I don't usually poke my nose into the other developer's forums except to lurk, or offer congratulations to the new Matrix acquirees. However, there are several issues raised in this thread that I think should be debated. With the intent, of course, to offer constructive criticisms for future improvements of the Matrix line of games. Forgive me in advance if I gore any sacred bulls, or step on anyone's toes.
The radio sound. Honestly, it is annoying. Like the OP, I have my gaming computer hooked up to a nice set of Klipsch Promedia speakers and yes, mousing over the buttons on the Game Menu is grating on the ears. Like another poster mentioned, this does in fact annoy me so much that I likewise drop a shortcut to the desktop and bypass it completely. If you really want to find out how annoying it can be, then try listening to some MP3's on your player, with some headphones, at a sound level you find suitable. Then, without adjusting your volume, open up the game menu, and mouse over some of the buttons. When you're recovered from your ear surgery, then drop back by here and let us all know what you think...
Graphics. I'll deal with this in three parts. This is an age-old bone of contention between gamers as toward how much "importance" should be placed on the graphical representation of the battlefield. My personal criteria for whether the graphics are "good" for a particular title hinge on three items. The first is "do the graphics clearly display the information important to the gamer, in a clearly readable fashion?" As I have not purchased the game, I cannot honestly speak with any level of authority on this, since I have absolutely no familiarity with the game engine.
The second question is "do the graphics suit my personal sense of aesthetics?" In my case, from the screenshots that I have seen, I'd have to say "No" - quite emphatically. I come from a more traditional boardgamer background, and the screenshots have all, without fail, "caused my eyes to bleed". This is strictly my own opinion, but for me, the colors are overly bright, and garish, and I could not possibly play this game for more than 5 minutes at a time. It is interesting to note here, that when we were developing TOAW III, and decided to incorporate one of the "brighter" sets of modified color tiles as the "standard set" for the release, some of our Beta/QA team felt the exact same way about our decision to change the comfortable and familiar graphics that we had all used for the last 8 years through the previous iterations of TOAW. Though for some tiles, the information being presented with the new tile sets was more clearly communicated, as a whole, the new set was substantially brighter. One tester even likened it to being "cartoonish". Thus, the decision was made to not only ship the game with the new tile set, but with the old one included. Matrix built into the package a graphics set switcher, along with a start menu shortcut, to make the job of switching back and forth, a seamless and effortless task. Which leads me to the third criterium...
How adaptable is graphics engine in being modified by the end user? This takes on several sub-categories. For instance, which aspect ratios are supported? Does the program recognize non-standard (i.e., non 4:3) aspect ratios? If it does, what other ratios are supported? Widescreen (16:10) is becoming an increasing large segment of the monitor market, both in desktops, as well as in laptops. Another case is, what resolutions are supported, by default? Does the game stretch, or scale the interface to suit different desktop aspect ratio and native resolution combinations, or does the burden to figure this out fall on the end user? Beyond the basic issue of aspect ratios and supported resolutions, a developer should also ask, "Am I giving the end user the tools with which to adapt the graphical display to one that he will find aesthetically appealing?" That is, can the end user swap out graphics files, and with a minimum of effort on a bare-bones graphical program, create new or substitute graphics for the game, that will suit his own personal sense of aesthetics? I think here, wheresoever possible to do so within the constraints of the game engine, the answer should be "Yes". In fact, I would consider it a "no-brainer" in this day and age of "mod-friendly" gaming. Whether or not Battlefront does this, again, I do not know, since I am not familiar with the game. Only with the general issue.
Thanks in advance for your "eye time", and thoughtful replies.
James A Mathews