Character-driven campaigns

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Among the popular campaigns many of them like Transcend, Sync and Blue Planet might be referred to as character-driven campaigns, in which characters are extremely important in terms of plot development and immersion.

Typical features of CDC campaigns

  • The player sends messages, unlike in any other genre of campaigns;
  • Briefings, Command Briefings and Debriefings usually feature the player's thoughts. In normal campaigns, there simply are references to tactical situations;
  • Many of the missions serve as simple "bridges", meaning that they work as links between a mission and another. They usually consist in short chats that end up with jump sequences, red alerts, and such;
  • The player's party (which is various—may be formed by spacecraft and/or ships) travels a lot throughout the campaign, jumping from system to system and/or from certain locations of a given system to many others;
  • The connection between the party and the main authorities (like Command) are minimal or nonexistent to boost the feeling of loneliness;
  • The party sometimes meets far larger hostile forces, like overwhelming squadrons of bombers, and survives raging battles against them (often by retreating);
  • Or, in other instances, the party consists of a self-sufficient and well-equipped military force that can hold its own but must flee when outmatched.


Required skills

A good character-driven campaign often requires well-planned cutscenes and, more critically, the creation of vast amounts of scripts. Some character-driven campaigns focus less heavily on tactical gameplay and more on complex FREDding (such as Transcend or Sync), while others, such as Blue Planet, feature tactically deep and complex mission scenarios. In general, character-driven campaigns require a great deal of work on the FRED level because of the sheer number of messages and events required.

Why would I create a CDC?

Character-driven campaigns can also be used to tell basic military stories (such as those of the main FreeSpace campaigns) with a greater sense of immersion and emotional attachment. Alternatively, they can be used to present new types of stories not generally associated with FreeSpace, such as horror (Transcend).