Skip to main content


Freespace 2 is a game I have always wanted to play. I can still recall seeing the big box artwork of a major space battle and promising myself I would play that game some day. Reviews confirmed that the game was a cracker with awesome space battles to be experienced.

(Image taken from the official Freespace 2 website:)

I actually did buy a budget Freespace compilation a few years later with Freespace 2 and its predecessor but I never got around to playing them until now. Finding myself at a gaming loose end this week my eyes fell on the box and I decided to have a go.

Although Freespace 2 received more critical acclaim it seemed appropriate to have a go at the original first so I installed it and am working my way through it.

Conflict Freespace dates from the late 1990's and it shows. Graphics are poor, much worse than Homeworld for example. The control system is complicated, every button on the keyyboard seems to be used. Nevertheless there is an enjoyable zap-em-up in there once you get the hang of it. I am rushing through the game on an easy setting in order to get to its reputedly much improved offspring.

I hit one snag. Being a flight simulator the game is designed for joystick control and I suck at using a joystick. Thankfully mouse control is supported and with a bit of poking around (reversing the Y-Axis) I managed to get a decent "mouse look" control going.

If you have ever thought about it there is a fundamental difference between mouselook and joystick control. A mouse directly controls where you are looking while the joystick controls the velocity at which your view point is changing. When you move the mouse to a position the reticule moves with you and stops when you stop. When you move a joystick the reticule begins to move and continues to move until you return the joystick to its centre point.In control theory speak the joystick has an additional integrator in the loop which increases system lag and can lead to instability. Having played a fair few FPS games I am very comfortable with mouselook and I find it works superbly for spaceship control - in fact I find it makes the game easier because aiming is more precise.


Zoso said…
Have you checked out the Freespace Source Code Project? Site seems to be undergoing maintenance, but there's a fair few links still. It got Freespace 2 going in glorious 1650x1080 for me, lovely stuff.

I can't quite imagine mouselook for spaceship control with inertia and constant speed and stuff, a joystick just seems like the natural way to do it!
mbp said…
Thank you for that link Zoso - you have really whetted my appetite for Freespace 2 now. I may even abandon Freespace 1 to move on to 2.

Sadly I am "Joystick Challenged" even though I have a fairly decent game controller I cannot use it. Mouselook works great for me - especially in dog fights where I can keep my aiming reticule over the victims sweetspot much more easily with mouse. One slight annoyance with mouselook is that if you want to turn 180 degrees you inevitably run out of mousemat. I use a fairly big desk surface though and its not that much of a problem.

Popular posts from this blog

My First Gaming Mouse: Logitech G300

I bought a gaming mouse yesterday a Logitech G300, here my initial thoughts. What is a gaming mouse?  There are a wide variety of devices available classified as gaming mice but a few features  seem common: 1. Wired rather than wireless: Although some high end models are wireless wired connections are just better and faster than wireless so most gaming mice stick with wired. As a bonus wired mice don't need batteries so the mouse is lighter.  2. High response rate: 1 to 2ms response rate so the mouse immediately responds to input.  2. High DPI. Gaming mice invariable boast high DPI numbers from 2,000 DPI upwards. This makes the device very responsive to the smallest movements.   3. Adjustable DPI . High DPI improves responsiveness but reduces precision so gaming mice generally allow you to adjust the DPI down for precise work such as pulling off headshots in sniper mode. Generally the mouse allows dpi to be changed on the fly by pressing a button.  4. Extr

Portal 2 two screen coop on one PC.

I mentioned before that I intended to try Portal 2 in "unofficial split screen co-op mode. Well split screen on a small computer monitor is a recipe for a headache especially when the game defies gravity as much as portal. However a minor bit of extra fiddling allowed us to drive two seperate screens from one PC. The Steam forums describes a complicated method of doing this that I couldn't get working so this simpler method which worked for me might be of use to someone. 1. First I followed the instructions in this post to get split screen multi-player working: A minor issue not mentioned is that you need to enable the console from the keyboard/mouse options menu I am using keyboard and one wired Xbox360 controller as suggested. Getting the controller to switch to channel 2 was tricky at first but as Chameleon8 mentions plugging it out and in again during loading works. The trick for me was to do the plug / p

Return to New Eden and a Secret Confession

I feel a growing temptation to return to EVE but having been away from mmos for quite a while I am not quite ready to resubscribe.  Instead I started a disposable character on a free trial to test my resolve.  Knowing that this character will be thrown in the bin in a couple of weeks is actually quite liberating. Freed from the fear of gimping my character I feet no necessity to min max anything. I picked a Gallente because I think they have cool looking spaceships and went from there. First obvious change since I last played is being able to walk around my Captain's quarters. Its a nice idea but hardly a game changer. Can you decorate your quarters I wonder and if so do these home improvements move around with you wherever you go? The second obvious change is the much improved tutorial. I managed to make it through the first steps introduction without having to resort to on-line help or the  chat channel which is a first for me in EVE. Even better once you have finis