Klingon Academy: Post Mortem

GEC: Discuss gaming, computers and electronics and venture into the bizarre world of STGODs.

Moderator: Thanas

User avatar
Uraniun235
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 13772
Joined: 2002-09-12 12:47am
Location: OREGON
Contact:

Klingon Academy: Post Mortem

Post by Uraniun235 » 2005-01-16 06:52pm

Here is the story of incompetence and mismanagement behind the production of Klingon Academy.

source

---

KA was meant to be a glorified expansion pack to SFA. The I-play upper management wanted it to be SFA with new scripts, a couple of new ships, a couple of new weapons and NO MOVIES (especially after the "Orange Gaffer's Tape Fiasco"). However, in playing the beta revs of SFA, we (the KA team) realized that SFA wasn't about to live up to the claims made in the advertising so Raphael, a.k.a. “The Spaniard”, paid lip service to management's concept and set to work creating an entirely different game—a dirty and underhanded move that earned him the title of Raph-ulan. Over the next couple of months we developed a design to address the weaknesses in SFA that we identified, and under orders I shot for the moon (which in hindsight was a terrible mistake and were I more experienced I would have reigned myself in).

Some months after we began, the US press began destroying the just released SFA—though the Euro press seemed to like it much more. IP's upper management began to get anxious about KA because they thought it was essentially going to be the same game so they demanded to know what we were doing to address the press concerns. It was then that we compiled all the press problems and our own problems (masquerading as press issues) into one document, pulled the portions of the design document that were relevant to these issues and told IP's management exactly what we intended to do. They agreed. We told them that it would require a lot more people, a brand new engine, and a lot more time. They said NO and this is the beginning of one of the major problems with the development of KA. We argued long and hard to get them to compromise some. They wouldn't budge. Given the benefit of hindsight, this was about the point that IP’s management team began to realize the company was haemorrhaging money and that cost cutting measures were needed. Points at least for recognizing they had a problem, though in this particular case it did far more harm than good.

Despite our frustration at not being able to basically start from scratch, we got to work trying to make the SFA engine do what we wanted. The SFA code was nightmarish, and the base level interface modules (known as GaNAW) were an absolute disaster. SFA was written by a first timer--first game and first 3D--and the code showed it. It was a pile of kludges and hack fixes designed not to fix the root cause of the problems but to bring their symptoms into the tolerances of SFA specifically or to mask the bug altogether. This programmer also was a bit of a prima donna, so a lot of stuff was hard coded to his spec and not the SFA design spec, which is against basic programming standards, as any programmer will tell you. Additionally this guy did not save the source code of the GaNAW modules used in SFA after the project shipped, again against standard practice of programmers in ANY industry, much less the gaming industry. This caused all the 640x480 problems on down the line, as we only had pre-compiled modules rather than editable code.

We proceeded, full steam ahead, through 8 months of development until the KA team’s first Christmas season together. It was at this time that John Panetierre and I approached Raphael with a growing concern. At that point, much of John's work was focused on improving the graphics engine with little or no time devoted to implementing the functionality of the various rules systems Brent and I were designing, and we began to realize this was a growing problem. We felt that we needed to put the bones into the game before working on fleshing it out and giving it a pretty skin. Now that the issue was out in the open, Raphael was faced with a dilemma. One symptom of Interplay's chronic mismanagement is the inability of Brain Fargo and those he placed in positions of power to recognize any progress other than the visual. Basically, unless you could show them something that visually looked finished, they didn't recognize that progress had been made. If you had a fully functional starship with working weapons, fully functioning AI, and all the other core gameplay systems implemented, but the 3D engine was using flat shaded cubes for the ships and 2D line draws for the beam weapons and flat polys for the torpedoes and showed that to them, they would’ve jumped down your throat for lack of progress even though the underlying engine jumped from pre-alpha to almost beta. Given this, Raphael made a fateful decision, a decision that in hindsight cause far more damage to the careers of the dev team, the reputation of KA as a game, and to Interplay in general than anybody would have recognized. He decided to keep the focus on the graphics, forgoing gameplay system implementation.

This decision is why the ships have always looked great in KA, why the engine does 16-bit color, why it does High Res, and why the ginsu system even exists. But more tellingly it is why a lot of stuff isn't balanced right, why not all of the game features were implemented, why some features were trimmed down and others were poorly implemented, and why multiplayer is so rudimentary. For quite some time we had a graphics engine and NO GAME. Brent and I were working in theoreticals for most of the development cycle. We couldn't test our designs or ideas because they simply weren't there for us to test until near the end, and this dramatically reduced the amount of time we had for tweaking and balancing. This lack of basic gameplay system implementation caused other problems as well.

Without finalized system function, the multiplayer code could not be effectively written. As things were implemented and ideas were tested, rethought, and changed the multiplayer code had to be rewritten to account for the alterations. Nothing could be finished. Eventually the budget began to run out and development of the multiplayer code had to slow down and eventually stop.

The KMB was also victim to the lack of gameplay functionality implementation. Without a gameplay engine, you can't complete the scripting language functions necessary. Without all the scripting functions you can't very well write a mission builder to create full-featured scripts. We did intend to come back to it once we finalized the scripting language, but by the time that was done it was too late to save the KMB.

Similarly, this lack of system finalization also caused tension between different departments in the dev team. Danien, though an extremely talented programmer and scripter, quickly grew frustrated constant design changes and he began to grumble, which caused other scripters to start grumbling. In my and Brent’s defense, the design changes were necessary since it was the first time we actually got to test our designs and often what looks good on paper is boring and lame in practice. All the redesigning was ticking off the programmers as well. It was taking time away from their ability to finish and/or polish other features they were working on. Occasionally, to address a redesign, the programmers would change the way a system interacted with the art resources and/or the scripting language. This then pissed off the artists or the scripters even more. They'd get mad at the programmers, who would then blame Brent and me. However, nobody ever really discussed their issues, leaving them to fester until the resentment reached a critical mass that generally resulted in a huge blow up and a call for an urgent team meeting at which nothing was really ever resolved. This was an example of the systemic communication problems throughout the development cycle.

The KA Team was never really a “team” as a whole. Everything was very compartmentalized and cliquish. Throughout most of the development cycle, the scripters and programmers hung together separately from the artists and the designers. For long periods of time we wouldn’t have a team meeting or any sort of status updates from the other departments. At the beginning, the Spaniard was everywhere and in everybody’s business, which kept the process flowing somewhat but over time he became less involved and more difficult to find. Hell, I even took up smoking solely to give me an excuse to pin him down and talk to him. If you ever have a boss who’s a smoker you’ll find that no matter how busy they are and how much they’re running about if you suggest a smoke break they almost always find the time. Despite the fact that Raph became quite scarce he still insisted on being present when any decisions were to be made which in the end left the team in a lurch without the ability to communicate freely. As time progressed I ended up taking on the responsibility of dealing with the ship related art tasks as it meshed with my task of implementing the Ginsu system and from here I began to cultivate a dialog with the artists, though in hind-sight I really should have made more of an attempt to get involved with the scripters earlier, for it was there that much of the pent up frustration pooled.

Near the end of the development of KA we came under the auspices of 14 Degrees East headed up by Brian Christian. Brian had the well-deserved reputation for being able to straighten out other people’s messes and get projects out the door. He is to this day the producer I respect and admire the most. Brian is an involved leader and can be quite decisive and maintains an open door policy that is awesome. That being said, Brian’s open door policy was a double-edged sword, as you will come to understand in a moment.

I need to preface the following comments to lend some context to the situation. Another problem that we encountered within the team was that team members were brought on by Raphael based the criteria of talent and individual ambition. Belief in the overall vision of the project was not a requirement. Ambition that is out of step with the direction of a project only leads to resentment and resentment in the presence of talent turns to anger over the perception of talent wasted. This proved troublesome.

As I noted above, the frustration really pooled with the scripters. Many of the scripters did not understand or believe in the overall vision of the game and having been brought aboard relatively late in the process they did not understand the problems we had with the implementation of the gameplay systems. Those precious few times they actually did voice a concern about the game to Brent or me they either questioned the need for design changes (which almost invariably proved necessary) or they made suggestions that tried to take the game in a direction opposed to the vision. Despite my many announcements to the team at large that we were available to discuss anything they wished about the game, I feel that because Brent and I often shot down their ideas the few times they actually brought them forward the scripters began to feel like we were unapproachable and incapable of addressing their problems. Raphael didn’t help this situation both because he was increasingly difficult to see and that he also understood the vision and would therefore deny many of their suggestions. This left the scripters feeling trapped, trampled upon and without much creative input, which was left only to fester until the KA team came to 14 Degrees East.

Here is where Brian’s open door policy proved tragic. The scripters saw Brian as a means of being heard and venting their frustrations. Unfortunately Brian never really understood the problem of gameplay system implementation or the vision of KA, which is the combined fault of Raphael, Brent and myself. Brian began to take up the mantra of “no more design changes” and would often champion scripter suggestions that were contrary to the direction of the design. In Brian the scripters found a way to do an end-run around the Spaniard and neatly undermined his authority on the project, further damaging the team. In fact, this became such a problem that Brent and I would almost never know that the scripters had a problem with something until Brian called a meeting and made summary judgment.

The sad thing is, for all the problems Raphael's decision to focus on graphics often caused; politically it was the right decision to make. SFA languished for too long in development. It was 5 years in the making (2 years longer than KA), cost a ton of money to make—including points on the take for Shatner, and in the end didn't sell nearly as well as necessary. This put IP's management against KA from the get-go. By giving IP's upper management something pretty to look at, he could keep them happy so they'd interfere less and not cancel the project. This worked well enough for 2 years. It was in the last year of the project, when we weren't making much grand sweeping graphical progress that IP management got antsy. I will elaborate on what harm they caused on individual basis.

The Executive Producer of Development at the time we started KA was Alan Pavlish, who as a manager was a decent programmer. Alan hated flightsim games and as such was responsible for doing great harm to SFA because he insisted on dumbing it down into something more arcadish. When SFA was raked over the coals in the press, Alan distanced himself from KA as a result. The caused him to do something even worse than bad management, he ignored the game. He for the most part ignored our requests, never once checked up on the game, and didn't recognize the early warning signs that KA's development was lagging. KA wasn’t the only game that Alan happened to be neglecting and under increasing pressure from development he was replaced by Trish Wright.

Trish was the VP of Marketing before being made VP of Development—a title she demanded because Executive Producer wasn't a grand enough apparently. She had less than zero experience with software development, hated dealing with financial figures, and learned everything about the biz by skimming the Game Review press, poring over Game Industry marketing rags, and looking in the glossary sections of programming books.

Where financials were concerned, there was a time when IP’s management balked at shelling out the money being demanded by Christopher Plummer to appear in our game. Brent, who had degrees in Finance and Entrepreneurship contacted the marketing department, got projected unit sales with and without the presence of Christopher Plummer in the game and then worked up a 6 page report with Interplay’s own Return On Investment spreadsheet template—which he had to fix calculation errors on, by the way—displaying various scenarios from the most liberal to the most conservative. In a meeting with Trish, Brent presented to her the ROI based on numbers from her precious Marketing Department that she just left and she never even lifted the cover page, flat out denying us the budget without discussion. Brent was stunned, but he was relatively new to Interplay, so his surprise was not unexpected. I, on the other hand, simply shook my head and went back to work on whatever task I was working on. Thankfully for the fans, Juliet and Harry at Paramount basically threatened to withhold approval of the game if we didn’t have Christopher Plummer, such was their faith in the story.

As for Trish’s lack of game development knowledge, these anecdotes may shed some light on the topic. Trish kept asking us when we would be done with our API. It took the team weeks to figure out what she was talking about. Eventually we came to realize that API to Trish was much like the word “smurf” was to the Smurfs in that it had nearly limitless meanings. For Trish API was interchangeable with EXEs, applications, tools, mission scripts, etc. In a story not directly related to KA but telling nonetheless, she once asked the QA Lead on a different project when he expected his game to hit beta. Considering that she herself announced a couple of days before over the loudspeakers that the game had hit beta, he was understandably confused. She clarified her question by saying "you know, BETA beta." Trish caused the same kind of harm caused by anyone who is action oriented, completely self assured and shockingly ill informed.

As the one presiding over the whole sinking ship of fools, Brian Fargo holds considerable responsibility for allowing KA to get out of hand, not to mention the overall mismanagement of the company. He was increasingly angered because the company was hemorrhaging money, with SFA as a gaping wound, but in his favor he still had the presence of mind to realize that the Star Trek license could still make money. Unfortunately, he forgot the lesson that you must spend money to make money and therefore hamstrung the project with ill-advised cost cutting measures including arbitrarily limiting team size and insisting upon reusing technology that was years out of date at the time of release.

Fargo tended to have pet projects that he was quite involved with which caused him to ignore other projects. This caused him on more than one occasion to miss the early warning signs of projects in trouble. In fact, his detachment from some products is what allowed Raphael to hold Fargo at bay with pretty graphics, since Fargo could be counted on not to look into most projects beyond a cursory visual inspection. Fargo also had a penchant for placing under qualified friends and drinking-buddies in positions of power at the company which added yet another layer of incompetence and abstraction between himself and product development, as exemplified by his appointment of Trish Wright to head of development. One of the cardinal rules of business is to hire people smarter than you, which I suspect Fargo didn’t do because he had a very robust ego. In the end, he blamed everyone but himself for the delays of the project, glossing over the fact that it was his decision to give the next big Trek project to a producer who hadn't yet produced an internally developed title, that it was his decision to keep the development team understaffed for a considerable amount of time and that it was he who allowed that producer to fill what few positions he had with inexperienced people—85% of the team had no previous development experience.

In conclusion, KA was the proverbial cluster-fsck. I, personally, am amazed that it turned out as good as it did. It really speaks highly of the talent of the members of the team especially in light of all the problems associated with it. And considering the fan base it generated and how long they’ve kept it alive it provides some small vindication and the satisfaction of knowing that in the end it was worth it.

User avatar
Chmee
Sith Marauder
Posts: 4449
Joined: 2004-12-23 03:29pm
Location: Seattle - we already buried Hendrix ... Kurt who?

Post by Chmee » 2005-01-16 07:03pm

A tale of woe that is probably all too familiar to veterans of complex software dev organizations. Nothing was more chilling than this sentence:
Trish was the VP of Marketing before being made VP of Development ...
[img=right]http://www.tallguyz.com/imagelib/chmeesig.jpg[/img]My guess might be excellent or it might be crummy, but
Mrs. Spade didn't raise any children dippy enough to
make guesses in front of a district attorney,
an assistant district attorney, and a stenographer
.

Sam Spade, "The Maltese Falcon"

Operation Freedom Fry

User avatar
Ubiquitous
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2807
Joined: 2002-07-03 06:07pm

Post by Ubiquitous » 2005-01-16 08:13pm

Amazing. Although I can't play the game anymore [won't work on my new XP system] I did enjoy it, and it is a shame that a game with so much potential was spoilt by such poor leadership. Interplay is shit.
"I'm personally against seeing my pictures and statues in the streets - but it's what the people want." - Saparmurat Niyazov
"I'm not good in groups. It's difficult to work in a group when you're omnipotent." - Q
HAB Military Intelligence: Providing sexed-up dodgy dossiers for illegal invasions since 2003.

User avatar
Stark
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 36169
Joined: 2002-07-03 09:56pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Contact:

Post by Stark » 2005-01-16 08:15pm

Its amazing they managed to get such a good game out in this enviroment. The early focus on the 3d engine certainly shows, however.

User avatar
White Haven
Sith Acolyte
Posts: 6346
Joined: 2004-05-17 03:14pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia: The Capitol of Treason
Contact:

Post by White Haven » 2005-01-16 09:42pm

It's been said before, and it'll be said til the end of time: The only thing that kept that company alive as long as it survived was Black Isle.
Image
Image
Chronological Incontinence: Time warps around the poster. The thread topic winks out of existence and reappears in 1d10 posts.

Out of Context Theatre, this week starring Darth Nostril.
-'If you really want to fuck with these idiots tell them that there is a vaccine for chemtrails.'

Fiction!: The Final War (Bolo/Lovecraft) (Ch 7 9/15/11), Living (D&D, Complete)Image

User avatar
Gandalf
SD.net White Wizard
Posts: 14440
Joined: 2002-09-16 11:13pm
Location: A video store in Sydney, Australia

Post by Gandalf » 2005-01-16 11:33pm

Damn them, KA ruled.
"Oh no, oh yeah, tell me how can it be so fair
That we dying younger hiding from the police man over there
Just for breathing in the air they wanna leave me in the chair
Electric shocking body rocking beat streeting me to death"

- A.B. Original, Report to the Mist

"I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."
- George Carlin

User avatar
Terr Fangbite
Padawan Learner
Posts: 363
Joined: 2004-07-08 12:21am

Post by Terr Fangbite » 2005-01-17 12:18am

KA was the game that got me into online gaming full time. Counter-strike was going for me then, but my brother brought home KA and I HAD TO HAVE IT. That game took up a year of my life. Those were the days.
Beware Windows. Linux Comes.
http://ammtb.keenspace.com

User avatar
Stark
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 36169
Joined: 2002-07-03 09:56pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Contact:

Post by Stark » 2005-01-17 01:32am

I enjoyed the KA MP too; its a shame they couldn't put whatever MP functionality they planned to. The article suggests they weren't happy with it as-is... even though you can take your fleet on road trips through the quadrant at will. :)

User avatar
Vympel
Spetsnaz
Spetsnaz
Posts: 28894
Joined: 2002-07-19 01:08am
Location: Sydney Australia

Post by Vympel » 2005-01-17 02:14am

I liked Klingon Academy a lot. Better than the later Bridge Commander, actually, since Bridge Commander's graphics were inferior and I didn't like it's damage modelling.
Like Legend of Galactic Heroes? Please contribute to http://gineipaedia.com/

User avatar
Uraniun235
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 13772
Joined: 2002-09-12 12:47am
Location: OREGON
Contact:

Post by Uraniun235 » 2005-01-17 02:49am

Personally, I have nothing but admiration and respect for the KA development team; they fought an uphill battle, had the legs cut out from under them, and still produced a game with a simply excellent story (Personally, I believe that Klingon Academy should be part of the canon, with regard to the plot), marvelous atmosphere, and decent gameplay.

I think we might have seen in KA the first true Star Trek starship simulator if Interplay management hadn't fucked over the developers.
I liked Klingon Academy a lot. Better than the later Bridge Commander, actually, since Bridge Commander's graphics were inferior and I didn't like it's damage modelling.
Ironically, I think Bridge Commander's biggest problem was that the developers seemed to think they could cobble together a pretty graphics engine and build the rest of the game around it.

There are certain aspects of it that I found to be an improvement from Klingon Academy - the size and scale of starbases, systems, and planets, for one, although I'd bet that KA was hindered by it's engine in this respect. I actually have a list of pros/cons of both games against each other if anyone's interested.

But at the same time Bridge Commander made errors that could have easily been avoided had they looked at KA. The torpedos, for one. The torpedos could actually track their target to a limited degree, which I found to be an improvement from KA. But in a very severe contrast to KA, the torpedos cannot fire off-axis from the launcher whatsoever. That one is expected to jockey a half-klick, multi-million ton starship into a precise firing solution for the torpedos is simply absurd.

I have three major gripes with Bridge Commander.

The first is that they lied to the fans. I distinctly remember an interview in which they said that the ships in Star Trek are "inherently unbalanced", and to attempt to balance them would detract from the experience.

Then they turned around and presented us these castrated shadows of the ships we saw on the TV screen. Goddamnit, I wanted to be able to let fly with a rip-roaring barrage of phasers and torpedos, not a couple of pea-shooters and a squirt gun.

The second is that they seemingly decided to make a very sparse game and let "the modders" fill out the rest.

Klingon Academy released with dozens of ship models, each with these intricate "ginsu" models that from what I've heard took quite a bit of time to do. At the time these ships looked fantastic... except for the Excelsior, which Interplay could not get right if the safety of the free world depended on it.

Bridge Commander released with probably less than half that... with models that did not require the intricate ginsu effects work. And how can you have Ambassadors but not Excelsiors or a bloody Defiant? (Oh, wait. That's because the Ambassador was so goddamn shit-poor weak that an Excelsior would have been next to worthless.)

The last but most certainly not least gripe is the detail of the simulation... or lack thereof.

Klingon Academy was cool in that I could manage power distribution to just about every major system, I could take casualties, I could be boarded, and I could set repair priorities in intricate detail. Hell, there was even ECM and ECCM!

Bridge Commander makes it so goddamn simple it's irritating.

I have to cut myself off because I could go on and on, and I apologize for derailing my own thread into a BC rant.

User avatar
Stark
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 36169
Joined: 2002-07-03 09:56pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Contact:

Post by Stark » 2005-01-17 03:38am

KA has many advantages over BC, but for me BC's most important feature both kills it and props it up - the 'hands off' control method. You can't maneuver the ship, you can't mess indepth with any system, etc etc. You just tell the jokers on the bridge to do it, whereas in KA you could become a Power Management Master and have a decisive effect on play. However, it means personal piloting skill isn't as important, and makes the game more tactical. The fact that you can't control your ships position in the greater tactical scope (greater than 'that guy, shoot him' scope, that is) is another double edged sword.

Bridge Commanders 'hp and systems are so totally separate you can have a ship on 1% health with full systems' damage model was horrible. KA wasn't much better (when a nacelle comes off, you expect more than a 15% drop in warp, and losing the front quarter of your saucer should maybe have a more drastic effect...) but at least you didn't have to totally micro all your battles.

Maybe the KA team intended for proper bridge MP, with people handling different tasks in realtime? Like in Iwar?

User avatar
DaveJB
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 1917
Joined: 2003-10-06 05:37pm
Location: Leeds, UK

Post by DaveJB » 2005-01-17 03:50am

KA was a good game, but I could tell the AI had been rushed - it was pretty dumb, even for its era. I think I lost track of the number of times an enemy ship got destroyed by flying into a planet or an asteroid. Also, if you got too close, it would ALWAYS try to ram you. And while I'm talking about ramming, the physics engine was just as bad; any time two objects hit each other, they bounced around like table tennis balls!

User avatar
Chris OFarrell
Durandal's Bitch
Posts: 5724
Joined: 2002-08-02 07:57pm
Contact:

Post by Chris OFarrell » 2005-01-17 08:07am

I keep thinking of what Bridge Commander could have been.

Think of being able to connect multiple humans through multiplayer on the same ship. Someone as the weapons officer. Someone as the pilot/navigator. Someone as the enginering officer, overseeing power systems and damge priorities, antimatter reserves and the ability to do insane things like eject antimatter pods or warp cores. A defensive operator who controls the shield allocations, regeneration and so on. An operations officer who manages sensors, has to seal hull breaches before areas are knocked out of action and so on.

Then have the FUCKING SHIPS AS THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN! I wanted to be able to drive a Galaxy Class Starship into a swarm of pisant BOP's and cut loose from every direction at all them, rapid firing those 'cluster bombs' of torpedoes every ten seconds from both launchers. I wanted to see wingpairs of Defiants manouvering much more like fighters (perhaps even make them the one ship with joystick support?) as they pounded on targets. I wanted to be sitting in the opeartions chair squinting at waveform sensor readings on my second monitor trying to figure out if that slight 'noise' on my maxed out sensors is a cloaked ship slowly drawing closer or just background noise from the systems star along that same vector.

I wanted to see planets LOOKING like planets. If anyone here has played 'Earth and Beyond' when it was around, you know what I'm talking about. Planets with very high res textures that are massive things you have to fly around, using them as shields why you play 'tag' with the enemy. Though with Impulse and Warp drives, it should only be a matter of 60 seconds to make a fast orbit.

*sigh*

I was expecting SO FUCKING MUCH from Bridge Commander. Instead I got some half assed clicky game which bored me to death.


*EDIT*

Oh yes. I also wanted to see that massive Starbase 74 type Starbase SMASH that puny Cardasian fleet to all HELL with a gigantic wave of weapons fire. That thing had less weapons then the Shuttlecraft in the game!!!!
Image

User avatar
Xon
Sith Acolyte
Posts: 6206
Joined: 2002-07-16 06:12am
Location: Western Australia

Post by Xon » 2005-01-17 08:58am

Chris OFarrell wrote:Oh yes. I also wanted to see that massive Starbase 74 type Starbase SMASH that puny Cardasian fleet to all HELL with a gigantic wave of weapons fire. That thing had less weapons then the Shuttlecraft in the game!!!!
Someone is a tad bitter.

Completely understandably too.
"Okay, I'll have the truth with a side order of clarity." ~ Dr. Daniel Jackson.
"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." ~ Stephen Colbert
"One Drive, One Partition, the One True Path" ~ ars technica forums - warrens - on hhd partitioning schemes.

User avatar
Ma Deuce
Sith Marauder
Posts: 4359
Joined: 2004-02-02 03:22pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Post by Ma Deuce » 2005-01-17 12:02pm

What really bugs me is that Totally Games actually stated before BC's release that the ships in the game would have "accurate" specs and not be balanced for gameplay purposes. Lying Fuckers. Hard to believe this is the same company that brought us the glory that was TIE Fighter.

Yes, KA had it's faults, but I still enjoy it greatly: I even play it's SP campaign again from time to time. Bridge Commander's SP campaign, OTOH was boring as shit after the first time I beat it...
Image
The M2HB: The Greatest Machinegun Ever Made.
HAB: Crew-Served Weapons Specialist


"Making fun of born-again Christians is like hunting dairy cows with a high powered rifle and scope." --P.J. O'Rourke

"A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." --J.S. Mill

User avatar
White Haven
Sith Acolyte
Posts: 6346
Joined: 2004-05-17 03:14pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia: The Capitol of Treason
Contact:

Post by White Haven » 2005-01-17 03:51pm

It strikes me that trying to balance Trek ships is somewhat like balancing catnip and a spoon. If you make the attempt, you end up with a dinner utensil that cats find irresistable, and a chemical compound that you can eat ice cream with.
Image
Image
Chronological Incontinence: Time warps around the poster. The thread topic winks out of existence and reappears in 1d10 posts.

Out of Context Theatre, this week starring Darth Nostril.
-'If you really want to fuck with these idiots tell them that there is a vaccine for chemtrails.'

Fiction!: The Final War (Bolo/Lovecraft) (Ch 7 9/15/11), Living (D&D, Complete)Image

User avatar
The Yosemite Bear
Mostly Harmless Nutcase (Requiescat in Pace)
Posts: 35211
Joined: 2002-07-21 02:38am
Location: Dave's Not Here Man
Contact:

Post by The Yosemite Bear » 2005-01-17 06:27pm

I have SFB form interplay, the funny thing is I can completely hole an enemy ship, and it's still moving at 31 speed, and firing weapons, and rapidly recharging shields...

someone take a moment to think about this....
Image

The scariest folk song lyrics are "My Boy Grew up to be just like me" from cats in the cradle by Harry Chapin

User avatar
Enigma
is a laughing fool.
Posts: 7593
Joined: 2003-04-30 10:24pm
Location: c nnyhjdyt yr 45

Post by Enigma » 2005-01-17 07:16pm

I like KA and still have it installed in my computer. I liked the damage effects and wish that they can make another SFA\KA type game but with all of the problems fixed.

Heh, this reminds me of a SFA scenario in which my character was played Kirk's role in TWOK in which he had to disable the Reliant. I get Spock to find the ship's prefix codes while I tried to disable the ship in a fast ship to ship combat. Somehow, the Reliant just stopped and I rammed into it. It was funny as hell to see the Reliant's nacelles go into warp while the rest of the ship was dead in the water and seconds later Spock tells me of the prefix codes which obviously wasn't needed.
ASVS('97)/SDN('03)

"Whilst human alchemists refer to the combustion triangle, some of their orcish counterparts see it as more of a hexagon: heat, fuel, air, laughter, screaming, fun." Dawn of the Dragons

ASSCRAVATS!

User avatar
Alyeska
Federation Ambassador
Posts: 17490
Joined: 2002-08-11 07:28pm
Location: Montana, USA

Post by Alyeska » 2005-01-17 07:22pm

White Haven wrote:It strikes me that trying to balance Trek ships is somewhat like balancing catnip and a spoon. If you make the attempt, you end up with a dinner utensil that cats find irresistable, and a chemical compound that you can eat ice cream with.
TG didn't even try. They could have gone middle of the road and pulled figures straight from the TMs. Had they done that they would have been appluaded for their attempts at accuracy.
"If the facts are on your side, pound on the facts. If the law is on your side, pound on the law. If neither is on your side, pound on the table."

"The captain claimed our people violated a 4,000 year old treaty forbidding us to develop hyperspace technology. Extermination of our planet was the consequence. The subject did not survive interrogation."

User avatar
Steve
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 9417
Joined: 2002-07-03 01:09pm
Location: Florida USA
Contact:

Post by Steve » 2005-01-17 08:20pm

Well, yes, Bridge Commander could've used more ships and such, but the volumes of weapons fire you want to see would've probably been rather... prohibitive on most systems save for souped up gaming hotrod PCs. A Defiant would've been nice, though.

But I generally enjoyed the game. Oh, and someone was saying you can't pilot your ship, which is wrong. You can pilot your vessel on your own with the keys, you can also fire on your own, use tractors, etc. Takes some doing to zip between the keyboard and the mouse-pointer for targeting and such, but it can be done, and I've done it on numerous occasions (and there was that one time at Biranu when I wasn't watching where I was going and plowed into a Cardie ship, blowing it up and seriously damaging myself in the process, mwah! RAMMING SPEED BITCH!).

At least they gave the initial ship a good, spirited name too. Dauntless sounds excellent. 8)

And that was my two cents on the subject.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

Admin of SFD, Moderator of SDN, Former Spacebattles Super-Mod, Veteran Chatnik

User avatar
Stark
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 36169
Joined: 2002-07-03 09:56pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Contact:

Post by Stark » 2005-01-17 08:22pm

They simply seemed to castrate many ships, while leaving others too powerful - I'm a Vor'cha fan like anyone else, but when it's axial gun can down a Galaxys shields in one blast you've got to ask questions... about its horrible shields. The RTS 'everything in its place' philosophy is such a terrible waste of material.

User avatar
Alyeska
Federation Ambassador
Posts: 17490
Joined: 2002-08-11 07:28pm
Location: Montana, USA

Post by Alyeska » 2005-01-17 08:34pm

They could have easily scaled back weapons capacity while keeping it accurate within scale. They also could have done a far better job ballancing things. A BoP actualy stood a reasonable chance of taking on a Galaxy class, and that is pure bullshit. Ships like the Ambassador class were totaly pathetic and couldn't do jack to ships they should have been able to easily take on.

TG promised proper realism and failed miserably.
"If the facts are on your side, pound on the facts. If the law is on your side, pound on the law. If neither is on your side, pound on the table."

"The captain claimed our people violated a 4,000 year old treaty forbidding us to develop hyperspace technology. Extermination of our planet was the consequence. The subject did not survive interrogation."

User avatar
Butterbean569
Jedi Knight
Posts: 613
Joined: 2003-01-20 02:43pm
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Contact:

Post by Butterbean569 » 2005-01-18 07:46pm

Holy Crap, I didn't even know anyone but me and some of my fleetmates even knew what KA was. Hell, if you guys played KA back in the day, I might have even played against you lol My handle was Modemboy, and I was in the GC, BSM, and UFP. Just in case any of you recognize me ;) My current fleet, WG, just dropped KA from our supported games list since no one really plays it anymore. Still, I can get a game with some of the old folks every once in awhile. I was also a pretty active member on the KA dev boards at Interplay...and even got my name into the manual under "special thanks" :) Ahh...good ole KA

Anyway, I always thought KA was a pretty fun game. The multiplayer was incomplete, but you could still have some fun with it. It was one of the first games I bought when I upgraded to a 500 Mhz machine from a 100 Mhz machine, so I was pretty impressed by the graphics since it was the first computer game I saw on my new rig.

I still have it installed on my HD, although I have to mess around with my graphics card drivers to get it to work. Maybe we should all get a game goin ;)
Proud owner of a B.S. in Economics from Purdue University :) Class of 2007 w00t

"Sometimes, I just feel bad for the poor souls on this board"

User avatar
Uraniun235
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 13772
Joined: 2002-09-12 12:47am
Location: OREGON
Contact:

Post by Uraniun235 » 2005-01-19 02:17am

I really looked forward to Klingon Academy just like I looked forward to Bridge Commander. While KA disappointed in some ways (no mission editor ever saw the light of day, the force feedback wasn't implemented until the second and final patch, game was buggy), the game still shone in it's own ways. BC, on the other hand... at times, it seemed like it was more a graphics demo than a game.

I think KA's multiplayer was still more complete than BC's multiplayer, which is sad considering that they delayed BC for over half a year specifically to add in multiplayer.

Anyone else think the bigger ship classes in KA were pretty cool? I was always pretty enamored with their Federation dreadnought-type ship.

User avatar
Vympel
Spetsnaz
Spetsnaz
Posts: 28894
Joined: 2002-07-19 01:08am
Location: Sydney Australia

Post by Vympel » 2005-01-19 02:25am

I would've preferred if there was no balance in Bridge Commander whatsoever. The Galaxy-class should've gotten it's FULL armament and torpedo firing capability, all it's phaser strips should've been functional, the works.
Like Legend of Galactic Heroes? Please contribute to http://gineipaedia.com/

Post Reply