Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis

I wanted to talk about this game for a bit.  I do not know why it is, but it seems many of the older games really 'got it right' when it came to the actual game itself.  Forget about graphics.  Sure many of the new games have amazing graphics which makes it look like you are right there on the battlefield, or whatever.  But their playability lacks once you have finished the single player campaign missions.  Sure most decent games out there have multiplayer ability, and some games are solely dedicated to Multiplayer like Team Fortress 2 (which is excellent by the way).

Operation Flashpoint was released around 2001 I believe, which seems not so far away, but it was ages away in game design.  The graphics are alright however, still very playable.  And unlike several old classics, this game still works fine on the latest windows versions.  Operation Flashpoint was made by a team of programmers in Czech Republic.  This game was their first release into the big markets and was an instant hit worldwide!  What made it a classic was not only the fact that it was something new in first person shooters (being able to drive planes, helicopters and tanks / jeeps was a previously generally unheard of theme in mixed single player / multiplayer games prior to this) but the ability for an average gamer to activly make his very own maps and scenarios in the span of a few hours without complicated scripting to learn and in depth coding.

The map editor in this game is amazing.  It is the 'BUILD' from DukeNukem3D, but brought into the next century.  Everything was very well interfaced and easy to set up.  You could place any type of unit, civilian, friendly or enemy, or even rebel forces, as well as buildings, and bunkers and various other objects, some of which were special like helicopter langing pads.  Then you can (but you dont have to) create waypoints for the AI units, and you can edit the mission briefings, and such very easily.  You can do a lot in this game and make some pretty epic battles without using any scripting at all!

See, I like to test the AI.  I think that is half the fun in these games.  How smart is it really.  Well the AI in OpFlashpoint is top of the line for the most part.  Depending on what waypoint you give them they can do many things.  A simple 'Guard' waypoint placed anywhere on the map for a unit will make that unit 'respond' to any enemy sightings by friendly forces, anywhere.  This makes for a very unpredictable gameplay.  Combine this with triggers, and sentry units, and you can create a while battle without having to plot every single unit out.
I would really like to see some of the more modern games like CoD4 or something similar, actually include map editors like this as I think it adds to the game, and extends playability.  Some may say that it is a waste of time and rescources for the big programming companies to create editors.  But I say different.  If you are paying 50 dollars for a game (the average cost of new games these days) I expect to be able to get creative with it, without having to learn C++ or other scripting languages in order to do so.  CoD4 was not worth the 50 bucks for me.  The single player campaign was okay... and interesting for the 16 or so hours of play it provided.  However the online play was dissapointing.  It was way too hard.  Too many people hacking, or cheating, and too many people whining and complaining.  I should of just torrented CoD4 for the single player, and deleted it.  Something I am finding more and more often a better option, as games lack extended playability for those who are creative minded like myself.  Sure sure I am stealing, but if I find a game has more potential then a few hours of play, I will purchase it.  I don't know about you, but I don't like to pay out the ass for a few hours of entertainment (where I am supposed to be controling the main portion of the entertainment).  Adding simple map editors and such like thqat found in Operation Flashpoint would make a game highly attractive to myself.  To the point where I will forsure purchase it, if I like the theme.  Games without such 'extended play' options...  they get torrented from now on, so I can test them out before I purchase them.  If the game appeals to me for more then 25 hours, I will purchase it.  So this is a friendly note to all game designers out there (I am sure you really care anyway).  Please Please Please try to cater to those creative people who like to edit stuff, without having to use scripting and edit text files...  I will guarentee my financial support if you do.  Otherwise the game is not for me,  So I may try it out, but I will not enjoy or purchase it.

Many games these days are catered towards 'mindless' gameplay.  A replacment for television I suppose.  It is sad that creative games are dying off.  I believe I am correct in saying that Spore is the much anticipated creative game that is coming out soon!  Other then that, there hasn't been much in the 'creative' department, over the last 2 or 3 years.  And I think that is a real problem.  Creativity should be encouraged.  Why are we so intent on dumbing down ourselves with mind numbing games which do not require you to think?