Fringespace has become a game project, not a mod project, effective immediately. There is lots of work to do, and most of it will be on the back end in the immediate future, but we have decided to move forward with a complete game and will be utilizing the Unreal Engine for all future development.
Before we say anything else, we want to offer a heartfelt thank you to the FSO/SCP team, Hard Light Productions, and the extended mod community that has graciously given to us over the years. We appreciate you all, and we wouldn’t have got here without your help. We’ve given this move a great deal of thought in the recent past, and while we’ve enjoyed working with FSO, and alongside all of the other mod teams, we’ve finally decided that we just can’t do what we ultimately wanted to do within that platform. FSO is a great project, and we wish every mod which continues to use it all the best.
Tachyon: The Fringe’s multiplayer action is still the best space combat experience ever produced in the history of space simulation. Our ultimate goal is to produce a game with all of those elements, with all the enhancements that modern gaming can offer that experience. Unreal’s multiplayer system can give us everything we want in that regard, and the engine can handle all the visual enhancements that the title has always deserved.
For the immediate future, our plans are to build the framework for Tachyon’s unique flight and combat model. That is what makes the game what it is. We still have the same visual assets, and they will be of use in the future – but the core gameplay, especially the flight model – is of paramount importance.
We thank you all very much for your patience. Small projects like this often take twists and turns with the vicissitudes of life. We hope you will bear with us through this change, and that we’ll see you in the Fringe in the not too distant future.
Just as a personal note – it’s good to be back. As some of you know, I’ve taken a very extended hiatus from the project due to family concerns and job requirements. There has never, ever been anything else like Tachyon: The Fringe. Those of you who know me, know that there are very few people who have loved, or played, this game more than I have. Some of those few have worked with us on this project, and may do so again one day. Whatever else this may be, it has always been a labor of love for me to recreate the best darn game I have ever played.
Again, it’s great to be back in the saddle. I look forward to giving you some progress reports soon. Last, but by no means least – special thanks to JGZinv for keeping the faith for so long, and z64 for his herculean efforts over the years. Everyone owes those two a whole heck of a lot.
I’m back in black – and the Demon Pirate rides again in the Arena. Come get some.
-Joshua “RazorsKiss” Whipps
Greetings space scallywags.
It’s been a while since I wrote an update on the project. This will be a bit long, but very important, so please stick with me.
October has historically been a time of change for the project, we started the last week of September 2006 between just myself and RazorsKiss. Over time that grew to about 13 members and reduced back down. There were quite a few stumbling blocks along the way. Some of those in our personal lives, and many functional setbacks.
2006 in the game development world might as well be ancient history. When we looked across the landscape there was barely even a handful of options to “mod” Tachyon into. Things we now consider staples of industry like Unity, didn’t start gaining legs under their projects until 2007 or UE in 2009. It was barren territory and a different universe. As you know we settled into the Freespace 2 Open community and worked within that framework ever since. We’ve had the pleasure and honor of talking to a few of the original Tach devs over the years and I’d like to think we helped our fellow mods at times leading to a positive, if relatively quiet, presence in the community. We’ve been blessed to learn from and work with everyone.
Ultimately however, the last few years we’ve been asking ourselves “where are we and where do we want to go with this?” Around 2016 we honestly stalled. A huge part of that was not having the features we needed to make progress. Can’t finish a HUD, can’t finish a weapon, ship handling, and so on ad infinitum. Coupled with life stuff, hosting being taken away, losing our file management system, it hurt a lot. We backed up everything, so nothing was truly lost, but it’s comparable to being evicted from your house with no notice. You flounder around for a while and have to find yourself again.
So the team has collectively come to a decision, and unlike you often hear with old mods, it’s not us closing down. We’ve determined to abandon development on the FSO mod, and pursue Unreal Engine two ways.
First, UE is now a very mature engine that several other space games have used over time. It practically has a feature for everything, and the forthcoming enhancements make us all that much more excited for it. We have always firmly believed Tachyon has the best and most fun flight model, and it deserves a true high fidelity, complex world, continuation. We’re also aware THQNordic now has a presence in the USA, and when they purchased Novalogic’s assets they called for project proposals for those licenses. If there is any chance at the project going commercial, becoming official, it has to be done on a licensable engine.
Make no mistake, we’re keenly aware this tantamount to starting over, and reinventing the wheel because UE is a toolset. It’s not pre-set for being a space sim. It’s a cold, empty universe, with an instruction set on how to code DNA left behind by the code gods.
To see the ultimate vision we wanted to in 2006 however, it’s a necessary leap of faith. We’re also more experienced now than a couple of fresh-faced mod noobs in 2006. Those years were not a waste.
Secondly, we have a sub-goal we hope will benefit all space sim fans. Again it’s 2020, when we looked at alternatives to going to UE there isn’t much out there that’s moddable. So much now is games as a service, or locked down like Squadrons, or dead because it is so old/inflexible. Before we load in the Tachyon assets and approach THQ, we intend to build up the various features that all space sims have needed. This sounds like a ton of work, but really there is a great deal of crossover when you start making a list. We want to document this and offer it as a prepared mod kit to the world to spur space sim development. The bottom line is that we’ll have to largely build this anyway, to make Tachyon. It’s a waypoint on the roadmap.
Are we any less ambitious or crazy than when we started? Nope.
We do however have some renewed vigor in the direction we want to go and some hope for where we are taking things. We anticipate we’ll have an easier time recruiting for the project with this path as well.
Support that I’ve offered over the years for Tachyon will continue. Believe it or not, we are still able to host public games ourselves 21 years later.
If you’d like to help us with the project in any capacity, please join us on our Discord. https://discord.gg/0VT8HgdsF0nTsRAH If you can’t contribute like that, feel free to drop by to chat, or join us for a game in Tach for old times sake. Emotional / fan support is still support, and appreciated.
So FringeSpace is here to stay, and we look forward to opening that megagate to an even more amazing universe for you.
Thanks for sticking with us on this journey.