Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy – The Foundation of a Future That Never Was

(Editor’s Note: This is a re­post from the won­der­ful Christian Kaleb, orginal­ly post­ed on https://www.ckaleb.com/. You can find more of his writ­ing there, or help sup­port his up­com­ing book Sword of The Nation by vis­it­ing his Patreon here!)

I still re­mem­ber it as if it was yes­ter­day, it was a few months into my Jedi Outcast ad­ven­ture when my clan­mates told me some ex­cit­ing news.

They’re mak­ing Jedi Knight Three!” They said.

Holy Shit!” I ex­claimed. I was ec­sta­t­ic that Jedi Outcast was get­ting a se­quel, the hype was real.

Mind you, 2003 was a much sim­pler era, the pro­lif­er­a­tion of so­cial me­dia that we see to­day was just tak­ing its first shy steps, and much less gam­ing out­lets ex­ist­ed; not to men­tion that English Chinese car­toon mes­sage boards were still new and more niche. I didn’t knew much about Jedi Academy be­yond its name, and it’s not like I made ef­forts in ob­tain­ing ad­di­tion­al in­for­ma­tion.

Approximately a month and a half be­fore the game’s re­lease date, a “Pre‐Gold” build of Jedi Academy be­gan to cir­cu­late on the Internet. I re­mem­ber how sur­prised my friends and I were when the news broke.

Many the­o­ries as to who was the cul­prit arose across all of the com­mu­ni­ty fo­rums, some had more cre­dence than oth­ers, but most, if not all, spawned out of pure spec­u­la­tion and un­con­firmed hearsay. The the­o­ry with the most con­sen­sus and the most plau­si­ble one at the time was that the leak was the work of a dis­grun­tled em­ploy­ee — or his girl­friend, de­pend­ing on who you asked.

Raven em­ploy­ees did some dam­age con­trol af­ter the beta leaked

The temp­ta­tion to get our hands into that leaked copy was too in­tense, one half of my friends pre­ferred to wait and not dab­ble in the realm of il­le­gal­i­ty, but some of us couldn’t re­sist and down­loaded it. I hit that down­load but­ton so hard and fast and got my copy with the help of my blaz­ing fast 25Kb/s down­load speeds.

Contrary to Raven’s al­le­ga­tions, that build of the game was in­deed playable from start to fin­ish; it was only miss­ing a few tex­tures, most (if not all) sky­box tex­tures, and a few mi­nor bugs here and there, but noth­ing too game‐breaking.

Even the mul­ti­play­er was playable — al­beit with­out a mas­ter serv­er nor the ded­i­cat­ed serv­er ex­e­cuta­bles, host­ing a game and us­ing the /connect com­mand to man­u­al­ly join worked just fine.

In a way, the leak served as an un­ex­pect­ed beta/sneak peek of Jedi Academy. The game was re­leased near­ly eigh­teen months af­ter Jedi Outcast, it was built upon the core of Jedi Knight 2 and ran a fur­ther mod­i­fied ver­sion of the id Tech 3 en­gine, an en­gine that was then be­gin­ning to show its first signs of ag­ing.

The sol­id foun­da­tion laid by Jedi Outcast was ex­pand­ed upon. The en­gine re­ceived nu­mer­ous un­der the hood im­prove­ments; every as­pect of the game­play re­ceived new ad­di­tions – some good, some bad.

The most no­table ad­di­tion, game­play wise, was the new two Lightsaber styles: a Lightsaber staff, made fa­mous by Darth Maul, was now a full‐fledged com­bat style (be­fore, a half‐assed im­ple­men­ta­tion ex­ist­ed in JK2 but it was only part of a cheat code).

Dual wield­ing, a style Anakin Skywalker pop­u­lar­ized in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, made its de­but in the se­ries. These two styles were giv­en stances of their own — and even unique “kata” spe­cial at­tacks; while the sin­gle saber stance, ever so per­fect, re­turned in all its mighty glo­ry with a few new spe­cial moves.

Visually, the game re­sem­bled much of its pre­de­ces­sor. While a con­sid­er­able amount of as­sets from Jedi Outcast were reused it did had a sub­stan­tial amount of graph­i­cal im­prove­ments and new tex­tures; your jour­ney took you across new places nev­er be­fore seen in the Jedi Knight se­ries, as well as fa­mous plan­ets such as Tatooine and Hoth. Vjun, a promi­nent lo­ca­tion in the Expanded Universe, was an im­por­tant des­ti­na­tion in your jour­ney.

Tavion Axmis, a sec­ondary an­tag­o­nist in Jedi Outcast, was now the pri­ma­ry an­tag­o­nist of the sto­ry; as a re­sult, her in‐game mod­el re­ceived a fit­ting re­work.

Jedi Outcast’s weapon ar­se­nal re­turned with two new ad­di­tions, the DL‐44 heavy blaster pis­tol, which re­placed Kyle Katarn’s sig­na­ture Bryar Blaster Pistol, and the Stouker con­cus­sion ri­fle, a pow­er­ful new heavy weapon.

Kyle Katarn, the hero and pro­tag­o­nist of the Jedi Knight se­ries wasn’t playable this time around for the first time since the Mysteries of the Sith ex­pan­sion for Jedi Knight I. This time, the cel­e­brat­ed hero was your men­tor, and the pro­tag­o­nist of this sto­ry was an in­di­vid­ual named Jaden Korr.

Raven pro­vid­ed you only with a name — and the rest was up to you; whether Jaden was male (Human, Kel Dor, Rodian) or fe­male (Human, Twi’lek, or Zabrak); whether Jaden wield­ed a sin­gle lightsaber, or dual wield­ed, or per­haps he/she was a mas­ter of the saber staff style, every­thing was up to your pref­er­ences, in­clud­ing the ul­ti­mate fate of Jaden Korr.

The char­ac­ter cre­ation was far for com­plex, but rather sim­ple yet ef­fec­tive, you had your race op­tions, Jaden’s at­tire was se­lect­ed us­ing a sim­ple mix‐and‐match sys­tem that had the abil­i­ty to do mi­nor al­ter­ations of the attire’s col­or, in the case of a Twi’lek fe­male, you could choose her skin tone.

The create‐a‐jaden wasn’t lim­it­ed to the sin­gle play­er cam­paign, you could use it for mul­ti­play­er too if you wished.

Unlike oth­er en­tries in the Jedi Knight Series, Jedi Academy’s cam­paign was less lin­ear. Gone were those first seg­ments of the game where you didn’t had ac­cess to a Lightsaber that char­ac­ter­ized Jedi Knight I and II. After com­plet­ing the in­tro­duc­to­ry lev­el, you were pre­sent­ed with a list of pos­si­ble mis­sions across the galaxy, you could tack­le these in any or­der of pref­er­ence as you foiled the plans of the ne­far­i­ous Disciples of Ragnos whilst craft­ing your own ex­pe­ri­ence.

Successfully com­plet­ing a mis­sion al­lowed you to lev­el up your force abil­i­ties, again, in any way that you saw fit; com­plet­ing every sin­gle lev­el wasn’t nec­es­sary to fin­ish the game, but it was high­ly rec­om­mend­ed.

Depending on the path you took as you learned new force abil­i­ties, Luke Skywalker would ei­ther com­pli­ment or warn you if you dab­bled too much into the Dark Side (at least he didn’t try to kill you while you sleep if you chose force grip).

At the campaign’s halfway point, you had the abil­i­ty to fur­ther spe­cial­ize Jaden’s Lightsaber com­bat style, ei­ther re­main a sin­gle saber user, or go dual wield/saber staff.

To de­feat the Cyberde — I mean — Boba Fett, shoot at it un­til it dies

All in all, the Jedi Academy sin­gle play­er ex­pe­ri­ence was fresh and en­ter­tain­ing, no run was ever the same, as the next time you played it you could try a dark side ap­proach, do the lev­els in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent or­der, or even try a new Lightsaber style to spice things up.

Some char­ac­ters were sim­pler than oth­ers, Luke and Kyle took a men­tor back seat, but where present in the plot. Tavion and Alora were great Dark Jedi, and then there was Rosh Penin…

You think Jar‐Jar Binks was bad? Wait till you suf­fer through Rosh, he is the ul­ti­mate test, if you can some­how en­dure him thor­ough the game, then you’ve reached per­fect Zen.

Look at this dude…

 

The mul­ti­play­er in Jedi Academy was just as good to Jedi Outcast, if not out­right sim­i­lar; what was al­ready great was ex­pand­ed upon. Raven was wise and didn’t try to fix what wasn’t bro­ken — for the most part that is.

Everything that you loved about Jedi Outcast’s mul­ti­play­er was back in ad­di­tion to the new Lightsaber styles and the two new weapons; you could choose your char­ac­ter and force pow­er build in the same way you did back in JK2, in ad­di­tion, you could choose the style of your Lightsaber hilt and the col­or of its blade. If you pre­ferred, you could use all of the op­tions avail­able to cre­ate your very own Jader Korr in mul­ti­play­er.

However, not all up­grades were for good; the Lightsaber com­bat in Academy felt some­what in­fe­ri­or to Outcast, the new hit col­li­sion wasn’t as pre­cise and some­times the com­bat tends to be more “floaty” and er­rat­ic; the new com­bat styles made that flaw much more ev­i­dent.

If you pre­fer to duel against oth­er play­ers with your Lightsaber, I’d rec­om­mend do­ing it in Jedi Outcast, as the sin­gle saber com­bat in JK2 is tech­ni­cal­ly bet­ter and far more pre­cise. If you want a more var­ied and fran­tic Lightsaber hack and slash mul­ti­play­er ac­tion, try Academy’s 3 styles and nu­mer­ous stances.

Personally, I’d like to think that Raven ac­knowl­edged the ex­is­tence of the Saber Code to some de­gree and tried to build maps that steered away from that par­a­digm in fa­vor of a more “the way it was in­tend­ed” mul­ti­play­er pre­cept. The five de­fault Free for All Maps that the game shipped with were de­signed in a more tra­di­tion­al “Quake 3 are­na” Deathmach lay­out (the Tatooine FFA map was per­haps, the one that could bare­ly clas­si­fy as an ex­cep­tion, if at all)

The 5 de­fault FFA maps that the game shipped with

Vjun Sentinel, also known as “FFA1” was shaped like a tall cylin­dri­cal struc­ture, nar­row cor­ri­dors, and am­ple walls that you could wall­run your way through were some of its most promi­nent fea­tures, a stark con­trast of JK2’s coun­ter­part: FFA_Bespin, which had a more open de­sign, and had sev­er­al spots with suf­fi­cient space to host du­els, in­clud­ing the much cel­e­brat­ed “Pad.”

Of all the five stan­dard free for all maps, Taspir or “FFA5” was the only one that had an area that could serve as a “Duel Pad” in an open space, while the rest of its lay­out was more clois­tered and con­strained. Rift Sanctuary was a close sec­ond, but its lay­out also fa­vored a “sword and gun” type of com­bat.

From a vi­su­al stand­point, all maps were di­verse and col­or­ful, Vjun Sentinel had an Empire vibe at­tached to it, Tatooine had that sand we all know and love, Rift Sanctuary had a crys­talline cav­ernous style, and Taspir had a vol­canic fa­cil­i­ty theme go­ing on.

The game shipped with 5 Free for All Maps, 5 Capture the Flag Maps, 10 Duel maps, and 3 Siege mode maps. Of course, you had the choice to add as many cus­tom maps as you wished.

A few months af­ter its re­lease, Raven re­leased an of­fi­cial set of bonus maps, it in­clud­ed 4 new FFA maps, a new duel map, and a new Capture the Flag map. Compare that to the DLC found in mod­ern games, had Jedi Academy been re­leased in this era you can be sure that you’d be charged for those six new maps.

Siege Mode

Of all the new ad­di­tions done from Outcast to Academy, Siege Mode was by far the best and most com­plex ad­di­tion — para­dox­i­cal­ly, it was one with the most ab­solute­ly wast­ed and un­der­uti­lized po­ten­tial of them all.

Siege mode was one of the pre­cur­sors of the objective‐based as­sault modes that are now promi­nent in mod­ern games. It threw away the de­fault cus­tomiza­tion op­tions avail­able in oth­er modes that helped you build your om­nipo­tent Jedi war­rior and in­stead gave you an ar­ray of pre‐built class­es to choose from, each with their own lim­it­ed se­lec­tion of weapons and pow­ers and with their own list of strength and weak­ness­es.

One team was al­ways in the of­fen­sive, they had to com­plete a se­ries of ob­jec­tives to progress through the map, while the team in the de­fense had to stop them no mat­ter what.

The Siege_Hoth map was a sim­ple recre­ation of the bat­tle of Hoth, al­beit with cer­tain cre­ative lib­er­ties. Vehicle sup­port, a new but then un­der­uti­lized ad­di­tion to the en­gine, was used in Siege mode; in the Hoth lev­el, some of the play­ers had to board AT‐STs to de­stroy the rebel de­fens­es, while their com­pan­ions would in­fil­trate the base and raise a bridge so the ma­chine could walk through a chasm.

The oth­er two maps were Siege_Desert and Siege_Korriban, an of­fi­cial fourth one, Siege_Destroyer, was re­leased months lat­er, this one served as a tech­ni­cal demo of the ve­hi­cle sup­port Jedi Academy sport­ed, and the only of­fi­cial map that was pure­ly based on space com­bat.

In Siege_Destroyer, the rebels had to as­sault and dis­able a Star Destroyer that was about to cap­ture the Millennium Falcon, the Empire team had to stall the re­lent­less as­sault on their flag­ship un­til the Falcon was cap­tured.

Raven bun­dled the Siege_Destroyer map with tu­to­ri­als and all the doc­u­men­ta­tion re­quired so that the com­mu­ni­ty could be able to cre­ate their own Siege mode maps, as well as open the way for the cre­ation of new ve­hi­cles for all sorts of maps.

Over the course of the years, peo­ple re­leased sev­er­al Siege maps of var­ied types, but for all its fun and en­joy­ment, Siege mode was nev­er as pop­u­lar as free for all “Saber Code” servers.

Power Duel

A new vari­a­tion of Duel mode, the premise of Power Duel was to al­low play­ers to repli­cate the two ver­sus one du­els that had been shown in the Prequel Trilogy (Such as Darth Maul vs Obi‐Wan and Qui‐Gon and Count Dooku vs Obi‐Wan and Anakin).

Muffled Duel of the Fates in the dis­tance

Two play­ers would face a sin­gle com­bat­ant, who re­ceived bonus health and force re­sources to off­set his nu­mer­ic dis­ad­van­tage; as fun and nov­el­ty Power Duel was, it was sad­ly un­der re­ceived, as peo­ple had been repli­cat­ing that ex­pe­ri­ence in FFA all along, even in Jedi Outcast.

If there is one thing that Jedi Academy was vast­ly su­pe­ri­or over Jedi Outcast it was in its cus­tomiza­tion. The ex­pand­ed ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the en­gine al­lowed the com­mu­ni­ty to cre­ate more elab­o­rate mods for Jedi Academy.

Even the shad­er script­ing frame­work had more stuff to work with, you could even repli­cate (to a cer­tain de­gree) the “cell shad­ing” vi­su­als that The Legend of Zelda: the Windwaker is known for with just a few lines of code.

Porting Outcast mods into Academy

Every cus­tom map or skin that was done for Jedi Outcast “worked” for Jedi Academy straight out of the bat — for the most part that is.

Models and skins did in fact func­tioned, but they had some is­sues; due to a mi­nor change in the way the game read the skin’s sound file lo­ca­tion JK2 skins would not play their cor­re­spond­ing sound files; this was eas­i­ly fix­able with a .pk3 patch file that con­tained an up­dat­ed sound.cfg file. I re­leased a sin­gle patch file that el­e­gant­ly fixed this is­sue for every Jedi Outcast skin I made for my clan with­out break­ing the skins’ reg­u­lar func­tion­al­i­ty in JK2.

The oth­er prob­lem wasn’t that eas­i­ly solv­able. In Jedi Outcast, all mod­els had no an­i­ma­tions for their left hands, as these were only used to hold weapons and all lightsabers were held in the right hand. This pre­sent­ed a prob­lem if your JK2 mod­el was used with dual wield Lightsabers, as the saber held in the left hand wouldn’t vi­su­al­ly move (but the hits would still prop­er­ly reg­is­ter), it was very vi­su­al­ly dis­ori­ent­ing.

If your JK2 skin wield­ed a sin­gle saber or a saber staff, then you wouldn’t see or have any prob­lem, the only so­lu­tion for this prob­lem was to reweight the mod­el us­ing the up­dat­ed Jedi Academy skele­ton rig file — un­for­tu­nate­ly, not every mod au­thor up­dat­ed theirs, leav­ing dozens of fan­tas­tic mod­els in a state of bro­ken JA com­pat­i­bil­i­ty.

If a skin was based on an ex­ist­ing Jedi Outcast mod­el (say, Kyle Katarn, Reborn, Desann, et al) Then it was just a mat­ter of re­plac­ing the JK2 model.glm file in your skin’s .pk3 file with the up­dat­ed JA coun­ter­part and then repack­ing it, or re­plac­ing it via a patch file, with the for­mer be­ing the pre­ferred choice if you want­ed to pub­lish your skins on a pub­lic web­site.

When it came to maps, a sim­i­lar prob­lem arose, Jedi Academy used new light­ning set­tings on maps, the new stan­dard wasn’t retroac­tive­ly com­pat­i­ble with Jedi Outcast in its en­tire­ly, a sim­ple change in the map’s project file and sub­se­quent re­com­pile for JA was all it took.

Gameplay al­ter­ing mods weren’t com­pat­i­ble and didn’t ex­ist­ed for the first months of Jedi Academy’s life, as there was no up­dat­ed SDK for weeks.

The .sab scripting system

In Jedi Outcast there was only one type of saber, you could mod its ap­pear­ance but it would ap­ply to every oth­er play­er you saw. The lightsaber in JK2 was just a reg­u­lar weapon just like every oth­er one in the game.

For Jedi Academy, Raven im­ple­ment­ed a new and ex­pand­able lightsaber sys­tem, pow­ered by sim­ple scripts stored in .sab files, this al­lowed the po­ten­tial to add as many Lightsaber mod­els and types as you saw fit. Sabers from the five movies (at the time) and weapons from the Expanded Universe were among the most down­loaded ones, as well as brand new cre­ations.

Count Dooku’s lightsaber was a pop­u­lar one

The sys­tem wasn’t just lim­it­ed to reg­u­lar Lightsabers, with it, you could also in­tro­duce melee weapons of any kind, be it axes, swords, staves, etc.

Even weapons from oth­er video games, movies, and tv shows were added over time; from Cloud’s Buster Sword to the Sword of Omens, you could find any­thing and every­thing. I per­son­al­ly used a sword/lightsaber hy­brid mod­el some­one made, I tried to look for it but un­for­tu­nate­ly I wasn’t able to.

“Leave Kylo Ren to me”

With .sab scripts, you could al­ter every as­pect of your new lightsabers, you could choose what sounds it would play, how many blades it had, the length of its blades, and sev­er­al oth­er vari­ables, a strong saber that re­strict­ed your abil­i­ty to use force pow­ers? Yup. One that made your par­ries bet­ter? You got it.

The open­ness of the sys­tem was also one of its flaws, as you could bend the rules with it and make ab­surd­ly long sabers, some of which gave you an un­fair com­bat ad­van­tage, the “Gorn” saber that was part of a pop­u­lar weapons pack was a prime ex­am­ple, the blade was ex­treme­ly long.

Has Science gone too far?

If you’re cu­ri­ous as to how .sab weapons worked, you can check out Jedi Academy’s source code on github for the ref­er­ence file and some ex­am­ples.

Vehicle support

Support for ve­hi­cles was an­oth­er huge ad­di­tion to the en­gine, it was used for sec­tions of the sin­gle play­er cam­paign, but ap­ply­ing it to community‐made mul­ti­play­er con­tent is what made it tru­ly shine.

Thanks to the ref­er­ence files and tu­to­ri­als re­leased by Raven along­side the Siege_Destroyer map pack, mod mak­ers were able to add new ve­hi­cles ships from the Star Wars Universe into Jedi Academy. From the Naboo Starfighter to the Hailfire droid, even the A‐Wing and Republic ships from the Clone Wars.

This also opened the path for “rac­ing” maps, a small but fun niche sub­type of maps, most of them in­volved the swoop speed­ers.

KOTOR Flight School was one of the first and most pop­u­lar “train­ing” maps that ex­ist­ed, it was made as a clan map and then re­leased to the pub­lic, over time, dozens of maps with a fo­cus on ve­hi­cle and space com­bat were re­leased.

There was a hid­den in­ter­ac­tion be­tween ships and Force Lightning, at­tack­ing ships with it caused them to turn on and pro­pel for­ward, in­stant­ly killing any­thing in its path, hid­ing in cov­er, wait­ing for an in­no­cent soul to at­tempt to board a ve­hi­cle, and then us­ing light­ing on them to get them killed was ex­quis­ite­ly hi­lar­i­ous.

NPC Spawning

The en­gine now had the abil­i­ty to let you spawn NPCs for your own amuse­ment or as part of maps, an im­prove­ment over tra­di­tion­al bots as these would not take up a play­er slot in a serv­er and didn’t re­quired maps to have a path lay­out for them to func­tion. You could spawn dozens, if not hun­dreds of NPCs and blast them away or get swarmed by them.

Just like sabers, adding new NPCs was as easy as writ­ing a few lines of codes, from to their be­hav­ior and com­bat pref­er­ences.

The ref­er­ence Luke NPC file. These 49 lines of code made a bet­ter Luke than The Last Jedi

Don’t you dare try to spawn Marka Ragnos — un­less you want­ed to crash the serv­er.

Maps

From a tech­ni­cal stand­point, cus­tom maps in Jedi Academy where big­ger, bad­der, and bet­ter than Jedi Outcast. The SDK shipped with a slight­ly up­dat­ed ver­sion of GTK Radiant

Some JK2 com­mu­ni­ty fa­vorites, such as Jedicouncil and Matrix Reloaded, re­ceived up­dates for JA, their au­thors used the op­por­tu­ni­ty to add new con­tent to them, from new rooms to mi­nor ad­just­ments.

Map mak­ers now had ac­cess to a more ro­bust script­ing sys­tem for their cre­ations, al­low­ing for more in­ter­ac­tiv­i­ty be­tween the map and the play­er. Of all the cus­tom maps (at the time) that took ad­van­tage of it, Fearis Incident by ‘mslaf’ was a crown­ing achieve­ment to in­ter­ac­tiv­i­ty.

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The en­tire map was de­signed with in­ter­ac­tiv­i­ty and de­stroy­able ob­jects in mind. It was a lin­ear map, from point A to point B, but there was al­ways some crate you could push to at­tack your op­po­nent, one pipe to pull, boo­by traps to ac­ti­vate us­ing your force pow­ers, and much more.

Had my friend and I fin­ished our Jedi Outcast/Jedi Academy Machinima se­ries, ‘fearis’ would had been a cru­cial plot point, and all the de­struc­tion that could be done to on that map would’ve served for an action‐packed scene.

Naboo Hills was an ex­am­ple of an open and vast map, with am­ple space for the ve­hi­cles it came with (and any oth­er that you wished to spawn), it also had a gazebo‐like struc­ture for du­els at the cen­ter.

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Christmas in Whoville was a map full of charm, this Dr. Seuss in­spired map had so many ameni­ties, it was sil­ly yes, but cozy. My friends and I had this sort of Christmas tra­di­tion of play­ing in the map, spawn­ing an ob­scene amounts of NPCs, and one ride­able Tauntaun ve­hi­cle for each, slash­ing through the hordes of en­e­mies in a “Riders of Rohan” fash­ion.

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Gameplay Mods

Jedi Academy un­doubt­ed­ly had more game­play mods than Jedi Outcast ever did, here’s some of the mul­ti­play­er ones I re­mem­ber fond­ly:

JAMod

cHoSeN oNe’s (in)famous JAMod, the back­bone of the ma­jor­i­ty of the Jedi Outcast clan com­mu­ni­ties re­turned for Jedi Academy, al­beit in a re­duced and more stream­lined form. Gone were the com­mands that were deemed prone to abuse such as slap and sleep, and in­stead it only of­fered the core moderation/admin el­e­ments that the orig­i­nal ver­sion pro­vid­ed in or­der to keep “peace” in your serv­er.

The re­moval of the con­tro­ver­sial com­mands was well re­ceived by some — in­clud­ing my­self at the time, but it was heav­i­ly crit­i­cized by a vo­cal ma­jor­i­ty.

JA+

Slider’s JA+ is a prime ex­am­ple that some­times we’re sim­ply doomed to re­peat the mis­takes of the past.

Jedi Academy Plus” was born out of an op­por­tu­ni­ty (and mis­guid­ed ne­ces­si­ty) to bring back a more full fea­tured “JAmod clone” in­clud­ing every­thing that had the po­ten­tial to be trou­ble­some once again (slap, sleep, bun­ny, et al.)

When JA+ was first re­leased, there was a short pe­ri­od of ten­sion be­tween those loy­al to the orig­i­nal JAMod and those who pre­ferred the in­fant JA+. Even “Orion”, the new man­ag­er of the JAmod project, jumped in and gave his opin­ion, stat­ing that JA+ was sim­ply in­fe­ri­or, down to its core pro­gram­ming which “was riled with thou­sands of ‘If’ and ‘Then’ state­ments.”

He may have been right and JAMod could have in­deed had a more el­e­gant and clean­er code, but the com­mu­ni­ty sim­ply didn’t cared, they just want­ed their full‐featured ad­min mod, some­thing JAMod no longer of­fered.

JA+ swift­ly dis­placed JAmod and be­came the de‐facto stan­dard mod in clan sev­ers, in each sub­se­quent up­date, Slider added new fea­tures like ex­pand­ed ve­hi­cle caps, the abil­i­ty to en­able a more JK2 saber ex­pe­ri­ence. Some fea­tures were more un­nec­es­sary than oth­ers, like a “care­bear” chat box dam­age im­mu­ni­ty, hook­shots, and flamethrow­ers.

In the end it be­came so bloat­ed that you need­ed a client side plu­g­in to use some of its fea­tures, which went against the core con­cept of the orig­i­nal JAMod’s server‐side na­ture.

Lugormod

This one is an odd­ball. It start­ed as a per­son­al mod for Lugor’s serv­er, and was sim­ply des­tined to add mi­nor tweaks and en­hance­ments for his per­son­al use. Over time it grew up to have more fea­tures like the abil­i­ty to place mod­els and doo­dads from the game at will, ef­fec­tive­ly let­ting you mod­i­fy map el­e­ments in real time, it also fea­tured ac­count man­age­ment for play­ers. It was the most used mod for a grow­ing role­play com­mu­ni­ty (no, I wasn’t part of it, but had friends on it).

It was the clos­est you’d get to a “Garry’s mod” in Jedi Academy.

Moviebattles

This am­bi­tious project is by far, one of the most elab­o­rate and well‐made mods for Jedi Academy, to the point that it has its own Wikipedia en­try.

The main premise is that it lets you reen­act em­blem­at­ic bat­tles of the Star Wars saga, I am pleas­ant­ly sur­prised that as of this date it’s still be­ing up­dat­ed, re­cent­ly adding con­tent from the new movies.

This lit­tle mod puts EA’s Battlefront II (2017) to shame, of­fer­ing way more char­ac­ters and lo­cales than an AAA game does.

Forcemod

This old mod was an­oth­er clas­sic, it scrapped the de­fault char­ac­ter cus­tomiza­tion and in­stead of­fered a myr­i­ad of Star Wars themed class­es, from Clonetroopers to Droidekas, even the Yuuzhan Vong, each with their own unique ar­se­nal and abil­i­ties.

Jedi Academy was a step in the right di­rec­tion of the se­ries de­spite not be­ing a huge gen­er­a­tional leap like JK2 was to JK1. It took the foun­da­tions laid by Jedi Outcast and ex­pand­ed on them, JA was a wor­thy se­quel but ul­ti­mate­ly it was no true Jedi Knight III.

The id Tech 3 en­gine, the core of JK2 and JA, was al­ready past its prime. Its suc­ces­sor, the id Tech 4 en­gine, and the com­peti­tor Unreal Engine were vast­ly su­pe­ri­or in every sin­gle as­pect, and yet de­spite of that, Raven’s did a re­mark­able job with the out­dat­ed en­gine, a swan song per­haps.

The com­mu­ni­ty al­ways had hope that per­haps, at some point the near fu­ture, a num­bered Jedi Knight se­quel would be an­nounced, es­pe­cial­ly with all the rapid­ly ad­vanc­ing graph­ic ca­pa­bil­i­ties of that era. Jedi Academy was re­leased right at the last mo­ments be­fore the ar­rival of new par­a­digms in mul­ti­play­er gam­ing.

The mar­ket was evolv­ing, the suc­cess of Call of Duty in late 2003 and Halo 2 in 2004 (and by ex­ten­sion, Xbox Live) were some of the cat­a­lysts that shift­ed the on­line mul­ti­play­er par­a­digm into a more closed ex­pe­ri­ence; one riled with match­mak­ing and peer‐to‐peer net­work­ing in­stead of ded­i­cat­ed servers and browsers.

In 2004, Star Wars Battlefront was re­leased, it eas­i­ly be­came the pre­mier mul­ti­play­er Star Wars ex­pe­ri­ence thanks to its en­gag­ing and action‐packed game­play. Its se­quel, Battlefront II (the good one) was re­leased in 2005, and much like JA did to JK2, Battlefront II ex­pand­ed upon the core premise of its pre­de­ces­sor and added more fea­tures and ways to play; Unlike the Jedi Knight se­ries, which was tied to the Expanded Universe side of Star Wars, Battlefront’s con­tent was cen­tered around the Prequel and Original trilo­gies.

On the single‐player side of things, Knights of the Old Republic I and II were re­leased in 2003 and 2004 re­spec­tive­ly, both fan­tas­tic games that bought new a new chap­ter of his­to­ry to the Star Wars mythos, one that took place thou­sands of years be­fore Luke Skywalker blew up the Death Star.

Still, for all the ac­co­lades and well‐deserved glo­ry of the first Battlefront games and the KotOR se­ries, those that were (and still are) fans of the Jedi Knight se­ries, clung to that dwin­dling glim­mer of hope that per­haps, Jedi Knight III’s an­nounce­ment was around the cor­ner.

Time went on, and the sev­enth gen­er­a­tion of video game con­soles was now upon us, and with it, con­cepts like DLC and micro‐transactions, a par­a­digm that was di­a­met­ri­cal­ly op­posed to the con­cept of com­mu­ni­ty dri­ven con­tent, the heart and soul of many mul­ti­play­er games such as Quake, Unreal, Jedi Knight, et al.

Raven then went onto work­ing in oth­er games such as Quake 4, X‐Men Legends, and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, fur­ther re­duc­ing the prob­a­bil­i­ties that they would go onto work on a new Jedi Knight game. Nowadays, they’re ex­clu­sive­ly work­ing on the Call of Duty se­ries.

In 2008, a book ti­tled “Rogue Leaders: The Story of LucasArts” was re­leased, the book show­cas­es the lo­go­types of 20 can­celled game projects, which con­tained the only pub­lic ev­i­dence that Jedi Knight III ex­ist­ed at least in a con­cep­tu­al form.

What it could’ve been…

Star Wars: Jedi Knight III: Brink of Darkness, that’s how it would’ve been called, and it would had been the fi­nal chap­ter of Kyle Katarn’s long jour­ney.

Like tears in the rain.

Kyle Katarn’s jour­ney be­gan with Dark Forces in 1995; an imperial‐turned rebel, and then Jedi Master, his sto­ry de­served clo­sure. Unfortunately, now that he, along with ba­si­cal­ly the rest of the Expanded Universe, have been set aside by Disney, we’ll nev­er get to ex­pe­ri­ence the end of his jour­ney.

One of Kyle’s great­est achieve­ments: the ob­tain­ment of the Death Star plans, was ret­conned by this movie

The Jedi Knight se­ries as a whole has passed the test of time, they’re great games worth play­ing out in the cur­rent year, even if the first en­tries feel tech­no­log­i­cal­ly out­dat­ed.

What’s sad­den­ing is the fact that even if by some mon­key paw wish Disney de­cides to res­ur­rect (aka, re­boot) the Jedi Knight se­ries, it would then be riled and plagued with all of the prob­lems of the mod­ern video game in­dus­try: From pre‐order bonus­es non­sense, to loot­box­es, DLC, and sea­son pass­es, es­pe­cial­ly with EA’s li­cense on Star Wars games and their well‐known record.

The Jedi Knight III that the fans de­served, the one that Kyle Katarn’s char­ac­ter de­served — it sim­ply can­not and will not ex­ist now.

But hey, at least we have Battlefront II (2017), right? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Here’s to you, Kyle Katarn

Rest for­ev­er here in our hearts 

The last and fi­nal mo­ment is yours 

That agony is your tri­umph…

The fol­low­ing two tabs change con­tent be­low.
Christian Kaleb
Best Venezuelan Pariah Upstart Fiction Writer | Professional bread line doer. Dreaming of big­ger things and wan­na leave my old life be­hind.
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