FreeSpace is a series of combat Space Simulators released between 1998 and 1999 for the PC platform. Their titles (In order of release) are Descent FreeSpace: The Great War, FreeSpace: Silent Threat and finally FreeSpace 2. All three games are centered on an unnamed Terran pilot (Under the callsign of Alpha 1), depicting the initial struggle between the Terrans and Vasudans, and with time, the Shivans. FreeSpace focuses heavily on fighter combat, often times delegating capital ships to background roles. However with the release of FreeSpace 2, capital ships could play a primary role in a mission with the addition of devastating beam weaponry and flak cannons.
Please take into account the following:
- The values for secondary capacity indicate the number of missiles a bank can carry based on a factor of: [Missile] Cargo space = 1, rather than indicating that the missile bank carries the listed number of missiles.
- If a page contains both Canon and non-Canon information, the non-Canon text will be written with italics and underlined.
Descent: FreeSpace: The Great War was released in 1998, to great critical approval, combining fast-paced gameplay with an excellent story and equally excellent mission design. The expansion pack Silent Threat was met with something less than complete approval, (A restoration of the main Silent Threat campaign was released by fans in 2008, under the name Silent Threat: Reborn) FreeSpace 2 was released shortly thereafter in 1999. Despite being as well accepted as its predecessor, it was deemed a commercial failure, a fact attributed to Interplay's lackluster publicity for it.
Descent: FreeSpace: The Great War Edit
Synopsis EditThe player begins FreeSpace: The Great War as a fighter pilot in the Galactic Terran Alliance (GTA) fighting the Vasudans, a species of aliens, near the end of a fourteen
year long war. Unexpectedly, a new alien race appears and attacks both factions. This new race, designated the Shivans, possess stealth hulls, advanced weapons, shielding technology, and an invincible destroyer later known as the SD Lucifer. In the face of this new threat, both the GTA and the Parliamentary Vasudan Empire (PVE) forge an alliance against the Shivans. The Lucifer devastates the Vasudan homeworld before setting course for Earth. However, before it arrives, a group of scientists finds Ancient ruins on a planet when they are shot down. These ruins reveal that the shields protecting the Lucifer do not work while in transit between stars, and how to track it in subspace. The GTA scrambles to Delta Serpentis to engage the Lucifer as it enters the subspace node into Sol, following the Lucifer into subspace. In a suicidal race against time, the sortie of fighters and bombers exploit the shield effect to destroy the Lucifer, just before it jumps out to Earth. However, the destruction of the Lucifer consequently severs the connection between Delta Serpentis and Sol, separating Earth from the rest of the GTA.
FreeSpace: The Great War seats the player in the cockpit of a Terran fighter, while introducing more craft as the game progresses. Dictated by the mission, a player has the option of choosing which fighter or bomber they wish to pilot for the mission, to include his own wingmen and that of other wings. Once the desired craft is selected, the ship loadout can also be customized to better aid the player; loadouts consist of primary and seconday weapons.
Primary weapons are the basic dogfighting laser cannons, with various models specialized for certain tasks.
Secondary weapons are the more devastating assortment of rockets, missiles, and anti-ship bombs, however these are limited to a ship's hardpoint capacity and require rearming in-mission.
As a GTA pilot, the player participates in a wide range of sorties, such as:
Capital ship assault
As the war progresses the Vasudans develop new tactics to use against the GTA, while the Shivans introduce a whole new level of combat strategy.
FreeSpace: The Great War utilizes arcade-style combat with its non-Newtonian physics engine, expect to be in the enemy's face as your wing is caught in a tight furball. Capital ships can range from 150 meters to a hulking behemoth at near two kilometers, allowing a tactical advantage and disadvantage to any involved party. Combat missions start off with unshielded craft, making missions with large enemy numbers risky to the player's wing, more so against capital ships with slow-firing but powerful turrets.
FreeSpace: Silent Threat Edit
FreeSpace: Silent Threat is an expansion to FreeSpace: The Great War. The campaign is set during a period in which the GTA subdivision, Galactic Terran Intelligence (GTI), creates a rebellion and tries to put an end to the Terran-Vasudan war, causing the thread of the alliance between the Terrans and Vasudans to unravel. Using an advanced and unique superdestroyer, the GTD Hades, the GTI attempts to finish the job begun by the Lucifer: the destruction of the Vasudans. The player takes the role of a GTI Lieutenant that remains loyal to the GTA and must stop the GTI.
Silent Threat is a direct expansion to FreeSpace: The Great War, with the addition of four new ships as well as two primary and secondary weapon systems. Outside of this, there are no changes to the gameplay.
Silent Threat was very poorly received. Many of the fans expressed disappointment at the lackluster mission design and plotholes. Most notable of these was the final battle against the GTD Hades, which has been described as highly anti-climatic and one of the worst missions in the entirety of FreeSpace.
FreeSpace 2 Edit
Synopsis EditFreeSpace 2 takes place 32 years after the events of the Great War, with the Terrans locked in civil war, this time against a breakaway faction called the Neo-Terran Front (NTF), led by Rear Admiral Aken Bosch. Since the end of Silent Threat, the GTA and PVE have unified under the Galactic Terran Vasudan Alliance (GTVA). The player begins flying a fighter for the 53rd Hammerheads squadron of the GTVA against rebel fighters trying to destroy fleeing Vasudan transports. Before long, the Shivans return in greater force than seen before, utilizing a subspace gate of unknown origin. Although their task force is quickly defeated, greater danger lurks in the nebula that lies at the end of the portal. Shortly after the defeat of the Shivan force, the GTVA unveils its ultimate weapon, the GTVA Colossus, "the largest spacefaring warship ever constructed." The Colossus quickly crushes all NTF resistance in the Epsilon Pegasi system, a heavily contested system. The NTF sensing their chance with the Colossus out of position, attempt to run the blockade of the subspace gate, called the Knossos. Only Bosch's flagship, the NTF Iceni successfully makes it through. At this point, the player is transferred to a Vasudan fighter squadron as part of an officer exchange program. During this exchange, the GTVA sights a Shivan ship of colossal proportions: the juggernaut Sathanas. The Sathanas crushes all opposition on its way to GTVA space before being stopped at the last minute by a bomber wing and the Colossus. Sensing victory, GTVA Command presses the advantage into the nebula, only to find an entire fleet of juggernauts waiting for them. A frantic retreat ensues, and the Colossus is destroyed buying time for civilians to escape from the nearest GTVA system, Capella. Command tries the only thing that could possibly stop the juggernaut fleet: collapsing the subspace nodes to Capella to stop the fleet from destroying still more systems. Two destroyers, laden with warheads, are detonated inside the node, attempting to seal it in the same way the Lucifer collapsed the Sol nodes. The plan is a success, and the fleet is stopped from spreading, but not before causing the Capella star to become a supernova by some unknown means.
FreeSpace 2 adds more emphasis to capital ships in-game, going as far as making them essential to completing a mission. The advent of beam weaponry allows capital ships to participate in ship-to-ship engagements, which also adds an extra step to players who are required to escort allied warships by adding objectives to destroy beam cannons on hostile ships. Attacking capital ships is further complicated with the addition of anti-fighter beams and flak cannons, making bombing runs or fighting escort fighters exceptionally dangerous. In terms of mission sorties, while the first game only had one of this kind of mission, FreeSpace 2 adds several sets of espionage missions (Conducted by Special Operations Command, SOC) that will place the player in the shoes of the NTF, and the Shivans once again.
Hard-Light Productions Edit
FreeSpace spawned a great community, and the release of the source code of the game led to the Source Code Project, which enhanced FreeSpace in all the ways possible. For more information visit Hard Light Productions
FreeSpace Mods, better known as FSMods, is probably the largest online repository of user made ships and material. Whilst HLP carries mostly campaigns and missions, FSMods is where you can find the ships generally used inside the user-made campaigns and mods. You can find HLP missions on FSMods too.
Sector Game is the oldest remaining FreeSpace site and forum on the internet. It also is a repository of user made ships and campaigns. It houses several projects.
Game Warden is one of the newer apparitions on the FreeSpace modding scene. It also houses several projects.