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Update on Engine 4 patches

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6 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

(...) That's because common TO&E is (as of Engine 4) shared between all the games as appropriate.  (...)

Steve

Thanks a lot for the update Steve. 

Regarding the common TO&E, could it be that it may makes scenarios playable in all games if the units selected are the same ?
May that eventually lead to a cross-platform editor ?

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Only too familiar with legacy issues and unintentional complications. Machine Spirit guide your compilations.

What ever happened to Theatre of War?

I tried playing the 1st one recently, but I found it too difficult.The 2nd (Kursk) one was my first introduction to the genre, and my favourite one of the series. I remember the 3rd one came out while I was still in highschool, and it was quite popular during lunch breaks. 3rd one brought a lot of new features to the table, and I'm still waiting for a 4th one.

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Well, there's some egg on my face!  Theater of War should have been in my list, especially since we published it for so long :o  The game series was put to bed by 1C (the developer/publisher) long ago.  I don't think it's likely ToW4 is coming around any time soon, if ever.

Theater of War is one of those game systems what had it's feet in both serious and casual gamer territory, which means if you're trying to classify it as "serious" or "casual" there's a case to be made for each.  Based on what I've gleaned from our sales over many years, most people who play CM2 don''t play ToW and vice versa.  To me that indicates that ToW, in the eyes of CM players at least, fell more into the "casual" side of the equation. 

Steve

 

 

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What killed those for me was it was strictly rts.  I won’t purchase anything that doesn’t do both wego and head to head play. It puts a severe limitation on what I’ll purchase but keeps me from wasting money on something that will end up rather quickly on the shelf.  

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12 hours ago, Bozowans said:

On top of that, people tend to work longer hours these days for less pay, and at least in the USA, the vast majority of people here live paycheck to paycheck or are outright in debt. So who has time to sit down and learn how to play complicated wargames?

Yep, one of the friends that introduced me to CM no longer plays because "I'm tired and when I get home I don't want to think". LOL CM does make you think

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6 minutes ago, sburke said:

What killed those for me was it was strictly rts

Yeah.  TOW looked great.  But, if you are not a RT fan, not good to play.

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5 minutes ago, IanL said:

Yep, one of the friends that introduced me to CM no longer plays because "I'm tired and when I get home I don't want to think". LOL CM does make you think

Yeah I can relate. Sometimes I’ll open the game and just mess with a couple things. Not actually try and play but create a diorama type setting, mess with a map a little bit etc.  those are a lot less “stressful”. 

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Sad, but these days daily life is much tougher than for our generation.  If you are trying to make ends meet with mortgage a couple screaming kids and doing 2 jobs, who has time for a complex wargame?   It would be interesting to examine demographics of customers here.

Edited by Erwin

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1 hour ago, slysniper said:

I think if no other group was marketed to that is fine, but I do think finding a way to inform more military personnel throughout the world of these games would bring in additional users. For I have seen it for myself. None of my kid, relatives or friends have found the game interesting as for a game, but every relative or friend that has a military career I have shared it with, has engaged in the game , been interested and some have purchased and are now owners of the game.

So that is my input of the way I see this type of game having a following that should never die or ever not have a group of possible users.

Indeed. If any marketing $ were to be spent that is where I would point them too.

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3 minutes ago, Erwin said:

Sad, but these days daily life is much tougher than for our generation.  If you are trying to make ends meet with mortgage a couple screaming kids and doing 2 jobs, who has time for a complex wargame?   It would be interesting to examine demographics of customers here.

I don’t think that scenario has changed. Hell at least you don’t have to have space to set up a board game the cat can’t get to. Some of those board games got (and that continues - surprisingly large board military board games still sell and there is some really nice stuff out there) ridiculously complex. I can open CM play a turn, save and go about what ever I have to do, pause at any time etc. what we didn’t have was a multitude of little app games like candy crush you could mindlessly enjoy that would end up consuming far more time but to your point did not have any mental stress involved I.e thinking. 

Personally I think Steve was more on target about the immediacy of communications. Expectation of instant reply is altering our sense of actually having any free time. Everyone is always available. Personally I think there are huge negative consequences for that which are slowly playing out for us in a lot of different ways.  

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9 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

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.

Yup, I understand that any list of games is going to be affected by personal perception and preference.  My point all along is no matter how you categorize the games, there's only a handful of ones that are in 3D and there's comparatively far more that aren't.  The more the line between serious and casual wargame is pushed towards casual, the gap grows because the pool of 3D possibilities doesn't really change.

9 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

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.

Most games shy away from explicit simulations of higher level logistics because, to most people, it's boring.  It also creates a whole different game within a game if you're also simulating combat aspects.  That creates all kinds of major problems for both the developer and the customer.  It's why those sorts of games rarely poke their heads in to the market and usually have them lopped off by customers for implementation issues.

From a mechanics standpoint, speaking as a game designer, I think simulating the operation stuff is not all that difficult to do reasonably well.  There's just little incentive to do it.

9 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

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).

OOo!  I forgot all about that one.  Which, of course, says something ;)

9 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

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.

Sure.  I mentioned a few reasons already and that they've been going on for decades now.  The explosion of total number of games available is a major contributing factor.  When we started out the old retail system still had a stranglehold on game development, physically printed games magazines were still going strong, Blogs didn't exist, and social media was not even a concept people had thought of.  Which meant when CM1 came out we were able to leverage the traditional systems to our advantage because we slipped in without paying the cover charge, so to speak.  We used the system's inherent exclusivity and exclusionary practices to our advantage.  Long since then the system broke wide open and in some ways we have to compete as much with the 15 year old that put out a crappy app as we do the large games companies.  And I'm fine with that as overall I think it's a massive improvement over the old system.  I'm just glad we had about a 10 year head start :)

9 hours ago, BletchleyGeek said:

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).

Thanks for that link.  I've just downloaded one of the guy's demos ;)

1 hour ago, slysniper said:

The one thing I never do understand is the market and why they see it shrinking. All the reasons as to maybe why might be true but I still don't see that as  making sense.

There has always been and will always be a percentage of people that are interested in war, real war, not pretend unrealistic war type games. Not just for a interest, but as a career, as a part of life, as a part of what they prepare for. People in militaries throughout the world, many of them are constantly looking for anything that can help them be as prepared as possible for what they might face at some point in their lives.

I honestly believe this percentage of the population interested in spending its free time pursuing things which involve deep thinking and long term time commitment (learning curve especially) is shrinking.  There's definitely evidence to support that, as a society, the West's population seems to be going for instant gratification more than ever before.  Serious wargames require time and energy that it seems fewer people are interested in spending for the various reasons touched upon above.

Which means people 10 and 20 and 30 years ago who have the makings of a grognard are simply opting to do other things to satisfy their various intellectual and entertainment itches.  Partly because there are vastly more options available now than ever before.  Honestly, if I had the gaming options available to me at 22 years old that are available now I might not even be making games.  Or if I did, I'd probably have gone more towards the big space empire builders.

The primary problem isn't that the absolute numbers of people interested in games like Combat Mission are shrinking.  No, the real problem is that they weren't all that big to begin with and yet the costs of catering to the ones who are willing/able to plunk down a chunk of change keeps going up.  The natural laws of "carrying capacity" apply to more than just the natural world.  3D wargaming has always been too close to that line since it's very inception.  I don't see it getting any better, even with things like Unity.

Steve

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37 minutes ago, IanL said:

Yep, one of the friends that introduced me to CM no longer plays because "I'm tired and when I get home I don't want to think". LOL CM does make you think

Exactly.  This happens to me all the time.  I put aside no more than 1.5 hours of TV time at night while eating dinner (benefits of both spouses being self employed is dinnertime doesn't need to be sacred).  Sometimes we watch a single intense show or movie, but more often-than-not we watch episodes of something light.  When working intensely all day long on various things, relaxing intensely isn't really on the menu.  Been rewatching all the Monty Pythons in order lately!

Steve

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1 hour ago, Battlefront.com said:

Theater of War is one of those game systems what had it's feet in both serious and casual gamer territory, which means if you're trying to classify it as "serious" or "casual" there's a case to be made for each.  Based on what I've gleaned from our sales over many years, most people who play CM2 don''t play ToW and vice versa.  To me that indicates that ToW, in the eyes of CM players at least, fell more into the "casual" side of the equation. 

Yeah! It was a great gateway title -- with some really great graphics and physics for its time. Very attractive for high school kids. I don't think many people play ToW, at all, these days. I play it maybe once a year for nostalgia and I'm one of the few people who still remembers it. There's too little maps, and they're quite small. The infantry are kind of dumb and require micromanagement. 1C doesn't really do wargames any more, at least not for the western market (as far as I know).

1 hour ago, sburke said:

Yeah I can relate. Sometimes I’ll open the game and just mess with a couple things. Not actually try and play but create a diorama type setting, mess with a map a little bit etc.  those are a lot less “stressful”. 

A buddy of mine is like that -- wargames aren't very relaxing after work, he says! What kind of sick person wants to think of death, politics and man's inhumanity to man, during leisure activities? 

51 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

I honestly believe this percentage of the population interested in spending its free time pursuing things which involve deep thinking and long term time commitment (learning curve especially) is shrinking.  There's definitely evidence to support that, as a society, the West's population seems to be going for instant gratification more than ever before.  Serious wargames require time and energy that it seems fewer people are interested in spending for the various reasons touched upon above.

Which means people 10 and 20 and 30 years ago who have the makings of a grognard are simply opting to do other things to satisfy their various intellectual and entertainment itches.  Partly because there are vastly more options available now than ever before.  Honestly, if I had the gaming options available to me at 22 years old that are available now I might not even be making games.  Or if I did, I'd probably have gone more towards the big space empire builders.

The primary problem isn't that the absolute numbers of people interested in games like Combat Mission are shrinking.  No, the real problem is that they weren't all that big to begin with and yet the costs of catering to the ones who are willing/able to plunk down a chunk of change keeps going up.  The natural laws of "carrying capacity" apply to more than just the natural world.  3D wargaming has always been too close to that line since it's very inception.  I don't see it getting any better, even with things like Unity.

It does feel like "thinking" is going out of fashion in the West, sad to say. The big space empire builders market is oversaturated right now. Nobody has the time to play all the ones coming out these days. Market is cornered by Stellaris and Endless Space. Stellaris being one of the least "instant gratification" games, I've played.

As for the future of wargames, I will say this: 3D implementations of tabletop games. I've tried playing Tabletop simulator, and was shocked by how many people play it. Tabletop simulator doesn't do rule checking (just simulates the real life board game in 3d), but if it did, that'd open it to even more folks. Maybe add a persistent army builder, the ability to play against AI and animation.

I'm also a big fan of Arma, but it's heading in the wrong direction. There's few games that do platoon-level command in an FPS. I would be happy if someone tried to do a more realism focused approach to platoon-level, or even company-level, FPS game. You'd have to use more than your rifle: maps, compass, radios, binoculars, and maybe even fancier gadgets. You'd have to know your troops, and learn the terrain.

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2 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

Long since then the system broke wide open and in some ways we have to compete as much with the 15 year old that put out a crappy app as we do the large games companies.  And I'm fine with that as overall I think it's a massive improvement over the old system

Thanks for the answers, Steve. Production Line is a fun little game if you are into logistics or Rube Goldberg machines :P

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.

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On 1/16/2019 at 11:45 AM, Erwin said:

Yeah.  TOW looked great.  But, if you are not a RT fan, not good to play.

Especially after playing so much CM, to have to manage your soldiers individually and have them behave in a decidedly suicidal manner was no fun at all! 😃

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