Fleet Operations is a popular skirmish and multiplayer orientated total conversion modification for Activision's real-time strategy game, Star Trek: Armada II.
The project's goal was not only to create a simple "modification", but to design a total conversion to make Armada II a worthy successor to the second best-selling Star Trek game, Star Trek: Armada (behind Interplay's Star Trek: 25th Anniversary by a small, but fair margin).
The first public version of Fleet Operations was released in 2003. Today, version 3 includes a whole new user interface, an updated game and graphics engine, completely replaced ship models, 5 balanced races with totally new gameplay and tons of new possibilities making Armada II a real real-time strategy multiplayer game.
Fleet Operations features
- 5 balanced races: Federation, Klingon, Borg, Romulan and Dominion
- More than 200 new ships and stations
- Dynamic tactics: Avatars, ship experience system, mixed tech, warp-in, ...
- Fully supported and improved AI
- Community driven and active in development since 2003
- Engine enhancements: Widescreen support, FMOD sound engine, Tunngle online gaming, ...
- Not the Armada you played: 99% of all models, graphics, sounds, scripts rewritten or replaced
- Patched to include latest fixes up to Windows 8
- Easy Installation: Installs right off your Armada II CD - no pre-installation required
We first began working on Fleet Operations more than a decade ago. The final episode of Deep Space 9 hadn’t run too long ago and Voyager was still in its last season. Several new Star Trek video games were released. Among them, Activision's Star Trek: Armada, a real time strategy game, set in the Next Generation universe. We were soon captivated by the atmosphere of its single player campaign, fun multiplayer mode, and the discovery of its modding features. At that time we already had been working on game modifications. In the past we received some experience from various smaller projects we did for Half Life, StarCraft, Command & Conquer and other games. None of this work formed into something bigger. The same would seem to apply for the mod we were building for Armada.
Contrary to other modifications that were mostly centered on one faction in the Star Trek universe - the Federation - for this modification we began expanding all races equally. The simple reason was that we were usually playing in competitive games against each other, with everyone having a separate favorite race. First we added new vessels into the game. Then, through our playing experiences, we improved the game, fixed our mistakes, and then played again. In early versions, new vessel models were simple modifications of existing ones that were available. Later, unsatisfied with the results, we started to create our own models with 3D graphics software. Every race gained various new vessels and stations, each with a meaningful purpose. Slowly the modification grew bigger and bigger. Still, at the time, not one of us thought of ever making the project public. We simply had too much fun continuously adding new content, without the responsibility of getting to a point where the modification no longer deserved the designation 'alpha version'.
After the release of Star Trek: Armada II in late 2001 we were very disappointed with what the successor to Armada I turned out to be. To us, the game felt like a step backward from its predecessor's gameplay. Many of the new features felt rushed and not entirely thought through. It was obvious that the game was forcefully pushed out much too early. Luckily, it offered its own set of modding capabilities. We decided to adapt our ideas for our Armada I project for Armada II. We kept most of the gameplay of our Armada I version intact, ignoring the content that was available with Armada II and basically starting from scratch. Since we were somewhat unsatisfied with what vanilla Armada II offered when we played it, we decided that this time we'd make the mod available publicly for others to try who might have felt the same.
After months of development, we came to a point where our work seemed nearly 'feature complete' for a release. However one important part was still missing. During development, usually the best ideas for the mod came after we played. We were sure that in the same way, people playing our mod would also have ideas that they'd like to share: the same way we did within the team during development. So instead of just uploading the mod to some download site and leaving it alone or giving it a static homepage somewhere, it was important for us to have a platform where we could get actual feedback. Because of this we created a website and forum, with the idea that these components would be equal in importance to the gameplay and graphics of the actual modification.
Fleet Operations was first announced in early April 2003 and released by the end of that same month. We were surprised how well the game concept was received by many players. Soon our small webspace wasn't enough and we had to move our site to a larger server. Over the years, lots of people contributed to the mod in the form of ideas or their support. Our development team grew and today we are happy that Fleet Operations is still being played by many Star Trek fans both in skirmish and online multiplayer.
...and the adventure continues...