Released: 26th July 2005
Author: Ransom Arceihn
Cobra's GTSC Plato
Lieutenant Sunder Marcel never particularly enjoyed his assignment in the Luyten patrol. The pay wasn't bad, but this far from the central systems things got a little hazy. Nestled within asteroid belts and lurking over scarcely travelled supply lanes, it seemed there was always some desperate set of renegades waiting for their day's profit to come drifting by in poorly defended transport crates. The three pilots who jumped his convoy today, however, were not interested in money.
They need his help, and they're not prepared to take no for an answer. Already it's much too late to run; the landslide of events has long since started, and even now its dire effects are beginning to take hold. Things that were once clear now have no meaning, and reality is beginning to slip ...
Everyone has a limit ...
Transcend has been criticised for having a confusing or downright incomprehensible story. From the beginning of the project I wanted to make a campaign that showed rather than told the story to the player and force them to work things out for themselves, in contrast to that of Sync which had a few missions that were little more than one of the characters spouting exposition for the player's benefit. As a result the campaign would certainly not be to everyone's taste, and to be honest it was received far better than I was expecting.
The theories that rose from the story's ambiguity were both interesting to read and pleasantly surprising. More than one got extremely close to my version of events.
Another thing it's been criticised for is repetitive missions. I don't really have anything to say about that other than it's completely true and I'm not sure what I was thinking with some of those missions, which is particularly embarrassing as Sync suffered from the same problem.
One misconception I'd like to clear up is that Transcend is not a sequel to Sync. It takes place in the same continuity, but it isn't a chapter in that storyline. It's a spin-off, in other words.
Some references of varying significance which may or may not be of any interest to anyone.
GTD Voran - Voran is a demo character in the MMORPG Clan Lord.
GTD Brax - Another demo character from the same game.
GTC Tanner - Tanner Mirabel is a character in Alastair Reynold's Chasm City.
GTT Incontrovertible - A friend of mine wrote a fanfiction for David Brin's Uplift series which involved a ship by this name. I don't know if he made it up or if it's actually in Uplift.
GTC Brice - Name of a character from the film Below.
Transcend was actually complete in late March. However, due to a slew of problems, specifically Taristin's Kelpie being unplayable (the game crashed when you shot at it, a complication of the 3ds max pof exporter plugin) and SCP bugs, it was delayed for four more months until everything was fixed and the campaign was released.
Transcend has got to be one of the best FreeSpace mods I have ever played! Really well thought out storyline and all-around great mission construction! (I'm still wondering how the developer made the missions the way he did!) On the upside of the mod, Transcend really has a spooky feeling to it after the first mission (enough to the point that after I emerge from the first nebula, I was afraid of going into another nebula without wingmen or a capitol ship battle going on in the background!) and the mod is open-ended enough to keep you asking yourself questions about the story of the mod. On the downside, though, this mod does tend to get kind of repetitive until you get to the nebula. I mean, it's like you fight through one gauntlet, and then you more or less do it again. Other than that minor problem, this is a mod worthy of playing over and over again! 9.75 out of 10, in my books! - NFSRacer, callsign "Cypher"
The transcend campaign is a masterpiece. The author who thought of all this is a hero. This campaign thrilled me, scared me, and entertained me. I would say it's almost a stand-alone game... The triggers are simply amazingly well done as well as every details. Fantastic, eery atmosphere and gameplay. Some parts were actually scary. If you are a fan of scary science fiction, I definitely recommended downloading and playing this campaign... And i think it's integrated in the latest SCP anyway. Good Job. ~KR
Transcend redefined the tools for storytelling with FS2 and the types of stories that could be told. Transcend is one of the campaigns you MUST play to really understand what the SCP engine is capable of. Transcend's gameplay is mostly solid but occasionally dips, but as to telling a story...this is about as a good as anyone has done to date with the FreeSpace engine. (Even now two years later!) With a story that brings to mind for me Dean Knootz stories such as Phantoms and Dragon Tears, Transcend lives up to its name by transcending the boundaries of all previous campaigns in what can be done with FreeSpace as a medium. Ngtm1r 15:55, 14 June 2008 (CDT)
Transcend plays almost identical to Sync, which means that if you're wanting to have fun playing a space warfare simulator, Transcend will disappoint you. However, if you're looking for an interesting and at parts Twilight Zone-ish story, then you're going to enjoy this. Ngtm1r's comment above is accurate--Transcend tries to tell a story with FreeSpace as a medium; not give you great gameplay. The story telling is great in that regard. My problem still lies with me wanting Transcend to be a game and not just a short story told by cut-scenes. --Ioustinos
I have to strongly disagree with some of the comments above, unfortunately. While Transcend certainly has its good moments, it consists almost entirely of boring, tedious, repetitive missions. This is made worse by the fact that you are forced to use the same craft, weaponry, and missiles the entire (extremely and overly long) campaign--a Herc II, with a bank of Subachs and a bank of the useless Prometheus R, along with a bank of Hornet missiles and another basic missile. The story is completely incoherent and nonsensical, characterization is all over the place, few of the actions of any characters involved make any sense in any way, and the story is almost completely lacking in even a basic framing reference--the genre is unclear, the intention and direction of the plot is unknown and ultimately goes nowhere, and all of the mysterious questions (of the ones that get answered at all) that pile up over the course of the extremely long, repetitive campaign are only answered in any way by--of all things--a few lines of text by a bizarre, unexpected faction that comes out of nowhere, and the answers themselves are about as cliche and nonsensical as it gets. While Transcend definitely has great potential, in its current form it is, in my experience, an absurdly long, tedious, and boring campaign that makes no sense in almost every way, and it is all made worse by the fact that you are given no choice in your craft or loadout for the entire game, with the one forced on you being both bland and poorly suited to the missions you'll have to do. Love the sparks of brilliance and isolated cases of incredible atmosphere and tone, but if you're looking for anything more than a few isolated diamonds in a pool of mud, make sure you know what you're getting into before trying to play through this entire campaign. --SaltyWaffles
The above commenter has no idea what he is talking about. Transcend's mission design is what it is (awful), but he seems to have completely missed the point of the story. Most of the things he mentions are not lazy plotting, but a very effective way of building a sense of isolation and confusion. Despite being set mostly within the known FS2 universe, the plot, the characterisation and the setting are all slightly bizarre, and it's never explained why. The upshot of this is that in Transcend, there is no rational explanation at the end of the day: there's no reliable ally who knows what's going on, there's no-one you can turn to even as you fly through the heart of GTVA space. Whenever it promises answers or resolution or even backstory it's incomplete and hollow. That is why Transcend is great, not because of jump-scares or any particular fear, but because of the way it makes something familiar so very alien. Not that the mission design is any good, you're probably better off turning on cheats and abusing time accelerate or something. -- Phantom Hoover