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Laser Squad Nemesis: Fail-by-email or "Smart" move?
February 5th 2002, 17:08 CET by Paul Montgomery

Old skool Commodore 64 acolytes might remember one of the pioneering titles in the field of tactical shooters: Laser Squad. Released in 1988, it was a turn-based game comprising nine missions featuring marines fighting aliens and mechanoids, in a combat system which is familiar to latter-day players of Fallout (a Java applet of one of the missions can be downloaded here). Its maker, Julian Gollop, went on to use Laser Squad as the inspiration to create X-COM and two sequels, much beloved of many Crappers.

Gollop's experience with what happened to the X-COM franchise after Hasbro took it over, and the yanking of funding for his previous game Dreamland Chronicles by US publisher Bethesda (explained in PCZone here, thanks to laser-squad.com, and discussed by Gollop here at HomeLAN), led him to create a small independent house called Codo Games to create a sequel of sorts in Laser Squad Nemesis. One might think this sort of game might enjoy success, given that Fallout:Tactics did fairly well with similar game mechanics. However, LSN will be a play-by-email game, which you can only play if you register and pay $15 for 6 months. The client software is free, and only weighs in at 7.3MB, but it will not have a single-player component to begin with. Only registered users will be able to start games.

The question is this: is Gollop killing the franchise by making LSN a PBEM game? Given that Codo is a rather small company without a publisher, it could be surmised that they don't have enough budget or time to develop a massively multiplayer X-COM clone with all the bells and whistles, but is this the best they could do to start off with? Is Gollop making the right move by abandoning publishers and going it alone on the Internet, Derek Smart style?
C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: Laser Squad Nemesis: Fail-by-email or "Smart" move?

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#1 by "Gabe"
2002-02-05 17:08:39
gabe@opencrap.org http://www.opencrap.org
m0nty to the rescue! Maybe.
#2 by "JJZ"
2002-02-05 17:12:55
Looks nifty.
#3 by "Sgt Hulka"
2002-02-05 17:13:11
sgt_hulka@yahoo.com http://www.hulka.com
I think it's a step in the right direction for a small team that hasn't established itself in the market.

........I always give 110% +12
#4 by "Gabe"
2002-02-05 17:13:56
gabe@opencrap.org http://www.opencrap.org
Stupid
#5 by "LPMiller"
2002-02-05 17:14:00
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
Sounds to me like he is looking to play a teeny market, not make it bigtime. Doing it old school, keeping it real, like the old version of Stars or something.  I don't know that he is killing the franchise, so much as working to get some starting funding from a low overhead game.
#6 by "Gabe"
2002-02-05 17:14:02
gabe@opencrap.org http://www.opencrap.org
buggy
#7 by "Gabe"
2002-02-05 17:14:07
gabe@opencrap.org http://www.opencrap.org
software!
#8 by "Leslie Nassar"
2002-02-05 17:14:17
You spelt 'school' wrong.
#9 by "MaverickUK"
2002-02-05 17:14:49
peter.bridger@tpg.co.uk http://www.thisstrife.com/
:sniff: RIP X-COM.... I remember him in his prime, full of life!
In later years he just feel apart...

--
Mav
\"What kinda shithole planet is this!?\"
#10 by "m0nty"
2002-02-05 17:16:06
m0nty_au@bigpond.com no fixed abode
I spelt old skool the old skool way, which is old skool.
#11 by "m0nty"
2002-02-05 17:20:29
m0nty_au@bigpond.com no fixed abode
The following quote from the PCZone article shows Julian's Dr Smartian tendencies. What is Bacofoil... does it contain tin?

"It's very refreshing. We no longer have to pander to the whims of publishers and marketing people," says Julian from his Bacofoil-lined geoscape command console. "Now we can deal directly with our consumers because we are selling LSN as an online subscription service. This means that the game can evolve rapidly as more people play it. Its kind of similar to what used to do ten years ago when myself and Nick would produce expansion kits for Laser Squad, which we sold by mail order, and our small office was pilled high with tapes and packages. Fortunately the Internet makes distribution a good deal easier."
#12 by "Leslie Nassar"
2002-02-05 17:26:57
You spelt it wrong again you stupid Australian.  You disgust me.  DISGUST!  ME!
#13 by "Whisp"
2002-02-05 17:28:07
http://www.opencrap.org
#8 Leslie Nassar
You spelt 'school' wrong.

You spelt spelled wrong (and yes, I see it spelled with the alternate spelling.)

-Whisp
#14 by "Leslie Nassar"
2002-02-05 17:29:22
You spelt alternate worng.
#15 by "Duality"
2002-02-05 18:16:13
http://www.opencrap.org
#14 Leslie Nassar
You spelt alternate worng.

Far be it for me to play this game, but your spelling sucks, as well.

-Duailty
#16 by "Leslie Nassar"
2002-02-05 18:22:09
Far be it for me to play this game, but your spelling sucks, as well.

You spelt monkey wrong.
#17 by "m0nty"
2002-02-05 18:26:06
m0nty_au@bigpond.com no fixed abode
OMM spelt spelt "spelt".
#18 by "Duality"
2002-02-05 18:29:56
http://www.opencrap.org
#16 Leslie Nassar
Far be it for me to play this game, but your spelling sucks, as well.

You spelt monkey wrong.


I got yer misspelled monkey right here!! *grabs crotch*

-Duailty
#19 by "Ashiran"
2002-02-05 18:37:12
ashiran@ashrain.net www.wtfpeople.com
This has to be the fasted oftopic post evar!

Anyway ontopic.
I don't think that play by mail has much of a future in this instant gratification world of gaming.

Then again I am one of those instant gratification persons. Ask jafd!
#20 by "Eris"
2002-02-05 18:40:23
#18 by Duality

I think the word you meant is "malformed", and not misspelled.
#21 by "Matthew Gallant"
2002-02-05 18:43:37
seeker@truemeaningoflife.com http://truemeaningoflife.com
Thanks for posting this, I had no idea this game was available. $15 for 6 months is a damn good deal.

I wish there was an AI to practice against, but oh well.

Hopefully Codo will be contacted by Infogrames to make a new X-Com game or at least handle the franchise better than Hasbro. Although I suppose it would be hard to handle it worse.
#22 by "Bailey"
2002-02-05 18:45:23
Is this like Laser Tag Academy? I loved that show.

No, wait, I never watched that show. But I saw a screenshot of it once. It looked terrible. Thus, this game will be terrible. Case closed.
#23 by "Ashiran"
2002-02-05 18:49:52
ashiran@ashrain.net www.wtfpeople.com
I so love the way you build solid arguments underneath your statements! :)
#24 by "Matthew Gallant"
2002-02-05 18:50:31
seeker@truemeaningoflife.com http://truemeaningoflife.com
What I meant was that I hope Infogrames will handle the franchise better than Hasbro. It doesn't take a whole lot of the power of imagination to realize that the creators of X-Com would be the best people to make new X-Com games.
#25 by "m0nty"
2002-02-05 18:54:59
m0nty_au@bigpond.com no fixed abode
Matthew Gallant (#21):
Hopefully Codo will be contacted by Infogrames to make a new X-Com game or at least handle the franchise better than Hasbro. Although I suppose it would be hard to handle it worse.

From the aforelinked HomeLAN interview, Julian Gollop has this to say on the subject:

HomeLAN - If Infogrames came to you and asked for a new X-Com game would you consider it?
Julian Gollop - Yes, of course. We think that there is still a lot of potential in the whole game concept. We could even use an adaptation of the LSN combat system.
#26 by "Matthew Gallant"
2002-02-05 19:00:07
seeker@truemeaningoflife.com http://truemeaningoflife.com
Yes, that quotation is from whence my hopes did spring.
#27 by "Bailey"
2002-02-05 19:26:03
www.ashrain.net
Ashiran

I so love the way you build solid arguments underneath your statements! :)

Fear my immutable ninja logic. Silent. Invisible. Completely incoherent. Yet unstoppable.
#28 by "FunkDrunk"
2002-02-05 19:26:34
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
Hopefully Codo will be contacted by Infogrames to make a new X-Com game or at least handle the franchise better than Hasbro. Although I suppose it would be hard to handle it worse.


I'd be happy if they were able to complete Dreamland Cronicles instead.

Funk.
#29 by "wizard"
2002-02-05 19:30:43
wizardque@yahoo.com http://www.opencrap.org
On Topic:
It sounds more like a hobby...  like running a gaming shop or a comic book shop that gets you just enough to keep kicking, because you love the genre.  We can all look at the method and say, "dude, he's damn stupid if he thinks he's going to make money", so he must be able to figure that out too.  At least I would hope so.

-wizard
English is my 5th language.
#30 by "wizard"
2002-02-05 19:32:48
wizardque@yahoo.com http://www.opencrap.org
#27 Bailey
Fear my immutable ninja logic. Silent. Invisible. Completely incoherent. Yet unstoppable.

You are no ninja!  I am ninja!  Ninja of smilies...  (in broken, paused, dubbed accent) "Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha"  :)

-wizard
English is my 5th language.
#31 by "Bailey"
2002-02-05 19:43:57
www.ashrain.net
wizard, the sorriest ninja

You are no ninja! I am ninja! Ninja of smilies... (in broken, paused, dubbed accent) "Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha" :)

Out of curiousity, how is a "broken, dubbed accent" different from your usual writing style?

And if you were a real smiley ninja, they'd go sight unseen, you big fraud! More like a smiley gymkata!
#32 by "wizard"
2002-02-05 19:55:45
wizardque@yahoo.com http://www.opencrap.org
#31 Bailey
wizard, the sorriest ninja

You are no ninja! I am ninja! Ninja of smilies... (in broken, paused, dubbed accent) "Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha" :)

Out of curiousity, how is a "broken, dubbed accent" different from your usual writing style?

And if you were a real smiley ninja, they'd go sight unseen, you big fraud! More like a smiley gymkata!

"Ha Ha Ha Ha, you make jest of my style...but your funny is lacking in the funny it self!"
"You can't compete against the me, the smiley ninja, I am strong like crazed water buffalo!"
"And now I am out of ninjaie stuff to say...but you still smell like butt of dog!"

:D

-wizard
English is my 5th language.
#33 by "MCorleone"
2002-02-05 19:55:57
kurin6@home.com
(KarateChamp judge displays black card)

Point:  Baileytron
#34 by "mgns"
2002-02-05 19:57:33
wratte@home.se
A smelly ninja, at most.

---
scandahoovian chicks, get them while they're hot!
#35 by "Ergo"
2002-02-05 20:08:48
stuart_harms@mentor.com http://www.opencrap.org
Those wishing to see Dreamland Chronicles on their PCs, rejoice:

Ta daa!
#36 by "Steven Lawton"
2002-02-05 20:13:57
nemesis@unholy-trinity.co.uk http://www.unholy-trinity.co.uk
I was introduced to this last night by a friend and have already parted with the 10.40 necessary to keep me in game for the next 6 months.

Personally i think it's great, my email already autochecks every 30 minutes, I get the move make my play and go back to what i was working on before the message came through. The client is quick to load, the emails are small and it doesn't boot up full screen (which is a bonus for me for some reason).

Anyone wants a game, registered member or not this email is a valid one.

-Nemesis
#37 by "wizard"
2002-02-05 20:40:02
wizardque@yahoo.com http://www.opencrap.org
I don't know, any game I have to wait on others to check their email for my first time, is VERY annoying...  I'm the patient type when it comes to games...  :)

-wizard
English is my 5th language.
#38 by "Post-It"
2002-02-05 20:43:08
- -
McCorleone
Point: Baileytron


- Ippon
#39 by "FunkDrunk"
2002-02-05 20:43:47
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
Ergo

Those wishing to see Dreamland Chronicles on their PCs, rejoice:

Ta daa!


Joy!!

X-COM is very high on my all time list.  I was disappointed with Apocalypse, but if this can reclaim 80% of what made X-COM good, they'll have my money the day it comes out.

Funk.
#40 by "wizard"
2002-02-05 20:48:05
wizardque@yahoo.com http://www.opencrap.org
#39 FunkDrunk
Ergo

Those wishing to see Dreamland Chronicles on their PCs, rejoice:

Ta daa!


Joy!!

X-COM is very high on my all time list.  I was disappointed with Apocalypse, but if this can reclaim 80% of what made X-COM good, they'll have my money the day it comes out.

Funk.

Agreed on Apocalypse, it was pretty much junk, IMHO...

As for the new game...  I don't know, maybe...  Jagged Alliance 1 and 2 were fun, but it was missing what X-com had...  hopefully this just isn't JA with a X-com interface, as the description makes it sound.

-wizard
English is my 5th language.
#41 by "Dumdeedum"
2002-02-05 21:00:07
What confuses me is that they've made the game subscription based, since it's play by e-mail they don't have to run their own game servers so why keep charging people?  If it's to pay for continuous development wouldn't it be better to charge a set amount for the main game, then charge people a small amount for each major upgrade thereafter?

On a complete tangent, has anyone played JD Spy? I'm currently inching my way through it; it's free, it's only 6meg, it's unlike anything I've played before and it holds the prize of being the hardest damn game ever created.
#42 by "FunkDrunk"
2002-02-05 21:08:18
jflavius@bellatlantic.net
wizard

As for the new game... I don't know, maybe... Jagged Alliance 1 and 2 were fun, but it was missing what X-com had... hopefully this just isn't JA with a X-com interface, as the description makes it sound.


One of the things that I really liked about X-COM was discovery.  That and the research, which added to the fun, because you would get new weapons, and then have the fun of trying to use it effectively.  That added to the strategy.  Using incindary weapons, or explosive shells to light a building, exposing aliens - the discovery that some of them could fly, or that some had large range of movements, some were armored, etc.. X-COM had a ton of discovery, and that made the whole difference to me.

Funk.
#43 by "Ergo"
2002-02-05 21:15:10
stuart_harms@mentor.com http://www.opencrap.org
X-COM was also freakin' HARD, but not so hard that I stopped playing. It rewarded sound strategy and tactics.
#44 by "Darkseid-[D!]"
2002-02-05 21:20:17
Darkseid@captured.com www.sluggy.com
You lot _do_ realise that Rebelstar Raiders, Chaos, Laser Squad then Xcom 1&2 were Gollop brothers designs?

they took the X-com franchise off him and handed to another team for Enforcer Xcom#3 and that space flight one.


I have such great memories of playing Laser squad on my spectrum +3, Corporal Jonlan BETTER be in there !! Will I sign up, yeppers I think I will, itd be a fun way to pass the time in work I think.

Hmm, wonder will Julian move on and do a PBM CHAOS, that my friends, would bloody ROCK! (up to 8 players) *twitches violently*

Ds
#45 by "Matthew Gallant"
2002-02-05 21:24:41
seeker@truemeaningoflife.com http://truemeaningoflife.com
#41 Dumdeedum
What confuses me is that they've made the game subscription based, since it's play by e-mail they don't have to run their own game servers so why keep charging people?  If it's to pay for continuous development wouldn't it be better to charge a set amount for the main game, then charge people a small amount for each major upgrade thereafter?


Well, the interview mentioned that he's using PostgreSQL for the game. That would indicate to me that they are running a referee type server. Which is good, prevents cheating.
#46 by "Bailey"
2002-02-05 21:48:07
www.ashrain.net
MCorleone

(KarateChamp judge displays black card)

Point: Baileytron

Post-It

- Ippon

Gosh! I've made it Mincemeat! He He He He He!
#47 by "wizard"
2002-02-05 21:53:18
wizardque@yahoo.com http://www.opencrap.org
#46 Bailey
MCorleone

(KarateChamp judge displays black card)

Point: Baileytron

Post-It

- Ippon

Gosh! I've made it Mincemeat! He He He He He!


Ok, I concede to your awesome abilities of finding weird links to spiffy games in context of the current monkey crapping at PC.  :)

-wizard
English is my 5th language.
#48 by "Post-It"
2002-02-05 22:14:34
- -
Out of Nowhere:
A new Shoot Club

And they said they were going to shut the site down. Liars
#49 by "MCorleone"
2002-02-05 22:33:13
kurin6@home.com
Hey CreoleNed:  Can you help me out with JaggedAlliance2 now, too?  Same thing:  I've surfed every site I could find and googled it all to hell, but coming up nada.  Is that game possible to get working under NT/2K/XP?
#50 by "Hoodoo"
2002-02-05 22:37:09
Actually, X-COM Terror from the Deep was done by Microprose and not the Gollops. It was basically an X-COM mod sold as a new game.

The Gollops were then in charge of the third game, Apocolaypse.

After that came the space flight X-COM, X-COM Enforcer, and the abandoned X-COM Alliance.

I can understand the Gollops wanting to do something new, hence Apoc. I don't understand why Microprose/Hasbro Interactive never got around to doing a remake of the first game.
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