LOAF Reviews Arena (Sort Of)

Ricochet

Spaceman
Well you should get an entry in for the 360 Elite the CIC is giving away then you wont' have to worry about raising money for your own.

Heh, i wish. Isn't that one for american area only?

Also glad to see i sent LOAf on the rant with that lil' comment of mine :)
 

Death

gh0d (Administrator)
The Elite system that the CIC is giving away isn't limited to just the US, as unlike EA we don't have skittish lawyers. :)
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
True... we'll ship it anywhere... *but* it's a North American system, so it runs on American power and plays US-region games.

Still, I encourage everyone to enter! Show your colors!
 

Ricochet

Spaceman
There ya go, always a catch.
Besides i wouldn't have enough money for it's shipping, not to mention the games or anything that goes with it :)
Still i might join just for fun's sake...
 

Delance

Victory, you say?
The US system is regulary sold in Brazil, as it's much cheaper than the Brazilian version.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
There ya go, always a catch.
Besides i wouldn't have enough money for it's shipping, not to mention the games or anything that goes with it :)
Still i might join just for fun's sake...

We're certainly not charging people for shipping their prize to them. :)
 

Bearxor

Spaceman
I know this is kind of late but I desperately wanted to respond to a lot of your points, loaf. Then I decided, why bother? You're so blinded by your WC fanboyism you likely wouldn't know a bad WC game if it reached up and slapped you across the face.

I'll just say you remind me Admiral's Long and Nagomo and leave it at that ;).
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I know this is kind of late but I desperately wanted to respond to a lot of your points, loaf. Then I decided, why bother? You're so blinded by your WC fanboyism you likely wouldn't know a bad WC game if it reached up and slapped you across the face.

So you decided to just troll the forums instead? I made some pretty good points - you didn't. I think anyone reading this thread can judge that.

I'll just say you remind me Admiral's Long and Nagomo and leave it at that .

I think you've missed the key point of Action Stations - Long and Nagomo weren't evil characters or bad officers... they simply represented an earlier, more romantic era of Naval service. They weren't cowards or stupid people - they died at their posts, victims of war itself becoming stupider than they could accept. You're also missing another important layer to the book, one established right in the prologue - the new generation of 'heroes' in Action Stations is ultimately anything but. Where the pair of battleship Admirals go out fighting with face to the enemy, the young men who save the day in the story ultimately end up as a manipulative intelligence spook and a genocidal maniac. That's an intentional parallel (why do you think McAuliffe has two Admirals?).

In fact, the novel goes through some lengths to absolve the pair of any specific guilt over the McAuliffe disaster. There's an unusual chapter that opens from Long's perspective, with him being kind to his men and explaining to the reader why he isn't investigating the listening post. He even has a little all-American Chamberlain-style internal monologue about summers back in Maine - so specific that you could even make a fair argument he's is Dr. Forstchen's alter-ego (which is fairly impressive, for a book which stars a hard-fighting college professor.) We never really meet Nagomo on a personal level, but we're told in the epilogue that he died at his station - and in so doing earned the respect of everyman Ulandi. These are deeply tragic characters, not some inane insult for another generic internet stupid to throw around.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Hehe, I just re-read my review. It opens with a freaking giant funny paragraph about how biased I am. Kids these days...
 

Bearxor

Spaceman
Well I was going to say you read too much in to my comment, but honestly you've done nothing more than help make the comparison even more relevant.

I simply meant that you were ignoring all the signs of, in this case, a bad game. You took a it a step further. You will "die at your post" playing this game until EA decides to shut it down. Their contract with Microsoft does allow this.

I don't really have anything to prove here. I'm a long-time WC fan myself and I don't have to hang out on message boards all day to prove it. I just signed in to XBL tonight and fired up WCA to see if anyone was playing. It was completely dead. No games at all. I guess even the "wingnuts" have abandoned this game.

Listen, I agree with a lot of what you're saying. There are a few points I disagree with but honestly they're all too trivial to waste my time with.

You want to know what I think? It's a beta test. How well does this 2D engine work for space combat and will it upset old-time WC fans and at the same time attract new ones? A new full-fledged WC game is definitely underway. Unfortunately it will play very similar to this except with a fleshed out single player campaign. The money these days are made on the consoles. EA has to make a new WC appeal to console owners and changing the game's control scheme and making it 2D (yes, it's 2D. I might give you "It's a 3D game played on a 2D plane.") is the only way to do it.

I bought this game for the sole reason of showing my interest in continuing the WC series. Like they always said, be careful what you wish for...
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
You want to know what I think? It's a beta test. How well does this 2D engine work for space combat and will it upset old-time WC fans and at the same time attract new ones? A new full-fledged WC game is definitely underway. Unfortunately it will play very similar to this except with a fleshed out single player campaign. The money these days are made on the consoles. EA has to make a new WC appeal to console owners and changing the game's control scheme and making it 2D (yes, it's 2D. I might give you "It's a 3D game played on a 2D plane.") is the only way to do it.

I don't think so.. just the same way not every WC game after Armada was a turn based strategy game. And in what way does being on a console mean it's going to be forever on a 2D plane? WC3 and 4 certainly weren't on the Playstation or 3DO.
 

Bearxor

Spaceman
I don't think so.. just the same way not every WC game after Armada was a turn based strategy game. And in what way does being on a console mean it's going to be forever on a 2D plane? WC3 and 4 certainly weren't on the Playstation or 3DO.
The development of Wing Commander Armada:

Richard Garriott: So, how far away are we from shipping Wing Commander 3 and how much will it cost us?

Chris Roberts: We're about 18 months away and the total budget will end up being about... 4 million dollars.

RG: 4 MILLION DOLLARS!?! WTF? You gotta be fucking kidding me!

CR: Yeah I know, but we're doing a lot of great things with this game, we've developed this great new 3D game engine and we're doing the story with live action characters. We've got Luke Skywalker and Biff! Which reminds me... if we don't get this funding approved, Biff isn't going to get paid. He's made it pretty clear that I look a lot like Marty McFly *gulp*.

RG: Damnit Chris, EA isn't going to like this at all without some kind of return on that money.. Have we got anything from your department ready so that maybe we can propose some kind of financial stop-gap in between here and the release of WC3?

CR: ...

RG: Anything?

CR: Well... I suppose we could take this 3D engine we're almost finished with and put out a dog-fighting only simulator. Maybe make it multiplayer. People are always talking about being able to fight against their friends and stuff.

RG: Have you seen the Warcraft? It's this great new game coming out. Basically you control resources and build your armies and stuff. Could we work that in?

CR: Sure, we could probably ship in 9-12 months.

RG: Ok, then go do it!

And scene. At least that's how I envision how WC Armada got made.

And about WC3 & 4, it was a different time. The console market was dwarfed by the PC gaming market. Now the opposite is true.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
You're overestimating development time. Between WC2 and WC3 there was Privateer, Super Wing Commander, a bunch of add ons, Armada, and more. This was all on EA's dollar. Beyond developing the game engine, the most expensive parts of the WC game productions was the film/ video shoots. WC4's budget was partly because of the extensive sets. But there probably wasn't much more than two years total between WC2 and 3. No one did armada as some kind of bid to recoup costs. Armada was designed as a multiplayer game and was ahead of it's time in that aspect and they realized it Almost no one had modems at the time and there was no evidence that it would be profitable, which may or may not be why the single player part of the game exists at all. The proving grounds add on *is* multiplayer only and drops the strategy element all together.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Well I was going to say you read too much in to my comment, but honestly you've done nothing more than help make the comparison even more relevant.

I wasn't reading anything into the meaning of your comment, I was pointing out that your reading of Action Stations was sub-par. Beyond that, I'm not really interested in comparing myself to fictional characters or the historical figures they're based on - I assure that you that I will come up lacking every time. Moreover, I haven't suffered here one iota - I had the time of my life reporting on the release, I got a fun game that I love and I have a whole host of stories I can tell about it. I'm someone who's been incredibly lucky in his choice of hobbies, not some tragic character going into battle knowing he won't survive. The comparison is inane.

I simply meant that you were ignoring all the signs of, in this case, a bad game. You took a it a step further. You will "die at your post" playing this game until EA decides to shut it down. Their contract with Microsoft does allow this.

First, you're absolutely wrong about EA being able or being interested in 'shutting down' Arena. Xbox Live Arcade games don't work the same way as larger titles... they don't have separate individual server-side clients which they require to operate. There's no EA-owned Arena server. The game's only contact with the outside world is to interact with the universal XBLA matching servers.

Now, someday years down the road when the Xbox 10,000 is master of the console universe and there's two guys left with 360s then I'm sure *Microsoft* will discontinue the entire service and make Arena unplayable online. That's, what, a decade or so from now? I have the utmost confidence in my community - the people who added multiplayer to Wing Commander Prophecy will be able to spit and glue together some solution. (Believe it or not, I discuss this pretty regularly with Chris and company - not being able to play Arena many years from now is a worry of mine.)

Second, I don't believe it's a bad game and I don't understand how anyone else does. I'm not some sold-out corporate type and I'm not lying to myself - Arena is a fast, fun game... it's got beautiful art, respect for our continuity and a surprisingly complex set of gameplay mechanics.

I get really darned angry when I see modern gaming sites attack Arena... it just doesn't make sense to me. These same people were praising their preview copies for months until the podcast-and-whine set decided to start bitching about it. It seems very much to be a case of 'so goes the Empire'... and the Emperor is some bunch of cynical jackass kids who don't know how to have fun anymore.

I don't really have anything to prove here. I'm a long-time WC fan myself and I don't have to hang out on message boards all day to prove it. I just signed in to XBL tonight and fired up WCA to see if anyone was playing. It was completely dead. No games at all. I guess even the "wingnuts" have abandoned this game.

Listen, I agree with a lot of what you're saying. There are a few points I disagree with but honestly they're all too trivial to waste my time with.

You seem very defensive for someone who (unreasonably) decided to arrive on the attack. I certainly don't think and have not said that everyone needs to hang around message boards to 'prove' that they're a Wing Commander fan. My zillion million posts isn't some bragging point - if anything, it brings up more of a sense of shame.

I play Arena fairly regularly, and I probably will as long as I am able to do so. I'm happy to duel if you want to invite me - in fact, I got two such invitations tonight and had to turn them down because I was playing Half Life with my kid sister. I think Kris and some of the other #WingNut guys got a big game going a few days ago. It's there for anyone to have fun with, if they enjoy fun.

You want to know what I think? It's a beta test. How well does this 2D engine work for space combat and will it upset old-time WC fans and at the same time attract new ones? A new full-fledged WC game is definitely underway. Unfortunately it will play very similar to this except with a fleshed out single player campaign. The money these days are made on the consoles. EA has to make a new WC appeal to console owners and changing the game's control scheme and making it 2D (yes, it's 2D. I might give you "It's a 3D game played on a 2D plane.") is the only way to do it.

You have some correct assumptions and some very wrong ones. To break it down:

* Arena was not developed to reinvent or 'test the waters' the Wing Commander franchise; it was developed to capture the burgeoning XBLA market. The fact that it was a Wing Commander game was a happy coincidence for us - the work of individual developers who still loved the franchise even if corporate didn't.

* A future WC game will, by necessity, be developed for consoles first and PCs third if at all. This is the nature of the market in 2007 - you don't build a big-budget title for the PC anymore.

* A future WC game will not be 2D. The 2D combat was, as explained by the project lead himself, a result of the requirement that the game be the first 16-player XBLA title (a theoretical selling point). The XBLA server spec was not suited to the amount of data required for 3D multiplayer... a 3D variant was tested which would have limited the game to four or fewer players (to wit, play DooM on the same servers - yikes!). 2D space combat does not inherently appeal to console gamers in any way... but there *is* a difficult task ahead of any erstwhile developer, as 'spicing up' space combat is difficult. As it is, a space game is just an FPS without the maze aspect - the next WC team needs to figure out how to make 3D space interesting.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
The game you're forgetting between Wing Commander II and Wing Commander III for Chris Roberts was *Strike Commander*. That's the title that ate up all the time and money... Wing Commander III was a sure-thing from day one, no matter how they did it. It actually had a fairly short development cycle and didn't have a new 3D engine at all... it uses Strike's RealSpace system.

Armada was entirely separate, done by a different team (WC was popular enough to support multiple product teams for a time - hence Academy, Super Wing, Privateer, etc). It was a gutsy proposal by some of the young turks who came up in the ranks in the early 90s. It wasn't a Chris Roberts design at all - it was the brainchild of (I believe) Jeff Everett... an example of Origin's willingness to give development money to untried designers way back when (then, Cybermage happened).

It has a sad ending - the game they built was far ahead of its time... an online multiplayer space game for an era that hadn't figured out how online games were going to work yet. The strategy stuff wasn't intended to be the focus of the game... but they realized that a multiplayer-only WC game wasn't going to sell.
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
Say, wasn't Long the one who ran in that two-seater Hurricane trainer, while Nagamo died at his post? And, from what I recall, Action Stations was basically a story about a Confederation that was too complacent and set in its ways, its politicians guilty of being too Terran-centric and projecting their viewpoints on fundamentally alien species with different psychologies, with the military being as painfully conservative as the United States' own back before World War II. Besides, it was that idiot Lieutenant who kept the message about recalling everyone back to duty during Confederation Day, just prior to the attack, from reaching Long and the rest of the brass at McAuliffe; a failure of communications.

Their failure to cope with even the IDEA of fighters being able to take down capships was less a product of stupidity than an arrogant attitude regarding what they thought war SHOULD be about and an inability to comprehend that advancing technology might take their ideas about warfare and throw them into the gutter of history. Although, like Ulandi, I can respect Nagamo dying at his post; Long, on the other hand... well, not so much.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
He didn't *run* - he was trying to reach his station with the fleet at Alexandria (in comparison, Tolwyn, Turner and Richards *did* run... in exactly the manner you attributed to Admiral Long).
 

Haesslich

Spaceman
He didn't *run* - he was trying to reach his station with the fleet at Alexandria (in comparison, Tolwyn, Turner and Richards *did* run... in exactly the manner you attributed to Admiral Long).

I thought those three ran to the Concordia to get her on her way, while Long got into the trainer with a pilot and signaled Concordia to hold station per page 271 - Turner tells the carrier's XO that this was because he (Long) wanted to board, and deliberately 'ignores' the order, which may have resulted in Long's death. But we CAN hold Turner accountable for Long's death, since he did keep the carrier from waiting up for her.

Although upon closer reading, it DOES indicate that Long is the commander of 7th Fleet, which would mean his station would be on one of the battleships.
 
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