Ground Control

aka: Dimian Kongzhi, Genesis: Aperian 7
Moby ID: 1714
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Description official descriptions

The year is 2419. Rival mega-corporations Crayven Corporation and the Order of the New Dawn use the overt force of their armies to acquire and hold resources in outlying colonies. You are selected to lead Crayven Corp. expeditionary forces to secure the resources of remote planet Krig-7b. The New Dawn have already occupied the planet, in an attempt to acquire a secret item of unknown, but unimaginable power. Your task is to prevent the New Dawn from unlocking this secret.

Ground Control is a real-time strategy game. Squads operate on a fully-three dimensional battlefield. Line of sight, ground cover and terrain advantage all come into play. Field commanders can easily zoom in and out from high vistas for a strategic view of the battlefield, all the way down to the detailed individual unit.

There is no harvesting or technology tree in the game. Players only have the squads available in the field that they deploy in dropships, with reinforcements available in limited supply. Resource management in the game is the use and defense of combat field squads, not of harvesters or builders. Units (managed in groups or squads) are divided between the Crayven Corporation and the Order of the New Dawn. Individual units are fully rendered and animated 3D models.

The Crayven Corporation tends to use more traditional squad types, such as tracked vehicles, that use explosive type weapons. For example, Crayven use the Armored Personnel Carrier with its field repair capability to assist in battlefield repair, and of course to deploy its effective 'Marine' Rifle Infantry. The light, medium, and heavy battlefield tanks (referred to as Terradynes) serve as the main Crayven offensive force, in addition to artillery squads. The Crayven will also deploy its airborne units (Aerodynes), such as the fighter, attack, or bomber class squads.

The Order of the New Dawn employs less traditional squads to the battlefield. The New Dawn deploys hovering, high speed, high mobility units that use energy-based weapons. In addition to light, medium, and heavy 'Hoverdynes' (floating tanks), the New Dawn for example, employs powerful hovering beam platforms for artillery support. The New Dawn's armies are further bolstered by several air squads.

All told, players in service for the Crayven Corporation have fourteen unit types (four air units and ten ground unit types) available. New Dawn disciples will have also have fourteen squad types (eleven ground units and three air) at their disposal. Both armies have special weapons and equipment for each squad. The units for both corporations are available in the single player campaign. The first several missions are completed under the banner of the Crayven Corporation, using Crayven squads. Later, the player uses New Dawn squads to complete missions. Squads can be outfitted with numerous special weapons and equipment, such as tactical nuclear shells or deployable turrets.

Ground Control does not ship with 'skirmish' support. It is not possible to call up a game and play against Artificial Intelligence opponents on all multiplayer Ground Control maps. Cooperative play (multiplayer completion of the single player campaign) is also not supported. Another significant limitation is that the game does not have an in-game save feature.

Multiplayer gameplay is fast-paced, with emphasis on tactics. The game is the first real-time strategy (RTS) game featuring 'drop-in' support: players may simply log in to a Ground Control drop-in game in progress, rapidly outfit their squads, and join in the combat. Gameplay types include traditional deathmatch, where players are awarded points for destroying enemy squads. The multiplayer also includes 'Scorezone', and 'Flagzone' modes, where players are awarded for retaining control of strategic locations in the multiplayer arena. Teamplay is also fully supported, with up to eight players in a match.

Multiplayer supports LAN and internet play, both customizable. Hosts can set the technology level available, either restricting, or providing access to more advanced squads. Hosts may also adjust the overall damage level for all squads, ranging from 'wimpy' to the devastating 'Viking' damage setting. They may also adjust game score and time limits, map cycles, squad weapon and equipment loadout, and the availability/vitality of the APC.

In addition, the game comes with an (unsupported) map editor, GenEd, out of the box. GenEd, used by Massive Entertainment in production of Ground Control, is a tool for creation of single and multiplayer missions.

Spellings

  • 地面控制 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

178 People (120 developers, 58 thanks) · View all

Director & Lead Game Designer (Massive Entertainment)
Lead Software Engineer (Massive Entertainment)
Technical Director (Massive Entertainment)
Art Director (Massive Entertainment)
Lead Mission Designer (Massive Entertainment)
Game Design (Massive Entertainment)
Software Engineering (Massive Entertainment)
3D Engine Development (Massive Entertainment)
Art (Massive Entertainment)
Mission Design (Massive Entertainment)
Music & Audio Effects (Massive Entertainment)
Project Managment & QA Lead (Massive Entertainment)
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 85% (based on 35 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 35 ratings with 1 reviews)

An almost unheard of gem.

The Good
A lot of people hate the "real-time strategy" genre because when you think RTS, typically the first thing you think of is Command and Conquer and the dozens and dozens of clones that have come out since then. They've gotten prettier, and in all aspects they've improved over the years, but they're still all the same premise behind them: build base, gather resource, overwhelm the enemy with superior numbers.

Ground Control fits into the real-time strategy by its very basic definition. It is a real-time strategy, but it is NOT a typical RTS. There IS no base-building, there's no resource management, there is no "overwhelm the enemy with superior numbers". Instead, it's all about strategy and making key descisions in the heat of battle. There is also no saving in-game, making those key descisions all that more critical. This is a great game that is sadly almost unheard of.

I think the gameplay can best be compared to that of the Myth series, in that the idea is exactly the same: you begin with a set number of troops, and you have to use that to win the battle. Only in certain missions will you have reinforcements available, so you have to resort to that pesky little thing called strategy. You can't just select all your units and move them into the enemy base.

The strategy used in this game is wonderful. I just get a thrill of successfully laying down an actual trap for the computer that wasn't some scripted in-game event. How many RTS games can you actually set up an ambush in? Almost none, since quantity of units is usually the key strategy. Quantity won't matter much (though it doesn't hurt) in Ground Control - it all depends on how you use them. You can set up your snipers on the top of a mountain to shoot down any of those pesky torpedo troopers who would set off to blow away your artillery, who is busy bombing the hell out of the enemy's outpost, meanwhile you have some tanks guarding the artillery's flank, and airborn units hovering above in case they come from the air. You will use several different types of units and combinations of strategies in the game to ensure victory, and there is such a sweet thrill of finishing a missions with zero casualties all because of the way you handled each critical descision.

The graphics are also supurb for its time, I think. The entire game world - every bit of it - is completely 3D, and the mountain ranges never look jagged or at all phony. Tanks leave tracks in the dirt that don't vanish half a second after creating them, shadows actually work, and every bump and hill in the road your vehicles will drive (or hover) over realistically. Up until that point, I'd never seen a game run so smooth and look so good and be so playable all at once. The turrets on the tanks and vehicles even turn and fire on their own - even when the tank is in motion.

The voice-overs and dialogue are perfect. This is one of those few games where upon hearing the voice overs, I didn't cringe and bite my tongue. The story is also original, and involving enough that you'll get a feel for the characters in the game, and half way through the game everything changes (won't say what it is) and everything is all that much cooler.

The Bad
Okay, there is one thing I didn't like.

I don't really mind that there's no in-game saving. To me, that's just fine. It forces the player to use actual strategy in battle, rather than the quick-load-try-this-quick-load-try-something-else bullshit that is so readily available in other games. It also makes the skirmishes so much more exciting. When you watch in horror as an unseen artillery suddenly blows away three squads of jaeger infantry, your blood gets going and you want to seek VENGENCE and know that you'll have to go on without them.

HOWEVER, when a single mission can take as long as TWO HOURS, a save option is not a luxery, it is a NECESSITY!! When you put in TWO HOURS of work into a mission, only to have some sort of household emergency occur just as you're assaulting the final mission waypoint and have to quit...it's just not fair! And there was one time in the game where it crashed four minutes until the mission's end! AGGH!!!

The Bottom Line
Other than a lack of some sort of save game feature, this game is perfect in my book. Yes, there are things that could be improved on, but they're small things and not much really comes to mind.

This is a great game too often overlooked. If you're looking for a RTS that actually makes use of the S (strategy), this game is exactly what you want.

Windows · by kbmb (415) · 2003

Trivia

Freeware release

On June 25, 2004, Vivendi made Ground Control a free download (460MB) in order to promote the release of Ground Control II: Operation Exodus.

References

One of the main characters in Ground Control is a one Major Tom. This is probably a reference to David Bowie's Space Oddity:

This is Ground Control to Major Tom...

Server shutdown

The official Sierra game servers were shut down on 1st November 2008.

Information also contributed by Sciere

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Wilhuf.

Additional contributors: Rebound Boy, Unicorn Lynx, kbmb, Kabushi, Patrick Bregger.

Game added June 20, 2000. Last modified January 29, 2024.