Enemy Nations
by Al Giovetti
Preview: 10/01/96
Review:
Price: $50
Genre: Strategy
Release: September 1996
Developer and Producer: Winward Studios, http://www.windward.net/, 800-927-5611
Producer: David Thielen
Ex-Publisher: Viacom
Phone: 212-258-6000, 800-469-2539, (303) 739-4019
Website: http://www.viacomnewmedia.com/comingsoon/enemynations.html
New Publisher: Head Games
New Publisher Web Site: 612-321-9470
New Publisher Phone:www.headgames.com
Requirements: Windows 3.1 or 95, 486, 66 MHz, 8 MB RAM, 1 MB SVGA< 2X CD ROM drive, 100% compatible Microsoft mouse, 100% Sound Blaster compatible

Company line: The time is the future. The place is a rare, uninhabited planet, over which several nations are fighting for control. As the leader of your nation landing on this planet, you must build a city from the ground up, maintain it, and generate a powerful economy and military to defend it. Eventually, you will battle other nations for domination of the planet. But, it wonít be easy...countless other competitors are also vying to dominate the planet.

Welcome to Enemy Nations...the most realistic, technologically advanced strategy game ever made! Itís real-time combat... Itís War, on-line!

History: Before Windwood Studios, David Thielen was a Windows 95 team developer at Microsoft. This is the first game for Windwood Studios and it is based upon The Settlers, Transport Tycoon, and Sim City according to David.

The game has had a rocky history, originally planned for production by Viacom and now in Publication by Windward Studios, the developer. During all the rough waves, David Thielen has remained at the helm and kept the Enemy Nations product on course. Considering the problems and the corageous fight to keep the project afloat, it is a remarkably good game.

Plot: Like the plot of Deadlock, you are looking for an inhabitable planet, and they seem to be all taken, except for this one. So you pack up your bags head off for the place only to find that lots of others are there ahead of you. The competing races decide on an economic battle rather than a military one and decide that one colony ship each with defined provisions per race will land on the planet and, like most of these games, winner takes all.

Game play: Real-time simulations have become very popular of late. Many may think that Enemy Nations is a Command & Conquer or Warcraft clone, but the game was conceived and work actually started long before Command & Conquer or Warcraft were released, over 18 months prior to the game coming out.

None of the missions are scripted, the maps and terrain are randomized. Units will be able to hide from other units if in forests or are hidden by line-of-sight obstacles like mountains. Units respond to what is happening in the game not to a preset script, and while scripted usually means more interesting, reaction to what is happening is preferred in many cases to scripted responses.

Fog or war, research and diplomacy are all part of the game play.

Artificial intelligence: The characters respond real-time to the changes in the world, making the game more challenging.

Planet types: Twelve terrain types are ripe for competition. The randomly generated planets have mountains, plains, and deserts. Some are full of resources while others are quite difficult places to scratch a living out of the hard dead earth.

Interface: The perspective is a top down, isometric view of a flat map, not the circular world shaped map of Deadlock. The map zooms and rotates in 90 degree increments. The look and feel is definitely Windows, telling volumes about the developerís background.

Campaign mode: The campaign mode is based upon randomly generated missions and can be played in both single and multiple player mode.

Graphics: The graphic resolution start at 256-color 320x240, and has also a 640x480x256 color low-resolution and a fantastically detailed 1280x1024 pixel and 24 million color mode. There are five levels of color depth on the CD from 8 to 32 bits. Objects are often rendered with multiple facings so that when they turn, the objects look realistic from the new angle. Enemy nations generates its art on-the-fly and turns its characters and vehicles one pixel at a time. The damage to items and buildings shows as it occurs, with different levels of damage. This one-pixel detail can be seen in the great graphics.

Animation: Trucks run along the roads. Smoke comes out of smokestacks. Buildings rise one part at a time.

Sound effects: The sounds when you zoom in or select a particular industry are just for that industry

Multi-player: Up to eight player support on 16 MB of RAM with more than eight players permitted with 32 MB or more. The larger games can have over 20 players on the same large map. Internet play with dozens of competitors will be supported in the first release. Currently, there are no limits on the number of people that the game can accommodate in internet play since the game was designed in a peer-to-peer mode where adding additional game players does not tax the game server, since each game playerís computer will act as an additional server.

Letters to the Editor: Al Giovetti, I'd like to point out an inaccuracy in your Enemy Nations preview at http://www.charm.net/~wizards/computershow/previews/enemynations.htm:

You say: "Many may think that Enemy Nations is a Command & Conquer or Warcraft clone, but the game was conceived and work actually started long before Command & Conquer or Warcraft were released, over 18 months prior to the game coming out."

While I fully agree that EN is not a C&C or WC clone, the part about "work actually started long before" is incorrect. I was contracted to be the AI Programmer for EN in May, 1995. At that time EN was a design document, nothing more.

At that time I was directed by Dave Thielen to play WC2 and C&C, along with SimCity 2000 and Transport Tycoon, to analyze game play and AI considerations in all of those games.

So, to suggest that EN was developed "long before" C&C or WC2 were released is both misleading and inaccurate.

Regards,

Eric, Eric Dybsand, Eric's Web Site, Glacier Edge Technology, email: Eric's Email, Glendale, Colorado, USA

Journalists: If Peter says this is a good game, he is right.

References:
Windward Enemy Nations Web Site
Scott Udell, Viacom does planetary conquest in style, Computer Games
Strategy Plus, issue 70, September, 1996, pg. 38-39.
Peter Olafson, PC Games, volume 4, number 4, April, 1997, pg. 84, 95%.
Al Giovetti, Deadlock Review, Computer Show, volume 1, number 8, August, 1996, pg.
Head Games Press Release on Enemy Nations

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