Doctoring The Tardis: All Aspect Warfare

By Kieron Gillen on January 27th, 2009 at 6:34 pm.

A tank on a flat green plane. Hurrah for tanks on a green plane.
I noticed 3000AD had released seventeen (count ‘em!) minutes of footage from the flying section of their now-Beta forthcoming sci-fi multi-terrain elite-force-on-hostile-world-’em-up All Aspect Warfare electrovideogame. They’ve planning to release two more videos, one showing vehicular shenanigans and the other showing tactical fistifights. So well done them. I link to it, primarily as I’m aware that 3000AD are about as PC gaming as PC gaming gets and we’ve never said anything at all about them – and I wonder what everyone’s take on the critically divisive company actually is. Do feel free to speak. I was also considering doing one of my second-by-second running commentary of it, but… seventeen minutes, man! I have angry twitters to write in block caps.

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114 Comments »

  1. meeper says:

    I grew tired of Derek Smart in the 90s. I didn’t realize he was still pimping his crap.

  2. undead dolphin hacker says:

    Derek Smart Derek SMART DEREK SMART

    Derek Smart is fueled by the souls of the damned!

    Now you’re going to get sued LOL

  3. teo says:

    This is sooooo PC

  4. Lim-Dul says:

    Wow – so many years have passed and the game looks as crappy as ever. ^^
    If you include ground combat in your massive sim then you sure as hell should at least make it look good…
    Also, the music in the videos got IMMENSELY annoying after a while. If they tried to put me off this game then I have to congratulate Derek Smart and his team. ^^

  5. Tei says:

    I have buy a beta of this games like 4 years ago (???). Or something (??). It was a horrible bad and broken game (sad history). Is strange that this guy or team is still tryiing to make a game around this engine and idea (?!?!).

  6. Lim-Dul says:

    By the way – I just looked on their site and this is the description that comes with the videos:

    ““Hornet’s Nest” features an intense air combat engagement which starts off with an aircraft selection. Due to its size, it has been released in two parts. Part 1 (running time 04:58) shows the mission planning, asset selection and ingress to the strike area. Part 2 (running time 12:15) shows the combat that ensues at the strike zone once all hell breaks loose.”

    Intense air combat? As all hell breaks loose? This video was so boring that my “Let’s Play POWDER” (blatant plug ;-) series look like a summer action movie blockbuster by comparison. ;-)
    Also, the flight mechanics (however “advanced” the aircraft might have been) seemed as if they reflected more of a space flight model (which is where 3000AD started anyway)… I won’t even mention the interface… They just can’t get it right and always stumble on their own ambitions, don’t they?

  7. Markoff Chaney says:

    Wow! Sometimes, you think something flames out so hard it won’t be back, ever. And then it keeps chugging along. And you totally know nothing about the last 12 years of its development since you kinda figured it was done. How could anything survive that? And, lo and behold, it is still there. And you are a dozen years older. Wow…

    Maybe there’s hope for my lifetime Hellgate: London subscription after all!

  8. D says:

    Heat seeking missiles locking onto SAM battery? HOW?!

    I played the Battlecruiser 3000 one (I think) until I ran out of fuel and was stranded forever.

  9. M_the_C says:

    I’ve always loved the idea behind this series (because it is still the same series…), but it never quite manages to carry it off. The visuals have been updated, but the interface looks exactly the same, and the complex control system was the problem in the first place.
    I hope they at least do a proper tutorial this time.

  10. Mike says:

    I heard their website’s pretty good.

  11. Redd says:

    Ha-ha.

  12. ouchee says:

    man that looks terrible in every way. i’d rather play be playing armour-geddon or a new zero.

  13. Cooper42 says:

    I’ve got no problems with games asking for patience with an immensely intollerant learning curve, it’s what PC gaming is all about. But, whereas games which require such immense patience such as Dwarf Fortress usually come with immense payoffs in terms of the world of detail and depth, Derek Smart’s games are just fundamentaly cumbersome.

    Cumbersome, ugly, inarticulate, broken, impatient, shallow and liable to tantrums. And that’s just the games.

    (ooohhhh… see what I did there…. Me-ow!)

  14. Chris says:

    Well, at least it looks like they know how to copy examples out of the GPU Gems book series.

  15. Steven says:

    Oh. My. God. I’m by no means a hardcore flight sim player, but this goes way beyond the simplified physics of arcade flight sims. It is hard to comprehend how one can butcher this so badly. My IQ probably dropped just from watching the retarded flight physics.

    Oh, and the blatant disregard for the bullets and missiles on the part of the pilot. You’d think the plane would be shredded after the first minute, but it goes on and on (and on)…

  16. Shawn says:

    I bought BC when it first came out and could never play past 4 or 5 jumps between systems, years later updates come out and the game is still broken. The main thing wrong with the picture above is its a ground combat game and there is NO terrain, not a single tree or even a bump in the ground all the way to the horizon. That attention to detail pretty much explains how far behind the time Derek Smart and his gang are. They cannot compete with the current gaming industry. Here’s some excellent advice, lease the Lock On: Modern Air Combat engine (used to be Russian flight simulator), create some new models, slap on some artwork and boom – new BattleCruiser that will sell, work and be worth some money.

  17. j39 says:

    I guess I’m going to be a bit of a black sheep (or some proper equivalent) and say that um the concept of OMG LARGE SPACE FREEDOM WITH TINY DETAILS was/is always immensely amusing/entertaining and/or attractive.

    Oh you talking about the new game from 3000AD? I need to watch the trailer(s).

    Info on website seem to say that they’re now trying to do things which more peeps are going to enjoy, instead of staying the course. THey did drop that Battlecruiser series didn’t they? Just kept the setting.

    PS Website is pretty. Do they get points?

  18. Alaric says:

    The FPS part looks like the original Unreal Tournament with the following notable differences:

    1) the ground is generally flat and without a single object
    2) the character’s hands are … weird
    3) the weapons look like they got fewer polygons in them

    The flight part, I can’t really comment on since I don’t play flight sims and can’t compare. It looks 1997 to me, but maybe I am just a stupid hater.

  19. Colthor says:

    I tried to play Battlecruiser once, because I really like space games (and it was free), but didn’t manage to get anywhere with it that I recall. Maybe I should try it again – at least it wouldn’t be downloaded over a modem this time and, alas, there’s not much else that lets you fly a space-ship these days – but… Well…

  20. Tei says:

    Is funny that turrets rotate.. but the whole turret rotate. Like this engine don’t support model animations.

  21. Nick says:

    I LIKE THE WEBSITE I WONDER WHO MADE IT.

    ¬_¬

  22. Springy says:

    At least their website is AAA quality.

  23. Mike says:

    Glad to see I’m not the only one of this opinion!

  24. Leeks! says:

    It is my sincerest hope that one day, Derek Smart will make a playable game, as the ideas behind all of his previous releases give me what can only be described as a colossal, uncontrollable nerd boner.

    Also: Did anyone look at the system reqs for this? They’re pretty gosh darn steep for a game with decade old graphics. Not that it’s surprising, but still.

  25. Dinger says:

    careful, he’ll be woken from his millennial slumber.

  26. Dizet Sma says:

    I wondered who was making a mod for Falcon with a crappier cockpit, until I realised that this was supposed to be a 2009 game, not one from 1989…

  27. Lim-Dul says:

    careful, he’ll be woken from his millennial slumber.

    TRIPLE millennial slumber. Ho, ho – what an ingenious pun. ;-)

  28. Still annoyed says:

    I think RPS should do an interview with Derek Smart. They’ve interviewed that Vince D. Weller dude twice, so why not?

  29. Alaric says:

    I concur. Go out and interview him.

  30. pirate0r says:

    *sigh* Derek Smart, a guy who over promises – ‘look everyone, my game will cure cancer and bring about world peace’
    and under delivers – ‘your game won’t install? You must be doing it wrong, FORUM BAN!!’

  31. Dizet Sma says:

    From the website blurb:

    “on this near-barren planet which rotates around the Sun every 240 minutes (compared to Earth’s 1440).”

    That’s not right, surely?

  32. Mil says:

    Not unless the year has been drastically shortened.

  33. Jonas says:

    Okay guys, are we all done beating up Derek Smart with words now? Can we get back to talking about the actual game? Perhaps even in a politely critical tone? Is that too much to ask?

  34. gulag says:

    Jesus wept, that was painful to watch.

  35. Gap Gen says:

    Did Derek Smart purposely make a game that looked that ugly so he could browbeat people who complained how ugly it looks?

    Also, I have no idea what is going on in that video.

  36. Andrew says:

    It gives good website.

  37. Axess Denyd says:

    I read all the previews and was very excited about Battlecruiser when it first came out. I ran out and bought it the day of release… I think we all know how that went.

    When he finally fixed it and there was a game that was theoretically functional, but was still terrible, I pretty much gave up.

    I think a new Independence War (which I seem to remember him hating) would be pretty awesome though.

  38. Peace of Eight says:

    “Team”?! Derek, are you still carrying that dead mouse in your pocket?

  39. NuZZ says:

    Reminds me of Grandmas Boy… That matrix game… Ahaha.

  40. j39hsieh says:

    hmm another game of the flyi n space variety is from StarWraith, I think its a one man band with a penchant for moody orchestra, but quality moody stuff. Even rleased some of his oldr things for free!

    One major pro: SP CUSTOMIZATIO! rotate/resize/choose ship components to ur fancy!!!

    oh the lnk:

  41. Erlam says:

    Does this game have physics, or.. actual textures? That’s one of the most barren looking games I’ve ever seen.

  42. chiablo says:

    The x000AD games are brilliant simulators. Except they forgot the most important part… the fun. I’m sure there are people out there who get enjoyment out of these games. They are probably hard core accountants, or EVE online players.

  43. Herpers says:

    Team fortress two update coming tomorrow! http://www.teamfortress.com/ make a post ASAP

  44. Anti-Hater says:

    “No, sorry, I can’t. We can’t. Derek’s antics ruled that course of action out about a decade ago.”

    Have you ever noticed that people online only ever use the word ‘sorry’ when they really aren’t? Quit making a mockery of the language, people! *shakes fist*

    In contrast to the rampant immaturity on display in the comments here, I’d just like to say that I find it a shame that the Battlecruiser series never reached it’s potential. In terms of the potential alone, it’s the kind of game that the industry as a whole seems to have abandoned, and this is a bad thing for all of us. Without that kind of ambition we would never have had Elite or GTA or any of the great titles we currently hold in such high regard.

    While Derek Smarts games were often buggy, difficult to get into, and lacking in refinement I still managed to have fun with some of the earlier games in the series. Derek was even kind enough to send me a free copy of BC Millenium during a period of Illness I was suffering at the time (all I did was send him an email telling him how much I’d enjoyed the demo). Sadly, I lost interest in the series as I do with most things.

    Still, I’m curious to see how these new games play, now that development focus has narrowed.

  45. Stew says:

    I care not for the game, but the subject line has left me with Doctorin’ The Tardis running through my head. For the past hour. It doesn’t take much these days, but still. Well done Kieron, you magnificent bastard.

    Part of me is also wondering if The Manual (written, after all, about the production, release, and fallout from Doctorin’) is at all relevant to 3000AD’s development plans. I wouldn’t be too surprised.

  46. Gap Gen says:

    “Have you ever noticed that people online only ever use the word ’sorry’ when they really aren’t? Quit making a mockery of the language, people! “

    British people say sorry all the time.

  47. Heliocentric says:

    We are quite generally a sorry people, take that as you will.

    This game could be genius, so i’ll hold off til we get some kind of code. But it looks like a car crash in a vector factory.

  48. Will says:

    I remember reading the ‘what this game will be like to play’ text for the original BC when I was at college (I think) and it sounded fabulous. Not so sure about the end result.

    I also feel compelled to dislike Derek Smart because he said bad things about our game (I-War 2) but I can’t find them on the internet so maybe it was all a dream?

  49. Danny says:

    Well. I don’t really care for high res textures and all that, but I do friggin’ care about atmosphere. And this game lacks it. A lot.