Freelancer Firefly Mod Collaboration

UPDATED: Monday, October 9, 2006 04:26
VIEWED: 13009
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Sunday, August 7, 2005 9:12 AM


Orcblaster, and my apologies for not being able to find the original post in which this was brought up, mentioned doing a Freelancer conversion for Firefly, in the Serenity 'video-game' post. I am 100% fully behind that idea.

After doing some research, re-installing Freelancer, and discovering I realized just how "easy" modding Freelancer into the Firefly Verse might be.

I say easy in the sense that if you know what you're doing, you can mess with the game. Lancers Reactor has a boatload of programs to help with modding as well as a ton of mods to pull ideas from or use as structures. I'm saying hard in the sense that modelling ships and structures is not something that you can do during a commercial break while watching Sci-Fi (or anything else for that matter). Just kinda takes a while. Takes a talent too.

That being said, I would like to put out a call to anyone willing to help collaborate on a project to not only put a Serenity ship model in Freelancer, but also models of other known ships as well (Maybe the Alliance Cruiser, Reaver Trans-U, etc.) and possibly systems and known planets. I'm talking spoiler free for right now, any ships or planets from the movie are strictly forbidden until its release this fall.

The Serenity lightwave model is brilliant, however Freelancer uses gmax format for its ship models. I have 3ds Max 5 and I'm sure some of you out there have your own 3D modelling software of your choice. GMax is (apparently) a free dummied-down version of 3ds designed for the purpose of modding for games and the like. Perhaps there is some way to import the lightwave model? If not, maybe at least the general shape?

I still have a lot of research to do into how exactly these mods are put into place, but I wanted to know if I had a, shall we say, crew backing me up in this endeavor (on that note, I do not necessarily assume leader/captain of this project. I don't consider myself well-enough educated with either modelling or modding).

Who's with me?!

you can't take the sky from me


Sunday, August 7, 2005 9:28 AM


I'm 100% with you, Auroter.
I'm not good with gmax, I do however have been messing around with Lightwave lately. And maybe we can get some help from other forums as well on how to do it. Maybe is willing to help us with this, that's the forum where treybor posts on (the creator of the Lightwave model).
I have lightwave, and I'll look into a way to convert Serenity to gmax, and maybe make Serenity a bit less heavy to load.
I hope more people are going to help with this. 'Cause we really need all the help we can get with this. It would be the greatest thing ever, if we could bring the Serenity 'verse in Freelancer!

Edit: I could be wrong about this, but I thought that Forrestwolf had a gmax model of Serenity that he used for an RPG game-mod? I thought he sent it to me once, but that was some time ago, and I don't have that model anymore... It would have been good model for Freelancer to use.


Sunday, August 7, 2005 10:12 AM


love the idea.
though i would have to say i cannot mod games.
i would really appreciate it if someone put the finish mod/model on a thread on this site so we could download it.
freelancer is a great game and would fit in well in the firefly 'verse.

"We're not gonna die. We can't die, Bendis. You know why? Because we are so...very...pretty. We are just too pretty for God to let us die." Mal, Serenity part 1


Sunday, August 7, 2005 10:48 AM


I'll throw an offer of help in...
I'm, currently working on a model of Serenity in 3DS Max5, most geometry is finished, tho its WAY to high poly for a game (over 100,000 polys...), but I'd be happy to work on some lower poly models of Serenity or any other ship.
I have a fair grounding in C++ programming as well if you need any help with that.
Plus I'd love to work on a project like this .

Q: What do you have when you are holding two little green balls in your hand.
A: Kermit's undivided attention.


Sunday, August 7, 2005 11:10 AM


Yes, you're right, Orcblaster - I use Jon Marcure's Serenity model from Orbiter for the Neverwinter Nights Firefly system. I took Marcure's work and lowered the polycount WAY down and converted it to GMax.

Actually, you can start from the original so you can keep what you want - there's scripts to convert from msh files (Orbiter) to Gmax. Here's the link from Gunrunner to the Jon Marcure Orbiter model:

Look partway down for the Firefly stuff, and you'll find the Orbiter model once you click on that.

I ALSO took Treybor's Lightwave model, cut out just the shuttle, converted it to GMax, reduced the polycount a LOT, and used THAT for my shuttle.

If you'd like either in GMax form, I can supply them by email - I should warn you that after the polycount reductions required for NWN (getting it less than say 17000 for a static model, and less than 10000 for a dynamic one), it doesn't look nearly as good.


Sunday, August 7, 2005 11:44 AM


Well if you want any of my ship models from the EV Nova Firefly mod drop me a line either by email or at this or the EVN Firefly Board where you can see some pics of them (See sig for link). I can sent you a textured .3ds which can be imported in to GMAX (Which I use) or nearly any other modeling program.

EV Nova Firefly mod Message Board:


Sunday, August 7, 2005 7:24 PM


Thanks, everyone. I'll need to see what the average polycount for freelancer ships are to see where to go with the model from there. Thanks for you guys' responses. I need to get off my arse and grab these models and more modding info. Can't say anything's gonna move terribly quickly on my side, I'm pretty busy with work and studying and such myself, but I'm quite exited about this idea.

Does anyone have any designs or concepts involving the layout of the planets in Firefly? As far as I can tell, there's not too much in the way of a described layout, but maybe we could make a fun system with just the planets/moons Serenity has visited. Dunno. Anyway, again, thanks for the response. I'll get going on the next steps. Any and all suggestions/people taking their own steps are still welcomed and appreciated.

Onwards to victory!!!! *ahem* or something

you can't take the sky from me


Sunday, August 7, 2005 9:52 PM


I used to be a reagular at TLR and worked on a Babylon 5 mod a few years back, so let me shed a bit of light on (at least the 3d-model side) modding Freelancer.
I've read a few things here that i feel the need to correct:
Freelancer does not use gmax format. Freelancer uses a custom format for it's models. As far as i know There's only a converter for Milkshape 3d (an exporter plugin, so you can save models from milkshape 3d directly into the FL format). Milkshape can Import many model-formats, so eeryone could model in the program they are used to, and then convert the model to the FL-Format using Milkshape.
There might be new tools out, though. I've quit FL Modding almost a year agoso there might have been some positive development on that front.

The FL Models use not only LOD (Level of Detail - basically modells of the same ship with different poly-count, so that you don't need to render the full-detail-model for a ship that's just a dot on the screen), but also supports Ship-parts (with each having a different LOD). What does this mean? Well, let's take the Alliance cruisers: Each of the towers would be a part, so would the base. This enables the engine to only show the nearest part in high detail, and the towers that are further away only need to be shown in the needed detail, not also in in full-detail. This can save quite a bit of performance.

As For polycounts: I'm not sure, but the highest LODs for the Capital ships were WELL OVER 10.000 polygons. When i made fighter-models (not LODed), they usually had about 4000-5000 polygons, and i didn't have any performance problems with more of them onscreen and fighting.
This means, if you make LODs, you can create really highly detailed models for close-ups.. (still not 100.000 polygons, but, you know, 20.000 for a capship, 10.000 for freighter should'nt be a problem. Especially since the 'verse isn't that populated with ships ('cept in the core))

Textures: As far as i remember, the game supports pretty high-res textures, either TGA or DDS, with DDS it supports mip-mapping (Automatic LOD for textures).


Sunday, August 7, 2005 10:32 PM


Thanx, that's a big help with information. Is there any chance that you'd like to come out of retirement Rubbereagle and lend a hand in this project? Just for your expertise and experience. If not, that's understandable and we still appreciate any information or hints you can give us.

My in-person contact/collaborator (who urged me to pursue this mod idea when he heard about it) has suggested not only a mod for ships and a system, but possibly a complete single-player storyline rebuild mod that would start you out running salvage missions and maybe some bounty-hunting, smuggling things through Alliance systems, etc. and working your up to eventually some interaction/contact with Serenity itself. This is entirely possible I think, based on the descriptions of some of the more extremely massive mods on lancersreactor though I am uncertain as to whether or not that is the direction we are heading towards. I am going to look at them in more detail and see just exactly what can be done in terms of re-writing the storyline.

Also, any yeas or nays for the project title of "Firelancer"? (sounded better to me than Freelancerfly... or Freerfly for that matter ~_^)

you can't take the sky from me


Thursday, August 11, 2005 12:24 AM


I'd be happy to share my knowledge with you.
Anything more my Real Life commitments won't allow, i'm afraid.

Single-Player mod: Not at first. This requires a lot of work, and you still need all the systems and ships etc. that you need for the Open Universe /Multiplayer.
I'd recommend working on the Universe first. This way you have something to show (SP needs a lot of scripting and programming that you can't show off) that might attract more people that want to help the mod. (Manpower is always the one thing that you need more of)


Friday, August 19, 2005 8:56 AM


Okay, it's been a while, and I haven't been hard at work, but I'm taking the next step and I've already tripped. So, the guy who did the lightwave model did an amazing job. However, milkshape don't wanna import it for some reason. "Cannot read lightwave object 6.5x" is what it says. I'm assuming we're talking version problems here, so I've sent a message to Gunrunner asking him for his gmax file, which hopefully milkshape will be happy with.

Step One, the ship. Big mod comes later; I think its best if we follow RubberEagle's suggestion. We have the convenience of ship models already created, but there's still work to do. I don't know about you, but I want to see that firefly do it's cool bright light when it charges up its cruise engines. I'll need to comb around in scripts and guides on how to import your own effects. Also, for now I'm thinking, no hard-mounts for weapons (Damn yokels can't tell a transport ship ain't got no guns on it). Just for now though, in the world of Firefly no guns means you're dead. Doesn't matter how well you can maneuver or how fast you fly. But, that'll come later. Any suggestions/comments so far? I'll keep working on the model compatibility crap. I need ideas.

you can't take the sky from me


Sunday, August 21, 2005 11:47 AM


could put guns at the front around the cockpit, a gun on either side on top, cd/t mount below it. Like the order ship, "Anubis". speaking of that ship, the cockpit looks similar to the one on the serenity


Monday, August 22, 2005 8:12 AM


(Auroter sent me an email requesting the model; I'm deleting my post with my email from here).


Tuesday, October 4, 2005 9:46 AM


I was wondering on the progress of it still being constructed? Is it stalled? Is the mod available, either in full or in part?


Wednesday, December 7, 2005 1:34 PM


Anyhow, count me in! I've been playing around with these bits for some time and I've already worked out some of the factions and systems...

Some examples here:

Orbital Spa And Cruise could easily be converted into the Companion's Guild as this has the same atmosphere. You could use the Planet Curacao model as one of the Guild's bases in the core worlds.

The Browncoats will possibly be split into some independent factions which do have some allegiance with each other (think Freelancer's House Criminals) and the variation in Browncoat ships can be tremendous. You can see Fireflies there but also some home-made ships or even a stray Humpback with some FX converted.

The Alliance will fly the known light cruisers and the heavy cruisers (e.g. battleships) will be stationary like in Freelancer. These guys are simply too big to move around..

Here's my little note on the systems and use of jumpgates and the like:
If you set the scene a little over a decade after the Firefly/Serenity 'verse you can make the building of jumpgates a little more plausible. Cramming over a hundred bases into a Freelancer system is simply impossible (memory issues) so we'll have to split up some stuff. If you say the colonization fleet from Earth-that-was headed for the Centauri sector (the nearest star from Earth) you have about 4 or 5 systems you can already fiddle with with short jumpgate hops.
Tradelanes in the systems will be removed as the ships will travel at full burn (cruise engine) with speeds that approximate trade lane speed. If they were to travel at the speed portrayed in the series, you could take days to travel from one system to another.

Splitting up the systems, you'll probably find the Core Worlds (Londinium, Ariel) in one system which could be the New York system. Travelling out to one side there's a section of Reaver space (Some planet that will not be named because of Serenity spoilers), and a set of scattered worlds on the other sides belonging to the different Browncoat factions. Patience's moon could be in one of these systems and Haven in another.

To make this work, we're gonna need some models of the ships you see in Firefly and in Serenity. Most of the ship database is relatively open, though, so you could work in a few default Freelancer ships along the way. Remember that the models will need to be low-polygon so Sean Robertson's Serenity model isn't going to work. :)


Wednesday, December 7, 2005 7:37 PM


I'm no programmer, so all I can offer is my moral support. I can't wait to see what you guys do. :)


Monday, December 19, 2005 6:52 AM


I have max, photoshop, and some spare time. ^_^


Sunday, January 15, 2006 4:59 PM


Are people still working on this mod, or has it Stalled?

Because I am also making a Freelancer FF mod Much like this one, and my one is very much alive. If people are still working on this mod, maybe a join effort could speed up the pace.

And if this mod has indeed stoped then anyone who was working on it, and still wants to help on a Firefly universe mod should contact me.

contact me at:



Monday, October 9, 2006 12:23 AM


I personally have never made a freelancer mod i barely even play FL but i found this like for us firefly fans.....

it's a serenity mod for FL i don't know who made it but i give credit to them



Monday, October 9, 2006 12:23 AM



Monday, October 9, 2006 4:26 AM


Quite the thread necromancy here!

I got this mod off Lancer's Reactor a while ago. I'm not a programmer but can confirm the user's reaction after having playtested it through from the end of the first mission (when it is available to buy) to the end of the single-player campaign, and through every star system in the game (I think I missed one jump hole in Tau 29). If it was the work of one or more of the posters on this board, kudos to them. It is totally stable in terms of playability with only one or two specific graphical glitches - Serenity does not appear in one cutscene (but her guns do!) and neither does she appear in most or all close-up shots in the equipment purchase area on bases.

It was, however, excessively overpowered, partly in having a high-capacity freighter available from level 2 instead of level 10 (money never an object) but particularly in firepower. Imagine going into the final few battles with three Nomad guns on the front and five level 7/8/9 turrets glued round the sides... overkill. In addition, it appears to be from a light fighter hull type, so it manoeuvres like a light fighter, so there's never a combat reason to not fly the freighter. The only balance to this is the relatively small number of shield batteries and nanobots, which is a problem in some cases. I have persistent problems taking out the four Nomads in Omicron Alpha at once without help from nearby ships.

I have a couple of screengrabs at home of Serenity in action if any of you would like to see.






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