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FreeSpace 2 is a 1999 space combat simulation computer game developed by Volition, Inc. as the sequel to Descent: FreeSpace – The Great War. It was completed ahead of schedule in less than a year, and released to great critical acclaim. Engrossing gameplay, excellent sound effects in addition to the inclusion of vocal talent such as Robert Loggia and Ronny Cox led several gaming sites to have proclaimed it as the definitive simulation game for 1999.

The game continues on the story from Descent: FreeSpace, once again thrusting the player into the role of a pilot fighting against the mysterious aliens, the Shivans. While defending the human race and its alien Vasudan allies, the player also gets involved in putting down a rebellion. The game features large numbers of fighters alongside gigantic capital ships in a battlefield fraught with beams, shells and missiles in detailed star systems and nebulae. Free multiplayer games were available via Parallax Online which also ranked players by their statistics. A persistent galaxy was also available as SquadWar for players to fight with each other over territories.

In 2002, Volition released the source code for the game engine to the public. This code became the core of the FreeSpace 2 Source Code Project, which has produced several mods based on science fiction series such as Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica.

Additional Info: Wikipedia

My contributions:

My primary role on FS2 was that of a Cinematic Artist. Along with my colleague, the two of us created 13 minutes of original pre-rendered cinematics within a 6 month period. Work included storyboards, layout, camera work, lighting, animation, vfx, and final comp. This was my first game job and it was one heck of a crash course straight out of school!

Additionally, I created several in game ship models, concepts, mission briefing animations, and pilot heads. Samples are listed and linked to below:

  • FS2 - Cinematics - September 30, 1999

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    Sample of some of the cinematic shots that I am responsible for in FreeSpace2.


    I'm creating this entry some 10 years after the work was completed and I don't recall all of the details.  However, here are a few:

    • As a Cinematic Artist on this project, I was responsible for story boards, layout, modeling anything required that wasn't already in the game, camerawork, lighting, vfx, and final composition.
    • My cinematic partner on the project, Matt Flegel, and I created approximate 13 minutes of footage pre-rendered at 640 x 320.
    • Created using:
      • 3dsmax r3
      • Cebas Pro Optic Suite
      • Photoshop 6
      • Image Alchemy
      • Pentium 5 200mHz w/256mb RAM, 40 gb hdd, & nvidia TNT card.

  • FS2 - Box Cover - September 1, 1999

    I designed and created this image with the intention of it being a magazine cover for FS2.  Instead it ended up becoming the box cover. My concerns in the design were leaving room for titles and copy on the top and shoulders while maintaining a strong rhythm and visual flow to guide the viewers' eye around the piece.  Additionally, "beam weapons" were a big new feature in the game and I made an obvious effort to showcase them :) I remember being amazed while working on an image of this size back in 1998, some 6600x8400 pixels. That's the equivalent of a 55mp image today, but on much more primitive hardware.

  • FS2 - Ship Models - January 23, 1999

    I designed, modeled, and textured this enemy, alien bomber.  Note, the front is the heavy end with the tapered limbs pointing back and suggesting movement.
    This ship wasn't in the game design spec, but being a Stars Wars fan I paid homage to the medical frigate introduced in Empire Strikes back with this ship that I created in my off hours for the game.
    I designed this ship, based off of the F117A Stealth Fighter.  Matt Flegel modeled and textured it while we were waiting for script revisions to continue with the FS2 cinematics.
    I designed this as a modular quarter piece that could be instanced * 4 to create a ring.  Then multiple rings could be used to surround capital ships in the game.  The reason for this instancing was to conserve memory and put a little more detail into a small area that could be replicated as this object was quite big in the game and the player could fly in and around it along with other ships docked at it. The model & texture work was done by John Enricco.
    This is a shot of the 'dry dock' in action, performing maintenance on a capital ship.
    "Nebulas" were one of a few big features for FS2.  This "Gas Miner" was a design for a ship that might work in a gas miner, collecting, storing, and transporting gasses. I believe this was the first ship that I modeled at Volition.  A learned a great deal about UVW mapping and tiling textures on this.  IIRC, 3dsmax didn't have a UVW Unwrap modifier at the time!  Also, we had some proprietary command line tools that would pack the bitmaps down to a single atlas for the game.
    This is my concept for an alien (Vasudan) gas miner.  I created the base model using spline-patches with the final later being handed over to John Enricco while I moved onto other tasks.  Sorry, I don't seem to have a shot of the final result.
    Here are some shots of a repair droid that I made for one of the cinematics.