Today is Wednesday, 17th July 2024

Life After Game Over: FreeSpace 2


I wonder if anyone remembers this title, but it was released in 1999 as a sequel to 1998’s Descent: Freespace. At the time of release, this was the title to beat in terms of space combat simulation and ironically one of the last major space combat sims to be released in the genre’s heyday. Since then, few challengers have risen to wrest the crown of greatest space combat sim from this title (still widely considered at release and at present to be the best one ever released) and the leading edge of the industry’s development has shifted to first-person shooters and third-person perspective games, with their ever-increasing focus on realistic graphics and physics.

Since then however, the company responsible for the development of FreeSpace 2, Volition, famous since then for titles such as Red Faction: Guerrilla, made the source code for FreeSpace 2 available to the public.

And thus, mods for this game took off.

Now make no mistake, the vast majority of the videos you will see on YouTube for FreeSpace 2 are from the FreeSpace 2 Source Code Project edition of the game, so various visual and aural effects are already enhanced by community coders. It’s difficult to find a video comparing the original and SCP editions.

Nevertheless, here are some of the better mod projects running for FreeSpace 2.

Battlestar Galactica: Beyond the Red Line

BtRL was for years the mod standard that all other FS2Open projects were judged against. It brought new models, new effects, clever sound editing and a slick look to the UI that reflected the aesthetic sense of the more recent Battlestar Galactica series.

Unfortunately, this mod has been for some time MIA, and when I say “for some time,” I’m talking going on two years, now. Still, copies of the demo version are floating around on the net. Go ahead and drop a copy onto your desktop and savor what might have been. It’s worth mentioning that a couple of headtracking scripts were developed and tested with the demo release; their results are on YouTube as well. No idea how the headtracking will move the monitor properly to accomodate the monitor’s narrow field of visual output however.

Blue Planet
Taking off where the mythos ended in Freespace 2, this mod conjectures a timeline that might yet be following the Shivan destruction of the Capella system. The retreating GTVA comes away from the incredible loss not empty-handed however; they hold the technology to build a gate stabilizer, allowing them to resurrect the jump node to Humanity’s home system after it was destroyed in Freespace 1.

However, it seems that not all is gravy between the two factions of humanity after their reunion.

This mod brings not only the enhanced content from Freespace 2, but adds a number of new ships and effects. I think a look at the video should do most of the explaining, here. It lacks voices except where stock voices are applicable, but nevertheless the focus is on combat and it delivers. The forum topic for Blue Planet on is still very active as of today, so give it a look.

This clearly isn’t the end of total conversion mods available for the FS2 Source Code Project, so if you can find more drool-worthy mods, send your comments!

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