Wot I Think: Carrier Command: Gaea Mission

By Jim Rossignol on October 2nd, 2012 at 12:00 pm.


Bohemia’s remake of a classic 1980s hybrid strategy game, Carrier Command: Gaea Mission, landed quietly on the beaches of a PC release last week. But will it now storm the citadel? Or simply wash away with the tide? Here’s wot I think.


If there’s one thing that Carrier Command: Gaea Mission makes clear, it’s that the 1988 game Carrier Command was an extraordinary vision. Not too much about Carrier Command: Gaea mission really feels dated in a design sense. There are technological issues, certainly – this has been tuned to work on a 360, and the PC version, although significantly stronger in a number of respects (overall visual options, mouse control) it has nevertheless been hamstrung in a way that the Arma games were not. Don’t get me wrong: this game has moments of profound beauty in it, particularly in the misty sci-fi landscapes – they’re richly beautiful – but I can see, quite clearly, that it could have been more.

Still, the point stands that despite being a relatively faithful remake of a game from /twenty-four years ago/ it’s remarkably fresh and sophisticated. Hell, that lone fact casts on a long, grim shadow in contemporary game design. Things change, and somehow we end back at the design ambitions of two decades ago? Oof.


What this is, then, is a sci-fi duel between two futuristic carriers. It’s a prolonged battle for control of an archipelago on an alien planet. The game exists in two halves: a strategic half, driven by the map and menus, and the tactical half, where you get stuck in – often firsthand with direct control – with vehicles that are attacking and taking control of the precious islands. There are two ways in: a campaign, with a story-arc, that acts as a (necessary, by any measure) tutorial, and the open strategy game.

The campaign does something quite unlike what the 1988 game did, and that’s a sign of the times: it tells a story, with animated dudes, cutscenes, and voice acting. There’s even an entire FPS section tacked onto the start of the campaign, erroneously suggesting that you are about launch off into a budget version of Halo. If you didn’t know anything about the game this could have been pretty confusing. This is not actually an FPS in the foot-soldier sense – despite what those opening minutes suggest – its entirely about the vehicles. The carrier, its flying ‘Mantas’, and its amphibious ‘Walruses’. Running around on the ground with a gun is not what this game is about.


What the game is actually about is capturing the various types of island. Islands are defended by the enemy carrier – although not all the time. It moves around, battling you here and there, but most of the time you are resisted by “automated” defenses. This means AI mantas, walruses, gun turrets and robots, which are produced on the island. When you are on the offensive these must be carefully burned away with a selection of weapons, allowing you to get hacking walruses in to hack “firewalls”, and then hack the main control facility of the island itself. It’s a surprisingly complex operation, and a mean challenge at times – the vehicles can be kitted out with a wide array of weapons and equipment, but they remain fragile.

This fragility is critical to keeping you engaged as you play. This is not RTS where you throw away units without a thought, no, every loss is a major blow. Keeping your craft alive is critical, and you’ll be sending them back to the carrier, or to rearming and refuelling stations across the island, to keep them alive. Vigilance must be constant, and it feels like an operation on a knife edge.


That vigilance is partly necessary because the AI is so woolly. It will navigate and fight to some extent, but all too often you’ll find a walrus nudging its way around the scenery because it has somehow got “lost” on its way to where-ever you sent it. Bohemia claimed, as this game was demoed, that it would be possible to play the game as a pure strategy, without the need to take much direct control of the vehicles. I have to say that I did not find this to be the case – constant and careful hands-on control of the vehicles was required at all times. I could not expect the AI to take care of anything.

The other thing you have to take care of – although this is far less problematic – is your supply line. As you capture islands you earn production facilities which will keep the carrier filled with weapons, vehicles and fuel. Better things are unlocked on better islands. The different islands each offer different services, and so holding a good deck of islands is critical to your campaign. The carrier can repair itself, but only at the cost of fuel – which is also required to get around. The enemy AI carrier will, of course, be attacking your islands, too, and they can only defend themselves for so long. This aspect of the game is rewarding, and is where I found myself most attentive: thinking about what to do, what I needed, and where I was going. This is a case where the planning before the execution was actually most satisfying.


And really this is where the true beat of the game lies: in the control of your part of the archipelago, for as long as you can keep the supply submarine fed, you can keep fighting.

There are two main points I want to make to really underline what this game is about, and what it means.

  • The first thing is that this is (AI worries aside) a solid and capable experience. You soon grasp what you’re required to do, and settle into the long haul. It’s a war, and the individual battles make up the patchwork of a much wider, ongoing struggle. Nor do individual battles really stand out, which is a shame, because after a while they become somewhat rote. The minimal variety of enemies and the lack of imagination on the part of the AI means that the fights are not, after the first few hours, particularly engaging. Sure, there are new weapons to enjoy, but that’s it. Battles might still be fist-bump worthy from time-to-time, because of what they mean to your campaign, but the campaign is everything. For a certain type of gamer – a sort of armchair colonel, who likes to get stuck in, but really cares more about operational matters – this will sound a exciting klaxon. It’s a well-craft game in most regards.
  • Secondly, the pace of the game is slow. You do not charge in to attack an island. You pick away its defences. You make refuelling and rearming runs. Once an island is taken you have to slowly trundle back to your mobile floating base. Between islands you watch the carrier slowly (although time is sped up) pilot its way to the next destination. Slow and steady. It’s not exactly a killer pace, but for a game of both action and strategy, it’s a relaxed affair. And that’s fine. It’s just that some gamers – not that armchair colonel – will find the pace far too sedate.

I like Carrier Command a great deal – and I will never get tired of zooming the VTOL mantas around the beautiful islands – but ultimately I wonder if that twenty-four year old design did actually need a sprinkling of the intervening decades. Carrier Command: Gaea Mission lacks something, some reward, to keep my attention from wandering to other, more immediately rewarding games. Hell, I am man who understands what it is to love slow and boring games – I have made a career out of a few of them. But I nevertheless know that Carrier Command is missing some spark that could have pushed it into genuine greatness. Instead it is soldiering on, carrying out its orders, fighting that decades-old fight. And it does it dependably.


If this game had been multiplayer (it’s single-player only), and immediately open to modding, we might have seen a treasure chest cracked open. But it’s not, and I don’t think that will happen.

Perhaps, if it makes the money it’s required to do, Bohemia will now build on this project. Perhaps. And gamers might then end up with something truly memorable. Actually, come to think of it, I suspect a Battlezone remake would be a better idea.

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is out now.

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115 Comments »

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  1. Bhazor says:

    Wow. You manage to make a new Hostile Waters sound like a bad thing.

    Because that is what this game is right down to having the same damn problem. This feels like it was made for a multiplayer mode that doesn’t exist. Quite why Bohemia decided to go single player only is beyond unfathomable.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      A Hostile Waters remake might be a better idea!

      And I am not deliberately making it sound bad – I like it, and say so. But that comes with a bunch of caveats about how it actually plays.

      • Perjoss says:

        Are you the guy that wrote This Gaming Life? If yes then:

        I liked your book!

      • JonSolo says:

        A Hostile Waters remake might be a better idea!
        I wholeheartedly agree. Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising is the game that got me interested in the remake of Carrier Command. It may not have been perfect itself, but at least it had an overall directive, and an ending, along with some at times interesting Boss battles to break up the monotony.
        And while we’re plumbing the game designs of the 80s, why don’t we add Herzog Zwei to that list, too? At least HZ had multiplayer, even if it was competitive only…

        • MellowKrogoth says:

          Herzog Zwei has actually just been remade into a very nice Free-to-play action RTS. It’s called Airmech and you can play it here http://store.steampowered.com/app/206500/ . TotalBiscuit made a few videos about it on Youtube that are worth watching to get a peek at the game.

    • orb says:

      Yes, this sort of thing is practically crying out for multiplayer! Like scientists in headlines, I’m baffled. I thought multiplayer was the sort of thing Bohemia had experience with.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      The problem with multiplayer is that the overall physical scale of the game (which is actually a key game feature) makes time compression a necessity [when moving between islands]. This simply can’t work with multiplayer – you can’t have one player moving through time faster than another!

      So either, you remove the time compression and players spend 30 minutes or so real-time sailing between islands (yay, fun!). Or, you shrink the map so the islands are closer together (or massively increase travel speed which amounts to the same thing), which would fundamentally change the game. The travel time between islands plays an imporant part of your plans, because the world (including the enemy carrier) doesn’t stop and wait for you whilst you swan about.

      • fredshonorio says:

        This is a good point, and smaller skirmish mode would probably not have the same impact. It still seems than making some tweaks in the design would be a small effort, and they have a good foundation net code part.

        Hell, it seems much easier than adding multiplayer to Gears of War for example.

      • skittles says:

        That would be so if the time compression had an impact on fights… e.g. one side could fight with time compressed. However because it is simply a travel mechanic there are plenty of ways around it in multiplayer. e.g. you can simply treat it as a teleport type thing, plenty of multiplayer games have teleports. And if you ping the player and give the enemy a radar notification that a player is moving around I think it would work fine.

    • Werthead says:

      I’m pretty sure there’s some HOSTILE WATERS influence on the new CARRIER COMMAND, but I don’t think you can call it the ‘new HOSTILE WATERS’ when HOSTILE WATERS was described as, by just about everyone involved with it, the ‘new CARRIER COMMAND’ on release.

  2. Dominic White says:

    Yeah, echoing Jim here – Carrier Command is good when it’s being Carrier Command. Which, is, thankfully, most of the time.

    This is a double-edged sword: Carrier Command is a decades-old formula that they’ve only made slight updates to. It was a formula before it’s time, and still plays well today, but it doesn’t really have modern depth to it. Also, the campaign mode frequently stops trying to be Carrier Command and tries to be other things.

    It is bloody awful when it’s not being Carrier Command. I’d say that it’s worth getting once in the $15-20 bracket, but probably not worth full launch day price.

    • pistolhamster says:

      “a strategic halve”… A STRATEGIC HALVE? Your English teacher would likley feel like pinching someone’s ear for that one.

      (edit: Actually I meant this reply for the author of the review, not you in the thread!)

      But never mind that – I am a bit relieved after reading this review because I HAD THAT FEELING and didn’t preorder. My stomach said no. My heart said “But I want to!”. This is also why I am equally disappointed because Optimist Pistolhamster’s Heart hoped it would be awesome.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Tom De Roeck says:

    Its still the best 20€ preorder I have ever bought, and even if it takes ages for them to patch or release the code, itll be worth it. (yes, the game is beautiful enough to withstand a decade, methinks, sans cutscenes)

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Yes, hopefully they’ll patch it and get rid of the Walrus movement bug (as well as a point Hentzau in the comments below made on his blog about time compression not working as well as it could). Until then, I suspect I’ll be quite happy finishing Borderlands 2, as well as Dishono(u)red and XCOM: European Union.

  4. TechnicalBen says:

    No MP? I could find it fun, but it’s very strange there is no MP.

  5. Hentzau says:

    I think you’re underselling the AI problems. Four of your eight units are Walruses, and their effectiveness as fighting vehicles is drastically reduced when this is what happens when you’re not hand-holding them around the island: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAdgkTD29Mk&feature=player_detailpage

    I found that they were worse than useless as sending them into a fight would just lead to them getting strung out and blown up on the road. This is less than desirable when taking an island requires you to get a Walrus to the command centre. You have to use them, but they can’t fight, so you just keep them back behind your Mantas, only moving them in once it’s safe to do so. They’re a liability, and a massive part of why I gave up on Carrier Command after just a few hours.

    • Premium User Badge

      Tom De Roeck says:

      I dont mind, really. I just use the AI to send walrusses to points where I can take them over, or to simply stand and defend, or to send one to get repaired or reloaded while I do something else with some other vehicle.

      The only thing I wish the mantas would do, however, is prioritise AA guns. Then they would be awesome.

      • Hentzau says:

        That’s too micromanagey, though, and even when they’re on their own Walruses have an alarmingly high rate of driving over cliffs, bridges, into ditches etc. When you make an action strategy game like this it’s crucial that the unit AI be able to handle the details of its task autonomously, else the player ends up struggling to control his own units, let alone the island archipelago. It’s called Carrier *Command*, not Carrier Walrus Driver.

        • njursten says:

          Damn you, almost made me drool on myself, laughing my head off!

        • Ragnar says:

          Carrier Walrus Driver? That sounds like an awesome name for a game. In fact, you could even lose the “Carrier” part.

      • harmlos says:

        Unfortunately, the Walrus AI is so poor that if there is any kind of potential obstacle on your way, you need to drive yourself. Otherwise you’ll have Walruses falling off bridges, Walruses getting stuck on the debris of turrets, Walruses deciding the best way back to the carrier is the long way around that goes straight past several enemy turrets that are still active, etc. And the Manta AI seems to have issues with breaking off an attack and returning to the carrier immediately when ordered, preferring to hang around for those few extra seconds that will get it killed.

    • Advanced Assault Hippo says:

      He’s not underselling it. He just didn’t feel it was as big a problem as you did and could look past it to appreciate all the other things the game got right.

    • Premium User Badge

      Elusiv3Pastry says:

      I have to agree here. The pathfinding AI is so atrociously, game-breakingly bad I am shelving this until they patch it to the point where my units are at least able to drive in a straight line without getting stuck on a pebble or going over a cliff. This bothers me so much; I can’t fathom how any developer can look at these units getting hopelessly stumped by any command that isn’t “stand still” and say “YEAH! THAT WORKS GREAT! RELEASE!”

      If I knew the pathfinding was so nonexistent I wouldn’t have preordered.

      • razgon says:

        The worst part is, when the walrus misses a waypoint, it makes a 14 point turn of some sort to get back to the waypoint and hit it….ugh.

    • RaddishMonster says:

      Ultra yes on the AI problems. One time, one of my Walruses was very badly damaged, so I sent it off to the nearest repair station on AI while I fought the next base. Went back to check on the walrus only to watch it slowly approach the repair station, then suddenly speed up and ram a wall blowing itself up. Wouldn’t have been so bad if it was not carrying my only hack module on it, failing the mission.

    • chuckles73 says:

      I don’t really care too much about the walrus AI issues. I’ll just clear the way with mantas. My problem lies in the enemy carrier AI. It runs whenever I’m near it from the beginning of the game on. It runs until it is out of fuel. Then I shell it from behind until it is dead. No damage taken.

      At first I thought it was a fluke, but I’ve repeated it in multiple games.

      At that point, since the enemy can’t take ground, it’s just a game of each island being a puzzle.

      Also, each of those puzzles is solved by using missiles from behind hills.

      • LionsPhil says:

        To be fair, in the original, the enemy carrier would merrily surf right through islands. It didn’t collide with them at all, so that it also didn’t have to pathfind. I got a kill on the ST version thinking it had run aground, before later discovering that it was actually how it takes islands.

        To be fairer, twenty plus years later, expectations are a hell of a lot higher.

  6. GenuineEntropy says:

    Have been refreshing the site since this snuck out on sale this weekend (sneakily going on sale with little or no fanfare always sounds little alram bells in my mind) .

    Am very glad I resisted the urge to impulse buy in the face of such potent nostalgia.
    I’m getting the sense that Jim considers this a great opportunity that doesn’t perhaps live up to (fairly reasonable) expectations.

    Ho’ well… Disappointment is better than buyers remorse, right?

  7. PatrickSwayze says:

    I’ve been playing my version on Steam, but I’m now downloading it from the BIS store because there is a patch.

    Only problem is it resets my campaign progress, but if they have improved the Walrus AI as they claim then I should at least investigate…

    • Bobtree says:

      The BIS forum says they are in fact the same version and the patch is no different from what’s on Steam.

  8. razgon says:

    I’m amazed you people like the game. I’ve asked for a steam refund, since it simply doesnt work as advertised. The AI for your own vehicles is atrocious. It cant drive over a 10 centimer high rise without having trouble. It cant cross a bridge, it cant get out if it somehow wandered into an enclosed factory with only one exit. The amphibious vehicles can barely climb rises, and god help me if it rains, then EVERYTHING stops because…amphibious vehicles cant drive in rain of course.

    There is no way the pathfinding for the vehicles works, and it WILL work against you again and again, making the whole game a pointless struggle against your own vehicle AI and not the enemy as it was supposed to be.

    The game is not ready for release in any capacity that requires you to pay 39.99 euroes for it.

    • Mattressi says:

      I’ve heard the AI (especially the Walrus AI) is horrible, so I’ve held off buying it. I really hope they patch it soon.

      It must be difficult to be a games reviewer – if you release a review just as the game’s come out, it will likely be quite negative (since most games nowadays are filled with the worst kind of game-ruining bugs) and will make you look like a real douche if people read the article in a month or two’s time and think “hey, the game is way better than that!”. On the other hand, if you wait until the game is patched in a month or two, to the state it should have been released at, everyone wonders why you waited so long to review it. Perhaps Jim isn’t taking such a huge issue with the AI because it’s something that will likely be patched soon. Something like bad AI would have to make the review overly negative (since it’s a major part of the game), when it’s possibly a simple fix and won’t affect the game longer than a week after release.

      • razgon says:

        Well, its also possible that it will never be fixed, especially if sales are poor. From what I can tell, not many has bought the game yet.

        • Mattressi says:

          I heard that Bohemia were saying (maybe it’s just a rumor, though) that multiplayer might be added too, if they get enough sales. It seems kind of backwards, to me – should be adding it to get sales, not reward them. It’ll be very disappointing if they don’t fix the AI simply because they don’t get enough sales.

  9. GernauMorat says:

    Instead of girl in the back of a taxi what did we see? We saw the black sea

  10. anark10n says:

    Is this the same Bohemia of Arma fame? If it is, i thought they were always ‘for’ modding their games?

  11. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Speaking of Battlezone, I found this last night: http://www.battlezone1.com/downloads/

    The 1998 Battlezone and its expansion, patched to work on modern computers with modern resolutions.

    • Sardaukar says:

      FINALLY I CAN ENJOY THE RED ODYSSEY.

      I spent so many hours, days, nights, trying to get Battlezone Gold affordably on eBay back when that was even possible.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I never got Red Odyssey; the demo scared me with being very hard. Might give it a go now, though, although going by the fact that I failed the first mission in Battlezone twice last night, I suspect I might have my buttocks handed to me.

      • Hentzau says:

        I’ve yet to get past the first mission too. I don’t remember Battlezone being *that* hard.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        The control system does take getting used to, as does the inertia of the vehicles. As a tip, try going to the supermarket, filling up a trolley, and circle-strafing someone.

        I think one thing that’s clear is that I don’t have the patience for quicksave attrition and perfecting my performance in a level that I did when I was younger. Saving every 5 minutes in case I hit a mission fail trigger isn’t something I’m conditioned to do any more.

        • Premium User Badge

          BathroomCitizen says:

          I remember getting quite far in the campaign when I was 11 years old back when the game was out. Tried Battlezone a few weeks ago and I had my ass handed to me too!

          I was really surprised because I’m much much better now at RTS games and FPS than when I was 11 years old. So, why did I fail?

          • LionsPhil says:

            You have become OLD and SLOW.

            …it happens to us all. :(

          • Pindie says:

            Did Battlezone have skill level settings?
            I also seem to recall beating the first couple levels without any problems.
            It might have been on easy, if it in fact has settings for it.
            BZ2 was actually easier, I am pretty sure, to the point of boredom. I also missed the moon.

    • Urfin says:

      Thanks man! If anything is worth replaying, it’s this.

  12. Sardaukar says:

    The remake you want is Bionite: Origins, already kickstarter funded and on the way.

    • choconutjoe says:

      Seconded!

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      The goal of making a game for $15k is highly impressive. I assume it’s just one person putting it together on their own, and they decided to take a punt at funding themselves for six months while they finish it.

      • Sardaukar says:

        It is a bit interesting that of the 21k raised, 15k came from two people. Not sure if something fishy or if two people REALLY want to see the game succeed. Either way, they’ve pleased the other 305 of us.

  13. Didden says:

    When you say 24 years ago… I feel old.

  14. Mud says:

    I’ve played Carrier Command on my Amiga 500 when it came out and it was one of the best games at that time along with Midwinter.
    The first time I heard of a remake of CC I couldn’t wait to buy it but I’ve decided to wait.
    No MP, buggie Ai which seems to be common in games, more focus on graphics than gameplay.
    After buying F1 2012 and Fifa 2013, both with major bugs I’ll keep my money in my pocket ’till they patch it up and it’s under 20 Euros.

    • fatchap says:

      Midwinter was awesome, I so want someone to remake that.

      • Mud says:

        Me included, that is one of a few games you never forget..
        I believe Midwinter has the biggest game map ever created.

      • ZephyrSB says:

        Let’s keep this Midwinter train rolling! Maybe someone might notice us.

        Perhaps we could get some love for Armourgeddon on the side too?

  15. scorcher24 says:

    Mods are coming, that has been confired by Bohemia multiple times.
    Multiplayer is a matter of sales and they said they gonna do it if the game sells well enough.
    Unfortunately MP is a selling point too.

    But this is a really remake and I love it!

  16. Prime says:

    I want to cry.

    I’ve been waiting for this for years. Now that it’s here it looks great but apparently has serious A.I. issues making the game frustrating to play. This is why I don’t purchase games Day One any more. Years to develop and no-one noticed that the A.I. can’t navigate around simple obstacles? Hard to believe? Next to impossible, I’d say.

    It crushes me to say this – I really really had high hopes for this game – but Patch This, Bohemia, or you ain’t seeing any of my money.

    • scorcher24 says:

      I played the game over 20 hours and I can tell you, it is not as bad as many think. You can also play around it, by not using assist to make them follow you, but just telling them where to go.
      Sometime you need to babysit, which can be cumbersome, but for me personally it is not that big of a deal and the merits of the game outweigh it.

      Also, Bohemia has a history of patching games for years.

      • Mud says:

        I believe you when you say it’s gonna be patched but the release state of modern games is a laugh.
        And yes there are a million more code lines than old games but that doesn’t mean you must release games full with bugs and see how sales goes.
        It just makes you a bad developer with less and less sales ’till they pull the plug ( Silent Hunter 5 anyone?) , I for one don’t buy Ubi games ever again.

        • scorcher24 says:

          “Full of bugs” is an exeggeration and not really true.
          It has some issues like the pathfinding, but this has been blown out of fucking proportions by some users on the steam gamehub if you ask me. I made a video about it on youtube, showing that it is not that bad.
          If you wanna watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8odZD19hJy4
          It is not monetized, so don’t hate me for linking it please.

          • razgon says:

            I’m glad you enjoy it, but the game simply doesnt work as advertised. Its as simple as that.

          • Mud says:

            Haha, no mate I don’t hate ya for it, I just don’t wanna pay 40 Euros for it in this state and hey I’m gonna watch your vid.

            And maybe I’m going to be soft if I’m being convinced, don’t get me wrong I really wanna like the game but …….. ah well, to many but’s

      • razgon says:

        Not Bohemia, Black Element has developed the game.

    • mckertis says:

      ” it looks great”

      It does ?

      • Premium User Badge

        Tom De Roeck says:

        Yeah, it really does. Dont trust videos or screenies, it looks awesome.

        • mckertis says:

          Sorry, i generally play games on minimal graphics for speed, and dont find blurry textures offensive, but Carrier Command is certainly not something i would ever say is amazing visually.

          • Prime says:

            …and had I’d been talking about graphical fidelity when I made my statement, then perhaps you’d have a point. I made a general remark about this being an enticing prospect overall: “hey, this looks good”. It was definitely not my entry into the highly tedious, highly overblown realm of which graphics/textures/pixels/animations suck and which don’t.

            My tuppence in the other direction: It’s far more important that graphics work for the game, don’t become a hindrance in any way, rather than conform to some artificial standard of ‘How graphics should look in calendar year X’ or some other nonsense.

    • razgon says:

      Sorry, but the game IS as bad as it sounds. The pathfinding AI should never have left the beta like this.

      Also, as I understand it, its not really Bohemia that has made the game, but some other company, Black Element,

      • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

        A crossover of personnel/ideas might go some way to explaining the AI, because it’s over a decade since OpFlash came out and as Soldant put it, we’re still waiting for AI “that can navigate anything smaller than a two-storey sugar cube” without having a seizure.

        • Pindie says:

          You’d be hard stressed to find any recent title with good open world AI.
          Maybe one of GTA series?

          It seems to me the problem does not lie with how much time and money you have but simply with the fact programmers cannot program AI anymore.
          Ever since HALO developers noticed you do not need to have botmatch in to sell a game and programming AI that will operate in scripted events in single player mode is very basic task.
          It might just be programming AI is not profitable task anymore and there are no programmers willing to specialize.

          Even AAA titles have bugged AI more often than not nowadays.

  17. DogKiller says:

    I’d like a game formed from ARMA and CC:GM. Instead of a science fiction setting, it’d be a military one with a Tarawa class assault ship and marines landing on islands and capturing them. Wouldn’t ever happen, but I like the idea of it. Makes me remember that really old game AV8B Harrier Assault where you have to plan and stage an amphibious invasion of East Timor with an assault ship and fly air support with harrier jump jets.

  18. Premium User Badge

    barelyhomosapien says:

    Disappointing thing is that I don’t remember pathfinding issues in the beta.

    Also if you are going to make the campaign the tutorial…don’t make the campaign painfully awful with horrendous cutscenes. The FPS bit needs to be purged from the game, it’s just painful.

  19. caddyB says:

    What we need is a Fallen Haven remake. Never played anything like it again… but it doesn’t work on my computer anymore.

    • NathanH says:

      I could never find that game in a shop, but I remember playing the demo to death, great fun. Sad that it doesn’t work on modern computers :-(

    • Love Albatross says:

      Never heard of Fallen Haven before. Googled it and found this very badly written review: http://www.gamerevolution.com/review/fallen-haven

      • caddyB says:

        Hmm, he seems to hate the tactical turn based nature of the game, doesn’t he?

        He even complains about having to load his units into the dropships one by one, but that is for tailoring your forces for the task at hand. You might want to load up on long ranged artillery for some attacks, while focusing on infantry for others.

        I, on the other hand, have very fond memories about it. Designing my defences, producing units, planning invasions, firing missiles before my forces land to make it a bit easier, improving my forces with research..

        It had a lot of things, and it didn’t even have really bad ui issues like most of the old games. It is lacking in many of those aspects other than the tactical turn-based combat, but the fact that it has them all is a very unique thing indeed.

    • iinomadii says:

      I currently play fallen haven, as in last week, in a virtual machine with win7 32-bit OS, instructions for getting the game running are out there in the interwebs, you will need to download the retro graphics and audio drivers, as well as manually copy a few files from the game disc to the install directory…fyi

  20. Siimon says:

    I think that saying the initial FPS campaign is like a budget version of Halo is a grave understatement. The initial FPS campaign is horrible enough to the scare the innards out of women, children, and all but the eat-crushed-glass-for-breakfast men. Why even have this crud in there, when they must know how horribly bad it is? (cutscenes, dialog/voicing, graphics, and AI, movement/control, and the FPS’ing itself are are horribly bad)

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      I assume someone thought it would be a good idea, rather than a waste of resources that could have been used to strengthen the Strategy game. Or maybe they always intended to have FPS sections a-la Battlezone, and cut them due to time or resource constraints.

  21. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    I felt insulted by the FPS campaign to the point that I have yet to play Carrier Command again. I got to the second island (thankfully finishing the FPS part) and it did not seem to be engaging to me in any way. The foul taste from the FPS part ruined my ability to enjoy the rest of the game. I suck at games that suck :/

    • Jimmy says:

      Isn’t there a strategy mode which bypasses all that narrative malarky and gets you straight into the core game? I got the impression that all the FPS stuff was fluff and strategy mode was the real thing, like back in the day on my Atari ST.

      • Jim Rossignol says:

        Yes, you can just play the strategy mode from the start.

        • iinomadii says:

          but the campaign mode teaches many aspects of the game that you will just have to figure out the hard way if you start with strategic mode

  22. jonfitt says:

    A.I. pathfinding issues? I my Bohemia game?

    It’s more likely than you think.

  23. fuggles says:

    So should I get this or just replay hostile waters?

    • Pindie says:

      Not yet.

      Wait and see how the 1.03 patch turns out.

      I have very vague memory of Hostile Waters but I remember it got boring pretty fast. Did it have good AI path-finding or were the islands just all flat?
      I know original CC had no AI at all.

      I don’t know who designed the pathfinding but you could jokingly say it was the same person who approved their dialogues. I think there is at least a chance the former gets fixed.

      • fuggles says:

        I don’t recall hostile waters being flat, but I recall tom baker and ransom fondly.

      • bill says:

        The AI in hostile waters was pretty good (though it may well have had a lot less to deal with).

        It had a few problems from time to time, but those were the psychological problems of the AI constructs more than programming problems. (Ransom never wanting to back away from a fight, or the sniper guy holding copters too steady when firing, etc..)

    • Werthead says:

      HOSTILE WATERS did have much better AI than the new CARRIER COMMAND (though some baby-sitting is required in HW, particularly if you don’t want your units to get ‘sucked’ into enemy bases by enemy units taking pot shots at them from range and luring them in to a turret crossfire). It also had hugely better voice acting, characterisation and story. However, it wasn’t quite trying as much as the new CC is and doesn’t have the open world strategy element, only the linear campaign mode.

      The new CC’s biggest problem, IMO, is the lack of a pause-and-issue orders mode like HW had. Or maybe I just haven’t found a way of making it work like that yet :-)

  24. enobayram says:

    I have only one question: Will I or willn’t I get a Wot I think: Cortex Command?

  25. Jason Moyer says:

    Wasn’t there an article on this website recently that said this wasn’t using the Real Virtuality engine from the OFP/ArmA series? I find that really hard to believe from the gameplay videos I’ve seen so far.

    Edit: Ah, here it is. http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/09/13/regarding-carrier-command-bohemias-other-game/

  26. DarkFarmer says:

    *DISCLAIMER* my opinions here are from my play of the beta a few months ago, but I am not optimistic that these problems have been improved. Nevertheless I have done no research into the matter*

    Got this. Love the game, but the execution is very frustrating. Games like this require *PUISSANT* AI. Both in the units and in the enemy. It’s like Master of Orion. Everybody tries to remake it, like EVERYBODY, but nobody gets the AI right. The AI needs to not just be capable of killing you, it needs to be INTERESTING and create an interesting game.

    A game like this needs really, really good AI in the units and the enemy and I feel like the enemy AI is just canned response and no real active play, and the units get stuck like ON THE REGULAR, like 100% of the time my units get stuck in some rocks and killed by the stationary enemy AI who isnt doing anything but basically “turreting” his tanks.

    • Pindie says:

      I agree about AI being the main selling point in this type of game.

      Out of curiosity, however, I have to ask if you know any studio capable of producing a high quality AI that will work with open environment setting (no AI nodes placed by level designer). Because I am having trouble.

  27. Artist says:

    Its a tad sad that Carrier Command got into the hands of BIS who are notoriously lacking in the departments AI, vehicles, vehicle-AI and strong campaigns.
    And whoever made the stupid decision to clutter the islands like mazes, so its absolutly impossible for the stupid AI to manover, should be fired into the sun.
    The result is a game just enough for console players.

  28. Syphus says:

    I love Battlezone, and wish another game would come out like it. However, wouldn’t that be a remake of a remake?

  29. Jayson82 says:

    This would have been the perfect co-op game shame there is no multiplayer.

    They should have made it a mech game, imagine if the mantas and walruses where mechs instead, that you could configure into different types like airborn or ground types, change there parts and weapons for the different islands you encounter.

    • Pindie says:

      Wow, you are actually right.

      The whole time compression issue that versus mode would bring is not present in coop and coop eliminates the problems with AI.

      The other problem with multi I heard about was PhysX is not really designed to work in multiplayer readily. It’s not a problem if you use it for special effects and eye candy but if your vehicles are PhysX driven and get de-synched constantly it’s an issue (comments originally in regards to A3 development).

  30. LionsPhil says:

    constant and careful hands-on control of the vehicles was required at all times. I could not expect the AI to take care of anything.

    Uh-oh.

  31. Yargh says:

    What U think sounds positive enough for me.

    Too many games on the go right now but I will be getting this eventually.

  32. Balanuir says:

    Yes, please. Battlezone remake. That would be something I’d pick up right away.

  33. ten_six says:

    now i want to buy this game.. thanks for the review.. DAMMIT!

  34. Urfin says:

    I wonder sometimes why reviews never quite tell the ugly truth in nostalgic cases like this – like that it’s bland, badly done Hostile Waters clone, with basically game-breaking AI problems (read as half your units can’t drive reliably to a destination), terrible controls and really boring gameplay (kill a few brainless and non-threatening bots manually with whatever, then do boring logistics crap x minutes)? I mean, it’s just a bad clone, it does everything worse than the predecessors, and it’s not even feature-complete for the core gameplay (pathfinding).

    • Dominic White says:

      You do realize that Hostile Waters was a Carrier Command clone minus the grand strategy elements, right?

      • Urfin says:

        Yes, it was, and I’d venture to say it “inspired” this here product quite a bit more than the venerable original. Nothing bad with a clone, unless it’s a scrawny mutant thing that drools on your carpet. This one is like that. Hostile Waters wasn’t, by any stretch.

  35. JulienJaden says:

    To be honest, I don’t find Carrier Command enjoyable enough to keep playing and I don’t see it making enough money.

    The AI… Dear god, the AI. What were they thinking? How could anyone have cleared this title for release with pathfinding that barely deserves the name? The AI is in an alpha state, if that. A Walrus won’t just make gigantic detours on fairly open terrain, with their destination right in front of them (I didn’t bother sending them straight somewhere after the first two or three attempts at that failed miserably), it will go out of its way to get stuck in, crates, buildings, trees… and ammunition depots. I ordered it to drive to the coast, it happened to sit next to the depot (the fenced in pile of ammo crates) at the time the command was issued, facing the gate that led straight to the coast. “It can’t possibly mess that one up”, thought I. I was mistaken. But I didn’t know how much so until it was down to 50% health, I checked on it and it was stuck among the crates, unable to go forward or backward. I didn’t even know the Walrus could scale the concrete barriers that fenced it off. I didn’t dare ask how in the world it got in there and what algorithms lead it to believe that best way to go to the sea was backing up and diving into the crates.

    Suffice to say that this and having to watch out for the AI’s shenanigans even when it’s just supposed to follow me has significantly lowered my enjoyment of the title. But the game is just so generic in every way. The FPS passages are sub-par, even for content supposed to break the pace. The vehicle’s handle pretty weird and feel… bad. While the FPS part could be forgiven, the vehicle part cannot. It is the essence of the game. The weapons don’t feel meaty enough. Yes, some of them are lasers, some of them are loud and make the screen shake, but the issue runs deeper than this. It feels like they wanted to do everything but didn’t put enough effort into anything.
    I like the production and upgrade system, but what about the islands? Why not make it a little more of a strategy game and let the player build stuff, place defences, give us more freedom?

    The story is… okay, I guess, but it feels generic, too. This, at least, may have been somewhat avoided by some better voice acting and slightly better dialogue. But yeah, the voice-acting is fairly weak.

    I don’t wish for them to fail with this game. I was looking forward to it and I can see now that they either shouldered too much or didn’t have enough resources and too little time. Probably all of that. But I’m afraid there just isn’t enough great or even good to be said about this title to get many more to buy this. While I agree that the general outlook is exciting and cool (you can both issue orders and take control; you’re in for the long haul; this is war over an archipelago, not just a small skirmish, and you have to watch your resources and all that), I think the game’s issues just make it too frustrating to keep playing, cause you don’t focus on the fight – you focus on a group of vehicles that can’t execute a simple move order without your strict supervision.
    Just for the sake of comparing: In “Command & Conquer: Red Alert”, your units would blindly follow your orders. They would take the quickest way to their destination, even if it lead straight through the enemy base. But at least they knew the way. In “Carrier Command”, you’re lucky if they even know when to go straight.
    But maybe I’m too hard on them. Maybe they know how to drive straight and it’s the terrain that moves in their way to deliberately get them stuck. God damn ammo depots.