This is a transcript of the chat that took place at the first Freespace IRC chat with members of Volition, Inc. It has been edited for readability.
<IceFire> welcome everybody to
the first ever Descent: Freespace chat
<V-MikeComet> should we introduce ourselves first?
<V-Adam> I'm Adam Pletcher, I handle a lot of game design, and am the art lead on FS.
<V-Adam> I also spend way too much time on the web page. :)
<V-MikeComet> I'm Michael Comet (aka Sushi-Boy). I'm am animator and have basically been working on the characters for our cinematic sequences.
<V-Mitri> I'm Mitri Van, the other animator guy. I share an office with Comet and another guy.
<V-Adam> heh. Their office is pretty packed. :)
<V-Mitri> It's all on the web page anyway, so no need to repeat ourselves. ;)
<V-Adam> ah, right. good point.
<SuP> 1) How similar is the "feel" of the flight engine / physics close to the descent engines (hows that for subjective)
<V-Adam> sup: Not very similar, actually. It's much more realistic, and has a better physics model.
<V-Adam> sup: Descent ships feel lighter by comparison. FS ships feel more massive.
<V-MikeComet> I think that's a good point. The ships in Freespace also have various handling characteristics. You'll be able to tell when you're in a fighter vs. a bomber.
<Rtwice> hi, i'm wondering when the playable demo will be released :)
<V-Adam> RTwice: we're not sure on that yet.
<V-Adam> details still being worked out.
<HH-Soft> what will one be able to customize in addon missions?
<V-Adam> HH: you mean what can you do in the mission editor?
<V-Adam> The editor...
<V-Adam> is completely the same we use. You're able to set up very complex events and situations and cues. These cues can do lots of things...
<V-Adam> make ships arrive, depart, explode, damage subsystems,
<V-Adam> dock with each other, fighter bays spew fighters,
<V-Adam> escape pods flee from dying ships, messages (voice) fly around...
<V-Adam> it's all very cool. And you guys can use the editor to pretty much do everything we do in the missions.
<HH-Soft> ... using some kind of script language?
<V-Adam> HH: At a low level it uses a form of LISP expression code, but you don't have to type crazy script to get it to work...
<V-Adam> HH: It's all done in a nice windows tree-like interface. With help notes displayed along the way.
<SuP> 2) Are there ways to build missions to a) restrict the types of ships available in the game and b)
<SuP> crowd objects in a limited area of space to intensify sensation of speed and location, to make "deathmatch levels"
<V-Adam> SUP: 2a = yes, absolutely. 2b = yes indeed.
<V-Adam> SUP: although...
<V-Adam> SUP: I don't expect deathmatch style play to really be the best way to play FS...
<V-Adam> SUP: It's much more geared towards coop and team.
<Rtwice> what system requirements will we be looking at for FS?
<V-Adam> RT: Hmm. I think last time we talked it was a P133 w/hardware, P166 without, but it's possible that it's gone higher.
<_aurum> My question is, will there be balance? Will this be like descent2 where there are a million powerups that make the game require no skill and just a click and point fest?
<V-Adam> aurum: Balance is very important. There are lots of things a mission designer does to make sure his missions are balanced well...
<V-Adam> this is done by the types of ships he places, the weapons he arms them with, the AI "class" he gives them, and a dozen other things...
<V-Adam> and there are no powerups in FreeSpace. Except for re-arming ships, which give you more weapons and repair you. This is a sim, after all. :)
<NS_Covell> In Wing Commander 3/4 there was an Autoslide on some of the ships. my question is that when you start the afterburners will there be an increased turn rate as a result for 'punching it'?
<V-Adam> sliding: There is no autoslide feature like WC, but the FS physics model has a difference between heading and bearing...
<V-Adam> meaning that the more massive your ship is, the more difference there is, and the more inertia you'll have into turns.
<SuP> 3) Will the Pyro-GX appear in the game?
<V-Adam> Sup; Pyro won't appear in the game as a full-fledged player ship. That's all I'll say. :)
<ZDrEvil> can you fly into the super structure of some of the capital ships?
<V-Adam> ZDr: Yes and no. There are tons of details that you can fly around and into, but it's not going to look like the inside of the Death Star.
<ZDrEvil> Will the voice communication slow down internet games alot and cause lag?
<V-Adam> ZDr: Not sure the extent of lag that will cause. We're still testing it...
<V-Adam> ZDr: But I'm sure the players will have detail/resolution settings for it. Also on the server sides.
<V-Adam> The bandwidth needs are below our expectations so far, though. GA
<SuP> Can you remap all major control keys in the game, and are the flight axis of the ships assignable to any controller motion you choose?
<V-Adam> Sup: Yes, I believe so. You can thank Dan/Ebola for that. He's the controls config nut. :)
<HH-Soft> a more technical question: you say that it will support up to 16 players... now will that be playable over the internet assuming all 16 are using ISDN?
<V-Adam> HH: We don't have specific numbers over different sized pipes yet. Still in testing there. We're supporting up to 12, though, not 16.
<_Tiny_> you mentioned servers. Will this be client/server like Quake or peer-2-peer like D1/D2?
<V-Adam> Tiny: Client/server baby. Dedicated or non-dedicated.
<Guest96408> Will the size of the missions be more like Descent (a few k) or more like Quake (a few megs)?
<V-Adam> Guest: The mission files are very small. Much smaller than Descent or Quake. Even the most complicated ones are very quick to transfer (which servers do automatically, BTW).
<V-Adam> The biggest one we have now is 85k. GA
<ZDrEvil> For capital ships, can you disable/destroy different sections such as Turrets or engines?
<V-Adam> ZDr: Oh yes...
<V-MikeComet> Oh yeah baby!
<V-Adam> ZDr: Every ship has several subsystems, especially large ships (cruisers, capitals)...
<V-Adam> including turrets and missile launchers.
<V-MikeComet> For example one of the cruisers has a spinning radar dish for the "communications" subsystem. When you take it out you'll see that part of the ship become damaged (ie: bye bye Mr Radar) and that ship will no longer be able to communicate.
<V-MikeComet> Taking out different subsystems will affect those ships in different ways.
<V-Mitri> I like sending my wingmen in to take out a cap-ship's stuff so I can fly around and taunt. ;)
<V-Mitri> Well. taunt = screaming at my computer.
<V-MikeComet> ie: mitri's a wimp. Can't do anything himself. :)
<V-Mitri> Yeah. Wait 'til Monday when we do some multiplayer, chump.
<V-Adam> yes... big multiplayer testing event at Volition on Monday. :)
<Rtwice> to what degree are the ships going to be customizable? ie like Quake skins
<V-Adam> RT: We won't support changing ship textures, but we will support squad logos for people who belong to registered squads on our Tracker.
<V-Adam> RT: The squad logos & pilot pictures you use will appear in the game for everyone to see. :) GA
<RazorBlde> Is the release date still planned to be April 98?
<V-Adam> Razor: Uh... we expect it to be more Mayish. But there is no official release date you understand? :)
<NS_Covell> well here's a personal question, how much will you guys help out the news sources (ie.
IceFires, Gowrons, etc) and the leagues (mine, NetSquads)?
<V-Adam> NS: As much as we have time to. We always encourage that sort of thing.
<ZDrEvil> can you fly in ships that are non-human ? and can you directly control a capital ship ? :)
<V-Adam> ZDr: No capitals... too boring anyway... who wants to fly one of those big slow things? :) FS is a fighter sim.
<V-Mitri> We could always make a capital ship that flies like a fighter. Oh wait. That's already been done. :)
<_aurum> About the netcode....will it be using asynch or synch? Descent used asynch, and lagged players usually won because of it.
<V-Adam> aurum: It's synch, with a good does of client-side prediction to help keep the footprint low. GA
<Gowron> I asked Adam this in an e-mail earlier, but he didn't remember. In one of the cutscene screen shots, one of the monitors says "T.E.F." Do any of you guys remember what it means? Just curious...
<V-Adam> Comet, make something up.
<V-MikeComet> Uhh... Tamale Eating Fuzziness
<V-Adam> Tomato Eating Fetish.
<V-Mitri> Actually, I think it stands for Terran Earth Force, but you'll have to ask Comet or Adam if that's true.
<V-Adam> I think Tri's right... but it's now the GTA.
<V-MikeComet> It was TEF but that was on older test rendering...it's changed to GTA now.
<NgC> how much space on my harddisk does it want?
<V-Adam> heh, good question. Probably lots.
<V-Adam> NgC: not sure really, but we have a lot of data.
<SuP> Is 3D sound supported?
<V-Adam> Sup: Not sure actually. I think it is to some extent, but I don't know what format/protocol.
<V-MikeComet> Llamas Rule!
<V-Adam> Buy FreeSpace. Make us happy. We make more games. Make you happy. :)
<V-Mitri> Well, this is probably redundant, but we have a lot of stuff on www.volition-inc.com
<ZDrEvil> It would be cool if you could command your wingman to ram a capital ship if you get desperate >:)
* V-Mitri grins at ZDrEvil.
<V-MikeComet> Well you can give your wingman tons of commands I'll say that much.
<SuP> how you like D3 mikecomet? look good? :)
<V-Mitri> D3 looks pretty cool.
<V-MikeComet> I haven't actually tested d3 myself yet...though it definitely look cool....I watched adam the other day.
<V-Mitri> I have to admit my interest was primarily in the cutscenes; I haven't played D3 yet.
<IceFire> I thank you all for coming
<V-Adam> thanks, all!