Sunday, June 20, 2010

10 Days of Allied Forces: Part 2 - The Masterpiece (2001)

 PART 2-1

When 2001 began, I had released two games, developed my first consistent drawing style, and was pretty much working on random side projects.  The real goal of early 2001 was to develop my drawing skills, which were primitive, at their best.  Much of the art from this period was lost in what came to be known as The Purge.  As a young artist, I was under the impression that I should only keep my good drawings.  As such MANY of the drawings that were failures, or just sketches I threw away when I cleaned out my files one day.  The path that my art took to the final variants, things that would be invaluable to me today, were tossed away casually.  I never throw away anything anymore, as a result.

The Birth of "Allied Forces"

Having spent the better part of a year working in the Freespace 2 Mission Editor (FRED2) and I was fairly proficient at it.  Infinitely better than when I started in April 2000.  I decided to re-work the original two Jake War games into one, long game with the title Allied Forces - Since the two games were really part of the same story arc.  From March to December, I worked on the missions.  Sometimes spending 3 days to a week per individual level.  I finished the last mission on Friday, December 7th, 2001, and sent it to the publisher later that night.

The improvements on the game were NUMEROUS.  For example, in the first Jake War, and parts of the Jake War 2, Mission Objectives were not tracked, or not tracked well.  Now, the game provided an in-game message system telling the pilot what to do, and when it was completed.

Customized messages now told the story and added pilot chatter to the mission.  Before they were simple, and sporadic, now the game had scripted events and episodic plots that would unfold before, during, or after combat in a mission.

Space nebulae were added, as well as a customized planets.

Missions now had a branching aspect to them, with multiple paths to success.

Customized logos were plastered onto every ship to show which squad they were in.  And characters now appeared in-game and flew alongside the player.

And ultimately, the story was told in the absolute best way that it could have been, given the limitations of the game engine.

Allied Forces was as professional as I ever got in the field of game design.  The publisher finally released it on January 1st, 2002.  It remained in the Top 20 User Rated Campaigns until the site went down.  When released in 2002, it was at #15.  When the site finally went down in 2005, Allied Forces was still in the top 20, at #18.

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Jake War Day / Allied Forces Day

On June 29th, 2001 I celebrated the first year anniversary of the release of my first game.

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Allied Worlds

Allied Worlds was conceptualized and canonized in early 2001.  Allied Worlds was supposed to be a prequel to Allied Forces.  It would eventually become the series starting point.

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