Boy, am I glad the demo came out for this one. That just saved me forty bucks.
I can't believe the critical acclaim this game is getting. I just played through the demo and I was completely appalled.
1) bad camera controls
For the love of pete, can we please get every RTS developer a copy of Ground Control? That's how it's done. Period. I suppose the limited view distance and cheesy fogging are just side effects of the bad camera. Games like this reinforce Brad Wardell's stereotype of the 3D RTS genre. Bad developer! Bad!!
2) crappy interface
Windows 3.1 had a better user interface than this game. And that was in 1993. I mean, I'm not looking for Blizzard-esque levels of polished mahogany and gold inlay, just something that isn't completely confusing and ugly. No dice.
3) terrible graphics
I'm sorry, but this matters. And it goes hand-in-hand with #2. Maybe there is a nice personality under there, but who wants to stare at it long enough to find out? Get this right, or I'll play another game that does. Not enough time for stragglers as is.
4) "build your own units".
Groan. This old chestnut. You know, mix the chassis with the weapons. Not only that but you can select the AI profile for the units. I guess I'm not against this in theory, but I've never seen it done right-- that is, so that it doesn't just add work for the player. If you want to play with design, I strongly recommend Mindrover: The Europa Project. The "build your own units" mentality is a half-step that gains us nothing. Would Total Annihilation have been a better game with this mix and match chassis and weapons mentality? No, it just means every unit is generic instead of unique.
Just MHO, of course, but I was surprised how little I cared about this game after playing the demo, and I love RTS games.
By Michael Casey on Monday, August 6, 2001 - 01:02 am:
I agree with you for the most part, wumpus. The Moon Project sucked ass. The build your own units thing just seems to add more micromanagement to the game, and makes the units less interesting, since like you say, they're generic and not unique. Can't come up with a lot of original weapons since each chasis has to be able to support them realistically, and visa-versa.
I don't know if the graphics were TERRIBLE...the environments looked pretty good, with changing weather and the like. Unless you're refering to the boxes...I mean tanks. They looked like...well, boxes.
I won't praise the MP camera control, but I'm curious as to why you think Ground Control's camera control was "how it's done". It was workable, sure...but it's certainly not the ultimate interface.
By Rob on Monday, August 6, 2001 - 11:58 pm:
"I won't praise the MP camera control, but I'm curious as to why you think Ground Control's camera control was "how it's done". It was workable, sure...but it's certainly not the ultimate interface."
Again, someone agreeing the Qt3's version of Dubyah. I think Ground Control did the camera perfectly. I want all my games to act exactly like the GC camera, whether its strategy, tactics, the Sims, FPS, Third person shooter, checkers, or chess. I loved that camera, and it was one of the reasons I played the game as long as I did (a pretty darn long time).
Just my 2 cents.
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Wednesday, August 8, 2001 - 11:40 pm:
I have yet to play any other 3D RTS game with camera controls as intuitive as Ground Control.
I can rattle off a dozen games that screwed it up, though. How hard is it to copy something that clearly works? Honestly. It's like every new FPS game attempting to reinvent WASD.
By Erik on Thursday, August 9, 2001 - 08:53 am:
"I have yet to play any other 3D RTS game with camera controls as intuitive as Ground Control."
I'm just gonna agree with wumpus and Rob here: GC has the best camera control of any "omniscient viewpoint" 3D game to date. And I think it still looks better than any of its competition. I just wish I liked the game part more.
By Jeff Atwood (Wumpus) on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 06:17 pm:
We've been over this a dozen times.
Does Total Annihilation have an interesting single player game? Not really. Does it matter? Not really. Ditto for GC.
Sometimes the gameplay manages to sell itself without any help from clever level designers or AI.
By Mark Asher on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 10:38 pm:
"Does Total Annihilation have an interesting single player game? Not really. Does it matter? Not really. Ditto for GC."
What do you mean it doesn't matter? Some people don't like multiplayer. Better single player for these games might have resulted in better sales. How many people are playing TA vs Warcraft 2 right now?
The multiplayer community tends to be a pretty small subset of the number of players who buy a game, as far as I can tell. Put a better single player game in there and you'll probably end up with a larger multiplayer community.