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BC:3020AD - Strike Pak Q&A

Supreme Cmdr

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This post was in response to a query, so, I'd like to put it here for reference purposes.


QUESTION (in response to latest SP shots)

They dont look bad. How the hell are you managing to balance the elements

of gameplay though? The way I see it, this game has everything including

the kitchen sink in it. But is it going to be any fun to play? I like

rewarding games and stuff, but what exactly is this game going to be like to

play? Are we going to be able to ignore the FPS or Space combat (I mean the

fighter combat) parts of the game and let the computer handle it (like in

Dungeon Keeper you can ignore the FPS parts of that)? Or are we going to be

to have to do it all?



Good question. Very good question. The fans already know the answer because it has all beaten to death on the website forum. But, I don't mind explaining briefly.

Currently, the AI in BC3K (v2.08) is *so* advanced that you don't have to a *damn* thing. The game, can and will play itself. Period. You create a game find a nice patrol zone and just bark orders (if you want). You can leave the game overnight (fans do it all the time) and your crew will take care of anything and everything inside and outside the ship and their AI will also increase over time. In fact, this happens, in the ship, in space and on planets, across an entire universe (75 planets, 145 moons, 91 space regions, 7000 surface combat zones) - in *real time*.

That said:

The AI is capable of doing a *heck* of a lot and seamlessly. In BC:3020AD, it will be even more advanced and most especially in multiplayer where you will, just like you can in v2.0x, command NPCs or other human players, or play alongside NPCs and human players etc. Anything you can do in single-player, you can do in multiplayer because the way the game is designed (tried, tested and proven) the player himself is regarded as an NPC entity. This is why when you put your ship in AI mode, it just behaves that way.

So, now that you already have the ability to deploy forces including fighters, ground ATVs, marines etc anywhere in space, on planets (ground or air) and also able to command & control NPCs (Fleet Command & Control), the AI for these enties takes care of *everything* and you only have to micromanage *if* you want to. v2.0x includes more control over NPCs and the entire game is *entirely* mouse driven, down to the control method where you can just give your ship nav info and flight destinations. These technologies have been tested to death and they are more advanced in BC:3020AD.

Thats all in v2.08. Now, for the future.

So, now, we have first person (Strike Pak) mode for BC:3020AD. All this does is link the inside ship activities to the outside ship activities. It allows you to drop into FP mode and walk around inside your *entire ship*. Unlike what ST: Elite Force is doing (limited ship areas, scripted missions, scripted entities etc), it is, like whole BC3K premise: COMPLETELY OPEN ENDED. When you drop into FP, you assume the body of the alter-ego commander and are located on the bridge.

Since you have your standard wristlaser etc, you can walk around the *entire* ship, mingle with your crew, terrorize them etc. hehe, think what would happen if you lobbed a smoke grenade into engineering and all the NPCs piled out into the corridor. Just pick 'em off one by one, perched in a high beam, armed with a BM-P9, complete with zoom scope. The *entire* ships crew. That could be boring right? Right.

But, we also have the SCI-LINK area (think: holodeck) where you can go for practice. It simply spawns an instance of the entire ship and populates it with hostile entities that you and your virtual team of 4 marines, can seek out and destroy. No crew are present because it is a simulation that you can use without using your crew for target practice. On exit, you are back in your real ship.

So, currently in v2.0x, when your ship is boarded by intruders, you can only watch, via the Perscan computer, as your marines (God help you if they have low AI) engage them and sometimes, with terrible results. If an intruder has high enough AI, it will steal cargo, steal your ships, kill your crew etc. All this is already in v2.0x and was advanced in v2.08. The ship is at the mercy of your grunts, some of whom you just want to kill yourself if you see an intruder slip by them etc.

*BUT* in BC:3020AD, as soon as you get notification that you have been boarded, you can drop into FP mode, run over to a weapon station, requisition a few grenades, a BM-P9 sniper rifle, a ZS10 combat assautl rifle, a knife etc and head off in search of the intruders. You will be able to control up to 4 NPC marines from your complement of 40. If one of them dies or you 'release' him from your command, another can take his/her place. There is no reason why you can't command all 40 marines, however, it will be too confusing and the engine won't let that many NPCs hang around in the same vicinity anyway.

You can also use the portable Perscan locator to see hostiles/friendlies in your vicinity (think: Aliens). Which means that you can pretty much find a nice warm spot and watch the skirmish.

So, for example, before you dropped into the Strike Pak FP mode, you noticed that intruders breached the ship via deck2, well, you are on the bridge and the combat officer has dispatched marines to that location. Once you drop into FP mode, the engine will create the intruders, marines, and crew at their relevant locations as passed over by the BC3K kernel. So, if you are running down a corrider of deck1 and an intruder is headed your way with marines in pursuit, you will run into them. If there is a battle with marines and intruders in deck3 (with regular personnel making a beeline for the door or cowering behind consoles in order to not be killed and as a cheat to keep down the processing requirements) and go down there, you will run into the skirmish and you can join in or just bark orders.

During your stint in FP mode, you can switch control from your alter-ego to any of the 4 marines in your team (in the same way you switch from ship-to-ship in the game), or you can give them basic commands (about 6 commands).

If your alter-ego dies while you are in FP mode, the SP will shut down, return control to BC3K which then does the normal 'game shutdown' it does as normal (when your alter-ego dies or the ship is destroyed). Game Over.

A bit about the engines and how they work:

During the SP sequence, the BC3K kernel shutsdown and no outside processing occurs. This is because they are two different engines. The SP engine we developed using a third-party first person engine, is BSP based and cannot be run at the same time as the BC3K kernel. Therefore, BC3K has to shutdown and the two kernels share information via data files.

This is why we are going to be writing our own first person engine for BC:3030AD (due out in 2001) so that when we build *all* the capital ships (25) and stations (15 types), the *whole* game will exist in first person mode from the time you start the game. So, you would start the game in FP mode at GALCOM HQ and would have to walk to the docking bay, walk into your Battlecruiser and take off. In the BC, you can be walking on the bridge in FP mode and be able to look outside via a window or the main bridgeviewer and see what is going on outside. When you dock at a station and disembark, it will be in first person rather than the 2D interface in BC3K v2.0x and BC:3020D.


Because using our own non-bsp based engine for the FP will allow it to run the same kernel as the rest of the engines (space/planet). You will also be able to walk to an airlock, climb out, exist in space *on top* of your ship (you can do that in BC:3020AD actually, the system just creates your alter-ego model outside the ship just like it does a normal fighter entity launched from your ship) and, using a normal weapon, take out passing ships, hop on to the ground (on a planet) or onto another ship or station etc. By 2001, we'll all have P111s anyway, so, I ain't worried

So, the Strike Pak module does not have to be used if you don't want to. You can still rely on your AI crew to take care of intruders but if you want to join in the melee, you can then activate it. It is just another feature, like the hundred or so in the BC3K series, that you can use *if* you want to.

Also, since you can switch to any of your deployed crew members in FP mode (using our own BC3K engine) in much the same way you can your fighters, you can also run around on planets in FP mode using the same weapons you have when the SP is running. This is because we adopted the same character and model system used in the BC3K kernel for the SP engine. So, even though running around on planets in FP has *nothing* to do with the SP module (which wouldn't even be running), you still have the option of running around and taking out NPC ships and crew as if you were were flying a normal fighter or driving one of your ATVs as you normally do in BC3K v2.0x. This is also supported in multiplayer so that some folks can be flying fighters, other driving ATVs, others running around as marines and using co-ordinated commands (using built-in Roger Wilco support) to take out NPC or human bases and assets in space or on planets (depending on how the server operator set up the persistent server).

As for the Bot AI in the Strike Pak?, heh, Epic has Steve (Reaper Bot), ID has Jan (Gladiator Bot) and I've got Connor (Redemption Bot), so, it is kick-ass and top notch bot AI. Apart from that, the game has 13 aliens with over 25 castes, most of which are hostile. Therefore, the variety of intruders that board your ship will vary because Connor is going to be creating Bot entities based on the AI attribute info passed on by the BC3K kernel. So, you could get eg Gammulan Military intruders or Credian Raiders. The AI attributes range form novice (some idiot who woke up one morning and decides he's going to beam aboard a fully equiped military ship: yours) to elite (the kick-ass Gammulan, bent on killing your sorry ass). Oh yeah, they bring their own weapons, so those lock codes to your weapon stations (a tribute to the excellent Tribes method), won't matter. For a list of alien nations and castes in BC3K, check the appendix.

Since this is NOT being billed as a shooter, it will maintain the high-level edge that the BC3K has. You won't find powerups lying around nor weapons, medkits, ammo etc. There are weapon and med stations all over the ship and if you want to heal yourself, go find a medstation (the NPCs do that too). If you want more ammo, kill someone and walk over their body to pick up their weapon+ammo etc.

We don't have that many *useless* weapons either. We have a knife, two types of grenades (frag and smoke), a standard issue wristlaser, pistol, a BM-P9 sniper rifle (complete with sound and flash suppressors) and a kick-ass ZS-10 combat assault rifle which fires projectiles, energy beams or grenades and also has an IR designator as well as a built in flashlight (for those times when the lights are shot out by fire or deliberately by you or NPCs). More weapons will be added in BC:3030AD of course and the plan is that you can actually go out and buy more superior ordnance. Since the game already supports trading, no extra code is needed. Your weapon stations will just dispense whatever it is you have bought previously and is currently stored in your weapons bay. So if you have 200 grenades and 50 ZS10 rifles in stock, your weapon stations will list these and the stores are depleted with use. Weapons will also break or degrade and thats why we have repair stations (or you can just discard them and get new ones). So you could, in BC:3030AD go out and buy motion detectors, better rifles, etc and just have access to them as needed.

If the advanced features in BC3K are anything to go by, I can assure you, the Strike Pak module is just plain kick-ass. Yet another feature pioneered by the 3000AD.

As I have always said, the BC3K is targeted at a niche market, so, nothing is *ever* going to be simplicitic about it. I'll leave that to the competition who are busy re-inventing 'shoot-kill-trade-repeat'

Is BC:3020AD going to be fun? Thats for the fans to decide. BC3K allows you to define 'fun' because of its open ended nature and kick-ass features. It may not look pretty *now* (BC3K v2.0x) but that has already changed (BC:3020AD), so, thats already a moot point.

If you have never experienced BC3K before, now is the time to check it out by either picking up v2.08 or at the very least, try the demo (based on v2.06 code actually).

I hope this answers your question. If not, I have more where that came from.
Besides, *none* of this is hype. The engines and game already do *exactly* as indicated. The only speculation and hype are my discussions based on my plans for BC:3030AD because it has not yet gone into development. But, given the BC3K record so far, you can pretty much draw your own conclusions. I'm not going to get canned, canceled, terminated, told what to do etc by *any* publisher under the Sun and who breathes the same air that I breathe. Therefore, if I say we're doing it, we're doing it. Period. I've proven this time and time again.

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SC-I love listening to your description of the AI and strik-pak. The tid bits and peeks into BC3020ad are great. Thanks for all the great input, now I have to get back to the game... smile.gif"><P>------------------

Cmdr. Maxamillian (MAX)




Shipsmotto: "Retreat? Hell!"

[This message has been edited by Maxamillian (edited 10-03-1999).]

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Guest Icebreaker

SC - Brilliant summary. I've printed it off and I'm using it to introduce friends to what's around the corner.

Q2 2000 can't come quick enough

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Kirk Stryker

That's it! I can't keep quiet any longer!

I've been adjusting to 2.08 and reading the news but NOW I've got a few questions:

1. What type of grenades does the ZS-10 fire?

2. Can the BM-P9 also fire projectiles?

3. In multiplayer what are the other fifteen players going to do?

4. And also can marines (and intruders stealing from marines) use weapons from the weapons bay?

There's more but that's all for this thread.




Kirk Stryker


PRIME fleet

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