Video Card: All In Wonder 9700 Pro Review :: Star Fleet Command 3

01-03-2003 · Category: Hardware - Video Cards

By Benjamin Sun

Star Fleet Command 3 is the latest game in the series started by Star Fleet Command . Based upon the board game Star Fleet Battles which was introduced in 1978, SFC3 takes the Original Series style starship combat into the 24th century combat of the Next Generation. Star Fleet Battles is a complicated but fun single starship game (you can play several ships at the same time howevrer, with the Energy Allocation for each ship and 32 impulse manuevers and many other factors, it's impractical to control more than 2 ships for even the most experienced players).

Taldren , the company that produced the entire series , decided to make the game more accessible to the casaul gamer. The first three games in the series ; Star Fleet Command, Star Fleet Command II : Empires At War and Star Fleet Command Orion Pirates, the games were controlled by a complicated interface. Every weapon or manuever needed to be micromanaged by the player. Veterans of Star Fleet Battles loved the micromanaging because SFB actually needed more work . However, new players sometimes were intimidated by the increased workload.

Star Fleet Command 3 simplified the interface. Instead of firing phasers one at a time based on type (phaser 1 , 2 , 3 etc) or making complicated weapon groups like in previous Star Fleet Commands, SFC3 cut down the multiple phaser types and heavy weapon types into a primary bank and a heavy weapons bank. In SFC 1, 2 , OP you could group the weapons together, however , the game required you to do it manually. In SFC3 you can fire the weapons as they go into arc.

Anyway , it's my intention to give a sense of gameplay on the 9700 Pro and the game. Playing the game at 1280x960 6x FSAA and 16x anisotropic filtering is perfectly playable , in my opinion. There is a question, as to whether FSAA is enabled , however. I took a screenshot with 6x FSAA and 16x anisotropic filtering and the "jaggies" which antialiasing is supposed to help with are still there. I saw no slowdowns, no crashes of the drivers while using 02.4 9069 drivers. The previous driver set did cause random program restarts or even a reboot at inopportune times. With the new drivers those reboots are a thing of the past.

I played through the Klingon, Romulan and Federation campaigns without issue on the AIW 9700 Pro. I found the game fun, entertaining and easier to control than the previous games of the series. The 9700 Pro's ability to play the game at maximum resolution and settings blew me away. The ships, while spartan in comparison to Bridge Commander , do the job visually. The explosions , while not the best explosions around, also do the job.

System requireements for SFC3 are : 100% DirectX 8.1 compatible 3-D Hardware Accelerator , English version of Microsoft Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, Pentium III 450MHz processor or Athlon processor, 128MB RAM, 650MB of uncompressed hard disk space, 100% Windows 98/ME/2000/XP compatible computer system DirectX 8.1 or higher, 100% DirectX 8.1 or higher compatible sound card and drivers , 4x CD-ROM drive 100% Microsoft compatible mouse, keyboard and drivers.