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Bite-sized gameplay begone: Carrier Command campaigns can take a month

But there's a story mode for the weaklings, too.

Keep your bite-sized, coffee break gameplay - some Carrier Command: Gaea Mission campaigns take the best part of a month to finish, developer Bohemia Interactive has revealed.

This is the PC and Xbox 360 sequel, of sorts, to the 1988 game Carrier Command. It's coming out this September (you can access the beta by putting your money down for a pre-order) and it's made by Bohemia Interactive - the skilful studio behind the ArmA war games.

The month-long Carrier Command: Gaea Mission battles are the user-defined campaigns. These are customised by four content sliders: Captured Island Count, Enemy Strength, Startup Resources and Islands Output Rate. (There's also Victory Conditions to specify.)

Stack the odds in your favour - lots of islands producing lots of resources against a weaker enemy - and the battle will last an afternoon. But stack the odds against you, and it could "take the rest of the month".

Yeah, you think he played New Star Soccer? Or do you think he played Carrier Command?

Bohemia Interactive reckons these customisable missions give Carrier Command "virtually unlimited replayability".

But user-defined campaigns - Strategy Games - are only one half of the game. The other is the Gaea story mode, which is "a more firmly defined, progressive gameplay experience" with tutorials and unique on-foot, first-person missions.

This is all talked about and demonstrated in Bohemia Interactive's E3 demonstration video, which was released to the masses this afternoon and can be watched below.

Carrier Command is an action strategy game. You control a carrier boat that carries up to eight vehicles: VTOL-capable (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft, Mantas, and amphibious all-terrain tank vehicle things, Walruses.

You can park the boat by islands and try and try to take them by force. You can order units to go and do battle for you, or you can assume direct (remote) control of them. You can hop between units on the fly, leaving the AI in control when you're not present.

You can quickly flit back to carrier control, too, and queue remakes of destroyed units in seconds.

Units are made on stockpile islands. Here's the strategy bit. Islands are set to do a certain job. Stockpile is one, there's also Mining, Factory and Defense. There are lots of islands to capture.

When units are created, you'll need to ship them to your carrier via a submarine. Or you can sail back there with your carrier, either manually or automatically. Going back automatically means you can trigger the Timewarp ability to cut the length of your journey.

An overview of all this is given by simple, uncluttered tactical maps. They're easy to decipher at a glance. And the rest of the game follows on from that - it's clean, clear and easy to understand. HUDs only have two or three status bars to keep track of, and you only really need to move and shoot. And controlling the vehicles doesn't strike us a rocket science, although we've not actually played the game.

Evidently, we're not in simulation territory here.

To put it bluntly, I could probably play Carrier Command, and I'm generally rubbish.

The Carrier Command: Gaea Mission E3 video presentation.

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