Exclusive Hands On With Carrier Command

By Jim Rossignol on June 14th, 2011 at 1:24 pm.


There are some remakes which are baffling, and others which are ultimately pointless – when they they share little more than a name with the original game, for example – but there are others still which were crying out to happen, and make perfect sense when they arrive. Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is one of these. The original was an extraordinary piece of game design, straddling strategy and vehicular combat in the crude 3D of its day, and managing to create an open-ended sandbox experience early on in the history of gaming. It now looks all the more impressive for having been released in 1988. While it has had a couple of notable imitators such as the Battlezones and Hostile Waters, it’s perhaps surprising that no one has tried to remake the original until now. What is most extraordinary (and unsettling) about this remake is just how faithful a game made over twenty years later has managed to be.

It strikes me that there referencing Carrier Command, Battlezone, or Hostile Waters will probably not do much for many people who read this site. I suspect that the vast majority of gamers will simply never have played this kind of vehicular strategy-action hybrid. That’s because they are so very rare, and – in most cases – so very precious. Carrier Command is looking like it could be a formidable addition to that limited pantheon.

It works like this: an archipelago of islands, on which there are a number of hi-tech bases, are being contested by two factions. You – the commander of a futuristic military aircraft and tank ship (the titular carrier) – represent one faction, while another carrier, powered by enemy AI, represents the other. The ultimate aim is destruction of the opposing carrier and domination of the archipelago.


Your carrier can be moved between the various islands using a map. It is well armed and has a number of heavy weapons, including big guns for battering stuff on shore, as well as the enemy carrier, and anti-aircraft equipment. These weapons can only do so much, however, because the real challenge is waiting on the interior of the islands. To get at these challenges you must deploy vehicles. These come in two types: the VTOL mantas and the amphibious terrestrial vehicles, the Walruses. Your carrier packs four of each of these. They can be sent off to destinations that you specify using the map screen, and are handled by AI when you are not controlling them yourself. This means they’ll return fire on enemies, but won’t do much other than follow your orders. If you want to send them back to base you can do that and they’ll redock with the carrier, where they can be repair, rearmed, and refitted.

The aim of the game is to capture islands, build up automated defences, reap resources, and continue your war to capture other islands. It looks like the key mechanic is “hacking” the facilities on the islands, which means fighting your way in and getting one of your vehicles close enough to the requisite building to perform the hack. I suspect it’s going to get a lot more complex than that, too, because what I have played is only those most introductory taste of the game’s features. The full sandbox strategy game will allow you to define all kinds of parameters, and should make for a broad challenge as you strive to capture all 32 islands.


You’re not thrown into all this at the deep-end, of course, because the full game will have an action game – which I had a bit of a play with here – and also a campaign game. The action game is a bunch of “excerpted” missions from the full game, so you can get a taste of how things play, and blow some stuff up. The campaign game is more involved still, and tells a story via a bunch of cutscenes and in-game events. This is the heart of the single-player.

How the game plays, for the most part, is as a vehicular combat game. You take control of either a Manta (the flying things) or a Walrus (wheeled armoured vehicle) and you fight enemy vehicles and robots across the islands. Depending on which vehicle you take control of, your weapons will be quite different. There’s an anti-aircraft gun, a laser, and a cannon that fire explosive projectiles. Each of these is, of course, most useful for specific tasks, but you can still knock an enemy manta out of the sky with a well-placed projectile if you concentrate hard enough. You can command things from the map, of course, but it’s your direct intervention and control of the vehicles that will decide the course of most encounters with the enemy. I’ve certainly found the combat to be solid and challenging, and I have enjoyed using the terrain to execute imaginative attacks on enemy positions.


I should say that what I had been expecting from BIS was something closer to a futuristic soldier sim (which, as it turns out, is what Arma 3 will be). Carrier Command is instead much closer to the game it is a remake of that anything BIS (or the actual studio that are working on this, Black Element) have created previously.

What I haven’t been able to see in this preview version of the game is quite how that island management thing unfolds. I don’t know how the game is going to handle allocation of resources, and AI-defence of the islands, which means it’s still anyone’s guess as to how well this game will play as a broader strategy. As an action game which allows you to flip between units seamlessly, it’s pretty impressive. The technology is superb (although the distance fogging is a bit much) and the interface for controlling your gang of vehicles is just right. The map makes perfect sense as a core control screen, and while your Walruses might have trouble navigating more complex routes, it’s easy to set up a series of waypoints for and let them follow them while you zoom about in a manta dealing with other threats. I hope that it’s going to make for a fluid experience. It certainly seems promising right now.


That said, there’s a certain weirdness to play this game. The idea that we have come so far and yet not really moved on since 1988. The game is going to be fantastic fun to play, granted, but there’s a definite feeling that we are treading water here. Hmm. Of course I can’t wait to see how the full game plays. The tactical combat game seems to work, so if the strategic depth is there in the full game then this could really be something spectacular.

No firm release date yet, but it’s looking like the start of 2012. Nor has multiplayer been confirmed, which is a shame because co-op would be the perfect compliment to this way of playing.

Carrier Command: looking good.

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86 Comments »

  1. Diziet Sma says:

    This has to be some of the best video gaming news of the last ten years. Not only is there going to be another Carrier Command but there is going to be one that is faithful to its heritage.

    • AndrewC says:

      ‘faithful to its heritage’ is such a double-edged sword, as far as definitions of quality are concerned.

    • Urael says:

      Good lord, can someone have finally approached the update of an illustrious classic in the right way? Without “re-imagining” it for a modern audience a la the X-com’s of this world? Oh please let this be true for Carrier Command, one of my all-time favourite games.

      Jim, reading paragraphs 3-5 up there felt very much like you were reviewing the original!

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Never played the origional but it must be said, that BIS(Black element) are probably one of the more capable studios of pulling this off.

    • MiniMatt says:

      Good point – it occurred to me the other day that Elite, yes, Elite *is* quite a crap game. It *was* a truly fantastic game that sparked a generation and gave a freedom that is still rarely matched today. But as for what it *is* now – if it were to be remade faithfully without any “re-imagining” besides updating the graphics then it would be horrific.

    • MartynEm says:

      I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I’d rather have a good re-imagining than a HD re-skin. I’m looking forward to X-Com, and slightly waivering in my enthusiasm for CC after this preview.

    • Gorgol says:

      MiniMatt,

      huh, Elite would be not so good maybe, but that’s an unfair comparison. Frontier Elite: II, the latest version of that franchise, would be a fair comparison, and that game would be absolutely wonderful if it were remade in HD with the mechanics left untouched.

    • jonfitt says:

      I think there is a case for the re-imagining and HD remake.

      There’s a certain point in 3D games before which they are really unplayable with a modern eye. The HD remake allows the essence of the game to persist when the shell fails. That essence may be dated, but that’s ok.

      The re-imagining is a risky business. If you approach it from a cynical perspective you are trying to cash in on the good feelings about one thing to sell something different.
      Even if you aim to honestly re-imagine what a game meant to you, you may well miss the point for other fans.

    • Urael says:

      “huh, Elite would be not so good maybe, but that’s an unfair comparison. Frontier Elite: II, the latest version of that franchise, would be a fair comparison, and that game would be absolutely wonderful if it were remade in HD with the mechanics left untouched.”

      —-> http://pioneerspacesim.net/

      Close enough? :)

    • Gorgol says:

      Urael, not quite what I had in mind. More along the lines of http://infinity-universe.com which is unfortunately now on hold.

  2. slight says:

    I absolutely loved the idea of Carrier Command but I swear I was missing half the manual or just terminally stupid. Travel between islands took forever and I could never find any sort of rate control for time, so I’d send the carrier off to an island, bugger off for a while while it made its way, then manage to get all my planes and amphibious vehicles blown up and start again.. :(

    • Deccan says:

      My version had a big button that said “Time Warp” on the carrier map screen which cranked up the speed by a factor of 10 or so.

      However, I heard that not all versions had this. Yours may have been one of them.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      There totally was a control for time.

      KG

    • Urael says:

      “Time Warp”. On the map screen.

    • Werthead says:

      The PC version had a time skip control. The Amiga didn’t, but there was a cheat you could enable to use one. The Atari ST didn’t have either as far as I’m aware. I don’t know about the other versions.

    • Tei says:

      On the C64 the default way to learn how to play a game was to press every possible key or key combination. Playing that way, the only difference on a Pascal compiler and the adventure game Perseus & Andromeda was the different error messages.

  3. pblackburn says:

    This looks superb. Gimme!

  4. DarkWeeble says:

    I missed the first iteration of this, but you mentioned BattleZone so this is instantly on my radar. BZ was a damn fine game.

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      Same. NSDF for life.

    • Hanban says:

      Agreed. I remember the joy of putting a sniper bullet into the cockpit of enemy tanks and stealing them. Oh god I miss those games so incredibly much. I miss the thunderbolt so much :(

    • Jubaal says:

      I loved Carrier Command and Hostile waters but don’t think I ever played BattleZone. Do you know where I could pick up a copy these days? I couldn’t find it on Steam or GoG. :(

    • Urael says:

      @Jubaal – You can download the game here: http://www.battlezone1.net/patch/
      (roughly 120 meg for the download, it’s not just the patch)

    • Sajmn says:

      <3 BZ must have finished it dozens of times

      The whole involved feeling of being on the front while managing your strike force was just awesome. And the gliding motion with which you moved over the terrain, the somewhat romanticized cold war setting, lovely stuff.

      Too bad it doesn't get along well with the newer PC as it's framerate quickly starts dropping when I play it :( I can reset the framerate back by going to the menu and back but it's still annoying. Doesn't stop me from playing it again from time to time though. It holds up rather well imo, even with it's severely dated graphics.

      It truly saddens me there aren't more action/strategy games out there, so these news are all the more exciting. Can't wait.

    • Jubaal says:

      Thanks Urael. Seems it isn’t hosted any more there :(

      Is this legit by the way?

    • Urael says:

      Legit? Honestly, I’m not sure. I downloaded it just before I posted the link, though (saw the new 1.5b version) – works a treat. Ah, happy memories. :)

      @Sajmn: Try this version here – no framerate drops for me so far.

    • Chris Evans says:

      Oh yes, anything that resembles BattleZone is going to get my attention, it is a truly great game, can’t beat it. The voice overs preceding each mission for the NSDF were brilliant and are still in my mind today.

  5. Sergey Galyonkin says:

    God, I loved original one!

  6. yhalothar says:

    Looking forward to this! I played Carrier Command and Hostile Waters back in their respective days, and I loved them. Now I’m replaying Battlezone (with the new patch!) and it’s still a great game, but a new title would certainly be nice after what, 10 years of nothing since HW came out in 2001…

  7. julianbenson says:

    I’ve been waiting for something to scratch that Hostile Waters itch for too long. Though only two units? How much variety is there for their loadouts?

    • Vexing Vision says:

      Going by the original, the Manta (flying things) could be equipped with one main weapon (laser, rocket or cannon) and two side weapons (rockets are all I remember, but they came in different sizes and loads).

      The Walrus had one main weapon (rocket, laser, cannon, mortar) and a secondary bomb-weapon of various functionality.

      Mind you, this is me 22 years later trying to remember specifics of a game I played without having a real clue what I was supposed to do. I was rather young, and had litterally zero command over the English language, so the manual was utterly useless. The archipelago map was pretty though.

  8. DarkFenix says:

    I never played the original Carrier Command, so nostalgia isn’t going to make me like this on its own. Looking at the game on its own (supposed) merits, I’m dubious as to whether it’s going to do anything for anyone lacking rose-tinted nostalgia glasses.

    It appears to be an RTS where you only get 8 units, fixed within two types. The unit control gimmick isn’t new and hasn’t impressed me in the past, I can’t see why it’s such a plus here.

    Perhaps I’m missing something here, but since I never knew or loved the original I can only see this latest game as a nigh-featureless RTS.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “Perhaps I’m missing something here”

      Yes, you’re missing that it’s primarily a vehicular combat game. Storming about in the vehicles blowing stuff up is the main draw.

    • Urael says:

      Think of it as a game of chess, DarkFenix. Simplistic compared to the modern RTS with all it’s varied units and tactics, yes, but still capable of strategic depth enough to keep you absorbed for hours.

      [EDIT] Oh, and blowing stuff up with vehicles. :) I still get a thrill remembering all those times my carrier met the enemy carrier around an island…FIGHT!

    • DarkFenix says:

      Well I guess there’s something to be said for driving around blowing shit up, but the game seems short on anything to distinguish itself from loads of other drive-round-and-blow-shit-up games.

    • AndrewC says:

      Have there even been any drive around and blow shit up games released recently?

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      There’s also the fact that the vehicles have customisable weapon/equipment loadouts, which throws a bit of a spanner into the traditional RTS concept of “unit types”.

    • wu wei says:

      Is there anything more fun online than arguing with someone’s confirmation bias?

    • Johnny99.1 says:

      “the game seems short on anything to distinguish itself from loads of other drive-round-and-blow-shit-up games.”

      How about the strategic overlay? You are equipping your fighter with missiles, but are running low on missiles because the enemy carrier has cut you off from your stockpile island. You have to choose between cutting him off from his, or trying to reconnect to your own logistics chain. How many games where you are flying a plane do you hesitate before firing a missile because at the back of your minds eye you are worried about your supply chain?

      It’s this combo of the strategic and the tactical that has me so excited.

    • sebmojo says:

      IIRC, there’s a web of islands and you’re only in supply when you’re near an island that can trace a path back to your base. The other carrier is your target, but it’s too dangerous to assault directly until you can take it out of supply and corner it. Your carrier is a strength and a weakness, in that it’s very potent but also vulnerable (<3 the main gun). Scouting is crucial. Plus the enemy carrier is doing the same things to you (so AI will be important).

      So yes, it's a very slow paced strategic RTS, in the proper sense.

  9. Vexing Vision says:

    Yes, this does look very very good, and it will be an almost-certain purchase for me.

    Good job, Bohemia!

  10. Rii says:

    It all sounds good, but I’m yet to be convinced that BiS can make an actual game as opposed to a simulator.

  11. Colthor says:

    Squee!

    Have we really came so far, though? If Carrier Command 2012 can be so similar to Carrier Command 1988, and yet still seem so unusual, ambitious and exciting compared to so many newer games, I’m not really sure that we have.

    The pictures are so much prettier, but in so many other ways it feels like games have failed to reach their promise.

  12. MrMud says:

    I think I got Battlezone with my Voodoo2. Great game

  13. Yargh says:

    “It strikes me that there referencing Carrier Command, Battlezone, or Hostile Waters will probably not do much for many people who read this site”

    Dear Sir,

    you insult my integrity as an (aging) dedicated PC Gamer.

    Yours Grumpily.

    Damn, now I’m going to have to reinstall Hostile Waters.
    I’m really quite excited by this game, hopes are running high.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Which is my point – the majority of people on here will not have played those games. Especially not HW.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      I played the demo for Hostile Waters once.
      Ah, the days when I bought PC Gamer for the disks. Of course the internet had narrower pipes back then, you had to dial you ISP and if anyone wanted to use the phone at the same time they were out of luck. We also had never heard the terms DRM or DLC, we went to the store and bought expansion packs on disks, which we kept in the drive to prove we had paid for the game, they were CDs as well, not these DVDs you have nowadays. Day 1 patches were unheard of as well, if there was something wrong with a game, which was much rarer, we had to wait until they got the patch put on a cover disk as it put the phone bill up too high if we tried to download it.

    • Deccan says:

      I am a little sad that I never got to play Hostile Waters. It looked like Carrier Command with a couple of extra dimensions that intrigued me.

      Plus, didn’t Warren Ellis write a bunch of it? And weren’t the voices done by Tom Baker and half the cast of Blakes 7? Worth it just to hear Paul Darrow saying…well, anything.

    • Inigo says:

      I think Warren Ellis wrote it under the condition that he would be permitted to snort a line of cocaine whenever he mentioned nanotechnology.

    • Quinnbeast says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF9sZUv23yM

      Now we just need a good Midwinter game and my Amiga-era wet dream will be complete.

    • Werthead says:

      I replay HOSTILE WATERS every couple of years or so. Excllent game. Weirdly, it was on Good Old Games with a Vista-friendly version two years ago but seems to have vanished in the meantime. I wonder what happened there?

      http://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2009/10/wertzone-classics-hostile-waters.html

      The mission where you have to secure your allies’ base and then advance along the causeway to the enemy stronghold remains one of the most impressive RTS missions I’ve ever played. The sheer amount of carnage in the battle, the lack of resources meaning that your nanotech-recycler had to be deployed into the middle of the battle to suck up all the debris as it rains down around it, your allies’ rather irritating habit of sending in lone tanks piecemeal rather than attacking with overwhelming force. Fantastic. Also, the only RTS I know of to feature both stealth (a cloaking device you can fit to your vehicles) and sniper (a long-range laser that can hit things from miles away) elements and pull both off superbly.

      Maybe RPS could arrange a ‘Rock Paper Shotgun Compilation’ of all the awesome-but-underrated games in PC history? You could have HOSTILE WATERS, FREESPACE 2, ANACHRONOX, SHOGO: MOBILE ARMORED DIVISION and GROUND CONTROL on there to start with :-)

    • Staggy says:

      Hostile Waters was a superb game just for Tom Baker’s narrations.
      Reinstall time methinks.

      EDIT: I’m 22, and apparently old enough to be in the grumpy aging gamer demographic.

    • airtekh says:

      Chiming in with support for Hostile Waters – definitely one of my favourite games ever. I missed Carrier Command but I’m damn sure excited for this remake if it’s anything like HW.

      Hostile Waters was awesome and I’m still slightly miffed that the hivemind elected to omit it from their Almighty List a while back.

    • abremms says:

      I never played hostile waters, it came out when I was off at college doing things that weren’t PC games. I did play me some battlezone on the old atari though, that was a real good time.

      also, I distinctly remember walking twelve miles through ten feet of snow, uphill both ways, to get a shareware disk of the original Descent back in my early teens.

    • Jubaal says:

      Hostile Waters is still one of my favourite games of all time. I loved the fact that you could choose the “personality” for each specially modded vehicle and the chatter between them always made me smile. I always used to use the same personalities in the same vehicles too. I had Patton (“I drive tanks son”) in tanks, the Nicolas Cage/Kiss lookalike in a hornet, the softly English spoken lady in the Pegasus etc. It was a well crafted story too. Hell the game aside I could listen to Tom Baker, Paul Darrow and Glynis Barber for hours!

      Hmm think I’m gonna have to re-install!

    • SquidgyB says:

      I’m another one to add to the list then – I’ve still got vague recollections of finishing off the enemy carrier on my Spectrum +2. As well as Battlezone and Hostile Waters… Deus Ex… Thiefs… HL… The good old games, y’know? Back when I used to play games to completion (Portal/2 and running a dwarven fortress to ruin notwithstanding).
      Ah well, genuinely exited to see what’ll come of this though.

  14. westyfield says:

    Sounds a bit like a futuristic Battlestations Pacific. Good stuff.

  15. wcaypahwat says:

    I spent years looking for a copy of Hostile Waters, since I played the demo way back when. GoG rescued me there, those wonderful bastards. But unfortunately for everyone else it seems to have disappeared from their store :(

  16. sinelnic says:

    I’m one of those who did play Carrier Command at the time, heck, I sunk countless teenage hours into it.

    To me, what set this game aparte was that it was *coherent* and *consistent* within the world it created. If you deployed the shield drones, they would shield you only if the enemy projectile impacted them, and you had the option to arrange them in specific geometric patterns according to where you expected the attack to come from.
    If you sent your mantas on a long-range recon mission, you would loose the remote control signal unless you equipped one of them with a signal amplifier equipment.
    If you wanted to dock your walrus, you had to drive it to within the cone of the automatic docking system.
    The mantas missiles would lock, only if you positioned the “pipper” on the enemy manta and within appropriate range.
    There was no sun, no clouds, because they would have no function in game. Everything was destroyable (trees) or collidable (mountains, volcano eruptions).

    It was absolutely unforgiving but fair, if you ran out of fuel or supplies you were just stranded, game over without actually being over, because you could still stay there waiting for the enemy carrier to appear, and actually defeat him.

    So with very limited resources they created a totally consistent world, where nothing happened out of “magic” or “dice throwing” but out of the elements that they had built into the game. Thus everything seemed very very real, from the sense of long distances to the excitement and caution when you saw the yellow line in the horizon than indicated the presence of an unknown island, to the sense of protection while docked in a friendly island, the anticipation and preparations for the final combat… It was a game that did not try to trick you into believing it was not a game, but a game which teleported you into its own world, one where you did not miss the smell of the sea salt, but where you feared a black, four pixel dot in the haze-less horizon.

    • Ravenger says:

      i found an interesting exploit in Carrier Command on the Amiga.

      All you had to do was make your starting island your supply island, then move your carrier just out of range so the enemy carrier thought you had left.

      The enemy carrier would then attack that island, and you could just go in and surprise attack it. It was difficult to kill – suidice bombings with Mantas helped – but you could win the game very quickly.

      The enemy carrier also cheated in other ways. Its top speed was greater than your mantas! I remember damaging the enemy carrier only to have it shoot off at light speed with my Manta trying hopelessly to follow it.

  17. Bhazor says:

    Thank god they’re keeping the silliness. I was afraid it was going to be super serious like their other games. This looks like the (slightly) prettier Hostile Waters I have been waiting on for years.

  18. Jackablade says:

    I could never get my 7 year old head around Carrier Command on my Amiga 500, but I did get a great deal of enjoyment out of Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising with it’s surprisingly good writing (which I’m reading now was the work of Warren Ellis) and the calming tones of Tom Baker narrating. Based on what I’ve read here, the two games sound effectively identical gameplay-wise Is that a fair assessment

  19. Werthead says:

    Gratuitous original title music YouTube link!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUYKauCcutw

    The new version’s awesomeness will be complete if it comes with a tape of the theme music.

  20. The Tupper says:

    I loved the original on the Amiga. I still remember the profound joy I felt upon encountering the enemy carrier only to become blind panic when it sped away like a hotrod – velocity exactly equal to that of my airborne Manta. A bit of slightly unfair sleight of hand on the part of the programmers, it certainly explained why I’d never been able to attack it before.
    Through sheer luck I was approaching at an angle that allowed me to swing behind and destroy it with a few of the barrel-shaped bombs slung beneath the fuselage. Brilliant.

    Edit: apologies to Ravenger for duplicating some of your points.

  21. bill says:

    Not related to anything (except battleships!) , but I thought jim might like it:

    http://www.michaeljohngrist.com/2011/06/tokyos-urban-battleship/
    looks like something from a game..

  22. Derpentine says:

    Damn, and here I was thinking games that focused on gameplay had died. Hopefully they can release a nice, limited demo to give us a taste of that ever so good drug and let us make a nice informed choice – I’m certainly looking to purchase if it feels good. BIS #1, a bastion of hope!

  23. bill says:

    It’s weird. I could never get into Battlezone (the remake), but I loved Hostile Waters. Battlezone always seemed so lifeless and sterile.

    I think this kind of game will live or die on it’s interface… and AI.
    Hostile waters did a reasonable job on the interface, but it could still be fiddly at times. It’s AI was awesome though… I loved the characters, but i loved even more that their AI matched their character.. Ransom was the best pilot, and would dodge and weave to avoid damage… but he was frickin suicial. Madsen was a great sniper, and cautious at long range.. but he’d sit still while lining up his shots, which often made him vulnerable. Etc..

    It also suffered from a major over-reliance on enemy turrets.. Which made a few of the missions a slog. But I loved that it was reasonably open (unlike many RTS games) and you could try different strategies. I managed to do one mission with just one stealth unit as a spotter for the carrier’s guns.
    And that long-narrow-causeway mission was awesome – fighting for every inch of ground gained.

    I worry about having only 2 vehicles though. HW had about 8 or 10, plus you could outfit them all with different weapons and systems.

    You know, i usually never play multiplayer, but HW was one of the few games i’d have liked to have given it a go with. These kind of one sided RTS Action games must be a pain to balance for multiplayer, but it’d have been fun to have had a “key-voice-command” only multiplayer mode that didn’t allow you to access the freeze-time map.

  24. Rossi says:

    I’m excited for this game. But also, a bit wary.

    Carrier Command in it’s day was amazing. I couldn’t stop playing it. But I was 12 at the time and the technology was limited.

    Are we going to see a like for like remake or are we going to have some cool innovations added to the mix? Different units? Ground infantry?

    • Werthead says:

      According to the Wikipedia article on the new game, apparently your commander will have some solo, FPS-style missions on some islands. How the hell that works, I have no idea.

  25. RogB says:

    im so old I keep getting confused when people mention Battlezone. I keep thinking of the vector/wireframe arcade game before remembering that it had a ‘modern day reimagining’ as a wierd RTS/FPS hybrid.

    • enshak says:

      The original Battlezone was my favourite arcade experence. Drunk in a smokey pub. A solitary neon strip light and the faint glow from the bar the only iluminations. The smell of urine from the nearby toilets and the a loud dukebox playing a hard rock track. It’s how I imagined driving a real tank would be.

  26. Dominic White says:

    Carrier Command is one of those games which had an amazing, years-before-its-time gameplay framework, but the interface and graphics and general atmosphere surrounding it has aged it into obsolescence.

    With a modern interface, some key expansions on the formula, and modern-spec graphics, this one could be amazing. I really hope they offer a non-story mode, too, just like in the original. Just 32 islands, one player carrier, one AI carrier, and one goal: Sink the other ship.

    • Johnny99.1 says:

      I so hope you are right. I fear what seemed incredible strategic depth… to an under-12…in the late eighties…. might not be all I remember.

      Did any of you old-timers here actually play it as adults? Some comment from someone who isn’t remembering their childhood might provide some useful context.

    • Dominic White says:

      It really has aged fairly well – it’s not hugely deep, but it was challenging and involving for its time. With a better interface and less obfuscation, it’d need a bit more meat on its bones to really work, but it sounds like they’ve got plans to bulk up the formula a little.

      I like that they’ve not strayed too far – it’s a carrier that launches amphibious tanks and aircraft, and has a bunch of weapons systems. No more, no less.

  27. julianwiddows says:

    Myself and an incredibly dedicated group of 11 people spent nearly 4 years of our lives, weekends, evenings, and nights, working on Hostile Waters. To read your kind comments after all these years is special. I know I say this from every one of us, thank you for playing.

    • sebmojo says:

      Congratulations, in retrospect! Wonderful game. I can still hear Tom Baker saying ‘Fight your way through a chicANE of artificial islands’. Loved the oddity of that word, Warren Ellis bless.

      Though I confess the ‘we fought a war and thought all the warmongering people were dead but there are SOME STILL LEFT YOU’D BETTER KILL THEM’ plot was … less than plausible.

    • Dominic White says:

      Hostile Waters was a lovely game. Pity the multiplayer patch/expansion never surfaced.

      The fact that GOG.com no longer stock it due to licensing issues blows copious goat-schlong, too. Any chance of any of you old Hostile Waters devs having the source-code lying around? Any chance of an official release? Or a leak? I’d love to see proper widescreen support for the game.

    • Yargh says:

      Julian,
      your friends and you have my eternal thanks for creating one of the most enjoyable games I have ever played.

    • Sulkdodds says:

      I just recently installed Hostile Waters once again on a whim, and have been enjoying it immensely – just like I did the last time. Since finding a budget copy some time ago it has been one of those games which I uphold (and constantly, obnoxiously attempt to evangelise) as one of the examples of what great things can be accomplished with some imagination and pluck. Thank you for making it – my hat is off to you!

  28. Personoic says:

    MY NAME IS RANSOM!

  29. Jools says:

    I totally don’t think that “treading water” is a fair way to describe a game like Carrier Command. Its gameplay was fairly unique and it was never expanded on or even really cloned, except in some very general ways by games like Battlezone that merged vehicle combat and real-time strategy. I think taking an old, but basically abandoned gameplay concept like this and remaking it is innovative. It’s taking a risk on a formula that is in no way tried and tested (at least as a profitable modern game) and maybe paving the way for other developers to (hopefully) see its success and improve or take their own approach to the gameplay.

    In terms of innovation I think that beats the shit out of making some minor alterations to the core gameplay of an FPS or some other common genre.

  30. Ian Oliver says:

    What’s interesting is that each version of this game (if you count Hostile Waters, which I must admit I’ve never played) seems to take longer to develop than the one before.

    The original Carrier Command took two of us (Andy was working on other stuff and then did the heroic Z80 versions of CC) about a year to complete on ST and Amiga. This was from scratch, as we’d never touched the machines before, nor written any 68000 assembler (CC 1988 was 100% assembler on every platform) and didn’t have any existing code for graphics, drivers, 3D, or anything. Oh, and we’d signed a contract to do eight different versions (Mac, yeah we can do that. PC too? Yeah, a doddle.) in just over six months!

    We were all 24 when we signed that contract and I guess we were victims to youthful over-ambition coupled with the inability to accept there might be limits to what we could achieve. As a result, we nearly killed ourselves making Carrier Command as we bit off far far too much. In retrospect, I’m very glad we did.

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