As an employee of the Organisation for Strategic Intelligence it's your job to design and test neural cybertanks. Sounds easy enough? Well it's not.
Designing a cybertank breaks down into two main sections: mechanical (chassis, weapons systems and so on) and technical (giving the tank some Artificial Intelligence, or AI).
The mechanical side of things is straightforward enough. You're given a budget of 1,000 credits (initially) and have to choose a chassis, drive system, fuel and type of weapon. Designing the AI, however, is another matter.
Here you enter what the game calls the CCL module (Cybertank Command Language) and by building up a simple BASIC-
If you're completely new to programming of any sort you'll be glad of the inch-thick 'handbook' that comes with the game and which takes you by the hand to gently you through building up a tank's AI from scratch. This process includes telling it what to do when it 'sees' (more accurately, scans) an enemy tank and how to go about looking for these tanks.
As an aid there are also 'capsules' - complete AI routines - that can be loaded and incorporated into your design. Once you're happy with the tank, authorize it (the program simply checks for syntax errors or missing bits of tank) and then test it.
Testing involves picking a battlefield (three pre-
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
Turn the sound off immediately: the trundling and firing effects are grating rather than satisfying. As for the graphics, well, they're far from state-of-the-
Once you're in, you're hooked and will be constantly coming back to the game to try out another idea. Get used to the program and you can get even more involved by including things like teams of tanks and communications between them. There's even a battlefield designer so you can build your own scenarios. Omega has loads of lasting interest built in.
There's something very obsessive about the game: it's one you'll be playing for hours at a stretch and frequently. It's very cerebral stuff and, even though the game does feature battles, it's not going to appeal to straight shoot-em-up fans who just want to spend time blasting at anything that moves.
Puzzlers and problem-