Alien Front Online
From Sega Retro
|Alien Front Online|
|System(s): Sega Dreamcast|
|Developer: WOW Entertainment|
|Peripherals supported: Jump Pack, Dreamcast Microphone, Dreamcast Modem, Race Controller, Visual Memory Unit, Dreamcast VGA Box|
|Number of players: 1-8|
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Alien Front Online is a Sega Dreamcast action game developed by WOW Entertainment. It is an online version of the arcade game Alien Front that was only released in North America, where it was bundled with the Dreamcast Microphone.
As the name suggests, it was intended to be played across the internet, thus becoming one of the first home console games to provide real-time voice communication between two players over the web. Players take control of one of two teams, a tank from the army side or an organic vehicle on the alien side to ultimately decide the fate of the human race and who will dominate the globe.
Alien Front Online features three game modes. Two of which are single player focused:
- Arcade allows you to play on either the army side or the alien side and choose from one of three vehicles. Defeat a set number of enemy opponents to succeed under the time limit. Depending on certain conditions will allow you more time for the next match.
- Tactics is a mission oriented game mode where restrictions are in place to achieve victory in over 60 missions for either side.
- Online allows up to eight players split into two teams for team based games over the internet. Online play requires a Dreamcast Modem and is not compatible with the Broadband Adapter.
There are also three different multiplayer modes:
- Team Deathmatch: The team with the most kills wins.
- Fortress: One team must destroy four enemy fortress gates while the other team must defend them during the time limit.
- Flag: A flag will appear in the arena and one player must grab onto it for 150 seconds. The flag carrier cannot collect weapon attachments while holding the flag.
- MK2 Merkava
- M1A Abrams
- Flame Thrower
- Turbo Engine
- Grenade Launcher
- Hellfire Missile
- Homing Missile
- Guided Missile
- Machine Gun
- Nuclear Missile
- Hov Craft
- 2L Walker
- SP Walker
- Gravity Ball
- Flying Drone
- Seeker Wing
- Light Swarm
- Cloaking Spore
- Cyclops Blast
- Alien Spike
- Meteor Shower
Both teams have their own versions of a repair facility that will heal vehicles that are parked within their highlighted boundaries. The more damaged the vehicle is, the longer it will take to repair. In addition it will also occasionally spawn weapons that automatically attach to player's vehicles.
- The Motor Pool, used by the army team, appears highlighted in a green lined box.
- The Healing Bath, used by the alien team appears highlighted as a red lined circle.
- Med-Bots will replenish up to one third of the player's vehicle strength appearing as small white boxes with a red cross embedded on it's side scattered through the environment. These do not appear in the Tactics mode.
Alien Front Online's release was poorly planned - the game was launched six months after Sega of America announced an end to Dreamcast support, and its late arrival stopped the game from reaching other markets. Shortly after release Sega moved from a free online gameplay model to one which required payment, dramatically reducing the amount of online users. Inevitably all Alien Front Online servers were taken down, The Game was brought back online in 2016 and is compatible with DreamPi
An arcade version also intended for North America was advertised, however it has not yet been confirmed if any cabinets made it into production. The plan was to allow 4 vs. 4 Dreamcast vs. NAOMI matches over the internet as well as offering local multiplayer.
There were also plans for an N-Gage version of the game that allowed for local bluetooth two-player deathmatch along with single player game modes, however due to the poor performance of the platform, Sega decided to cancel this version of the game.
The online portion, was according to multiple (former) Sega employees to be the result of a network block that either belonged or was sold to AT&T for their SegaNet service which instantly rendered both Alien Front Online and Daytona USA 2001 100% offline as both games were using that specific network block.
Takashi Kosaka, a key person in the creation of the online technology in nearly every major Dreamcast title launched, used just an IPv4 address for his workstation in which during testing, was then workstation the servers for both games was running on to other developers frustration. Making these games online again at that time was not that quick of a deal as there was no hostname to rely on or forward.
However, Alien Front Online was brought back online in 2016 as part of the DCSERV project with the great help of Shuouma, even offering to host the servers at his own VPS which ended up being the result for almost every single game revived after this title. being a great example to study in depth regarding how 2nd party titles chose to design their networking functionality.
- Vice President of Product Development: Jin Shimazaki
- Localization Manager: Osamu Shibamiya
- Localization Producer: Klayton Vorlick
- Lead Tester: Shawn Dobbins
- Assistant Lead Testers: Joseph Mora, Daniel Airey
- Testers: Jose Venegas, Robert Reich, Derek Wong, Jake Covert, Daniel Kingdon, Brian Ivanhoe, Walter Kim, Seth Benton
- Director of Product Marketing: John Golden
- Product Manager: Rich Briggs
- Associate Product Managers: Noah Musler, Cord Smith
- Public relations: Gwen Marker, Teri Higgins
- Director of Creative Services: Bob Schonfisch
- Project Manager: Angela Santos
- Project Coordinator: Arianne Pitts
- Writer: Ted Chapman
- Special Thanks: Peter Moore, Michael Rhinehart, Sandra Castagnola, Makoto Uchida, Shinobu Shindo
- Executive Producer: Jerry Markota
- Network Producer: Ryan Hurth
- Administrative Support: Joyce Takakura
- Network Test Manager: Lance Nelson
- Lead Network Analyst: Jason Nolen
- Assistant Network Analyst: Clifford Wilhelm
- Network Analysts: Darren Nagtalon, Eric Wilhelm, Nic Azizian, Leland Smith
- Producer / Designer: Makoto Uchida
- Producer / Programmer: Kevin Klemmick
- Senior Programmers: Brian Lewis, Hamilton Feltman, Tomoaki Takayanagi
- Additional Programming: Takashi Kosaka
- Producer / Art Director: Gerardo Sprigg
- Lead Animator: Stephen B. Lewis
- Senior Artists: Kunitake Aoki, Dante Fuget, Hiroshi Kanazawa, Young Song
- 2D Illustrator: Tony De Zuniga
- Sound Composer: Howard Drossin, Makito Nomiya
- Source: Manual credits (US)
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- Main article: Alien Front Online/Magazine articles.
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