FreeSpace Trivia

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Quirks

Mission-related Quirks

  • In The Place of Chariots, the mission where you encounter the NTF Boadicea, Volition used the facing-waypoint SEXP to ensure that the Boadicea never appears when the player is looking directly at it. If the player turns toward the area where the Boadicea appears and never turns away, the mission will never progress.
  • The mission name 'Exodus' appears in all three Volition single-player campaigns (The Main FreeSpace Campaign, Silent Threat, and FreeSpace 2).
  • The mission names 'The Great Hunt' and 'Clash of the Titans' (with/without II on the end) appear in both FS1 and FS2.
  • As Lightning Fall is the only FreeSpace 2 mission with no beams mounted on any ship.
  • In FRED, ships are auto-named by assigning a number to their ship class (for example, GTC Leviathan 5). However, if a ship already has the name about to be assigned by the auto-namer, the new ship will be named "U.R.A. Moron 1".
  • During FreeSpace 1, most if not all Hammer of Light ships were actually assigned the Neutral IFF. The Shivans were assigned the Hostile IFF, which allows the two sides to engage each other. Note however, that Neutral ships will not attack Hostile ships unless specifically ordered to, in keeping with the HoL's non-resistance belief when it comes to Shivans. Apart from behavior, this is impossible to tell in-game as both Neutral and Hostile IFFs appear red on the HUD. It could also be noted that in certain missions NTF ships were also marked Neutral.
  • Some FreeSpace 1 FRED mission descriptions read, "i am the god of beer and fire."
  • The Place of Chariots and The Romans Blunder appear to have been designed as a linked pair of missions. The freighters in the first mission appear in the second one and have been set to carry cargo containing the same things. Both freighters and cargo have been set to red alert.
  • Rather bizarrely, SJ Sathanas 01 is set to red-alert in High Noon. We cannot be entirely sure what that means. It could be a simple mistake or it could be an indication that Sathanas 01 was meant to accumulate damage from a preceding mission (There is a systematic error in the Volition missions where they set red-alert-carry on both the mission preceding the red alert and the red alert itself).
  • The Shivan Azrael transport that carries off Bosch in Return to Babel is also set to red-alert.
  • Most interestingly of all, Alpha wing in Their Finest Hour is set up to red-alert. This can indicate that the last three missions of the campaign were all meant to be played in sequence. This probably proved too difficult, so the first mission was turned into a stand alone.
  • The SOC pilots, "Xinny" and "Zero", who fly with the player in Into the Lion's Den, are actually named after two real FreeSpace 1 multiplayer pilots who reached the top of the scoreboards and were offered to be mentioned in FreeSpace 2 by Volition.

Ship-related Quirks

  • The Aten cruiser destroyed before the mission in La Ruota Della Fortuna is designated Maltusa.
  • The SCv Moloch's fighterbay was never used in the main campaign. However, it was used in a multiplayer mission.
  • The TTC 1 tech container does not appear at all in either the FS1 or Silent Threat campaigns. A few of them appear in ...But Hate the Traitor, during the FS2 campaign. It also appears in the FS2 cutscene "Colossus" (albeit slightly enlarged).
  • The ship name Andromeda was used for three Vasudan ships and one Terran ship: the PVFR Andromeda in The Hammer and the Anvil, the PVC Andromeda in The Pursuit, the GTSC Andromeda in On the Run, and the GVC Andromeda in a command briefing in Surrender, Belisarius!.
  • The Scarab support ship and the Ra escape pod have FreeSpace's only "in-game" depiction of a Vasudan, Shivan, or Terran. The "unmanned" Scarab has a dead Vasudan in its debris, while the Ra's story is somewhat more interesting.
  • The GTEP Hermes, GTS Centaur, PVS Scarab, GVS Nephthys and GTS Hygeia all have untargetable engine subsystems but can still be disabled by weapons fire. The Centaur in Enter the Dragon is occasionally disabled by the Shakti's blob turrets, for example. The Ra has an engine subsystem as well, but for whatever reason, it cannot be disabled.
  • In the second training mission of FS2, there is an Arcadia-class installation named the Kos. It appears to serve no purpose in the mission.
  • All GTVA warships in Their Finest Hour are beam-freed by SEXP. However, the GTC Stalwart and GVC Heket are beam-freed moments before they warp in, so they are unable to fire their beams for the entire mission. Only the GVCv Khepri's beam-free-all SEXP was set correctly.
  • The Vasudans have no equivalent to the GTT Argo or SFr Asmodeus. To get around this problem in Return to Babel, the Vasudans actually use an Argo transport named the GVT Qeb. There is Volition concept art for the GVT Qeb class, which was apparently never made.
  • The GTD Hecate model is apparently based off that of the GTD Hades. The bow, rear engine arrangement, and "vertical" superstructures are similar.
  • The GVB Bakha is never "given" to the player using an allow-ship SEXP; it is only forced in Bearbaiting and High Noon, both being "scramble" missions. On a related note, the GVB Sekhmet is the only Terran or Vasudan fighter/bomber in FS2 that the player is never granted, or has a chance to fly in, during the main single-player campaign.
  • The player has only one chance to fly the GTF Pegasus, in Endgame.
  • Viewed from the side, the Arcadia installation resembles the GTA logo.
  • The Zephyrus and Anuket gas miner-class vessels have dockpoints named 'blahblah'.
  • Almost all the freighters and transports, namely the Elysium, Chronos, Poseidon, Isis, Bast, Ma'at, Satis, Azrael, Mephisto and Asmodeus have unused shield meshes. The shield meshes can easily be re-activated by editing the ships.tbl file. None of the new freighters or transports included with FreeSpace 2 share this trait.
  • The GTSG Mjolnir has a shield system with 800 hitpoints. However, it lacks a shield mesh, thus it has no shields by default.

Weapon-related Quirks

  • The BFGreen is only used once in the game (during Endgame and only on one of the Colossus' turrets).
  • The LRBGreen was only used once, in High Noon.
  • You can target your own bomb using the target-object-in-reticle key as well as the proximity target key. If you have previously acquired an aspect lock on a target, your target display will show a video from the bomb's seeker. If you have not acquired an aspect lock yet, it will show the regular display.
  • The player is granted the Cyclops#short before Slaying Ravana. The player actually uses Cyclops#shorts until the The King's Gambit; he is never granted the "real" Cyclops, but uses it anyway for The King's Gambit.
  • The Harbinger missile model is reused as the tip of the Stiletto missile model.
  • The amount of damage that a beam can inflict on a friendly is limited. On Very Easy, Easy, Medium, Hard, and Insane, the limits are 0, 5, 10, 20, and 30 damage, respectively (per every ~.2 seconds).
  • A FreeSpace Reference Bible command brief states that the Terrans or Vasudans "tried three different missile prototypes, with no luck whatsoever" against the Lucifer as it attacked "the Vasudan outpost in the Diones system".

Other Quirks

  • There are only three canon references to ground warfare in FreeSpace. If the player wins the first mission in FS2, he is told that 600,000 ground troops are sent to invade Cygnus Prime. Also, there is an FS1 multi mission where the player attacks an HoL marine convoy. Finally, the FS2 multi mission Rebel Intercept has the player intercepting NTF reinforcements headed to reinforce a ground battle in Sirius.
  • FS1 command brief and tech room .anis normally had readable text. Almost all FS2 .anis, however, have some kind of nonsense text. The Meson Bomb command brief animation reads like an advertisement (Guaranteed to blow anything up...).
  • Almost every radio message in FS2, other than training messages, is accompanied by a head animation. Several radio messages in FS1, however, don't have a head animation. None of the freighter's messages in FS1 have one, and there are two instances of "Command" not having an animation. In Eve of Destruction, if the GTC Orff is destroyed, Command speaks without a head .ani. Also, in Paving the Way, Admiral Wolf's messages have no head .ani. In the FS2 mission Mystery of the Trinity, when the NTC Trinity reaches critical damage, a pilot speaks without a head .ani. This is due to a bug with the personas.
  • The only squadron leader or admiral that the player ever sees is Admiral Wolf. Admiral Wolf (Alpha 1's commander on the GTD Galatea) appears once, in a cutscene (and also a few times in-mission with the normal command head .ani).
  • The FS2 techroom animation for Sol shows the Earth facing backwards and rotating the wrong way.
  • The FS1 Vasudan persona is not fully voice-acted.
  • In ships.tbl in both FS1 and FS2, ship names beginning with an "@" indicate a ship that was present in the demo.
  • FreeSpace contains many node inconsistencies. For example various FS1 command brief ANIs show 3 different nodes connecting Sol to other systems (but not all at once).
  • Right-clicking in the mainhall allows you to cycle through interface choices.
  • Mission sm3-05 in FS1 makes reference to an enigmatic "Ysusi System". In the mission briefing display, there is a node labelled "Ysusi System" placed outside the view area.
  • The Hermes escape pod in Out of the Dark, Into the Night is capable of intersystem jumps, but at the same time, the larger Medusa bomber can't.

Bugs

Software, mission design, and similar bugs.

  • Exclusive to FS1, if a support ship is ordered to dock with the player through AI orders and not by player command, the player's ship will be thrown out of the game area at high velocity in an intense spin. Leaving the game area by warping is subsequently impossible due to the spin.
  • The FreeSpace engine's solution to complicated collision problems is to fling one of the offending objects far out of the game area, in the order of 500,000 units. It was once a minor pastime of the FreeSpace community to see how far one could be "flung" after messing around with the Orion's fighterbay.
  • In Love the Treason..., the jump node to Regulus is named "Regulas".
  • If you fire bombs into certain fighterbays, such as the Arcadia's, your bombs will fly in circles until they run out of fuel and explode.
  • If you name an object "planet" in FRED, and you go near the object in-game, a message will appear saying "Too close to planet. Taking damage!"
  • In the command briefing animation for The King's Gambit, the strategy is described in "Stage One" followed by "Stage 2".
  • Sentry 04 in 'Place of Chariots' is assigned the cargo "Unable To Scan".
  • The TC-TRI cargo containers carried by Capricorn wing in "The Romans Blunder" are friendly.
  • The GTI Ganymede is never used during the main FS2 campaign, although it appears in a multiplayer dogfight.
  • The SCv Moloch's fighterbay paths are misplaced. It also has an incorrect turret normal on one of its bottom laser turrets that allows the Moloch to fire through itself. This is a common problem with Volition FreeSpace models. For example, the GTFr Chronos can fire straight through itself, as well as the Medusa's turret in FS1, giving the players a whole 360 degree firing range of the turret.
  • The Myrmidon fighter is able to carry Helios anti-matter bombs, but not Cyclops or other heavy weaponry. This never has a chance to be noticed in the main campaign, as the player only uses the Helios in the two scramble missions Bearbaiting and High Noon. This is widely believed to be either a data entry error or some kind of joke.
  • The "big damage", "huge", etc. flags are not fully implemented in FS1; it's possible to kill the Lucifer with an ML-16. They are implemented in FS2, however.
  • If you order a support ship to depart while it is still docked to you in FreeSpace 1, the game will register that you warped out, but you become invincible and can continue the mission. However, you will not be able to complete the mission, and any red-alert triggers will result in the next mission being screwed up and the game will crash.

Design Changes

This category includes both early development decisions that were later changed, game engine changes between FS1 and FS2.

  • Act I of FreeSpace 1 (consisting of the missions up to First Strike) was originally released as Descent: FreeSpace - Darkness Rising. This OEM version was included with several Dell computers along with Sidewinder joysticks as part of a promotional offer.
  • Volition released a FreeSpace Alpha version to several reviewers before the release of FS1. The Alpha contained a stripped-down, incomplete version of FS1, with the two FS1 demo missions plus an original mission featuring a Fenris/Leviathan cruiser named GTC Juggernath. The mission was dropped before the official demo shipped.
  • According to a table file in FS2, Silent Threat had another weapon known as the "GTM-84 Corkscrew Missile", and was "deemed too wacky for final release."
  • Despite what the training missions say, support ships never run out of secondary weapons.
  • The SC Cain and SC Lilith cruiser originally had a different hull design, with two fin-like appendages protruding from the lower hull. These can clearly be seen in alpha/beta screenshots.
  • The Prometheus was originally introduced much earlier into the game (sometime around The Big Bang).
  • First Strike originally had an asteroid field.
  • The special-issue DVD release of Descent: FreeSpace used planet bitmaps as backgrounds like in FS2, as well as afterburner trails. These additional effects were also apparently included in the demo, although they are missing in the main release.
  • If you export the Artemis/Ares/Nephthys/Ptah/Sekhmet POF to COB, you can see that the main object is called "herca", suggesting that they were either based on or were early concepts for the Hercules Mk II.
  • The Bakha was originally a fighter.
  • Shivan ships were originally green in color.
  • The SD Demon's hull integrity was increased by 60% between FS1 and FS2, from 100,000 to 160,000 hitpoints.
  • The old FreeSpace 2 website, which had a Bug Fix of the Day page, stated that FS1 had a 50 point penalty for rearming (62.5 points on Insane). This point penalty system was removed in FS2.
  • In the mission Into the Maelstrom, there are two Elysium transports named Hauler 1 and Hauler 2. They have no purpose in the mission.
  • Clash of the Titans had a Fenris-class cruiser designated the Gladiator. Its arrival cue was set to false, however.
  • In Their Finest Hour, the Colossus has a complex waypoint path, implying that it was originally meant to have a complicated and dramatic battle with SJ Sathanas 17. In the final version, the waypoints are not used and the Colossus is disabled. Command orders the Colossus to warp out even though its engines aren't working.
  • The FS1 voice VP contains some "alternate" voice acting for several missions. For example, the freighter and transport dialogue during First Strike was apparently originally voiced by a woman.
  • The command briefing for Enter the Dragon refers to "your investigation of the Lucifer at Antares". Alpha 1 had not even encountered the Lucifer at that point in the campaign.
  • FRED1 (the mission editor for FS1) originally had a feature known as TBL info. It is now present in FRED2_OPEN.
  • The Lucifer tech description in FS1 states that it has three "flux" cannons. However, it only has two. The third beam (perhaps the one used for bombarding planets) was probably meant to be mounted on the bow of the ship. Development notes specify that a beam is to be located on each set of three red circles.
  • The high-res Lucifer model that Volition used for cutscenes has two "antennae" that are not present in the in-game model. They were probably removed for aesthetic reasons, but the non-canon HTL Lucifer re-incorporated them. Also, the high-res Lucifer has several green lights along with its red lighting which are clearly visible in the endgame cutscene.
  • Originally, Eve of Destruction had the player cast as part of the GTC Orff's crew, not the GTD Galatea's. This can be verified through briefing screenshots taken from FreeSpace Alpha.
  • The FreeSpace Reference Bible seems to imply that groups ships jumping in from subspace were originally intended to all come through the same "hole", rather than each ship having an individual hole. (The pilot is soon within sight of the Terran installation. As the pilot struggles to relay his story and keep his bomber from disintegrating, many subspace holes open up in front of him, out of which streams of Shivan fighters pour.)
  • There is a sound file in the FS1 VPs called "Approach.wav" that sounds like a fighter coming in to land on its carrier. This implies that Volition initially intended there to be a landing cutscene at the end of each mission, like Wing Commander. The file might also be a leftover from an earlier design choice with every mission ending with the player entering a docking bay. This was scrapped early on, due to it severely changing the way missions were played.
  • The FS2 voice VP, stu_fs2.vp, contains voice acting for an unreleased mission, M09. More information can be found on the Hard Light thread on the subject.
  • The reason why FreeSpace is called FreeSpace is because it actually is referring to subspace. Inside the reference bible, the following quote is found "When scientists discovered what used to be called “FreeSpace” (now referred to as “subspace”)"
  • Snipes' voice actor was originally going to be the voice of the Training Instructor, but this was changed sometime in development.

Renamings

Most of these renamings were noticed in pre-release screenshots, model file names, or in FRED by looking at internal names used in the missions themselves.

  • Hostile Vasudan wings were originally called "Steel", "Brass", "Iron", etc.
  • Shivan wings were originally called "Cobra", "Viper", "Hornet", etc.
  • The Cyclops bomb was originally named Belial.
  • The Harpoon missile was originally named Crossbow. The name for the missile can clearly be seen in the FreeSpace 2 trailer.
  • The Subach HL-7 laser was originally named Subach HL-33.
  • The Subach HL-7 laser and Mekhu HL-7 laser were originally named Sidearm. The name SD-4 Sidearm can clearly be seen in the FreeSpace 2 trailer. Moreover, in the retail version of FreeSpace 2 the icon and animation files for the weapons are still called iconSD4 and SD4, respectively.
  • The Akheton SDG laser was originally named DR-2 Scalpel. At some point during the development phase it was also known as Akheton DR-2.
  • The Interceptor was originally called the Shrike. At one point it was also called the Mega.
  • The Avenger laser was originally named Phalanx.
  • The ML-16 laser was originally named Light Laser.
  • The Harbinger was originally called the Mag-Pulse.
  • The Prometheus was originally called the Flux.
  • The Phoenix V was originally called the Angelfire.
  • The Synaptic was originally called the Cluster.
  • The MX-50 was originally called the Rockeye. The name is still present in the FreeSpace 1 demo.
  • The Rockeye was originally called the Wasp.
  • The GTW-83 Lamprey was originally called the Shrieker, and was later changed to GTW-83 Light Laser, before finally settling on the present name.
  • The Hornet was originally called the Swarm.
  • The GTW-66 Maxim Cannon was originally called the GTW-66 Newton Cannon.
  • The Morning Star was originally called the Mace. Later in development the name was changed to Flail II. Ultimately, though, it was renamed Morning Star.
  • The Hornet was originally called the Bombardier.
  • NTF wings were originally called "Corsair", "Bandit", etc.
  • Admiral Khafre's name was originally Admiral Hepsut (Surrender, Belisarius)
  • The GTD Aquitaine was originally named the GTD Intrepid.
  • The GTD Galatea, was originally named the ITA Repulse (FreeSpace Reference Bible).
  • The SJ Sathanas was originally named Apocalypse. If you look at your event log after completing A Monster in the Mist, you can still see a goal named "Scan Apocalypse Subsystems".
  • The GTFr Chronos was originally named Boar.
  • The GVF Tauret was originally named Crab.
  • The SF Dragon was originally named Mosquito.
  • The Avenger Prototype was originally named Mass Driver Prototype.
  • Shivan wings were also originally named "Scab Alpha", "Scab Beta", etc.
  • For a long time the Apollo fighter was called SF-XX Generic Fighter.
  • In the Alpha version, the Fury Missile still used the graphics of the left-out G-13 Medium Laser. The laser weapon disappeared completely before the original FreeSpace 1 demo, and was unique to the Alpha version. It also looks a lot like the Tsunami colored grey.

Cutscene quirks

Allegedly, Volition contracted another company to make the FreeSpace cutscenes. They have several canon inconsistencies.

FreeSpace 1 Intro

  • The "Apollo" pictured in the FS1 introduction cutscene is actually a modified version of the in-game Apollo. According to the FreeSpace Reference Bible, the Apollo in the intro cutscene is a "Terran bomber". Its gun mounts are slightly different and off-center, among other changes. Perhaps Volition placed the Apollo's gun mounts closer to the centerline for the sake of playability. The Manticore, too, has different fire points (mounted on the twin "booms" instead of centered like they are in the game. These different firing points make a return in the FS2 intro).
  • If you look carefully, you can see a (apparently dead) copilot in the front seat of the intro's Apollo-bomber. He is visible for less than a second. The FreeSpace Reference Bible refers to this copilot as the "gunner".
  • Hercules and Medusa icons are shown on Riviera Station's radar display (although no Hercs or Medusas are visible in the cutscene).

Hallfight

FreeSpace 2 Intro

  • The HLP community has christened the Orion-class destroyer holed in the intro as the GTD Legion, with consent from Volition. FS1 command briefings claim that the Bastion and Galatea are guarding Deneb, and makes no reference to any other Terran destroyers guarding the system. Volition has stated that this ship was not the Galatea, and the Bastion does not bite the bullet until nearly the end of FS2.
  • A Shivan Demon-class destroyer appears after the destruction of the Legion, even though the only Shivan destroyer (other than the Lucifer) in the system, the Eva, was already destroyed in Evangelist.
  • The beam fire from the SD Lucifer that destroyed the Legion comes out of the port side of the ship, rather than the "arms" of the Lucifer, from which the beams fired in FS1 missions.
  • The sound of the SD Lucifer's beam firing is exactly the same as the BFGreen's.
  • The GTB Ursa is shown even though it was not distributed among GTA fleets until after Running the Gauntlet.
  • None of the Fenris cruisers had their missile launchers shown.
  • A Hercules is shown crashing into the planet after getting shot down. It sits on the planet surface, relatively undamaged. In reality, an object in uncontrolled descent from orbit with the mass of a FreeSpace 2 fighter (which is hardly budged by "mutli-kiloton" missiles) would leave a deep crater in the ground. The pilot would experience extreme g-force upon impact and would not be alive to climb out of the cockpit as he apparently does in the cutscene.
  • The GTD Hades is shown as a wreck on the surface of the Deneb planet. Silent Threat command briefings indicate that the Hades was destroyed in Beta Aquilae, however.

Colossus cutscene

  • The Ganymede in the cutscene is several times bigger than normal.
  • The Lucifer is smaller than normal.
  • The Chronos freighters have two turrets, as opposed to the usual one, and they look different from the normal turret.
  • The Chronos freighters are either much smaller than their in-game counterparts, or the TTC 1 cargo pod is much bigger.
  • Mirfak is named Mirfax.
  • The Galatea appears in the Colossus fleet.
  • The Colossus data scene has several blocks of text, all of them starting with "Math is cool."

"Real Life"

This category includes mainly business decisions, but also interesting connections between FreeSpace and RL.

  • FreeSpace 1 was officially distributed as "Conflict: FreeSpace - The Great War" in Europe and "Descent: FreeSpace - The Great War" in the United States.
  • The GTM Infyrno is a deliberate misspelling of Inferno, for copyright reasons.
  • It's FreeSpace, not Freespace (notice the capitalization of the S).
  • FreeSpace 1 is called Descent: FreeSpace in the US due to copyright issues with the disk compression utility FreeSpace.
  • FreeSpace 2 was originally named FreeSpace 2: Colossus (for the demo). Even before that, it was named FreeSpace 2: Exodus.
  • In Greek, the plural of Knossos is Knossoi, and the plural of Sathanas is Sathanai (ancient Greek) or Sathanes (modern Greek). These are loose translations; Sathanas is simply the Greek representation of the Hebrew word for Satan. Volition always circumvented the plural by using phrases such as "Sathanas juggernauts".
  • Volition employees apparently created a humorous music track known as Bite Me, created from numerous voice acting outtakes.

Canon inconsistencies: Retail FS2 box

Several canon inconsistencies are present on the retail FS2 box (although these inconsistencies are not generally accepted as canon themselves):
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The front side of the European box edition.
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The back side of the European box edition.
  • The GTCv Deimos is listed as an AWACS ship (on the backside of the box there is written "GTA Deimos"). However, the following text specifies that the ship class is a "corvette" (on the back side of the box).
  • The Deimos has side-mounted multipart turrets that are not present in the game, or even possible under the game engine (on the front side of the box).
  • The Deimos's turrets are not firing Terran Turrets. Instead they are firing Kayser-like lasers (on the front side of the box).
  • Only the Perseus in front of the Deimos has engine thrusters (on the front side of the box).
  • On the European version of the box, the Lucifer is visible just at the right of the first Deimos's top turret (on the front side of the box).
  • On the European version of the box, the Deimos is a destroyer (the nameplate on the corvette says "..D Deimos")(on the front side of the box).
  • In the back side of the box, the text below the rightmost screenshot says: "Encounter 'beam weapons' that can penetrate and utterly carve gigantic capital ships in half." However, beams in the game cannot cleave anything in half.
  • In the introduction (back side), the last paragraph says: "Your nemesis has arrived... and they are wondering what happened to their scouting party." This most likely refers to the Shivan force that attacked in 2335 (FS1).
  • The Italian version of the box says that beam weapons can be used also by fighters, according to the blurb on the back ("Imparate a usare le armi a raggi...", or "Learn to use beam weapons...")(not shown).