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Universal Combat - First Impressions

Supreme Cmdr

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First Impressions, a very excellent game. The only thing I wish it has was a prompt when you selected quit asking if you are sure. I spent 5 hours upgrading and mining then went to quit and save but accidentally clicked on quit and lost it all.

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Right -- so I'm still getting my feet wet. I bought the game last week and have been picking through it....upon some occassions swearing profusely. This is a very challenging game, and the only reason I stuck with it is because I suspected that it would be worth...and I think it is. The jury is still out, but I think that in the end this game will only serve to increase the crushing sense of social isolation that I feel.

Good things:

1) The scope is freaking amazing. I spent many a prepubescent night dreaming of a game like this... I can honestly say that the only other game that so caught my imagination is Carrier Command.

2) see #1

3) see #1

4) I like the fact that the lead developer is accessible and closely connected with this product -- which certainly must feel like another child by now. It says a lot about his committment to us and to his product.

5) The tutorial was absolutely fantastic. Gold star for you!


Of course, some of these may simply be a product of my noobishness, but here goes

1) My pilots'/captains' AI is just wonky sometimes. If I tell a wing of fighters to watch over a transport, I want to be certain that the fighters are going to watch over the transport and not start attacking every red vessel that happens to show an interest in them (ie. hostile stations) -- especially if I plan on tending to other things that require my full attention.

What usually happens is I'll give two fighters an escort order, and they will happily follow until something attacks. Then they'll go into this bloodthirsty rage (good), shoot the attacking vessel to pieces (good) and then go after every other red unit in the region (not good). It is like as soon as they are attacked they forget their initial order and proceed to kill everything in sight. To me, the prefered behavior is kill everything in sight, but also stay close to the ship you should be protecting (ie. don't jump after distant, fleeing or otherwise harmless red-ships/stations). My current solution of nervously checking my priority targets list is quite draining, and while I realize that no AI is perfect, I wish there was some tweaking that can be done here.

2) A PDF version of the manual that would allow me to do finds on topics would be awesome. Too often I've had to pause the game for 10 minutes while trying to find something in the manual.

3) (Has already been mentioned) When I jump to wormholes, I'm usually 10 klicks out. However, I'm usually 40 klicks out when jumping to hyperspace gates. This extra distance makes it really hard to get anywhere in a hurry.

4) I just may have missed this feature's presence, but having a dynamic grouping/hotkey feature for multiple units would also be very very nice. If I have a team of 7 marines on the ground, I want to be able to rapidly order them around instead of having to make the same order 7 times and have 7 chances to screw things up. If my AE is taking fire, I would rather that 1 command brings several reinforcements to my aid than 7 commands. Yeah I can coax the AI to do this for me (tell everyone to escort 1 unit leader), but it seems not work as well as being able to issue a group order.

I realize that the amount of coding to implement this may ellicit an "Oh God, NO!" response to the developer, so I have a compromise -- have the TOM remain onscreen until intentionally dismissed (with another escape key). At least this way it will allow the player to issue a large number of orders without having to hit escape each time.

5) Never underestimate the value of being able to name things. While letting a player name vehicles, fighters, teams, etc may seem silly, it actually creates a sense of connectedness and ownership with those assets. It also allows the player to reason through complex situations in a way that is more natural to him/her. If you're landing a tank to the north and a tank to the east of a city, it is easier to quickly process/respond to a message that reads "North Tank has been destroyed" rather than an "OC-8 has been destroyed" message, especially if you have other irons in the fire.

6) I'm having hard game locks whenever the game is shuffled to the background and Windows comes to the foreground. This normally wouldn't be a problem, except that the Windows key is right next to the Alt key on my keyboard. Oh the games I have lost due to hitting the wrong key in the hurry!

Of course, don't get me wrong, I enjoy the game. But I've experienced several behaviors in gameplay that I wish were different and/or limit the scope of what I'm able to get the characters to do.


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Lets see...

  1. There's nothing wonky about it. There are several threads on the forum discussing how to train your AI so that they don't do wonky things due to low AI. Also, if you don't want your CC to take off, engage the A/P and give it the HALT order. Its in the manual.
  2. Thats the reason the game has a pause button. No PDF manual will be available. Besides, you would still have to switch away from the game to read it. And the game will most definitely not like that. At all.
  3. The distance at which your craft emerges, depends on the size your ship and the size of the target. This calculation is made in order to prevent you from colliding with the jump target. Its in the manual.
  4. Yeah, that would be nice; but its not as easy to implement as you might think. This is not an RTS game. Thats why Tacops has a HOLD button. Freeze the game AI and order your troops about. If you want to do something like managing a massive deployment of units, you have to be prepared to deal with the work involved with that.
  5. Naming things is silly. You're complaining about the amount of clicks involved with ordering multiple marine units around.....and you want to be able to name thing; especially given the number of units that are in the game. Yeah.
  6. So don't do it. The game requires exclusive use of the system resources; which is why you are explicitly told - as with many games - not to have ANYTHING running in the background that you would have to switch to. There are many utilities on the net (there is topic about it in the tech support forum as well) that allow you to disable the Windows key system wide or on a per game basis. Or you could just use a flatbed screwdriver.

No game can be all you want it to be and yes, gripes are good because it means I've done something worthy of discussion. But remember, play a game for it is, not what you wished or want it to be.

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You should have seen some of the conversations I had at EB Games yesterday concerning the game. Heh. Poor sods. They can't HANDLE the UNIVERSAL COMBAT!

Ah... Tres Bien... ANYWHO.

UC rocks. The only thing I would ever think of changing about it is the hyperdrive navigation system. Instead of a ballistic timer hyperdrive that allows only selected points, I'd of course, use a hyperdrive you can freeform use whenever you need. Of course, it would have speed limitations, but would make more sense when you want to do a short hop to a close battle, and it would ACTUALLY take LESS time than the hop across the system. This would also open up such things as RANDOM JUMP (MMMmmm... See my signature) and freeform hyperjump strategies.

Of course, that won't happen. To change out the hyperdrive system would require no less than coding in the hyperdrive, ships, reactor fuel use coding, AI, and even missions. Coding work like that would be a mess.

Like Stellar Frontier modding, (Which used DAT files simplified so players could easily make servers) change one thing, you have to go through every piece of the game linked to it and change that to make sure it's compatable and functions correctly. And by the time you're done with just one tiny edit, you've realized you spent twelve hours on it.

It won't happen. (Unless SC decides to be a GOD and do it as a mod patch or something. You never know...)

*Random jumps out of the thread to escape the Five Warmongers and Seven Aestroms jumping to his position.*

"Catch me if you can figure out where I'm going!"

*Returns to realspace right next to the starstation...*


*Random Jumps again, right into a group of raiders...*


*And again, into a crossfire between some GALCOM and some INSURGENT...*


*Jumps away, right into a fleet of Raiders numbering in the hundreds...*


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Originally posted by Admiral Tigerclaw:

Instead of a ballistic timer hyperdrive that allows only selected points, I'd of course, use a hyperdrive you can freeform use whenever you need.

uhm, isn't that why the game has a waypoint system?

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When I figure out how to make the waypoint appear in a completely random spot in open space when the add waypoint coupled with SETPOS button for the command craft option is dissabled in Tacops, I'll get back to you on that.

(Actually, what I meant was, punch a button, and you just fly forward in hyperspace until A: you turn it off, B: you run outta fuel like a dumb@$$ and get stuck in middle O nowhere Sol.)

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Originally posted by Admiral Tigerclaw:

... punch a button, and you just fly forward in hyperspace until A: you turn it off, B: you run outta fuel like a dumb@$$ and get stuck in middle O nowhere Sol.)

I don't have the quote with me but I think, in the first Star Wars movie, Han Solo explained why you can't do that.

So did a more acceptable authority, Dr. Isaac Asimov, somewhere in his Foundation series. Again, no quote but it has a lot to do with mathematical calculations, hyperspace not being Euclidean, and possible uncalculated destinations being places like the center of a star or somewhere way out in the boondocks.

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"This ain't like dustin' crops boy! Without the proper calculations you could fly right through a star, or bounce your ship right off a supernova and that'd end your trop REAL QUICK now wouldn't it?!"

-Han Solo, Star Wars: A New Hope.

**You mean that quote?**

Star Wars hyperspace physics has nothing to do whatsoever with UC physics. The first thing you'd note is that a planet would be a rather painful thing to fly into with a star wars hyperdrive... as you'd be DEAD. Yet UC hyperdrive seems to let you pass through it unharmed. I also noted that UC is not the Foundation series... The chances of flying into a star are slim to none, given the ratio of empty space to stars in the galaxy. And even then, it probably isn't a problem with an intra system hop that doesn't even excede the speed of light anyway. (Please don't get me started! I can switch into RANT mode and rip you a new one with comparisons, examples, footnotes, and technobabble if I get carried away. It's not a pretty picture! ESCAPE WHILE YOU CAN! FOR THE LOVE OF SC! RUN WHILE YOU'RE STILL SANE!!!!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have no idea why everybody have so much complaints, in fact I'am glad somebody finally made this kind of game, which i was always looking for! I dont care about the graphics engine not being extra nice, when the game is such complex and great.

How the hell can somebody complain about too complex controls??!! If he is not able to get it, its his problem, then he should go and buy some "user-friendly: game which is suitable for him to understand.

According to me, its not possible to make great and complex enough game with simple controls.

Iam really looking forward for another releases of this kind! I hope youll not comply to those complaints and keep the games on this level.

There is only thing i mind on UC, why cant i remap those freakin keys?? I searched forum for that, but the only answer i found is, itll be NEVER possible, oh, thats rich! May I at least know, why the controls are not remapable? Thanks

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Originally posted by Bald:

May I at least know, why the controls are not remapable? Thanks

Because they are too many and it will just lead to frustration because the game has to keep track of all of them; regardless of how they are mapped.

No, I don't plan on changing it either.

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Ive bought the game today(because of incovience distributors in my country), ive been playing it more since my last post and I MUST SAY, ITS ABSOLUTELY GREAT!!! I LOVE IT REALLY! This is exacly what I would made if I would be game developer. I dont care about graphics detail when i can find so many details in the game enviroment! Somebody compared it to EVE online.

Ive been playin it for several month, I think thought this two games are incoparable, but I can compare the fun i have playing these games. And EVE is boring shit against UC.

Thanks to the whole team for this one!

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Well, after a week of playing, here's my two (or five) cents worth:

The moment when I knew this game was a keeper was when I had first landed my shuttle on earth next to an (insurgent? don't remember) base. I had plotted a waypoint which I thought (snicker) was close. I landed the shuttle an realized that the planet was not big. It was HUGE. Like bigger than a politicians' ego even . So, just for fun, I walked a few miles and climbed an actual mountain(!). When I got to the top I just stared. Maybe it's the poet in me, but the lovely sunrise, all the environmental effects, millions of trees, and the impending drama of a ground assault struck me as the kind of moment you don't often have in a game. No one made me go there, or even pointed the way. There were no hints, no nudges in the right direction. No quasi-freedom like in most games, where (after all the running around) you really can only do one thing to advance the game. There WAS no right direction. Just a vast ocean to swim in, a nice ship to sail it with, and (I was to find shortly) a lot of hungry and unforgiving sharks .

The second big positive impression was after I had delved a bit into the Tacops menu. Now, I've been programming for years. Small, hobby stuff, mind you, but I'm pretty good, and my work is usually fairly complex. Tacops is pure programming art. All I can say is that the closest I've ever seen a game come to that level of functionality and complexity with such a (fairly) simple, minimalist interface is in hardcore military sims like harpoon. It really feels like the kind of thing a real (if we ever get that far) intergalactic warship might have. You can do anything you can imagine from that simple screen. Fun stuff.

As you might have guessed by now, I like the game

As to any negative impressions, I have none worth mentioning, they were mainly technical and easily solved after browsing the forums, or silly quibles that detract not a whit from the experience.

I think those that have posted their dismay at the size of the game, and the ease with which one can get lost, are missing the point. Yeah, maybe I'm new and all, but the kind of programming that put this kind of detail and scale and freedom into a game, and then make it so transparent (and almost bug-free), is skill indeed. Take it from one who knows. In an ideal world, UC would have garnered awards, instead of whining. But me? Give me a game big enough to get lost in anyday, I never asked for a roadmap for real life. I sure as hell don't need one anywhere else.

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Ok, so the game has a couple bugs, what game doesn't. Every patch that comes out fixes huge numbers of them. But besides that I LOOOve this game. The abiliy to ROAM,explore or do whatever you want has kept me up till 4 in the morning for the past month just playing this game. Supreme Cmdr you are a god.

Keep up the good work.

I'm checking back ever day awaiting the upcoming expansion.


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I've only had the game a week. This is the second time IÔÇÖve upgraded my PC specifically to play a BC title (last time was BC3K v2). All IÔÇÖve got to say is that ground combat is looking pretty sweet these days; itÔÇÖs what I was wishing for when playing BCM. Asset switching in FP! That, and a squad of marines to follow me in ROAM. Yee Hah!

OK, so they follow me to our mutual demise; the company is nice.

SC, thanks for sticking with this game. ItÔÇÖs great to see the vision fulfilled.

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OK I finally managed to get time(and money) to get my hands on UC.

What can I say........

WOW falls a little short really. Now I haven't gotten too hardcore into the game yet but I have played the rest of the BC series so I like to think I know my way around a bit (still read the fine manual though) but UC blows me away.

The graphics are absolutly georgous. The gloriously colorful space background and the amazingly detailed stations and craft

Then I decided to take a peek at earth so I jumped into a shuttle with two marines and landed on earth. When I exited the shuttle what did I see....... TREES and then later in the day I saw animals wandering around on TACOPS.......

Now I know I've been absent for a while but dang I missed alot......

At the heart of the game I see UC stays close to its older siblings, the AI is top notch and the circumstances you can get yourself into if you are not carefull can be quite scary

(I've already had to make an emergency trip to Galcom in a shuttle to buy a life support unit because my CC couldn't go into hyperspace because the engine was too badly damaged)

In Summary to say you did another top notch job SC would not be doing you or UC justice. Suffice to say on first impressions words fail me.

So all I can say is

Congrats SC!!

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Just picked up UC and wanted to post some initial impressions...

After working through the manual and then the tutorial, I was repeatedly amazed at the depth of this product as I progressed and discovered new aspects of the simulation. It almost doesn't seem like a complete picture to call it a game. This is one heck of an impressive product and I haven't even begun to scratch the surface.

Although my system doesn't meet the min. specs, UC ran fine through everything I tried up until the part in the tutorial where I had the shuttle, FCs, marines, medic, etc at the base, along with the CC, and I exited the CC to first person. Ended up having some big slowdowns at that point. So, its definitely time to upgrade my machine :-) I am impressed that it ran as well as it did up to that point despite my wimpy specs. Note that tacops runs fine even in this situation and things are ok in vehicles, its just first person that has a harder time of it.

Anyway, keep up the good work and thanks for a great product :-)

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Hey all,

IÔÇÖve been looking for a place to make my first post and this thread seems like the best place to start.

I picked up UC about a month ago and having been a fan of space games like Freelancer and X2 for a very long time now I thought I knew what to expect. Boy was I wrong. I expected to be trained for a couple of missions and then be on my way to fame and glory as I single-handedly rid the galaxy of nasty little undesirables. What I got though was an exercise in futility and frustration, not to mention a great way for me to build my cursing skill. Several short gaming sessions and crashed carriers later I decided to hang it up.

About a week ago after failing to find any other sims out there that would keep my interest, I picked up the manual to this game and started to read. (wow never did that before.) IÔÇÖve since then loaded the patches and scoured these forums for more info. As a result, my latest camp. attempt has lasted about 2hrs without getting my bitts blown off. IÔÇÖm totally addicted to the game now and am looking forward to future updates and new challenges. Thanks SC for a totally kicking sim.

PS. Is there somewhere that I can get the tutorial docs from? They didnÔÇÖt install with the latest patch.

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PS. Is there somewhere that I can get the tutorial docs from? They didnÔÇÖt install with the latest patch.

It's a PDF in the Docs Folder.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok, so far this is the most complicated game I have ever played. BUT, this is exactly where I think most games will head in the future (multi-genre) and plan to support all attempts in this field. I completely understand why the engine is not up to compete with other single genre games in a single field (except maybe space), because it isn't easy to cover all areas on a budget.

First - improved dynamics. When turning in space, it shouldn't be like turning inside a planet's gravity. I want to be able to throw my afterburners on after someone in a fighter and be able to pass over them still firing. not finding myself ramming into them (which is what happened the first time I played the game.)

The FP combat is horrible when u zoom in. I can only place the targeter on certain pixels. If I zoom on a guy and try to shoot, I can't even place my crosshairs on him and he's killing me. I actually gave up on Ground warfare after that. I may use my marines and tanks and just watch or fight from a fighter/CC. I'd also like to be able to clear intruders out of my precious ship with my AE.

Haven't had the chance to use Naval stuff yet, and havent been able to fight any yet (updating gfx driver cus it crashes every time I try)

Missiles. When used they have a max range in space. I'd like to see some that don't explode immediately after running out of fuel. It should continue on for a while with its last velocity and heading. Could tie up resources though, and could also become really cheap way to take out stationary targets. And maybe some STS types with crazy range (like an STO).

Those !$%%(*#@$ PTA's!! they are really cheap. I shouldn't have to memorize the PTA displacement on every ship and try to avoid them while attacking. Some are nearly impossible to avoid. Instant never miss attacks are not the way to go. If I could choose between a crazy main cannon, or a pile of PTA's, well, I'd have a PTA boat. There should be different PTA's you can choose from or to upgrade to that have different specs, and possibly gunners in a weapons control room that improve accuracy with their AI rating. Or computers which can be upgraded through that have better accuracy.

Secondly - The More customization during play. The ability to go our and purchase additional fleet assets for your caste under your command, not just assuming control with rank. To be able to change capital chips if you want. To be able to change FP gear on your AE, not just package choice to start in ROAM. (the set packages on others with variants works great for simplicity)

Upgrading fighters would be a good feature. Choosing which ones you have, and what shuttles you own would also be great. Fighter combat was what I wanted to do in this game, and I wasn't really impressed by that dam PTA, and that the other fighters never seem to miss no matter how crazily I try and dodge. Sure, ususally I'm up against 8 fighters alone, but still, I had 6 of mine on one of theirs and they never hit him. I had to go In with my carrier. (error with other 2 fighters, couldn't get pilots in em, and not not cheating or damaged)

It would be nice to be able to purchase and launch an ODS, even if u can't really control the thing. Maybe target aquisition control?

Mabe even crab mines that last longer and the ability to launch a group of them. (so long as they don't have the aformentioned PTA turret, which I despise)

being able to dock ur CC and take off with just the fighters or shuttles and do stuff would be nice, instead of having to leave it in Resnig's uncapable hands.

Some anti missile systems other than the EMD would be a refreshment.

All in all though a great game once u figure it out, will very likely buy any sequels.

I can post more, but i figure this is a long enough read as is, and likely in 7 pages others have covered all this. If Moderator wants it cut down just lemmie know.

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