Oh and then this:

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I saw that on their far uglier American site this morning and thought about replying with some facts about Strike Commander's development but then I figured... why bother?
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Some interesting (?) Strike Commander eratta that is floating around my head that Kotaku almost certainly wouldn't appreciate:

- The truly important thing about Strike Commander was the 3D "RealSpace" engine. Origin was willing to pour money into the game and extend deadlines as needed because they wanted the technology. In fact, two games started development DURING Strike's cycle with the aim of being cheaper projects that could use the technology and act as sort of a sales multiplier. They were Privateer and a game called "Phoenix Force." When Strike dragged on, Phoenix Force (which was a 'Strike Commander 1.5' sequel) was cancelled and Privateer was adapted to use the Wing Commander I/II engine. RealSpace did prove valuable, though: Wing Commander III and IV both used the engine as did Pacific Strike (not a Chris Roberts game, Kotaku) and Wings of Glory (a *Warren Spector* game, so probably all the more impressive to today's gamers.)

- Strike started out life with a very different goal. The finished game is all F-16s (plus a mission or two in the F-22 prototype) and they even promoted it as a 'serious' F-16 simulator (it wasn't!) to the point of making the hint book more of a guide to flying a real F-16 than playing the game... but the original plan was that you would have an array of different vehicles, including a helicopter, a World War II vintage P-38 Lightning modified for ground attack missions and possibly even a tank. This version of Strike Commander was even advertised: early Origin catalogs show screenshots of the helicopter, and the first 'sales sheet' for the game sent to retailers in mid-1991 is full of facts and story that have nothing to do with the finished release. Origin did a second sales sheet in 1992. I have some photos I can dig up of the original if folks are interested.

- In Strike Commander's Sudden Death manual (awesome manual, by the way, the equal of the best of the WC books and the inspiration for Star*Soldier) there's a reference to someone named "Mr. Zap" who wants to recover data from a network. That's a reference to something that happened during the development of the game. Origin's development machines had barely the hard drive capacity to run Strike Commander... so there was a tool called 'Zap' that you would run which formatted the machine and set it up to run the latest build of the game. One of the programmers went to do this one night without realizing he was connected to the network drive... where the only copy of the game itself was stored. Before he realized what had happened he had "zapped" Strike Commander itself, destroying all the game assets. Recovering the data and recreating what hadn't been backed up ended up setting back the project more weeks.

- Stern's funeral in Strike Commander has one of my favorite bits of dialogue ever: "But all of us sooner or later come to this end, a shallow grave in a foreign country. That’s the life... and death... of a mercenary..."

- If you ever install Tactical Operations right from the disks, note that the top of the screen specifies that it's *Tactical Operations #1*.
 

fabiensanglard

Master Chief Petty Officer
Hello Bandit LOAF,

I would be VERY interested to see the pictures (" I have some photos I can dig up of the original if folks are interested.").

I have a thing for 3D engines of the past (I wrote articles about Quake,Doom,Duke3D and Another World on http://fabiensanglard.net )...and I would have loved to understand how the Realspace technology worked. Unfortunately it seems the source code is lost forever although I saw a few posts from Donavon Keithley mentioning it:

http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=3364

He also mentioned the view range limitation being improved in the CD version:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:_XQWTKOKDnkJ:mobile.google.com/group/comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg/tree/browse_frm/month/1994-12/10ae598165b9098c?rnum=21&_done=%2Fgroup%2Fcomp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg%2Fbrowse_frm%2Fmonth%2F1994-12%3F &cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk

Can you confirm that the source code is lost ?
How do you know so many details about the development process ?

I remember installing the game on my 386DX and see the maps being pre-processed with a visual feedback of the progress (it looked like the topography of the game was transformed from fractal to vertices). It took HOURS...but I remember running it years later on a 486DX and it was almost instantaneous: I always wondered if this process was using floating point to be that different. Any clue ?

Finally: It seems RealSpace engine was used in many other games:

http://www.mobygames.com/game-group/graphics-engine-realspace

I wonder if I could find the source code of Wing Commander IV and see how it worked ?
 

fabiensanglard

Master Chief Petty Officer
Some interesting (?) Strike Commander eratta that is floating around my head that Kotaku almost certainly wouldn't appreciate:

- The truly important thing about Strike Commander was the 3D "RealSpace" engine. Origin was willing to pour money into the game and extend deadlines as needed because they wanted the technology. In fact, two games started development DURING Strike's cycle with the aim of being cheaper projects that could use the technology and act as sort of a sales multiplier. They were Privateer and a game called "Phoenix Force." When Strike dragged on, Phoenix Force (which was a 'Strike Commander 1.5' sequel) was cancelled and Privateer was adapted to use the Wing Commander I/II engine. RealSpace did prove valuable, though: Wing Commander III and IV both used the engine as did Pacific Strike (not a Chris Roberts game, Kotaku) and Wings of Glory (a *Warren Spector* game, so probably all the more impressive to today's gamers.)

- Strike started out life with a very different goal. The finished game is all F-16s (plus a mission or two in the F-22 prototype) and they even promoted it as a 'serious' F-16 simulator (it wasn't!) to the point of making the hint book more of a guide to flying a real F-16 than playing the game... but the original plan was that you would have an array of different vehicles, including a helicopter, a World War II vintage P-38 Lightning modified for ground attack missions and possibly even a tank. This version of Strike Commander was even advertised: early Origin catalogs show screenshots of the helicopter, and the first 'sales sheet' for the game sent to retailers in mid-1991 is full of facts and story that have nothing to do with the finished release. Origin did a second sales sheet in 1992. I have some photos I can dig up of the original if folks are interested.

- In Strike Commander's Sudden Death manual (awesome manual, by the way, the equal of the best of the WC books and the inspiration for Star*Soldier) there's a reference to someone named "Mr. Zap" who wants to recover data from a network. That's a reference to something that happened during the development of the game. Origin's development machines had barely the hard drive capacity to run Strike Commander... so there was a tool called 'Zap' that you would run which formatted the machine and set it up to run the latest build of the game. One of the programmers went to do this one night without realizing he was connected to the network drive... where the only copy of the game itself was stored. Before he realized what had happened he had "zapped" Strike Commander itself, destroying all the game assets. Recovering the data and recreating what hadn't been backed up ended up setting back the project more weeks.

- Stern's funeral in Strike Commander has one of my favorite bits of dialogue ever: "But all of us sooner or later come to this end, a shallow grave in a foreign country. That’s the life... and death... of a mercenary..."

- If you ever install Tactical Operations right from the disks, note that the top of the screen specifies that it's *Tactical Operations #1*.

Seriously, even one year later, I would love to read your reply :p !
 

LeHah

212 Squadron - "The Old Man's Eyes And Ears"
Seriously, even one year later, I would love to read your reply :p !

Have you tried PMing him on this board instead of waiting around for a reply? Busy guy, LOAF - he doesn't always happen upon every mention of his name. ;)
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Hey there! I've been something of an unofficial Origin historian for years. I've learned a LOT about Strike Commander in the last 18 months, though, while working for Chris Roberts on Star Citizen. Here's an interview I did with him reminiscing about the game:

RealSpace was used for six games: Strike Commander, Pacific Strike, Wing Commander Armada, Wing Commander III, Wings of Glory and Wing Commander IV.
 

fabiensanglard

Master Chief Petty Officer
Hey there! I've been something of an unofficial Origin historian for years. I've learned a LOT about Strike Commander in the last 18 months, though, while working for Chris Roberts on Star Citizen. Here's an interview I did with him reminiscing about the game:

RealSpace was used for six games: Strike Commander, Pacific Strike, Wing Commander Armada, Wing Commander III, Wings of Glory and Wing Commander IV.

GOLD !!!!

This clarifies the story behind "ZAP SC" :

On his first day, Prem Krishman deleted a directory from a network drive...wipping out the central source code repository. The team spent the next 72hours merging source code from individual developers. He became Prem "Wipeout" Krishman.
 
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