Author Topic: Blast from the past  (Read 6520 times)

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Offline Mika

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Decided to make a thread of the old games you'd like to show to those young ones.

Recent reviews of HAWX reminded me of the ground breaking Falcon 3.0 (1991, Spectrum Holobyte): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf4oaUZMpFw

It seems boxy, old and 320x240ish, with antiquated MIDI sound, but the war room music still brings a tear to eye. It's like seeing your old friend again. From the Youtube clip, you can see some of the back then state of the art video clips in home computer, all that made you wanna go kick some ass and become a fighter pilot also. The whole game really oozes that Cold War feeling. Surprisingly, there videos for being captured and being killed also, including your own funerals!

In comparasion to nowadays flight simulators, Falcon 3.0 is certainly not realistic. The missiles miss far more often in F3 as in the recent installations, emphasizing gun play and dogfighting skills. I recall I had almost fool-proof method of jamming all missiles in there. All these factors combined make F3 more fun than the recent sims. But it was certainly not an arcade game!

Surprisingly, the wingman and enemy AI was actually pretty good and could hold its own against human player (though it had a different flight model), though it was possible to defeat six MiG-29s alone and with guns only. However, the AAA was quite murderous on bombing missions, and it was really not really possible to see those SAM missiles after they were launched. Also, the introduced high fidelity flying model required the mathematical co-processor, which wasn't always shipped with even 486 class computers.

The dynamic campaign was introduced in F3 and made the new standard for campaigns. Very few simulators can reach the dynamic happenings of F3 back in its day, let alone now (though Falcon 4 is totally alone in its class). It was actually possible to see those tiny ground units fighting against each other, can also men running around, especially after firing Maverick to their favourite tank. All units in the game could be found from the unit information screen

The game casing was a surprise, especially for those who bought Falcon 3.0 Gold when it was available. It had three different aircrafts (F-16, MiG-29, F/A-18), and each of them had a 300+ pages long manual describing everything from the weapons usage to 20 page introduction to why there is a conflict in some region. Included also was flight path maps of the region! The 45 minute long Art Of Kill video was a virtual lesson for virtual pilots in dogfighting, video is lectured by a instructor pilot.

Instead of HAWX, I think they should actually do a Falcon 3.0 -type game with updated graphics and sound effects since for general population, Falcon 4.0 type realism is simply too much to learn. But on the other hand, I find it difficult to understand why the genre has progressed so little in many terms compared to Falcon 3, though Falcon 4 is an exception. Not many simulators include dynamic campaigns. Not many simulators include flight planning and resource management up to arming the weapons to aircraft. Advances have happened in the area of flight modelling, sounds and graphics.

Waiting for your posts about your favourite oldies!

Mika
Relaxed movement is always more effective than forced movement.

 

Offline Mobius

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Uhm...I noticed something interesting about Falcon 3's intro...  :eek:

The F-16 pilot's voice is that of the American F-14 pilot who scored the second MiG-23 kill in the skies above Libya.

Proof

Listen carefully to the F-14 pilot before and after the kill.  :nod:
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Offline Mika

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Quote
Uhm...I noticed something interesting about Falcon 3's intro...


I know. I think there was also something related in the Art Of Kill video.

Mika
Relaxed movement is always more effective than forced movement.

 

Offline Rick James

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Raptor: Call of the Shadows.

It came before Tyrian and dammit, it's just better.

Boystrous 19 year old temp at work slapped me in the face with an envelope and laughed it off as playful. So I shoved him over a desk and laughed it off as playful. It's on camera so I can plead reasonable force.  Temp is now passive.

 

Offline Dilmah G

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Oh this takes me back. That Falcon 3.0 Menu music really brings on the nostalgia

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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Still have Falcon 3.0 Gold, though I'm not sure it works...

Actually, being a bombing fiend, I got pretty good at dealing with SAMs after launch. AAA was murderous though, Shilkas were priority targets...and I admit when my frustration ramped up too high I might have gone Red Flag and dropped GBU-12s on them on occasion. :p
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Offline Dilmah G

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Still have Falcon 3.0 Gold, though I'm not sure it works...

Actually, being a bombing fiend, I got pretty good at dealing with SAMs after launch. AAA was murderous though, Shilkas were priority targets...and I admit when my frustration ramped up too high I might have gone Red Flag and dropped GBU-12s on them on occasion. :p

:lol:

I play LOMAC now, fulfills my Hardcore Simming for the time being

Big learning curve though, not for n00bs

 

Offline Pred the Penguin

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I don't think I even played computer games was born yet :lol: when that came out. My first computer game was AoE2... lol

 

Offline Mika

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Then another ground breaking game: Dune II, The building of a dynasty.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tppjzT-su0Q
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKclZnrWglU (one of three endings of the game)

This is the original Westwood's game that levelled the ground for real time strategy games in a same way as Wolfenstein 3D started shoot-em-ups. It was followed in 1995 by Command & Conquer (freeware nowadays). Dune is actually a sci-fi novel written by Frank Herbert (pretty good one), one was partially copied by George Lucas in Star Wars. In short the novel happens in a desert planet called Arrakis (or Dune), and it is the home of the heavily mutagenic substance called Spice that space navigators consume while navigating through stars. This substance is required by massive amounts in the space empire, and the only source is Dune. The harvesting is trusted to some large faction (called houses) by time. The book is about the destruction of house of Atreides by the deceit perpetrated by house of Harkonnen when the harvesting permissions were given to them. In the end, after much warring and battling house of Atreides is rebuilt and starts a new emperor dynasty.

Unfortunately, Dune II only borrows the surface layer of the novel and has very little to do with the original novels by itself. However, the game was pretty good by that time so this thing is overlooked. Today, the graphics are again 320x240ish and units look like toys you used to play with in a sandbox but back then were very sufficient. There is surprisingly large amount of speech in the game, even to the point it informed the player about every single unit being destroyed "Sardaukar destroyed" etc. Some times this caused the sound buffer overflow when multiple units were destroyed in short sequence, some of them screaming, some of the exploding and game happily playing victory tune of each unit blown up. Besides, "Construction complete" can still be found from modern Westwood games!

In the technology tree there was a general progression towards more powerful units, more powerful unit being almost always a better choice than the weaker. Infantry were pretty much useless in the game, it pretty much has no purpose. Airforces consisted of attack aircraft and carryalls, carryalls being more useful for repair and increasing the resource gathering speed. Each of the houses had their own special tank unit, Harkonnen heavy Devastator has self-destruct capability with massive damage to surroundings, Atreides being the most humane eliminate their enemies by the blasts of the Sonic Tank and Ordos clan has the bastardly Deviator that could take control of any enemy unit. All of the houses have ultimate superweapons also, Atreides having the disappointing Fremen infantry unit (which in book could dominate about anything on ground), Ordos having the invisible saboteur (massively useful) and Harkonnen the inaccurate but massively destructive Death Hand missile (Save and Reload anyone!).

It is more clear that the nowadays user interfaces with RTS type games have been improved. Back then with Dune II it was necessary to instruct every single unit at a time, there wasn't group movement. Also, attack, move and retreat instructions were issued from a list, this being a quite slow method. Add in the "Affirmative" -acknowledgement by all units when touched, it turned out to be quite annoying. Especially when that giant sandworm came up to eat your expensive newly constructed Siege Tanks.

The enemy AI is relatively poor, it mostly sends units as a non-concentrated stream towards your base through the shortest route, this leading to human player fortifying some areas and neglecting the rest of the base. Missions themselves are just repeats of each others, construct a base and wipe off the resistance, the variation comes from different technologies available. Music reacts to changes, sometimes being catchy and sometimes not especially notable.

All structures in the game had to be constructed on a rock bed, and prefereably on concrete slabs, otherwise they tended to break apart when exposed to hard conditions on the planet surface. The powerplants were the most annoying, as the structures were quite weak and tended to wear off in ten minute interval. Repairing of the structures was though easy, just clicking the repair button. But this tended to get irritating after 10 missions of the same. Other than that, the structures are pretty much standard nowadays: light infantry, heavy infantry, light vehicles, heavy vehicles and airborne unit factories plus the additional black space market building. Refineries and silos for financing, windtraps for power, outposts for radar and palaces for superweapons. There were two different types of defensive turrets also, difference being mostly in the range.

That's about it for this time, waiting for your favorites!

Mika
« Last Edit: March 28, 2009, 07:54:40 pm by Mika »
Relaxed movement is always more effective than forced movement.

 

Offline Scotty

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MechCommander.  The original.  Probably pretty recent to you old folks (;)), but it was forever ago for me.

It was one of the only RTSs I've ever seen where you don't actually build the units in a given map.  The ones you started with, and the ones the enemy started with (barring units arriving from outside) were it.  You could salvage the 'Mechs if they weren't completely destroyed, but you couldn't completely repair them unless you had gotten a lucky headshot and done no real damage to the 'Mech itself.  I was amazed by how the weapons on the 'Mechs could actually be destoyed by hits, with arms and legs going flying off after enough damage.  Even better was the tactical decision to either destroy a 'Mech fast so you wouldn't take too much damage, or take it down surgically, and use it to bolster your forces now that they were down some.

The missions were kind of blah.  Go find this person.  Now blow up this base.  Repeat.  Oh wait, now here's a convoy to blow up.  Sometimes you get the rare gem of a mission where you have to make a running retreat from overwhelming enemy forces.  The variety of gigantic metallic killing machines, I mean 'Mechs, was really good though.  I will always love an Atlas 100 ton Assault 'Mech going toe to toe with a Clan Mad Cat, lasers and missiles flying everywhere.

The AI was lacking.  It always came the same direction for every different playthrough, as if the designers had scripted every move it could make, and left no room for seat-of-the-pants piloting.  One of the funnier parts was how if you destroyed a vehicle, the pilot would run out and try to find another one to get into.  When he comes out, you can pop a laser into him and watch one of the original blood showers.  Or step on him for laughs.  Decent support options made the game really easy unless you were on the highest difficulty.  In at least one mission, you could finish the whole thing by not moving and just airstriking the target.

The fact that it's BattleTech only makes it better.  Oh, if only it would come back again!

 

Offline Hellstryker

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My vote goes to Fury 3 and Pax Imperia: ED. I'd go into more detail as to why, but I'm too tired :p

 
Didn't have Falcon 3.0 but I played a bit of F-16 Combat Pilot (by Digital Integration), which was the first complex flight sim I think I ever played. That and the original B17 Flying Fortress by Microprose. The latter could get really stressful at times, especially when there're injured crew and engines on fire. Can't recall if it had a multiplayer option but that must have been awesome if it did have one. Hind (also by Digital Integration) was also cool, but very difficult to control. I really liked the troop insertion and evac missions. The older combat flight sims used to come with so much documentation and maps etc, especially the Microprose ones. Don't see that anymore. I can see why flight sims made over the last 10 to 15 years mostly draw a niche group of gamers/simmers these days, but the ones I mostly play (like IL2, LOMAC, sometimes EECH) have scalable realism - which is something I don't think many gamers realise. On the surface, I think most gamers just assume they are too hardcore and not something they can pick up and play easily, i.e. that they'll need months of practice before they can have any fun with them. But in most flight sims, that needn't be the case if the realism settings can be adjusted.

I missed out on Dune II, but did pick up Dune 2000 which was basically a C&C: Red Alert clone.

Anyone remember the Secret of Monkey Island? Point-and-click adventures are so dead these days. :( It's due to all these RPGs, if you ask me.

 

Offline General Battuta

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MechCommander.  The original.  Probably pretty recent to your mom old folks (;)), but it was forever ago for me.

It was one of the only RTSs I've ever seen where your mom don't actually build the units in a given map.  The ones your mom started with, and the ones the enemy started with (barring units arriving from outside) were it.  Your mom could salvage the 'Mechs if they weren't completely destroyed, but your mom couldn't completely repair them unless your mom had gotten a lucky headshot and done no real damage to the 'Mech itself.  I was amazed by how the weapons on the 'Mechs could actually be destoyed by hits, with arms and legs going flying off after enough damage.  Even better was the tactical decision to either destroy a 'Mech fast so your mom wouldn't take too much damage, or take it down surgically, and use it to bolster your mom's forces now that they were down some.

The missions were kind of blah.  Go find this person.  Now blow up this base.  Repeat.  Oh wait, now here's a convoy to blow up.  Sometimes your mom get the rare gem of a mission where your mom have to make a running retreat from overwhelming enemy forces.  The variety of gigantic metallic killing machines, I mean 'Mechs, was really good though.  I will always love an Atlas 100 ton Assault 'Mech going toe to toe with a Clan Mad Cat, lasers and missiles flying everywhere.

The AI was lacking.  It always came the same direction for every different playthrough, as if the designers had scripted every move it could make, and left no room for seat-of-the-pants piloting.  One of the funnier parts was how if your mom destroyed a vehicle, the pilot would run out and try to find another one to get into.  When he comes out, your mom can pop a laser into him and watch one of the original blood showers.  Or step on him for laughs.  Decent support options made the game really easy unless your mom were on the highest difficulty.  In at least one mission, your mom could finish the whole thing by not moving and just airstriking the target.

The fact that it's BattleTech only makes it better.  Oh, if only it would come back again!

You need to play Ground Control, which kicked off that whole limited-units tactical-RTS deal. (Kinda.)

Mechcommander was great fun. Along with Mechwarrior 3, they came the closest of all games to capturing the magic of the Battletech setting.

I can't quite figure out where the Atlas got its rep -- it's a mediocre design even in its home time period.

 

Offline Rick James

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MechCommander.  The original.  Probably pretty recent to your mom's mom old folks (;)), but it was forever ago for me.

It was one of the only RTSs I've ever seen where your mom's mom don't actually build the units in a given map.  The ones your mom's mom started with, and the ones the enemy started with (barring units arriving from outside) were it.  Your mom's mom could salvage the 'Mechs if they weren't completely destroyed, but your mom's mom couldn't completely repair them unless your mom's mom had gotten a lucky headshot and done no real damage to the 'Mech itself.  I was amazed by how the weapons on the 'Mechs could actually be destoyed by hits, with arms and legs going flying off after enough damage.  Even better was the tactical decision to either destroy a 'Mech fast so your mom's mom wouldn't take too much damage, or take it down surgically, and use it to bolster your mom's mom's forces now that they were down some.

The missions were kind of blah.  Go find this person.  Now blow up this base.  Repeat.  Oh wait, now here's a convoy to blow up.  Sometimes your mom's mom get the rare gem of a mission where your mom's mom have to make a running retreat from overwhelming enemy forces.  The variety of gigantic metallic killing machines, I mean 'Mechs, was really good though.  I will always love an Atlas 100 ton Assault 'Mech going toe to toe with a Clan Mad Cat, lasers and missiles flying everywhere.

The AI was lacking.  It always came the same direction for every different playthrough, as if the designers had scripted every move it could make, and left no room for seat-of-the-pants piloting.  One of the funnier parts was how if your mom's mom destroyed a vehicle, the pilot would run out and try to find another one to get into.  When he comes out, your mom's mom can pop a laser into him and watch one of the original blood showers.  Or step on him for laughs.  Decent support options made the game really easy unless your mom's mom were on the highest difficulty.  In at least one mission, your mom's mom could finish the whole thing by not moving and just airstriking the target.

The fact that it's BattleTech only makes it better.  Oh, if only it would come back again!

Your mom need to play Ground Control, which kicked off that whole limited-units tactical-RTS deal. (Kinda.)

Mechcommander was great fun. Along with Mechwarrior 3, they came the closest of all games to capturing the magic of the Battletech setting.

I can't quite figure out where the Atlas got its rep -- it's a mediocre design even in its home time period.

Play with the Atlas in a 3025 Battletech RPG. Then you'll understand.

Boystrous 19 year old temp at work slapped me in the face with an envelope and laughed it off as playful. So I shoved him over a desk and laughed it off as playful. It's on camera so I can plead reasonable force.  Temp is now passive.

 
BTW, anyone that's played Dune II (or not, even) might find this of interest: http://d2tm.duneii.com/. It's a fan remake. I haven't actually tried it, but the AI is supposed to be an improvement on the original.

 

Offline The E

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I can't quite figure out where the Atlas got its rep -- it's a mediocre design even in its home time period.

What Rick James said. Also, it looks awesome, can soak up a lot of damage and deal massive amounts of it, and pick something like a Locust up and hit others with it. (As long as the Locust is incapacitated, that is) To elaborate further, since in the RPG all weapons have more "realistic" ranges, having an Atlas provide medium to close range support, as well as sheer intimidation value, is really really comforting (or scary, dependant on which side the Atlas is on). In post-3050 games, the Atlas loses some of it's stature, but still remains pretty awesome, IMHO.
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Offline General Battuta

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I can't quite figure out where the Atlas got its rep -- it's a mediocre design even in its home time period.

What Rick James said. Also, it looks awesome, can soak up a lot of damage and deal massive amounts of it, and pick something like a Locust up and hit others with it. (As long as the Locust is incapacitated, that is) To elaborate further, since in the RPG all weapons have more "realistic" ranges, having an Atlas provide medium to close range support, as well as sheer intimidation value, is really really comforting (or scary, dependant on which side the Atlas is on). In post-3050 games, the Atlas loses some of it's stature, but still remains pretty awesome, IMHO.

Yeah, it's decent all around, but even in 3025 it can't quite reach out and hit the way a lot of other units can. But I concur that playing under RPG rules it's a more intimidating creature.

I think part of it is simply that the Atlas was fluffed as a beast.

 

Offline The E

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Yeah, it's decent all around, but even in 3025 it can't quite reach out and hit the way a lot of other units can. But I concur that playing under RPG rules it's a more intimidating creature.

I think part of it is simply that the Atlas was fluffed as a beast.

Yeah, but it does what it was designed for, when it is used in the way the designers imagined it would be used. After all, taking a Longbow into, say, the canyons, is as bad an idea as going hunting on the wide open plains in an Atlas is.
If I'm just aching this can't go on
I came from chasing dreams to feel alone
There must be changes, miss to feel strong
I really need lifе to touch me
--Evergrey, Where August Mourns

 

Offline NGTM-1R

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I can't quite figure out where the Atlas got its rep -- it's a mediocre design even in its home time period.

Obviously you never played Pirate's Moon... No, actually, the Atlas was quite capable for 3025, and it gets better by 3050 (not counting Clan designs), then goes downhill again by 3055.

No, the real mystery is figuring out where the Battlemaster got its killdeathdestroymachine rep. Ever.
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

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Offline General Battuta

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I can't quite figure out where the Atlas got its rep -- it's a mediocre design even in its home time period.

Obviously you never played Pirate's Moon... No, actually, the Atlas was quite capable for 3025, and it gets better by 3050 (not counting Clan designs), then goes downhill again by 3055.

No, the real mystery is figuring out where the Battlemaster got its killdeathdestroymachine rep. Ever.

I played Pirate's Moon. But it had the Annihilator in it.