General hints (FRED)

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Here are some general FREDding hints that do not require separate articles to elaborate, from beginner level until intermediate.

  • Use the Y-axis (height) and rotate most of your ships on one or more of the axes to give a more realistic feeling.
  • Use the Selection Lock (Spacebar) if you have selected all the ships you want to move or rotate. This will make sure you do not select an unwanted craft by accident. Press Spacebar once more to disable Selection Lock.
  • If you want a directive to appear only after a specified event, use event chaining:
    • Collect all the triggering conditions in one event. Chain the next event (which is the actual directive) to the previous event with a delay of at least 1 second.
    • This will make it sure the event will not appear sooner than desired. This is especially useful if you want Command to order the destruction/capture/inspection of a ship.
  • Use the designer's notes of the Mission Specs Editor (SHIFT-N) as a reminder for yourself. There are some things that you want to be in your mission only temporarily, for testing purposes such as enabling No Traitor if you want to test if a ship sends the right message if its hull drops below 50%.
  • Using keyboard shortcuts makes editing more convenient.
  • If you do not want a ship to open fire, simply use the turret-lock-all SEXP instead of disarming all the turrets manually.
  • If you want to use a special, special-case support ship, you have to make changes in the ship tables. You cannot simply place a support ship and disallow all player orders. In Enter the Dragon, the support ship that captures Arjuna 1 is one such special-case vessel.
  • Always remove player orders for ship classes other than fighters or bombers. By default, the player can give orders to transports and above. If you give the 'Attack my ship' order to a transport that is supposed to board and capture a ship, it will not follow its default orders until the player-given orders are accomplished.
  • If you do not want a ship destroyed, but you want to make its subsystems destroyable, use the ship-guardian SEXP. Using ship-guardian-threshold is an alternate solution for FreeSpace Open.
  • Increasing the rank of individual turrets has no effect. Rather, change the AI class of the entire ship to make its turrets more effective.
  • Pressing TAB while having multiple ships selected changes the central point of rotation. If you start rotating, that ship will be the center of the circle your ships will be rotated around. The same is true for moving, the selected 'central' ship will be moving with the cursor.
  • If you get lost on the grid, press SHIFT-Z. Or, zoom on any of the ships by selecting the fighter in the Selection Menu (H) and pressing ALT-Z.
  • Wingmen initial orders is limited, but using the add-goal SEXP removes this limitation.
  • Placing a waypoint into the center of a jump node enables you to measure distances between any ships and the jump node. The waypoint and the jump node must share the same coordinates. Technically, the engine measures the distance between the assigned ship(s) and the waypoint, but since the center of the node and the waypoint are at the same position, you can measure distance between ships and the jump node.
  • Colored Briefing Text can be used in the Command briefing and mission briefing, but cannot be used in the debriefing.
  • An ideal mission length ranges between five and eleven minutes. It is not advised to make a mission longer, as FreeSpace players are not used to flying for more than ten minutes.
  • For best performance, disable the wireframe view mode. Use the wireframe mode for setting a given ship's heading.
  • If you want a ship just to suddenly appear, use the No Warp Effect feature in the arrival cue section of the Ship Editor. If the departure cue has the No Warp Effect set, then the ship will suddenly disappear. This is useful for nebula missions. Beware of using the ship-vanish SEXP: ships that vanish do not count as "departed", so the "has-departed-delay <ship that vanishes using ship-vanish>" will not trigger.
  • Believe it or not, the EMP effect also works on AI-controlled ships. Bear this in mind while creating nebula missions.
  • Players usually start by increasing the throttle to maximum. Set the player's speed to 100% by default in the Initial Status options if it's likely that most players would start the mission by accelerating.
  • In case one or more ships in a wing departs without the departure cue becoming true, the wing will not be considered departed. This means if you order one (or all) ships from Beta wing to leave the area and there is an event which becomes true if Beta wing has departed, the event will become incomplete until you restart the mission.
  • The "Neutral" IFF is hostile to the player. If you want the "Hostile", "Neutral" and "Friendly" sides to attack each other, set the All teams at War option in the Mission Specs Editor.
  • You can manually set the player traitor by using the change-iff SEXP on the player's ship to make the player "Neutral" (FreeSpace Open introduced the "Traitor" IFF).
  • The Protect Ship option is not completely reliable. The AI may still attack those ships. Rather use the ship-guardian SEXP. This is the best solution to make the AI not lose the mission for the player by destroying any ships which are supposed captured or not destroyed. You can also use change-iff to make the ship Friendly (as was used in First Strike). Hostiles will still attack that ship, so make sure they ignore it.
  • Changing the order of events in FRED is not recommended. Such a move will confuse the game engine, and weird mission flaws will come up. Use a text editor instead for this purpose. You won't need to change the order of in-mission events anyway, except for chained events.

Using FRED with mods

Since 3.6.12., FRED no longer requires the additional -mod parameter to load a mod. Instead, FRED will automatically load the mod that's set in the game's launcher.

See also

Typical FREDding mistakes