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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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Playstation2 gets into the 'Conflict Zone' - Facts & Screens

by Rainier on Nov. 22, 2001 @ 11:24 a.m. PST

Conflict Zone (CZ) is a realistic simulation of modern day warfare and is based on developer MASA’s revolutionary Artificial Intelligence technology - DirectIA SDK . Developed entirely in real-time 3D, this real time strategy game lets players take the role of an international intervention force the International Corps for Peace (ICP) or a shadow organisation GHOST.

Conflict Zone (formerly known as Peacemakers), developed in France by M.A.S.A, is a classic 3-D real-time military strategy game with real-life consequences you've never seen before. You can choose to play as the softhearted ICP or the power-hungry GHOSTS, but your highly sophisticated weaponry is no match for public opinion. Both the ICP and GHOSTS have different strengths and weakness. For example, the GHOST player has inferior weaponry but have a potentially huge army in the civilians that can be converted to your cause, whilst the ICP have superior technology but are limited by how the media will view (and therefore support) your actions.


CZ is the first video game that incorporates and reflects the central role that the media has in current and future conflicts. Players will have to pursue not only military objectives but also political goals while maintaining and improving on their popularity with the media, and ultimately, public opinion.

BACKGROUND

The year is 2010, and the majority of the world’s countries have created the International Corps for Peace (the ICP), an organisation dedicated to bringing about world peace. However, not all countries are keen to be involved and these persist in generating conflicts through an organisation known only as GHOST. A secret organisation, which warrants only the economic interests of its members without any attachment to morals, GHOST does not hesitate to create crisis situations with the ultimate goal of destabilising the world-wide equilibrium bringing about global conflict – something they will be the sole beneficiaries of.

KEY FEATURES

  • Play as either ICP or GHOST. In CZ you can play as either side, with each having subtle differences in strengths/weakness. As the ICP you have superior technology, but are limited in your access to it by how the media view your actions on the battlefield. Whilst as the GHOST player you have inferior weaponry but have little concern over how the media views you, and you have a potentially huge army in the civilian populace that can be converted.
  • Multiple Views. There are a number of different views that can be adopted by players to suit their individual styles - from full map traditional top down to locking the camera behind a foot soldier as he follows behind the cover of a tank. An intuitive scrolling interface allows you to move with freedom across the battlefield zooming in and out as you wish reflecting modern ‘battlefield intelligence’ (see below) and the ability of the camera to report from almost any part of a war zone.
  • No Fog of War. Unlike most RTS games, there is no fog of war in CZ. As in modern warfare, it is assumed that sophisticated ground, air and satellite intelligence means that it is near impossible for units to actually hide from detection. However, if you don’t keep an eye on what is outside of your unit’s line of sight - your men on the ground can easily find themselves surprised and outgunned.
  • Commanders. An AI feature unique to CZ is the commanders. As you progress through the game up to 4 commanders can join your command staff. Each specializes in a different field and within this you assign them command points (funds) with which they will independently and effectively carry out tasks such as defence, construction and infiltration untill you command them to stop/change tasks or available funds dry up.
  • Individual Unit Intelligence. Units in CZ react naturally to the threat posed by an enemy in their line of sight. For example when an enemy tank approaches your tank and anti-aircraft units, the AA unit will withdraw and your tank engage, with the opposite being true should it be an enemy gunship. You can also set the rules of engagement (strict/cautious/aggressive) for each unit/group. For example In Cautious mode units will attack from the least risk and most effective distance.
  • Novel Resource Management. There are no raw materials in CZ, neither are you limited to what forces you bring to the battlefield. Anything can be made at your disposal if you have the required funds and infrastructure (i.e. a vehicle plant to produce tanks and a generator to power the plant etc.) in place. Though straightforward, there are subtle complexities, for example as ICP the your level of popularity will limit or open up more powerful and varied weaponry. With a 100% public support even battlefield nukes can be at your disposal!
  • The Role of the Media. Just as in all modern day conflicts from Vietnam onwards, the presence of the ‘independent’ media in CZ acts as one of the most potent weapons in both sides arsenal. As the ICP, media support is essential, as your funding is directly related to the media covering your good deeds such as airlifting civilians to refugee camps. Whist as the Ghost you can manipulate the media by using your special propaganda units to film your successes and the failings of the ICP.
  • The Civilians. How civilians are treated in the game will have a major impact on your campaign. As the ICP your funding will increase with protecting the innocents and dramatically suffer with civilian casualties. The Ghost players interest in the civilian populace is far more insidious - by capturing civilians you can brainwash/convert them into your troops, some of which will still appear on the battlefield (and more importantly to the ICP) as civilians!
  • Animations/detail. Every unit in play is animated and detail is intricate. For example - zoom to a jeep guarding a hill you’ll see the machinegun swivel, then if that jeep is suddenly struck by a round, the camera will shake, and the resulting damage from the round will show up.
  • Different mission types. There are two campaigns (ICP/GHOST), each with 17 missions and 1 secret/hidden mission that can be unlocked. Missions will vary from all out assault to defence and infiltration and espionage. Multiplayer mode allows up to 8 human players across a LAN and 4 online teaming against one another or versus computer (PC only)
  • Different Environments. Asian, Desert, Snow and Continental terrain typify the modern battlefields of CZ- each subject to different Climate Changes (snow, rain) and set at different times of day/night. A Map Editor and 20 multiplayer maps will also be included (PC only).
  • Realistic Units. There are over 65 different units on each side from anti-tank helicopters to AWAC surveillance and warships. CZ concentrates on realistic unit types rather than sheer quantity. This also encourages players to actively learn who to best deploy their forces.

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