Yeah, a 25 to 30-mission campaign is far less likely to outstay its welcome the way a 50-mission campaign does.
You know, regarding WCS, some of the missions are extremely long, like 30-40mins. I’ve thought WCS would actually benefit from having more missions, breaking those big ones up into several smaller ones. It kind of kills the enthusiasm when you have to replay a mission you've just spent 30-40mins on then you die.
Unlikable, yes, distant, of course, all of these are things you would expect to see. But there's a difference between having such a character in your story, and having all characters be like that. When you write wingmen who will stick with you for some time, it's a really really bad thing if the player isn't given a reason to care about them. In BP, we tried to give the people around you distinct personalities so that you would care about them, their opinions and their eventual fates. WCS misses this crucial step (at least for me).
That noone around you seems to be willing to ackknowledge your skills and results is part of this issue.
Yes, I agree with this, really they're not all unlikeable are they, some are nice enough. But yeah, that "you're still a rookie" thing is grating. At the very end I took it to be some sort of running joke, but even if that is a joke, it still goes on far too long, and I would certainly appreciate that being put to bed.
Again part of the experience I got working on BP. In WCS, one of the first things said to you in the Prologue is "Look at all these capital ships. It's your job to protect them, they're way more important than you"; yet those same ships never really do much except catch torpedoes. That's something I feel should be addressed, it should be shown on-screen that there are good reasons why these things are still around.
Of course they were talking I think more about the fact you’re screwed without a carrier to land on, and the lives that will be lost if a capital ship is destroyed, not the military value of such ships.
So are you thinking more to rebalance the gameplay, rather than change the look of the models? Rebalancing the game would be number one for me. I actually rebalanced a lot of the missions myself, but this really only involved lifting the invulnerability from the ally ships, and then if necessary tinkering with the ships in the mission, adding or taking away ships on either side or adjusting AI levels. I never really did anything with the capital ships.
This tinkering showed me some glaring balance issues in the game. You’ve already hit on the capital ships, but the fighters are badly balanced too. Once you take off that invulnerability and see them pitted against each other, it becomes obvious that heavy fighters and bombers are king and the rest is fodder. The gap is so glaring that there would be no need to build anything but bombers. Bombers kill fighters and capital ships much more efficiently than anything else in the game. They’re packed with those lethal missiles, and have all the manoeuvrability they need to lock them on targets and even dogfight.
The campaign gives me the impression that fighters have somewhat obsoleted capital ships, and it's all about carrier warfare. Especially the part where
Deathfang is enraged that his fleet is destroyed by the fighters from three seperate carriers, and he didn't get the fleet battle he wanted.
Carriers obviously have their role, and their lack of bite is understandable. I think for the most part the capital ships are just fine in terms of how much bite they have. It's just how fragile they are. Oh and get rid of that ability to fly inside them and gut them from the inside, that's a glaring flaw. I’d like it if that ability was closed off. Fighting from the outside, fighters have a hard time with capital ships, but bombers tear them apart, with one torpedo enough for lighter classes. It's similar fighter to fighter, one missile is enough to do for lighter classes. I would consider toning both of these right down (missile and torpedo power.) We have our homage to Wing Commander in Wing Commander Saga, so I would like it if this was optimised to be gameplay first, even if it meant tinkering with things and making it “not quite Wing Commander.” One thing, you’ve already talked about it is the waves, something Wing Commander basically runs on, sending waves and waves and waves at you, all the games do it. No game of this genre comes close in my experience to the blatant use of the concept of waves. Even though the navpoint thing does give you the illusion somewhat that it’s not just waves and waves, but you still get waves at individual navpoints. You could do away with/tone right down this waves thing in the remix quite comfortably and I‘d be surprised if there were any complaints.
The impression I get is that over the course of WCS' development, certain things were essentially abandoned when they were good enough, with not much in the way of feedback or internal review. They certainly did their homework with regards to testing these things to make sure the missions work, but I doubt there was much thought given to bugtesting, reviewing and revising the writing. These are all understandable flaws, but flaws nonetheless, and at least for me, they ruin a lot of the work and effort that went into this, like all those rendered briefings and stuff.
Hmmm, you’ll have more ability to make such a judgement on this than me. But this seems a much more fair-minded assessment than the lacklustre thing. I too was very impressed with the missions purely from a technical standpoint how much FREDding and testing must have gone into them is surely insane.
Blaise Russel demonstrated what you can do here, and I would really like to explore this concept in at least a few missions. My plan, as far as it goes at this stage, is to abandon the "single protagonist" campaign and go for a more multiangled narrative so that you can experience more facets of the war than just the fighter pilot's perspective. Being able to have input on mission planning, or even capital ship control, is something I would like to see (Of course, that's contingent on finding places in the story where such an approach would be appropriate).
This sounds interesting.