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Supreme Cmdr

Dev Update (gco)

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First things first. Having retired the ol' gal (Battlecruiser/Universal Combat) and totally re-designed (in Galactic Command) a very - very - large part of our graphics, AI, multiplayer and other core technologies, it no longer made sense to keep the Universal Combat Online name.

So, it has been changed to better reflect our current series of games which I expect will, like BC/UC, go on for the next decade or so.

Galactic Command Online it is.

The benefits of this, apart from the obvious, is that with the release of the first two titles in the series, it would be easier to relate to how the MMO version of the game will be.

A word about some recent dev changes:

TECH

On the backend tech side, apart from the usual server-side stats saving, monthly subscription, we're still keeping it at 1000+ clients per server. We'll just have to deploy several Blade server clusters depending on the subscriber count, but I'd rather do that, than have performance issues.

Since the GALCOM series sport more advanced engines, most of those improvements translate better to an MMO flow-through than the UC engine kernel. Especially in terms of the new Planetary Terrain Engine (PTE Spec V) in Talon Elite.

During the engine transition (UCO to GCO), most of the core elements remain intact. e.g. still no zoning. i.e. the space and planetary worlds are still seamlessly integrated and the planetary regions themselves are still split up into regions based on race/caste ownership. Since we are only allowing 1000 players per server, there is still a LOT of space to wander about in.

All the crafts - not just fighters - will now have 3D cockpit/bridge in order to better portray the immersiveness of the game world. Don't expect to "move" around inside a cap (carrier, cruiser, transport) ship though; we're not doing it. Like the 3D fighter cockpit (seen in the ES/TE shots), the 3D bridge will just be basic views (F/L/R/U/D/:) based on your character's POV within that 3D model. If another player docks with your cap ship, they will just get an outside view (like in Tacops) until they launch.

GAMEPLAY

The game premise is still 100% combat focused and trading is restricted to the Trader caste only. The new design means that any player with access to a starbase or starstation, will be able to repair/rearm for free. While, e.g. as a Military caste, you can still buy items, you can't sell them. Only the Trader caste has the full benefit of buying and selling globally (with stations, bases, other players etc).

Since the GALCOM engine allows fighters to dock with cap ships, fighter command players in a fleet that including a cap ship can dock with their leader for automatic repairs and rearming.

Some of these [trading] rules may of course change during the course of the upcoming public Beta test, but this game is about PvP combat, not commodities trading. If you want to play with a spreadsheet, there's always Eve. Have fun.

In my earlier design, I earmarked the ability for players to construct cities, bases, stations etc. That has proven to be a logistics nightmare. So, thats gone. The entire world will be seeded and the game's internal AI technologies will continue to handle the reconstruction of destroyed persistent assets (e.g. buildings, bases, stations, units etc) as it currently does. HOWEVER, the Engineering Corps Marine will still have the ability to repair destroyed assets (including threat/defense units) manually in order to speed up the time it takes, rather than waiting for the AI to get around to it. e.g. if an AX25 Surface to Air Missile unit is destroyed and it would take 30 mins to rebuild it, a friendly ECM player can repair it in half the time.

CAREERS

Unlike the Echo Squad and Talon Elite based on space/planetary combat as an Elite Force Pilot career, and Bravo Team based planetary fps combat as a Mobile Infantry Marine or Elite Force Marine career, Galactic Command Online is based on all ten careers in the previous BC/UC series. Those being Commander, Elite Force Pilot, Planetary Support Pilot, Elite Force Marine, Mobile Infantry Marine, Assault Force Marine, Recon Force Marine, Space Force Marine, Engineering Corps Marine, Medical Corps Marine.

You will be able to choose one - and only one career - per profile. If you try a career and don't like it, you have to create a new profile from scratch and the previous one is deleted - regardless of its rank, EPs etc. Everything is wiped out. This is primarily to prevent issues related to someone e.g. playing as a marine, getting trashed, logs off, logs back on as a pilot, goes back to the conflict and tips the pre-existing balance of power. The reasoning is more complex than that, but this is the easiest way for me to explain why this decision was made.

There is still a career path to the Commander (any caste) career. You still cannot start the game as this all powerful career. If you want this career path - as most BC/UC vets probably would - you have to start a career as an Elite Force Pilot and through PvP (or against NPC units) you gain Experience Points (like you normally would in our games), gain rank etc. Eventually you will be promoted to a Commander. From there, you will be given command of a lowly cap (carrier, cruiser, transport) ship, based on your caste (e.g. military, trader etc). All new commanders will start off in a cruiser and again work their way up to the command of a carrier. The only recent change is that the Trader caste does not start in a fighter, but rather in an un-armed transport.

As with the UC game series, not all careers have access to and can control all units. e.g. only the Planetary Support Pilot can fly gunships. These restrictions remain, though with minor revisions so that the all-powerful commander does not dominate a server.

The first person weapon restrictions have been slightly modified in that pilots can now handle rifles as well as pistols and grenades. Also, your class can change weapons at any Supply Platform, but this will depend on the type of weapons that the class has access to. e.g. only an Assault Force Marine has access to launchers. This means that as another marine class, you won't be able to equip nor use [rocket] launchers.

Cap ships entering a planet's atmosphere will now take up to 75% shield and armor damage and their weapon systems will go off-line for up to ten minutes. Those of you who have played our games and know just how quickly a cap ship can decimate an entire base in mere seconds, can probably understand why this restriction is in. In fact, I may completely disable the ability for a cap ship to enter a planet if this becomes an issue during the public Beta testing.

In GCO, all classes will once again have access to full first person perspective, regardless of the career. So, those of you wanting to just hang around on a planet and chat, can do so either from the confines of your asset (ship, vehicle etc) or in first person.

Naval units (LCAC, ships, subs) are gone. I need to re-think the handling on this some more before I put them back in. I felt that they didn't add enough to the game to warrant the resources they take up. So, unless you want to go for a swim, stay out of the water.

The entire first person HUD has been re-designed with a less cluttered and minimalist approach. You'll see it in some upcoming Bravo Team shots as there is no fps in neither ES nor TE games.

DISTRIBUTION

My original plan was to sell the client via boxed retail (with a free-play period coupon, printed manual etc) as well as digital distribution. I may end up releasing the client for free, but with a shorter free play period. The boxed retail and digital distribution versions will still carry a longer free play coupon.

Still going to keep the monthly subscription to less than $20 and our payment processor handles all forms of payment, including PaPal, Food Stamps, grocery coupons, your first born etc. Seriously, they handle like all forms of payment. Its uncanny really.

Today is a day for news, so, I'm off to write the second (of three) news bulletins for today.

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Don't expect to "move" around inside a cap (carrier, cruiser, transport) ship though; we're not doing it....[snip]...In my earlier design, I earmarked the ability for players to construct cities, bases, stations etc. That has proven to be a logistics nightmare. So, thats gone....[snip]...Naval units (LCAC, ships, subs) are gone. I need to re-think the handling on this some more before I put them back in.

You'll get around to these, eventually. :) As with your previous offerings, and even GCO itself, these features will be worth the wait.

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