Freespace 2 complete install guide

Freespace 2 is one of the legendary space-sim dogfighting games, along with X-Wing, the earlier Wing Commander and Freespace (the newer X games instead are crappy dogfighting games but they offer more for space exploration, trading and so on). While on a emulator the three Colony Wars for PSX are still a lot of fun.

Freespace 2 is still a valid game to play today. The genre is dead commercially, but this is one of the games (along with Falcon 4 or Jagged Alliance) that got a huge following of modders along the years. The source code was given to the community and work on the game never stopped since. Today you can play it relatively bug free with a very good engine and all the graphic redone for a much better quality overall. Definitely worth checking out since now it’s both pretty and fun as it always was (if you never played it then you should).

I spent a day figuring out the best install possible and it wasn’t an easy task at all.

So, in the case I need to go through this again and for you, here are all the steps to follow.

Freespace 2 perfect install – Freespace 1 + 2 with all campaigns, missions, audio files, movies and updated graphic

Updated: 21 August 2010

1- Obtain in some way the three original CDs of Freespace 2. Freespace 1 is not needed.
2- Install the game normally (full install).
3- Get this file and move it to FreeSpace2\Installer\ (create this folder if it doesn’t exist)
4- Get the very latest .exe. (or, if you want something less cutting edge and more tested: use this instead) (a “d” in the file name means “debug”, so use the “r” one)
5- Get the latest launcher (at this time
6- Get the compressed FS2 cutscenes. All the files of 4,5 and 6 go in FreeSpace2\ directory (root, no subdirs).
7- Check the latest Media VPs release (at this time 3.6.12). This is all the updated graphics and effects.
8- Get the Total 3.6.12 package.
9- Get the New radar icons.
10- Unpack the whole content of these two files into the main folder, this should create a new directory “mediavps_3612” with all the files going into it.

Now to get FS1 files:

1- Check latest release (at this time 3.2).
2- Get the complete package
3- Unpack the archive in the main folder, two subfolders should be created “fsport” and “fsport_mediavps”.
4- (optional) Get FS1 mission expansion + other campaigns.

Now to configure:

– Run Launcher.exe from root directory.
– Press “browse” and select the .exe to use (at this time: fs2_open_3_6_13r_INF_SSE2-20100817_r6377).
– Go to “video” tab and set everything as you want. (the “use large textures” option does nothing)
– Go to “feature” tab, list type “graphics” and check the following: enable specular, enable glowmaps, enable environment maps, apply lighting to missiles, enable normal maps, enable 3D shockwaves.
– list type “gameplay” and check the following: enable 3D warp, enable flash upon warp.
– list type “audio” check “preload mission game sounds”
– Add the following to “custom flags” field: -ambient_factor 125 -ogl_spec 40 -spec_exp 10 -spec_point 1.2 -spec_static 1.5 -spec_tube 1.5 (for a specific guide on how to fine tune these look here)
– (optional) Frespace runs by default on a FPS cap of 120. That’s way more than needed. If you want to keep CPU & GPU cooler and have smoother framerates you can set a manual cap in the registry. Search in “regedit” either Volition or FreeSpace2 and to the variables already there add a DWORD called MaxFPS with the new valuer for the cap. (I set it to 50 decimal)
– Go to “MOD” tab, press “select MOD” and pick the right directory. It’s “mediavps_3612” for Freespace 2 and “fsport” for Freespace 1. You need to swap these if you want to change between the two games (create two different pilots for each to avoid conflicts).

That’s it. My complete install takes about 5.61Gb of hd space. The rest is about configuring the options in the game, controls and all the typical stuff. If the two games and all their missions aren’t enough you can still find a number of brand new campaigns and total conversions on the forums. There’s as much content as you want.

Have fun with one the best game in its genre, it’s rare nowadays to find one worthy. Maybe Jumpgate Evolution won’t suck, but then Netdevil has taught me to keep hopes low.

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