Wing Commander: Hostile Frontier (Landreich campaign previews)

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
It would also need some sort of hangar section were all the mining equipment and shuttles would launch from.

It's a great start.
 

gevatter Lars

Vice Admiral
If its a factory they surely produce a lot of heat, so what about some big cooling pannels for heat exchange?
Some solar pannels for additional energie might also be a nice detail.

The mentioned hangarbay is surely something it should have or if you want to keep the polycount low just make some blastdoors that suggest some bigger hangar behind them.

What about external cargopods docked at it. Maybe they can't keep everything inside so there is an option to store additional resources outside.

A docking port migth also be an alternative to a hangar. So that transports can dock there with some big clamps "holding the transport in place". Something like that.

A ship like this will also make a fine target for, lets say, pirates, so maybe external docked fighters or some turrets might be interesting. There could be turrets for mining operations too.

What about these smaller working bees we see in the Prophecy intro? I guess there could be some kind of tugs around to gather resources or move cargo and these would also need a place to launch from.

A command tower like structure could also be interesting.

Here are also some images that might inspire you a bit. I think they have some details that give you more ideas on what you could add.

http://www.ravestats.com/public/fen/ORE-capital-rorqual-2.jpg
http://www.ravestats.com/public/fen/0_2009.05.13.10.14.11.jpg
http://www.ravestats.com/public/fen/amarr-carrier-aeon-2.jpg
http://www.ravestats.com/public/fen/gallente-obelisk-3.jpg
http://www.ravestats.com/public/fen/minmatar-fenrir-1.jpg
http://www.ravestats.com/public/fen/caldari-charon-3.jpg

If you wonder where they are from, its EVE-Online. They have some fantastic designs, in my opinion.
 

Ijuin

Admiral
I'd say skip the solar panels, since the amount of energy that could be collected through them would be dwarfed by the amount of power coming from the main reactors--to have the kind of accelerations that we see for even heavy transports in Wing Commander, the reactors must put out multiple gigawatts of power.
 

Kevin Caccamo

Rear Admiral
I took this screenshot recently for a bug report about the muzzle flashes being offset in glide mode:



I've added and tweaked lots of stuff, including:
  • Muzzle flashes
  • New fonts based on Dejavu Sans
  • WC1/WC2-style crosshair
  • New missile lock graphics
  • New shield icons
  • New ships and reskins
  • Radar/IFF Colours
  • Ship class names
Belated credit goes to Travis Baldree for the Hornet model.

The next updates will give away some of the plot details about the main character and the beginning of the campaign, and possibly an interview. As a little preview of what's coming next, the main character's callsign is going to be Rider.

EDIT: Oh, and you know the reverse afterburn thing that Bondarevsky does in FC while escorting the Bonadventure on it's kamikaze run? Although it's against just about every safety regulation, YOU CAN DO IT TOO! I added a reverse afterburner to the Raptor, thanks to a new feature in 3.6.12. To activate it in-game, press the decelerate key and the afterburner key at the same time.
 

FekLeyrTarg

Commodore
EDIT: Oh, and you know the reverse afterburn thing that Bondarevsky does in FC while escorting the Bonadventure on it's kamikaze run? Although it's against just about every safety regulation, YOU CAN DO IT TOO! I added a reverse afterburner to the Raptor, thanks to a new feature in 3.6.12. To activate it in-game, press the decelerate key and the afterburner key at the same time.
That's cool.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
Not nit-picking, just pointing out the mis-spelling of 'Frigate'. I don't know if that's deliberate or not.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
EDIT: Oh, and you know the reverse afterburn thing that Bondarevsky does in FC while escorting the Bonadventure on it's kamikaze run? Although it's against just about every safety regulation, YOU CAN DO IT TOO! I added a reverse afterburner to the Raptor, thanks to a new feature in 3.6.12. To activate it in-game, press the decelerate key and the afterburner key at the same time.
So it functions like the Shelton Slide?
 

Kevin Caccamo

Rear Admiral
So it functions like the Shelton Slide?
It's not really a Shelton Slide. If you press the afterburner key (TAB) without pressing the decelerate/backthrust key (usually Z), your ship will move forwards. If you press the afterburner key and the decelerate/backthrust key at the same time, your ship will move backwards.

I did add an Autoslide to the Hornet, though.

Not nit-picking, just pointing out the mis-spelling of 'Frigate'. I don't know if that's deliberate or not.
I was using a modified WCSaga autopilot template, and I forgot to change the "ship class name" on that ship.

Can I have this thread renamed to "Wing Commander: Hostile Frontier" please?
 

Kevin Caccamo

Rear Admiral
WC: Hostile Frontier Dev Diaries #1

Entry 1 of Kevin's Wing Commander: Hostile Frontier Developer Diaries

In these "Dev diary" updates, I'll be showing off new content as well as talking a little bit about the techniques I used to create the stuff. Enjoy...

Here's some of the new stuff that I've been working on for the past few months. I've been experimenting with GIMP to make textures for the ships. Here's what I came up with for a Landreich Raptor. Thanks to the Standoff team for the Raptor model.

The base texture is made of three layers: a plain white layer, a layer with Perlin noise, and a pixellated noise layer. On top of the base texture, I have a multiplicative layer for the coloured parts of the ship and a layer for stuff like the cockpit glass and the intakes. I also have two invisible layers for the bumpmap and the UVs.

I've tried to improve my modelling skills by attempting to model the Rapier II from WC1.

I spend long periods of time looking at reference pics like Jetlag's ship sprite compilation and LOAF's desktop as seen here and try to recreate those details in my model. My model is mostly based on the WC1 sprites, but I also took design hints from LOAF's desktop background (especially on the front part.)

I've changed the colour of the afterburners to look more realistic.


Lastly, I've been experimenting with the game engine to try and reproduce the good old inertia/newtonian physics of WC1/2/Prophecy/Secret Ops. The results aren't quite satisfactory, but it does work to a certain extent; it's good for combat, but not so good for carrier takeoffs and landings.

I'll release this physics mod as a separate download from the main WCHF package to give players a choice and a bit of a deviation.
 

Milatry

Petty Officer
I’d like to say the ships look great and would like to know shouldn’t the insignia have a sword in the middle to say it’s landreich? And is this an all in one mod were you give use everything to play like the saga mod or a patch mod were we’ll need the original game to play?
 

Kevin Caccamo

Rear Admiral
I’d like to say the ships look great and would like to know shouldn’t the insignia have a sword in the middle to say it’s landreich? And is this an all in one mod were you give use everything to play like the saga mod or a patch mod were we’ll need the original game to play?
I'm not too sure, but from what I've read in the forum discussions, the sword is on the flag, but not the insignia/roundel.

WCHF is an addon for the Saga Prologue, so you'll need to have the Saga Prologue installed first before you install WCHF.
 

Kevin Caccamo

Rear Admiral
WC: Hostile Frontier Dev Diaries #2

Entry 2 of Kevin's Wing Commander: Hostile Frontier Developer Diaries

This time I'll be focusing on progress in the other areas of the project, as well as showing off some more eyecandy and giving away some of the plot. Enjoy...

1. Releases

Hostile Frontier will be released in two parts: The demo chapter, and then the main campaign. The demo will be released on the WCSaga Prologue, and the full version will be released on the WCSaga full version.

Since Saga is on a code fork right now, I'll have to get things up to speed once Saga releases. Therefore, I'll be providing a patch which will ensure compatibility with WCSaga once it is released, that is, if I release before Saga does.

2. Backgrounds

One of the other things that I've been doing is designing the system backgrounds. The green background in the screenshots from my previous entry were from the Ilios system. Here are some more shots of Ilios as well as some of the other backgrounds I've been working on.

Ilios:


Landreich (WIP, needs an earth-like planet):


Simulator:


3. Capships

I recently finished converting the Wake-class and the Exeter-class. I also tried to do some high-polyization to the Wake-class model, e.g. recesses for the windows and bulkheads at the back, cylinders for the engines, and modelled bumps on the "bumpy thing" on the top. The modified model also has a changeable nameplate, so it can have "FRLS Independence" or "FRLS Magna Carta" written on it without having to create a new model. Thanks again to the Standoff team for the Wake-class and Exeter-class models.



4. Main Character/Plot

Jonathan "Rider" Darrel was born in the Dardania district of the Ilios system.

Jonathan's mother was a freelance merchant, trying to make her fair share of money. Working under notorious entrepreneur Jason E. Barrow, she did several important cargo runs for Barrow's company, and some of these runs made enough money to pay for a brand new fighter. These runs were fully legal, but they were highly profitable, since the cargo was taken where it was desperately needed. Later on, Barrow found out that her husband had been her personal escort. This made Barrow lose trust in Jonathan's mother, and her profits were slowly draining ever since. She then accepted a high-paying run of Brilliance, and at that time, Johnathan's father and mother had divorced. Jonathan's mother had completed her run, but she was arrested for smuggling, fined 800,000 credits, and sentenced to four years in a prison cell.

Jonathan's father was in the Landreich navy and fought in the Second Battle of Hell Hole, taking down numerous Kilrathi bombers and miraculously surviving an ejection when the dogfighting was two minutes to it's conclusion. One of his academy friends, who was piloting a smuggler ship, tractored him in and brought him back to Landreich. After that incident, he decided to step down from the Navy and join the Landreich Militia, being a personal escort for Johnathan's mother on several lucrative runs. Jonathan's mother and father divorced because his mother accepted a run of Brilliance from one of the businessmen of Zachary Banfeld's "Guild" and his father detested of that organization because of its supposed pirate activities.

Jonathan decided to follow in the footsteps of his father and entered Flight School at the beginning of the Battle of Earth, and graduated after Kilrah had been destroyed by the Temblor Bomb. During his training, he earned the callsign of "Rider" because he always uses the tactic of "Riding the enemy's tail 'till he's dead."

At the time Rider gets assigned to the FRLS Independence, his father will be teaching at the Saarbrücken Flight Academy in Newburg, and his mother will be released from prison in two months. Rider is an eager rookie who can't wait for some action, but he is only just about to experience the true horrors of war.

5. Lighting Settings

These are the lighting settings that I use with WCSaga/WCHF. I'm trying to approximate the look of the pre-rendered lighting in WC3, as well as make it shiny. It shouldn't be too dark.
Code:
-fov 0.65 -ogl_spec 80 -spec_tube 8.0 -spec_point 9.0 -spec_static 2.8 -ambient_factor 130
To use these settings, copy them, open the launcher, and paste them into the "Custom Flags" box under the "Features" tab.

6. Cockpits

I've added a few cockpits to WCHF, and I'm really pleased with the results so far. The cockpits greatly increase the immersion and enjoyment of the game, however, they can be problematic if they obstruct too much of your view. For gameplay balance, I'm placing the cockpit camera viewpoint so that the cockpits are visible and so that they don't obstruct your view.

Here is the Hornet cockpit. I used black on the screens because I'm not a very good artist, and some of the default HUD gauges fit into the black areas. In the future, I'll replace some of the black areas with HUD screen textures. Thanks again to the Standoff team for this great model.


Here is the (WIP) Scimitar cockpit. I had to model this one myself, and it was very challenging because I have to consider the side and back views as well as the front view. It still needs to be textured, but it's a start.

NOTE: In the second screenshot, I was very close to an exploding fighter, and I wanted to seize the moment.

7. Other changes

Since the previous dev diary update, I've teamed up with another modder to work on two of his mods, one of them is a FreeSpace mod/campaign called Twist of Fate, and the other is an unnamed mod for WCSaga which involves an alternate WC storyline beginning after the destruction of K'Tithrak Mang.

Among these things, I've been working on tweaking the shield/hull hitpoints of the fighters to better match the gameplay of WC1. For hull hitpoints, I am adding up the armor and multiplying by 16, and for the shield hitpoints, I am adding up the fore/aft shields and multiplying by 32.

With those stats, the Hornet can take about two or three hits from a Dralthi VII before its shields are gone.

Gun and shield energy also drains/recharges quicker, just like in the old WC games.

8. What needs to be done/We're hiring!

Missions need to be scripted and completed, and cockpit models need to be textured and imported into the game. If you would like to join the team (It's just me right now) then please post in this thread or send me a PM. Different conditions apply to different positions. Also, I'm not really looking for professionals, but I'm looking for people with considerable modding experience.
 

Kevin Caccamo

Rear Admiral
WCHF Screenshot Dump/Discussion (IMG HEAVY WARNING)

Here's some screenshots that I posted on HLP that I thought I should post here too.

The newest revision of the Rapier II model, now much more accurate to the original:


A Ferret before it's engines were replaced by corvette engines:


A possible ingame implementation of engine overheating (Preview):

This may be used on the Ferrets that have corvette engines. I'm flying the Rapier II because the mission is just a test/tech demo.

New maps for the Wake and Exeter:


New background for Oecumene:


Charlie wing on patrol in the Oecumene System:


The Rapier II in proper Landreich colours as per Fleet Action:


I've started writing up the final scripts for the WCHF demo campaign. I'm outlining the winning/losing paths and what exactly will happen in each mission.

Also, the guys who replied to the HLP thread brought up some good points... Do the novels really give us everything to know about the Landreich, or is there room for more stuff? Did the Landreich buy any Bengals or Gettysburgs? And can I carry some stuff over from FA, like the Ferrets with corvette engines?
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Also, the guys who replied to the HLP thread brought up some good points... Do the novels really give us everything to know about the Landreich, or is there room for more stuff?
That's a hard comment to... comment on. The books set lots of rules for the Landreich but they don't tell every possible story.

Did the Landreich buy any Bengals or Gettysburgs?
Not a chance. You should have a pretty clear understanding of the FRLN's order of battle from False Colors--the three escort carrier groups plus (later) the Karga.

It's also not a thing that could happen for basic cosmological reasons. Understand that the Landreich is *nothing* compared to the Confederation. It's has less than one percent of the population, has an extremely limited industrial capacity of its own, it doesn't occupy a strategic area of space... they're a tiny developing third world country compared to the Confederation's superpower.

So the Landreich couldn't afford to buy or maintain that level of hardware in the first place (remember that Kruger broke the bank on Independence and her sister ships)... and they wouldn't be for sale, either. The Confederation won't sell off a used Bengal for the same reason the United States doesn't sell old supercarriers. Countries don't sell their amazing top of the line military hardware that exist in tiny quantities--especially not to places they aren't especially on friendly terms with.

The few ships the Landreich did purchase were wartime scrap--crippled in battle beyond being worth repair by the Confederation's standards, stripped of weapons and systems and up for sale because someone would want the metal from their hulls (and they weren't even warships to begin with--the 'escort carriers' began their lives as heavy transports... what the Landreich turned into cruisers were landing craft).

And can I carry some stuff over from FA, like the Ferrets with corvette engines?
I would say no in most cases. The theme in False Colors is that the Landreich is moving away from that and becoming a 'real' country--and in the process leaving people like Kruger in the past. Landreich fighter squadrons in 2671 are proper types--still old surplus spacecraft, but organized like a real military now. It's a progression.
 

Kevin Caccamo

Rear Admiral
Entry 3 of Kevin's Wing Commander: Hostile Frontier Developer Diaries

If I had to rate the progress of the WCHF demo from 0-100%, I'd say the demo is at 70%. When I was on IRC before the WCPedia planning party, I gave a short progress update. Here's the full story.

1. Kilrathi ships update
Thanks to JasonRocZ, I now have a Ralaxath model! The geometry was cleaned up, details were added, and the whole model was remapped from scratch. The Ralaxath was the last Kilrathi ship I was waiting on for the demo.


2. Landreich ships update
All of the Landreich fighters and capships that will be used in the demo are now in place. The fighters may need to get recoloured to be accurate to the Landreich colours in FA, and the Scimitar texture will need to be redone at some point. The Wake and Exeter will need to get returreted, recoloured, and rebalanced. But other than that, the fighters are balanced and usable.

3. Cockpit update
The cockpit rendering bugs are fixed in Antipodes 6 (Antipodes is a nickname for experimental builds of FSO.) I have a few new screenshots of the Rapier cockpit, showing the Indy (my nickname for FRLS Independence) getting destroyed by a spread of CSMs and dogfighting Landreich Raptors in a test mission. The blinding effect seen in the third screenshot is caused by the CSMs destroying the Indy.


4. Mission update
I've gotten a fair way with the WCHF demo missions script, and I'm pleased to say that the missions are just starting to be made, after at least 3 failed attempts to try and begin progress in this area. Wish me luck. :)

5. AI update
Just recently, I added a more challenging AI to the mod, which gives AI pilots the ability to fly more like humans. There is a new AI profile and 4 new AI classes, for Rookie, Veteran, and Ace pilots, and capital ships (the AI class of the capship determines the turret firing rate).

6. Graphics update
Since the 3.6.12 mediavps are now out, I've integrated the new explosions, and the flashy deaths/flaming debris effects scripts into WCHF. I've also started to make debris pieces for the fighters.

7. A history of WCHF
WCHF started in 2007 as a "Landreich Campaign" mod for WCSaga Prologue when I was on the Saga team, but shortly after, I left the Saga team due to "creative differences". It went very slowly in 2007 and 2008, and I needed help with the textures if I was going to move on. I was going to get JasonRocZ to do some texture work, but he wasn't always available, and the project was in hibernation for a while due to my lack of knowledge on how to make good textures.

A month or so later, I finally got an idea on how to make half-decent textures. I sometimes refer to the time before this texture idea as the "Old Hostile Frontier" because, when I put that texturing idea into action, it almost seemed like the project had taken a completely different direction. Then, I did a lot of retexturing, converting, and coding the Standoff models into the game, and progress on the project's assets went much quicker. I also made some of my own models, like the Andrew Carnegie and the Rapier II, and converted them to work in game.

After that, I got involved with another (as of yet unannounced) WC project, and I was able to improve my texturing style greatly.

Unfortunately due to my unwillingness to read (or re-read) the WC novels, I made 3 unsuccessful attempts to begin progress on the missions, which is one big reason why it's taking so long to get this project released.

Now that I have a stable base to build my missions on, release time will depend on my commitment to the project, the time I have to work on the project, whether the script is complete for the mission I'm working on, and if I have the skills to make the mission.
 
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