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Onkel Neal 05-05-2020 09:19 AM

Microprose resurfaces!


Sea Power announcement

Task Force Admiral Announcement

This is pretty exciting, they have brought the teams behind Sea Power and Task Force Admiral under the newly resurrected Microprose tent.

Amiral Crapaud kicked this off after getting in touch with David Lagettie and made the original deal with him. Then he introduced him to Nils & Jo (the tactical WW2 game), Nils and Amiral having got in touch months earlier on Subsim.

Onkel Neal 05-05-2020 10:04 AM

So, looks like a great start. Here's an article from the NYT about the origins from 1997 of two Czech developers and an Aussie heavy metal singer. This turned into Bohemia Interactive (Operation Flashpoint, Arma, DayZ).

A War Training Platform From an Unlikely Source
Ondrej, left, and Marek Spanel created the game VBS 2, which is used by the American, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand armies.Credit...Kurt Vinion for The New York Times.


The video game that the Army and the Marines selected to help train soldiers for combat owes its existence to an Australian heavy metal song.

Called VBS 2, the game allows soldiers to rehearse for missions, and trainers to constantly plug in new information — from a recent mission in Afghanistan, for instance.

VBS, which stands for Virtual Battlespace, was created by two brothers, Ondrej and Marek Spanel, who grew up in communist Czechoslovakia when computers and video games had to be bought on the black market.

“We were avid Atari fans,” Marek Spanel, 38, said. “The only way to play games was to make our own.”

Now, as franchises like Call of Duty, Medal of Honor and Battlefield compete for the hearts, minds and eyeballs of millions of gamers — and billions of consumer dollars — the VBS platform is winning the battle to develop game-based military simulators.

How did an independent Czech developer accomplish this?

In 1997, the Spanel brothers began working on a commercial first-person-shooter game with an open platform and design tools, asking users to build more weapons, vehicles and terrains.

Ondrej Spanel had an advanced degree in landscape generation and animation, so terrain rendering became a central feature.

After several failed attempts to find a publisher, the brothers signed with an American distributor that soon went out of business and sold its catalog to Ubisoft, which cancelled the brothers’ contract.

“We were kind of hopeless,” Marek Spanel said.

When the game was eventually published by Codemasters in 2001 as “Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis,” the brothers’ fledgling company, Bohemia Interactive Studio, had grown to a staff of eight. “It was a small team. We were very dedicated. We had no family, no life,” said Mr. Spanel, who now has a 7-year-old son and two daughters, 5 and 3.

The brothers chose as the game’s theme song the heavy metal tune “Lifeless” by the Australian Internet band Seventh, whose lead singer, David Lagettie, was obsessed with military simulators. Mr. Lagettie, 42, had been an industrial air-conditioning mechanic near Canberra. The son of a Vietnam War veteran, he grew up enthralled by military flight simulators. He wrote “Lifeless” in memory of a close family friend, Sgt. Tom Birnie, who was killed in Vietnam.

He suggested that the Spanels turn Operation Flashpoint into a military training game.

The open design and mission editor, it turned out, provided just the flexibility the military needed. Mr. Lagettie helped the Spanels customize Operation Flashpoint into a military simulator they called VBS, which the Marine Corps started purchasing in 2001. The American, British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand armies now also use the software.

“If it wasn’t for that song,” said Mr. Lagettie, “VBS wouldn’t exist today.”

The military simulation business has sustained the company.

Now, the Bohemia Interactive Group, based in Prague, has a staff of 140. For the 2009 fiscal year, game revenue was about $6 million, while simulation sales were about $7 million, Marek Spanel said.

“Small computer game companies are struggling,” said Pete Morrison, a former captain in the Australian Army Signal Corps who is now chief executive of Bohemia Interactive Simulations, but “thinking about real-world applications can help.”

At some point, Lagettie formed Titan IM/Vanguard and bought the Microprose brand. Now with Task Force Admiral and Sea Power under development, the series has some real traction.


As probably many people know, Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BIS), makers of VBS, is a major player in the "serious games" field. What is probably less known is that the company was originally founded as Bohemia Interactive Australia by David Lagettie, an Australian who saw the potential in Operation Flashpoint game, and went to use it for military simulation and training software, which soon saw a widespread adoption.

Later, around the time BIA was relocated to Prague, he left and founded Virtual Simulation Systems (VSS), a company developing all kinds of simulation hardware used in weapon and vehicle/aircraft simulators. Several of these were actually used at the ITSEC demo, shown on the screens below.

El Whacko 05-05-2020 10:07 AM

This is cool! I wonder if they will bring the B-17 game team back and make a remake of the game. I've seen Taff in Exile play it before. I cannot wait!


Sonarman 05-06-2020 05:48 AM

Great article below with more info about whats coming up beyong the initial launch ( looks li,e you might get your B17 yet in VR!) the article also offers ‘Wild Bill’s’ perspective on the new company.

PurpleCow 05-06-2020 04:23 PM

Bohemia Interactive has a well deserved reputation for releasing games full of bugs
Bohemia Interactive has a well deserved reputation for releasing games full of bugs and never fixing them. It has been Operation Flashpoint is a perfect example.

Just look at the hot mess that is DayZ. The initial alpha was released in December 16, 2013 and the game is still broken today. Cars that fly into the air for no apparent reason. Still can't choose a gender for your character. Extremely high latency net code. This with well over 5 million in funding from players who bought early access. Once they have your money they are long gone.

Please tell me they have nothing to do with Sea Power or Task Force Admiral.

Julhelm 05-07-2020 02:45 AM

Bohemia has nothing to do with Microprose, no.

Bilge_Rat 05-07-2020 07:56 AM

good news, but the original Microprose closed down 20 years ago. As far as I can see, this is just a new group that bought the name so we have to see where it leads to, but obviously good news for sim enthusiasts.

Xaron 05-07-2020 09:37 AM


Originally Posted by Bilge_Rat (Post 2668890)
good news, but the original Microprose closed down 20 years ago. As far as I can see, this is just a new group that bought the name so we have to see where it leads to, but obviously good news for sim enthusiasts.

Well Bill Stealey (Wild Bill) is on board and the new CEO David Lagetti is a well known one with quite a track record for military simulations.

So no, it's not "just a new group that bought the name" I'd say.

nikimcbee 05-08-2020 08:14 PM

At first, I thought it was Neal's April First joke, but it's not April first...
Then it's another "nostalgia thread"....nope.

It's end times!!!!

Overkill 05-13-2020 08:21 PM

"Silent Service 3...Silent Service 3....Silent..."

scrapser 05-30-2020 07:14 AM

This is for me a most wonderful moment. I loved MicroProse and always vouched for the company. I once had a great conversation with "Wild Bill" when I unknowingly called just after they had closed for the day with a question about my copy of F-15 Strike Eagle. Bill answered the phone and answered my question and we went on to talk about our love of flying.

I still own most of the games I originally purchased and have maintained legacy computers to play them or run them on emulators where necessary such as the Commodore 64 or Amiga. I have the Falcon 4.0 copy including the huge three-ring binder owner's manual.

I truly wish them all the best and will be eagerly waiting for their new titles. Many of the old games would be amazing with today's hardware. I can't get over the news.

"The action is simulated, the excitement is real!"

Aktungbby 05-30-2020 11:47 AM

welcome back!

Audie 07-18-2020 03:03 PM

This makes me so very happy...:up:

CaptainHaplo 07-19-2020 08:12 PM

Oh the memories - if they can be successful with the QUALITY that Microprose was known for, then I will be beyond happy. Then again, games back then where a lot smaller and "patches" were rare to non-existent!

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