Starfleet Command 3

Well I just got the third game in one of my all time favorite series, Starfleet Command. I’m hoping to play some tonight and this weekend. Maybe it won’t have all the bugs on release that 2 had, since the engine seems to be simplified and the Dynaverse problems have been worked out a bit.

Anyone else getting this one? If so, let me know how the multiplayer is. I probably won’t bother to try it until I hear something about it.

That hex-based campaign is the pits… and therefore I don’t touch Dynaverse either. However, I used to play with Starlance League (Klingon House Mogh… RAAAR!) and just like EmpatWar and OP, this game is pretty fun in multi skirmish battles.

At first I didn’t like the changes from the old game - ala lack of diversity in races, no fighters, no missile drones, no… yeah, lots of stuff. However, it’s still fun. It does seem to be a lot “cleaner” than previous releases, but hey, this is the 4th time around and it damn well better be.

The older games presented you with concrete weapons tables and a variety of ship designs that had quite a bit of personality to them… but of course, in any given point range you’d pretty much see the same couple of hulls again and again because they were the “winningest” ones. But with the generification of hulls and the addition of customization perhaps we’ll see some interesting alternative designs out there now. The main thing I don’t like is that there weren’t weapons tables shipped with the game - so I can’t tell what ranges are optimum for my weapons and those of opponents, thus making strategizing a bit of trial and error.

Basically, it departs pretty far from any resemblance to the Starfleet Battles boardgame - but if that doesn’t bother you, then it’s a fine game on its own.

Multiplayer was assy up until today. Taldren released a new kit for the D3 servers. Activision A is up and running with ~70 on the map and still stable. Too bad it’s a small map and you get overrun before you can figure out what’s going on.

OK, so whats the verdict on this one? I was planning on picking it up today on my way to see D.A.D

does dad like games too?

Derek,

Did you play the first or second SFC? If so, note the changes I summarized above and you’ve got the grounds of deciding on it right there. Honestly, it’s the same game with 4 races, 4 shield arcs instead of 6, and all phasers+photons for everbody. No missiles, no plasma torps, no special shuttles or fighters.

Now, if you’re looking at the single-player side of things, there’s a tighter story this time around. It’s in the form of “Go to hex x,y immediately” and you get the next story-based mission when you get there. Map-based encounters along the way - and it’s not rampant with “space monster” missions either, thank god.

Actually, there are plasma torps. They have been simplified, like the other weapons (now light, medium or heavy) but they exist. I kind of like the weapons changes as everything is very intuitive and I don’t have to look up whether or not a phaser 2 is better than a phaser 1 (you know what I mean). OTOH, I liked the extra strategy with the fighters and shuttles. In some ways I think the second game was the high point of this series (after it was patched up anyway). It was deeper, but this one is certainly easier to jump into from the start.

I’m not sure why they decided to try to appeal to a broader audience. The game still seems a bit too hardcore for the Wal-Mart crowd, or anyone else who doesn’t already know what they are getting into. Why not then refine it to appeal MORE to those of us who like this kind of heavy simulation/tactical game? Perhaps they could release an optional patch that reintroduced the fighters and other drone types into the game, for those of us who liked them.

DAD = Die Another Day - the movie :D

I played them both. But I wouldn’t call that playing

Anyway, I picked it up. If it sux, oh well. I’ll just add it to my growing wall of software.

Add an RPG to this tactical engine and you’ve got an incredible game, imo. Heck, just add a scripted campaign and make it a little bit dynamic. Sadly the single-player and online Dynaverse remain souless and completely lacking in Trek personality.

Aszurom is right about the rules changes and he’s right that they really don’t change much that’s important. The depth remains. The interface is still tough and the learning curve, still high. I think we should still be able to transport mines though…

Look, I’d really only recommend SFC3 for people who loved SFC2 (after it got fixed) and really want to play SFC2 using the Next Gen universe.

I agree that more RPG elements would help. They did add a bit of story this time. In the Klingon campaign (the first/easy campaign) you start off alongside your brother, who gives you orders from the family and such. In that sense you are playing a role. Also the officers have different skills and gain xp in fights to improve them…that’s RPG like. But more would help.

BTW, I played a bit more last night and I am having fun with it. The simplifications aren’t overdone. You still have shuttles and power management, and transporters, marines, mines, etc. I don’t think you can transport mines, which is a shame, but you can still drop em. The game is VERY similar to SC 2 though, so if you didn’t like that one then you won’t like this one (as Bub mentioned) unless you prefer next gen or thought the other games were a tad too complicated. But as I said above, this game is STILL too complicated for casual gamers.

Why does “personality” have to equal “scripted campaign?” Frankly, I’m sick of scripted campaigns, and this industry seems to have all but abandoned dynamic ones, especially in strategy games. Games like SFC and Battlecry II may not be hitting the nail directly on the head (sorry BC2 fans), but at least they are trying. I don’t need a scripted, glued-to-the-rails story in every game that I play, and if I have to choose between more personality and a more dynamic campaign, I’ll usually take the latter.

I didn’t say that Ben.
I only suggested that a scripted campaign (that’s a little bit dynamic) would be preferable to this souless failure they’ve published three (four including Orion Pirates) times in a row.

But SFC3’s campaign isn’t trying. What they have could be accomplished with a Wheel-of-Encounter generator:
Sector 11,13 = spin! = Klingon harrassing convoy
Sector 14/12 = spin! = Space Monster!
Sector 15/18 = spin! = Rescue scientists from planet

SFC3’s “dynamic” campaign doesn’t let you do anything. There are no choices, nothing is personalized or reacts to your character. There is a story this time out, kind of, but the telling is lax. There are no meaningful choices or surprises. To use the second example above: You cannot scan the planet from afar, or launch a scan probe, both of those are options that give you 0 feedback if you try them. You can only zoom in and scan up close which triggers the attacking ship. Meet an enemy, you cannot talk to them… you can only fight! No creativity. Just blah busywork. What Taldren achieved with the single player Dynaverse could have been achieved with a random encounter generator and a button marked “Create Mission.”

I agree with you Ben, a solid dynamic campaign is preferable to a poor scripted one (I can’t speak to WBC2) but SFC3 doesn’t provide a dynamic campaign with any personality at all. A “scripted campaign” that’s “a little bit dynamic” would be more like Baldur’s Gate 2. A series of interesting encounters that can be played in whatever order the players choose or blunder into them through their own choice. That’s the goal. That’s what we’d both like to see more of, I think.

Caveat 1: FYI, I love SFC3’s tactical combat engine, I’d just like to see it put to use.

Caveat 2: The online dynaverse is plenty fun with a good group of people and a tremendous amount of playtime. Stick with it and you’ll see sectors change hands as empires do battle. Very cool. But, come on, how many people are really enjoying that? Can’t we have something more solid for single play? Especially now that we’re on iteration 4 of the game?

I am so disappointed in SFC3, that after three stabs at it, I was going to uninstall it. But I’m going to give it one more weekend.

And they were so close. At least one thing’s fer sure, after this farce, there isn’t going to be an SFC4.

To each his own… Not saying this for argument, as it’s our Mark-and-Tom-given right to bitch about games that don’t meet our expectations, but just in case someone’s reading this thread to decide to whether to buy the game: I haven’t had a lot of time to put into the release version yet, but so far I’m enjoying it. Is it groundbreaking, or even much of a change from previous games? Nope. Are there things I’d have done different? Yep.

But still, I’m having fun.

If you didn’t like the previous games in the series, the improvements here are subtle enough that you probably won’t like this one either. But as someone who liked Orion Pirates (the first of the SFC games to ship fully playable out of the box), I like SFC3 so far.

Denny, I’d be happy to face you in multiplayer.
Derek, keep it installed for at least that much.
Some of the best multiplayer matchups I’ve ever played were with a buddy in SFC2. And in case it wasn’t clear enough, my criticisms only apply to the campaign. Still, it is absolutely amazing how little ground Taldren has covered in four releases. SFC3 really is only incrementally better than SFC1 (the biggest changes being that it’s now Next Gen, takes away a lot of features, and it now, um, works). That’s where a lot of my annoyance with the product comes from actually.

Still, it is pretty cool playing a Borg Cube versus a 5 ship multi-race Wolf 359-style shootout in Multiplayer. Can’t beat that!

Will do.

I think my problem is that I went in expecting too much. And thats why, realizing this, I have decided to keep it installed and give it another go.

As Denny said, as long as one is having fun, its good. Then again, why would anyone want to be playing a game unless you were having fun? :roll:

Well, if you’re a Usenet poster, so you can one-up the other guys in finding things to bitch about? :-)

Bub, of the “missing features,” I don’t miss any of 'em. ECM was a pain, and it’s still there but is now abstracted in the sensor modeling. Beaming mines was a favorite tactic of all, but it wasn’t really very “Trekkish.”

As for multiplayer… With the 2-month-old baby and my current workload, for now PBEM is how I gotta get my MP fix…

I agree, I also miss the missiles, but again, that’s SFB not Trek.
In my review I wrote that even though things have been streamlined a bit and options have been removed, it’s remarkable that the tactical engine retains its depth. I mentioned the missing features above because I think SFC is remarkable in that it hasn’t really grown in four iterations. They made all these refinements, removals, and changes yet they still have a huge learning curve and it still won’t welcome a mainstream fan. In fact, I believe the main audience for SFC3 will be people who own SFC2… so why go backwards at all? These people probably want more, not fewer, options. The interface is still inelegant and what’s brilliant about the game: the tactical engine, is still the only brilliant thing about the game, imo.

Aside from the now (finally) working Dynaverse, the Next Gen graphics, and the now missing features… um… why not just play SFC1, 2, or Orion Pirates? This means the best reason to buy SFC3 (if you have a previous version) is to get the Next Gen graphics, races and setting (and the Dynaverse 3, which is only better than the Dynaverse 2 in that it’s up and running… today).

Oh, and instead of 8 races in Orion Pirates, you now only have 4 races in SFC3 and they’re modeled more shallowly than ever before (fewer ships, fewer special tactics). Arguably this is another step backward for the series… even if you don’t miss what’s missing, it’s still ununsual for a sequel to be more sparse, option-wise than the originals. Can you think of any other game series that’s grown less dense in four versions? Yet not grown at all where it probably needs to? In SFC1 we had a great tactical engine with a ho-hum campaign. In SFC3 we have a great tactical engine with a ho-hum campaign… only with Picard doing the voice acting instead of Takai.

Heh, or if you’ve reviewed it. ;-)

But still, I’m having fun.

All right, Denny, that’s it! Into the penalty box!

 -Tom

Well, if you’re a Usenet poster, so you can one-up the other guys in finding things to bitch about? :-)[/quote]

ahahahahah!! good point! :D