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Nuclear Dawn is a First-Person Shooter / Real Time Strategy hybrid. It was developed and self-published by Inter Wave Studios using the Source Engine. It was originally announced as a free mod in February 2006, but suffered a protracted development schedule. It was reborn as a retail title, finally getting a simultanious PC/MAC release on Steam on September 26 of 2011. An Xbox360 version is forthcoming.
It is the year 2049. The world has been devastated by the fires of nuclear war, but humanity perseveres- in great enough numbers to form two new nations from the ashes of the old world: The massive, communistic, oppressive Empire, and the individualistic, determined Consortium, who always put The Men First. These two are of course at each others' throats, competing for strategic locations, vital resources and pre-Dawn artifacts.
The game itself plays a bit like Battlefield, with large, class-based teams competing for strategic points, as in that game's Conquest mode. But there's a big twist- one player takes the role of a commander and has a Top Down View of the battlefield from their team's command bunker. From there, the commander can quickly build structures and place them anywhere within the base's power grid.These include Assemblers to build other structures, turrets, Supply posts, spawn points and the power generators to keep it all running. He can also research upgrades for the troops, issue them orders and use Support Powers like artillery and area-of-effect healing. Resources for all this are generated by the points that the FPS players capture. The objective of the core (and so far only) gametype, Warfare, is to destroy the opposing side's command bunker.
Nuclear Dawn provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Consortium Stealths and Imperial Supports.
- AKA-47: Averted, the real guns that appear have their real names.
- Back Stab: Can be done by Stealths with the Assassin Kit. The hit detection can be a bit wonky though.
- Blade Below the Shoulder: The Imperial Assassin Stealth uses punch-daggers. The Consortium counterpart instead has a pair of combat knives, held in Reverse Grip.
- Class and Level System: You gain experience for actions in game, with additional bonuses given for aiding your squad members or following orders. Leveling overall confers generic perks, called "gizmos", such as larger magazine sizes or more damage, while leveling each class grants class-specific gizmos. One of each can be equipped at any given time. There are four classes, each with two or more available "kits":
- Assaults are Jacks Of All Stats, with 200 health, frag grenades, the widest variety of weapons and the ability to spot cloaked Stealths using their Thermal Visor ability.
- Exos are Mighty Glaciers with 600 health and the ability to mow down players with a Gatling gun, or hammer structures with a rocket launcher. (Or a laser cannon, if you're Imperial) They can enter "Lockdown" mode, becoming immobile but gaining vastly increased accuracy.
- Stealths are Fragile (only 100 health) Speedsters that can equip dual blades to Back Stab opponents, a Sniper Rifle, or remote explosives to attack buildings. They can cloak, becoming completely undetectable except to Assaults using their visors. Commanders can spot them on radar if they are in range of a radar tower.
- Supports can be either a Combat Medic, The Engineer or... Barbecues, and get different specalist grenade types depending on which they pick.
- Command and Conquer Economy: The commander has to keep up with building things, or the FPS players will likely lose momentum.
- Color-Coded Armies: Imperial troops wear white armor, Consortium dark gray.
- Cosmetically Different Sides: There are only slight variations between weapons. The only large differences are flame turrets for the Empire and sonic ones for Consortium, and how each side extends it's power grid: Imperial Relay Towers have unlimited range but must have line-of-sight to other Towers, while Consortium Wireless Repeaters have much shorter range, but can transmit through solid objects.
- Emergency Weapon: All classes are armed with a pistol for backup. It can deal surprisingly high damage in the right hands.
- Enemy Detecting Radar: Building a radar tower will cause enemies in range to show up on friendly radar screens, while also enabling turrets to shoot at cloaked stealths within range.
- The Engineer: Supports with the Engineer Kit. They can use their blowtorch to repair friendly buildings and damage enemy ones. They can toss EMP grenades to temporarily disable enemy buildings and blind players, and drop "Daisycutter" mines. They have a shotgun for personal defense.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon: The NX-300 Flamethrower, used by Supports with the BBQ Kit. It lacks range, but is useful for holding areas and sowing confusion and chaos in enemy ranks.
- Gatling Good: The weapon of the Exo's Suppression Kit. Incorrectly labeled a "Chaingun". His Lockdown ability makes the gun much more accurate then other uses of the trope, giving him unparalleled lethality at range. The machine gun turrets also have gatling-style setups.
- Grenade Launcher: The M52 Hydra MGL, used by Assaults with the Grenadier Kit.
- Infinite Supplies: Commanders can build Supply Stations to provide health and ammo to the troops.
- Invisibility Cloak: Used by Stealths. It's a fairly efficient one in that the Stealth can even attack while cloaked, though doing so drops it. Unfortunately for the guy he just stabbed, that's a small comfort.
- The Medic: Supports with the Medic Kit, of course. They can drop health kits which heal friendlies near them, and are armed with toxic gas grenades to deny areas to enemy infantry and with a fast-firing SMG for personal defense.
- Respawn Point: Called "Transport Gates" in-game, presumably they teleport in fresh troops. The commander should place these near the front-lines in various areas to help the FPS players push.
- Ridiculously-Fast Construction
- Sentry Gun: All over the place. These are the commander's offensive and defensive weapons, as he does not have direct control of the troops. They're critical for defending areas and holding the frontlines if troops need to retreat to heal and resupply.
- Short-Range Shotgun: Completely Averted! The SPETZ-9 shotgun used by both sides can hit targets at a very respectable distance.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Assaults and BBQ Supports are armed with frag grenades, various kits have mines, Saboteur Stealths have remote explosives, and Siege Exos have the M-95 L.A.W.S. rocket launcher and the X-01 Pulse Cannon, respectively. Oh, and there are rocket turrets and artillery cannons. Oh yeah, lots of Stuff Blowing Up.
- Tech Tree: The commander can and should research upgrades for the troops, perhaps most importantly the "Advanced Kits" upgrade, which among other kits enables access to Exo siege weapons- critical for advancing into enemy lines.
- You Require More Vespene Gas: Resources for the commander to build, upgrade and repair are generated by resource points, found throughout each map. There are three sizes: Tertiary (Many, small resource amount) Secondary (Much fewer, more resources) and Primary. (Only one on each map, lots of resources)