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February. 26, 2020

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'88 Flak
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Alright, the Mod Advertising forums were sorely lacking without a shameless 88 Flak plug, so here goes! =D



Quote:


As Why485 so eliquently put it (click the quote to view the whole post), 88 Flak is, at its roots, a pure gameplay enhancing mod, and is the result of several years of effort to put some "oh snap" into Freelancer. This is accomplished via four core principles:
1) An obsessively balanced environment - equipment, ships, and even the factions themselves are balanced in a big circle, where everything has a strength and weakness to something else (think a Team Fortress style of balance) - versus a normal Freelancer "hierarchy" gameplay structure, where certain things are just better than others.
2) Teamplay - everything in 88 Flak is balanced with groups in mind, both player and AI - making 88 Flak great for LAN or small-server gaming. Fly solo? Hire AI wingmen, join an AI group, or even craft your characters into hirable AI wingmen as you attempt to conquer the systems.
3) Vicious AI - revisiting the teamplay point, AI NPCs are no longer forces to be steamrolled upon - they can and will put up resistance, and fights in 88 Flak often more resemble PvP skirmishes than mindless PvE that normal Freelancer AI fights are. This holds true for friendly AI as well, which play an enormous role in 88 Flak.
4) Fast-paced combat - sorry, but normal Freelancer combat - while paced well - can get a bit boring. 88 Flak completely tosses this out the window, replacing "sunday drive" dogfights with something akin to playing Unreal Tournament. On a humerous note, combat is so fast, the in-game doppler effect had to be lowered to fix glitches (seriously, check the INI). =P

I'll admit, due to the time spent on gameplay and balancing development, 88 Flak is not a very content-heavy mod - there isn't too much new to explore past the new gameplay opportunities, and as such it is best played alongside other mods as a change of pace.

None the less, I invite you to come try it out - if you're looking for something new in Freelancer, I think you will be pleasantly surprised - even if you've tried it in the past, as it has evolved by leaps and bounds over the past few months. If you do, be sure to pay a visit to the forums and become a part of the community!

And that's about everything. So here it is. I do hope you enjoy it. =)

Here are some quick screenshots:
(click to enlarge)
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(the full screenshot directories may be browsed at http://www.memes.no/88flak/screenshots/gameplay1.php and http://www.memes.no/88flak/screenshots/misc1.php)


List of Features:
Gameplay:
-- Turns Freelancer gameplay into class-based warfare with insanely fast-paced combat.
-- Huge emphasis on teamplay. Unlike normal Freelancer, friendly NPCs will come to your aid in the middle of a fight, assisting you when the going is tough. Got a lot of hostiles on your tail? Retreat to a friendly area and they will be dealt with.
-- Enormous fights. Both friendly and hostile NPCs can join fights in progress, meaning a simple skirmish can escalate into a full-scale war if not ended abruptly - factions have both Capital Ships and Mobile Stations, and are not afraid to roll them out when they need to.
-- A variable, random universe - factions are no longer contained to their simple spheres of influence, and will send ships across a system - even across the galaxy - to deal with issues. Yes, AI travel the entire galaxy, and yes, you can see them doing this. Gaians hate you? There's a decent chance a wing of Gaians could stalk you across the entire universe into Rheinland. Friendly with the Kusari Naval Forces? There's a decent chance of some KNF ships checking up on you in the Border Worlds.
-- NPCs can be seen until 5km out, and players can be seen until 15km out, allowing for more PvP opportunities. Group members can be seen until 300km out as well, allowing for easier organization with groups.
-- Players can join, and attain special rank in, factions. Not only do you get a tag in your name when you join a faction, but you also obtain a reputation towards other players - for instance, if you joined the Liberty Rogues, and a player was hostile to the Rogues, you would appear hostile to that player. If you approached that player, danger music would even play, which can lead to some rather epic PvP engagements.
-- Everything you could do in a mission (attacking a Station, etc.) is just played out real-time. This means you could see NPCs attack - and possibly destroy - a Station right in front of your eyes. Or you could destroy one yourself, and reap the Credit Chip reward.
-- Full player, NPC, and even Station / Weapons Platform looting. ALL cargo (not just some cargo) will drop off players and NPCs - if a player or NPC is carrying 1207 H-Fuel, then that player or NPC will drop 1207 H-Fuel on death. This means a pirate can make a healthy living hunting player-traders down.
-- Death Penalties - approximately 4% of your total equipment and ship worth (NOT bank account) is subtracted from your account when you die - if you can't pay your fines, random amounts of equipment will be confiscated from your ship. To put it another way, this is equivilant to paying a full on-base repair bill when you die, in an effort to make retreating from battle more cost-effective than just dieing on the field.

Graphics / Audio:
-- (Optional) High-End Special Effects, where special effects will be drawn at a 20km distance, and also forces the engine to handle 10 times the amount of effects it normally can. Paired with the high-end sound system (below), this makes for an incredibly immersive experience as you see (and hear) battles unfold before you're even in range yourself.
-- (Optional) High-End Sound, where all sound can be heard up to a 6km distance, and also forces the engine to handle more sound channels. Also, the high-end sound system features enhanced doppler effects.
-- (Optional) Battledust, which generates fog and debris off fighting, creating dark clouds where heavy combat areas have occurred. Highly recommended, as this adds huge atmosphere to large fights, but may introduce large performance hits.
-- (Optional) Subtle Bloom and other post-process effects, via use of the experimental ENBSeries Post-Process Shader by Boris Vorontsov (http://boris-vorontsov.narod.ru), included in 88 Flak under non-commercial distribution. Do not be mistaken; 88 Flak's Bloom integration does not over-saturate the image, reduce clarity, etc. - only does what a correctly configured Bloom should do, and that is brighten specular highlights.
-- (Optional) Eye-adaption (Bloom) - sitting in a dark area while looking outside to a bright one will dynamically adjust the lighting values - looking straight at the sun will be blinding for a second, until the scene adjusts to a darker image.
-- (Optional) Dynamic Lighting on explosions. Capital Ship slugfests (during which there are many explosions) will literally light up the skies.
-- Loads of effects enhancements by Why485, ranging from Ace Combat-esque Missiles to the mighty Flak Cannon arrays that can easily put dozens of explosions in the air - all optimized to give as minimal an FPS hit as possible while still looking sexy.
-- Cool death effects, of course - watch your ship catch fire and tumble before you die, or your Capital Ship go up in a blaze of explosive glory, etc.

AI:
-- AI Bots (BETA) - 21 selectable AI companions (or create your own companion bot from an existing player!) that can be enabled for solo or co-operative play; they will accompany you where-ever your travels take you, and attack any NPC with a hostile reputation to you. You are given four wingmen "slots" - you may assign a bot to each slot, allowing configurable squads of 1 to 4 bots.
-- Hirable NPC wingmen squads. They will stay with you until you die, log out, land, or jump systems. You can obtain wingmen by paying large amounts of cash or by using high faction reputations, which are not easy to obtain.
-- Jaw-dropping AI - they don't just shoot well, they are smart. The only AI currently known to chase fleeing targets with cruise, use Counter-Measures, strafe and afterburn effectively, and, of course, serve up a good beating in general.
-- AI has no combat bias, and will attack any target of opportunity - not just players. Factions hate each-other just as much as they may hate you.
-- Friends don't let friends fly alone - gaining friendly status with a faction does more than just paint green targets on your HUD. Friendly NPCs will go out of their way to assist you in combat, excuse any accidental friendly fire, and even assign escorts to guard you for free.
-- NPC loadouts and ships are the exact same as what players use. Combined with advanced AI mentioned above, 88 Flak gives you the most lifelike combat experience in Freelancer you will probably ever see - NPCs even use "secondary" guns like Magma Hammers and Stunpulses, which were only used very rarely in normal Freelancer.
-- Freelance NPCs that carry out simple day-to-day tasks in random selections of ships, just like players. They can be trading, hunting ships deep within enemy territory, or just flying on patrol.

Ships:
-- 119 pilotable ships in total, almost all from the original Freelancer game - only the Serafina Freighter, by Asmo, was added. NPCs use all ships as well.
-- 53 Fighters/Freighters, 17 Capital Ships, 30 Stations, 9 Weapons Platforms, 2 Liners, 5 Transports/Trains, the Lifter, the Repair Ship, and finally the unique Storage Depot. Yeah, those are all from stock Freelancer, minus the Serafina Freighter mentioned above. Aside from Planets and Stars, if you saw it in the original Freelancer, you can fly it here.
-- Mobile docking - players can dock with player-flown Battleships/Stations by using a /dock command in chat near the targeted player; the player may resupply or even logout in the belly of his/her friend's Battleship/Station.
-- All ships received the best balance possible - no one ship is truly worse than any other ship. This creates very diverse fights against both other players and NPCs that aren't just one-sided equipment-fests.
-- A more realistic flight physics engine, where instead of simply bouncing off objects, a more logical collision will occur - scrape a wing on an asteroid, and you will be turned slightly towards it.
-- Because of the way ships bank when turning, complex evasive maneuvers like barrel rolls can be pulled off with ease.

Systems:
-- No Trade Lanes. Nope. None. Cruise travel speeds are faster, but travel requires one to manually truck it everywhere. If you're worried about finding new bases, Trade Lane Buoys now mark where Trade Lanes used to be, and all of them show up on your NavMap from the start.
-- 18 dockable bases that are available for purchase in various systems. You can not move them from their spots, nor do anything else with them for that matter, however they're excellent re-supply / respawn points, carry every gun and shield in the game for sale, and they DO shoot at other players / NPCs. Very handy for clans, but be wary as you may be sharing the space with unwanted guests.
-- Complete re-do of asteroid fields - asteroids can now be pushed around - and mined - by ships. No more jamming your Battleship on asteroids, they just bump out of the way. No un-used asteroid models or poor pop-in distance on the asteroids either - the fields will look just as good as they did before.
-- 5 new systems: The Mine Mazathon; a re-done Alaska; and finally 3 PvP Arenas, using the last few levels from the SP campaign - the Lair, and the outside / inside of the Dyson Sphere.
-- A Mine Maze (mentioned above) that stretches one and a half systems; roughly 500km of travel. For those who don't know, a Mine Maze is a mine field with a series of inter-connecting tunnels that eventually lead you to a very certain destination..
-- Locked systems such as Tohoku have been unlocked, and transformed into fully-functional, NPC-populated systems.

Misc:
-- FLHook plugin (originally developed by mc_horst, with continued development by w0dk4 and M0tah) integrated directly into the mod (Flak utilizes many aspects of it). Seamless integration technique requires absolutely no setup.
-- 79 collectable rare items, which are gained at random off killing NPCs. These include things such as cool guns, shield modifiers (modify your shield capacity or shield regen), power modifiers, scanners, tractor beams, and even ships.
-- Extended configuration, both client and server side. Options include whether you want so see objects across a system or not, what types of NPCs appear, NPC population limits, etc.
-- Possibly the most in-depth playable Nomad system - small buoys in each system allow you to resupply while maintaining proper hostility towards all factions, with the added ability to take Nomad AI wingmen (as per all other factions) with you on raids.
-- Special "quests" that demand a bit of riddle solving and a bit of time on your hands, however the rewards for accomplishing these are worth it to say the least.

So, still interested?
Come check it out!

Thanks for your time, and see you all in space!
~fox

Edit: *18 million edits later* What the eff, this post got all kinds of FUBAR'd in the transition. XD

Posted on: 2009/1/9 8:40
88 Flak for Freelancer
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lol, I have learnt my lessons the most bitter way; took me an hour to write an essay-like post only realized I have timed out :'( I would be quick and messy with the writing, so please bear with me...

Hi, my name is dofod and as you can see, this is my very first post! Fox has requested us the Flak 88 gamers to comment regarding to his mod, and I can truly say that I am thoroughly impressed by his creative and thoughtful designs.

I always are the type of gamer that pursues a fulfilling, holistic experience instead of the maddening-race of kill tallies or levels or credit number. The Open-endness of Freelancer SP has always enchanted me, a wish, albeit a vain one, that I perhaps in the game, while within the “space”, I can really do whatever I want. Sadly that was not the case, as if some sort of peculiar logic somehow there must be a storyline, or a plot, as they all say. Or the linear development that unless you fit yourselves with a stronger ship, the next mission is near-impossible to accomplish.

However despite the shortcomings I still overwhelmingly play more SP then MP. The reason is to be frank throughout my freelancer experience I have been reluctant to participate in the MP gaming experience. Because I was disillusioned as soon as I joined the vanilla server, the space is filled with VHFs. Didn’t I end my SP with a VHF?

The more I participate in various mod’s server I started to believe that the servers have become a place of exclusive clique of elitists, where relationship between newcomers and veterans is dysfunctional at best, if not outright abusive—where the “newb” frustratingly trying to survive as the “leet” getting further indulged in searching for a more spectacular rush, namely ruthlessly making everything that flies explode?

When I first joined ‘88 Flak in late May at first the sensation is familiar: AI is dangerous, so is *SOME* of the participants. However with the help of friendly AI (what?) I can overcome the challenges and score my first kill. In a light fighter. A starflier. Against a Corsair Titan. In NewYork System. My wealth in credits and rares soon grew, and so is my confidence.

But not too much. One can die, and one mostly would eventually die in ‘88 Flak. There will be hopeless situations where it’s a matter of time before you see that screen informing you that you have just been shot down. It does not matter you pilot a fighter or a Train or a Liberty Dreadnaught. When the lethal combination is gathered one can only pray the speed of his ship can deliver him. Or not. Somehow such Ominous fate can bring joy to my play because we then know how well this mod has crafted.

There are special weapons and add-ons that can enhance your ship. Yet it comes with a price. Shield regen over energy drain? Punishing firepower versus lack of accuracy? Maneuverability and capability are somehow precariously balanced into a enjoyable and challenging experience.

Perhaps this is too much of my personal sales pitch. And most certainly it is your subjective experience that counts. And that is precisely why you should try this mod because,

Yeah, it really is THIS good.

See you in space,
Dofod


Posted on: 2009/1/9 11:45
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I've played this mod in SP, and I can truly say it was one of the best game experiences I've had in a long time The work you've done, Fox, is amazing. I really urge everyone to try this mod.

Posted on: 2009/1/10 0:20
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Re: '88 Flak
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I've never really heard your starting experiences before, Dofod - well written. I'm glad the AI was able to help you out, too; some people still don't appreciate how helpful friendlies can be. =P

Also, thank you Sushi, I'm glad you liked it. ^_^ Any suggestions at all?
(and on a total side note, Freeworlds has been catching my eye recently; Why485 started pointing me to the recent developments, and it's looking sexy =3 )

Posted on: 2009/1/11 3:34
88 Flak for Freelancer
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Re: '88 Flak
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Quote:

I've never really heard your starting experiences before, Dofod - well written. I'm glad the AI was able to help you out, too; some people still don't appreciate how helpful friendlies can be. =P

Also, thank you Sushi, I'm glad you liked it. ^_^ Any suggestions at all?
(and on a total side note, Freeworlds has been catching my eye recently; Why485 started pointing me to the recent developments, and it's looking sexy =3 )


Honestly, I think you've nailed what combat should be in Freelancer. You've really taken it to an entirely different level. I also really enjoyed the way you allowed novice users to have a chance with the use of the AI wingmen. I loved the balance system, it really allows all ships to be viable to succeed within the mod. Also, the ability to have SP and MP is a great option (one, sadly, that I don't have time to reproduce in my own mod). Personally, with all the work done on this mod, I believe this was the way Freelancer should have been released to the public

(On your side note, I'm really glad that you've been enjoying what our mod has been doing. As I've said to Why485, and thankfully he accepted my offer, you're completely welcome to come to our forums and give input on the mod if you wish, with no strings attached - ie. made to code yada yada. If you're interested send me a PM, if not, no worries )

Posted on: 2009/1/11 8:07
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I haven't played Flak88 yet but I will when I get home this evening especially after I read the write up on your forums Nice mod and I have also added your latest version (w/ soundtrack) to my download area on my site so you have another mirror.

Posted on: 2009/1/20 14:53
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Re: '88 Flak
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Thank you Darkone, I appreciate the mirror. Since you're registered on the 88 Flak forums, you should receive the E-Mail newsletter thingy whenever a new beta release occurs. Hopefully we'll get all the misc bugs worked out sometime soon so we can have a polished, official release to send out to sites instead of these silly betas. lol

Hope you enjoy it. =)

Posted on: 2009/1/20 16:41
88 Flak for Freelancer
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Re: '88 Flak
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the last time i played on your server it felt like a wirling storm was going on crazy and out of control. everything seemed to spin

Posted on: 2009/1/20 17:34
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Re: '88 Flak
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In a good way, or bad way, Rsabatino? lol

Posted on: 2009/1/20 19:52
88 Flak for Freelancer
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Re: '88 Flak
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It was probably the drugs, it happens when you snort cardamine lol

Posted on: 2009/1/20 22:18
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the only drugs im on is coffee i cant afford anything else. its all in a good way brother. its cool though when i flew out of manhatten there were two escorts helping me out with my mission.

Posted on: 2009/1/21 3:09
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ur mom puts cardamine in ur coffee every day ;D

Posted on: 2009/1/21 14:30
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The latest beta, RC125, is currently on track to release tonight. Here's the current working changelog:
-- Slight reduction to Capital Ship spinning, thanks to Forsaken's tips - I would have done a more aggressive "no-spin" fix, however this would cause Goto, Dock, and Formation functions to all exhibit "wag" issues. In addition, the steering became very unpredictable, and given the major role of steering rates in Capital Ship balancing, this was a problem. However, this less aggressive solution, combined with the Hook-side NPC push-away, makes piloting even the Sleeper Ship a little less irritating. Also, it is much harder for other players to spin your ship at all without getting killed.
-- Sniper Turrets once again have 360 degree coverage, but only rotate at 15 degrees/sec.
-- Missiles (especially high-class ones) now use much more energy to fire. Your ship's engine must now be taken into account - the Kusari engine is no longer the best missile engine.
-- Increased cloaking device warmup time to 15 seconds, up from 10.
-- Reverted the commodity prices to previous values.
-- Seeing as the Trade Lane Buoy WPs are so small (and hard to hit), their hitpoints have been decreased substantially. They are still a good object to retreat to, but pirating Trade Lanes is now at least possible.
-- Capital Ships no longer flee as early from a fight.
-- Due to TL Buoy WPs being somewhat easily killed now, they no longer drop any turrets on death. Find somewhere else to salvage WP turrets. =P
-- LRMs have been tweaked - they now have a 5000m range and half the fire rate, but have a much higher initial velocity and deal 2.25x as much damage (now having 1.25x DPS as Primary Turrets). They essentially act much more like Torpeodes.
-- Replaced the whole mishmash of huge "MOUSE FLIGHT", "TURRET VIEW", "REAR VIEW", etc. text at the bottom of the screen with a small, unobtrusive "Mouse Flight" string when the mouse is active, to clean up the HUD a little.
-- Pulse, Plasma, Particle, and Neutron weapons have had their rate-of-fire decreased to balance them with other weapon types. This is the first time normal weapons have been majorly tweaked like this since version 1.24, so please comment.
-- New FLHook implemented, with various this-and-that features (refer to the FLHook Readme.txt in the EXE folder for more info).
-- Added multiplayer support of the singleplayer storyline event system, making it possible to write scripted storyline missions for multiplayer. However, due to a myriad of bugs associated with this, only very simple scripting is being used for now.
-- NPC player-targeting clamp and hostile spawn weighting are now both set to false, thanks to the above change. No more targeting priority nonsense - NPCs will now divide themselves up equally among the targets.
-- The "AI Bots Killed" stat now functions correctly. It also counts AI Wingmen killed now.
-- Maximum number of lines in chat history raised to 127, from 32.
-- Extra debris from ship explosions is now only thrown if the lighting/debris option is selected.
-- TL Buoy WPs are now permenantly disabled when killed. They lose all turrets, as well as some/all of the lights and directional flares. Active player pirates on a server can make a Trade Lane considerably less safe now.
-- Small optimization to system structure (got rid of 102 un-needed AI Bot paths per system, and rewrote the density control code for zones). May slightly improve system memory usage/load times.
-- Small AI tweaks to prevent fights from getting too spread apart; AI should try a little harder to concentrate fighting instead of breaking off into small duels 10km away from other ships.
-- Alaska has been rebuilt - it now acts as the central PvP hub linking to all the PvP/NPC Arenas, and can now be accessed from any house via purchasing that house's PvP Token. For example, if you have the Kusari PvP Token, you may only enter/exit Alaska via Kusari; Alaska can not be used for travel.
-- Fixed an issue with the AI Companion Bot - if multiple bots of the same name were selected for a squad, the squad would never appear.
-- Repair Ship can no longer dock on mobile player-carrier bases.
-- Set Best Path now functions across systems, as it should (thanks FriendlyFire!). Alaska is excluded from this scheme, as it now acts as the central PvP hub and would give bad path info, since Alaska can not be used for travel.
-- AI Bots in the PvP Arenas should no longer attack the random WPs scattered about, and instead focus on other ships.
-- Rare ships have been cleaned up. They no longer require a special Power Supply, but the token used to retrieve the ship is now permenantly expended upon docking with the rare ship's base.
-- Reduction in debris thrown by the debris tosser, which should make the "explosion debris" option more stable.
-- Fixed up the solar object hitpoints - now all system-placed station hitpoints match up with corrosponding flown station hitpoints (solar objects did not get the 1.5x HP buff from a few RCs ago; other stations mysteriously had too much health)
-- System chat is now routed to universe chat, so that everyone does not have to be in the same group to talk to one-another.
-- Reputation with pirates is no longer as quickly gained for picking on Xenos, and both the IMG and Zoners are now slightly empathetic towards their cause.
-- Xenos are now armed to deal with Capital Ship threats.
-- Removed the tiny dynamic asteroids. Due to their low placement radius, this solves issues with Capital Ship spinning in fields. Also, they were intrusive to aiming (particularly with Capital Ships). Materials can still be mined from the full-size asteroids.
-- Fixed some misc errors relating to asteroid fields ("empty cube" errors). Small optimizations done to asteroid fields as well.
-- "Toranto Depot" is now correctly spelled "Toronto Depot"

Of note is the active storyline mission scripting for multiplayer. Yes, this means it is possible to write scripted story missions for multiplayer. Yes, it is filled with bugs left and right (but we're working on fixing these). None the less, it is an exciting new front, with myself, Why485, and KillerJaguar already writing new scripts (commandable AI wingmen, a basic defense script (video below), and a complex mission involving invading Rheinland patrols, respectively). This was all discovered back in the beginning of February, and I apologize for not posting anything on it sooner; however, I plan to write a full tutorial covering these techniques, in a similar format to my AI Wingmen Tutorial, which will both include how to get scripting to function in multiplayer, and a few sample scripts.

But anyways, be sure to look out for the RC125 release if you're interested in Flak (links at top of topic).

(script example by Why485 as discussed above, in Itano Circus)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA0Oa3dSs9Y&fmt=18

Posted on: 2009/4/2 13:40
88 Flak for Freelancer
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w00t new rc tonight!! hope to see some new players there.

Posted on: 2009/4/3 4:54
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And it's up. Taste the wrath that is RC125.

Edit: Alright, small upload issue that has been corrected. The download should work now.

Posted on: 2009/4/3 4:57
88 Flak for Freelancer
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