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Supreme Cmdr

UCAWA Review - PC Gamer

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Got my copy yesterday. 58% (compared to the 75% of UC).

Basically, it is a half page review that doesn't say much actually. From the reviewer's comments (see below), he was expecting a huge leap from UC. Not sure why that would be, considering that its a series. Oh well.

Some choice excerpts:

However, many of these destinations - flux fields, planets, moons and so on - are lifeless, vacant bits of real estate with zero tourism value.

And while that emptiness might capsize a traditional, mass-appear space shooter, it remains a significant part of Universal Combat's raison d'etre. With its wealth of role-playing and micromanagement options, the simn's freeform Roam mode can literally keep you going for months as you navigate from system to system exploring planets, trading goods, mining minerals and blasting enemy ships into space dust.

The integrated first-person shooter game is a stilted, clunky, mess, and the supplementary "planetary fighter" mode isn't much better. Toss in some vapid scripted campaigns - 16 missions with minimal direction, action or rewards - and you wind up with a game that only a space nerd could love. But its the nerd element that's kept this franchise alive for a decade. A World Apart's AI tweaks and DirectX 9 enhancements are marginal upgrades at best, but for Smart's legion of dedicated fans, that's reason enough to plunk down $30 for another kick at the sandbox. The rest of us will keep hoping Smart is able to "up" his game and deliver something a bit more evolved next time

[ 10-16-2005, 12:54 PM: Message edited by: Supreme Cmdr ]

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I don't have to show them - or anyone else for that matter - anything. I develop these games because I want to; not because I have anything to prove. There's no democracy involved in that decision.

Besides, anyone who buys a game based on the personal review of a single entity - win or lose - only have themselves to blame.

IMO, the media - and gamers - are primarily responsible for the derivative nature of the industry. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. I don't know why anyone expected UCAWA - which went into development right after UC - to be anything other than what it is. Especially given that it is based on UC and was barely a year in development and its product info and dev VCF were widely publicized from the get-go.

I am going to watch the sales numbers of UCAWA and if they don't meet or exceed the UC figures, then there won't be another.

And before you go cheering about BCNG, you need to go back and read up on it. It is NOWHERE near ANYTHING that the previous BC/UC games were and doesn't even come close in scope. And since we're now focused on our XBox360 game, KnightBlade, and UCO (which is based off UCAWA), I don't expect BCNG to appear anytime before 2008. In fact, I removed it from the products page already, since it is longer term.

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My open letter to PCG


Hi Andy,

Saw your review the other day; and quite frankly, I had no idea what to say or than what

I posted
. Until today.

I'm not certain what you were expecting from UCAWA. You were critical on features (e.g.

planetfall, ship maintenance etc) which have been in the series since day one and which

you weren't critical of in the past. e.g. the planets are HUGE, as a result, thats why only

certain mission zones are populated. So why is that a waste of time? I'm 100% certain that

if I populated every sq. mile of a planet, that no computer on the planet - let alone yours

or mine - will run the game.

As for the maintenance; if not text based, how else did you exactly expect it to be handled?

Which game - let alone a sim with such a feature - uses any other method for this type of task.

The answer would be none.

I am quite astonished that you would call the planets "lifeless, vacant bits of real estate

with zero tourism value." Thats just not even funny. Especially when you consider that - on

Earth alone - there are no less than 387 mzones containing a total of 3,104 scenes. Each

using a series (112 to be exact) of templates and hundreds (317 unique ones) of objects.

In fact, all it takes is to fire up Tacops and observe Earth, then use the menu to see the

list. Thats just *one* planet.

This is primarily - and predominantly - a COMBAT - game. Always has been. So where

'tourism' comes into play is quite puzzling to me. Is it surprising that the planet surface

comprises of starbases, military bases and the occasional city? You being [primarily] a sim reviewer,

how is this different from, say, MSFS (tourist sim), Falcon4 (combat sim) etc? Other games such as

the X series, are predominantly about tourism, accumulating wealth, trading etc. And in the

case of X, excels at it, bar none. Then again, X is lacking in combat, AI and plethora of other

features which would otherwise make it a worthy 'space combat sim'.

As for the 'vapid scripted campaigns....with minimal direction, action or rewards"....what

on Earth are you going on about? Lets see....

Minimal direction: How can anyone not understand something as simple as "....hey you,

go here, blow shit up" or "....while you're at it, there's this transport you need to protect"?

Each campaign scenario has *detailed* instructions on what you need to do. In fact,

the orders system is no different from what you would find in *any* sim.

Action: eh? Unless you took a wrong turn at Albuquerque on your way to the water

cooler and ended up at the ass end of Alpha Cygni when you were clearly *told* to go

to Tau Ceti, how could you miss the action?

And speaking of action, you can't breathe, let alone stare at the scenery without getting shot

at. So I have no clue what you're talking about there.

Rewards: Well, if you suck at following orders, what sort of rewards would you expect? There

are missions that give Experience Points (in addition to those awarded by the game engine

itself at the lower level and which are not scripted), medals etc. Heck, even the Commander

campaign has scenarios in which you can obtain a variety of items (via cargo pods) from

destroyed hostile crafts. But hey, don't take my word for it. Here,
go read
how 'gamers'

play the campaign and are rewarded for same.

As to the "the integrated fps game is so horrible, it can barely shoot itself in the foot". Nice

try. The game is not - and never has been - focused on fps. The necessity of sending

combat troops to a planet and directing their orders from Tacops, necessitated the need

for 3D models of those troops. Once that was in - like ALL games - it entered the

"...wouldn't it be cool if..." scenario. Thats how come that mode was built into the game,

allowing the player to take on the role of one of those - already created - 3D models.

It allowed the gamer to not only (as the Commander) fight alongside his troops, but also direct

them in combat using a variety of advanced features and options. You don't have to do it and it

is not a pre-requisite for 'playing' the game.

Whats the *point* of investing in technology (e.g. planetfall, fully modeled characters) if you

can't put them to good use? And if there was no ability to enter a planet, land etc (which *no*

other game in history has allowed a gamer to do. And no, that rubbish copycat, Parkan doesn't

count) how different then would the series be from others which - so far - have only helped

stagnate the space sim genre by not offering anything tangible since, well, Wing Commander?

You know what? There is a damn good reason why this series continues to sell. Its called

a dedicated fanbase who like them just the way they are.

Nevertheless, I'm sort of satisfied that you only got half a page to do the review. Otherwise,

this email would have run longer than normal.

Even the fact that your PCG 'bosses' didn't want to review the game in the first place because

- without even *seeing* it - they automatically assumed (in emails that have since gone

back and forth) that it "was not different enough from UC", is itself suspect. The notion

itself is purely rubbish. Even to a blind gerbil on acid.

This business of you guys just running through games and reviewing them not for what they

are, but what you want them to be, has reached epidemic proportions. Yet, you all wonder

why gamers in general don't care about reviews any more. Its like every other cycle, you

guys pick a game (or publisher or developer) to trash and turn the whole affair into nothing

short of high school tomfoolery.

As I said, I don't - and never have - cared about [arbitrary and rubbish] review scores. I'm more

concerned about the reviewer's ability to *play* the game they way it was meant to be played,

to review it for what *it is* not what said reviewer wants it to be and the reviewer's command

of the English language enough to actually write a 'review' worth reading.

In case it wasn't already obvious, I was quite disappointed in the review because I found it to

be uninformative, highly inaccurate and categorically unfair.



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Originally posted by Prez:

Wow! Thow guys have stayed on topic and mostly civil - amazing!

uhm, its Avault, not Blues

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