FROM: Rear Admiral Tolwyn, CINCWEAPONSDIVISION
It's been a while since our last status update, but that doesn't mean that nothing has been going on. In fact we've been working very hard and I think it's about time we brought you up to date with all the changes that have been added to the engine recently.
As most of you know, we are using the FS2 Open engine. Unfortunately, The current official version of FS2 Open (3.6.10) doesn't have all the features that Saga requires. For this reason it seems very likely that we'll be waiting until the 3.6.11 build is out before releasing Saga. This isn't really a problem, since it seems that official release of FS Open will be released in a few months time.
FS Open 3.1.1 will allow for the following features:
- Support for more cutscenes - The game will now be capable of playing cutscenes before or in place of briefings, debriefings, etc. We know that Saga will use this to some degree. Whether we'll ever be crazy enough to drop text based briefings completely and go for only cutscenes before and after each mission is another matter. It would be a lot more work, but it is possible now.
- Balancing changes - AI can now use glide (a.k.a. Shelton Slides), both to attack you and to break out of circle fights. Until now only human players could use glide. Javelin HS missile will finally function as in the original games. Issuing a disarm/disable order will no longer result in a capital ship being protected (e.g. ignored by other friendly units). The last issue gave us a lot of grief during the last few months, so it is nice to see this one finally fixed.
- Turret changes - A whole variety of changes have been added via subsystem flags to allow weapons to act more like those in the original games. These include making turrets return to rest positions when not in use (no more turrets sticking out at unsightly right angles) and having them prioritize enemy craft better rather than just shooting at closest enemy in range. This will make capital ships much smarter and deadlier allies and foes.
- Voice code improvements -Changes to the built-in messages system mean that the cap on the maximum number of messages in a mission was removed! Each pilot can now have an unique message for each option! In addition AI pilots will now occasionally say something after their own kills or if you're doing very well. These changes increase the amount of voice acting we'll need for the game but it should be worth it, and will give a voice chatter environment much more like Wing Commander.
- HUD changes -Changes to the HUD system include but are not limited to wire frame target view, multicolored radar blips, new callsign feature, and custom gauges.
- Fiction viewer -Our fiction viewer has long been crippled by a serious problem that would result in large amounts of text being cut off. This issue has been finally been dealt with.
- Code optimization -Various profiling changes have been made to catch memory bottlenecks, therefore the game should run 5-10 FPS faster now.
- Auto-aim - Now the Excalibur's weapons will be able to use auto-aiming, just like in WC3.
- Something - ...