Empires is a revolutionary mod currently in development for Half-Life 2. It'll be combining the genres of first-person shooter and real-time strategy. Two key players will be present in each game, one player per team will be the commander, playing the game from a top down perspective with the ability to construct bases and give orders to his team, and all remaining players will be soldiers, playing the game from a first person perspective either on foot or in an aircraft or vehicle. The commander can choose to control his team with an iron fist, restrict his team's purchasing ability for buying upgrades and vehicles, and punish anyone who disobeys, or he can be completely nonchalant and allow his team to do what they like with no fear of reprimand. Ultimately, it is up to the commander to determine his team's strategy which will inevitably determine whether his team is victorious. There will be many forms of help when taking on the seemingly monumental task of being the commander. In-game help and NPC characters will offer advice and keep the commander aware of events on the battlefield.

As a normal player, it is up to you to follow your commander's orders and do the grunt work of piloting tanks and bombers in order to destroy the enemy team. If, however, the commander is not acting in the team's best interest, he can be voted out just as easily as he was voted into the position in the first place. It is wise to follow the commander and perform tasks that furthers your team's mission, or you might be the one receiving punishment in the form of guard duty.

As the game progresses, upgrades will be available in many forms to players. Normal players can be promoted in rank and given command of a squad of infantry (consisting of either human players or bots or a combination of both), given custom abilities such as the scout's ability to hide almost completely from enemy sight, and given upgraded attributes such as improved weapon handling. Upgrades will also become available to vehicles and aircraft in the form of improved weapons, ammo, armor, and engines.

Maps will consist of large roaming areas like those common in Battlefield 1942 with plenty of room for aircraft to maneuver and smaller maps which mainly focus on infantry combat. Maps can either be played individually or strung together in the form of a campaign which will progress the storyline and culminate in a sweeter victory or even more bitter defeat.

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