Wing Commander: Eagle Rising - A Game Idea

Malcolm Reynolds

Rear Admiral
Missions I've always wanted to see? Well I'm not sure how this fits with the story, but something in Sol Sector. Maybe some training or academy missions where you get to see earth and it's surrounding planets, take a look at the moon, mars, shipyards, the home fleet and space stations. That kind of stuff would be interesting for fleshing out the Confederation. Showing us the capital and letting the player see what they are fighting for. Would Earth be a pretty pristine Utopian planet like in Star Trek or a run down, overpopulated place like in Blade Runner?

I'd also like to see some missions where major earth colonies are attacked and ones where dozens of Terran and Kilrathi carriers engage in large scale, close quarters, high stakes fleet combat. Seeing a heavily damaged Ralari ramming a Bengal and utterly destroying both of them would be loads of fun to watch.
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
Hmm....those requests might be difficult considering most of the campaign is going to be set on the Vega/Enigma sector border. One idea I had about branching campaigns, which maybe some FS vets can tell me if its doable, is to make each mission series its own 'campaign'. Depending on how well you completed the series, the game would then unlock which 'campaign' corresponded to the good or bad followup series.
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
Nice idea, but...

Is the character name based on an amalgam of the actors of two fictional people from Star Trek? You might want to try an unnamed character, who is simpely unnamed, there is plenty of time to have familiar events in-universe visited(Have Hawk in training making a cameo or something. But you would need to really script things, to make it work. Think in the way of not being able to confront Seether in the first mission of wing commander 4, or actually killing Hobbes in WC3 when he defected, or the destruction of the Behemoth superweapon.

Having the flagship of Thrakhath in the game also make problems. And having an unkillable ship in the game also makes problems(In the expansion packs of Tie fighter you have an unkillable, uncontrolable Darth Vader as wingman), only for the continuety though, but I would steer clear of fixed events the series bibles.

And a forced female character? Please. Give people a choice for this option.
 

NinjaLA

Alex Von T.
Did you make your own models for Saga? I have for Enigma 2666 a lot of models from the WC1+2 Ära and Scooby help me to convert a few of them into Darkest Dawn. I also have a lot of other models from Cybot. Perhaps we can then share your models :)

It look very bad to mix the old ones with the new Saga ones. The turrets, trusters, hangarbays, textures and some guns on the fighters needs an upgrade to the new style.

Whats my favorite one:
tolmacs00.jpg

Cybot make for me the Tolmacs. The original idea was from NinjaLA and Howard Day. To use this in Saga Darkest Dawn it need to replace the prologue turrets and textures. I make for Enigma 2666 a few missions with this ship :)

I take it as a counterpart for the Fralthi as a light Cruiser (remember in the Book "Freedom Flight" are already Waterloo in use by the Confederation in SM2 Crusade and in the WC2 Intro also Fralthra heavy Cruisers exists in 2656) Fighterwing are around 20-24.

Also I have the Gettysburg Class Battlecruiser :) This also fits in the WC1+2 Timeline.


I think you ought to share this model with me! It is.. named after me, after all. and I umm..drew the original concept. :D
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
The name and gender of the player character are still up for debate, but the character has to have a name, and has to have one set gender. Otherwise we'd have to record two full sets of voice overs, and most fan projects are ambitious as they are - no need to complicate things further.

Regarding the Hha'ifra - the player may only end up facing it in the losing missions. My current plan for its appearance would be the Talon arriving at Ghorah Khar just in time to see the Hha'ifra destroy the shipyards where the stealth fighter production is taking place. If the player does well enough during the campaign, they can intercept the missiles or even destroy the ship (with Thrakhath escaping of course), similiar to how Standoff gave you the normal ending and the best ending depending on how the campaign went.
 

Deathsnake

Rear Admiral
For the frigate...

Scooby make a model what was based on a idea of Gevater Lars:
TCFR-Olympia1.jpg

TCFR-Olympia3.jpg

Frigate with hangarbay. Pocket Carrier ;) Could be fit into the WC1 Timeline. Textures are a little bit different as you can see. Like the same way on his Gilgamesh and Clydesdale. I liked the design, cheap patrolship with a few fighters. But! its a bit bigger then the Exeter. Perhaps making the model a bit shorter ;) And close the rear entry.
 

Malcolm Reynolds

Rear Admiral
I think you ought to share this model with me! It is.. named after me, after all. and I umm..drew the original concept. :D

NinjaLA, you ought to design some more like this! The Tolmacs is probably my favorite fan-designed ship. It's like a the little brother to the Bengal. I even considered building a scale model of it from scratch! Hmmm....perhaps someday I will.
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
Deciding what ships we'd like to see in the game is all well and good but nothing is going to happen if we don't make the game. Right now we need to assemble a team of willing participants to at least lay the groundwork and start on the basics. Here is the staff I think we need to get rolling:


Writers: 3
Mission Programmers: 4
2d Artwork: 2
3d Artwork/Models: 3
QA: 2
Website development: 2

More than one job may be performed by a person.

Specifically we need programmers who are experienced with either the FS2 or Vision engines, as those are our two primary options for using this game. My only real skill is writing and mission design - programming and modelling people are really needed here.
 

Chillyche

Rear Admiral
I wanted to add my two cents:

I think any discussion of whether male players will feel comfortable with a female character begins and ends with Lara Croft. The Tomb Raider series sold about a bazillion units and gave us twice the terrible movies that the Wing Commander franchise gave us. That said, Tomb Raider was a 3rd-person game, so we could always SEE Lara, and we weren't asked to inhabit her body, but rather control it, send it commands. Psychologically, this is not coincidental. Most of our 1st-person gaming experiences have had male protagonists. When we can see the character, we get our Samus and our Chun Li and our Lara and even our Bayonetta. When we have RPGs, we tend to get a healthy mix.

It's my understanding that you can play Mass Effect as a male Shepard or a female Shepard. Could that work in the case of this title? Certainly in all the Ultima games you could choose your sex. But Wing Commander has always been an interactive cinematic experience, and having a variable protagonist would complicate the relationships in the game, or necessitate simplifying them.

I'd play a Wing Commander game with a woman in the cockpit. But I'd also play a game with a customizable character so I can make the frakker look like me, and really put myself into the universe.


I also agree that one must make sure never to put the game's protagonist at odds with the game's player. You've explained that you didn't want to make her unsure of herself per se. But I do see an interesting opportunity here, particularly within the context of Wing Commander. We've always accepted the mission tree structure: beat enough of these missions, you're on a winning path and good stuff happens, fail too many and you're on a losing path, and bad stuff happens. I liked the idea of letting the player get psyched out. Let them win missions, but still hit them with bad news. Throw some events their way that cause enough upheaval that the player themselves has to check their hubris at the door, not just the character. Preferably not an impossible Drayman escort mission, though.

Anyway... cutscenes?
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
I wanted to add my two cents:

I think any discussion of whether male players will feel comfortable with a female character begins and ends with Lara Croft. The Tomb Raider series sold about a bazillion units and gave us twice the terrible movies that the Wing Commander franchise gave us. That said, Tomb Raider was a 3rd-person game, so we could always SEE Lara, and we weren't asked to inhabit her body, but rather control it, send it commands. Psychologically, this is not coincidental. Most of our 1st-person gaming experiences have had male protagonists. When we can see the character, we get our Samus and our Chun Li and our Lara and even our Bayonetta. When we have RPGs, we tend to get a healthy mix.

It's my understanding that you can play Mass Effect as a male Shepard or a female Shepard. Could that work in the case of this title? Certainly in all the Ultima games you could choose your sex. But Wing Commander has always been an interactive cinematic experience, and having a variable protagonist would complicate the relationships in the game, or necessitate simplifying them.

I'd play a Wing Commander game with a woman in the cockpit. But I'd also play a game with a customizable character so I can make the frakker look like me, and really put myself into the universe.


I also agree that one must make sure never to put the game's protagonist at odds with the game's player. You've explained that you didn't want to make her unsure of herself per se. But I do see an interesting opportunity here, particularly within the context of Wing Commander. We've always accepted the mission tree structure: beat enough of these missions, you're on a winning path and good stuff happens, fail too many and you're on a losing path, and bad stuff happens. I liked the idea of letting the player get psyched out. Let them win missions, but still hit them with bad news. Throw some events their way that cause enough upheaval that the player themselves has to check their hubris at the door, not just the character. Preferably not an impossible Drayman escort mission, though.

Anyway... cutscenes?

Thanks for your input Chillyche! Believe me, without giving too much away of the plot, bad things are going to happen regardless of your mission performance. The campaign starts out in late 2655, during the 1st Enigma campaign. At some point during the campaign, the Eagle's Talon will receive word of Tiger's Claw being destroyed, and the Kilrathi now having the upper hand in the campaign.

As for cutscenes, I do want to include them, but I need to find someone who can animate them first. I've been learning some mission design stuff but with my current career (naval officer), I don't have time to learn how to 3D model as well. I definitely want inter-mission cutscenes, and as many post and pre flight briefing scenes that are practical for a volunteer team to mod (think of the number of cutscenes you see in Standoff, for instance).
 

Deathsnake

Rear Admiral
I think, we canm discuss all those things like cutscenes after the SDK from the Saga Team is release. I already talk to Sylvester that we are working together with Enigma 2666 / Eagle Rising. In Enigma is all the fightercraft/spaceships from WC1+2. So a lot of these ships are can be used in Eagle Rising too. Tolwyn already says that now they are working on the SDK and I ask Scooby for a few models for the Mod :)
 

Chillyche

Rear Admiral
So, I've got a million projects running right now, including an animated sci-fi music video and a series of macross fan animations.

Here's a look at the animated music video (it's meant to be cartoony):

And the macross joint:

But I'm also interested in getting into doing some more realistic work, as well. Wing Commander has always been a favorite of mine. I would be interested in writing and some sort of role in the production of cinematics, and I could probably be convinced to do some sort of modeling as well, but I'm not so much a pro at that. I work freelance, usually as a focus puller, but sometimes as an editor, and so that means I get big chunks of free time every now and then. I won't lie, being able to participate in a WC project is something of a dream of mine. I had considered even attempting a short film on my own, after watching the brilliantly produced Modern Times:

I still think people are being babies about the female protagonist issue. Everybody liked freakin' Metroid and didn't complain. And most people (though I was not one of them) that gamed in the late 90s played Tomb Raider and they were fine with that. If the story is compelling and the dogfighting is dope, then that's all that matters in Wing Commander. Blair never looked like me anyway, so I always had to do some roleplaying to get into his shoes. That said, there is a solution for the non-specific protagonist. As evidenced in Mass Effect, you can lock a character's surname but allow the first name to change depending on sex. You can refer to them in speech by rank (and you'd probably want to have different options for the levels of promotion) or last name. Or, you could even lock their callsign, and just let them choose sex and first name. Or even give them one of those neutral first names like Sam or Alex or initials or something. But it's interesting, you don't hear female gamers get bent out of shape every time another male protagonist shows up. I mean, they certainly do mention that they're underrepresented in games, and tend to be highly objectified, but this is also an interesting social issue here, where we, as male gamers feel entitled to a male protagonist, in part because we have numbers and statistics on our side, but also because we're used to being represented. I dunno. I get it, though. In every game where I could choose my avatar, I've tended to try to make my character look as much like me as possible (which frequently isn't possible, because a lot of games default to burly white guy, which I am not). I dunno. I like to wax philosophically about games sometimes.
 

Chillyche

Rear Admiral
Re: cutscenes: there are really two directions to go in.

1) FMV. Not necessary with today's technology. Costly in terms of costumes/props/greenscreen studio space/cameras/crew.
2) CGI. Takes a talented team of artists and animators, and takes TIME.

Each have their cons. Personally, I think the better plan would be CG -- it's far more flexible. But the challenge here is that it takes a good animator to bring CG characters to life. I'm not that guy yet. I can do a passable job, but it'd look stiff, and my talent doesn't lie in photorealistic organic models either. I could certainly model locations and ships. I'm intrigued by some hacks people came up with for the Microsoft Kinect that allows them to do mocap directly into a package like Autodesk Motionbuilder, which could be very useful for getting some more realistic performances out of CG actors.

One of the things that made the first two games so immersive is that you had a debriefing after EVERY mission, and there was constant character feedback. How many furballs did you dust?

Are you envisioning a more tightly controlled story, like in WC2, or a little more open like WC1? I was a pro by the time WC3 came out, so I never really saw the losing path, so I'm not even sure if the game leaned more towards forcing your hand like 2 or was less scripted like 1. I also don't know what the SDK will allow, so, I'm just throwing stuff out there. But, PM me if you want, I'd love to talk story ideas with you.
 

Sylvester

Vice Admiral
For cutscenes I'd envision us going with the talking head/long background shot approaches that we saw in the first two Wing Commander games and in Standoff. Any more technical than that would require too much time to do on a volunteer basis.

Chillyche, I'd love to talk - I'll shoot you a PM in a bit when I finish up some stuff. I'm kind of looking to go the middle ground between WC1 and WC2 - kind of the same degree of branching we saw in Standoff.
 
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