Fan-Made Battlestar Galactica Sim Finally Launches

Fan-Made Battlestar Galactica Sim Finally Launches

Diaspora: Shattered Armistice, the Freespace-powered, Battlestar Galactica-based space combat sim, is out the tube and looking hot.

It's been awhile since Battlestar Galactica ended its run, but game development takes time, especially when it's an amateur, fan-powered project. But after four years in development, Diaspora: Shattered Armistice is finally here, and amateur or not it looks very impressive. Powered by the Freespace 2 engine, which may very well be the most remarkably durable game engine of all time, Diaspora puts players behind the stick of the Viper MK VII, the MK VIIe strike variant and the Raptor in massive battles against the rampaging Cylon forces.

The single-player campaign takes place alongside the events told in the Battlestar Galactica pilot, as the Battlestar Theseus, cut off from the rest of the Colonial fleet, struggles to survive and fight back. Everything is voiced acted, and the game boasts an all-new, original soundtrack inspired by the show; despite the age of the engine, it looks great too, with resolutions as high as you care to go and plenty of eye-candy options on tap. Multiplayer is supported, allowing gamers to go head-to-head as either Colonials or Cylons, and in case that's not enough, a full-blown mission editor is included too.

I've played through the first few missions, and my experience thus far has been nothing short of fantastic. It's immediately recognizable as Freespace, but it looks and sounds and feels like something lifted straight out of the hit BSG remake. The biggest flaws, like so many other fan-made games, are bad voice acting and occasionally clunky writing, but in every other way it's absolutely pro; it's still the early hours of the "Fall of Man" but so far, this looks like the Battlestar Galactica game we should've had years ago.

Diaspora: Shattered Armistice is available now for Windows and Linux-based PCs, and the Mac. More information, download links and even a remastered soundtrack can all be found at hard-light.net. If you're a Battlestar fan or any kind of joystick jockey, you don't want to miss it.

Thanks to TheBlackKnight for the tip.

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Welcome to Earth, by Zeus it took you long enough.

Andy Chalk:
The biggest flaws, like so many other fan-made games, are bad voice acting and occasionally clunky writing,

So its biggest flaws are also the biggest flaws of many pro and even AAA games.

Who'da thunk it?

evilneko:
So its biggest flaws are also the biggest flaws of many pro and even AAA games.

Fair enough, but they're particularly pronounced in fan projects. And voice acting at the triple-A level is usually pretty solid; writing can be clunky anywhere (and often is) but the gulf between pro voice actors and enthusiastic fans is very wide.

The Mac version is already out; I've downloaded and played it. The announcement merely notes that Mac *system requirements* have not been written yet, but would be roughly similar to the PC system requirements.

The Freespace 2 modding scene is so damn awesome. Continuously supporting a game that is over 12 years old with engine upgrades and mods that makes it look like something released yesterday, in addition to keeping it nice and open source plus multiplatform.

Narcogen:
The Mac version is already out; I've downloaded and played it. The announcement merely notes that Mac *system requirements* have not been written yet, but would be roughly similar to the PC system requirements.

What are the controls like, do you have to use every button the on keyboard (classic wing commander style) or is it a bit simpler, because the million button control schemes always put me off these games.

Also, is there any kind of multiplayer, as I know a ton of people who'd love that.

EDIT: My bad, I missed the multiplayer mention.

Andy Chalk:

evilneko:
So its biggest flaws are also the biggest flaws of many pro and even AAA games.

Fair enough, but they're particularly pronounced in fan projects. And voice acting at the triple-A level is usually pretty solid; writing can be clunky anywhere (and often is) but the gulf between pro voice actors and enthusiastic fans is very wide.

Sorry to hear that you don't like the VA work. Several of the voice actors are professionals with rather long CVs who are also fans of the show (such as the CAG). Takes unfortunately were limited due to time and scheduling constraints but we also tried to work it so more stilted performances were earlier on and more natural ones were later. I know that sounds a bit counter-intuitive since many would want the best VA work early on for a good first impression, but the idea was the characters at first were literally "reading from a script" and then later sounding more natural, stressed, and sleep deprived.

There's a few cases where early lines for other characters are a bit hammy on purpose (Turbo the pilot in M1 and Hammer your ECO in the Raptor mission) in earlier missions and more grim later on.

Overall though we tried to minimize the overall "cringe" factor from many fan works (and trying to avoid repetitious bad dialog that would be overt meme fuel "arrows in knee" or "cloud district" style) and this is really the first negative feedback we've seen on the voice acting in the press. So we'll double our efforts on future releases to get it right.

Edit- I would also like to correct something in the article, Mac OS X and Linux builds have been available since launch since it is erroneously stated that Mac builds have not been released yet.

Mac Torrent
http://diaspora.fs2downloads.com/Diaspora_R1_Mac.dmg.torrent

Sweet a space combat game. Flying fighters in spaaaaccee!

In the absence of a new Colony Wars, this will more than do. In fact, downloading now...

adamant_2001:
Edit- I would also like to correct something in the article, Mac OS X and Linux builds have been available since launch since it is erroneously stated that Mac builds have not been released yet.

Mac Torrent
http://diaspora.fs2downloads.com/Diaspora_R1_Mac.dmg.torrent

Thanks for the heads-up, and to the other guys who pointed it out. I would've sworn I saw a "coming soon for the Mac" last night. In my defense, "Snow Leopard or higher" looks kinda like "coming soon," right guys?

As for the voice acting, "bad" might be a bit harsh, but it really struck me as flat. That's at least in part because the rest of the production is so damned professional (love that music), so my expectations may be elevated somewhat - and keep in mind that I've only played the first few missions, so my sample size is small.

Whatever you want to call it, my overall position stands: holy shit, get this game!

My excitement just went passed critical levels, now I just need to find a way to stop jumping for joy and get this game.

Well, suppose this is as good a reason as any to bust out the ol' joystick.

Rainboq:
My excitement just went passed critical levels, now I just need to find a way to stop jumping for joy and get this game.

Why? There are certainly worse ways to express your pleasure at this news
Speaking of which...

Irridium:
Well, suppose this is as good a reason as any to bust out the ol' joystick.

Hey man, we're ALL pretty excited to get this game but try to keep it IN your pants.

Andy Chalk:
voice acting at the triple-A level is usually pretty solid

I put forth every fully voiced Bethesda game, counting new vegas, as a counter example.

Come to think of it I can't think of any game in the last decade that had voice acting above the level of "tolerable". In fact over my gaming "career" I think the only one where the voice WoWed me was Planescape Torment.

Actually I take that back, Kotor 1 and 2 were both good. So yeah there were a couple in the last decade but I can't imagine the voice in this fan game being any worse than the relatively mediocre voice in other big games.

Already downloading it.

In the meantime, I'm browsing their site, but I can't seem to find info on how much of a "sim" it is. From the trailer, I'd say it uses realistic newtonian movement, but I've yet to see a spaceflight sim that didn't overcomplicate the controls for it - like, controlling your ship with QWERASDFYXCV, one key for every thruster (?). I'm sure they've got something more elegant.

Finally! ;D

Seneschal:
Already downloading it.

In the meantime, I'm browsing their site, but I can't seem to find info on how much of a "sim" it is. From the trailer, I'd say it uses realistic newtonian movement, but I've yet to see a spaceflight sim that didn't overcomplicate the controls for it - like, controlling your ship with QWERASDFYXCV, one key for every thruster (?). I'm sure they've got something more elegant.

If its anything like BTRL (Precursor to this long story) you have WASDQE the mouse and a glide button that toggles if turning your ship should affect the direction of travel or simply rotate you around.

Oh, god, this is so much fun yet I'm so fraking bad at it! XD

What would be a good joystick to use with this game?

RE: The voice acting
There has been a lot worse and it only occasionally sounds like a fan made thing.

Plus the story has legitimate peril in some parts and multiple outcomes(!)

Battlestar Galactica?

Instant download.

Bloody brilliant. I think that pretty much covers this news. Gonna have to download this gem. Space game + BSG + Free(?) = Orgasm.

I grabbed it, and yeah, it's pretty solid! complex space flight sim breaks my brain, and I forgot how awesome Freespace was. But damn! I'm gonna keep at it! :D

chozo_hybrid:

Narcogen:
The Mac version is already out; I've downloaded and played it. The announcement merely notes that Mac *system requirements* have not been written yet, but would be roughly similar to the PC system requirements.

What are the controls like, do you have to use every button the on keyboard (classic wing commander style) or is it a bit simpler, because the million button control schemes always put me off these games.

Seems to be the former. Also, the tutorials and configuration screens all assume you're using a PC; a lot of references to the "alt" key, for which you have to substitute "option", which is no big deal, but some other arrangements that seem awkward on a Mac keyboard.

The targeting controls alone seem to use half a dozen keys or more; engines and speed-matching easily another half-dozen. After that I decided I need more time to absorb everything and put the game away for the moment.

It's pretty fun but very short (5 missions long, and one of those is optional) and can get frustrating due to the fact that some of the missions have objectives you're apparently supposed to fail*, which means most of the time you can just ignore objectives because if it's one you're actually meant to complete your AI wing-men will usually do it themselves anyway.

Also the AI is kinda dimwitted (I've seen fighters crash into their Carriers multiple times)

Actual forced failures are not as frequent as you imply:

We've been careful to make long dialog skippable and optional and try to make the player feel engaged even in situations where things for continuity reasons have to be more or less out of their control.

Narcogen:

chozo_hybrid:

Narcogen:
The Mac version is already out; I've downloaded and played it. The announcement merely notes that Mac *system requirements* have not been written yet, but would be roughly similar to the PC system requirements.

What are the controls like, do you have to use every button the on keyboard (classic wing commander style) or is it a bit simpler, because the million button control schemes always put me off these games.

Seems to be the former. Also, the tutorials and configuration screens all assume you're using a PC; a lot of references to the "alt" key, for which you have to substitute "option", which is no big deal, but some other arrangements that seem awkward on a Mac keyboard.

The targeting controls alone seem to use half a dozen keys or more; engines and speed-matching easily another half-dozen. After that I decided I need more time to absorb everything and put the game away for the moment.

I decided to give it a go, and I like it. The basic movement and shooting is simple enough, most of the targeting stuff sticks in my head, but with practice I feel I have been getting better.

adamant_2001:
Actual forced failures are not as frequent as you imply:

We've been careful to make long dialog skippable and optional and try to make the player feel engaged even in situations where things for continuity reasons have to be more or less out of their control.

You one of the guys that made this? Just wanted to say, I think it's awesome. I've never played an actual space combat kind of game like this and am slowly getting used to it, but I'm having a blast and am enjoying it so far!

As much as I FUCKING HATED the show, this entices me enough to consider a download. Though if I'm going to boot up Freespace again, I'm going to finish it. I never beat FS2.

adamant_2001:
Actual forced failures are not as frequent as you imply:

We've been careful to make long dialog skippable and optional and try to make the player feel engaged even in situations where things for continuity reasons have to be more or less out of their control.

rembrandtqeinstein:

Andy Chalk:
voice acting at the triple-A level is usually pretty solid

I put forth every fully voiced Bethesda game, counting new vegas, as a counter example.

Come to think of it I can't think of any game in the last decade that had voice acting above the level of "tolerable". In fact over my gaming "career" I think the only one where the voice WoWed me was Planescape Torment.

Actually I take that back, Kotor 1 and 2 were both good. So yeah there were a couple in the last decade but I can't imagine the voice in this fan game being any worse than the relatively mediocre voice in other big games.

The Legacy of Kain series and Castlevania Lords of Shadow. both have excellent Voice Acting

Ed.:

Seneschal:
Already downloading it.

In the meantime, I'm browsing their site, but I can't seem to find info on how much of a "sim" it is. From the trailer, I'd say it uses realistic newtonian movement, but I've yet to see a spaceflight sim that didn't overcomplicate the controls for it - like, controlling your ship with QWERASDFYXCV, one key for every thruster (?). I'm sure they've got something more elegant.

If its anything like BTRL (Precursor to this long story) you have WASDQE the mouse and a glide button that toggles if turning your ship should affect the direction of travel or simply rotate you around.

Yeah, you're spot-on.

For everyone that's wondering, the controls are surprisingly simple. You can sort of switch between newtonian spaceflight and atmospheric flight controls with a single button. The former, Glide Mode, leaves you drifting in one direction while being able to independently rotate in any other - so, for example, you can do a fly-by of a basestar while constantly pointing your weapons at it and shooting (but you won't be able to see where you're heading). The main flight mode is like classic dogfighting, and is explained as "computer assisted navigation" - it definitely helps to have an intuitive control scheme, and that you can change your trajectory by simply looking in another direction (banking, as befits a space sim, doesn't affect your movement; it merely rotates your view and maybe helps you dodge bullets).

And yes, the game has full-keyboard controls (divert power to shields/weapons/engines, change between five different view modes, adjust rate of fire, issue orders, target subsystems, etc.), but they aren't required. Targeting, movement, weapons and thrust control are everything you need.

EDIT: Oh, if it isn't clear from my post, I downloaded it and I love it. The voice-acting hiccups are only early-on and far between, everything is very top-notch and professional. The only hint that this isn't a mainstream big release is the number of options and key-bindings. Only a project unconcerned with widest-possible-appeal would have so many controls that you actually provide a Search function for them.

EDIT: Oh, forgot to mention - I actually really like the story. The game continuing despite your failures and losses (except, of course, if you get blown up) gives it that feverish, desperate atmosphere like at the beginning of BSG. I expected it to be more about the flight simulation and the combat, but I really appreciate how much attention was given to the missions and the briefings.

 

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