Stormkeeper: First off, tell us a little ‘bout yourself.
Mobius: Well, my name’s Francesco D’Amico and I live near a town called Lamezia Terme, in southern Italy. I’m a University newbie, too.
Stormkeeper: When did you first join HLP?
Mobius: It happened in May 10th, 2006. I used to visit HLP since late 2005 thanks to Karajorma’s FreeSpace FAQ, which led me to the most important FS fanbase. I really love FREDding. I’ve been FREDding a lot for two years and a half but, sadly, none of the missions I’ve worked on has been released yet. I was like many other FREDders – I started with a big project and lost interest due to lack of additional ideas and skills. Useless to say, however, that my first 30-40 FRED attempts turned out to be a nice way to improve my skills. I’m currently working on the remake of Inferno: Alliance, a campaign released in late 2006. I’m also working on Neo Terra Victorious, whose old demo is very well known. I’m also part of the Earth Defense team but my lack of spare time led me to become a FRED advisor and idea guy for ED. I hope to have more time for that project in the future, because it’s very promising. The other projects I used to work on, like Steadfast, are currently on hold. Steadfast, for example, is without any doubt the first cutscened campaign in development. By cutscened I mean a campaign in which every single mission has take-off, landing, and important-events-related in-mission cutscenes. I hope it’ll be released in the future.
Stormkeeper: The first team you joined was the Inferno team correct?
Mobius: If you’re referring to the first team with certain importance within the community I’d say yes. If you were generalizing, I’d say no – the Steadfast team was the first one I joined. Steadfast focused my attention on Inferno and, in fact, I was a pretty active poster in the main Inferno forum. My interest attacked Woomeister’s attention, who decided to hire me and a few other people as testers for the first release of INFA. I became a full member of INFASA in early 2007.
Stormkeeper: So the first team you joined was Steadfast?
Stormkeeper: What was it like, working on the Steadfast campaign?
Mobius: Thanks to it I realized how wonderful FREDding is. Dysko wasn’t incorrect when he claimed that I FREDded 99% of Steadfast missions. I’ve also learned a lot about table editing and other aspects of FS modding from it. Unfortunately, however, the project was put on hold due to the lack of dedicated team members (without considering me) and free time. Since it is an INF campaign with many mods to the main INF pack I hope to work on it after the release of INF SCP.
Stormkeeper: So from there you began working on INF?
Mobius: Thanks to Steadfast I became an Inferno fanboy. As I said, I’ve been working as FREDder since early 2007 and the fact that INFASA is nearly done makes me proud of my work. I’ll soon start working on the other INF campaigns, INFA2 and INF SCP, and hope to turn them into enjoyable campaigns. Inferno R1 and INFA lacked characterization and high-level FREDding – many community members oftentimes claim that, for example, S:AH is much better than the old INFA. My job is to turn INF campaigns into pure campaigns and not only add-ons to a modpack. So far I think I’m performing that task in a nice way.
Stormkeeper: So how, what and why did you choose to take up Neo Terra Victorious?
Mobius: It happened by chance, when I decided to post a thread in the resurrected NTV forum about what, in my opinion, decent plans for an NTF-based campaign should have been like. I played campaigns like Neo Terra and Utopia which, in my opinion, aren’t plausible enough to tell a story about a rebellion that succeeds and achieves its objectives. Soon afterwards my post, Galemp contacted me. In the following discussion I decided to join the team. That’s what led to the current situation.
Stormkeeper: So that led you to take up the reins of NTV?
Mobius: Exactly. To be honest, NTF campaigns have always attracted my attention…among all “What If…?” ones they probably are, in my opinion, the most interesting ones. As I said a while ago on HLP there are many cool campaigns that feature the classic rebellion with the classic leader that, amazingly, musters a fearsome fleet and possesses incredible technologies and information. In NTV you’re going to see a normal rebellion that deals with the lack of equipment and experienced personnel. You’ll get that feeling since the very first mission.
Stormkeeper: And that attracted you greatly?
Mobius: Yeah. Obviously, my comment is not meant to offend other popular campaigns and their designers. What I say is that there are many differences between canon factions and non canon ones when it comes to plausible plotlines – unlike in PI, you can’t expect the NTF to have a superdestroyer or anything else that is without any doubt too implausible.
Stormkeeper: So the NTV tries to capture the very real difficulties that rebellions will face? Like, shortage of supplies and equipment, personnel and all that?
Mobius: Yes, but in a certain way. Although we’re aware of the fact that the NTF doesn’t have enough resources to defeat the GTVA we should also think about the fact that the NTF is the most important authority of three systems – Regulus, Polaris and Sirius – whose importance and capabilities might exceed those of most GTVA systems. Under this circumstance, the NTF will not be “poor” – let’s say that its resources will be divided among its forces. For example, don’t expect rookies to fly the same spacecraft used by regular GTVA pilots who defected to the NTF…at least not at the beginning of their career. The characters will focus the player’s attention on the Lost Generation and its expectations – the heads of young pilots are filled with ideals that change immediately as soon as they join the fight and face GTVA units. The “Dream of Neo Terra” will quickly vanish and Neo-Terrans will suspect that there’s something else behind the rebellion – someone might even accuse Bosch. As we all know, the ideals of Neo Terra are pretty far from Bosch’s true intentions and purposes.
Stormkeeper: So will the dialogue attempt to reflect the hatred of Vasudans?
Mobius: Neo Terrans aren’t all the same. They’re humans, like us, and might be victim of prejudices and stereotypes. For example, it’s very hard to believe to someone who always claims that “Americans are all X”, “Italians are all Y”, “The British are all Z”, etc. etc. Not everyone is supposed to share the feelings of the people s/he lives with. As direct consequence, there are many Neo Terrans who don’t hate the Vasudans. The same principle is applied to any other ideal of Neo Terra. Characters will, in fact, be as much various as possible.
Stormkeeper: So you won’t have a bunch of racist buggers? Because FS2 always gave me the impression that the NTF were united by their Vasudan hatred.
Mobius: I think mine is the most appropriate choice. Many NTF pilots are young people who believe to the ideals of Neo Terra and consider the GTVA a terrible faction to defeat. These pilots have their own feelings and personal interests that lead to have different behaviours towards the GTVA. Obviously, hating the Vasudans help – I think most Terran families lost at least one member during the Terran-Vasudan war and the only way to attract the attention of a vast group of individuals is to show anger towards the Vasudans.
Stormkeeper: So what role will the player take?
Mobius: The presence of characters (who, for instance, will not have callsigns) doesn’t imply the fact that the player’s character sends messages or interacts actively in discussions. The player will be a young pilot so his importance within the NTF fleet is very poor. He’s authorized to use only the most basic spacecraft, like the GTF Valkyrie.
Stormkeeper: So he starts at the bottom rung, basically?
Mobius: More or less. His achievements will eventually turn him into a top notch pilot. He will not be like “Alpha 1”, at least not at the beginning. Things will be very, very balanced during the campaign.
Stormkeeper: No single-handedly taking on the Psamtik and disabling and disarming it?
Mobius: Exactly. Adversaries like the Psamtik might be too strong for the NTF to face directly…you can give for sure that they’ll hardly get destroyed.
Stormkeeper: So what sort of missions, generally speaking, will the player face? Mostly raids and stuff?
Mobius: Since the campaign’s plot has not been fully decided the team doesn’t know what the campaign will really feature. At least at the beginning the player will take place to missions whose importance is somewhat limited, like escorts of ships of minor importance and rodeos (focusing the attention of the enemy on a certain sector while the main NTF plans involve actions in another sector). You’re also going to see many in-mission cutscenes.
Stormkeeper: Rodeos sound interesting.
Mobius: I think the same thing. Things aren’t easy for the NTF when the player isn’t on the main battlefield. The rebellion will face many losses, many of which can’t be prevented. In a given mission the player may be ordered to move from one sector to another (in-mission cutscenes will mostly feature jump sequences) in desperate attempts to save what can be saved from certain capture or destruction. In any case, jump sequences usually feature the jump of the player and the ships he’s escorting to a new sector. You might, for example, escort NTF transports moving from a given region of Deneb to the atmosphere of Cygnus Prime.
Stormkeeper: So the missions will be ‘chained’?
Mobius: No, every mission will be as much independent as possible – rather than creating a new mission with a completely different environment (like the atmosphere of a planet) we simply use in-mission cutscenes and many advanced SEXPs to represent the effect.
Stormkeeper: How long will these missions be?
Mobius: The average NTV mission won’t last long. In escort missions, for example, you’re not going to wait something like 10-15 minutes until a ship fully recharges its subspace drives to jump to another sector. In other words, the presence of in-mission cutscenes doesn’t necessarily imply that missions will last 20+ minutes.
Stormkeeper: From what you told me, the tempo of the missions in NTV will be very different from regular FS2 missions, seeing as most FS2 missions have you on the offensive, hitting at the NTF or Shivans. But a rebellion would be on the defensive a lot, wouldn’t it?
Mobius: Depends on the circumstance, but I can ensure you that missions will not last long enough to discourage players as certain FS and FS2 missions did. In my opinion a mission should, first of all, be enjoyable and possibly have good replay value. About the rebellion – it depends. During Koth’s attack on Epsilon Pegasi, for example, the NTF will be on the offensive. Overall, the rebels will act according to the situation. A rebel fleet cruising a contested system doesn’t spend more than a given amount of time in a sector and is always ready to jump out and spread should GTVA units spot it. The rebels also developed guerrilla-like tactics to take over the GTVA in many environments; I think you’re going to see a very interesting use of the GTF Loki fighter.
Stormkeeper: I’m sure we will.
Mobius: In order to come out with a very nice campaign the team needs more FREDders with good abilities. Thanks to them we might get the job done. A demo featuring the first missions of the main campaign could be released soon. If the team is big and motivated enough we could come out with more than one campaign set during the NTF rebellion. The new NTV continuity starts during the Battle of Deneb but we could eventually create side campaigns set earlier, at the very beginning of the NTF.
Stormkeeper: Interesting. Well, thanks for your time, Mobius. Any last words for our readers?
Mobius: I hope to bring you many enjoyable campaigns, guys.