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The CMx2, PBEM poll


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It seems the design approach is literally doing a ground up as they are modeling terrain first and military matters later.

But this may actually be the determinant about many file sizes.

So if they go for 1m^2 resolution, and find that it even CLOGs TCP/IP, they will just back out to whatever is neded for TCP/IP and leave it at that.

I would say no TCP/IP or PBEM is a definite NO so it will be interesting.

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Originally posted by Wartgamer:

So if they go for 1m^2 resolution, and find that it even CLOGs TCP/IP, they will just back out to whatever is neded for TCP/IP and leave it at that.

I would say no TCP/IP or PBEM is a definite NO so it will be interesting.

That's what I'm thinking now. They really go together, and releasing a game with no multiplayer or hotseat only would raise a hue and cry to make this thread look like nothing...
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PBEM works by saving up a large number of state changes/time refs. Even if the turn is still 60 seconds, why not just save up 5 seconds of it as it is being crunched, and then send that PBEM file 'packet' zipped in some form? You might need 12 emails (or whatever it works out to) but there must be some way to reassemble the total turn and present it to the player.

The non-dynamic portions of the map do not need to be sent. Having a state for every 1m^2 tile may be a design booboo.

Could the TCP/IP mimic a PBEM in that the host just streams the whole file? So basically, its psuedoPBEM. I get the whole file and then play at my leisure and when its my turn to return a file, I reciprocate? I suppose this means I have to have my computer on and some remote has control of it.

I just like the idea of having some place to upload the large file, and another person with a password can get that file. So I upload to a service and even if I have to pay a fee, I can create a password that I can give out to an opponent. If its a good gaem/opponent, he can invite me and we use his service account. 56K modems being the guy out in the cold.

[ March 06, 2005, 07:44 AM: Message edited by: Wartgamer ]

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Originally posted by Wartgamer:

Hotseat would not be a problem. I would think that if the game can solo, then hotseat is just a no brainer.

True, but hotseat has to be the least utilized, and obviously least convenient, method of multiplay. I've done it before, and I brought a book to read when it wasn't my turn!
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One of the most unbelievable things is that NOT having movie play from every single unit (bazooka team/LMG/etc) makes the PBEM aspect easier.

The movie detail really is the problem. Its what brings a continuity and situational awareness for the WEGO system. The designer has said as much and everyone needs to accept that.

Can we get by without a continuous stream of 'video'? Is it needed for every unit?

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Originally posted by Wartgamer:

One of the most unbelievable things is that NOT having movie play from every single unit (bazooka team/LMG/etc) makes the PBEM aspect easier.

The movie detail really is the problem. Its what brings a continuity and situational awareness for the WEGO system. The designer has said as much and everyone needs to accept that.

Can we get by without a continuous stream of 'video'? Is it needed for every unit?

Somewhere

Somehow

Some player optional compromises may HAVE to be made to make either PBEM or TCP/IP practical...

re: "One of the most unbelievable things is that NOT having movie play from every single unit (bazooka team/LMG/etc) makes the PBEM aspect easier."

Does the player REALLY need to be able to see the movie from the Relative Spotting perspective of EACH friendly unit? This may only be practical or doable for hotseat and solo play vs the AI. Beyond that I can't see how it could be workable for TCP/IP or PBEM (I am JUST refering to one FOW option for Movie playback where the player has chosen the option to be able to view the playback movie from the Relative Spotting perspective of EACH friendly unit).

But I don't know

I have HIGH hopes the WHOLE thing (CMx2) will come together in the end and that there WILL be TCP/IP and PBEM for some limited set of FOW options that are the "least costly" in terms of band width or file size.

My guess is that there will be some FOW options and some Playback FOW options that MAY ONLY work in solo play vs the AI and hotseat play. AND to be honest that suits me fine, I plan ot buy the game I am hope to enjoy it primarily against the AI or my personal friends in Hotseat or local LAN (computer direct connect to computer) play.

BUT that's just me :D

-tom w

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Does the player REALLY need to be able to see the movie from the Relative Spotting perspective of EACH friendly unit? This may only be practical or doable for hotseat and solo play vs the AI. Beyond that I can't see how it could be workable for TCP/IP or PBEM (I am JUST refering to one FOW option for Movie playback where the player has chosen the option to be able to view the playback movie from the Relative Spotting perspective of EACH friendly unit).

From a realism/God perspective, I think its too much. From a computer game design perspective, it may also be too much for human-human play.

My 'vision' of what I want the game to be really focuses around what units get a full movie/interactive view (flying around watching all the action), which units get 'snapshots' (a sequence of frames every few secs during the turn, and which units get just a orders phase relative viewpoint before issuing orders (select unit/see what they see/give orders/move on).

For a single company sized infantry game, I would want a movie from the company HQ standpoint. All the platoon HQ units get the sequence of snapshots and individual units get the orders phase relative view. Certain units being modeled with walkie talkies or field phones may also get a sequence of snapshots. This models having guys spread out and being OP duty.

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Jon,

Yes, sure I'm with you, but you keep trotting out your false dilemma. There is a third option:
No, that is implicate with #1. Of COURSE we are going to take all actions we can, while coding, to be efficient. What you're saying is akin to "while programming, make sure you identify bugs and fix them instead of waiting until the end" or "while programming, try not to use more memory than you need to", or "while programming, if you find something that is hammering the frame rate try to optimize it so that it doesn't", so on and so on.

What you are STILL failing to grasp is the CHOICE we must make. I'll put it another way, just because I'm such a nice guy...

Choice #1 - go about our development business of making the best game possible knowing that we might not be able to support PBEM, despite our best efforts to do so.

Choice #2 - preemptively strike possible data hog features before we even start coding so as to make sure, come Hell or high water, that PBEM will be supported.

So the choice is about risking PBEM. Either we risk not supporting as a side effect of the best game design possible, or we hobble the game design in order to ensure that PBEM is not at risk.

Please tell me you FINALLY understand this? It would mean so much to me :D

Jeff gets a Silver Star for almost "getting it" :D

is that #3 is just another construct of #2 (unacceptable to BFC) and the opposite of #1
Close!

#3 is a part of #1, which is that as we go along we keep things as effecient as possible instead of doing the opposite and trying to fix fundamental problems at the end of the development cycle. That's suicide as a general rule.

Malakovsky,

Whoa. Hang on a second. Stop the presses. Did you just mention a 33% difference as a deal breaker for PBEM?
No, I mentioned that as part of a combo of reasons that might make PBEM an unacceptable, directly supported feature.

Are we getting all worried for nothing?
I've said this from the very beginning, but apparently it is only now just dawning on some people. When I said "we might be forced into dropping PBEM" the emphasis was should have been on the "might" part the "dropping" part. The rest of this hub-bub has been about whether any degree of doubt is acceptable or not.

Steiner14

VERY disappointed about that plans. Good bye CM.
Geeze... talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater before the water is even drawn or the tub positioned. The plan is to make the best game possible, period. If PBEM is lost in the process, it is an acceptable loss to us (and I have explained why about 1000 times already), but it is not a sure thing. This whole big, round and round discussion has been because some people don't want even a 1 in 10000 chance of PBEM not being supported. And since we refuse to give such assurances, the irrational arguments (and a few rational ones here and there) are being trotted out over and over again as if repetition is going to sway us from a very logical, rational, and sound development strategy. Ain't going to happen :D

GJK,

Well, I've read posts from page 1, and some from page 2 of this thread, and now the posts from page 9 - and in 230+ posts - poor Steve has had to repeat the same thing over and over again. In otherwords, nothing was accomplished with all this whining. ?
Correction... nothing constructive and positive was accomplished with all this whining :(

Steve

[ March 06, 2005, 08:50 AM: Message edited by: Battlefront.com ]

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And since we refuse to give such assurances, the irrational arguments (and a few rational ones here and there) are being trotted out over and over again as if repetition is going to sway us from a very logical, rational, and sound development strategy. Ain't going to happen :D .

-Steve

GOOD!

Its the logical choice...

"The needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few."

(especially the "many" new players that are not here yet :D .)

Damn the torpedos FULL steam ahead!

smile.gif

-tom w

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Malakovski

Therefore, if TCP/IP play works, asynchronous play will work.
In theory, if PBEM is not considered part of this statement, this is correct. And as I've said since almost the very beginning, we are likely to have some sort of backdoor feature to support something like this if PBEM is not practical. But the loud, whiney voices of the "B" crowd have been fixated on the fact that we will not guarantee PBEM support since the only way to do that is to hobble the game design right now. All other things appear to keep zipping right on by them.

Steve

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I think that the B crowd may be better defined as perhaps a group that might need 56K to PBEM.

I am sure the designer and others see that broadband users may have some inclusion as far as human-human non-facetime (TCP/IP) play is concerned.

[ March 06, 2005, 09:27 AM: Message edited by: Wartgamer ]

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Don't forget that some ISPs have hard limits on data transfers per email. Most? of the free email services have hard limits, but also some pay services also have such restrictions. I've been told that DirectWay has a ridiculously small allowance, and that is probably the most expensive service available. My point is that file size, if being sent by email, is not necessarily just a dialup and not a broadband concern.

Steve

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I think that email should just send a one time password and a person can use that to download a file from some server somewhere. Perhasp someone hosting could be that server? Or a subscribed service.

Many people have 56K but still access to broadband at work so they could download at work, take home on a card, do thier turn and send back from work.

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I have no doubt that every conceivable work around will be explored by those who really want to make this whole PBEM thing work, if they leave the "hidden" PBEM back door open for those amongst us who are BOTH clever and determined!

-tom w

Originally posted by Wartgamer:

I think that email should just send a one time password and a person can use that to download a file from some server somewhere. Perhasp someone hosting could be that server? Or a subscribed service.

Many people have 56K but still access to broadband at work so they could download at work, take home on a card, do thier turn and send back from work.

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I think the number of PBEM games being played, not just the number of PBEM players is relevant.

Lets say for the sake of argument, that 10,000 PBEM games are played by everyone, every month. Lets say that 5000 of them not chuggin at 56K. They have some means of dowloading/uploading with some speed. They at least have jobs we hope.

You create a service where you can have 5 'PBEM' games hosted a month. You charge 2 bucks a month. How much of the 5000 do you need to capture to see the bank in this?? Lets say its a payoff after 6 months to one year.

But what else have you done? You will really divide and conquer half the B crowd. You will have a feature to augment TCP/IP play and show good faith in keeping true to the wargames roots (and lets face it, theres hurt feelings here).

The cheap price includes bragging rights, scores tracked, screenshot of the week, competitions, playtesting, whatever. Its a community. Buying the game includes 1 month free service.

The people with 1 mHz computers, 56K modems, 15000 posts here and a case of red, white and blue beer will always be unhappy. They will literally have to play by mail. Burn a cd rw or send a flashcard?

[ March 06, 2005, 09:49 AM: Message edited by: Wartgamer ]

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This will 'encapsulate' this breed of player (mailing within countries/regions only). Much like the detachment of land masses drives species in very strange directions. The fact that they are very different to begin with, will just make matters worse. They will develop thier own form of odd play and CM-speak. They will be that 'strange northern CM types' or remarks like "What kind of Funny Down under tactic is THAT?".

Its a Brave New World.

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Also guys, think of what Steve's position is just as the masterbrain of BFC - if he doesn't take the most conservative position possible with respect to expected features then any marketing campaign for CMx2 is Effed from the beginning.

When you have a customer (that's us) who is expecting AB and C as part of a deliverable and it looks like there may be a problem with C, you generally have two choices:

1) Get in front of it ASAP and say "you know, C is looking problematic but we're aware of it and we're going to do our best plus a little extra to make sure it's not a problem in the end", or

2) The day before ABC is delivered you say "A&B are coming tomorrow. C? What about C? Ooooooh, right. Ooops!"

"Set the customer's expectations correctly."

Does anyone really think that Steve and crew haven't already had this conversation?

-dale

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Originally posted by Wartgamer:

One of the most unbelievable things is that NOT having movie play from every single unit (bazooka team/LMG/etc) makes the PBEM aspect easier.

The movie detail really is the problem. Its what brings a continuity and situational awareness for the WEGO system. The designer has said as much and everyone needs to accept that.

Can we get by without a continuous stream of 'video'? Is it needed for every unit?

Good point-

I'd be perfectly satisfied if the pbem turns (only) were from an overhead perspective (only). Not that it matters what I do, but I play 90% of my games from this perspective anyways, and only go down below that when plotting complex moves and want to get terrain advantages manually. Otherwise, I view all the movies from overhead only. If this would cut down the filesizes to a manageable level for pbem play, that'd work for me!

The question is though, is this even possible, and would it be an acceptable compromise.

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"Set the customer's expectations correctly."

Is that in some Mission Statement somewhere? dale you are good for a chuckle.

Whatever happened to We hope to meet or exceed your greatest expectations?

And many did not percieve the tone that you layed out in 1. above. I believe that is the intent now but it seemed a bit more uncaring.

The real problem is that 56K PBEM as many know it, will be just left in the dust. Why can't we just agree to that, and agree that any attempt to keep that from going under, is a waste of BFC's time?

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The question is though, is this even possible, and would it be an acceptable compromise.

I worked on a very similar project and if you have followed some of my posts, and the designer can correct me, I do appreciate the state/time dillemmas and its implications on play.

The need to play a movie from a bazookas perpsective means that the whole experience he had, at each time increment in the turn, must be sent over to the other player. He has a slew of data that changes during the turn. What he sees, ammo, facing, etc/etc/etc. Throw in 1:1 and the loader and bazookaman have position info also. It will be some crank of data.

But my point is that I dont feel that the player needs all that anyway. Its really a Issue of what I think realism is and funnily enough, it helps get asych (and possibly TCP/IP play) more managable.

In many cases, for many units, just the 'end-state' of that unit, at the 59th sec or so, is all that needs to crank over. That is needed to allow his relative perspective during the orders phase.

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