Prince of Eckmühl
What tech support ?
Last August I downloaded the first demo and the game's EXE turned off/disconnected my hard-drive, twice, once each time that I tried to fight a battle. I visited the SES website looking for tech support and found none, no useful FAQ or forum, nothing. Then I Google'd the game and ended up at the AG forum, where I was told by a game reviewer that there was something wrong with my system. I guess the guy didn't realize that I was a veteran beta-tester for both game developers and Nvidia, and that I run just about every piece of gaming software around, typically without issue.
About a month later, I downloaded a second demo. This second EXE resolved the hard-drive issue, but it was chugging along and the game froze several times. While I was actually able to play the battle to conclusion a couple of times, the game appeared unstable and my sound card kept my speakers poppping. Well, guys, I followed the routine above once more, and, once again, the developer/publisher website provided no relief. This time, however, Google sent me to the SZO forums.
Apart from the treatment being meted out to disgruntled visitors by a hyper-sensitive little scrum of community "insiders," game reviewer included, I discovered that there was NO TECHNICAL SUPPORT, whatsoever, for DG, at least not in the conventional sense. Folks who were having trouble with the game were directed to email the offending file(s) to the developer for perusal and repair. For the uninitiated, that's EXACTLY what a beta-tester does for a developer. It's also worth noting that, from patch to patch, the bugs and fixes weren't being publicly documented. Folks were just throwing darts into space as they sent in those files. IIRC, the game was on version #13 at that time. It's currently up to version #50, and is broken, yet again.
Okay, so much for the "cultural problems" with the developer and their approach to the public and their products. The truth is, I never purchased the game, because of my experience with the demos. I can, however, offer some brief criticism of the game, albeit limited to the battle that I was able to complete with the second demo.
The tactical/battle portion of Distant Guns is little more than a 3D version of this:
If you're truly wowed by 3D graphics, if that's what floats your pre-dreadnought, then you're gonna be mighty happy with DG. Apart from that, however, Koger's game is just as boring as Tiller's. There's nothing to do. You just sail around with the camera and watch the battle. Simple battle functions, such as torpedo work, are out of your hands. And, in that Tiller's includes a 2D map to plot movement on, I consider his work superior.
The game desperately needed:
1) a 2D map for accurate movement plotting. The GUI for plotting movement of TF and individual ships is clumsy, and most damningly, hopelessly imprecise. Players shouldn't lose games because of klunky interfaces, IMO.
2) A bridge view with some nice binoculars would go a long way in introducing some effective FOW into the battles, not to mention the immersiveness that's sorely lacking in the game.
3) Full player control of guns and torpedo directors and targeting.
That's a brief list of things that would have to be included before I would consider taking a second look at Distant Guns, from Storm Eagle Studios, or any other game based on the same engine, for that matter. As for the "tech support" which Eddy alludes to, I'd NEVER buy a game from an outfit that operates like SES, in that regard. You just can't treat people like that and expect them to buy your games.
Government is the opiate of the masses.