Preview

Nuclear Dawn Preview (PC)

In videogames, much like in politics, a "two-horse" face isn't exactly healthy. Unlike Politics, it can also spawn amazing creativity. While the 'big' names in FPS are fighting it out over who gets to be top dog, the smaller studios are trying to be creative and fill niches not often filled. I mean why not, right? You know you're not going to be able to beat EA or Activision, so try and be interesting instead. That's where games like Nuclear Dawn come in.
 

Ok, so we've seen more post-apocalypty places, but hey, the quality is there...
This is another 'mod-to-riches' story where a free mod for an existing product, with limited resources, has become a full commercial product. In this case, Nuclear Dawn is a game that's using Valve's Source engine. Its hook is the fact that it's trying to be the world's first 'true' FPS/RTS hybrid. Whilst other FPS titles in the past have dabbled with various 'light' RTS elements, Nuclear Dawn takes things a step further by having an actual, separate, RTS interface. The Commander (who's picked at random out of everyone who applies), can go into the command bunker structure and enter a mode which looks like a stripped down version of Starcraft. In this mode, he can place buildings and turrets 'research' new weapons and give orders to up to four squads on his/her team.

Nuclear Dawn's gameplay revolves around setting up your own structures and 'bases', which only the commander can do, and by fighting over and capturing resource points, which is what everyone else does. The commander can place down everything from an armoury, to extra spawn points, to deployable defences and turrets. Structures also need power however, so you the commander must also build power plants, and range extenders to increase the range of where base structures can go. Each of the two factions as a semi-unique way of handling power requirements, so even on that level you can get variations on gameplay.

The Commander plays a pivotal role in the efficiency of his or her team. Not only are they responsible for that's already been said above, but many other tasks fall under their domain as well - unlocking new technologies and weapons to your team an edge in battle for one, not to mention creating defence and supply lines on the fly. similarly, everyone needs to make sure that the bunker is protected, as it's game over if it gets destroyed. Well, also if you lose your 'spawn gates', because you can't summon anyone else in anyway.
 
HUD Is very Crysis-esque. I like it
We see a lot of potential here, although we can't help but feel commanders may get bored doing just the RTS side of things, and end up wondering off and not doing what they are supposed to do. There is a 'Mutiny' system in place to kick out ineffective CO's, although again we worry that that could be open to abused as well. Depends how many people decide to be collective dicks, I guess.

Of course, that's just the main gameplay mode - Nuclear Dawn will also cater to more traditional FPS action, and we assume will have a variety of other gameplay modes as well like traditional deathmatch. Oddly enough, there doesn't appear to be anything special with regards to clan support right now, but perhaps that will be added in later. Funnily enough, the developers want this game to be highly moddable as well,

Aside from the RTS elements, everything else is pretty much standard FPS fare. You have four class archetypes per faction, and these classes can be outfitted with different kits and gadgets to diversify gameplay. There's supposed to be a wide variety of weapon options, so with any luck there will be plenty to fiddle around with. We've only seen one map so far, which was still fairly decent despite being the 'smallest', and was urban based, and there are reported to be several other variants as well.
 
See? Just like playing a round of Starcraft... without the aliens... or the spaceships... or...

Nuclear Dawn is one of the first FPS's to come along in recent months that is actually trying something new. We're interested in seeing how the RTS and FPS dynamics interact in a fully populated map, and overall we just want to get our hands on some playable code. A beta is due in the coming weeks, which we should be down for, so we'll keep you guys updated. Nuclear Dawn is due out on PC on September 2011, with a rumoured Xbox 360 release slated for this year as well.

Most Anticipated feature: The RTS mode and its potential.

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Comments

By nocutius (SI Elite) on Aug 24, 2011
nocutius
The rts/fps blend reminds me of Savage.
By paelleon (SI Veteran Member) on Aug 24, 2011
paelleon
I recall the good old Starsiege Tribes to have a similar feature. Or even Battlezone and Operation Flashpoint with the CTI missions.
By JamieSI (SI Core) on Aug 24, 2011
JamieSI
I was thinking of Savage now that you mention it, but also C&C Renegade. More Savage though for sure.
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Aug 24, 2011
nocutius
Ah Battlezone, loved it, besides the slightly clunky controls it was really fantastic. I kinda wish for a sequel, they just need to figure out how to modernize the interface and it's a show stealer.
By steven101x1 (SI Member) on Aug 24, 2011
steven101x1
Haha oh i remember the days of battlezone, im so happy u brought that up paelleon
By junior_birdman (SI Newbie) on Aug 25, 2011
junior_birdman
I saw this a while ago on Steam and it caught my eye - glad to see it's looking to turn out well.
By lilarcher (SI Newbie) on Aug 29, 2011
lilarcher
Looks cool
By rcpainter (SI Newbie) on Sep 02, 2011
rcpainter
Looks really fun