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Review of Black Sea at Armchairgeneral.com


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Hmm, I respect armchair but they are generally not good at reviewing games. Their reference is just not that good in gaming departement. Black Sea is a good game with great mechanics but it fails in areas such as graphics, sound, UI etc.

When Armchair claims that

 

"the game objects can be targeted and damaged or destroyed".

"When soldiers run inside of buildings you can actually see what they see."

 

Game objects can be destroyed? Really, all game objects? Did they notice lack of fire, or that it takes several high caliber projectiles to even notice any change in how the building appears?

What can you see when soldiers run inside the buildings? Abstracted rooms?

 

They also claim the game has great graphics? Really?

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Lack of fire, abstracted rooms and unable to destroy all objects, serious that makes the game less playable? You should right your own review then. I would expect some criticism that your review focused to much on things that were not very important for play ability .

I still don't get why people say that the game looks bad - confused - the screenshot threads are full of great looking shots.

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Well you aren't really gonna say much significant in a couple paragraphs.  Any real discussion of it's strengths and weaknesses would need a more serious review.  For what it was, it isn't bad.  The main points are, it is a good game, it is friggin addictive and it is unique. (and it is hard on the eyes of us geezers sometimes.)  I don't think tank hunter said any of those made the game unplayable, he is just pointing out that the review made mention of things without noting the drawbacks, which I think is true.

 

And honestly yeah I like the graphics.  Do I want more?  Absolutely.  I want to be able to create maps like this.  Considering though I haven't seen a game yet that will allow me to do that in an editor I expect it will remain a dream.

 

5a911e4c-3493-44eb-9407-93fafa3a6b23_107

Edited by sburke
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And honestly yeah I like the graphics.  Do I want more?  Absolutely.  I want to be able to create maps like this.  Considering though I haven't seen a game yet that will allow me to do that in an editor I expect it will remain a dream.

 

5a911e4c-3493-44eb-9407-93fafa3a6b23_107

 

The HL2 engine SDK kit comes with an editor that lets you create maps like this. The limit for the level of detail is only your hardware and the amount of time you want to invest in making the level. Naturally though if you want that level of detail, you must make a level polygon for polygon, which is a lot of work.

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Black Sea is a good game with great mechanics but it fails in areas such as graphics, sound, UI etc.

 

I agree that CMBS lags behind in certain areas. Still though i claim that within its genre (battalion to platoon level 3D tactical wargames) it is the most deep and challenging game with the highest replayability. I tried other compareable games, like APOS, SABOW,  etc and none of them i like as much CM. I have litterally spent a thousand hours or probably more playing CM and i am still not bored of it, so Battlefront must be doing something right, even if it' s not making shiny graphics or cinematic sounds or forrests beeing consumed by giant blazing fires.

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The HL2 engine SDK kit comes with an editor that lets you create maps like this. The limit for the level of detail is only your hardware and the amount of time you want to invest in making the level. Naturally though if you want that level of detail, you must make a level polygon for polygon, which is a lot of work.

can you point me to a youtube showing one.  Just curious as I'd really like to see what potential even if it isn't in the same genre has.

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can you point me to a youtube showing one.  Just curious as I'd really like to see what potential even if it isn't in the same genre has.

 

I had written a great and lengthy post, explaining how the Hammer Editor the of Source SDK works, but then my PC crashed....Sorry sburke, you will have to be happy with just some videos:

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=hammer+editor

 

So the above videos show you how the editor works. Here are some results:

 

http://images.bit-tech.net/content_images/2005/09/lost_coast_benchmark/eyecandy1.jpg

 

http://www.kitguru.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/half-life-2.jpg

 

EDIT:

 

Of course the HL2 engine cant practically produce level that look as good as the photo you posted, it' s an engine that' s more than a decade old. Still the concept of how the levels are designed in the SDK would, in theory, allow for almost unlimted detail. You arent limited by flavour objects, pre-set types of foliage, textures, terrain types, etc.

Edited by agusto
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 Did they notice lack of fire, or that it takes several high caliber projectiles to even notice any change in how the building appears?

What can you see when soldiers run inside the buildings? Abstracted rooms?

 

They also claim the game has great graphics? Really?

 

Re: fire. Yes, CM1 had fire. And CM2 will eventually have that feature. However, I don't think you realize what goes into that. First of all CM2 has multiple terrain features, often in a single square. The complexity quotient has increased exponentially. And troops need to to be taught when it's time to exit a burning structure. Not so simple. And climactic conditions influence the nature of fire, how it spreads. In Wet conditions you'd get fewer flames and more smoke. Then there's the FPS considerations. You want your PBEM game to grind to a halt?

 

Abstracted rooms? More unnecessary complexity.

 

It sounds like you'd be happier playing Battlefield Hardline.

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rocketman,

 

Thanks for that!  On balance, he seems to get it, though as one comment noted, the CMBS learning curve is very steep and the punishment for mistakes brutal.The reviewer doesn't seem to realize that the CMx2 Engine isn't an upgrade from the CMx1 Engine, and I thought the upgrade, upgrade passage rather amusing. Was heartened to see the reviewer's public plea for the Pacific War to be covered. As I've noted previously on the CMBS Forum, I've found it easier to get going on this game, as opposed to the slog I've had in CMBN, as a consequence of what I believe to be the shift from bocage claustrophobia, with restoration of movement and improved mental well-being, not to mention prettier scenery, to which must be factored in my extensive background in modern warfare and weaponry. Though my knowledge base is somewhat dated, I feel safe in asserting it's really helped my acclimatization process. In fairness, though, I came into this game with a background, however sporadic, in the CMx2 Engine and its workings, rather than straight in from CMx1 as I did with CMBN. That had to help! I believe the review will likely bring BFC a bunch of new players, especially given not just the  ever evolving Ukraine upheaval, but with all the ancillary news and oft scary reports, not just in the region, but from a global perspective.

 

sburke,

 

An iconic picture, to be sure, but I think rendering that sort of thing in-game would require BFC to create a mini Cray purchase plan so we could run it! Also, the Vehicle Pack will need tank dozers, skip loaders, dump trucks and other construction equipment, to include that thing I grew up calling a steam shovel, in order to be able to clear that road from a presumably immense amount of rubble.

 

agusto,

 

Only 1000 hours or more? That is 71 complete PTEs (Play-Through Equivalents) for a typical FPS. At a very wallet friendly $50 per FPS game, the equivalent game hours would've cost you $3550.00, making CM the bargain of the century. Psst. Don't tell Steve!

 

Childress,

 

Excellent points, but I still miss it. Well do I recall a CMBO night attack initially well supported by the foul breath of the Crocs--and the explosions and great gouts of flames erupting from them as the confounded Panzerschrecks turned my attack into an abattoir! I notice we don't have the RPO-Z projectile in the game, which, ablaze practically from launch (was true on the original RPO, may not be anymore), would be quite the thing to see en route to the target, especially at night. Nor do we have the WP equipped RPO-D.

 

On a separate note, I see the new single shot MRO-A Rocket Launcher is missing from the Russian special weapon list in the CMBS Manual. The MRO-A is solely in Russian service and has been used by the so-called separatists in fighting in Donetsk. Also missing are the MRO-D (WP) and MRO-Z (incendiary).

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler 

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If you play with the map editor you can create some pretty messed up urban terrain if you try. There's a [rubble] terrain tile that replaces hvy rocks hidden in the game. If you create a map that accepts the word 'rubble' as a tag modifier heavy rocks will turn into blasted red brick unpassable to vehicles. I don't think its being used in a scenario currently, its waiting quietly for some future module city fighting to occur.  ;)

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If you play with the map editor you can create some pretty messed up urban terrain if you try. There's a [rubble] terrain tile that replaces hvy rocks hidden in the game. If you create a map that accepts the word 'rubble' as a tag modifier heavy rocks will turn into blasted red brick unpassable to vehicles. I don't think its being used in a scenario currently, its waiting quietly for some future module city fighting to occur.  ;)

heh, I have already done maps where both heavy rocks and mud were changed to rubble.  :D

 

What I was looking more at was the building shells.  You just can't get that effect in CM yet.

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My usual pet peeve with CM reviews involves screenshots. Some people just can't take a decent screenshot to save their lives, like they're purposefully trying to portray the game at its worst. The screenshots in this review were above average for their kind, but they still didn't quite resemble the game I see while I'm playing.

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If you guys want to try

 

Well you aren't really gonna say much significant in a couple paragraphs.  Any real discussion of it's strengths and weaknesses would need a more serious review.  For what it was, it isn't bad.  The main points are, it is a good game, it is friggin addictive and it is unique. (and it is hard on the eyes of us geezers sometimes.)  I don't think tank hunter said any of those made the game unplayable, he is just pointing out that the review made mention of things without noting the drawbacks, which I think is true.

 

And honestly yeah I like the graphics.  Do I want more?  Absolutely.  I want to be able to create maps like this.  Considering though I haven't seen a game yet that will allow me to do that in an editor I expect it will remain a dream.

 

5a911e4c-3493-44eb-9407-93fafa3a6b23_107

 

This is a good start:

http://cmmods.greenasjade.net/mods/5371/details

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Lack of fire, abstracted rooms and unable to destroy all objects, serious that makes the game less playable? You should right your own review then. I would expect some criticism that your review focused to much on things that were not very important for play ability .

I still don't get why people say that the game looks bad - confused - the screenshot threads are full of great looking shots.

 

I never said that. Please re-read my post, I never claim that these things made the game less playable for me. I have all of CMx2 games and enjoy them very much, I know where they lack and I still think they are good games that give me a lot of enjoyment but that doesn’t mean that they are perfect in every way because they are not. If we are not allowed to criticize in a constructive way then there will never be any improvement.

I only reacted to the review which I think is bad since it’s not properly done. In my opinion every review has to break down the game in areas such as

 

Mechanics – how does the game represent mathematically what it is intending to do? Are game objects interacting in a good way? Are you finding results weird or bad?

Graphics and Sound – how does the game present the results to the player? By text only or fancy graphics or just sound or everything combined? Are you immersed into the game?

Replayability – is this a 20 hour play and throw game or are you challenged in different way every time you play it?

Single Player – how much content is in there for single player and how is the AI

Multi Player – is there any and how easy is it to find a game online? Are games good or riddled with kids that rage quit as soon as they lose their first tank?

 

All of these above should be judged by comparing to the current leader in that segment with the game you are reviewing. The segment in this case would be strategy games representing individual soldiers and vehicles.  The final score should be based on scores in all these segments. Then it is up to the reader to decide if this game is something they want to invest their time and money into.

 

When AG reviewer writes "When soldiers run inside of buildings you can actually see what they see." I wonder what they really mean? I know there is nothing to see since I have the game but what about someone that has never seen the game? They may think that you can see all the objects, soldiers engaging into fierce hand to hand combat etc.. They should have instead written that you can follow the soldiers closely when they operate on the ground and follow the action, then they should also write that some actions like hand to hand and house interiors  are abstracted but that abstraction generally works well since the end result seem plausible with real world results.

 

Thant’s the kind of info I’m looking for. As for fire they should notice the lack of it since nobody here can claim that fires don’t break out regularly in an area where heavy fighting is going on. Is it a deal breaker? Probably not but it does remove from the overall immersion. The battlefield looks dull without fire and destruction..

Edited by Tank Hunter
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All of these above should be judged by comparing to the current leader in that segment with the game you are reviewing. The segment in this case would be strategy games representing individual soldiers and vehicles.  The final score should be based on scores in all these segments. Then it is up to the reader to decide if this game is something they want to invest their time and money into.

 

And the comparator should be the CM franchise, because it's the only one that both represents individual soldiers and goes up to Battalion scale action...

 

I think the reviewer was severely handicapped by the length of the review, which didn't give enough time to go into the features that make CMx2 unique and amazing, let alone the features that distinguish CMBS from other CMx2 titles. whether that was his own choice or an editorial policy he was required to adhere to, I don't know.

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Yea, one minor nit I agree with..MAKE THE STINKIN briefing fonts bigger....oyyy, fortunately another old guy gave me the CMD-OPT 8 trick on the Mac to zoom into the briefing.

 

:D

 

There is so much detail in those briefings that I have to read everything and the ol 50 year old bifocal needin' peepers aint what the used to be.  Seriously 12 point font guys..add it to the new engine specs!

 

Other than that CMBS is another awesome game from BFC.

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I had written a great and lengthy post, explaining how the Hammer Editor the of Source SDK works, but then my PC crashed....Sorry sburke, you will have to be happy with just some videos:

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=hammer+editor

 

So the above videos show you how the editor works. Here are some results:

 

http://images.bit-tech.net/content_images/2005/09/lost_coast_benchmark/eyecandy1.jpg

 

http://www.kitguru.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/half-life-2.jpg

 

EDIT:

 

Of course the HL2 engine cant practically produce level that look as good as the photo you posted, it' s an engine that' s more than a decade old. Still the concept of how the levels are designed in the SDK would, in theory, allow for almost unlimted detail. You arent limited by flavour objects, pre-set types of foliage, textures, terrain types, etc.

 

 

A couple of thoughts...

 

First, thanks for the video.

 

The end result looked really good...but. But the time and effort to build what, in effect, is just a wall, was out of all proportion to what is needed. This really showed how good the CM editor is by comparison. What does the roof of that building look like? Can I get there? How about getting INSIDE those buildings to look out the window? Why are they totally bulletproof? Etc. It seemed to take a LOT of effort to make two walls.

 

Yes, I'd LOVE for CM to look better. But the editor is such a powerful tool, and such an added content bonus for the game, that I'd hate to see it get so specialized that only a semi-pro could create something.

 

The mapmaking in CM can be fast and easy. (Adding in TacAI plans, and then balancing it, are much more difficult.) If I want a rudimentary map, it'll take me 20-60 minutes. A really good map? Well, that's beyond my current skill set. :)

 

 

As for the rest...yeah, bigger font, etc., etc., I agree.

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A couple of thoughts...

 

First, thanks for the video.

 

The end result looked really good...but. But the time and effort to build what, in effect, is just a wall, was out of all proportion to what is needed. This really showed how good the CM editor is by comparison. What does the roof of that building look like? Can I get there? How about getting INSIDE those buildings to look out the window? Why are they totally bulletproof? Etc. It seemed to take a LOT of effort to make two walls.

 

Yes, I'd LOVE for CM to look better. But the editor is such a powerful tool, and such an added content bonus for the game, that I'd hate to see it get so specialized that only a semi-pro could create something.

 

The mapmaking in CM can be fast and easy. (Adding in TacAI plans, and then balancing it, are much more difficult.) If I want a rudimentary map, it'll take me 20-60 minutes. A really good map? Well, that's beyond my current skill set. :)

 

 

As for the rest...yeah, bigger font, etc., etc., I agree.

LOL yeah but compare the time it takes to get a poster on a wall in CM!  :D

 

Seriously though, yeah CM is not about becoming CIv 2or something.  There are a few things I'd like additional, but I don't need to have 1st person shooter map making.  For one, those maps tend to be in reality very small.  I have a 1km square map that I would have a heart attack considering doing this way.  Still it is pretty cool.

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The end result looked really good...but. But the time and effort to build what, in effect, is just a wall, was out of all proportion to what is needed. This really showed how good the CM editor is by comparison.

What you are forgetting is that the wall you get to place down in the CM editor had to be modelled in the first place and coded to be identifiable in the game as, e.g., impassable to infantry and bullets but destroyable by big tracked vehicles and explosives. The effort that you see in the video also had to be put in to make the assets you can use in the CM editor. The main difference is that those early stages are closed to CM modders.

 

In the Valve editor, by opening up more of those initial stages it adds complexity but increases versatility. I also wouldn't be surprised that once you have made your wall in the Valve editor you can save it and load it, duplicate it, edit it, etc. and then place it just as one does in the CM editor.

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grunt_GI,

 

If you dislike the briefing font size, I strongly suggest you completely avoid the QB screens for Human force selection. The point size is even smaller, I believe, and the text isn't even white against black, making for murky, hard to read visual presentation. I hate, hate, hate style over functionality, and that, I've experienced several times now, is exactly the case here. Font selection is critical, too, when working with small-tiny point size, because readability simply isn't there with spindly fonts. My doctor's office, for example, has a business card with tiny, spindly pale blue type against white card stock, resulting in a card in which the vital info is practically indecipherable. And because graphics designers have, I've found the hard way many times, perverse streaks a mile wide, the second and third tier info is black on white, in a much larger point size and more eye friendly font!

 

Despite being corrected to 20/20, my almost new trifocals (Drat! Now they know I'm not 20!), which allowed me to read with ease the tiniest type (printer's info) on the bottom of the reading acuity card, coupled with my brain in its current state, generally aren't equal to by Human force selection job, which is why I fight primarily in Computer Selects mode. This has been a pain, given I sometimes get more bodies than vehicle seats, the wrong fire support and other grief, but I least I don't get eyestrain and a headache from not only trying to read the force lists but navigate what to me is a difficult UI. How I miss the one from CMx1 in which I could both see clearly and navigate it with ease. 

 

What to you is a nit is to me a major problem which seriously limits my options in playing QBs. I really hope BFC addresses our respective issues, and I wish there wasn't small pale gray type here, too. It's a picnic, though, compared to the QB screen!

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

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