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Supreme Cmdr

Need Help Playing? Here Are Some Tips

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With the games imminent launch looming, I wanted to point out some very critical info especially to newcomers of our games.

  1. Challenge every single thing. Our games are not "cut and dry" like other games in terms of gameplay mechanics. i.e. there are multiple ways to achieve goals. Use your head. These are military games. Absolutely NO hand holding whatsoever. This is by design and because it forces you to come to grips with a different style of gameplay and to experience the game the way it was meant to be played.
  2. Our campaign scenarios are "non blocking". What this means is that even if you fail a mission in the campaign - though it will have consequences later on - you can still continue as the next mission will be generated.
  3. Also, don't expect things to go as planned. They never do, due to the dynamic nature of the game and the AI. These are not levels with open and shut scenarios. Everything is open ended. e.g. if the base is under attack, there is usually nothing you can do about the outcome. Nothing at all. All you can do is EXACTLY what you orders say. e.g. if Alpha comes under attack and you think that you're involvement is going to make any bit of difference outside of your orders, you're in for one helluva shock.
  4. The games are 100% military in nature. So expect the standard "go here, blow stuff up" variety. HOWEVER, some have elements of puzzle solving this time around. e.g. in one mission you have to free a bunch of clone GALCOM soldiers from a Gammulan prison. The minute you and your team set foot on that base, you're all going to get engaged. If the prison gets destroyed before you save them - they all die. If you get to the target point that triggers the prison locks and they are freed, you now have additional team members that you can command and who provide hints as to wtf happened on the planet and why they were left behind etc. Of course after freeing them, you all have to make it out of there. Another example ***SPOILER ALERT*** is one of the later scenarios where you have to obtain Gammulan codes from a super cruiser parked at a base. Of course you can't get on-board the cruiser, but your orders ask you to obtain the codes. Thats one puzzle I can't wait to see how people solve. Its a doozy. If you can't solve that scenario, you should give up because somewhere on the planet, the R.A.N.D.O.M weapon is going to detonate and end the game. ***
  5. Most, if not all, missions require planning and thought. Run and gun is going to get you killed. Quickly. e.g. some missions require you to go solo. But the game does not tell you that. So if you take a team of ten into a base where you're only there to sneak around - they're going to blow stuff up and cause a right ruckus. And its going to be one confusing mess (as you've already seen just how quickly a base can be reduced to a smouldering wreck). So you have to give them all the halt order and go do your thing. Then come back to them. If they are in a friendly base, they'll be there when you get back. They are intelligent enough to heal, rearm etc but sometimes you have to prod them if you notice that they're not firing due to being out of ammo. Just tell that person to go to a supply station. He'll go, get stuff and come right back.
  6. Friendly fire is a fact of war. While your guys are highly trained, if you step in their line of when the firing starts, you're going to get shot. And no, our games DO NOT CHEAT. They all require precise line of fire before firing. In fact, this is one disadvantage that they have because while they're thinking about it, they can be shot by someone who is quicker at coming up with a firing solution. They also tend to heal themselves in the middle of a fight. This is normal as there is no cover system for them. I am planning on having this implemented in a later update so they don't do that out in the open, but rather seek cover, heal, re-engage.
  7. If you leave your team behind - and without orders - they're try to survive and in most cases die trying. Do NOT leave them in a hostile base because with or without your orders, their AI programming is one of self-preservation. They'll reduce the base to rubble if they can. Or, as I said, die trying. So don't get into a fighter and leave them behind - in a hostile base or a friendly base under attack. If you can, pile them all into an assault gunship (e.g. the Shadow seats many) and go. If you can't, transport those that you can, give the others a halt command - then go back and get them. They cannot use vehicles on their own, though they can and will follow you in any vehicle you enter. A future update will give them the ability to use vehicles, man guns etc on their own or with your direct orders.
  8. You absolutely - positively - cannot survive ANY engagement on your own. At least not without using cheat codes. So even though your team are faceless grunts and there is no meaningful dialog or backstory that attaches you to them - since its not that game - you need to take care of them. You absolutely - positively - cannot complete the game's story mode campaign on your own. At all. This is not a "you vs the world" kinda game. Then again none of our games have been that.
  9. The game has a robust and dynamic save system. You can save pretty much anywhere and at any time. Trust me, you're going to be using this a lot.
  10. The game ships with several sandbox scenarios which you can use for general play, exploring the game world etc. They are full games all by themselves and my guess is that once you've beat the story mode campaign and all the instant action scenarios, you'll be spending quite a bit of time in the sandbox instead of multiplayer. In my career, I have found that the best way to learn is to just jump in. The best tutorial is the one you come up with.
  11. Though the demo allows you to use any vehicle, I did that so that folks can experience them. The story mode and multiplayer enforce class and Experience Points based asset use. e.g. while you can play the story mode campaign as any of the four characters, you WILL get stuck at some point if you don't do well enough. e.g. only Steve (the pilot) can fly assault gunships by default. So if you are playing as any other character (all marines) who need 25K points to pilot one, you're never getting into one of those. Imagine trying to ex-filtrate a base with a team of ten - and you cannot pilot a Shadow gunship and no shuttles (which every class can fly) are available. Of course, if you have enough EPs, you can just build your craft if the one you want is not available.
  12. Your gameplay experience will shape the future of the series via patches, tweaks etc - as I mentioned in my previous post. So, outside of wanting the game to be like Halo, COD4 or whatever, if you notice anything that really gripes you, just hit the suggestion box.

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Hello Derek, I have some suggestions/comments after playing the game.

1) Performance/Graphics. This doesn't apply to everyone, but I do play many (if not, most) of my games at 2560x1600. First, congrats on your part for actually supporting a wide range of resolutions, unlike many other devs. But the game is rather unplayable due to a large FPS hit. Now, you may say that the game needs a supercomputer to run AAW at 2560, sure. But I don't think it is justified.

First, you need to post your specs so that we can see it.

The game was optimized to run at 720p (1280x720) or 1280x768 with the default graphics settings.

Below are the min/max system requirements that fall within this criteria.

# Intel Pentium 4 3.4Ghz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 3.0GHz

* Intel Core 2 Duo E6320 or better recommended
* AMD X2 6000+ or better recommended

# 1GB RAM (XP). 2GB (Vista)
# 256MB graphics card w/ Shader Model 3.0 support. 512MB or higher recommended

* nVidia GeForce 7900. GeForce 8600 GTS or better recommended
* ATI Radeon X1300. Radeon HD2900 XT or better recommended[/code]

We the developers know what is justified for our game and which isn't. You, the gamer, aren't expected to know that but rather to make assumptions as to what you [i]think[/i] is acceptable.

Its like your car. You see the speedometer can go to 200 km/h - at which it (due to dynamics) becomes highly unstable - so they dont' expect you to be going any higher than the speed requirements set by common sense, the law etc. Just because you can, doesn't mean that you should.

So, if we were to lock the graphics options and screen resolutions to what we believe to be acceptable standards - and not allow you to change them - you'd be very upset because now you have a computer which - you believe - can handle anything. Which of course it can't, but its OK to think otherwise. Which is why most games don't let you do that. They lock it. On the consoles, you have no choice. So no matter if your HDTV is 1080p compliant, your games will run - and in some cases upscale - to 720p.

The game sets the minimum requirements for the game to run. If you don't mess with it, then everything is fine.

If you want to increase those settings, you can - and in which case, you're on your own.

If are going to be mess with settings that are not developer recommended, you should do it carefully and in stages until you hit the sweet spot. I would do it in this order. You do one, test, then do the next and so on.

  1. DISPLAY RESOLUTION
  2. TEXTURE FILTERING
  3. TEXTURE QUALITY
  4. SHADOWS
  5. LIGHT SHAFTS
  6. FSAA

When doing the above, be sure to read the manual which describes the impact of each. Light Shafts, followed by Shadows are the most expensive options. Be forewarned.

And if you have on-board audio, the HARDWARE AUDIO CHANNELS should be set to 0

Doing the above, you can check the fps using either our own display CTRL+F12 or something like Fraps.

Stop when you get to the point where it becomes acceptable.

If you mess things up, reset everything or go to the [b]steamapps\common\all aspect warfare demo[/b] folder and delete the [b]GAME_CONFIG.INI[/b] file. When you start the game, a new one with defaults will be created.

First, you say that it is a massive world. I believe you. It is indeed massive. But, most of the maps I've played had absolutely nothing! two or three bases dotted on a huge, empty world. I took a jet aircraft to fly straight in one direction, it was [b]really, REALLY empty and boring.[/b] So I'm not quite sure how you can use the "massive" world argument here? :confused:

Just because it is massive, doesn't mean that irrelevant stuff needs to be ON it. Would you rather that we did what other games do by littering the game world with blocky buildings and other inconsequential rubbish which serve NO purpose - and further impact the game's performance?

The game is not based on "levels". It is one massive seamless world. Most of the fps action focuses on the military bases. Thats where "stuff" is. LOTS of it. You end up out in the open world only when in aerial combat or when traversing from one place to the next. And if you're aerial combat, the goal is to survive, not stare at the scenery and noticing that you're out in open country - with nothing interesting. If you want that, try Microsoft Flight Simulator or one of the many study sims.

Have you played H.A.W.X? No? Please, go try the demo.

Point is, ALL games make compromises. e.g. our terrain technology is way more advanced that anything in H.A.W.X. (I only use this because it is the most recent air combat game). We don't use blocks for buildings nor do we have blurry and messed up terrain at anything below 10,000 ft AGL.

Our game engine was designed to look good at ANY altitude - especially since ground zero fps gameplay is required. That sort of tech requires a LOT of processing.

The game takes place on a "near barren" planet used for military purposes by the Gammulans. Hence no cities. Think of it as the Mojave desert testing grounds. They have an entire planet for that. If the game was focused on a single base or city, we would have a smaller and much more detailed map focusing on that one area.

The game world is 400x400km. Do the math.

The entire terrain is loaded and rendered. In real-time. Why? because there are lots of bases where stuff needs to be happening - even if culling does render out-of-scene elements, the terrain itself needs to be processed, as does AI, dynamics etc.

Each of the bases is about 10x10km. They are spread apart because due to the AI and radar capabilities, any closer and bases taken over by the Terrans will automatically engage any nearby Gammulan base. And vice versa.

Here are three shots:

1. The entire game world. Notice the waypoint marker on the left edge with the distance at the midpoint of the marker line.

The map area (ALT+M) is divided into different topologies with various climate and weather patterns as well as time of day (each Earth minute is three minutes on LV-115 planet).

2. The Alpha base. 10x10km

3. The distance from Alpha base (Terrans) to Bravo base (Gammulans). In a fighter going at Mach 2 (657.1 m/s) @ 10K feet ASL, you can traverse that distance in just about no time at all. That is just one example of why the world was designed the way it was. Gunships are slower but still a viable option. Vehicles and infantry are out of the question. For those, you can either jump from base to base using a DJP or you can airlift the vehicles using a gunship or shuttle and drop them at the destination.

Finally, in such a massive world - disregarding graphics for a second - a LOT of other processing takes place. Processing (e.g AI) that makes the GPU processing pale in comparison. A LOT of optimizations were done over several months. And when you get to the point where you can't do more, you have no choice but to wait for the tech to catch up.

Comparing our game engines to the likes of Source, Unreal etc is laughably silly. For one thing, neither of those engines can power a game world of this size and scope - with our game's features. And even if they could, they too would have performance issues. Take Crysis and FarCry for example. Both level based. Both totally detailed. Both in a relatively small world compared to ours. Yet with major performance issues as well.

We're not novices. I've been designing and developing games for nigh on twenty years and I know what needs to go into my game and how to make them different.

Also, I think the graphics are rather pretty. Especially the vehicle models. But I do believe the game can be more optimized. I think everyone else can agree with me on this! [i]The graphic image quality for AAW does not justify the performance hit in my opinion. [/i]

Thats your opinion and you are more than welcome to it.

Anything can be more optimized, but you don't know that. There is [b]nothing[/b] left to optimize. If there was, we'd do it.

Eventually your rig - and tech - will catch up to the game engine to the point that you can max everything out without breaking a sweat. All games go through that. Rigs you couldn't run Crysis on last year, can't run it this year. New rigs this year, don't break a sweat.

2) Collision/Physics. I think physics and collision detection still needs a lot of work! In some cases the vehicle I was driving clipped through the ground. Half of the vehicle was stuck through the ground. Also, the vehicle physics seems to be unsatisfactory. All the 4x4 vehicles in the game handle like boats. It's not very fun driving them! Also, I still want to complain about the "oil covered" grenades. If you throw a grenade (without holding down the mouse button) at a correct angle at the ground, it will slide and travel on its own for a good 30-40 feet. Should be fixed.

The vehicle dynamics are fine. We've already done a lot of tweaks to them. If you don't like how they handle, don't drive them.

The grenades are fine and at this point there is nothing to fix that I can think of, but I will look at it again. Would you rather we just have them stick to the ground instead of bouncing/rolling along it when they land? I think not.

3) Mouse smoothing! Please implement this. Even at sensitivity 0, any slight movement will make your reticule go flying.

Mouse seems fine to me and there are no plans to implement smoothing at this time. Your mouse software - and the OS - come with tools to tweak your mouse handling and sensitivity.

5) In-game help. I know there is a PDF manual, but most people won't be reading this. Would it be possible to implement a on-screen overlay of buttons hotkeys etc? I don't feel like exiting the game, opening a PDF, memorizing the keys, and starting the game up again hoping I remembered the keys right.

ALT+D invokes the in-game manual. You can also access it from the main menu by pressing ESC if you want to read it with the game paused.

If most people "won't be reading" the manual, they have no business playing the game.

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So you have to give them all the halt order and go do your thing. Then come back to them. If they are in a friendly base, they'll be there when you get back.

Since when? Every time I give those tools a "halt" order, they will still follow me through the DJP and just stand around that. (I just tried it on v1.00.37)

I've also lost count of the number of times the various NPCs become absolutely convinced that I'm in an enemy base that's 100km away and proceed to run overland to join me there. Despite my teleporting back, jetpacking in front of them and re-issuing the "escort me" order.

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Well, I had tried it again prior to my last post. Try this, which I just did and wrote down:

  1. Select Game->Story Mode
  2. Select Lucas and set his profile to Profile 4.
  3. Select mission C0102 (or CO102; it's hard for me to tell the difference)
  4. Start the game.
  5. Wait for the three stooges to come to stop in front of you.
  6. Give each one the command to go to the nearest supply station (select each one via "/" or "." and then "c" followed by F8)
  7. Jet over to the stash by the barracks and equip yourself with a rocket launcher.
  8. Jet over to the MSB and heal/repair yourself as well as re-arm.
  9. Wait for the three stooges to finish the same at the supply station and line up in front of you.
  10. Give each stooge the "Halt command" just like you told each stooge to go to the supply station (replacing F8 with F7).
  11. Jet over to DJP3 and teleport somewhere else (like the northwest corner of Starbase Beta).
  12. Move away from the DJP.
  13. Use F9 to watch the stooges run over to Alpha Base's DJP3 to teleport over to where you are.

Now, if I don't tell the stooges to resupply/rearm themselves via the F8 command and tell them to halt instead, they will actually stand there. (I tried that tonight first, since I thought that might have been your test.)

I also tried telling them to escort me via F1 prior to telling them to halt via F7 (instead of the "go to the supply station" deal). Nope; they still follow me through the DJP.

Now, I was a beta tester for AAW. Is it possible that there is some registry/config file entry from the beta test that could cause this weird behavior?

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It works as designed. When you give them an interim command (e.g. rearm), their original escort command takes precendence.

The game doesn't store anything regarding gameplay mechanics in the registry.

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From what I've seen, once I give them a command to do anything other than halt then I cannot stop them from following me through a DJP via a subsequent halt command; the halt command works as long as I am in the same mzone, but when I teleport out they follow. (Or try to, but that's another issue.)

So I will have to tell them to escort something else to get them to stay. Is that correct?

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The halt command is within the current base context. If you leave a base, they will/should follow you. That's how it has always worked.

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