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Babylon 5 Games Coming?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the zathrus dept.

39

Johjn Callaham writes "Today at Gamecloud we chat with J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of the sc-fi TV show Babylon 5. He hints that a new game based on the show is a real possibility." From the article: "Every year or so, WB makes noises about a B5 game...and they're making them again this year. Whether or not this actually goes anywhere this time, we'll have to see. Certainly the B5 universe is almost tailor-made for a game, especially an immersive, online experience."

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Brilliant game planning by JMS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14031723)


Will we be able to play Captain Kirk and does he get to have sex with Zhaan on Moya? You know Zhaan, she's the one with the cinnamon bun hairdo who gets held captive on the Death Star while that replicant Priss gets killed by Deckard back on Earth? And Kirk could take Zhaan through the Stargate to join Neo and they could take on Mr. Smith while HAL tries to kill Dave as Logan evades the Sandmen! And John Murdock will take on The Strangers during all this!

Brilliant!

B5 Mod for Nexus (3, Informative)

BigDork1001 (683341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14031741)

There is a B5 mod out for the game Nexus [nexusthegame.com] . I haven't followed it at all but a co-worker talks about it all the time. Check it out at http://b5col.firstones.com/ [firstones.com]

IF it happens... (1)

MegaBurn (518311) | more than 8 years ago | (#14031772)

A Babylon 5 game would be great. I've been playing B5 themed total conversion mods for a while and given their popularity I doubt they'll have problems finding players for a full blown game. Something to keep an eye on...

-Burn

Translation (3, Funny)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14031799)

"Certainly the B5 universe is almost tailor-made for a game, especially an immersive, online experience."

Certainly the B5 universe is tailor-made for the kind of sci-fi dorks who we can charge up front $50 and then another $15 every month for years on end.

That's what he really meant. You know, like SWG and TMO.

Re:Translation (1)

ophix (680455) | more than 8 years ago | (#14031823)

i would play a b5 game, offline, online, or mm online, i have been waiting a long time for one

For those of us who missed 1993-1998 (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14031844)


Wikipedia to the rescue [wikipedia.org] .

I've Found Her: Danger and Opportunity (4, Informative)

dbhankins (688931) | more than 8 years ago | (#14031853)

There's a freeware B5 game available at http://ifh.firstones.com/ [firstones.com] called "I've Found Her: Danger and Opportunity". It's a prequel to a full game, and has a good couple of hours of playability in it.

It's not a mod, as far as I know. In any case, you don't need to install any other game in order to play it.

It's a linear mission-based fighter game (Starfury), similar in structure to X-Wing, Wing Commander or Starlancer.

I enjoyed it.

Re:I've Found Her: Danger and Opportunity (1)

jkcity (577735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14032805)

I also enjoyed this game shame it looks liek they will never be a full one it was a good spaceship game even without the babylon 5 stuff that just made it better.

The sad part... (2, Insightful)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 8 years ago | (#14031945)

...is that after all the time that's passed since B5 was on the air, they could probably take the actual CGI models that they used to make the show and render them in real time on an XBox 360 or whatever. At the time, the CGI was really cool, but it probably wouldn't be that hard to surpass anymore.

Re:The sad part... (3, Informative)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14032305)

How is that sad? The pilot was from 1993, so they probably started on it in like 1992. That's 13 years ago. Thirteen years before B-5 was 1979. We went from the Atari 2600 to the SNES in that length of time. The level of visual detail in F-Zero certainly wouldn't have been doable in real time on any sort of consumer hardware in 1979.

If anybody still has the original models, it would actually be quite easy to incorporate them into a game engine. They were made on Amigas using an early version of Lightwave. Not only does Lightwave still exist, so it could open the old files without much trouble, but the file format is extremely well documented. I used .LWO's in my last interactive animation project. Have somebody write some glsl or equivalent for any procedural textures used on the models, and you are should be able to have a great time.

And, really, most of the CGI wasn't that impressive even in the mid 90's. What was cool was that they managed to do it every week for a TV show. It also allowed them to have fighters, while Star Trek relied on large ships. With model shots, it's hard to have many ships on screen. With CGI, it's pretty easy to have a squadron of fighters flying in formation, etc.

Re:The sad part... (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034095)

Wikipedia indicates that the CG models no longer exist. When they originally rendered them, they rendered them all in 4:3 at SD, expecting that it would be cheap to re-render them in HD widescreen at a later date. Since the models don't exist, they had to use the original 4:3 SD CG renders. Fortunately they had the foresight to frame the shots so that they could discard the top/bottom of the frame without cutting anything important.

Any game would have to recreate the models from scratch, but this is really not different from any other game. This is probably for the best anyhow, since modern 3D hardware can handle better quality than the original models due to modern developments such as normal mapping.

Re:The sad part... (2, Interesting)

BlueHands (142945) | more than 8 years ago | (#14032708)

I remember reading a review (circa 1999) on the still-born B5 rts game. The models in game for the "Angle Fish of death" were about 1000 polygons, while the tv were about 100,000. Looking quickly, it seems that many models for Unreal Tournament today will come in around 3000 polygons. Kind of a scale difference.

Still, a B5 game would rock and look awesome on modern hardware.

Re:The sad part... (2, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034040)

100,000 is trivial these days due to the use of normal maps. Most models for modern games start out at something like a million polygons. They're then reduced to a few thousand polys for in-game display, and the normal map simulates the difference to make them look like they still have a million polys.

It's probably pretty easy on modern hardware to render the TV models to LOOK pretty much identical.

Re:The sad part... (2, Interesting)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14033320)

No, the really sad part is that Netter Digital were contractually obliged to destroy all files with the model and scene data on, and Warners accidentally destroyed their backups as well. So even though you're right that modern hardware could practically render at least the first season or two in realtime already, the files don't exist any more to do so.

That's why every digital effects shot on the HD broadcast and DVD release looks so poor - they couldn't re-render them and so we've just got the low-res 4x3 output done for the original broadcast left.

Re:The sad part... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14033657)

They do exist, I have a full set of all models used from the Pilot through to the River of Souls movie. They arent supposed to exist but they do.

Re:The sad part... (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14033678)

Quote the AC:

"They do exist, I have a full set of all models used from the Pilot through to the River of Souls movie. They arent supposed to exist but they do."

There are many, often extremely good, fan-made copies out there, so it isn't always easy to know the real provenance of what you have. But if you really do have the real models and/or scene data for the series, JMS would absolutely love to have it back, as would Warners.

Re:The sad part... (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035397)

And they say copyright infringement destroys culture...

Re:The sad part... (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 8 years ago | (#14049358)

Warners accidentally destroyed their backups as well.

Wow. You'd think they'd have learned their lesson after some idiots at the BBC destroyed most of the early Dr. Who episodes. Idiots.

Re:The sad part... (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14036719)

Babylon 5: Into The Fire did just that; used the lightwave models from the show in the game. That project was cancelled, oh, 2001ish.

Not another primarily-online game! (3, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14031947)

While I'd love to play a game based in the B5 universe, I'd hate for its primary mode to be online play. I don't live in an area that has broadband, and I'm sure there are a lot of geeks out there in the same position. And I don't like shelling out twenty to fifty dollars a month to play at a cyber cafe.

It's funny, but with all the growing focus on broadband markets, and the inherent costs in making broadband geographically widespread in a country as physically diverse as the US, there's a growing segment of potential gamers out there who are stuck on yesteryear machines and yesteryear internet connections. If I had as much drive as ideas, I'd find a way to make games tailored to that market.

And, no, I don't want to spend money on a console system; There will never be as many possibilities for a Nintendo Revolution as there are right here on my PC-compatible Linux machine.

Re:Not another primarily-online game! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14032640)

I'm sorry, but broadband or no, your life will continue to be boring until you move out of Idaho. If they made games for you, it would just give you false hope. Your life will never be interesting so long as you live in the middle of nowhere. Give up and move out.

Re:Not another primarily-online game! (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14032707)

It's funny, but with all the growing focus on broadband markets, and the inherent costs in making broadband geographically widespread in a country as physically diverse as the US, there's a growing segment of potential gamers out there who are stuck on yesteryear machines and yesteryear internet connections. If I had as much drive as ideas, I'd find a way to make games tailored to that market.

Canada has a fair amoutn of broadband penetrations. It's not geography keeping it from you it's pop density, lack of gov subsidies, and lack of desire for it in some areas.

Re:Not another primarily-online game! (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034121)

Canada has a fair amount of broadband penetration in high population density areas. Go outside the major cities and the situation is the same as the US. Perhaps a bit better, but go out into the country or small rural towns and you can't get broadband. The real advantage we have in Canada is price/speed more than penetration.

Re:Not another primarily-online game! (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14036770)

Canada has a fair amount of broadband penetration in high population density areas. Go outside the major cities and the situation is the same as the US. Perhaps a bit better, but go out into the country or small rural towns and you can't get broadband. The real advantage we have in Canada is price/speed more than penetration.

The over all percentage of canadians with broad band is also much higher. PArtially due tot he price/speed. Canada is just as geographically diverse as the US but the reason we have more broadband is the government subsidized it's installation.

Re:Not another primarily-online game! (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14039034)

Canada's geography compresses the bulk of the populace into the more temperate regions in the south, doesn't it? Population compression is good for broadband penetration.

The US, on the other hand, is largely temperate everywhere. We have fewer physical factors that lead to population compression, which means broadband penetration must depend on social and economic factors driving people into cities.

Re:Not another primarily-online game! (1)

wheany (460585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14033664)

I have no prblem with it requiring broadband, I oppose (primarily) online play because of other players.

B5? (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14032476)

So instead of B5 games, the industry feeds us a bunch of BS games instead.
 

There's a B5 game on Freespace 2 engine... (1)

Sean-Khan (930331) | more than 8 years ago | (#14032760)

I just can't find it anymore :( I found it with help of a local computers magazine. I heard it's really good, it's free and it's called "The Babylon Project Base 3.2". I haven't been able to test it due to my broken computer. Maybe the licence enforcements are back, once WB has seen how popular a freeware game based on B5 is, and that's why the game has disappeared?

Re:There's a B5 game on Freespace 2 engine... (3, Informative)

dbhankins (688931) | more than 8 years ago | (#14033224)

It took some digging, and Google was not as helpful as I would have liked, but I found the new home page here:

http://www.hard-light.net/hosted/babylon/ [hard-light.net]

I'm downloading the current version now. It includes the Freespace 2 engine, so you don't have to buy Freespace 2 in order to install and play.

Re:There's a B5 game on Freespace 2 engine... (3, Informative)

dbhankins (688931) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035379)

Additional info for those that download the game:

Downloading the base package is not enough - neither campaigns nor missions are included. Those are downloadable separately from the same site.

The heart of B5 (1)

patonw (747304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14033434)

was the story arc. I would be disappointed if the game were just another space sim. It should have a plot line interwoven with the series's.

I think a space MMORPG set after the war could be a success with dozens of races and factions to choose from. Throw in some PvP with guild controlled capital ships and fighter squadrons.

Re:The heart of B5 (1)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14034169)

To be honest, they'd have a LOT of work ahead of them to make it worth playing. They'd be up against EVE Online, a game which is pretty well established after 2.5 years of live play. It's an extremely detailed, extremely deep game that has a heavy emphasis on PVP (not just combat, but economics as well). If a B5 game is to be released as a MMO, it would be tough to not fall into the trappings of SWG, E&B, or MxO, all of which had good concepts but were horribly mismanaged from day one. Don't get me wrong - if there's one universe I'd love to play in (aside of EVE) it would be B5. Rarely does a TV show have as much depth and background as that. My fear is that if JMS is involved heavily, you'll see a wide sweeping story arc that will be as ill-concieved in terms of game as the one for MxO. Make the universe, make the toys, give us ways to build it, and let the players make the stories.

Re:The heart of B5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14036319)

But players don't want to build stories.

Once again - players do not want to build stories.

I'm certain that I'm going to engender a bunch of flames - please, save the effort and go engender a story in some MMO somewhere instead. Because right now it's not happening.

EVE Online (1)

proc_tarry (704097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14035495)

EVE Online anyone? Why split resources between MMORPG's? They seriously benefit from economies of scale - so spliting players between nearly identical style games would only make two medicore games instead of one truly awesome one.

I am still annoyed that Sierra killed their game (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14036081)

Sierra, several years ago, was making a flight sim. I got to see it at E3. It was amazing, then! I can't believe that they killed off that game, when it looked so good at E3. It is another thing I hold against Sierra.

Re:I am still annoyed that Sierra killed their gam (1)

n0wak (631202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14038823)

Yeah, I was looking forward to it too. I still have the trailers and the promo Franke music they had for it. SELF PLUG: I have some of it here [the-inbetween.com] .

Re:I am still annoyed that Sierra killed their gam (1)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14040161)

Yea, I still have a watch and a poster that Sierra made to promote it. It really was cool to see live. To fly over the space station... was breathtaking. And then they flew around some other huge capital ships... just amazing.

Re:I am still annoyed that Sierra killed their gam (1)

SirBruce (679714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14050492)

I have the hologram mouse pad of that game. :)

Bruce

Re:I am still annoyed that Sierra killed their gam (1)

Drakino (10965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14040796)

It indeed was a great looking game. It was shown off at the B5 convention in southern California around the summer of 98 as well. I remember one of the devs there showing off his skills with one of the fighters, flying really close to the station.

If I remember right, they even had access to the models from the show to work with to keep things looking as close as they could, using 1998 technology of course.
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