Hooooo....boy. Well, I don't think we've got stuff in a state to be announcing a release date. I have a guess, but I'm gonna keep that internal for the time being. As for the beta testing, it'd probably be a round of both - Closed Alpha, Open Beta.
Excellent question. The goal is to make the game playable on as many systems as possible. That said, I get the distinct feeling that if you want to play this in it's full glory you'll need a pretty decent video card (128MB or more) and at least a Gig of RAM. Lesser settings could probably get away with a 64MB vid card and 512MB of Ram. THESE ARE EXTREMELY SHAKEY NUMBERS! They're basically just based on what the games I've worked on require to do the same thing. You never know - Pioneer may do it better than any of them.
I hope not. Geez, that would suck. I know enough programmers in town here that it probably wouldn't be an issue to get a couple more.
The game that you guys have described sounds like it would take a proffesional crack team of developers at least two years to make and probably more if they built a new engine from scratch.

And thats working full time.

With only one programmer, your man would need to be around par with john carmack in order to accomplish anything at any rate on his spare time, and thats probably conservative.

Besides the programing, the art assets are also going to take a lot of time, but unlike the programming side of things, is probably realistically do-able. I know that howard day is a 3d god, and could probably single handedly punch out the entire art assests for a space sim in a matter of months, but this is a completley different playing feild. Now you have organic modelling of humanoids, and countless complex animations to deal with. Certainly do-able, but it would require patience.

With a good sized crew, and good moral amooung developers, on your spare time your looking at probably 4 to 7 years to make anything decent with your current plan.

My advice to you guys; keep it simple. Dont bite off more than you can chew. Cut anything too fancy like the first person mode, and save it for post 1.0. Dont get discouraged. Find an open source engine and modify it to your needs: there is absolutley no reason to start from scratch, at the very least use a rendering front-end like ogre. Oh, recruit some new blood.

I very much want to see this project succeed, but its painfully obvious that you guys are over your heads with this. The fall of most fan projects is that they tend to be over ambitious and the developers get discouraged when things turn out to be harder to implement than they were to plan.
We've given a lot of consideration and thought to that very thing. Just what to include, what not. And i've especially cut back a lot of the features i've developed for this game (and let me tell you...there's a hell of a lot of them). The first person deal is nothing like one would expect it to be, there will be no han solo running gun battles that the player will actually be able to do. It's a, you get off your ship...walk around, talk to NPC's by clicking on them, and thats it sort of deal. It's that extra bit of immersiveness. Now, there will be gun battles...but they'll all be done in, in engine rendered cut scenes, thus not breaking the visual continuity of the game.

The flight model is going to be a little bit more interesting, hopefully. Taking from the novels the fact that ships burn fuel, and can collect it as you go, there is now a system where you can specify fuel scoop power settings prior to autopiloting allowing you to get to a location faster. What does this potentially add? Well, for one, time limit missions. Say you need to run a load of medical supplies somewhere or something, and you have 12 hours to do it. now you have to manage your fuel reserves to get there in time, etc..etc. There will be a real time type deal in the game. Worlds will have day/night cycles...etc.

Right now, we're working towards a demo release. It will include the base walking around bit, the flight engine (obviously), and will be set in three star systems. It won't have the story, it will be a working, playable demo to get folks feet wet, and a much smaller and more managable demo to put out. It will let us play test the engine first, get feedback from folks, and then refine the final engine and knock out the full fledged game.

Hopefully that addresses the bulk of the questions, if i forgot any, ask away, and i'll see about answering them!


And no, this will not be open source in anyway.

Also, from scratch is the only way to get all the stuff we need to work the way we want it. otherwise it'd be some kind of nightmare trying to mix and match a hodge podge collection of code, all of which probably still won't do what we want or need it to do.
Cam said:
One programmer for your entire game eh? See you in a couple years. :D j/k haha

How far along is the programming now? Unless you're working full time, it will take several years, but will be a great learning experience.

Just to review licences on fan projects:

Vega Strike: Open Source (GPL)

Flight Commander: Not open source (Free for non-commercial use, source code available upon request).
Point here is there are ways to make source code available without being "open source". But that's your decision.

Pioneer: Not open source, source not available at all?

Anyway, it's your game so you can license it however you want. About 5 people have asked and received my source, but nobody has done anything with it.
Just a quick question in regard to your first person element....
Upon launching a new game will the player be able to select his/her appearance as in most RPG's have with character creation? If so will it be limited to a number of skins or will you have accersiories (such as those badass 80's sunglasses :cool: )
Also with all the cry-babying going on over the ship skins (not me though, they look schweet) will there be an option to customise the player's craft paintjob once again by using customed skins (for an in-game fee?)

Just the wandering thoughts of an old war vet gettin all misty eyes over the good old '50's :p
Who said we have but one programmer working on this? We have at least half a dozen guys for programming when needed.
Aplha 1-1 said:
Just a quick question in regard to your first person element....
Upon launching a new game will the player be able to select his/her appearance as in most RPG's have with character creation? If so will it be limited to a number of skins or will you have accersiories (such as those badass 80's sunglasses :cool: )

From what they've said it sounds more like an FPS than an RPG. I don't think selecting your appearance would be necessary at all in a game like this, unless you intend to look in a mirror. :p Also, if they intend to write a story for it, changing your appearance and/or gender would create more complexity than I think they are intending.

Then again I could be wrong. But that sounds like a logical explanation doesn't it? :)
Howard Day said:
Conrad: The gameplay and storyline will be pretty freeform. We're gonna try and make it as interesting as possible, of course - so people don't want to go off and do their own thing . There's nothing stopping you, however. We've also discussed the possibility of having randomly generated mini-storylines. These would pop up after the main storyline is complete, or if the player hasn't accommplished some main task by a certain time. You know - damsel in distress, Kilrathi offensive, crooked CEO, Family feuds, you get the picture. they'd be quite a few of them - so they'd tend not to ever repeat. And your success failure would probably influence the main storyline in some small way.

This sounds neat. The cinematic side missions were one of the things I liked best out of Privateer 2. Perhaps some of these side missions could result in better equipment becoming available, like how the Kraven IV laser is only available through a cinematic mission in P2? Nothing ultra-powerful, mind you, but moderately superior, like an engine booster to raise your cruising and afterburner speed by 10%, or a one-level-higher powerplant or shield, or a 50% stronger laser or something.
Distress Calls

I was wondering, will you be able to answer distress calls whilst in space like in Privateer 2?

You had the option to turn the emergency distress receiver on/off if you wanted an extra bit of fun -)

My favourite was the damsil in distress one that has you going to the end of the galaxy only to find out its an ambush hehe.

With regards to upgrades how many will be available for each major component of the ship I always like chasing the carrot :p

Right now there are no plans for a distress systems. Keeping it simple mainly, just the mission term and the guilds.

We do have planned the ability for the player to choose between being either male or female. Nothing so elaborate as, say in Star Wars Galaxies, or San Andreas, where you can make your character fat, skinny, muscular, or not muscular.

As for cinematic side missions, we don't have anything like that planned right now. By cinematics I meant for the main missions, where you click on the guy for the plot, and it goes into a movie where you learn more about the plot.

Now, to further elaborate on what Howard was talking about with bases and stuff. The idea there is that as you go along, and complete missions, kill enemies, etc...you get points towards Prestige. Its a system i've been working on, but still needs a bit of work. But basically, as you gain Prestige and get to a certain amount, you cash it in (you also have to have money as well) and can purchase, say, a small asteroid base. Before this, you have to form a guild though. And with this guild you can hire NPC people to be pilots, etc...etc. When you cash in your prestige, its like calling in all your favors for all the jobs you've done, or used up all your influence to get what you want, and have to start all over again. Now, if you purchase a base, then you receive a prestige bonus. But, it won't be all easy. You have to maintain the base, pay employees, pay for any ship repair for your folks, etc. You can pretty well, literally create your own little pirate/merchant/mercenary empire. This system won't be in the initial release, but it is being worked on. Its the only RPG-esque element to the whole game really, and hopefully will turn out to be pretty fun.

As for customizable skins, right now we're looking at that. Right now all we have planned is custom nose art, and the ability to name your ship. So if you want 'Slave I' its yours.

Multiplayer, ultimately thats the ultimate goal right? For right now, there are no plans for it. It's a consideration beyond the main game release, but thats about it. There's a lot of insane-o work that goes into multiplayer deals, and like howard said, its something which has to be fun. It's a possibility, but for no time within the immediate future.

Eddieb: right now we have no plans of releasing our source.
Hi, regarding the hiring of tailgunners and the like...
I was wondering if they can die if your ship gets damaged sufficiently?

ie. Your tail has been shot to pieces and... maybe the rear turret is destroyed? Then that gunner would be dead maybe? Or can turrets be destroyed at all?

There was also mention of different skill levels for the hire-ees, right? Is that predetermined and fixed, so in order to increase their level, you must hire a new one? Or can they increase in skill, the longer you keep them alive/with you (provided they can die)?
Regarding custom skins and the nose art, I'd be in favor of a custom insignia that can be emblazoned on the wings and other parts of interest.
Regarding flight dynamics. In the novels flight is actually newtonian until the scoops are engaged. Are you 'al going to emulate that in local space (dogfight range) or are you only using the scoops as a fuel dynamic? Also, since fuel has the potential to be a big factor in missions, will you have a course mapping/ fuel calculator type nav system, and if you do run out of fuel what then?

Sorry for running it all togather, this is really cool from my point of view.

At any time during flight you will be able to shut down the scoops. You'll run out of gas in a hurry, loose manuverability, but increase speed.

The nav map will allow you to setup your scoop settings, it'll tell you how much fuel you'll have when you arrive, etc.

Since the scoops are pretty well always on, it will always be the WC flight model we know from the games. it'll only differ when you turn the scoops off.
No plans for that right now. Maybe later, and actually, I hadn't thought about that. Something else you can do, collect scrap and sell it off. I wouldn't necessarily make it so you can get a new ship that way, but certainly be a job of sorts for the player to do if he wanted, and i would imagine it as being fairly lucrative as well.


and, no worries. ask away! we've got a lot of good ideas from this actually, so please, don't feel bad :)
I’ve loved your work since the first time you posted them and I remember posting how much I would love to see your videos with a fan made game in the VegaStrike engine. I’m ecstatic to see that you’ve not only taken that challenge up but have gone a step further and are building your own engine. So far the ships look wonderful. Congratz to the group! From what I’m reading here you have a lot of concepts you’re trying to implement. I am a little bit worried about that, having seen many home grown projects come and go as I’m sure you have, your work however speaks for itself so if anybody can do it you and the Pioneer Team can.

Suggestions and ideas:

Since I’ve started writing this you’ve added the nose art idea. I think this is wonderful. If somebody is going to run their own faction they should have an insignia.
I love the idea of the first person view and moving around. While this truly hasn’t been tried in the WC world we did have a taste of it in WCIII and WCIV with their transitions videos. I did like it but after awhile it did get so repetitive that I had to toggle it off. The ability to toggle it off may be something to consider.

Of course everyone would LOVE to have the multiplayer ability. We’ve all had a taste of it in Armada but frankly that was sourly lacking and we are all dreaming of the real thing. I think you’re right however not making this a primary focus.

I understand your not wanting to release your code and I respect that, (personally I wouldn’t know what I was looking at if you did ) but I was wondering, instead of releasing your code could you create a mission builder for the fans? (Think of Academy on Uber Steroids.) In later releases you could release other ships from the different time periods: WC1, WCII, and so on, so that people could make stories for whichever period they desire and post them for others to play? (Along this idea the ability of toggle of random civilian ships might be good too) I can think of several ideas for this and if you’re interested we can talk about it off-line.

Please don’t let the privateer purchase Military ships. At least not those of the “active time period”. I can understand being able to buy “vintage” military ships that might require some “modifications” to make them more currant and privateer friendly.

You mentioned hiring turret gunners. How about the possibility of a computerized firing turret with the possibility of various accuracy upgrades?

While Leach cannons / missiles haven’t been invented yet I always thought it would be neat to disable an enemies ship and capture it to add it to your flee, use it for parts, or sell it; also giving the user the option to release the prisoner, sell them, kill them, or ransom them.

When being a “pirate” and finally earning enough to buy a base and set up an operation I would think that one would become a bit too high profile and bring the wrath of the law enforcement. Some pirate bases should be around but too many seems wrong. I do like the idea of a medium sized ship as a mobile base / mini carrier to work out of though.

Those are my thoughts for now. I had some more the other day but I can’t remember them right now. If I do I’ll try to post them later.