Here’s where you’ll get to log your first hours of flight times. With this early release you will be able to get accustomed to your ship’s controls in Free Flight mode, or play the Single-Player version of Arena Commander’s Vanduul Swarm simulator. Multiplayer will follow shortly, as will new game modes.
Why recreate reality?
When we first began the long journey to develop what would eventually be known as Arena Commander, it was a question I was forced to consider myself. Why move away from the fantastic people and places we brought to life in ULTIMATE to focus on creating the most realistic and visceral flight simulator possible? Don’t people play games to escape the confines of the universe around them? I would say escape is only a small part of what games offer. Their true value lays in how they can help us attain a greater understanding of ourselves and the way we see reality.
I, Charlie Bass and Henry Garrity were aboard a chartered flight back to Terra after attending a convention on Jalan to promote Times of Myth. Deep in a heated discussion about what direction we should take O.S. next, a siren suddenly blared through the cruiser. Rushing to the cockpit (which in hindsight might not have been the safest decision) to see what the trouble was, we discovered that a navy squadron had intercepted a Vanduul swarm directly on our traffic lane. What struck me in those intense moments that followed wasn’t the aerial combat that was taking place outside, but rather the actions of our own pilot (sadly, she has asked to remain anonymous despite my many requests to feature her in Arena Commander). Without so much as a panicked glance or a frantic movement, she gracefully guided our ship out of harm’s way as the battle raged around our suddenly frail seeming
ship. It is no exaggeration to say that she saved our lives.
When the proximity alarms finally subsided, a collective breath was released. I’m not ashamed to admit that I collapsed to the floor as my adrenaline drained away. What surprised me however was when I looked over to see our brave pilot violently retching up the remains of her inflight meal. If she had been affected by the danger just as much as I had, why had my fear led to near paralysis, whereas hers had led to swift, level-headed action? A few moments later, over a much needed cup of tea, I got my answer.
She had been flying for over 35 years, and, while she had only had one violent encounter before (a pirate attack her third year out), piloting a ship had moved past the realm of conscious effort. When we walk, we don’t calculate the angle of each footfall, or how much to bend our knees. Likewise, she no longer saw flying as a series of complicated and separate actions, she just flew. When we were in danger, it would have taken more thought for her to run out of the cockpit screaming than it had to do what was second nature to her and hang on to the controls. Nodding at this explanation, Henry commented that he had
actually seen something like this before with high-level players in ULTIMATE. Ask them how they defeated that 100-person Tarkor raiding party and more often than not, they would shrug and say, “I just did it.”
So while on the surface Arena Commander is about fast-paced dogfighting and blowing up Vanduul, it is also about the amazing capacity of the Human mind to grow and adapt. As you play, I challenge you to reflect on how one day something that seems like a long complicated list of separate tasks and instructions, can change into one simple word — flying.
See you in the black,