Post tutorial RSS Intro To Level Design: The Driving Force of Starflier

This is an intro to the modding theory I am using to design and build freelancer starflier.

Posted by on - Basic Level Design/Theory

What is Level Design?
Level design is the wonderful art of creating a fun, enjoyable, level that does not break the game. It should be hard enough that you are challenged, but not so hard to frustrate people. Typically, good visuals and a good concept are the base.

How do I design a good Freelancer system?
1. Think of a concept of your system, A good idea is to make a sketch of the system with trade routes and all.
2. Who occupies your system? YOU ARE THE GENIUS! If you want you can put Red Hessians and Mollys in the same kusari system, but that may not go over well.
3. Make sure the concept fits your theme. Theme-names are cool, but can get overbearing or just plain irritating. All liberty space is named after a state in the usa, which sort of fits into the lack of creativity of settlers (New York is named after York already) but it also gets kind of annoying. For example, If you want a lot of liberty systems it gets extremely overbearing to have systems like Nebraska and Idaho. In fact it makes people wonder if your even trying. :)

A good alternative to theme-names are psuedorandom names, for example instead of naming all systems after states for liberty, you can create fairly generic but nonrelated names. This is the route I chose, systems like Gateway and Prospect (ooo hint at future release?) are much better than Texas and Massachusets.

If your system is not associated with a house, you have an even cooler possibility. You can use names like PAX-118, Tau-101, and Bernard-551! These names represent the highest level of awesomeness (in my opinion), but really only work for border, independent, and edge worlds.

4. Freelancer Explorer and Freelancer mod manager are your friend, Using them you can rapidly design and test your system. Here are some bugs to watch out for:
-> FLMM likes to claim mods are incompatible when they arent
-> Freelancer explorer likes to....
-> Not correctly set up fields until the mod is installed on a clean version of freelancer (For example.
my fields in Yamatta wouldnt not render until i installed my flmm mod package)
-> Improperly setting up bases (ex, you get a rochester-style base vs a bretonian bs one)
-> Not delete links between systems when you assume it should, watch out for stray fields for JH/JG
-> Not delete the system folder when you delete a starsystem, ex leaving Ri01 in the mod.
-> My personal favorite, corrupting your freelancer data files :))

To prevent this, make sure ABSOLUTELY NO mods are active durrring FLE sessions. Close FLE when activating a mod!

Also, do not test mods with a freelancer save from another mod/vanilla freelancer. It can cause issues when jumping into a system with the same folder name as in your mod (ex, you jump into like Li02 which you named texas and see california unmodded).

Debugging Tips
Tips to debug FLE generated levels.

1. Save working versions frequently on a backup directory.
2. If your mod crashes...
-> Delete Autosave saved game files. If that doesnt work...
-> Delete any recently added patrols/fields.
3. To test a mod, activate opensp mod ontop yours, this allows you yo not have campaign interference.

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