Oct
31
Posted on 31-10-2007
Filed Under (Game Stories) by NightCrawler on 31-10-2007

This weeks focus will be on a series that appears “dead in the water”, so to speak.  The game that I am referring to here is the Delta Force series.  This majestic first-person shooter (FPS) game holds a very unique place in my “gaming” heart in that this game was my 1st venture into online gaming.  I have to say that this game has made me what I am today, because if it was not for this game, I may have not started online gaming probably for another year later.  And just to let you know I personally own and have played each and every one of the games described below and there are a couple that I still play today.  But without further upheaval, I present to you the story of Delta Force.

df_box.gifThe original Delta Force is a FPS game by developer and publisher NovaLogic. It was released for the PC on November 1, 1998 and was designed to be a military simulation loosely based on the Delta Force special operations force.  It also had a very “different” type of graphics engine that rendered terrain, objects, and vegetation in detailed form if being looked at from a distance.  The engine was referred to as the “Voxel” engine, in that; it would render details in voxels, other than in “pixel” form, as used in most games.  Voxels is a combination of the words volumetric and pixel which is used primarily used in visualizations for medical and scientific data by definition.  The engine did a good job in rendering screens that consisted of long distant shots, but when you got close up, there was a huge distortion that prevented too many renders from inside of buildings and such close in areas.  However, the game was truly enjoyable and since about the whole game took place outdoors, it made for a quite pleasurable multi-player experience in that snipers had the upper hand most of the time within the environments.

df2.gifThe second game of the series was named; you guessed it, Delta Force 2.  It was put on the store shelves, on October 31, 1999.  Delta Force 2 improved over its predecessor in graphics quality, and by improving game balance.  The game is in many ways was more realistic than the first-person shooters of its time. Very often, one shot is fatal, although occasionally the player would survive.  However, no weapons, even the M249 SAW machine gun, had any recoil or spray. This allowed players to play as a sniper and at medium-to-long ranges even with a heavy machinegun, when in real life it would be terribly inaccurate.  Delta Force 2 had an “improved” voxel graphics engine that rendered graphics a little better than its predecessor did, but was still a little grainy for some people. 

dflwboxus.gif Delta Force: Land Warrior was the third inception of this series and was published on December 1, 2000.  Nova was known for chronically poor AI in the previous 2 titles, and it still showed in this game as well. Some enemies would continue walking while you shoot at them; others may do nothing while you stand almost straight in front of them; some seem to have ESP and begin shooting at the player character even though you are out of sight.  This title also introduced into the DF game “classes” of its operatives, over playing as primarily a “rogue” element which had all of the weapons at their disposal.  It was a good title and had a very much improved graphics engine over the past 2 releases of this series.

dftfdboxus.jpgDelta-Force: Task Force Dagger is the fourth PC game, but to me it was not a true sequel to DF: Land Warrior, but when it was published on June 10, 2002, I believe it was as a direct gaming result and response to the 9/11/2001 tragedy.  Why do I say that?  Because Task Force Dagger had a different storyline when it was under development, and after that terrible event, the storyline changed to the front lines of Afghanistan, playing as Special Forces units deployed in the real, and today’s still ongoing, Operation Enduring Freedom.  You play any one of 10 Special Operations Groups from Seal Team 6, to Green Berets, to CIA snipers.  While playing the game each group has preferred weapons, but you can outfit yourself with whatever weapons you choose or want.  This was not a very popular game within the Delta Force community, for whatever reasons.

dfbhdcover.jpgDelta Force: Black Hawk Down (BHD) was the 5th and possibly the best game of the Delta Force series and was published on March 24, 2003. It takes place in Somalia during 1993 and was produced primarily in response to the popularity of a Hollywood movie named “Black Hawk Down”. The game uses a more realistic engine compared to the previous Delta Force games and does render the graphics in a way more realistic manner. The player starts out as a 10th Mountain Division soldier or an Army Ranger. For the majority of the Single-Player missions you have this option, however, it might also be noted that along the later missions, you play almost exclusively as Delta Force operators. 

dfbhdts.jpgDelta Force: Black Hawk Down: Team Sabre is the official expansion pack to Black Hawk Down and was published on January 21, 2004. Team Sabre added more weapons which could be used in servers that only had the Black Hawk Down game installed.  That was a first, I do think.  The Team Sabre expansion also gave the player a new operative to choose from, the British elite commando unit SAS. Team Sabre as well added a few more terrains which are mostly jungle and desert ones. The expansion pack also gives the player two more campaigns which are in fictional based areas in Iran fighting the renegade General Kalb and a drug lord named Antonio Paulo in Colombia, South America.

dfxtremeboxus.gifWhich leads me to the last of the Delta Force series of games and it was actually not a NEW game, but a remake of the original game if this series.  Delta Force Xtreme was published in April 2005 to bring together the so-called old timers of Delta Force 1, and welcome the newcomers to the DF community to Novalogic’s Joint Operations game.  DF Xtreme had three single player campaigns with a total of 20 single-player missions “similar” to those of the original game.  And it should be noted that when I played the Xtreme game, the maps were close to the original, but they were not made “exact” in any means, and what was stated above as “similar”.  However the main focus of the Xtreme game is its online feature which was very popular when it first came out, but currently is declining in player attendance.

It appears that the remake addressed above will probably be the last in the line of the outstanding Delta Force series.  It is very sad for me to think that a series had to “die” after a remake, after a very good “run” on the store shelves for 7 years plus.  And as I stated in the first paragraph, I still play the Black Hawk Down game, both single-player and online, on a weekly basis.  The BHD games are still heavily played on the internet, so that game may possibly “hold them over” IF they ever decide to make another one in the foreseeable future.  But along them same lines I can see that within the Joint Operations games, maybe NovaLogic “meant” that these games were to be considered as castoffs of the once great Delta Force series.  But as usual, who knows…

Next Up: My Half-Life Story…

Oct
29
Posted on 29-10-2007
Filed Under (Game Stories) by NightCrawler on 29-10-2007

Well here we are in the year 2007 and the release of a PC Game named Crysis is causing an enormous stir within the PC gaming community due to its elevated “minimum” system requirements.  I always read in many website forums, that I frequent on a daily basis, that many PC Gamers are upset that their once “high and mighty” PC is now just a mediocre system at best, and cannot play this game we call Crysis.  Gamers around the globe are saying that they only built their system last year and should be able to play any game on the planet, but are driven to their knees and given a severe dose of “reality” that their beloved system is not good enough to run one simple game.  Well I have to personally say, “Wake Up and Smell the Reality”; PC gaming within the next year or two is only going to get tougher on your adored PC.

Only speaking about myself, I have only been PC gaming since the year 1988.  I know what you are thinking already, that “old guy” must me “losing it” already after gaming for that long.  Well in one sense of that word I might be, I know I have lost some of my tremendous speed in the movement of my mouse, keyboard & joystick at times, but I still have the tactics, experience, and something called patience that gives me “the edge” over some gamers.  I have witnessed through the years many gamers, within a FPS (First-Person Shooter) game rush into a room or open area like a so-called “Rambo”, while I stand back assess the situation, think it over, and then go in and neutralize the enemy that just took out that impatient “Rambo”. 

commodore-a2000-1.jpg

Well I guess you want to know why I brought all this up.  Well I will start at the beginning of my PC gaming “career”.  Back in 1988, I purchased my first PC exclusively for gaming.  That PC was a machine called a Commodore Amiga 2000.  I was so proud of that machine back then because it was purposely built to be a gaming machine and the piece of equipment was in its time.  The IBM and IBM clones that stores were selling back then could not match the color schemes and the video performance of the Amiga.  In 1988-1991, it was the Cadillac of gaming machines, at least in my meager mind anyway.  Computer Stores kept on popping up selling software for the Amiga, and the machine sold like hotcakes wherever it was available.  It was sad time for me back in 1994 when I finally “retired” that grand old PC for a new pc that ran a new operating system called “Windows”.  (On a side note to this paragraph, I have to say I still have that “historic” machine today, along with all of its software that I collected over those years.)

So I guess you are now wondering where I am going with this aren’t you!  Well since that year 1994, I have personally purchased, sold, upgraded, given to needy relatives, and donated to different charities many PC “gaming rigs” that I was once also was very proud of during their short lifetimes.  I, along with other sad PC enthusiasts, also thought that my “current PC gaming behemoth” would “prevail over the test of time”, but unfortunately they did not.  There was always this darn new PC game sitting on my local department stores display shelf that I wanted to play but could not because my current PC could not run it because of one thing or another.  So when I read those forum comments, which I keep seeing again and again about the “minimum system requirements” for Crysis, I truly want to tell them that “I TRULY FEEL YOUR PAIN“. 

Next Up: The Moving Tale of Delta Force…

Oct
26
Posted on 26-10-2007
Filed Under (NC Blog) by NightCrawler on 26-10-2007

First off my name is Tom , also known as the “NightCrawler”.   For 33 years I was employed in the Law Enforcement & Security Fields, and just recently I “early” retired.  I spent 20 years in the United States Air Force specializing in the Law Enforcement career field from 1972 to 1992, and after I retired from the USAF, I began work in the security consultant field.  In November 2005, after spending 13 years with a major worldwide military insurance provider, I decided that after I had a very healthy “nest egg” saved up that I would “early” retire to spend more time with my family and do things that I prefer.  What are those things, you might ask?  Well it is writing about my experiences while PC gaming, developing websites, publishing news stories for websites like Gamedrome.com, SimHQ.com, and my own PCGameNews.net, that I like accomplishing these days. 

I do not know the exact month back in 1988 I first started out playing PC Games, but I started playing PC games on the Commodore Amiga System. (**As a matter of Fact, I still have that old machine, and YES it does still work!**)  Some members may have heard of this computer gaming system, some may not other than it probably is listed as a “father figure” for the modern PC Gaming and Graphics outbreak  But my first on-line gaming experience, that I was “forced” to play by a friend and fellow co-worker of mine, was the original “Delta Force” via telephone modem.  We had many hours of fun playing that game, along with several other co-workers, and neighbors, during the week off work. 

The rest is history.  In 2001, while playing the EA game of Medal of Honor, I joined my first internet gaming “Team” the [420thSS].  Then in November 2003, I moved on to another Medal of Honor Spearhead “Team”, the [MoRg] (Militia of Rogue Gunslingers).  Then in mid-July 2004, I ended up joining the JGC, to play the game of Joint Operations.  That group then reformed itself in March of 2005 into a group named the Allied War Gamers, or AWG for short.  I was the leader there until I moved on to help a friend form another Joint Operations “Team” named the Joint Game Corps, or the JGC again.  I seem to always go back to those letters for some reason, probably because that was some of the best times I have had in my PC gaming career. 

Well I guess everyone in the whole gaming world has been waiting for my story to this subject, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the X-Men, I can promise you.  I hope everyone has an hour or so to read my story, because I can assure you, that you will fall asleep before halfway through.  So here it goes, along with first a little “history” of “The NightCrawler”: 

My Gaming Name is NightCrawler, I have gone by that name ever since I have been playing PC Games.  I came by that name in a way that is kind of hard to translate, BUT it has nothing to do with the X-Men’s Nightcrawler.  Other players would say, sure right, BUT truly I did not come by that name that way.  As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know there was an X-Man character of this name because I did not read comic books and didn’t keep up with them.  Back in the mid to late 70’s, I had a CB Radio “handle” or Call sign of NightOwl for which I really don’t know how I came across that, other than that was what my mom called me, while I was in High School,  because I stayed out late at night most of the time all week.  Then sometime in 1981, when I was stationed in the country of Turkey, with the USAF, my friends on my Law Enforcement Shift started calling me Crawler for some reason.  I guess because I had a “knack” of sneaking somehow up to people in the act of theft, or other violations of the law.  So when I was brainstorming a good game name for myself back in 1988, I came to the idea of combining my two (2) nicknames that I had into ONE.  Henceforth, the name NightCrawler came into being, for me anyway. There are MANY with that name in the gaming world right now, and I can bet that the majority of them are named that due to the X-Men movies. Even in Single-Player games, when I am able to create a character name, my name would and will still be NightCrawler

And here we ALL are, in the present, getting ready to play Battlefield Vietnam and Joint Operations, and more as the JGC.  What a future we have as a “Team”.  May the JGC Rule.