Monday, June 10, 2013

Federation Commander Online: bad points and good points

Played some Federation Commander Online Sunday with Crabby Old Gamer. The client is downloadable from this website:

http://www.sfbonline.com/fc.jsp
"FCOL is designed to allow you to compete in an environment that emulates Face-to-Face play. However, the computer automates many functions and acts as your friendly assistant for many mundane tasks. There is no limit to the number of games you may play during your subscription period--well, except for your endurance. Our subscribers range in skill level from beginners to skilled aces"
We were able to get it working for the most part but I did have some niggles I would like to point out:

  • A yearly subscription is expensive. I understand that the developer needs to make a living and I know its better than nothing but what you get for your money is absolutely NO help and no manual. There are smaller subscription models so I opted for one of those before I wasted my cash
  • There are 3 really bad tutorial videos on their site but they skip too much information and do not show enough to be worthwhile. 
  • There is no written manual. The only manual is for the Star Fleet Battles portion of the client. 
  • There is little to no help on the official forums. So basically if you jump in and spend money on this prepare to do a lot of studying on your own and a lot of random clicking. For a forum that has players running tournaments and doing things online there is surprisingly very little help from anyone.
  • There are also few players so don't expect a VASSAL like experience when jumping online.

The good news is once you take the time to figure it out (IF you go that far) it works pretty well and allows you to play a fairly complex game online with a buddy. I still think that it is easier to play this game in person than to learn the clunky software but sometimes you have to make do. However at least you get tons of ships to choose from and it does provide the SSD's so not everything is a loss. The client also has many many ways of sharing your game from print outs to log reports.

Here are some shots of the client: