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BletchleyGeek last won the day on April 28 2018

BletchleyGeek had the most liked content!


About BletchleyGeek

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    Senior Member

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    Melbourne, Australia
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    Computer Science, AI, History, Wargaming

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  1. BletchleyGeek

    Fradulent Credit Card Transactions

    I recommend subscribing to this site https://haveibeenpwned.com and the companion search engine to check your passwords (you need to trust them) is good to control damage if you suspect pwnage https://haveibeenpwned.com/Passwords I just was alerted this morning by these guys as my email address appeared on a massive database of emails and passwords counting 700+ M entries that was being shared around.
  2. BletchleyGeek

    Update on Engine 4 patches

    Thanks for the answers, Steve. Production Line is a fun little game if you are into logistics or Rube Goldberg machines Still people feel their products are being relegated to the back of the store unfairly - I agree with you that there are just a lot of games out there and that naturally reduce visibility. Law of averages and all that.
  3. BletchleyGeek

    Update on Engine 4 patches

    I have been deliberately picky in my selection, Steve. I think there's a lot of generic churning on the Slitherine line up these days. They have significantly increased their depth in purely strategy genres - like 4X - which were already carried by Matrix in the early 2000s (like Reach for the Stars! or Armada 2525). I'd say that they're diversifying and broadening their audience base. That means that the kind of games become more accessible - i.e. Panzer General clones and introductory stuff like Battle Academy. My criterion for selecting those are the ones I personally find to offer something genuinely unique (as in never seen before) or exceptionally well done/researched. Your games fall in that category, too. With 2D games some production costs are indeed lower, but other are higher but typically borne out by volunteer, unpaid work. Those enthusiast volunteers spend hundreds or thousands of hours and substantial money to furnish that research. I am not saying that your research isn't good, Steve, just that tactical war games feed on a kind of information that usually isn't available (except for the US Army thanks to the excellent Historical service and their Green Books series). Or require extensive manuals that need to be proofread and actually contain useful information. On a different level, I think that coming out with credible (not perfect) external ballistics that gets right about 80% of the time match ups ranging from Panzer III vs 45mm guns to Panther versus IS-2 engaging each other at >1kms, is less time consuming than coming out with a credible system that emulates friction at the operational level due to the interaction of traffic congestion, communications and weather, or MACV intelligence collection in say, the Tay Ninh province in late 1966. Of course, if you have particularly ehm, passionate inputs, you may spend years working out an impressive external ballistics model. I just reminded another one: Panzer Command Kharkov and their follow ups. Kind of following the groove set by CMx1. But its unique feature was the interface with Google Earth to capture geographic data to setup maps. That was kind of rickety but a very cool feature (hint, hint). That's interesting and I appreciate you share that insight, Steve. I wonder if you have done any attempt to identify the causes of either issue. Reaching out seems to be a very common preoccupation these days in the video game development world (see the Epic vs Valve upcoming store wars). This guy - another hard ass indie developer survivor http://www.positech.co.uk/cliffsblog/ shares some insightful stuff from time to time (he also posts some bull and potentially broken C++ code :P). I think you have been very tactical - doh! - picking up the periods and theaters to cover, which are fresher in the memory (and imagination) of the bulk of your potential market. You may only have missed on not having a Combat Mission: Indochina in your line up. And that's a big may, imo.
  4. BletchleyGeek

    Update on Engine 4 patches

    In the 3D space, other than Graviteam I can think of: - That failed attempt by Eric Young that Matrix released circa 2004 - Mad Minute Games Civil War games, and their continuation as NorbSoftDev Scourge of War Series (latest expansion to their take on Waterloo released in 2016) - We can consider Histwar to have been released twice (at least!) In the 2.5D space we have the new Close Combats and that beautiful curio, Firefight. In the 2D space since 2001 we have quite a few of them: - Red Devils over Arnhem / Highway to the Reich / Conquest of the Aegean / Command Ops 1 & 2 - 2by3 Uncommon Valour, War in the Pacific, the Admiral's Edition follow up, War in the East, War in the West - Frank Hunter's Campaigns in the Danube (the best operational level Napoleonic game out there) and Piercing Fortress Europa - Desert War 1940-42 - TOAW improvements and versions 3 and 4 - Flashpoint Campaigns (both the 2006 edition and the newer games) - Armored Brigade (not entirely sure just yet how serious it actually is, though) - Command (nuHarpoon) and I am sure fellow forum members can add more titles that try to capture in a meaningful way some of the physical, economic, psychological and political constraints that make war different from other human competitive activities such as chess, soccer or cricket. Trading off level of detail for broadness of scope and scale as appropiate, of course. Ballpark figure is about 20... compare that with the number of "isometric RPGs inspired by D&D edition 3 where choices matter and the main character is guaranteed to bang at least two party NPCs over the course of the game" released between 2001 and 2019, and we'll be more or less even. I think that is about the size of what is called a "niche genre". Indeed, a tiny figure when compared with FPS, RTS, third person shooters, platformers, or casual puzzle games. In any case, the volume of titles released hardly matters to determine if a genre is "dying", what it matters is to see the historical figures for average number of units sold. Are you guys selling noticeably less over the years? Is that something hitting every one on the list above in the same way? Where I do agree with you is that 3D tactical wargames are hard yakka - there's lots of roadkill on that particular route. I am pretty sure those young ones - if they are of the clever sort - who have the skills and the talent will be happier to use said skills and talent getting a nice fat paycheck every fortnight, padding their 401k (or equivalent) accounts, providing for a safe and comfortable environment to raise children. Why should they give that up to work more hours than a wall clock and, on top of that, have to deal with an audience whose more vocal members can be quite abrasive? They would be nuts, wouldn't they?
  5. BletchleyGeek

    Update on Engine 4 patches

    I just don't understand how someone can pay 60$ to fly an F86 over Georgia circa 2008, the Persian Gulf in the 2020s, or Normandy in 1944. But sure the joy of doing so is real to them. I usually tolerate and respect, until I observe those same individuals getting all worked up when one just mentions to them, or in front of them, that alternative sims exist, with better value for money to the average fan. There already credible alternatives, who actually have expressed respect for your work in public several times, yet approach the subject matter differently. I have no reason to assume more developers will turn out to do similar games, with emphasis on different aspects or looking at different periods. The past is a different country, they do things differenly there... the catch being that we are all the past of some future. Tolkien was an Edwardian man who came to see: - crashing the Empire to abject lows of oppression and eventual dissolution, - along with the downfall of the ethical, moral and political system of the 19th century, - two vicious world wars, - a great depression, - with the cherry on top that was the cold war and the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction. So he was perhaps a bit dramatic, and that ending sounds like being sad. But my reading is that Tolkien was just observing that the Old plants the seeds of the New, and it is a good thing for the former to leave space to the later, to make its own mistakes or reach heights never seen before. Such is the way of the world, until somebody makes the mistake to invent a potion of eternal youth
  6. BletchleyGeek

    What Are You Reading?

    Good timing, indeed
  7. BletchleyGeek

    What Are You Reading?

    I need to check that out. My reading on the American Revolution is quite sparse - Middlekrauf's classic The Glorious Cause and not much more. I hear you. I have imposed myself a ban on buying stuff unless I make progress through the backlog.
  8. BletchleyGeek

    What Are You Reading?

    You should, they're truly fantastic.
  9. BletchleyGeek

    What Are You Reading?

    Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy 1945 - 1975, by Max Hastings and Ghostwritten, by David Mitchell
  10. BletchleyGeek

    Update on Engine 4 patches

    So much truth in the bit I put in boldface that it may rip a hole through space time.
  11. Merry Xmas @Mord, may your sense of humour fill these digital halls with laughter for many years!
  12. I have myself witnessed that on one of the bigger CW armour heavy scenarios, a really long time ago. I haven't played battles recently that had both lots of armour and my infantry had the chance to get close to unhorsed crews.
  13. I think these slightly different reactions for AT crews are in the game to some extent to compensate the fact that if the crew "bails out" the gun cannot be recrewed. So you don't want them to run away - making the crew braver to incoming fire - and the engine possibly grants the crew some magic resistances - essentially "saving throws" against spotting checks, fragments etc. - in exchange for the lack of flexibility and to avoid them being plastered like flies caught in sticky paper. As @George MC says though, I have never found an ATG hard to kill, provided that I spotted it first Crews in general haved different behaviours than infantrymen. Somebody observed that truck drivers perform generally much worse than their infantryman counterpart (that followed from a discussion around a bug test being invalid because it was using drivers rather than first line troops). AFV crews also have or used to have slightly different behaviours, fighting like panthers with rabies sometimes (that may have been a bug fixed years ago). Great thread @Swervin11b plenty of great contributions here.
  14. Thanks @Mattis for the clarification. My observation is that the only games that shipped with v4.0 deployed on release were CMFB and CMSF2 (if memory doesn't fail me). Allowing very short times in scenarios for tactical wargames is something that has been around for ages. I remember clearly myself modifying Steel Panthers scenarios to set the durations to something more suitable for my opinion. Steve "Mad Russian" Overton, who was a big CMx1 scenario designer, explained a couple times on these forums or over at Matrix's PzC Ostfront that it was his preferred tool to induce pressure on human players, and in that way, "help" the AI. I think that short durations make sense for scenarios that try to depict an assault (defense) and the ensuing firefight. For instance, the scenarios @Bil Hardenberger and @ScoutPL released recently have very short spans, but also are spatially confined. In that context, when you got all the intel you need to have and the mission is clear (even in the meeting engagement, due to the dimensions of the battlespace, the terrain is very easy to analyse and you don't need to find the enemy, you just run into it), having a very short duration (like 30 minutes or less) makes perfect sense. After that time, either the assault was repulsed or successful, and either side would need to resupply and regroup for a counterattack (defense). Many scenarios are classified as "assaults" but actually, they're not. You need to find the enemy, you need to work out a fire plan (if the designer decided to grant you any artillery support), and a maneuver plan. That can take a varying amount of ingame time as player skill at managing his units is not even, and if assets are limited, it will be difficult to risk these in patrolling in open daylight or across potential enemy killzones. I have modified quite a few of such scenarios to change the intel level, so that I get the info I need to make a plan on the very first turn. I know there's a sizeable number of folks on these forums who like to have such kind of "mixed" type of battles, with a bit of recon, a bit of maneuver and a bit of close combat. With some very notable exceptions (like @GeorgeMC wonderful meeting engagement scenarios) I tend to find those bland, unrealistic, and a real drag. Others love them and all the power to them... but I really don't. I would really CMx1-like operations to be back, rather than having massive static scenarios.
  15. Thanks for the post @Mattis I appreciate your sense of humour and your post made me laugh out loud a couple times. I am not sure that the new AI features are to blame for anything really. But the bit quoted above suggests a new type of victory condition which is quite sensible imo.