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AirForce2 (also known as Aforce2 or simply AForce) is a Graphical, Object Oriented, Platform Independent Shoot-em-up game. Jim Sproch, the founder and lead developer of The AForce Project, has released the game under the GNU General Public License. This open source game is the spiritual successor to an old Windows 3.1 arcade-style game called Alien Airforce, which was originally written by Robert Epps in the early 1990s. In addition to the platform independent version written in Java, a native Linux version is also being developed in C++.
The primary objective of the game is to eliminate all enemy ships. Every enemy ship destroyed gives the player some number of points, and the entire team a percentage of those points. Points can then be used to buy upgrades such as armor, shields, and weapons. Many variations have been made to this design. For example, one variation requires that you capture all the enemy flags and bring them to your drop point in order to win the game. In “Capture the Flag” mode, elimination of enemy ships will gain you points (which can be used to purchase upgrades), but are otherwise unnecessary. Another variation requires that you kill the opponent's “commander” while protecting your own. In this Scenario, only the elimination of a commander ends the game.
The game is controlled primarily through use of the keyboard and makes limited use of the mouse. The arrow keys turn the ship up, down, left, and right, and the space bar is used to shoot. Other controls are used to stop your ship, pause the game, activate shields, and launch special weapons. A full list of Controls can be seen below:
Arrow Keys to turn
Space to shoot
Shift to active your ship's on board shield
Tab brings up a heads up display with player stats
"m" places a a mine
"s" to stop your ship
"p" pauses the game
"x" shoots 4 bullets, one in each direction (cross fire)
"t" shoots three bullets at once (triple fire)
"l" for lasers
"h" launches a hunter seeker
"r" reverses your ship's direction
"d" drops a remote detonator or detonates one that has already been dropped
"f" picks up or drops a flag
"b" drops a bomb which blows up in three seconds
"i" opens the user's inventory
"f" shoots (same as space)
The features described in this page are as they differ from Alien Airforce.
AForce2 comes with eight standard maps, all of which can be used in both single-player and multiplayer mode. Additional maps can be download from fan sites and added by dragging them into the “Maps” directory. Maps are written in a standard XML format, making them easy to modify with any text editor. Only official maps can be played on the official AForce server, but users can set up their own servers with any rules they want.
The ability to buy new weapons is a key part of the game. The standard rail gun that comes with your ship may only have one projectile in the air at any given time. This makes it difficult to protect yourself from two enemies at the same time. Upgraded weapons have shorter cool down rates, faster projectile velocities, and other features like the ability to seek out other ships. Most weapons will not damage yourself or your team mates, but each weapon has a slightly different set of rules. When playing with a Mod, new weapons can be added, and standard weapons can be disabled in the modification's weapons file.
Game Modifications (mods)
Mods allow users to play out their own Sceneros. A mod can be used in a multiplayer game only if both teams agree to it. Only official mods (such as “Capture the Flag” and “Commander Wars”) can be played on the official AForce2 server. Mods are also written in XML, so any text editor can be used to make or change one. Mods can be downloaded from fan sites and placed in the game's “Mods” directory, but can not be transferred to other players through the game.
Multiplayer games can be played over a local area network (LAN) or over the Internet. Users can play on the official AForce2 servers, or on an unofficial server hosted by other players. In order to play, users must know the host name of the server, or the server's IP address. Only official maps and mods can be played on the official AForce2 server, but the owner of any other server can set his or her own rules. In multilayer mode, the game does not tell the player which enemy ships are owned by players and which are owned by NPCs.
Users can pause the game to get a drink of water, or save the game to resume at a future time. The game also has the built in ability to save screen shots.
AForce2 was originally written because of this one feature alone. The creator, Jim Sproch, used to play Alien Airforce when he was a child. When he started using exclusively Linux as a desktop operating system, the one thing he missed most was the old Windows 3.1 game called Alien Airforce. This was the reason for writing AForce2, so no gamer, regardless of platform, would ever be stopped from playing this great game. AForce2 was therefore made in Java (for Linux, Windows, and Mac users) and C++ (For Linux and other *nix users to run natively).
Released under the GNU General Public License, AForce2 is an open source application that can be modified and redistributed freely. This means that any user who thinks they have something to contribute is more than welcomed to. This also means that the game will always remain free, so the game developers are supported exclusively through the donations of the users.
The game is always in experimental stages, and is still in a public Beta. Even on the hardest difficulty, the artificial intelligence is relatively easy to defeat. The released version of the game is always compiled with the latest version of Java, which means all users must be completely up-to-date in order to play without recompiling themselves. Furthermore, the source code has never been speed optimized because there has never been a final release, which means users need a relatively new computer in order to play.