Comanche 4 Legacy Project

The History Of Comanche 4 and the C4 Community 

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Game development and release
Information sourced from the NovaLogic Corporate page, Wikipedia and varous
game news sources, then re-edited by Reaper.

Game development :
Comanche 4 was the first game built using the new Comanche 4 game engine created inhouse by NovaLogic. The new game engine was coded to use 3D polygonal rendering for the games terrains, replacing the voxel-based technology used in earlier Comanche games. While in development, looking to capitalize on the latest 3D cards designed to use polys rather than voxels, Nova put the game on hold till they could get the new technology NVIDIA was working on at the time in place and code it into the game. NVIDIA even helped the Nova development team with some coding.

The updated  technology (3D polygonal) was used to create very large area terrains, however the terrains could not contain landscape aspects such as tunnels or arches as part of the terrain. It also affected game objects viewed close up giving them better detail.  When viewed over a long distance the game engine used simulated fog to help fade game objects and terrain into the landscape as the player moved farther away.

The game engine was optimized to use geforce 4 technology and DirectX 8. This resulted in better graphics and various game enhancements such as realistic rotor wash over water and land, shadow effects, terrain scarring, large scale fire effect explosions, smoke, destructible buildings and foliage. In short the new graphics were clean, sharp and much better than anything seen in the Comanche series before. With it's cutting edge graphics Comanche 4 was one of the games used to rate performance for a graphics cards benchmark score.

Much of the game creation used in-house created utilities and tools to import common project files from programs such as text editors, photoshop and 3D Max into game files used by the game to render the terrain and create game objects such as buildings, foliage and vehicles. Of the various game file types, some are encrypted, others are in formats used only by Novalogic. Much of the programming we see as players is contained in the games exe file. This includes scoring, game commands, weapon locations ect. While not used for any C4 maps, Nova introduced the first evidence of wac commands/boolean logic later used for maps in BHD and later games.

The Comanche 4 engine would be enhanced and updated for the next 10 years as Novalogic developed and released Black Hawk Down, Black Hawk Down: Team Sabre, JOINT OPERATIONS, Joint Operations: Escalation, DELTA FORCE Xtreme and DELTA FORCE Xtreme 2.

Requiring a short 5 minute learning curve to fly unlike more complicated flight sims, players could jump into Multi-player very quickly. While the game was designed to require a short learning curve to play, typically the more experienced player you are the better you score in the multi player game types.

Game release, patch information and post release support :
Released Nov 15, 2001 as the last game in the Comanche series. Comanche 4 received excellent reviews from various publications including the Gamers Choice Award in a review from Game Over Online. It should noted Comanche 4 was developed as a helicopter combat action game to appeal to average gamers, stepping away from the original Comanche series flight sim /combat trainer type game.. Many original Comanche fans ( C 3, C G, ect ) were disappointed seeing C4 as more arcade than combat sim.  

Following initial release, C4 was patched to game version V1.0.1.15, the only game version that requires the game be updated to play multiplayer. A second game version, V1.0.1.20 (requires no update/patch and will be corrupted if updated/patched) was released a few years later as one of the games in the Armed Forces Collection. V1.0.1.20 included new multi-player scoring to address complaints the original scoring didn't award points for splash damage kills (will be explained later) or subtract points for player crashes. The Armed Forces Collection release was followed by game versions of V1.0.1.20 made available as downloads from the Nova store and a few years later at Valve Corporation (Steam). Download versions by-pass the disk check verification and do not require the game disk or game update/patch.

The game changes to version V1.0.1.20 were never released by Nova in a patch or update to version V1.0.1.15. Customers had to buy the Armed Forces Collection to get the new game version. Game play requires the game disk be in the cd/dvd drive in both game versions bought on disk. Game executables are inter-changeable between the two game versions.

General game information:
The original release included 6 single player campaigns played in campaigns where the player unlocked missions as the campaigns were completed, multiplayer gaming via it's Novaworld match making game service, key board cut out, game user manual and a map/mission utility (c4med) for map creation.

Note: The med was the same mission editor Nova used to create the stock maps and missions. However the players version has many of the options the Novalogic development team used disabled. Since all game assets are installed during game install (large game install option) player made maps/missions can be hosted server side and players do not need the maps.

There are un-finished game types in the game including KOTH and TKOTH requiring map creation and instructions to host and play. Game types Attack and Defend & Search and Destroy have programming in the game, however they require the addition of game objects (a mod) for players to host and play them. Programming for Capture the Flag is present but un-playable. Programming for all these game types would be completed and the games would available in Black Hawk Down (the next game released by Nova) using the same information hidden in Comanche 4.

Weapons include cannons, hydras, hell fire and stinger missiles, with stingers being the preferred weapon used in multi player, with a few players playing hydras/guns only now and then.

Multiplayer gaming information:
NovaLogic requires multi-player gaming be done via the NovaWorld game service. Players login to their player account created using the game cd key. Then are directed to the NOVAWORLD game lobby to connect to game servers. The server can host with out logging in. Game types include death match, team death match and coop.

NovaLogic hosted two multiplayer game servers when the game was released. The team death match server was called Falling Angel and was hosted with V1.0.1.15 using stock maps for the first few years. As the number of players declined Nova stopped hosting that server. Many of the players who came into C4 later never got to play a stock tdm server hosted by Nova.

The second in company server was a death match server named Come And Get It hosted with V1.0.1.15 using stock maps, later changing the server to V1.0.1.20 when it became available. At this time NovaLogic no longer hosts any server, all servers are run by members in the C4 community.

Game versions and scoring :

Version V1.0.1.15 Most kills wins, does not score splash damage as a kill. Splash damage takes place when stingers explode near the Comanche causing damage with out a direct hit. If player health reaches 0 the player dies with no point awarded to the attacking player.. For the attacking player to score a point the last stinger to take health to 0 must be a direct hit. Crashes do not effect scoring.

Version V1.0.1.20 scores splash damage, the last stinger to take health to 0 does not need to be a direct hit for the attacking player to score a point. Crashes score as a death, players lose a point, however the scoring will often score the crash after the player does from stinger fire as a player caused crash and count it as a extra death.