Freeworlds: Tides of War is a fan built Star Wars total conversion mod for Digital Anvil's Freelancer game that was released several years ago. When fans began to make mods for Freelancer, one of the many things people were keen on seeing was a Freelancer mod based on the Star Wars universe developed by George Lucas. Freeworlds and Tides of War were the answer to this outcry. The development team of both mods have now joined forces to create an epic new Star Wars TC, Freeworlds: Tides of War.

RSS Feed An Intro to Freeworlds: Tides of War Gameplay

This is a summary of the features of gameplay you'll will expect to see on the Freeworlds: Tides of War official server.

Article Posted by FW:ToW_Sushi on May 14th, 2011


Hello, I am Respen, the developer leader for gameplay development.  I typically start discussions, and prod along topics regarding how the mod will work and be played.  Sometimes I spew out ideas for these topics, other times I just flow along with the discussion.  Then there are the summaries...

I guess that is what I have been doing most of late, trying to keep us organized.  I collect all the various, sometimes spread out, discussion and decisions into large summaries neatly laying out what exactly we have agreed to do, and what we have left to do.  While doing this, and reading some of the comments regarding how we were thinking of doing things, I thought that you (the players) would appreciate a bit more information on our plans for the mod and our server (and we would appreciate your feedback).

So, without further ado, I give you a generalized outline of the majority of our planned gameplay systems.  I am withholding most of the specific details of these systems, largely because we are still discussing many of them.

We, as a team, have decided that we want as few written server rules as possible.  To accomplish this, we have needed to think of ways to incorporate what rules we can into the game engine and server structure.  Our goal: to have everything you can do in the game be within the rules.

Gameplay Systems

    Faction Structure
            This system regards how factions operate and are structured.

            The overall leader for one of the "set" factions is a NPC character controlled by Admins/RP Moderators/Devs. This leader will only be used sparingly and when necessary to keep the faction in line with its RP.  The NPC leaders will also be used for special events and to move the server's story along.

            Players will still command the individual sections of a faction like its military, trading, etc.  Players within a faction will be able to set up their own command group members, who will be below the rank of the NPC leader(s), but high enough to perform the day-to-day running of the faction.  A faction's command group can create/disband sub-goups within the faction. They can also set whether these groups are open for any player to join, or are closed and invite only.

            Inter-faction relations (hostilities, neutrality, allies, etc) are set by the Admins/RP Mods/Devs, but can be changed by players through appropriate RP.

            Civilian factions do not have direct oversight, and are largely allowed to run free (within the rules, of course).

            Multi-factioning is allowed, but in a limited fashion. Players are allowed to have characters of two types chosen from the provided list.

            Force User factions (Jedi and Sith, at start) have a bit stricter structure.  Their rank systems will be established by us, but some freedom will be given to the players to customize these factions.  We view these factions as being the leaders of RP for the server much like they have been on past Freeworlds servers, but we will be a bit stricter with them so that they stay the leaders of RP for the server.

Competitive Play 

      This is where the persistent goals of factions are for long-term play.

            Factions will be able to conquer systems/bases using an influence system, as well as generate many other effects in the game.  There will be several types of influence that each work differently: military, trade, criminal, and Force user.
           
            Military influence is what is used to conquer systems and bases.  Faction members gain this influence for their faction in many ways, most of which involve combat with enemy factions.  Simple online presence within systems will have an effect as well as killing your enemies.
           
            Trade influence is gained by trading with bases.  This might increase the economic output of the bases that have this influence on them in addition to earning the factions with this influence a small portion of the base's production.
           
            Criminal influence will be used for covert and subversive effects on bases.  It could earn the faction with influence certain privileges at the base the faction would not normally have, as well as cut into the other factions' economies at the base in question.

            Force user influence is very different than the above influence types.  Force user factions' empasis is on Story Arcs for their goals.  Their influence is actually a currency to be used for actions to further their Story Arc goals.  They gain more influence for successfully completing some goals as well as from some structures (at the moment, these are roleplayed as being on the base, but they are not actually in-game) that can be constructed on bases.  Only Force user factions will be able to obtain this type of influence.
           
            Any faction can perform any of the actions that result in gaining any type of influence, with the exception of Force user influence.  Thus, each faction will likely have multiple types of influence, sometimes on the same base!

Dynamic Economy

              This is Qi's baby, and plays a part in most of the mod's gameplay systems.

            The buying of large quantities of a commodity from a base will raise the value of that commodity at that base for a time, while the selling of large quantities of a commodity at a base will lower the value of that commodity at that base for a time. (value = buy and sell price, due to the way the FL engine works)

            Player buys and more importantly, player sells, of commodities will be recorded by the system. This will be used for stockpiles, to affect influence, etc.

Travel  

            There will largely be two methods of travel: sub-light and hyperdrive.
           
            Sub-light will consist of normal flying speed as well as Freelancer's cruise mechanic.  These will be much lower speeds than hyperdrive speeds, as one would expect in the Star Wars universe.
           
            Hyperdrive is... complicated.  Through the magic of FL Hook, which is used to power many of our extra features, capital ships will be able to jump from system to system without the use of Freelancer's traditional jump holes and gates.  Although all of the other ships will not have access to this feature, for balance purposes, every ship will be able to use a modified Freelancer jump gate which we call a hyperbouy to travel between systems.
           
            Hyperdrive also encompasses speedy in-system travel.  Using Freelancer's tradelanes, which have been changed to fit the Star Wars universe, ships will be able to perform in-system hyperjumps.  There is even the possibility that some ships may be able to perform custom in-system hyperjumps!
           
            Of course, there are a couple ways to prevent others from using hyperdrive.  Namely, the interdictor capships and possibly some kind of gravity mine.  Perfect for those blockades or ambushes.

            Players can dock with capships, using them as mobile bases of operations in addition to their combat abilities, which are lower than that of other equally-sized capships for balance purposes.

Maintenance  

            Maintenance is included on our server in order to take money out of the game, encourage factions to be active, and encourage factions to specialize in certain types of ships (military vs. trade).  We will not have set classifications for factions to choose among.  Instead, it will be the faction's actions that determine their effect on the galaxy, and the galaxy's effect on the faction.

            All factions pay maintenance per cycle (currently weekly) on large ships that their members fly.  These "large ships" are the bigger trade ships and capships, small craft are free for all.  The bigger the ship, the larger the cost to the faction.  Also, the more maintenance-required ships a faction uses, the higher their maintenance will be.  Both relationships are governed by exponential functions.
           
            So, the Empire trying to field twenty active Imperial Star Destroyers will be nigh impossible, unless the Empire has the playerbase and income to support such a thing.

Reputation   

            Player reputations are under discussion right now, but it is possible the system for them will be more complicated than the standard FL reputation system.  Killing other players and selling certain commodities may affect your character's reputation!
           
            Base affiliation will be kept up-to-date with a weekly update of the INIs.  A script will be run during the weekly update to update individual player reputations to reflect faction relation changes.
           
            Ship purchases will be restricted by reputation, creating a natural shiplist for the initial factions.  Characters from the Empire will be unable, due to being hostile to the New Republic, of flying any of the specific New Republic ships.  This also keeps enemy factions from docking on one another's bases to stage attacks on each other.

Death

               Death penalty has been decided as a good thing, for several reasons.  It provides a way for money to leave the game, helping to fight inflation.  It also gives a worth for staying alive, allowing for more complex strategies to develop within the game.

            You buy an "escape pod" item and carry it in your ship. Upon death you have the option to respawn at the base you last docked at, and the item is removed from your ship/inventory. If you don't have an "escape pod" in your ship/inventory, then you are forced to respawn at your faction's home base.  This allows you (the players) to choose your own death penalty: time (home base respawn) or money (escape pods).

            The "escape pod" will be a commodity sold on all bases and linked to the dynamic economy. Each class of ship (of which there are roughly 50) will have its own number of escape pods required to enable the last-docked base respawn.  The larger ships will require more escape pods, but capships are different.

            Capships have their own, unique death penalty: total ship loss.  That is right, when a capship dies it is totally lost and a new one will have to be built.  Capships will drop some of the materials needed for their construction upon death.

            All ships will drop a number of "Occupied [faction] Escape Pod".  The larger the ship, and the more crew it would have, the more pods it will drop.  Other players can then tractor these pods in and sell them on bases.  The faction of the occupied pod will likely greatly appreciate you returning their pilots, but the faction's enemies might also want them...

Taxes  

            A tax system will exist that will take a percentage of the amount a player buys/sells a commodity for and give that money to the faction that owns the base where this action takes place. Factions will be able to set the percentage of tax on their bases.  The tax level on a base affects the owning faction's influence level there.  Factions can also set a tax level on an owned base that gives them a percentage of that base's generated income.
           
            That is right, bases will generate a certain amount of income per maintenance cycle (weekly).  Each base will have a custom income amount tailored to the base.  For example, a highly populated planet like Coruscant will produce more income than an isolated space station.  Factions will be able to get a portion of that money if they have influence on the base.

As a last note, keep in mind that many of these features (faction structure, maintenance, taxes, etc.) are specific to our official server.  When the mod is released, other servers can be made.

As always any comments, suggestions or questions are always welcomed!
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Comments
kahoshi
kahoshi May 15 2011, 7:49am said:

sounds amazing, cant wait to get out there and bust up some eyeballs, dupes and squints!

+3 votes     reply to
Expack
Expack May 15 2011, 10:52am said:

Dang...this doesn't sound like a normal total conversion anymore - it sounds like a free MMO game based on the Freelancer engine! This is just AWESOME!!!

I like the idea of using hyperbouies to enable system jumps for normal ships, but will you be able to see the hyperbouy on ships which have it equipped (like the A-wings from Episode 2...or was it Episode 1?)?

Also, I can imagine the Imperials would find a way to field 20 Imperial Destroyers for a short time...after all, humans have a curious tendency to prove the impossible possible.

+6 votes     reply to
TSP-FriendlyFire
TSP-FriendlyFire May 15 2011, 11:34am replied:

Hyperbuoys will be usable by any ship. You shouldn't think them as physical entities like actual naval buoys, but more as navigational markers that are part of your navicom (in fact, we're changing their appearance to look as if they were part of that). Thus, ships of any kind would have these buoys on their computers as it's part of the standard tools of the trade.

As for fielding 20 ISDs... Let's just say this would put such a strain on their economy (remember you need to get the materials for these, and the dynamic economy would dramatically scale up the costs) that they'd collapse entirely shortly afterwards, if they even manage to build them before that happens.

+2 votes     reply to
korn101
korn101 May 15 2011, 12:45pm said:

Really well put. and I really love the ideas guys! Especially the taxing thing I think it's really clever!

+3 votes     reply to
Tilranus
Tilranus May 15 2011, 2:13pm said:

So basically certain ships must be built in order to pilot them?
I'd say it'll be a good idea to do that cause to me having ready ships to pilot providing you have the creds to buy them.
Looks like I have to install the game again to prepare for this.

+4 votes     reply to
TSP-FriendlyFire
TSP-FriendlyFire May 15 2011, 3:36pm replied:

Yeah, we're doing this for capital ships. It would be too complex and cumbersome for fighters to have this, but capitals definitely will. We're still deciding on where to draw the line exactly, but you can expect it to hover near the CR90 corvette. Freighters will also be affected, though again not quite sure where we'll be drawing the line; stay tuned!

+3 votes     reply to
Pennypacker
Pennypacker May 15 2011, 3:04pm said:

I like! I like!
And I 'really' like how you're the economy fits so well with the other ideas, and doesn't just boil down to passive money hauling :)

One question though: Will there be regular server wipes? If so, how often?

+3 votes     reply to
TSP-FriendlyFire
TSP-FriendlyFire May 15 2011, 3:38pm replied:

We're trying to build the server in such a way as to avoid any server wipe whatsoever. You shouldn't expect wipes or "reboots" (scrapping the story and starting back from the starting point of 12 ABY) unless something really terrible happens like massive data losses.

+4 votes     reply to
obliterator789
obliterator789 May 15 2011, 6:38pm said:

Can't wait for this.

+3 votes     reply to
TheGrover
TheGrover May 16 2011, 9:52am said:

OMG, this is looking like an amazing game (note: i didnt say Mod)

i wouldnt be suprised if Microsoft came asking for the code for their own uses, or any other software company, because you guys have worked magic here.

is there actually ANY game system left untouched? all i can suggest is that the server story is kept well-paced, and updated regularly (not in huge blocks) through the ingame news system, you know: keep players up to date with factions' control over certain systems

one last thing: will it be painfully clear which craft are defined as "Capships"? because some people would dispute corvettes and medium freighters following some of the capship rules like vessel loss

+2 votes     reply to
Sizer
Sizer May 16 2011, 10:40am replied:

We'll have a clearly defined list of ships with a total loss penalty.

+2 votes     reply to
TSP-FriendlyFire
TSP-FriendlyFire May 16 2011, 12:29pm replied:

And you'll have a hard time missing which is which; those ships you can lose will also need materials to build, whereas those you can't will not.

+2 votes     reply to
TheGrover
TheGrover May 16 2011, 12:52pm said:

so the need to actually BUILD the capship defines the absolute difference between the normal chips and the capships? at least nobody can complain that they didnt know:P

how does the capship building work? i dont think its possible to load al the resources into one craft, so i presume there is a "resource bank" to put them in?

also, is there a time delay between resource delivery and getting at the helm of the ship? i think a day or so is adequate time for crazed robots to throw an ISD together :D

+2 votes     reply to
Respen
Respen May 28 2011, 7:04pm replied:

Capship building will make use of the stockpile system that we have had planned for quite a while. I briefly mentioned it in the last point under the Dynamic Economy section.

Essentially, stockpiles are built up when players sell commodities at a base. Each base will have its own stockpiles, possibly for each faction.

There will very likely be a time delay of at least a day between the time the capship is built and actually using the capship. Faction command teams will need to actively choose to build the ships and assign them to their faction members, which may add even more time.

+2 votes     reply to
MXMach
MXMach May 17 2011, 7:52pm said:

I want to ask about... the ammo (mainly bobmers' ammo), with all the dynamic economy would they also be affected by it? Like making/buying them?

And last, will there be any missions? (solo and co-op missions?)

+2 votes     reply to
Respen
Respen Jun 8 2011, 2:30pm replied:

As far as I know, it has not yet been determined whether ammunition will be included in the dynamic economy.

As far as missions are concerned, yes they will exist, in a way. Missions are still a work in progress, so stay tuned for more details.

+2 votes     reply to
AjarJunkman
AjarJunkman Jun 11 2011, 8:18am said:

OH GOD!
WHEN WILL IT BE DONE D:

+3 votes     reply to
generalsol
generalsol Sep 8 2011, 3:54am said:

You know, Ive hade so many problems with Freelancer that I gave up on a game that I realy loved with no intention of playing it again. But the beauty and wonder of this mod has caused me to fall in love all over again! Damn you. And great great work -
mod of the year comming up!

+2 votes     reply to
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