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Babylon 5 Games Coming? 39

Posted by Zonk
from the zathrus dept.
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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Babylon 5 Games Coming?

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  • B5 Mod for Nexus (Score:3, Informative)

    by BigDork1001 (683341) on Monday November 14, 2005 @09:59PM (#14031741) Homepage
    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]
  • 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 (Score:4, Funny)

    by MBraynard (653724) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:09PM (#14031799) Journal
    "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.

  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:17PM (#14031844) Homepage Journal

    Wikipedia to the rescue [wikipedia.org].
  • by dbhankins (688931) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:18PM (#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.
  • The sad part... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by earthbound kid (859282) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:35PM (#14031945) Homepage
    ...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... (Score:4, Informative)

      by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans AT gmail DOT com> on Monday November 14, 2005 @11:47PM (#14032305) Homepage
      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.
      • 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
    • Re:The sad part... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BlueHands (142945)
      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... (Score:3, Informative)

        by Guspaz (556486)
        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... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iainl (136759)
      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
      • Re:The sad part... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        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.
        • 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.
        • And they say copyright infringement destroys culture...
      • 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.
    • Babylon 5: Into The Fire did just that; used the lightwave models from the show in the game. That project was cancelled, oh, 2001ish.

  • by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:35PM (#14031947) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • 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
      • 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.
        • 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 mo
          • 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.
    • I have no prblem with it requiring broadband, I oppose (primarily) online play because of other players.
  • So instead of B5 games, the industry feeds us a bunch of BS games instead.
     
  • 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?
  • 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.
    • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.

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