- Released: March 4, 2006
- Requirements: Half-Life 2
- Author: Justin "Krenzo" Krenz
Empires is a total conversion modification for Half-Life 2. The gameplay consists of both First-Person Shooter (FPS) and Real-Time Strategy (RTS) elements. The first-person component of the game is played out by the soldiers on the battlefield, while the real-time strategy feature is played out by the commander of either team, in a similar fashion to any ordinary real-time strategy game. The link between the two modes is seamless, with the commander being able to hop between first-person shooter and real-time strategy modes at will.
Empires takes place in a near-future alternate universe. It is set in the middle of a conflict between the Brenodi Empire (BE) and the Northern Faction (NF). Players are divided into two teams (BE vs. NF), and then fight it out on foot or in a variety of vehicles, including Jeeps, Armored Personnel Carriers, and Tanks. One player from each team serves as the commander, who directs his team through the battle.
In the Classic gamemode, there are two primary roles - that of the commander, and that of the player.
At the beginning of each round, one player from each team is voted to become that team's commander. This player has the responsibility of setting up bases and giving orders to the players on his team. The commander occupies a command vehicle (CV) that is heavily armored, but extremely vulnerable, as it lacks weapons. When this vehicle is destroyed, the round ends and the team with the surviving command vehicle wins.
All other players participate from the viewpoint of a traditional first-person shooter, fighting the other team and constructing buildings, with the ultimate goal of either destroying the enemy command vehicle or forcing the enemy team to run out of tickets. Players can choose from four classes: Engineer, Grenadier, Rifleman, and Scout.
Empires also supports a Conquest gamemode, with gameplay similar to that seen in the Battlefield series of games. In this gamemode there is no commander, and the players attempt to capture flagged control points. The game ends when either all of a team's reinforcement tickets run out, or when all flags are captured.
Two vast empires: the Brenodi, and the Jekotions fought a war over the ownership of some recently unearthed ruins, believed to be part of the empire of their mutual ancestors. The war was brought to an end by a series of earthquakes, which devastated the cities of Jekotia, leaving nothing but an army and the ragged remains of a civilian populace. The Brenodi created a new empire, out of their own and the ruins of Jekotia. Although the newly formed empire had a positive beginning, relationships soon broke down due to differences in the beliefs of the two cultures over personal enhancement: the Brenodi rigidly followed the use of nanotechnology, whereas the Jekotians favoured genetic modification. Social unrest grew in the Jekotians, as their rights were slowly sapped away by the Brenodi rulers of the New Empire, and eventually the disempowered ex-military formed into terrorist groups, such as the Northern Faction controllable in the game who are only able to keep pace with the superior technology of the Brenodi due to an unknown benefactor.
Empires began in February 2003 as a mod for computer game Battlefield 1942. Two versions were released on this engine, but engine limitations forced the developers to move to another engine. Initial plans were made to move the mod to Far Cry's CryENGINE, and some work was done within the game's level editor, but poor initial mod support turned Empires away. Half Life 2's Source engine was chosen in July 2004. Empires was first released on Source on March 4, 2006. It has since received several patches and developer support is still ongoing. Empires 2.0, a second version of the mod, containing numerous bug fixes, features, and optimizations, was released on November 30, 2007. The current version is Empires 2.30 (as of November 22, 2010).
Various cited magazines, websites and other reputable media of notice that covered Empires:
- Computer Games June 2006 Issue 187 (half page)
- PC Action June 2006 (full page) (German) (version 1.0 included on DVD)
- Planet Half-Life Featured Mod - 03-06-2006 & 07-06-2006
- Mod DB, Players' Choice 2008, top released mod of 2007.
- Halflife.nu Interview.
- GGL Interview.
- Xfire support
There are also various magazines that, at this time, are too rare to come by in order for a citation, and hence are listed below as disputable:
- Gamestar July 2006 (German)
- PC Games July 2006 (German)
- PCGamer UK 2006
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