So, you ask “what is it?” Well, that’s a good question. This mod does a lot of things. The first thing I should say is that this mod CHANGES Freelancer gameplay. It’s also centered around people who like to play on a LAN or small server with friends, and want a real challenge with Freelancer. I feel what separates it from most mods is that does not add any new “cool” ships or systems, which in my opinion detract from the experience (with the exception of the Serafina Freighter which was added). Another problem I had with Freelancer mods was that there was nothing to do after getting an awesome ship, besides killing other players and having clan-wars. While these antics are quite entertaining, most of the time I liked played offline with my friends on a LAN. Finally, I liked being able to fly everything I saw being flown, a feature I’m quite proud of in 88 Flak – just about everything you see now, including stations, can be flown (around 30 stations and 8 weapons platforms have been added since Flak 1.25).
Another thing Flak is centered around is the humble Capital Ship. I loved Capital Ships and felt that no mod used them to their potential, as far as NPCs went at least – I wanted to see BIG fights. I wanted to recreate what’s done in the box cover art – that is, one big load of ships flying about, with another big load of capital ships blowing the crap out of stuff. Basically, I wanted to have massive 40+ ship conquests with stuff blowing up everywhere, etc.. Anyone who’s played the final level on Crimson Skies will know the feeling. And I wanted that feeling in every fight.
But of course, the mainstream of Freelancer – online support – would not be able to handle that well. So, I offer something I’m a little proud of – flexibility. Almost everything that would clog up a server’s bandwidth has the option of being toggled. NPC counts can even be lowered and raised, depending on what kind of server you want to run. You can apply a patch that increases the level-of-detail on every obejct in the game (you can see a station in full detail across a system) – but it’s a performance hit, hence why it’s an optional patch. 88 Flak is, to my knowledge, the most customizable mod out there, and I aim to keep it so.
But, it didn’t stop there. I went on to create a full ship balance system, where everything had its ups and downs – I liked ship buying centered more around a person’s style than around what’s better in stats. I liked having Capital Ships shoot down fighters like balloons, because of their mammoth size – not getting shot down by a single fighter like in some mods we know. And, of course, I made reality my personal standing on the whole subject – if an NPC flys it, somewhere down the road YOU can too. No more staring longingly at a Train, a Cruiser, or even a Battleship, because they can all be yours.
I also created a system where ships handle differently depending on their engine type – for example, the Rheinland line of engines grants you some extra power while you’re moving, however sucks away some of your overall top speed (literally, speed from strafing and thrusters is affected too). Or Kusari engines – they can zip around all day with ease, but their power supply is 110% crap. This again makes ship purchases not oriented around what’s ‘better’, but more around the playing style of a person – if you like to dodge shots, dishing out the damage in small amounts, a Bloodhound or Drake is a much better bet than a Patriot or Banshee, much less a Heavy Fighter like a Defender.
Finally, I created something that was somewhat of a “holy grail” in Freelancer modding – NPC wingmen. Ever wanted to lead a ragtag squad of Rogues to pillage some poor Transports – or, even better, that annoying little twit on the other end of the system who won’t quit trash-talking? Now you can, with great vengeance, because I think you’ll find Flak’s friendly and enemy AI to be impressive, to say the least.
And, most importantly, I liked keeping all of this crazy stuff I mentioned within Freelancer’s default systems. That’s right. No systems that hog all the neat new features. You can and will see things even as extreme as a Nomad assault force full of fighters and Capital Ships coming to teach Manhattan a lession.
The aim of the mod will always remain the same – to provide more ways to obliterate your foes than ever before, in one of the most intense combat environments possible.
Welcome to 88 Flak.