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I've been reading about this for over a year.  Everything I heard was good.   Then I saw a canned demo running at the Game Dev conference, and man the graphics were incredible.  I was really looking forward to it.

It's a realtime strategy game set in space.  At first blush the 3D controls and lack of terrain would seem to be a huge hinderance.  But they did an excellent job with the controls.  You use the wheel to zoom and the right mouse button to pan around.  It works much better than one would expect.  I quickly got to where I didn't have to think about the interface.  Drag-highlight, keystroke, and I'm there.   The opening levels are simple enough to get you into the game very quickly.

One UI detail that I did have trouble with was trying to get my units to attack the enemies from a particular direction.  Mostly, I just let them swarm around their target all on their own.  I've read a couple of things that state that attacking from certain aspects helps a lot.

They do a great job of using the in-game engine for the cut-scenes.  They have very good voice acting to carry you along.

But one huge problem is there's no time compression.  And mined resources are very limited.  So by the fourth mission, after clearing out the map, I got in the habit of letting my mining ships run for an hour while I left the room and watched TV or something.  Obviously, that breaks the flow of the game.

One thing that wasn't entirely clear was the tech tree progression.  It appeared that most of the advances came from encountering triggers during the missions.  I've gotten used to Warcraft-style tech trees, where I decide how and when to go through the prerequisites.  This random-appearing progression didn't come across very well.

I never did finish it.  I would like to get back into it.  I'm not sure I'd like multiplayer, though.

The mission I finished on had me facing a huge force with a very tight time limit.  Obviously, there's a trick to it.  Maybe some day I'll figure it out.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Threat of  Some Sleep Loss.  Great looking.  The UI works.  Decent story told using the in-game engine.

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Last modified: January 25, 2003
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