History and Release Timeline

m!m edited this page Sep 18, 2018 · 27 revisions


In 2002, Dave Baranec (one of the individuals who worked on FreeSpace 2), released the FreeSpace 2 source on the now-defunct Volition Watch (http://www.volitionwatch.com).

Although the code was missing major components (such as the PXO multiplayer code and the ability to play movies), new features, such as glowpoints, were quickly added. Ship class limits were bumped.

The individual programmers who were making enhancements to the original code soon organized themselves into the FreeSpace Source Code Project and kept on working. Glow mapping, shine mapping, DirectX 8.0 and later OpenGL support, a new multiplayer network system and dozens of new SEXPs have followed over the years.

Release Timeline

This is an incomplete timeline of FSO releases, listing the "stable" version next to their notable features.


Trivia: We use 3 as the leading number to denote that this is the 3rd incarnation of FreeSpace's engine. FS1 uses 1.0, FS2 uses 2.0, and FSO uses the 3.0 versions.

Version Date Major Features
3.8.2 unreleased Converted pilot files from custom binary format the JSON
Added new, markup based user interface system using libRocket.
Integrated support for the Discord Rich Presence API
Various translations improvements
Exposed the movie player to the scripting API for advanced display features
Refactored bitmap slot handling and removed the fixed upper limit on the number of bitmaps
Added support for displaying decals on the surface of an object
Replaced Blinn-Phong BRDF with GGX BRDF
Add system for dynamically adding new SEXP operators. This can currently be used to call a Lua function like it would be a normal SEXP with full FRED support
OpenAL Soft is now included by default in binary distributions of FSO
Added various translation features to allow better integration of translations into mods without distributing multiple versions for each language.
Added full Unicode text support
Multiple smaller OpenGL changes to improve rendering performance
Model rendering uses uniform buffer for less CPU overhead while rendering
Animations now use OpenGL texture arrays for improved performance
3.8 2017/08/22 FFmpeg for video & audio decoding, including support for H.264 encoded cutscenes
Use OpenGL Core Profile for rendering
TrueType Fonts support for text rendering
Native particle generation system
Improved shield effects
FastDebug build option added (specifically for modders)
CMake build system
Configuration (including pilot files) stored in OS native locations
Portable (or classic) configuration mode
Registry keys replaced with an ini file (Windows only)
SDL2.0 support on all platforms
Physically-Based Rendering
APNG support
3.7.4 2016/07/04 Major graphics update including deferred lighting and shadows
Enhanced sound (up to 128 channels)
"Tons" of bugfixes
3.7.2 2015/04/24 MediaVPs 2014 support
Unstretched interface screens
Automatically non stretched HUD gauges and simpler modder options for placing HUD gauges
Autospread and model point shields
WebUI based multiplayer standalone server (for non-Windows platforms)
3.7.0 2013/09/01 New Flexible Pilot Save File Code (combines single/multi pilots & allows safe switching between unfinished campaigns)
3.6.18 2013/03/01 Fix for critical damage bug in 3.6.16
3.6.16 2013/01/06 Diaspora TC support
Performance Improvements (go_even_faster)
3.6.14 2012/10/23 Major HUD gauges overhaul
3.6.12 2010/08/03
3.6.10 2009/07/20
3.6.0 2004/05/12
3.5.0 2003/02/25
3.3.0 2002/11/10
3.2.0 2002/08/12
3.1.0 2002/08/04
3.0.0 2002/06/03
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