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This is the rise of the Rebellion...

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von (Captain Ardiff)

"Das ist der Aufstieg der Rebellion...", heisst es in einem neuen Artikel der Zeitschrift Computer Gaming World zum neuen Echtzeitstrategiespiel Empire at War. Es wird darauf hingewiesen das es sich beim Spiel auch nicht um einen Age of Empire Clone handeln wird, sondern um etwas neues im StarWars Universum. In diesem Artikel wird weiterhin auf verschiedene Einzelheiten des Spiels aufmerksam gemacht und ich denke er wird euch gefallen.

Something has been missing from the few Star Wars strategy games that have come out on the PC: the fun. OK, that´s a little harsh, but there´s no denying that these games have not let you feel like you´re a part of the movies, a part of some massive interstellar civil war. That´s about to change with Star Wars: Empire at War. Set in the period after the upcoming Episode III: Revenge of the Sith film and just before Episode IV: A New Hope, the game will feature the battle for control of the galaxy. Star destroyers will burn in orbit. AT-ATs will crush Rebel forces on the ground below. And it will all happen at the same time, in a persistent universe.

This is the rise of the Rebellion.

It´s a Big Galaxy Out There

The game, when done, will be huge. Your primary goal will be to conquer the 20-plus worlds in the galaxy. You start with a few planets under your control and work to expand your sphere of influence. It sounds simple enough—like stuff that´s been done in strategy games countless times before—but instead of a rudimentary, linear campaign in which you wage one battle at a time to progress the story, Empire at War´s campaign is much more dynamic, with everything you do impacting the next battle. That´s why we´re excited.

Most of what we saw in a demo of the pre-alpha code focused on how the combat sequence works. So, the best way to dive into this is to take a quick walk through the chain of events that make up the flow of combat. On a large galaxy map, you see all the planets that you´ll be fighting over. Besides the obvious additional income (which we´ll get to later), there are specific secondary incentives to own a planet. One planet might give the ability to build a special attachment to bases, while another could allow for cheaper, faster ship construction. You´ll need to determine which ones you want to absorb but be careful not to stretch those troops too thin. A fleet always needs to be ready to defend its turf.

Not An Age of Star Wars Empires

Here´s what Empire at War is not doing: excessive resource management. "Nobody wants to see a droid chopping down trees to build a base," laughs Tosti. "In most RTS games out right now, you spend 80 percent of your time gathering resources to build up some megaforce. You battle this megaforce, and the outcome is simply determined by sheer numbers and how quickly you gathered rocks and lumber."

Not here. Income is handled simply by owning planets. Bigger planets, ones with more natural resources, ones that are industrialized—each planet brings something unique to the table (as mentioned earlier) and a steady income. Besides the combat, this is what excites Tosti the most: "I´m more of a tactician. I want to make those hard decisions on the battlefield, not sweat about idle laborers."

As far as base building goes, a majority of that will revolve around additions (which will be hard points) to bases. Cantinas to draft new recruits, medical centers, construction facilities, ion cannons—each of these additions will be grafted directly onto ground and space bases. More additions mean the level of the actual base increases. In a space battle, for example, if enough parts of your beefy level 5 space station get torn asunder, your station is demoted to level 3. Translation: It´s less powerful and in dire need of repairs.

If It´s Broke, Fix It

Empire at War is also not going to have clueless pathfinding like we saw in Force Commander. "One big problem with [Force Commander]—and lots of RTS games for that matter—has been a proper lack of formations," says Tosti. If you grouped AT-ATs with AT-STs and ground troops, each would move at its own pace. Kind of defeats the whole point of grouping forces, doesn´t it? Now, troops grouped together stick together. You´re only as fast as your slowest unit, and they all watch each other´s proverbial backs. EA Games´ Battle for Middle-earth does this as well, but Tosti promises that this will be on a whole other level.

There´s still more that needs hashing out, like a neutral third party that will impede the rapid growth of both sides in the single-player campaign. It´s all still very tentative, but here´s a hypothetical situation we posed to the team: In order to take control of neutral worlds early on, you´ll need to sweep away any opposition forces, such as Imperial sympathizers, if you´re playing as the Rebels. Tosti assures us that something is being worked on, but even LucasArts and Petroglyph haven´t finalized how they want it done yet.

Obviously, you can´t just plug something this big into an existing game engine. You need to create one from scratch, and it´d better be good. That´s why LucasArts was anxious to work with Petroglyph (see sidebar, page 59). "Who," you ask? These are former Westwood Studios employees, the guys who created the Command & Conquer series. The engine they assembled for C&C: Generals is still being used by Electronic Arts (most recently for Battle for Middle-earth). As you can see from the screenshots, even this early on, it looks awesome.

Empire at War already has the markings of a game that rethinks how the RTS game is played. But a lot needs to be done in the 10 months before it´s ready for store shelves. Should LucasArts and Petroglyph be proud of this technological terror that they´re creating? Yes, now please cue that Darth Vader "Imperial March" music.



Sobald es die Zeit zulässt werden wir diesen Artikel für euch übersetzen. Leider konnte das aus zeitlichen Gründen noch nicht durchgeführt werden.

 

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