Well as we mentioned a few weeks ago we have an exciting new update to announce, and now it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to First Strike version 1.55. While the First Strike artists have been hard at work finishing off the art assets for Hoth, our coders and mappers have been busying themselves with developing further our Co-op map selection available for First Strike which should now much more fully represent the gameplay styles available in the Multiplayer portion of the mod.
Additionally there has been some honing of other technical features of the mod on a whole such as balancing assets better for gameplay, graphical tweaks, more sophisticated special effects and a whole load of other stuff which should improve the mod no end.
So now let’s take a look at the new maps that we'll be introducing to the Co-op and Singleplayer portion of the mod for the first time.
Imperial Convoy Raid
First up is this objective based space map, FSDevs Twigs and Dnamro have really outdone themselves here, overcoming many issues to develop AI which can operate effectively in space. There are technical issues with that which were circumvented with the Battle of Yavin Co-op map, because the Death Star surface could be made to act as the ground, but here these issues had to be tackled head on to create a full free floating space map. The resulting AI use of starfighters is not only effective, but impressively successful, with the bots able to take down all mission objectives alone. With the addition of careful gameplay balancing they have made this a challenging map for players to tackle when either attacking or defending against the bots.
Next up is this classic First Strike map. Now this has already seen a limited release as a Singleplayer map, but technical issues that we couldn't resolve in time for the last release meant that unfortunately we could not add it to that release, but as they say, all good things come to those who wait, and this has been well worth the wait. With all technical issues resolved this map in Co-op mode is now working better than ever, the bot AI has been vastly improved since our last release with the bot soldiers better able to navigate the map, and now able to utilise explosives such as grenades and rocket launchers, making them generally a lot meaner, as if they weren't deadly enough already. The result is a great version of this classic map which even the most seasoned First Strike player will find challenging.
As an added bonus, on this map treasure seekers can hunt for that firm fan favourite the Bounty Hunter kit (there will be one near each faction's starting CP), find it and rain death from above with the exhilarating jet pack, and view this classic map in a whole new way.
Null Sensor Station
With this next map you'll see us do something we did with one of the Co-op maps that was released with 1.5, which was to take a large existing map and make an area not featured so much in Multiplayer the focus of the smaller scaled Co-op map version, in essence almost creating a brand new map from an existing one. In this release one such map is Null Sensor Station. In Multiplayer most of the action happens within the Imperial mountain top base, leaving the lush grasslands and forest below practically untouched. Well that is about to change, as the Co-op version of this map is a scrappy little tank combat scenario with Imperial and Rebel armour battling over control of the foot of the mountain. This makes for some thrilling vehicular action with the added threat of infantry bots making full use of their anti-tank weaponry including detpacks, ion grenades and DEMP guns. You might not be quite as invincible in that tank as you think.
Rhen Var: Ice Plains
Continuing with the vehicular action we have this popular tank battle map from the Multiplayer side of the mod, now with added AI goodness resulting in some thrilling tank battle action in those frigid mountain passes. The AI has been fine tuned to use the tanks in an impressive manner, and there is still the ever present threat of infantry with their anti-tank weaponry, ignore them at your peril, as if a DEMP immobilizes you just as you're about to engage an enemy tank column, it's all over. You'll also gain a new respect for the AT-ST Walker here, as normally it is seen as something of an underdog on this largely tank based map, but you just wait and see how awesome half a dozen of those things look as they advance on you all guns blazing, and see just how quick they'll take you down. This is another challenging map which will force you to bring your 'A' game to achieve victory.
Rhen Var: Research Facility
Sticking with this icy world we have the second map which takes a rarely used area of a larger map to fashion a completely fresh gaming experience. Utilizing the north east area of this map FSDev Twigs has put together an impressive and challenging infantry based Co-op/Singleplayer experience which takes this less than popular map and makes a thrilling combat scenario which mixes it up between tight mountain passes and wide open Imperial installations which keep the action tight and focused, and yet still leaves room for flanking manoeuvres amongst this varied terrain, and if you thought the bots were pretty deadly already, just wait until you face them in a blinding snowstorm.
Strike at Parmel
Last, but not least we have the dogfighting space map that was released with First Strike 1.5. Addressing the issues I mentioned above when discussing Imperial Convoy Raid, Our AI now handles space maps like a dream and here we are in it for a simple and scrappy dogfight. And with countless deadly starfighters weaving around the space station at its centre, this is the perfect map to hone your starfighter piloting skills.
So now I guess the question on all your lips, is when will this release be available? I will just say soon for now. But we are almost there, the content is all done, and we are literally just at the stage now where we are rigorously testing this new content for stability, and tweaking and balancing things until they're just right.
So if all things go well? It shouldn't be long at all. Until then,
See you out there Troopers!