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Saw this up at bluesnews today. It reads like it was passed through
translation software and barely edited. The news, however, is almost
good.

Game action takes place in the western coast of Africa. There is arms
race intensification and exacerbation of a situation in the region. One
of local countries desires to be a member of a nuclear club, but had no
access to resources to produce it. The country has financed the
revolution in another one small country, which possessed that resource.
Thus, there was established a special regime in this country and all
its resources were crossed to the invaders. Ex-government of the
occupied country contacts with a player and suggests interfering in the
situation: to overthrow a government of conqueror regime and to restore
the previous regime. As conqueror-country and player's opportunities
aren't equal a player starts to wage guerilla warfare. But for all
that the small country can't conduct open operations in the most big
and powerful country, as it is afraid of world community attention.
Thus, a player acts in a role of a Che Gevara of the present. The game
consists of number of missions that are the unification of united plot.
Game contains ~20 missions, who include obligatory and several
unnecessary missions. Passing unnecessary missions, the player lightens
pass of obligatory missions for himself, what means that the more
unnecessary missions of the episode the player passes, the more easier
it will be for him to execute the main mission of the episode.

Each mission is a level, on which the team of player appears and
executes the combat task. In the real-time mode the player can control
team, which can be arranged of 6 fighters (max). Mission considers
accomplished if all of the soldiers of the enemy are destroyed. For
successful execution of the mission the player gets money. Team of the
player gathers experience and grows over itself.

Between missions the player can hire/fire the mercenaries, can buy/sell
the ammunition, choose the mission from available on given moment
missions (all of non accomplished missions of episode are available
simultaneously)

Main features runs-down:

1. Jagged Alliance, but in 3D (the game has been developed based
on the well-known brand)
1. Skinned mesh animation with animation blending
2. Grass fields rendering
3. Optimized tree rendering system
4. SSE and HT support
5. Many-storied buildings
6. DX 9
1. Recognizable charismatic persons (the game uses mercenaries
from previous JA titles)
2. Thrilling campaign with a lot of various missions
3. Real-time gameplay with pause
4. High interactivity of levels (destructible objects)
5. A lot of various weapons
6. Mercenaries are raising their parameters during gameplay
1. Using JA role-playing system
7. Various mission objectives
1. Destroy all enemies
2. Destroy specific enemies
8. Visual variety of battlefield theaters (mountains, plains,
towns, beaches, etc...)
1. Mountains
2. Plains
3. Towns
4. Beaches
9. Various difficulty settings - from casual to hardcore.
1. Easy (enemies ain't accurate)
2. Normal (enemies have normal accuracy)
3. Hard (enemies are very accurate)
10. Gameplay is dynamic and not turning into a boring routine
12. Ja2 interface (ui), adopted for real-time mode
12. JA2 20 missions (Campaign)
1. 12 core missions
2. 8 additional missions
13. 12 unique enemies' models (unique models can be modified by
various heads, headwear, weapons)
14. 30 unique mercenaries (12 unique models, which are modified by
skin color, unique heads, unique hairs, and other details)
15. 3 tile sets, which are used to create buildings (town, country,
military)
16. More than 100 large unique objects for levels (from cruiser to
tub, from hangar to toilet)
17. More than 40 kinds of flora (4 unique nature zones: mountains,
plains, beaches, jungle)
18. More than 100 kinds of furniture (office, military, town,
country, palace)
 

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On 2005-04-13, littlemute <littlemute@woodenmen.org> wrote:
> Saw this up at bluesnews today. It reads like it was passed through
> translation software and barely edited. The news, however, is almost
> good.

Do you know if Ian and Linda Curry did any design on it? If not
it won't be any good. At least not JA good.
 
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On 13 Apr 2005 09:51:52 -0700, "littlemute" <littlemute@woodenmen.org>
wrote:


>Each mission is a level, on which the team of player appears and
>executes the combat task. In the real-time mode the player can control
>team, which can be arranged of 6 fighters (max). Mission considers
>accomplished if all of the soldiers of the enemy are destroyed. For
>successful execution of the mission the player gets money. Team of the
>player gathers experience and grows over itself.

Based on this, I don't think it would be as good...

What made JA and JA2 interesting was the very open-endedness of the game,
combined with randomized resource limitations (e.g. you don't have access
to all mercs, and you don't get all the necessairy weaponry.)

>Main features runs-down:
[...]
> 3. Real-time gameplay with pause

This is a very bad idea - JA is a turn based game, not real-time. Unless
they expect the new target audience to come in droves, the fans of the
original game might not speak highly of the game.

I've been in situations in JA2 where I could eventually wear down enemies
because of careful placement of my solders, and through careful decisions
on whether or not to go through with the given interrupt. I feel that while
a real-time system could work, it might not give as much control as I'd
like to have in some critical formations.


> 9. Various difficulty settings - from casual to hardcore.
> 1. Easy (enemies ain't accurate)
> 2. Normal (enemies have normal accuracy)
> 3. Hard (enemies are very accurate)

This might be another problem. I could dismiss this because this might be
a simplified summary, but there should be more to difficulty rather than
just accurracy (e.g. having a bit more enemies and having them perform
better.)

> 14. 30 unique mercenaries (12 unique models, which are modified by
>skin color, unique heads, unique hairs, and other details)

Only 30? This seems like it was reduced from a higher value...
 
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littlemute wrote:
> Saw this up at bluesnews today. It reads like it was passed through
> translation software and barely edited. The news, however, is
almost
> good.
<snip>

Not especially.

Basically, they dumbed it down and turned it into an RTS. Whee! Like
there aren't enough of those on the market.


I don't understand software companies. Why take a game that was
popular, then change it into something completely different? Like the
X-com series. It went real time, then it just went silly, into action
games. Which didn't make sense, since the brand name really only meant
something for a certain sort of plays.
 

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On 2005-04-14, Jeremy Reaban <trancejeremy@yahoo.com> wrote:

> I don't understand software companies. Why take a game that was
> popular, then change it into something completely different? Like the
> X-com series. It went real time, then it just went silly, into action
> games. Which didn't make sense, since the brand name really only meant
> something for a certain sort of plays.

If you need to publish an RTS or an FPS it makes sense to reuse a
brand you spent money on in the past. It doesn't matter if
purists get offended because these same folks will buy the next
turn based game that comes out without question usually.
 
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Though the developers loathed it, I really had some fun with Xcom
Apocalypse. The real time bits were strange to adjust to, but you
pause, give orders then watch the chaos ensue for some good times. I
certainly prefer the JA2/Temple of Elemental Evil realtime and then
turn based in battles, but it could work out.

Another favorite is the close combat series of games that was real time
with the pause possibilities, but was paced well enough so you rarely
needed to pause it for orders.

I don't have high hopes for anyone other than the original developers
(who probably all have real jobs by now) milking the license, and this
release just didn't give me enough info as to who is working on it.
The design looks a lot like Deadly Games rather than 1 or 2.
 
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Raymond Martineau <bk039@ncf.ca> wrote:
>>Main features runs-down:
> [...]
>> 3. Real-time gameplay with pause
>
> This is a very bad idea - JA is a turn based game, not real-time. Unless
> they expect the new target audience to come in droves, the fans of the
> original game might not speak highly of the game.

I really dislike attempts to make squad-based tactical games real-time.
X-Com: Apocalypse really didn't work for me. It's probably more realistic,
but if I wanted realism I'd go drive in rush hour traffic for an hour. I
want fun. :)

Silent Storm: Sentinels has a similar-sounding design, but they kept the
turn-based combat. It uses a mercenary hiring system similar to JA2,
but uses a linear campaign.

>> 14. 30 unique mercenaries (12 unique models, which are modified by
>>skin color, unique heads, unique hairs, and other details)
>
> Only 30? This seems like it was reduced from a higher value...

JA2 had 51 mercenaries and 16 hireable NPCs.

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On 2005-04-14, Andy McFadden <fadden@fadden.com> wrote:

> I really dislike attempts to make squad-based tactical games real-time.
> X-Com: Apocalypse really didn't work for me. It's probably more realistic,
> but if I wanted realism I'd go drive in rush hour traffic for an hour. I
> want fun. :)

X-Com:A was the only squad game at the time where you could have
a rocket hit an enemy just as it shot something at you. This is
significant because in turn-based squad games projectiles could
not fire at once meaning none of your squad members could
sacrifice themselves like they did in X-Com:A.

Also I think having buildings collapse realisticaly would be
tough in a turn based game. X-COM:A would allow you to run out of
a building that was being blown to pieces.
 
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On Thu, 14 Apr 2005 19:18:10 GMT, Andy McFadden <fadden@fadden.com>
wrote:


>I really dislike attempts to make squad-based tactical games real-time.
>X-Com: Apocalypse really didn't work for me. It's probably more realistic,
>but if I wanted realism I'd go drive in rush hour traffic for an hour. I
>want fun. :)

Xcom:Apoc you could play either RT or TB. Or didn't you play it long
enough to notice?
 
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shadows <shadows@whitefang.com> wrote:
> X-Com:A was the only squad game at the time where you could have
> a rocket hit an enemy just as it shot something at you. This is
> significant because in turn-based squad games projectiles could
> not fire at once meaning none of your squad members could
> sacrifice themselves like they did in X-Com:A.

It would be possible to implement this in JA2, actually, using the
"interrupt" mechanism. Trigger an interrupt as the rocket leaves
the tube, and resume it after the interrupt regardless of the state
of the launching player. I'm not sure how much value this would add.

> Also I think having buildings collapse realisticaly would be
> tough in a turn based game. X-COM:A would allow you to run out of
> a building that was being blown to pieces.

Silent Storm: Sentinels handles building collapse pretty well. If you
assume that pieces fall faster than people can move, or that they fall
in stages equivalent to one turn, the realism doesn't suffer much.

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On 2005-04-14, Andy McFadden <fadden@fadden.com> wrote:

> It would be possible to implement this in JA2, actually, using the
> "interrupt" mechanism. Trigger an interrupt as the rocket leaves
> the tube, and resume it after the interrupt regardless of the state
> of the launching player. I'm not sure how much value this would add.

I think the reason interrupts aren't implemented this way is
because interrupts are exactly that. An interrupt to the flow of
the game. Usually they're just given when you spot or sense an
enemy squad member.
 
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Aldwyn Edain <ae@invalid.email> wrote:
>>I really dislike attempts to make squad-based tactical games real-time.
>>X-Com: Apocalypse really didn't work for me. It's probably more realistic,
>>but if I wanted realism I'd go drive in rush hour traffic for an hour. I
>>want fun. :)
>
> Xcom:Apoc you could play either RT or TB. Or didn't you play it long
> enough to notice?

I played it in TB first. The first time you run into one of the little
nasties with high TUs you realize just how pointless TB is. They can
pop out of cover from the other side of the room and be on you before
you can fire a shot. It worked better in RT mode, but didn't do much
for me; just not my kind of game. Your mileage may vary.

I have yet to see a game that works well in both turn-based and real-time.
Cyberstorm 2 was a disaster. Fallout Tactics usually worked best in TB,
but sometimes switching to RT was a huge advantage (e.g. sneaking up to
a super-mutant and then having the entire party switch to aggressive mode
and stand up).

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On Thu, 14 Apr 2005 22:56:08 GMT, Andy McFadden <fadden@fadden.com> wrote:

>shadows <shadows@whitefang.com> wrote:
>> X-Com:A was the only squad game at the time where you could have
>> a rocket hit an enemy just as it shot something at you. This is
>> significant because in turn-based squad games projectiles could
>> not fire at once meaning none of your squad members could
>> sacrifice themselves like they did in X-Com:A.

Okay, I can see how RT can make sense for this instance. Although this is
generally considered a narrow window of opportunity.

>
>It would be possible to implement this in JA2, actually, using the
>"interrupt" mechanism. Trigger an interrupt as the rocket leaves
>the tube, and resume it after the interrupt regardless of the state
>of the launching player. I'm not sure how much value this would add.

I agree that this sort of stuff could be done in turn-based, but this
implementation is more suitable for D&D/D20 games, where individual
characters roll initiative (in this case, the rocket would have an
initiative latency, where characters with higher-initiative than the rocket
would have priority and get to move out of the way or make their own
attack.) Even under this system, I sense there might be realism problems.

Something that might work better in JA2 or X-Com is automatic return fire.
While the rocket is traveling to it's destination, units that will get
caught in the blast will attack or move to a safer position (e.g. duck)
while the rocket is in-flight. (The player may needs dictate which
auto-action should be made, perhaps by setting a unit behaviour.) Both
games do something similar already with their interrupt or opportunity fire
system - although it's rare to see something like this as APs would get
used up before this happens.
 
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Andy McFadden <fadden@fadden.com> wrote in
news:Slz7e.14639$m31.140992@typhoon.sonic.net:

> I really dislike attempts to make squad-based tactical games
> real-time. X-Com: Apocalypse really didn't work for me. It's probably
> more realistic, but if I wanted realism I'd go drive in rush hour
> traffic for an hour. I want fun. :)

I don't like RTS, but apocalypse worked because it was so easy to pause,
wich still made it a game of strategy rather than reaction speed. Some
of the stuff you could do wasn't exactly realistic, though, such as:
A missile with armor dissolving acid coming at you? Pause. Remove armor.
Take hit. Heal immediately before you die. Put unharmed armor back on.

Or you could play turn based. Which was easier depended on what opponents
you were up against. Where Apocalypse failed was on the strategic level
where it wasn't a finished game, and in ship combat, where you could easily
lose the game by a few stray missiles hitting the wrong buildings pissing
off powerful organizations. I prefered the original where property damage
didn't count. As long as you saved the people you could blow up anything
without repercussions.
 

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On Sat, 16 Apr 2005 15:10:13 -0700, Aldwyn Edain <ae@invalid.email>
wrote:

>IYO. Lot's of people liked it.

Pretty fast and loose of the word "lots" there :p

X-COM was arguably the best game I played in 1993, I gave up on
Apocalypse in disgust after about an hour.

So did "lots" of other X-COM fans. That's why they don't make X-COM
games, anymore.

Oh, wait... they did make that stupid ass X-COM space sim, though,
didn't they? You like that too?
 

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On 2005-04-17, Thrasher <spectre911@hotmail.com> wrote:
> On Sat, 16 Apr 2005 15:10:13 -0700, Aldwyn Edain <ae@invalid.email>
> wrote:
>
>>IYO. Lot's of people liked it.
>
> Pretty fast and loose of the word "lots" there :p
>
> X-COM was arguably the best game I played in 1993, I gave up on
> Apocalypse in disgust after about an hour.
>
> So did "lots" of other X-COM fans. That's why they don't make X-COM
> games, anymore.

I got into XCOM through XCOM:A and found it unappealing to play
the first two. XCOM:A had some unfinishedness about it and it was
a significant step forward in squad strategy games.

> Oh, wait... they did make that stupid ass X-COM space sim, though,
> didn't they? You like that too?

Yes. They probably found that a space sim would sell well
according to market analysis and decided to use a known entity to
wrap it in.

They probably didn't think: "What is the next logical
step in the XCOM series?"

They probably thought: "Customers seem to like space
simulations. Let's use this franchise as a marketing tool to sell
a Space simulation."

You'll also notice this practice has gone down considerably since
it never quite worked. In fact I haven't seen it in the last
three years but feel free to correct me.
 
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In article <smi361tndu0r7b8m32sgs8nlbcg3m608p3@4ax.com>, spectre911
@hotmail.com says...
> On Sat, 16 Apr 2005 15:10:13 -0700, Aldwyn Edain <ae@invalid.email>
> wrote:
>
> >IYO. Lot's of people liked it.
>
> Pretty fast and loose of the word "lots" there :p
>
> X-COM was arguably the best game I played in 1993, I gave up on
> Apocalypse in disgust after about an hour.
>
> So did "lots" of other X-COM fans. That's why they don't make X-COM
> games, anymore.

Well, I didn't. I thought the monsters were silly looking and their
spacecraft looked like flying currant buns. But the RT/TB combat
actually worked quite well, IMO.

What killed it in the end for me was that the missions became too long
and repetitive.

But then, I complete only a fraction of games.

- Gerry Quinn