat prototype - more about that later in this post. As well, he's made us some new FX which are utterly stunning. Here are some pictures of those:
Deety has been implementing NPCs into the alpha systems for us. What he and Why485 have done to the AI is shocking, to be frank. They're so mean and vicious now, we're probably going to have to tone them down because they pwn so HARD. He also has been hard at work bringing his energy drain system - similar to XvT and XWA - to life in his combat prototype.
Now, as I mentioned above, Sov, Why485 and Deety have been busy working on the FW:ToW combat prototypes. What happened is that the developers could not decide on what we wanted for this mod. There were so many ideas, thoughts and beliefs on the way that fighter/bomber combat should be done that it came down to me asking these three developers to bring their thoughts to the mod. I then recruited 6 players, 4 from FW and 2 from FW-France, to test these completed prototypes. These players are: Oma, Kampher, Wedge, Desdina, Pixy and Kelron Trion. What I looked for in testers was fighter/bomber experience, community experience, ability to work well and discuss points with others and objectivity. Based on the testers vote, we will be using their collective choice as the foundation of this mod's combat. As you can probably infer, this is no small task and I hope the testers the best of luck in this critical endeavor. In the end, though, I hope to be using the best ideas of each combat prototype in the final product. There will be no "winner" or "loser" in this combat prototype decision, only what's the absolute best for this mod!
Just so you all can get a rough idea of each prototype, here's a brief synopsis of each:
"Why485" wrote: As of now, the Why485 side of the prototype is now complete.
Fighter Class: X-Wing and TIE Fighter
Good against: Other fighters and bombers.
Ok against: Interceptors
Turn Rate: Medium
- X-Wings have quad lasers which do the same damage over time, but they do more instantaneous damage.
- TIE Fighters have no shield, and are slighly more responsive and have a slightly better turn rate. They also have more hull.
Bomber Class: Y-Wing and TIE Bomber
Good against: Capital ships presumably
Ok against: Fighters
Bad against: Interceptors
Turn Rate: Low
- Y-Wings have Ion cannons which does the same damage over time when a targets shields are up, but more instantaneous damage. When shield is down, only its twin blasters do damage, making it more energy efficient when target shield is down.
- TIE Bombers have no shield, and are slightly more responsive and have a slightly better turn rate. They also have more hull.
Interceptor Class: A-Wing and TIE Avenger
Good against: Fighters, Bombers, and Interceptors
Bad against: Capital ships presumably
Turn Rate: High
- TIE Avengers have quad lasers which do the same damage over time, but they do more instantaneous damage.
Note: Ordinarily I would class the TIE Avenger as fighter class, but I wanted the Imperials to have an interceptor.
Within a class, the ships are balanced. For example an X-Wing vs a TIE Fighter will come down to skill rather than one ship simply being better. Same applies for the other classes.
Combat itself is heavily reliant on the thruster, and the thruster has a slow drain and recharge to simulate fuel. During a one on one duel it is not that much of a concern. But during any longer multi-person battles, you need to pay attention to your fuel level. Strafe is also fairly useful. It is not hugely obvious, especially to observers, but strafing can be used to fine tune your turn circle, as well as fine tune your aim. Despite being thruster based, you will not see the jerky motions that FL ships experience. The accelerations are smooth and natural.
TIE Fighter and TIE Bomber are both unshielded. They compensate for this by being slightly more maneuverable and having hull strength compensated for lack of shield. The TIE is best suited to circle-fighting, as it can get off solid bursts if it can get inside an X-Wings circle. The X-Wing is best suited for jousting, as its shield works better when hits are few and far between.
Also in the prototype is a fighter version of the full-tilt camera. Both Deety and I utilize this system. It allows for the pilot to keep much better track of his target during a dogfight, this is especially useful for TIE Fighters for trying to coax an X-Wing into a circle fight. The unique flight model makes for very careful flying. You really have to think about how you fight. To be honest in every Freelancer mod I just wing it when I dogfight. This is the first time I've honestly said to myself "That was a good maneuver I pulled there, I should try to do that again."
For example I have one trick I like to pull in the TIE Fighter. When an X-Wing jousts at me, I ignore the joust (and hope I don't get hit), and start turning around before the X-Wing even gets behind me. I then apply reverse throttle (Which is 2/3rds forward throttle in here), get inside the X-Wings circle, and get a good clean shot as I follow the X-Wing coming around. Engine kill is also nicely integrated, its neither intrusively useful, nor useless. Some times it will get you killed, some times it will give you a great burst at the enemy.
Why485 has even been so kind to make a combat prototype gameplay movie. I hope you all enjoy this! Note, this may/may not be what combat is actually like in FW:ToW come release.
Please click the High Quality button.
"Sov" wrote:[size=150]Hybrid Combat Prototype[/size]
The Hybrid system is designed as a combination of action/arcade flying and elements from simulator game play. Action gaming requires fast reflexes but little tactical element, simulation gaming is often slow paced but offers greater control over your star ship and a heavy tactical element. A fusion of these styles ensures little boring or slow paced action but the ability to retain tactical gaming options such as maneuvers, unique ship roles and advanced planning. It is my hope that the creation of such a system will make all members of the Freeworlds Community appreciate the game. Neither action fans or simulator fans will be estranged by such a system.
Explanation of Gameplay
Each ship of a class shares the same statistics for balance. Example: X-Wings and TIE Avengers (medium fighters) have the same stats including damage and maneuvering.
Engine kill will gradually slow your ship to a full stop. The process takes less time by class designation, heavy ships stop faster than light ones. EK can only be sustained with the booster a short time.
Boosters have only a few seconds of capacity, and a long recharge. They are designed to be a secondary system, not a primary one.
Weapons are individually balanced, high number of weapons does not mean more DPS. The Y-Wing with two lasers and two ions has the same DPS as the TIE Bomber with only two lasers.
Energy maintenance has some importance. When shields are recharging it negatively affects energy recharge, slowing down how fast the bar fills. Speed negatively affects energy recharge, the faster you go, the slower the recharge. Weapon firing drains energy for every shot. If you are flying at high speed, shooting without pause, and recharging shields you may run dry in short order. This can be countered by retreating, slowing speeds or evasive maneuvers. This is a tactical element adopted from simulator play.
Holding down the reverse thrust key will drop your speed to twenty percent. This will allow you to make tighter faster turns with greater energy recovery.
Ships in this test
Z-95 Headhunter - Light Fighter
RZ-1 A-Wing Interceptor - Interceptor
BLT-A4 Y-Wing Starfighter - Medium Bomber
T-65 X-Wing Starfighter - Medium Fighter
E-Wing Escort Starfighter - Heavy fighter
B-Wing Starfighter - Heavy Bomber
BLT-S8 K-Wing Assault Starfighter - Light Patrol Ship
TIE/ln Starfighter (TIE Fighter)- Light Fighter
TIE/in Interceptor (TIE Interceptor) - Interceptor
TIE/sa Bomber (TIE Bomber) - Medium Bomber
TIE/ad Starfighter (TIE Avenger) - Medium Fighter
TIE/D Defender (TIE Defender) - Heavy fighter
Alpha-Class XG-1 Starwing (Assault Gunboat) - Heavy Bomber
GAT-12 Skipray Blastboat - Light Patrol Ship
Average forward speed.
Fastest turn speed, fastest directional changes.
Weakest hull and shields. Lowest down time on shields.
Best EK time.
Second best thruster speed.
Fastest forward speed.
Second best turn speed and directional changes.
Low hull and shields. Low downtime on shields.
Good EK time.
Best thruster speed, shortest boost time.
Mounts Concussion missiles.
Slow forward speed.
Slow turn speed, slow directional changes.
Heavy hull and shields.
Moderate DPS hull, high DPS on energy and shields.
Short EK time.
Long thruster life, slower boost bonus.
Can mount some heavy ordnance.
Moderate/high forward speed.
Moderate turn speed and direction changes.
Moderate hull and shields.
Decent EK time.
Middle booster, good speed and length of boost.
Can mount mid-rank ordnance.
Missiles are not yet a part of this test. Missile stats remain entirely untouched by me.
"Deety" wrote:[size=150]Deety's Combat Prototype[/size]
At first, this combat prototype was based on the Freeworlds-France server ship handling, using high speeds and rotation inertia. I added new elements such as the energy partition from X-wing simulator game. I also tried to emphasise on realism and immersion: ships have the weapons they have in the movies, and speeds, hulls, shields and agility is based on what I have seen in the different star wars database, and balanced.
Ships are moving very fast, giving you the opportunity to use the environment (such as stations, battleships or asteroids) to take cover and challenge your opponent to follow you. High speeds emphasize on the piloting aspect of the combat, not just the aiming part. Pass by a cruiser at high speed and you’re actually feeling that you’re piloting a starfighter, not a civilian cargo. Also, differences in speeds are highlighted, and interceptors actually look faster. Outrunning you opponent is possible!
Health and damage
High speeds and agility make it harder to be hit. However, hulls are very weak and shields don’t reload quickly, while guns are more powerful than ever. In other words, your starfighter is a deadly, but fragile ship. In a battle, one second of inattention leads to death.
Burn and strafe
Afterburner and strafe are still available but are very limited by a low recharging thruster. Afterburner is meant to be used to evade missiles, and is powerful enough to make it possible. However, use it too often and you’ll waste all your evade possibility. Strafe is energy consuming, thus the consequences are the same: a good pilot has to know when to use or not to use it.
Powercell and ions
Your energy bar has a large capacity, but reload is low. This means that you will have to be really cautious with your energy consumption. If you don’t shoot aimed, quick, precise bursts to the enemy, you’ll run out of energy quickly and your opponent will get the upper hand. This aspect is critical. But it also gives the ability to disable your enemy hitting him with ions, what will empty his energy bar (Hard against fighters though. Cargos will be more sensible to ions, and can even be slowed down with ions).
This feature is based on the energy partition system from X-wing Alliance, where your power was divided into shields, lasers and engines. In Fw:Tow, all you have to choose is your speed. At max speed, your energy bar will recharge slightly slower. When your shield is hit or is down, another part of your energy is drained your reload it. This means that you can’t move fast, take damage and have the greatest firepower all at the same time. Also, note that reverse is using as much energy as max speed. Slowing down manually may be a better option to break.
This feature comes from Why’s prototype. I loved it so much that I included it into my own combat prototype. It makes the fight much more dynamic, and gives you the ability to track your enemy during the turns. However, during tight turns you’ll expose yourself from attacks coming from the exterior, as any pilot concentrated on his target would be.
In order to emphasise onto realism and immersion, any unshielded vessel in Star wars comes unshielded in this combat prototype. However, TIE Fighter and TIE Bomber are balanced against other ships : they are more manoeuvrable, they can use afterburner longer to evade missiles better, they have a firepower bonus and are a bit more resistant. Piloting those ships is an unique feeling. You have to use your superior mobility to get behind the target, launch a deadly burst and evade quickly.
This combat prototype introduces a new ship classes system, increasing the number of classes and applying then a bonus/malus system in order to make every ship unique.
Ships not present in the combat prototype are in grey :
¤ Interceptor (light) : TIE Interceptor
¤ Interceptor (medium) : A-wing
¤ Interceptor (heavy) : TIE Avenger
¤ Fighter (light) : TIE Fighter, Z-95
¤ Fighter (medium) : X-wing
¤ Fighter (heavy) : E-wing, TIE Defender
¤ Bomber (light) : TIE Bomber
¤ Bomber (medium) : Y-wing
¤ Bomber (heavy) : B-wing, XG-1
Interceptors, fighters and bombers
The main difference between those ships is their mission:
¤ Bombers kill capital ship, using torpedoes. Bombers have the most resistant hulls and shields. They have the more powerful guns. However they lack agility and are easy targets for other crafts.
¤ Interceptors strike bombers before they launch their torpedoes, using superior speed. They are the fastest and most responsive ships. But they are also the weakest. Against fighters, they must use their linear and angular accelerations to compensate for their lack of firepower.
¤ Fighters defend bombers against interceptors, using superior firepower. They have average hull and weapons, and even a higher max turn rate than interceptors, but slower acceleration and responsiveness.
Light, Medium and Heavy
Inside a same class, different subclasses are made to offer different gameplay. All these subclasses are balanced between each others, but play differently. The heavier the ship, the more firepower, health and speed, in detriment of agility. This offers a great variety to the gameplay : heavy interceptors have more firepower and health than light fighters, but light fighters turn drastically faster (because they are fighters, and because they are lights). Every ship is different, and every ship has his own tactics !
Finally, I wanted to offer a huge congratulations to the First Strike mod for Battlefield 2142, for achieving 4th in the MOTY 2008 awards. That is a huge accomplishment and I can think of no other deserving mod team to receive such accolades.