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Here is What I Dont Understand about BF?

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33 minutes ago, Attilaforfun said:

Thousands of threads. Many ideas seen so many times to the 10th power. ...but no consensus so no action nor discussion. That makes

little sense to me. 

My hyperbole aside, it makes perfect sense to me.  If you dip into some of those older threads you'll see how passionate people are about a wide variety of incompatible concepts.  And even when a subset agrees with a broader type of campaign structure, they quickly go in different directions within the concept.  That's because Campaigns are more about how a story is told instead of what the story is about.

Steve

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2 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

I don't want this to turn into a campaign concept thread.  There's a couple thousand of those already :)  And because of that, there's not a single suggestion you could make here that we haven't seen more than once (likely to the 10th power) over the past two decades.  And that's the problem I alluded to earlier... there is no consensus on what a good campaign system for CM would look like.  I'd even hazard a guess that there's no one single idea that has maybe 20% buy-in in broad concept, and even less when it comes down to possible forms of execution.  That includes the idea of exporting data so that others can figure out how to make campaigns from it.  That excites some for sure, but I suspect several in-game solutions would have more support. 

With that said, I'm exiting the campaign discussion as I don't think there's much for any of us to gain from it.  We'll just trod over the same beaten ground.

Steve

 

1 hour ago, Attilaforfun said:

Thousands of threads. Many ideas seen so many times to the 10th power. ...but no consensus so no action nor discussion. That makes

little sense to me. 

 

It means it's time to move on and change the subject before they lock the thread.   They have heard all this before and it's just not going to happen so why build up any more heated discussions.

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On 12/3/2019 at 2:19 PM, Attilaforfun said:

Although infantry won't mount tanks in the earlier two titles so to say they're all 'new and upgraded the same' is a slight exaggeration. 

To be fair that isn't an engine upgrade issue per se - it is an object issue. Semantics maybe but Tank riders require specific coding of the object.  That would require more effort and cost.  Are we willing to pay for that?  Me not so much.  I honestly don't even use that much (hell won't do it with halftracks :P ) as the combat ranges in the game are not typically where that would be used with one exception and that exception was the very reason they even bothered with it.- Russia

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2 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

My hyperbole aside, it makes perfect sense to me.  If you dip into some of those older threads you'll see how passionate people are about a wide variety of incompatible concepts.  And even when a subset agrees with a broader type of campaign structure, they quickly go in different directions within the concept.  That's because Campaigns are more about how a story is told instead of what the story is about.

Steve

 

2 hours ago, Warts 'n' all said:

Sadly, as we have seen so often in the past, anyone who thanks Steve for his input, and takes on board what he says, gets abuse. 

Thanks, Steve - I love the game and really appreciate hearing from you :)

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11 hours ago, 76mm said:

Indeed.  But being able to export the OOB to something like XML and then re-import would be even better, because it would allow you to manipulate the OOB outside of the editor...say you want to automatically provide X% reinforcements, or reduce fatigue, or resupply ammo between battles--this could all be done programatically without having to make the tweaks manually in the editor. 

I would pay for that!

10 hours ago, 76mm said:

Frankly, it is not that hard...I'm a lawyer 

What?  I take it back!! Lawyer!!!!  Sorry.

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13 hours ago, 76mm said:

AFAIK all of the data I'm talking about is available and visible to players at the end of the game, so the data must exist.  How difficult it would be to export I have no idea.  I'd be curious if there would be some reason this functionality would not be desirable?

um, what is "it"?  I have no idea if exporting the data is hard or not.  But creating a program to manipulate XML data is not very hard...and I say this because I've taught myself how to do it from scratch, with virtually no experience.  Time-consuming?  Yes...  Especially difficult?  No...

"IT" is the feature of exporting the results of a battle some sort of structured way, allowing it to be edited relatively easily outside the scope of CM and importing it back into the CM editor in some sort of way. At least, that's what I understood you and others were talking about.
Surely, it's an interesting feature also from my perspective.

However, stating that 'it' is 'frankly not that hard', based of your experience with some xml scripting / 'manipulating' as a lawyer, is rather 'ill informed' if I may call it that. You do indicate you're a lawyer and thus perhaps not the ideal candidate to make informed assertions about the difficulty of implementing a feature in software. The only people really in the know to make such predictions are the ones that designed the application and work in it regularly. The realities of software development mean that even their estimations will often be quite far off on the too optimistic scale.

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3 hours ago, Lethaface said:

However, stating that 'it' is 'frankly not that hard', based of your experience with some xml scripting / 'manipulating' as a lawyer, is rather 'ill informed' if I may call it that. You do indicate you're a lawyer and thus perhaps not the ideal candidate to make informed assertions about the difficulty of implementing a feature in software.

Sorry, but I have no idea what you're going on about.  I have explicitly and repeatedly stated that I have no idea about how hard it would be to export data.  I really don't know how I could have been more clear?

But--sorry if you don't like it--I am going to repeat my assertion--as ill-informed as it may be--that manipulating XML data after it has been exported (whew, trying to make it 110% clear) is just not that difficult.  How difficult it would be to re-import I will leave to the esteemed software professionals, because again I have no idea.

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20 minutes ago, 76mm said:

Sorry, but I have no idea what you're going on about.  I have explicitly and repeatedly stated that I have no idea about how hard it would be to export data.  I really don't know how I could have been more clear?

But--sorry if you don't like it--I am going to repeat my assertion--as ill-informed as it may be--that manipulating XML data after it has been exported (whew, trying to make it 110% clear) is just not that difficult.  How difficult it would be to re-import I will leave to the esteemed software professionals, because again I have no idea.

On the previous page Mos stated "I have no idea what it takes programming wise to make it all work. ", to which you replied "Frankly, it is not that hard...". Look it up if you don't believe me.

If you were in fact referring to 'manipulating' XML, it wasn't at all clear from that post (apart from maybe yourself) as it was a direct reply to the required 'programming to make it all work'. Anyway, I think I made my point. No offense meant in any way :).

Edited by Lethaface

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Creating an export and import capability isn't that difficult.  Definitely less work than making a whole campaign system.  However... it doesn't do anything in and of itself.  Someone else would have to create another program to do anything meaningful with that data.  And that is no small task.  Some of you old hands might remember that we partnered with someone to do just that with CM1, which is an infinitely more simplistic system compared to CM2.  The effort failed because the amount of work necessary to get even a rudimentary external campaign system up and running was too big.  It's not something we view as having much value to us or to our customer base, therefore it's not on our agenda now or in any time down the road.

Steve

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2 hours ago, Lethaface said:

On the previous page Mos stated "I have no idea what it takes programming wise to make it all work. ", to which you replied "Frankly, it is not that hard...". Look it up if you don't believe me.

OK, just to be clear, I thought he was referring to the data manipulation part, which is what I responded about.  😁

27 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

Someone else would have to create another program to do anything meaningful with that data.  And that is no small task.  Some of you old hands might remember that we partnered with someone to do just that with CM1, which is an infinitely more simplistic system compared to CM2.  The effort failed because the amount of work necessary to get even a rudimentary external campaign system up and running was too big. 

I was involved in that project many moons ago (Hunting Tank Software, was it?); that kind of thing is certainly very ambitious and difficult, and encounters the same problem that you've already pointed out--everyone wants a different campaign system.  But that's not what we're talking about at all...

The thing is, you don't need to create a whole op layer like that to be able to make use of CM game data for campaigns.  As long as players can have persistent units and terrain, they can use them to create any number of rudimentary campaign systems that suit their preferences.  I think it would have huge value for players--rudimentary campaign systems are far better than no campaign systems... 

For instance, what I was talking about was not an op layer, but rather a program that could help players manage campaign units in various ways without tweaking them one by one in the editor.  As I've been saying (oh uh, not again!), this kind of thing is not difficult to create (once it has exported data to work with).  Or as someone else has suggested, even just a button that would allow saving unit states at the end of the game and then using them to create new scenarios (same with maps).

[EDIT]  I'm going to try to post some screenshots of the program I created for CMBB to give you a better idea what I'm talking about...  But have to find it first!

Edited by 76mm

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I found the program, but couldn't open it...(created with VBA and Access about 15 years ago, oh well).  But I was able to find some screenshots that I took back in the day:

Summary.png

DUR.png

Maintain.png

Edited by 76mm

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Given CM's niche nature I'm always a bit surprised that development of some features needs to be a closed loop. Sure an import/export feature isn't going to get you super far, but it gives people access to the information. From that they can develop their own methods of interacting with it.

Much like the PBEM Helper programs that made playing MP much more pleasant. Users can do a lot when a hook is available. With the added advantage that what the user comes up with doesn't need to be commercial quality but can still give significant value-add. 

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Anyhoo, those screenshots show what I came up with to meet my own specific preferences, someone else could create whatever pulled their trigger.  The main problem with this program was that all CMBB game data had to be manually entered after each game, and then manually re-entered before playing the next game.   Not good.

I used a home-made VASSAL module as an op layer.  It was great fun, played it for many years.  In fact it kind of ruined my gaming, because now I can't play any other way.

Edited by 76mm

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A couple more screenshots.  The first one shows the report that the program would spit out to allow the player to set up the CMBB game manually, and then track kills/casualties for each unit after the battle.  The second one shows how data was entered back into the program after the battle.  The last one shows how you could create units in the program (which would take into account available resource points, etc).  OK, no more, I promise!

 

Pre-Battle_3.png

Post-battle.png

Create_1a.png

Edited by 76mm

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Sorry, I lied, one more! One of my favorite things about my program was that it allowed me to track/manage individual commanders--who had the most wins, losses?  Who was currently unassigned? Who was wounded?   When was he commissioned, and how long had he been with this particular unit?  I could transfer, promote, or demote with the click of a button.  Gave a great role-playing feel to the campaign!

Cdr_Roster.png

Edited by 76mm

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To be clear, I doubt that many players would be interested in my particular campaign software, because it was built for my preferences.  But that's OK, because if they have access to the data, they (or somebody) can create whatever it is that they are looking for.  Without the data, none of this is really feasible, because detailed manual data entry before/after every game is just not interesting to 99.9% of players.

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We've been over the "open vs. closed" debates more times than I can count.  Our calculation is that the % of our audience that would benefit from an open system is too small compared to the effort to create and maintain an open system.  As with so many things, those who are passionate about a particular feature/concept are almost by definition not a good judge as to what it's priority should be within Combat Mission's overall development.

Put another way, I have no doubt that some people would love to have the ability to dig into raw data to create their own concept of campaigns.  There might even be some decent tools created to make such data more accessible for players.  But we don't think that's where we should spend our development and support time, therefore it's not going to happen.  I don't expect my position to be accepted by those pushing for such features because in the past it never has :D  It also never has changed our development priorities.

Since we feel strongly that we must have a campaign system built into the game, from the outset, our efforts are focused on finding one that appeals to the highest percentage of our audience as possible.  The CM2 Campaign system largely achieved that goal, while CM1 Operations failed.  Anything we do in the future will likely look different than either, but definitely more akin to CM2's system.

Steve

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I never played CM1 Campaigns. It seemed complicated and hard work and I didn't get it.

CM2 Campaigns are also hard work - one or two of them I've given up, but I've played several of them and thoroughly enjoyed them.

I would love to have the option to import units and map damage to QBs though...

Edited by Freyberg

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5 hours ago, snarre said:

i newer had feeling that CM1 operations failed . 

Tons of threads on this topic as well.  Especially back in 2007/2008 when CMSF was first released.  Few people played Operations and of those that did most complained, loudly, about its shortcomings (in particular frontline calculations).  This despite considerable effort at addressing the shortcomings.  We decided it was unproductive and counter to the interests of CM's customer base to try and fix the unfixable and not really improve customer use.

This is coming from the guy that designed Operations and thought they would be the best thing since sliced bread.  Sometimes we get things right, sometimes we get them wrong.  Good game developers know which is which and use that knowledge going forward.  We consider ourselves good game developers :)

Steve

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On 12/6/2019 at 10:57 AM, Battlefront.com said:

Creating an export and import capability isn't that difficult.  Definitely less work than making a whole campaign system.  However... it doesn't do anything in and of itself.  Someone else would have to create another program to do anything meaningful with that data.  And that is no small task.  Some of you old hands might remember that we partnered with someone to do just that with CM1, which is an infinitely more simplistic system compared to CM2.  The effort failed because the amount of work necessary to get even a rudimentary external campaign system up and running was too big.  It's not something we view as having much value to us or to our customer base, therefore it's not on our agenda now or in any time down the road.

Steve

The import/export of OOBs has 3 major benefits, outside of an interface for third-party campaign systems:

a. Import your forces from a scripted campaign, and continue their struggle in QB.

b. Have a persistent OOB over a series of QB battles. Gives the player incentive to minimize casualties.

c. Convenience. A player can save their favourite formations and easily swap them in and out without having to spend time editing.

I cannot speak for the customer base, but I think there would be great value in such a small feature.

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Sure, I can see the value in it for those who would want to use it.  However, it is not a substitute for a campaign system.  Since a campaign system is a mandatory component of any CM game, that has to come first.  Any import/export system would have to be a second feature separate from the first.  And that means creating and maintaining two systems, which we are reluctant to do.  Combat Mission can not be everything to everybody all the time, which means there will always be features not developed even though some % of our audience would appreciate them.

Steve

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