I Am A Game Photographer: Galaxy on Fire 2 (iPhone)

Rock, Paper, Scissors asked it; here’s my answer: I most certainly am. This time around, rather than just post a handful of screenshots from a game I’m still playing casually from time to time, I’ve posted a complete set of over 400 screenshots from a full playthrough of a game: Galaxy on Fire 2, by Fishlabs, for the iPhone.

Here’s three sample images just to get you started:

[singlepic id=2133 w=480 h=320 float=center]

The Wraith

[singlepic id=2134 w=480 h=320 float=center]

Terran fighters charge an enemy formation.

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Firing on an enemy!

The GOF series — comprised of Galaxy on Fire 3D and the sequel pictured here, Galaxy on Fire 2 — tell the story of former Terran fighter pilot Keith Maxwell, who in the first game is discharged from military service and thrust out into the universe as a freelancer and mercenary. Actually, the first game has little in the way of story; you fly from planet to planet doing missions for the highest bidder. But the flight mechanics are solid, the graphics impressive, and the game an overall enjoyable experience.

In Galaxy on Fire 2, there’s quite a bit more of a story. Maxwell is launched decades into the future in a hyperdrive accident, and wakes up in a strife-ridden corner of the galaxy that — though populated with familiar species and faces — is mostly unfamiliar to him. Presently, he gets caught up in a campaign to defeat the menace and threat of a new alien race, the Void, whose command of wormhole technology allows them to strike at all the different warring alien factions with impunity. Long-time foes will have to unite to defeat the Void threat once and for all.

There is also currently one DLC package for Galaxy on Fire 2, entitled Valkyrie. It’s a fairly short story, but entertaining, and Fishlabs experiment with some interesting game mechanics (especially during the final battle). I imagine that more content is coming, so expect this gallery to grow. But for now, there it is.

9 Responses

  1. Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

    If Wing Commander III and IV had looked like that, I’d have probably forgiven the cut scenes. I’d like to see an on rails shoot ’em up like the Sierra-published Silpheed with those graphics. That would be badass.

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      Have you tried Wing Commander Prophecy, then? The graphics are nearly to this level, and the cutscenes aren’t bad either.

      For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t begrudge the cutscenes in WC3 and WC4 all that much. They might have elements that now seem cheesy or dated, but they were the definition of awesome back when those games came out. Chris Roberts bet on blue-screen technology before Hollywood really got into it to any great degree, and correctly anticipated that it would become the standard for producing complex composited effects in future cinema productions.

  2. Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

    I haven’t, but may have to. I need some good WC lovin’, as it’s been a LONG time.

    What’s interesting is our two vastly different takes on the same thing. I distinctly remember my impressions of WCIII when it came out, as I was still following Origin games in general at the time. It was anything but the definition of awesome to me.

    I never liked the short-lived “full motion video” movement, and those cut scenes to me were an extension of it. I thought it was gimmicky. I was used to Blade Runner and Alien, so the simple fact of live action video being mixed with primitive CG renderings wasn’t my idea of high production values or pushing artistic boundaries. I’d have rather they used grungy, 80’s-style hand drawn anime, or anything really that required artistic skill rather than technical skill if they wanted to go FMV instead of panning sprites.

    Good for CR if he guessed right about emerging film technology, but the Wing Commander series isn’t a proof of concept, college thesis or prototype to me. It’s a game, which is interactive art blended with tech to provide entertainment, and it failed in the art and subsequently entertainment department due to my inability to connect with the characters.

    I look at it like this. What is more engaging, more stimulating to your imagination, a photo of a tree by a bubbling brook, or a semi-impressionistic painting of one? It’s kinda how the black drenched tiles of the earlier Ultimas compare to Ultima VII’s graphics. The black, while there because it was the best choice at the time, still evokes feelings that Ultima VII’s graphics never could. There really is something good in it beyond being just an outdated graphical style. When the mind fills in the blanks, it does so with the details that are just right for you, just like reading a book.

    WCI and WCII’s cut scenes were art. III and IV’s were technical exercises. Then and now in my opinion.

    I’ll see what’s up with Prophecy.

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      3D-rendered backdrops don’t require artistic skill?

      That would, I’m sure, come as news to many digital artists. 😉

      But perhaps I mis-read you. I do that quite often, it seems.

  3. Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

    Haha, good point. Although I feel the artistic skill used to create those particular backdrops was a bit short of even a moderately skilled painter. Difficult and new tools, even in an artist’s hands, often yield less than stellar results the first time around. I don’t know if they had skill and crappy tools, or no skill and good tools, or what. The results, even back then, didn’t impress me though.

    I don’t blame them for lack of trying. I’m sure they put as much effort into it as possible. I just think that based on the results the design decision to use that approach was a mistake. People underestimate the power of hand drawn artwork, or at least tastefully implemented high technology. Compare even an amateur’s cinematography to the insanely shitty blue screen scenes from the (great) movie Heat. Sometimes tech just goes wrong.

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      I look at it this way: if someone doesn’t risk the tech going wrong, we’ll never see the tech go right. Heat and WC3 were necessary milestones, in some sense, along the road to such epic displays of effects as the Lord of the Rings trilogy or the Potter movies (or whatever your favorite example might be).

      And yes, Heat was epic.

  4. Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

    Good point. Still, my bitterness persists because I really loved the first two Wing Commander games. They were formulative in my evolution as a gamer and ultimately game designer. Guess I’m too romantic about such things, and not realistic enough. There aren’t too many things I love in pop culture, so when one flies off the handle in my estimation it has a greater effect on me than perhaps the average Joe.

    Guess I’ve always had trouble with change and letting things go. Pervades all aspects of my life at times.

    I got a nice 1080p BluRay rip of Heat that is just sick. The audio editing in that movie was ridiculously awesome too. Good audio reference for any FPS IMHO.

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      To be fair, there is one scene where Pacino’s lips don’t synch with his speech…but yes, other than that, the sound editing is pretty tops.

  5. Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

    It’s probably because Pacino had just snorted six lines of coke and funneled an espresso and his brain was moving faster than his mouth. I wouldn’t blame the poor audio engineers for that (though they could have corrected it I suppose).