As you might have noticed already, I have been pretty busy releasing various quality updates for CF in the recent months. I tried to release weekly mod updates and have the intention to keep doing that for at least the rest of this year. I am not sure if I can get all the reworked station interiors done till end of the year but I will at least try my best in doing so.
But what is planned for 2023 when FL has its 20th anniversary?
Well, the answer to that actually depends on how much support I can get from you guys. Planned is much.... much more than I actually am able to do alone.
Crossfire was developed over many years and evolved into the biggest FL modding project. "Evolved" is pretty much the right word of choice here. Early versions back in 2006/2007 were relative simple compared to what we have now. My knowledge about modding evolved in the same way as Crossfire. I had to learn using tools, how to create 3d models, how to edit effects, how to work on sounds and get into details with creating missions and animations.
I had a few helping hands in the past and several contributors which allowed to create a mod of such a scale.
Nonetheless, time always was a limiting factor in creating this mod. That is an undeniable truth that has not changed at all.
So what does all mean for 2023?
I want to use this anniverary year to do frequent detail updates of the mod next to the already planned content updates (Black Star). Yes, Black Star is still not off the table but actually requires some updates to Coalition and Renaissance content. Updates for both factions were already prepared ealier this year but not released due to various reasons that I am not going to discuss again on this topic.
What I have in mind is to get the texture rework for the vanilla content (which turns more and more into a HD version) done by January 2023.
Once that is done I would like to focus on detail improvements of the CF systems, starting with Sirius, then Sol, then Inner Core and finally Altair space.
There will be two main priorities with that.
- adding something special to the new systems, something unique, something that makes it worth to explore these systems once more. This can be special locations, anomalies, wrecks with special loot.... etc.
- Being a bit more specific with faction design in these new systems, especially in Sirius. e.g. We have the X-3043 System hub and we also have a lore explaining its existence. Connected are plenty of systems and I would like to see if we can put more focus on the factions. It needs to be reviewed which factions exists in these systems. Does it make sense to certain faction combinations next to each other? Do the station layouts fit to these factions? etc.
Aim is to create a more lore friendly distribution of such factions and the station ownerships.
Depending on how much needs to be changed the end result could lead to a much better variety of factions and assets used in the systems.
This clearly is a task I need help with since lots of research and testing needs to be done. All the changes also need to be well documented in order to update the wiki. It also might be a task for new fresh ideas when it comes to the system design. I think the latest introduced systems in the Sol sector show that new designs can lead to surprising new looks.
This most definitely is a task that needs to be done prior Black Star can be released because the intented dynamic universe changes highly depend on the final layout of the Sirius systems.
In terms of Inner core I would like to put some more work on what the systems look like. Establish a more detailed environment. Work on the different alien factions and their infrastructure there. I am not 100% sure what the end results look like.... I just think these systems back then were a bit rushed (limited time again). I also was thinking about speeding up the travel in these systems somehow. There are various ideas that need to be tested since I don't really want to ruin the impression of vast space.
Coalition space. I showed plenty of images of the new Coalition stations and in a test build they are already included. However, I have a technical issue similar to what happens in Renaissance space where the game occasionally starts lagging when NPCs collide with the stations. I think I know the source of the problem. I don't have a fix for it yet.
Getting the new coalition content that I already have finished released without this bug would be a MASSAVE quality improvement over what is currently in the game. At this point I can not make promises other than that I am working on this issue. I talked with other modders and this problem is not unique to CF. Getting it fixed would be of highest priorty.
That being said similar detail improvements as planned for Sirius are also planned for the Altair systems.
The problem described for the new Coalition Stations applies here aswell. Fixing it has highest priority.
Furthermore would I want to release the already created modular station elements for this faction in order to create a more complex and unique station design.
The dead end of the Renaissance System design would also then be connected to the upcoming Black Star content. The Bonus story mission would continue in Renaissance space and introduces a new challenging threat to human colonies of the Sol Sector, Altair Sector and Sirius Sector.
There are optional intentions for the Canis Sector regarding an expansion and doing something with the sensor echoes. (Low priority atm).
Further quality updates:
- As you might have seen did I work on a refresh of the Bullpup ship family. The bullpup was one of the earliest custom ships in CF and went through multiple iterations so far. Quality improved but never was phenomenal. This will change.
Task here is to identify ships which need similar treatment and invest the time to rework them all.
- Furthermore is it intented to put all ships and stations of the mod on the workbench to improve the LOD settings to prevent flickering and low detail settings of certain objects. I will need much help getting this stuff tested.
- Environmental texture improvement. This involves work on planet textures, asteroids and all kinds of unique environmental and story related content.
- Improvements of voice samples for the story campaign (optional)
- quality updates for cockpits
- improvments on effects
- bug fixes
- and probably a thousands of extra stuff that I currently can not list there
All that stuff will be patched in via launcher bit by bit. Once completed an installer update containing all the changes will be published.
As you can see much is actually planned for 2023 and I really want to get the content that is prepared and waiting to be released finally be pushed out.
I struggle with a few technical problems and I struggle with time management.
I need as much help as I can get in order to get all of that done. The above list of course is not complete as while working on stuff usually millions of new ideas come to mind.
20 years of FL sounds like the perfect opportunity to try anyways and deliver the best FL experience possible with Crossfire.
Ideally I would want to create a team working on the different aspects described above. I'd probably would burn out pretty fast trying to tackle everything alone and I am convinced that good details need more than just one point of view.