Hi everyone! As you probably know, improving video game design is one of the key aims of this site. Together we have investigated examples of games that have objectively been designed well, and games that have objectively been designed poorly.
But I can’t help but think that somewhere a hypothetical critic is saying; “If you think you know so much about games and are so critical of how some of them are made, why not put your money where your mouth is and make one yourself?”
Said hypothetical critic would have a point, so this is exactly what I did - sort of. That game is Series Resurrecta.
Strictly speaking, Series Resurrecta (or ‘SerRes’) is a modification, or ‘mod’ of the Space Combat Sim FreeSpace 2, built on the FreeSpace Open engine. Since mods are non-commercial products (i.e. free), I haven’t needed to place my money close to any of my body parts, mouth or otherwise. What I have put in however are barrel loads of time and effort.
(The ‘silver lining’ of lockdown - having plenty of time to work on side projects and writing.)
And writing is exactly what I have been doing with SerRes. I should point out that Series Resurrecta isn’t ‘my’ mod, it mostly belongs to fellow Hard Light Productions (HLP) member ‘Mobius’. The name is Latin for 'Resurrected Series', as it aims to bring several of his partially completed campaigns up to modern standards and then release them to the public.
The SerRes team comprises of a small but dedicated sub-set of Hard Light Productions. Our merry little band consists of coders, mission designers, 3D digital model makers, musicians, play-testers and writers from nations as diverse as Canada, the USA, the UK, Italy, Poland and Germany.
I was initially brought on to tidy up some of the ‘polgrish’ and ‘Italgrish’ translations. The result of this work can be seen in its current publicly available release. Since then, I have been busy rewriting most of the in-game text as well as creating brand new text for its ‘techroom’ - the in-game lore viewer.
One area we have paid particular attention to is expanding said lore. We have delved into realms previously only touched upon briefly, if touched upon at all. For those unfamiliar with the FreeSpace franchise, the second game ended on a literal supernova of a cliff hanger, and since FreeSpace 3 was never created, many questions were left unanswered.
FreeSpace 2: The Death of Capella Star
A Deathstar can kill a planet, but Sathani can murder a star
Video by Mike Nelson
FreeSpace 2 Ending
R.I.P. Robert Loggia, you are sorely missed
Video by Ian Jefferys
Since then, the HLP community have sought to answer these questions themselves, with several campaigns and 'continuities' creating their own unique interpretations. The most comprehensive of these to date being the Blue Planet continuity – last instalment of which also ended on a cliff hanger back in 2015.
SerRes is probably the most ‘lore heavy’ set of campaigns since then, and we are forging a different path. We will attempt to answer long-standing questions such as;
'What are the seemingly omnicidal Shivans?'
'Where did they come from?'
'What is their purpose'
'What are their motivations'
'How can Vasudans breathe the same atmosphere as we humans without the need of equipment?'
'What were the origins of the breakaway doomsday cult the Hammer of Light and their prophecies?'
'What became of the Ancients, the race eradicated by the Shivans approximately 8000 years ago?'
Future updates of SerRes will attempt to answer these questions whilst implementing a whole host of improvements made by the rest of the team. We are looking forward to sharing them with you all.
If you would like to try SerRes yourself then follow these steps;
Download Knossos, the one-stop-shop mod manager and launcher created by the HLP community.
Download SerRes and away you go.
NB - FreeSpace, and thus SerRes, is PC only - sorry console players. This is just one of the many objective advantages PC gaming has over the competition.
That's all I can can say for now. I’ll be sharing development and release updates in the weeks to come. Speak to you all again real soon.
Series Resurrecta links
Series Resurrecta on the FreeSpace Wiki: https://wiki.hard-light.net/index.php/Series_Resurrecta
Series Resurrecta on the Hard-Light Forums: https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?board=274.0
Iain is a 40+ author and gamer from England, who started his gaming journey on the Atari 2600 36 years ago. His specialities include obscure cult classics, retro games, mods and fan remakes. He hates all sports games and is allergic to online multiplayer. Since he is British, his body is about 60% tea. He can be reached via Twitter at https://twitter.com/IainBaker17, and contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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