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 Post subject: Delta Force
PostPosted: May 15th, 2008, 6:20 am 
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Location: Trier, Germany
I've been playing "Delta Force Land Warrior", again, from start to finish, so I could kick its 750 MB off the hard drive. Lots of bad things have been said about the game, and I guess most things are true, the most important being "The AI is stuipid as hell!"

I've been fooling around with the map editor and that makes it pretty plain obvious why. The more detail you put into the bots' actions on how to react to the player's advance, the more you limit their horizon. That's why the game's so easy to solve by choosing an alternative path of approach (I use to play many missions from back to front because it's more fun to tread on the scripts than maximize the action you can get) and that's obviously the reason why (I've only heard this) "Delta Force Black Hawk Down" does not allow you to stray from the intended path of approach, at least not very far. If you do the comander's voice will tell you something in the likes of, you violated your orders, mission aborted.

It is, however, interesting to note that the AI reaches levels of "Counter Strike" bot intelligence, maybe better, if you don't give them any orders. In that case, if they hear something close by or see something suspicious in a distance, they will go forth and examine what's going on. Thus, the player can never be sure, how the enemy will move and in what places they will emerge. It has its limits, of course, like the bots will act individually instead of as a group, but the advantages outweigh the negative sides imho.

If you're not careful with the bots' patrol path, they will get stuck at map objects like trees, walls or anything. If they get alarmed by seeing or hearing the intruder, they will start running, but remain on their patrol path, and running, who knows why, limits their scope, or angle of view. Which is to say, if they walk they are more aware more of their surroundings, but while running they may speed past by you, if you're situated at a certain angle to their point of view. I think only if the alternative is tripping over the player they will stop, look, aim and shoot.

But be it as it may, I like this game series, I cannot even clearly say why. The map editor is a major factor, that I am sure of. It's easier to handle than the "HalfLife"/"Counter Strike" editor because you have a set of huge basic maps and you put a set of custom objects onto the map like you would in a sandbox. This gives you less freedom of creativity, but despite the need to add trigger events and areas and patrol paths with elaborate Boolean Algebra, it's still easier and faster to learn and master than the above alternative.

By the way, despite my almost 10 years of "Delta Force" playing I have not been able to solve this one mission: "Operation Gatekeeper". It has nothing to do with shutting off the US border to Mexico or anything, the briefing says you have to guard a power generator against terrorist invaders, which means it puts you in an opposite situation - the others are coming for you for a change. This mission is hard, because it takes away your most important advantages, which are mobility, deliberate action and distance, i.e. the sniper rifle. You have to stand on top of the building and react to the enemy who's incoming from an almost 180° half circle to the east, you can't use a sniper rifle because proper aiming costs time, and sometimes you'll have to stop someone right in front of your doorstep, quickly, which necessitates at least semi automatic fire frequencies.
When one bad guy enters the building he'll blow it up, mission failed. I wonder whether there's some sort of solution to this, except stopping the invaders on first sight, 200 m away, without scope and fail...

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