7 August 2010
Author: Giorgos LazaridisMen Of War Game Console
Worklog - First it was Empire Earth, Now it is Men Of War (August 7 2010)
I was a fanatic player of Empire Earth. So fanatic, that i played EE till the very last day that all servers were closed. What a disappointment. I loved this game not for the graphics neither for the effects, but for the gameplay. It had many different units with different characteristics, and i could plan different tactics to get my enemy down... I tried EE II and EE III but -as usual- the gameplay was sacrificed for the graphics and effects...
After trying many RTSs, i came across this "Men Of War" game... If you love RTS and you master micro-management, i strongly suggest you play this game. I will not tell you more about this game, as this is not the reason for this article, i will only tell you that this is the kind of game that i always wanted to play and yet did not know that it exists! You will find me there on-line with the ID "consilio_et_animis" (Latin: "By Wisdom and Courage")
What i plan to make? Well, i plan to make a MOW (Men Of War) console. It will be an extra PS2 keyboard, with some buttons anatomically placed so that i can click them all with my left hand. Moreover, it will have a small joystick. This is for direct controlling tanks and other units in MOW. Direct control is another feature that i love in MOW. Before this, i played 1942 the pacific air war (i think in the mids of 90s) which had a similar feature. You could plan a plane attack to enemy ground installations, but whenever you wanted, you could become the pilot of one of these planes and engage to a dogfight or a bombardment! Excellent feature. MOW names this Direct Control.
Direct Control is kinda tricky
During fight, you can either press the control button or lock direct control with the end button. With the control button, the DCM (Direct Control Mode) lasts as long as you keep it pressed. With the end key, you lock DCM, until the next time you press end again. And here is where the problem occurs... Using the control key is impossible to simultaneously drive the tank and use the mouse for the turret, as humans have only 2 hands with the fingers way to close to each other... With my right hand i control the mouse, with the left hand i drive the tank using the arrows... i need a way to press and keep pressed the control key... Impossible.
So, i used to lock DCM with the end key. But this way carries a great disadvantage: DCM may fail to unlock! There are many ways for this failure to happen. You may for example forget to press the end key, or you may click on the wrong key that is close to end. Sometimes it happened that i pressed the end key but the direct control was not released, either due to key ghosting or another bug... And that sucks! Minimum, you will loose a few valuable game seconds... That is exactly the reason why i decided to make this console...
This mini joystick will replace the 4 arrow keys, and so i will save 3 fingers! But more important, is the way that this joy will work! Each time you make a move with the joystick, it will also engage automatically DCM, and upon release it will automatically disengage DCM! For example, if i want to turn my tank to the left, i will push joystick to the left. The controller will first send to the PC the control key down to engage DCM, and then it will send the left arrow key down, and my tank will turn! When i release the joystick, the controller will send the left arrow key up to stop turning, and the control key up to disengage DCM! Isn't that just great?
Give me SHORTCUTS!
It is natural for a man to love what he can master. My power-point in games is speed. I can play really fast and i have kinda good reflexes, and that is why i never played pac-man and instead i was a Samurai Shodown II pro. This is one of the reasons why i love Men Of War - for the player that plays faster and micro-manages more units in detail, has more chances to win. And speed is increased dramatically by shortcuts! I know that many people do not use keyboard shortcuts and they prefer instead to use the mouse for specific jobs (or simply cannot use shortcuts). In MOW for example, someone can throw a grenade either by clicking on the grenade button, or by pressing F1. Not using shortcuts is a major drawback for gamers. Knowing this, i always learn the shortcuts by heart before going into the game.
So, the console that i prepare, will have also -as you understand- the most common shortcuts that i use for battle. These are the shortcuts that i plan to use:
These are the 20 shortcuts, that i have mark as extremely useful during battle.Pretty much huh? For the rest shortcuts i will use the keyboard.