Saturday, June 19, 2010

10 Days of Allied Forces: Part 1 - The Beginning (2000)

The story of the Allied Forces Universe truly begins in the year 1998.  As a young person I had always had many ideas for movies and games and things which I had no way of making into a reality.  They way I worked around my monetary limits was to plan out these ideas, as if I was GOING to have a camera, have a computer, have a means of creating them.  It was out of this morass of development hell that the ancient proto-genesis of Allied Forces was born.

In those days, the Space-Combat Flight Simulator, a genre which is all but gone from mainstream today, was actually a popular platform.  I was introduced to, and immediately addicted to the Wing Commander through a friend, Alf Kinsey.  I played through Wing Commander IV, then III, then Prophecy, and by 1999 I had finished and acquired almost all Wing Commander games in existence, including the rare Kilrathi Saga!  Having nothing left to do, I thought about creating a campaign for Wing Commander.  Using the internet I found other people making Mods and custom games and tried to help as best I could.  I quickly learned that programming was not my strong point, and the project never went anywhere.  Later on I found a graphical mission "compiler" which allowed me to create missions using a very basic system of point, click, create.  They had no breifings, in-game messages, or custom anything, but at least it was something that could be played!

With that in mind I planned out the whole game on a legal pad, and set to creating the missions.  The story involved the titular character Fox, and his son, Foxhound fighting an organization called the J.A.K.E.  I never found a site to host my lackluster attempt, but I had discovered something interesting - a story!  Using the characters Fox and Foxhound, I created spin-off stories for every game I had at the time that had any semblence of customization options.

* * *

Sometime in February or March of 2000, I heard mention of a newer spaceflight simulator called Freespace 2.  I also heard it had a built in Mission Editor that could be used to create dynamic branching missions and campaigns.  By April I had saved up and procured a copy for myself.  And by April 8th, I had made my first mission!

Sometime in late May, the game was complete.  Over the course of 25 Missions, the game told the story of the Allied Fleet's fight agains the Nataas Military Alliance (NMA) in a few remote systems in space.  The character Alex "Fox" Harris hands out missions to the player and occasionally joins them in a few sporadic missions.  The game's story arc can really be divided into five sub-plots.

Missions 1-5
The Allies prepare for an assault on an enemy carrier.

Missions 6-10
The Allies enter the nearby nebula and discover the secret behind the NMA's ships, but are forced to retreat after the enemy ambushes them.

Missions 11-15
The Allies regroup and push the enemy back.  Major Jeanette Romier defects to the Allied Forces and reveals the locations of the remaining three NMA carriers.

Missions 16-20
 The Allies assault the remaining carriers but are ambushed by the NMS Satanic, a large ship of alien design.

Missions 20-25
The Allies assault the NMS Satanic, chipping away at its defenses before it is finally destroyed in Mission 25.

* * *

After searching a bit on the net, I finally found a website where the missions could be hosted.  I uploaded the campaign which I gave the (now embarassingly juvenile) title The Jake War.  The game was posted on June 28th, 2000.  But I did not find out about it until the next day, JUNE 29, 2000

When I finally saw it, the next day, it had received over 300 downloads.  The story had begun!


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