Installation and Setup
Storm Eagle Studios is a pretty small shop, made up of just a couple of guys. Jim Rose and Norm Koger came up with the studio and have decided to try to keep it as small as possible. This has good points and bad points when it comes to getting and playing the game. Small is good in that the team has central control over everything. Everything with the game, good and bad, are the responsibility of Jim and Norm and there is no publisher or producer to worry about. They do it all.
Distant Guns is for the most part a download and play game. There is an option to purchase a CD Rom version of the demo for the game for $7.95 but I don’t see a lot of people doing that. Most people know people who can burn a copy of the game and then install it. Eight bucks seems a little much for a demo. I understand the cost of pressing and then sending the game. Now if it came with a printed manual then I would go along with it.
While four or five years ago I might have complained heartily about a for the most part download only option, today it is less difficult to have just this option. A larger and larger percentage of the population have cable connections or access to high speed internet so downloading larger files (this one is about 300 megs) isn’t the hassle it once was.
Still, not everyone has the option of high speed internet and it is a shame that a CD Rom version of the game isn’t available in stores. This is a game that probably wouldn’t get a lot of shelf time but a CD would be nice to have for those folks that are willing to buy it. Considering the price of 65 dollars, it probably should be an option for purchasers of the CD to use the money spent on the CD as something toward the cost of the full game, if they decide to buy it.
I have heard people balking at the price. Yes, 65 dollars is a bit more than a lot of us have spent in the past on a game but the game has the scope that probably justifies the cost. I have paid more for other games like War in the Pacific and with the cost of Xbox360 games approaching 60 bucks another five dollars seems pretty ridiculous for those of us that really like the genre. We haven’t had a price increase in our games since the first Bush Administration. Get over it, if we want the games that we want then we have to be willing to fork over 15 to 20 bucks more for them.
Installation was relatively easy and straightforward for the game. Once downloaded, you just click on the executable and it installs straight up. A warning for some folks with firewalls, you should turn them off to install the game. I never could get the game to install on my desktop with McAfee firewall in place, no matter what I tried. It installed fine on my laptop with McAfee off but with my desktop, no dice, no matter what I tried. I don’t know if others have had that problem but the ‘Read Me’ states right off the bat to turn if off during install.
After installing and firing the game up, it will look for the latest update. Some folks have complained about this as well. To be blunt, I don’t mind the game looking for an update. I get tired of hitting websites all the time looking for the latest patch for a game. Storm Eagle Studios has put out about six patches so far to fix problems with the game. Going to their site all the time to get the latest patch would have been more of a hassle than letting the game check. If you don’t want it to do that, don’t allow it access through your firewall.
I give Storm Eagle credit so far for backing up their game with patches. The initial game I hear has had quite a few bugs which the team has been diligently trying to squash. Actually, in talking with Jim Rose I learned that a lot of the initial patches were to correct problems with AMD processors and the game. On the desktop I run an AMD processor and on the laptop I was running Intel. It was notable that on my AMD system I originally did have crash problems but these seem to be resolved with the latest patches. In addition, the original problems some folks have had with the campaign have been worked on and Jim Rose says he is confident that most major problems have been corrected. It should be stated that to fix the problems you will need to update the game; to date something like 25 different updates have been released.
The game ships as its own demo; in other words, the game comes as a whole but you have access to only one scenario for essentially 30 days. This scenario gives you the opportunity to try out the controls, move the ships, and to fight a relatively small scale battle (a couple of Russian Cruisers vs. a similar force of Japanese ships). The rest of the game is there but has to be unlocked after purchase.
Upon purchase you get a pair of codes that unlock the game. The codes are unique to you and cannot be transferred. In other words you can’t use the code to unlock the game on multiple computers. If you decide to transfer the code to another computer you can, via a transfer utility, but it will disable the game on the original computer. You can transfer the code back and forth. In addition, you can get the code reset if something happens in translation.
I understand their desire to protect their intellectual property but I really wish they would have come up with something similar to what Battlefront did with the Combat Mission series. In that game people without the CD Rom could start the game and play a multiplayer game with it but couldn’t play single missions. It would have been fun to show people a limited online portion of the game to peak their interest.
The game has graphics options that can be tiered to the type of computer you have. The game supports several resolutions and can be tiered to take advantage of the latest graphics cards and hardware. The game can run down lesser systems so remember to use common sense when setting it up.
In addition, you have the option to set the game up with various resolutions which can take advantage of larger monitors.The game at max resolutions runs well on most mid range systems and actually runs well on laptops with less than maximum resolutions. This is a game that won’t make you go out and break the bank as far as graphics cards go but you should have at least a good 5 series GeForce based card to run this at higher resolutions.