Carrier Command

Carrier Command

Infobox VG
title = Carrier Command

developer = Realtime Games
publisher = Rainbird
designer =
engine =
released = 1988
genre = Vehicle simulation game
modes = Single player
ratings = N/A
platforms = Amiga, Atari ST, MS-DOS, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Apple Macintosh
media = Floppy disk, cassette
requirements =
input =

"Carrier Command" is a 1980s computer game for the Amiga, Atari ST, PC, ZX Spectrum, Apple Macintosh, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC computers.

etting and Gameplay

"Carrier Command" is a cross between a vehicle simulation game and a real-time strategy game where players control a robotic aircraft carrier. The carrier is not based on any real-life aircraft carrier but has been designed specifically for the game.

The game is set in the near future, where a team of scientists have developed two robotic aircraft carriers to colonise an archipelago of sixty four islands. Unfortunately, the more advanced carrier falls into the hands of a terrorist organization, and they plan to conquer the archipelago for their own evil ends. It is the player's job to use the less advanced carrier to colonise the islands and destroy the enemy carrier.

Across all but one format, "Carrier Command" uses filled-in vector graphics to create a three-dimensional view of the game world. The game does not use texture mapping but uses a simple raster pattern to shade objects. The carrier and the vehicles it carries have full 360-degree freedom of rotation. The Commodore 64 version is the exception and reproduces the same gameplay from a top down 2d viewpoint more appropriate to that machine's limitations.

When previewed and finally released on Atari ST and Amiga formats, the game received substantial attention due to the level of fluidity 3D in the graphics engine that hadn't really been seen before.

A game of "Carrier Command" can be initiated in two ways.
* In "Strategy" mode, the player starts with one island and the enemy starts with eight islands, while the rest are free. The two carriers each start at their respective home island, and the two home islands are chosen to be as distant as possible from one another. The enemy carrier, because of its superior speed, can assimilate islands more quickly than the player can.
* In "Action" mode, the game begins with each player already possessing a network of islands (some islands remain neutral). The enemy carrier has a greater number of islands under its control. The player's carrier begins the game near the centre of the map, where there is a much greater chance of confronting the enemy carrier.

The player's carrier (ACC Epsilon) is a very complex system, having its own weaponry and automatic repair systems. The carrier has a laser gun turret is able to fire an unlimited number of shots, but heats up in use requiring it to be rested after firing several shots in rapid succession. The carrier can fire missiles by launching a recon drone high into the sky and then selecting targets while looking through the recon drone. The carrier is also equipped with a decoy flare launcher which works as an aerial countermeasure, and defence buoys to protect it from missile attacks.

Damage to the carrier is repaired by the automatic repair system. The carrier is divided up into several systems. With the exception of the carrier superstructure and the automatic repair system itself it is possible to fully repair any of the carrier’s systems from 100% damage. The carrier is destroyed when damage to the superstructure reaches 100%, resulting in the loss of the game. Damage to the components is done according to where the impacts are on the carrier. For example, a hit from a missile to the rear side of the carrier will do severe damage to both the engine and docking bay, but will do little or no damage to the other components of the ship. The player can set the repair priorities for each part of the carrier that will determined which parts will be repaired first. Any component except the automatic repair system that has over 50% damage will not work. Some components that are partially damaged will operated less efficiently. If the engine is damaged for example, the carrier will not be able to move as fast. If damaged, the laser turret will heat up faster and cool down slower so it will not be able to fire as frequently. The repair system repairs the carrier slower if it is damaged.

The carrier carries up to eight Manta (Multirole Aircraft for Nautical Tactical Assault) remote-controlled aircraft and up to eight Walrus (Water And Land Roving Utility Shuttle) remote-controlled amphibious vehicles, although only four of each may be operational at any one time. The remote control of the Mantas and the Walruses has to be linked through the carrier, so if they go too far from the carrier the cockpit screen of them will become ghosted. If they venture even further away from the carrier, they will lose all contact with the carrier and be destroyed; the Mantas will just simply fall out of the sky. A Manta may be equipped with a long-range communications pod, allowing operation of it and any other nearby vehicles as far away from the carrier as desired. However, only one Manta may be fitted with a communications pod at any one time.

The Mantas are primarily for combat use, but the Walruses are primarily used to carry payloads to the islands. Depending on the current status of the island, and its intended use, the payload might be the starting kit for a colony, or a virus bomb to destroy an enemy colony. The Mantas can be equipped with missiles that can automatically lock on to enemy targets. The Walrus vehicles can be loaded with missiles that can be manually guided into targets.

Part of the appeal of the game lies in the control of these auxiliary vehicles. The player can, if desired, have all four Mantas and all four Walruses out of the carrier at once, and can pilot each personally, or program each to travel to a specific location (none of the vehicles can be programmed to perform attack or defence functions). Once arrived, a Walrus will simply wait. A Manta will adopt a circular holding pattern until it runs out of fuel, at which point it will crash into the ground or sea and be lost. Some islands have runways on which Mantas may be landed and refuelled. A Walrus which has run out of fuel may be refuelled by another Walrus carrying a spare fuel pod.

The carrier can also be piloted directly, or programmed to travel to a specific location, which may be another island.

Enemy Carrier

The enemy carrier (the ACC Omega) is also constantly sailing the archipelago, but instead of Mantas and Walruses it uses a stronger variant of the island defence fighter to capture friendly islands, and actually floats onto neutral islands to capture them. If the player manages to destroy the enemy carrier, the game is considered to be won. However, the player is then offered the opportunity to recapture all of the remaining enemy islands in the absence of the enemy carrier.

The enemy carrier is of a different design and colour to the player's carrier. It has superior top speed, maneuverability, and acceleration, which makes a direct carrier-to-carrier confrontation very unusual. However, it is very vulnerable to direct assault, and can be easily destroyed by a few shots from the turret laser. Alternatively, a Manta has sufficient top speed to catch the enemy carrier when it is still near to an island (in the open sea, the enemy carrier can outrun even a Manta). The enemy carrier can be destroyed by first emptying the Manta's laser cannon at it, then crashing the Manta into it. Alternatively, two Mantas equipped with missiles have the firepower to destroy it (the first Manta can disable the Omega's engines, allowing the second Manta to destroy it).

The enemy carrier's superior speed means that, in the "strategy" mode (see below), it can assimilate neutral islands much more quickly than the player. This means that the player's strategy is more important than the head-on approach.

Island Network

All islands in the game are flat and rectangular, and surrounded by sloping beaches. Neutral islands are covered in trees. Some islands have active volcanoes which erupt glowing rocks.

To assimilate a neutral island, an ACCB (automatic command-centre builder) pod must be placed by a Walrus. The player must nominate whether the island will be a resource island, a factory island, or a defence island. Resource islands mine basic raw materials from the ground, which are used to build defenses and production buildings on other islands. Factory islands automatically produce supplies for the carrier, including fuel and replacement equipment and vehicles. Both are lightly defended. Defence islands are strongly defended and difficult for the enemy carrier to capture, but produce nothing of value. The player must ensure there is a good balance of islands, otherwise the carrier will run out of fuel and supplies during the game. The ACCB builds itself into a command centre, and continues to automatically produce buildings and robots to work on or defend the island.

The islands are interconnected with a supply network. Each side can designate a stockpile island where supplies such as fuel and equipment are stored. When this network is disrupted in such a way that the stockpile island is cut off from your headquarters (the very first island you have), resupply becomes impossible. Running out of fuel automatically forfeits the game.

To capture an enemy island, the command centre must be destroyed, and another rebuilt. A Walrus is not powerful enough to take on a well prepared island by itself unless skillfully piloted, although the turret laser on the carrier has sufficient power. Alternatively a Walrus may fire a virus pod at the opening on the front of the command centre, which instantly converts it to a friendly island (and leaves all the buildings intact). However, enemy islands may be defended by automated flying units which can easily destroy a Walrus or Manta, and this approach is not easy.


"Carrier Command" was followed by "Battle Command", where the player controls a tank. "Battle Command" was widely considered far inferior to "Carrier Command" and has been all but forgotten.

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is currently under development by Black Element Software and Bohemia Interactive Studio. It's planned to be release on PC [cite web |url= |title=Carrier Command: Gaea Mission on PC |authorlink=Str.] , Xbox 360 [cite web |url= |title=Carrier Command: Gaea Mission on Xbox360 |authorlink=Str.] and PS3 [cite web |url= |title=Carrier Command: Gaea Mission on PS3 |authorlink=Str.] .

Island names

Each of the 64 islands in Carrier Command is named individually, with frequent references to science and classical history, mythology and languages.

References to science:
* Fulcrum, the island in the centre of the map, and at the origin. A "fulcrum" is a mechanical pivot.
* Genetix, a reference to genetics, the biological study of inheritance.
* Cherenkov, a reference to Cherenkov radiation in physics, the radiation emitted by an electric charge moving faster than the speed of light in a medium (not vacuum of course).
* Tokamak, referring to the Tokamak design of fusion reactor.
* Magma; magma is the molten rock inside a volcano.
* Igneous, referring to the category of rock formed through volcanic activity.
* Granite, an Igneous rock.
* Obsidian, a glass formed by volcanoes.
* Bedrock, Outcrop; more geological terms.

References to classics:
* Vulcan, the start point and only friendly island at the beginning of the game. Refers to volcanoes and vulcanology. "Vulcan" was the Roman god of craftsmanship.
* Socrates; referring to Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher.
* Thermopylae refers to a battle in 480 B. C. in the second Persian war.
* Avernus, a crater believed by the ancient Romans to be the entrance to the underworld.
* Styx; in Greek mythology, "Styx" is one of the five rivers separating the world of the living from the kingdom of the dead.
* Acheron, another of the five rivers surrounding the ancient Greek underworld.
* Hades, the ancient Greek name for the underworld.
* Inferno, referring to the Roman name for the underworld.
* Somnus, the Latin word for dream.
* Bacchus, the ancient Greek god of wine and revelry.
* Naiades, river spirits of Greek mythology.
* Medusa, in Greek mythology, a snake-headed woman with the power to turn to stone anyone who gazed at her directly.
* Fornax, the Latin word for a furnace.
* Charibdis, referring to Charybdis, a sea-monster from Greek mythology associated with a whirlpool.
* Terminus, the Latin word for "the end".
* Nemesis, a destiny-related concept in Greek mythology.

References to Rainbird employees:
* Bardland, named after Paul Hibbard, an employee at Rainbird.
* Byrne, named after Paula Byrne, an employee at Rainbird.
* Edgeley, named after Clare Edgeley, the Rainbird employee who conceived the original idea of creating a game based upon aircraft carriers.
* Odracir, a backwards spelling of the name "Ricardo", referring to Ricardo Pinto, a developer.
* Serrano, named after Herman Serrano, the artist who painted the box cover for the game and created many of the user interface icons.

Other references:
* Taksaven, a pun on tax haven; tax havens are areas with especially lenient tax regulations. They are often islands; an example is the Isle of Man.
* Vattland, the opposite of "Taksaven"; a reference to VAT, British sales tax.
* Bountybar, referring to the Bounty chocolate bar manufactured by Mars.
* Beltempest, a reference to a character in Dave Greenslade's album "Pentateuch of the Cosmogony".
* Elwood, named after the fictional character Elwood Blues from the movie The Blues Brothers.
* Kouyate, named after the song by the band Level 42 from their album "True Colours".
* Stavros, named after the character created and performed by comedian Harry Enfield.
* Endymion, named after an epic poem by John Keats.
* Traffic, referring to a traffic island, a road design feature.
* Treasure, referring to the treasure island motif which frequently occurs in stories about the sea or pirates, significantly in the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Other Island names:
* Arachnid
* Beacon
* Cerebus
* Charissa
* Dionysius
* Deadlock
* Duessa
* Evergreen
* Fears Edge
* Frontier
* Hytac
* Isolus
* Judgement
* Lingard
* Milestone
* Mnemonic
* Outpost
* Sanctuary
* Splinter
* Steadfast
* Storm
* Twilight
* Ursula

Critical response

The ZX Spectrum version of "Carrier Command" was awarded 94% by Your Sinclair [ [ Carrier Command ] ] and was placed at number 12 in the Your Sinclair official top 100.

External links

* [ "Carrier Command"] at The Bird Sanctuary
* An OpenGL remake of the game (still in progress): [ "Author's Project Site"]

* Official site of [ Carrier Command: Gaea Mission]


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