An Intro to: Battlezone '98 ReduxReport: 2016-04-25
Interview with Jason Kingsley, CEO of Rebellion Developments
AH: Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome this month’s guest Jason Kingsley, co-founder, CEO and creative director of Rebellion Developments. So, Jason, there’s been some big news in the past few months. Battlezone reboot, Battlezone 98 Redux. I’m sure you’ve been asked this question a thousand times in the months since Rebellion purchased the IP, but what is your exposure to the Battlezone brand like? How did you encounter it?
JK: I played the arcade cabinet as a kid. The one where you pressed your head into a filthy viewing visor. It was brilliant and many 10p peices were spent at the time. Remember people were allowed to smoke inside in those days in the UK, and arcades were dark smoky wonderlands of high tech adventure.
AH: You’ve got some pretty unusual hobbies. For those who don’t know what I mean, take a scroll down Jason’s twitter (@RebellionJason). I won’t pretend I know much about equestrianism, but I can’t miss the chance to ask about that.
JK: Yes, to get away from the computers, I mingle with horses and the land. I live on a farm and look after 11 of my own creatures that range in size from ponies (about waist high) to massive Shires, that are about 6ft at the shoulder. My twitter feed is pretty eclectic, covering games business observations, interesting scientific and historical nuggets that I discover and many pictures of me on my horses doing medieval type stuff. I usually ride six horses for an hour each both weekend days so spend a lot of time in the saddle.
AH: Rebellion has come a long way in the past few decades; the biggest independent studio in Europe. Of the dozens of franchises and intellectual properties the company has handled in the past - a massive roster including Judge Dredd, Alien vs Predator, Stars Wars, Call of Duty and of course not forgetting Sniper Elite and Battlezone - which would you say is your favourite? We promise not to get offended if you don’t say Battlezone!
JK: They’re all my favourite, or at least all the games we have done are special in some big way. Of course the ones that are very successful keep things going, but even the less successful ones, or the ones that were just not very good have special stories behind the usually, and they are all part of our history as a company. AvP games really put us on the map, but the Sniper Elite series is probably up there at the top of my list. From a game playing perspective I also love the Zombie Army series too, as they were meant to be good, non-serious, shooty fun.
AH: I've got one last question before we go, and this is one we’ve seen coming from all sides since the announcement back in March so it'd be unforgivable to not throw this at you. Do you have any plans for the rest of the series - The Red Odyssey, Rise of the Black Dogs and Battlezone 2?
JK: We always have plans about these sort of things, we’re gamers after all, but when we have the teams available to put the plans into action is another thing entirely. I’m going to dodge your question for now and say that we’d love to get those elements updated and released, but we haven’t decided to do so yet. In part it will depend on how well the Battlezone 98 redux launch goes, and so far it’s been going very well indeed.
AH: Well, it's the smart answer if nothing else. Hopefully it will allay the concerns of those who are worried this might just be a hit-and-run release. We're certainly glad to hear things have been a success so far. Thank you for your time, and we'd be honoured to have you back some day.
Bobcat Betty’s Guide to The Bobcat (Light Tanks)
So, recruit, you’re about to face your first skirmish out on the battlefield, and the NSDF “Bobcat” Light Tank is your vehicle of choice? Well before you go thinking you’re about to rain thermal missiles upon every enemy unit that crosses your path there’s a few things you need to know. Stick with me and by the end of your training you’ll be able to take on everything from the nimble scout to the behemoth walker.
Among the earliest vehicles designed by the NSDF, the Bobcat combines mobility and speed on the battlefield with frightening firepower, it’s Thermal Hornet missiles able to turn most units into fireballs in the blink of an eye. Its combination of cannon and rocket hardpoints make it one of the most versatile craft to choose from, enabling it to take on a variety of roles, and with a higher ammo pool than most other vehicles, in the right hands it can have far greater longevity in a fight.
Length: 6.85m Width: 6.70m Height: 2.85m Scrap Cost: 6 Build Time: 7.0 seconds EDD Hull: 2000 Nano Ammo: 1500 Radar Range: 300m Mobility: High
Standard Bobcat: Cannon: AT-Stabber Rocket: Thermal Hornet Special: Solar Flare Black Dog Bobcat: Cannon: AT-Stabber Rocket: Thermal Hornet Special: Phantom VIR Bobcat EX: Cannon: Minigun Rocket: TAG Gun Special: MITS Mine
Proper use of the Bobcat in a dogfight requires a varied skillset, being able to effectively predict where your attacker will fire in order to dodge and use all the light tank’s weapons in combat are vital to staying alive and staying on top.
When piloting the Bobcat, you will want to keep your cannon and rocket linked in order to maximize your firepower. Usually, this is done by pressing ctrl+f9 with your cannon active, but some pilots may choose to map the function to a different key, such that the cannon and rocket can be linked with one hand. With your weapons linked, you’ll be able to lay fire on an approaching target with your AT-Stabber as your Hornet locks on, and then need only release for a split second to fire it off. Mastering this technique will take some time, as quick-moving targets will be harder to lock onto if you’re firing with your AT-Stabber. This is where being able to quickly unlink and relink these weapons will come in the useful, as quick moving targets will otherwise be impossible to hit with both weapons.
In the heat of battle, your vehicle’s special weapon may come in very useful depending on your enemy. The stock Bobcat’s Solar Flare is an effective countermeasure against enemy rocket tanks that rely on the Hornet weapon and also creates a hazard for the enemy, whereas the Bobcat EX’s MITS Mine is useful for catching enemy units or cannon fire. The Black Dog Bobcat’s Phantom VIR is the one of the best countermeasure weapons, as it allows an almost perfect cloak that confuses both Thermal and Image missiles and can be used to trick enemy units, although be careful as it does not render you radar invisible so you may still be targeted.
When fighting in the Bobcat, be careful when engaging units with countermeasures of their own. Rocket Tanks have low heat signatures and are difficult to lock onto with the Hornet, as do turrets. Walkers have high heat signatures and can be locked onto easily, but the soviet Golem has Blast Cannons that greatly outrange your missiles and cannot be fought head-on. Enemy units will often drop nav beacons to evade your Hornets, especially when fleeing, so reserve your missiles for when they face you head-on to avoid wasting ammunition shooting down beacons. If in a dogfight you run out of ammo, lock your hornet onto your enemy before attempting to flee. The missile lock will allow you to track them and, if they follow you, you’ll be able to release a missile as soon as you re-arm.
When considering what weapons to upgrade your Bobcat with, the MAG Cannon is an excellent choice as it can be lethal when used in combination with the Hornet, while the SP-Stabber is also quite effective, as it’s range matches the Hornet making it easier to use both at the same time. The comet can also be a devastating stand-in for the Hornet, as the Bobcats ammo pool allows it to use the weapon with the same effectiveness as most bombers.
When utilizing Bobcats under your command, there are a few options that will maximize their effectiveness. As they are cheaper and faster to build than standard tanks, you’ll find that supplementing your forces with Light Tanks can be an effective way to establish a large offensive force. As Bobcats have lower hull than most factory units, they can be vulnerable, but they can more than make up for it in the long run if upgraded. While the Bobcats under your command will not use their Hornets, they will use any other missiles you upgrade them with, Sandbags being a particularly cheap way to boost their firepower as they pin down enemy units. Additionally, arming your Bobcats with thumpers will allow them to disrupt enemy forces in engagements, allowing your heavy-hitting units to rip into the opposing force.
Battlezone 98 Redux - Beginner’s Strategy Guide
In Battlezone, every choice depends on who you’re fighting and what map you’re fighting on, and no one guide can guarantee you the path to victory. With that in mind, we’ll walk through a basic startup strategy for the map “Canyon Madness”, a 4-player strategy map that comes with the stock game.
Upon launching the game, this is what you will see:
This is your spawning area, as you can see, we have started out on the east corner of the map with two geysers, but no scrap fields. That poses a bit of a problem for us, so we need to start looking around our immediate area for resources. From our spawn we have four entrances, two of them are main openings that lead to the middle of the map, and the other two are narrow passages near the edge of the map. We’ll check what’s at the main passages first.
Investigating the entrances to our spawn area, we finally found some scrap, but there’s an issue with it.
The scrap is about half a kilometer from our starting geyser, a rather hefty trip for our Scavengers to make, but we have several options to make the commute faster for our gatherers. We could move to a closer geyser (there are two possible here, one by our spawn and one closer to the center), or get a Constructor to build a silo by the scrap field.
The thing to consider when making your choice is to ask what can get you the most amount of bio-metal as quickly and safely as possible. All of our options here are viable, and it’ll take a bit of judgment and experience to get the decision down right. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll stay close to home at first so we can build up fast later. First, build a Recycler.
Once you realize that was a joke, send your Recycler to the lower geyser. If you want it to deploy as quickly as possible, place a nav beacon over the geyser with the “P” key (it will appear from the back end of your tank) and order your Recycler to move to it, it will deploy instantly when it reaches the nav.
Since the Recycler is still a ways off from the scrap, we’ll want to build a Constructor first before our Scavengers. That way the Constructor can set up a silo while the Scavs are making their trek to the scrap. Once the Constructor is made, we’ll make two Scavengers (saving the 4 scrap that’s left so we can make the silo immediately), and move our Constructor to the scrap field.
Once at the scrap field, we order our Constructor to build a silo near it by selecting the constructor and pressing the “7” key (it will be the “6” key for the NSDF because Americans can never do things the easy way).
Once you’re cleared to build, let the Constructor do its thing and your scavs should be just starting to gather before the silo’s done.
Now that we have a fast source of income, we need to consider moving our base. Our starting area is nice and all, but we’ll want to get as much scrap as we can get if we want to put up a good fight against enemies. Maps tend to have the most of their scrap in or near their center, as it’s the most likely place players will run into each other. This is the case with Canyon Madness, so we’ll pack up our Recycler and move ourselves inwards. We’ll let our two Scavs gather scrap while we do so, they’re fine as they are.
There are two pairs of geysers we can move to, one is to our Northwest and on low ground, and the other is to our Southwest and on high ground. Generally speaking, height gives you an advantage while defending your base, so we’ll move to the Southwest site. Have your Recycler follow you and keep within 200 meters of him as he will put in more effort to keep up with you. As we’re approaching the center, it’d be a good idea to keep an eye on your radar to check if there are any signs of enemies or scrap nearby. Once we reach our destination, you know what to do.
Welcome to the center, comrade. From here, we’ll be in a good position grow our base and our forces. We’ll want more scavs to gather the scrap around us, but first we need to build a Factory. If you haven’t run into one already, you’ll run into enemies soon, and you’ll need strong defenses to help you out. Once your Factory’s done, send her to the geyser and pump out a couple more Scavs, I usually prefer to have at least five or six roaming around. You’ll notice to the southeast of us there’s another scrap field. You know what to do.
From here on out, you have the resources and are in the prime position to build an army, fight your enemy, and take all the scrap for yourself. What army you use to fight your enemy is up to you, and you may find some army compositions are more effective than others. I do have my preference though...
Enjoy Battlezone Redux!
Workshop Run-Down: The Day One Top Ten
Aside from hunting down bugs in the game the twenty community beta testers were also tasked with loading the workshop up with day-one content, and they rose to the task. With nearly 100 items on the workshop we figure you could do with some help in sifting through them all, so we've picked out some highlights for you.
In this section we're going to take a brief look at some of the day-one items in the workshop - what they do, why you should get them, and what else you can expect in the near future.