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Author Topic: Bridge Commander 2: An Independant Fan Game  (Read 73433 times)

Offline Zach

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Bridge Commander 2: An Independant Fan Game
« on: 19 June 2010 03:20 PM »
(View this article on the website/forum for exclusive screenshots)

In 2002, Totally Games in association with Activision released what would go on to become one of the most modded Star Trek Gaming Experiences of all time.

In fact, according to one website, since Star Trek Bridge Commander was released, over 4600 mods have been released for the game and those mods have been downloaded over 9 million times;  so if that does not make this game one of the most popular Star Trek Games of all time, then we do not know what does.

But Alas, Activision we’re never able to follow up on the huge success of the game with a sequel, and while for a short time, it looked like Star Trek Legacy might be the answer to the prayers of thousands of Star Trek Gamers – it failed to impress and failed to attain the status that Bridge Commander did.

So the task fell to fans and independent developers to attempt to create a sequel, and while over the years a few projects have popped up, using the name “Star Trek Bridge Commander 2” and promising to deliver a free, independently made “fan” game of the same calibre – most of them have fizzled out (though one project continues today, over at www.stexcalibur.com).

Now, another independent developer is working on a Bridge Commander 2 – and this one looks like it may just make it to release.


To explore strange new worlds...in amazing detail

Being developed by Second Star Entertainment, this iteration of Bridge Commander 2 has been in development for around six months, and is being developed using a closed source $1500 dollar engine – which in itself, features an impressive array of modern features such as real time shadows, PhysX, support for 3 scripting languages and more.

All of these engine features will be fully utilized in Bridge Commander 2 and added to, says project lead Kenneth Emerson.

“I have added in light mapping, detail mapping, bump and gloss mapping, speculars, lens flares onto the core engine features.”

Speaking to us about the game, he said:

“So far I have around 40 ships added into the game, from factions including the Federation, The Romulans, Klingons, Dominion, Ferengi and many others.   In addition, I already have the functions in the game for Bridges, External views, dynamic lighting and planet surfaces.  The planets have atmospheres and you will be able to land on them seamlessly. 

Lately, I have been working heavily on the weapons, projectile weapons and damage system, though beam weapons have been giving me some issues.  That said, at the moment I do have a lot of fun testing the physics system by firing torpedoes at Asteroids and watching them react in real time to the force of the explosion”.


If that isn’t impressive enough, he also excitingly reports that two styles of gameplay will be available – outside of your ship in the Bridge Commander style view that we all know and love, and inside the ship with full ship interiors which will be explorable in an Elite Force, first person style.


An example of a Sovereign Classes Bridge from BC2

In addition, he also promises that features such as point defence weaponry, 3 types of shield effects including bubble and skin shields will be available, and that he is working to expand the interiors that he already has so that they are fully explorable, ala virtual voyager in Elite Force’s expansion pack.

Of course, all of these features do not come without a price, which is apparent in the form of a 2012 release date which he is currently aiming for.    He also admits to having gotten off on the wrong foot with some of the existing Bridge Commander communities – who were not impressed with what he was planning to do with Bridge Commander 2, several months ago, but this is something that he hopes time will repair.


The Enterprise charts an asteroid field found in its path

Hailing Frequency was sent an early pre-alpha build of the game to review – and while many features are currently incomplete and need a lot of work – we are impressed with what we see.

The current build of Bridge Commander 2 runs seamlessly at 1920 x 1080 resolution on maximum (ultra) graphical settings on our test computer, and even achieves an impressive frame rate on our much lesser test laptop (AMD x64 2.2ghz, ATI HD4570 512mb, 3gb RAM) achieving above 30fps at 1374 x 768 on high settings.    It looks beautiful and once a few more core features are added in, we really will have the core things needed to have some fun.


This screenshot is straight from our test machine!

As development of the game continues, Hailing Frequency will be sent new and updated builds to test and review on behalf of the wider community – and when asked about a public demo, Mr Emerson had the following to say:

“Wow – you’re asking about demos already – well of course i plan on releasing a demo! Once I get Phasers working properly, I will package up an alpha demo and who knows – the game engine natively supports multiplayer so I may be able to enable some crude multiplayer and launch a demo with a test multiplayer server!”


This Akira Class serves as a test-bed for the games Quantum Torpedoes!

Of course, like any fan or independently developed game, Bridge Commander is being developed in spare time and all volunteers or help are more than welcomed.

“I’m by no means a jack of all trades – I’m a coder, and an ok modeller, but I need artists, UI designers, sound artists, writers to help develop a story driven campaign, texture artists and pretty much anything else a normal game development team might need – otherwise we are going to have a game with all of these features, but no campaign, or bad sound effects, and we don’t want that do we?”.

As mentioned before, Bridge Commander 2 is tentatively aiming for a 2012 release, but like all fan projects, this could be move forwards or backwards depending on real life circumstances.   Until that time, Hailing Frequency will continue to provide updates, regular screenshots and a variety of other updates, in addition to the updates that will be posted on the soon-to-launch website for the project.

Hailing Frequency is hosting a forum section for the game, which can be accessed via a holding page at http://bc2.hailingfrequency.com – and here is one final screenshot to wet your palates until the next update for Bridge Commander 2.


A lone Bird of Prey ventures near the Enterprise!
« Last Edit: 19 June 2010 07:48 PM by Zach »

Offline darkthunder

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Re: Bridge Commander 2: An Independant Fan Game
« Reply #1 on: 19 June 2010 03:55 PM »
Looks promising. Thou it seems his "40+ models" in the game are all taken from existing BC releases. I believe he is using a version of the SNS Galaxy and P81 Akira. So if these models are intended to be the "final" versions, I hope for his sake that he's secured permissions to include them. Also, for all things Star Trek, he better make sure he's secured permissions not only to use the name of Star Trek from Paramount/CBS, but also the Bridge Commander name from Activision.

Many have tried to make a proper "sequel" to Bridge Commander, and none have yet to actually materialize as a completed product. I have high hopes for both this and ST: Excalibur to break this "tradition" and actually manage to complete a release. Thou, I am a bit confused as to why Xsnipe3X aims at competing with ST: Excalibur, rather than trying to collaborate. Since both games are aimed at being a sort-of "BC2".


Offline Zach

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Re: Bridge Commander 2: An Independant Fan Game
« Reply #2 on: 19 June 2010 04:04 PM »
I believe that at the moment, some models are placeholders and others have had permission secured for use.   

Regarding the name usage - as a fan / independant game, its not nessesary to secure any permission to use the name, unless you plan to sell the end product (in which case a license is needed too).

Many fan games use the name "Star Trek" (Star Trek: Excalibur, Star Trek: Supremacy to name two) without any issue and there is no reason to assume there would be any issues in this case.

Anyway - as far as I can concerned, the more fan games, the merrier - I am happy to have this on the scene, in addition to Excalibur.

P.S.  How is it that some people can "look" at a model and instantly know who created it?   Looking at this Galaxy, compared for example, to the one used in Excalibur, I don't see any differences except for lighting, which is engine related.
« Last Edit: 19 June 2010 04:06 PM by Zach »

Offline darkthunder

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Re: Bridge Commander 2: An Independant Fan Game
« Reply #3 on: 19 June 2010 04:36 PM »
P.S.  How is it that some people can "look" at a model and instantly know who created it?   Looking at this Galaxy, compared for example, to the one used in Excalibur, I don't see any differences except for lighting, which is engine related.

While I don't know for sure, I have seen both the SNS Galaxy and P81 Akira enough times over the years, to be able to recognize them. And the ships on these images look uncannily like the SNS Galaxy and P81 Akira :)

Offline Xsnip3rX

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Re: Bridge Commander 2: An Independant Fan Game
« Reply #4 on: 19 June 2010 07:28 PM »
P.S.  How is it that some people can "look" at a model and instantly know who created it?   Looking at this Galaxy, compared for example, to the one used in Excalibur, I don't see any differences except for lighting, which is engine related.

While I don't know for sure, I have seen both the SNS Galaxy and P81 Akira enough times over the years, to be able to recognize them. And the ships on these images look uncannily like the SNS Galaxy and P81 Akira :)

You are wrong about both ships actually... the Galaxy is DJ Curtis's, the the Akira is Home made.
Also known as Kenneth Emerson

Offline darkthunder

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Re: Bridge Commander 2: An Independant Fan Game
« Reply #5 on: 19 June 2010 07:31 PM »
The Akira model may be homemade, but the textures are clearly inspired by, or copied from the P81. I recognize his "easybake-oven" texturing technique anywhere.

EDIT: Not trying to discourage you Xsnip3rX. Just providing a bit of observation thus far. I hope you succeed with this project, I just question why you aim to compete with ST: Excalibur rather than cooperate with them. More games the merrier ofcourse, but with 2 separate game projects aiming to do the same thing (i.e "BC2"), you run the risk of splitting the BC community.
« Last Edit: 19 June 2010 07:33 PM by darkthunder »


Offline Xsnip3rX

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Re: Bridge Commander 2: An Independant Fan Game
« Reply #6 on: 19 June 2010 07:34 PM »
Wrong again, there are multiple textures applied to the ship.

Also, i dont aim to compete with anyone, if i were invited to the excalibur project i might help but i haven't been so i'm doing my own thing.

EDITED BY ZACH
« Last Edit: 19 June 2010 07:48 PM by Zach »
Also known as Kenneth Emerson

Offline Zach

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Re: Bridge Commander 2: An Independant Fan Game
« Reply #7 on: 19 June 2010 07:50 PM »
As far as I can see, Excalibur and BC2, while having a similar style of play, have vastly different objectives, and in fact, BC2 could make it out before Excalibur to provide a much needed Star Trek Game to the community.

As a side observation, as long as the permission is there to use existing community models, or textures, there is no problem there and I trust that Sniper has the permissions.

In summary, I think there is room for more than one "BC" style game, so I don't see any harm in the 2 projects.

I look forward to both Excalibur and BC2.
« Last Edit: 19 June 2010 07:53 PM by Zach »

Offline NanoByte

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Re: Bridge Commander 2: An Independant Fan Game
« Reply #8 on: 19 June 2010 09:21 PM »
Darkthunder we know this guy remember?  I showed you his other projects and screens from them that he showed me on a few occasions.

Glad to see you found an Engine to work with Kenneth, good luck on your many projects that you have!

Offline Warborg

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Re: Bridge Commander 2: An Independant Fan Game
« Reply #9 on: 19 June 2010 10:09 PM »
I'd just be happy to see one released as I missed out on BC, Lost my job the same week I was planning on buying it back in 2002... and I'm not going to pay the $60+ ebay wants for them