I thought i'd share my first impressions of the 2nd Beta having just downloaded last night.
Overall I think BI has done a rather good job of capturing the magic that is Carrier Command. This game took me by storm when it came out many many moons ago and it's still what I consider to be essential gaming even today.
I guess my only issues lie in the simplification and console friendly approach BI has taken.
While the game does certainly hit the mark in many areas, the game does feel a little 'dumbed down' for the masses.
When I think of Carrier Command I think of complexity and strategy. CC:GM does certainly tick the boxes here but it seems to lack some depth when directly compared to the original.
The engine used does seem rather solid however the camera controls lack any form of acceleration which takes away from the polished feel. I'm sure this has something to do with making the game console controller friendly but this games roots are keyboard / mouse. I feel that there should be a distinction between how the game interpretes input from different devices. In its current state I feel the camera controls feel a little 'cheap' from lack of a better term. The lack of zoom also add to this problem. I would like to be able to zoom out and pan around the entire carrier. with enough distance to see what's around me.
The plasma cannon mounted on the absolute front of the carrier feels a little limited in my opinion. In the Original the laser turret was near center and could hit almost any target. I understand we now have the machine guns which is a fantastic idea however it would be nice to have a little more freedom of movement with the 'big gun'. I would also like to see the model shrunk slightly so it doesn't take up so much screen real estate. It feels a little too bulky.
Manta docking: In the original there was the ability to have a fully loaded manta sitting on the flight deck ready for take off. I would love to see this implemented. I remember a number of encounters where i've been ambushed and had my lift taken out. Having that one manta (if it didn't get owned on the flight deck) sitting ready to counter-attack was a solid strategy in my eyes and allowed you to get into the fight while putting all the carriers effort into repairing the lift. The auto docking and landing differs from the original too. I would suggest having a 'return to base' button or simply 'land'. This would allow you to get your manta out of harms way and back to the carrier, after which you would bring it into the dock for rearm/refuel if required, again, giving you options if you lose your lift.
Walrus docking: Similar to the above, perhaps with a 'return to docking cone' command.
Classic Mode: It would be awesome to be able to essentially play the old game with the new engine. Simply a randomly generated map with 60 small islands, fairly flat with little hills and shrubbery. Perhaps this could even be a small DLC for later, just for the old guy's like me and a small salute to this games legacy.
Unit Range: While I understand the requirement for a 'communications range' for the mantas and walruses the size of that sphere feels a little small. I would suggest almost doubling the range so you have more flexibility with your angles of attack ie. mantas swing around the island and flank while walruses take point, something like that. Also handy for putting a wing of mantas on point ahead of your carrier while approaching a defence island. Just gives you that more 'complete' feeling. Perhaps comms pods will suite this requirement but they'd be a costly addition to a wing.
Terrain: I love the way the terrain of the islands has been designed but I feel given the scale, they could be more walrus friendly. I've already had a few occasions where i've lost walruses due to them getting stuck half way up hills with small 'ramps'. Perhaps making the topology a little less dense would assist in this.
Manta Control: I'm guessing this is due to the mantas being 'redesigned' to be more like harrier jets than fighter planes. It's hard to aim the things! I understand that the controls suite the type of ship we're flying but maybe they could control similar to something like the mouse controls in freelancer in that you have a small amount of turret control while still being able to freely manouver the ship. Having that finer and more accurate targeting control while still retaining manouverability would be very welcome in my eyes.
Walrus Control: The controls of the walrus are very solid however the turret feels like it aims a little high. When coming up over a hill you can't really defend yourself from turrets. Would be nice if we could lower the walrus turret a few more degrees.
I'm not sure if it's just me but the control sensitivity seems to differ greatly between manta and walrus. Would be nice if we could meet in the middle and keep it common.
That's about all I've got for this round. When it boils down to it i'm absolutely buzzing being able to be part of the (re)development of one of the greatest games in history and so far BI has done a bang up job. It's so nearly there, with a few tweaks in the right areas this will be a classic and a title to be very proud of.
Of course if anyone has any dissagreements or comments on anything I've said here, please chime in and add your 2 cents.
We have the rare opportunity to be part of something amazing here, let's help BI make this everything it deserves to be and more!