Force Commander Almost Done

LucasArts says the game should ship by the end of next month.

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We drove up to the LucasArts offices to see Force Commander and try to sneak a peek at Obi-Wan. Unfortunately, the diligent PR gatekeeper at LucasArts couldn't show us Obi-Wan, but we did see a lot of Force Commander, the 3D real-time Star Wars strategy game.

With Force Commander, LucasArts hopes to "re-create the feeling of Starcraft or Age of Kings but in full 3D." The game is a land-based strategy game that emphasizes more tactical engagements than base management. Unlike Rebellion, the game is strictly military-focused, and the combat occurs on eight different planets, ranging from the snowy plains of Hoth to the dense forests of Endor's moon. The game has two sides, Rebel Alliance and Empire, with distinct troops and capabilities. The Empire, as a function of its bureaucratic nature, has a restricted building structure code that requires you to build control towers before you can build higher-end buildings. Their vehicles are imposing, animal-like walkers, like the powerful AT-AT and the swift AT-ST walker. The Rebels, in contrast, can build free-form, without the need to first build support buildings. Their vehicles also all have shields and are mostly conventional tanks.

The game's resource model is simple; in fact, the only resource is command points, which you earn during battle and use to purchase new troops.

The game looks fine, although because it's been in development so long, its engine isn't quite up to the standards of the best 3D engines currently on the market. However, the gameplay is where the game could possibly shine. Here are some screenshots to whet your appetite. Next week, come back for a full in-depth preview of Force Commander, where we'll reveal the game's units, campaign structure, command points system, and other special features of the game. We'll also have more exclusive artwork. Star Wars fans won't want to miss it.

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