My Dear Mr. Duk:
I FINALLY got around to playing a game of Strategic Conquest 4.0. I think the first initial impression review I provided some months ago underestimated the improvements to this new version. At the moment I am hip deep in a very challenging level 10 game (day 86). Here a few of the things I've noticed so far...
The continent generation improvements are somewhat better than I reported. Not only is the artwork much improved, but the underlying shapes are better as well. The continents are no longer just a set of ovals, but much more realistic and complex. The geography has made my current game much more interesting. In fact, I think this new algorithm may actually be better than ours!
The artillery pieces are a major blast. I was able to set up an artillery piece on a tiny island that guarded a straight that was the sole entrance to a Mediterranean-like sea, and it was like the Guns of Navarone! When any enemy ships approached a LARGE red rectangle appeared on the map and I could fire at anything in that rectangle. Worked like a charm until an enemy battleship (which now throws up the same large red rectangles and can fire far inland) finally silenced my artillery. I now plan to build multiple artillery batteries on that site.
The long distance shelling ability of battleships make for some spectacular sea battles. In one encounter, four or five of my naval pieces (including a few carrier-based helicopters) had the misfortune of running into two enemy battleships and pack of submarines. The enemy battleships were at either end of the cluster of ships and fired at will in all directions with devastating results.
The automation features are now far more sophisticated and approach some of the ideas I talked about in my last email message. You can put any TYPE of piece into automatic mode so that, for example, all new submarines will automatically prowl according to some kind of canned algorithm. You can also set city production on automatic and let the computer automatically choose the types of pieces produced according to a production quota which you can adjust at any time. You can also instruct the computer to concentrate all forces on capturing a given continent and sit back while the invasion proceeds. I haven't tried these features very much yet, but my early impression is that the automatic decisions display the same adequate but mediocre logic that guides the enemy forces.
There are lots of nice touches. If you drag a naval piece destination around a rugged coastline, the projected path automatically zigs and zags as you drag. The helicopters are lots of fun, although I haven't yet learned how best to use them.
If you have any questions, or would like to see screenshots of anything in particular, just drop me a line.
Over and out,