Monday, 29 December 2008

What about the crew (part two)

Two more capital ship sims:

Star Trek Bridge Commander definitely deserves a mention here: the slow, heavy movement gives the feel of a capital ship even though this is essentially a very simple mission-based combat sim. In addition this is very much a Star Trek capital ship: combining immense weapon power and other high-tech with vulnerability (computers emitting smoke and sparks at the tiniest blow); also many of the combat sequences in the films and Next Gen TV series do feel very consistent with combat in STBC. Interaction with crew is particularly good here; there's a real sense of actually ordering people and teams to carry out work; each character has a tiny amount of autonomy (the First Officer raises shields when you are attacked; helm and tactical stations carry out their own combat maneuvers; engineering starts prioritising repair works etc.) Combat is particularly immersive - as the action unfolds crew members are constantly calling out status and damage reports for your own ship or the target. Outside combat the game is much more limited. Crew are fixed - there's a disappointing mission when your tactical officer is replaced by a Klingon. Hoping to see braver, riskier or even suicidal tactics I was disappointed as combat remained unchanged apart from a slightly dodgy Klingon accent (I don't remember any Scottish Klingons, although I suppose lots of planets have a North). I played this game with a Game Commander voice recognition set - if you try this, don't use the packaged command set, search for the better, fan-produced file on the Net.

Homeworld: conjures up the feeling of commanding a capital ship and fleet (although no crew element apart from background radio chatter) Much of the immersion comes from the attention to graphical detail - supply ships and fighters dock smoothly with motherships and maneuver to avoid collision with each other as they enter formation.

So what I'd like is to hire crewmembers from Frontier to man the Homeworld ships, interact with them through the Bridge Commander interface and watch them live and work as in Battlecruiser. I don't ask for much...

No comments: