A (much belated) happy new year!
It's now February, but this being the first update of the year, we'd like to wish you all a Happy New Year! For us, this year is going to be an especially happy one - because it is absolutely, definitely, beyond any shadow of a doubt, going to be the very last year of Standoff's development. We'll be releasing Episode 5 (along with fixes to various bugs from previous episodes), and that's it. Of course, if you're sceptical, I can understand that - it just so happens we said almost exactly the same thing at the start of last year. Still, we are close to finishing. Some of us have literally run out of work to do :-).
To make up for the lack of recent updates, this update is going to be quite a lengthy one :-). At this stage, we have completed all the remaing FMV cutscenes for Episode 5. Some of them are still waiting for music, but the videos are done. So, there are three areas of Episode 5 still incomplete - music, voiceovers, and missions. Having finished all my work with cutscenes, I also spent a bit of time improving some elements of the game that had already been completed. We've been going at this for way too many years now, we've all gained quite a bit of skill along the way, and some of the old stuff really jumped out in quality. This includes the cockpits for some of the campaign ships (Rapier, Gladius, Sabre), as well as the hangars for both the Lionheart and the Firekka.
To show you all of this progress, we've put up seven new screenshots. Apart from the stuff mentioned above, there is also a shot from the Episode 5 intro. Finally, there is a shot of the Firekka's recroom, in 1280x960. Ever since we've switched to OpenGL, the rooms were rescaled at higher resolutions from the 640x480 files, which meant a significant loss of quality. This is no longer the case - Pedro has made further improvements to our DLLs, and now the rooms are rescaled from the 1024x768 files instead :-).
What about missions, is there no progress in that area? As a matter of fact, there is progress, though not as much as there should have been - as always, blame Quarto... I mean, getting engaged, what kind of a lame excuse for lack of progress is that? :-) Anyway, Pedro's delivered his last mission, and Pierre's delivered an early version of two other missions - so we're definitely moving forward.
In the meantime, the end of the year - as usual - is the time of the Wing Commander CIC's annual awards. The awards are given out for the best fan project of the year, and the best fan website of the year. Thanks to all of you who voted for us, Standoff was voted runner-up (in a tie with Wing Commander Saga, yet again)... in the fan website of the year category. Now, when your fan project is given an award in the web site category, clearly that means you've got a problem with progress. Yes, Episode 5 is making progress, yes, it is close to release, but the fact remains, we have not released anything at all in 2008, our last release was September 26th 2007. It is high, high time for us to bring this project to a close. Anyway, here's our award graphic for this year:
Thanks again to everyone who voted!
There is one last thing to say in this update. Over at the forum, Chris pointed out that a weekly schedule of updates might help us mobilise to make progress. It surely would - it's something that really worked well towards the end of UE, and the only reason we haven't done it with Standoff is because we were lazy :-P. Well, it's time to speed things up a bit and finally get this project done, so here goes:
From now on, we are going to do a news update every friday evening, all the way until release. Some of these updates will be short, and new screenshots probably won't be too frequent either - but the updates will show up every single week.