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The CMx2, PBEM poll


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Originally posted by Wartgamer:

"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?

The two are not exclusive. The issue at hand, i.e. the possible loss of PBEM as we know it, is a real issue. would you prefer to not hear about it until the day you download the Demo?

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.

Possibly true. So you're saying people are really konked off about Steve's tone rather than his information?

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?

Well, we don't know that yet, but assuming that's true, then what have 3 threads and a silly "poll" proved except that some folks are overreacting?

-dale

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It never hurts to see what customers feel, do, will accept, etc. Plus I get to make a sex joke or two.

It would not hurt to keep the following in the back of the mind of the designer...

If we COULD keep the filesize under XXX Megabytes, THEN we still can support some form of non-56K asynch play.

Thats all I want. I think 56K is a dead branch and lets move on. Lets be clear about that. Stop saying PBEM cause its inflammatory at this stage and is not responding to remarks others have made.

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Originally posted by Wartgamer:

It never hurts to see what customers feel, do, will accept, etc. Plus I get to make a sex joke or two.

It would not hurt to keep the following in the back of the mind of the designer...

If we COULD keep the filesize under XXX Megabytes, THEN we still can support some form of non-56K asynch play.

Thats all I want. I think 56K is a dead branch and lets move on. Lets be clear about that. Stop saying PBEM cause its inflammatory at this stage and is not responding to remarks others have made.

"Stop saying PBEM..."?

Wartybaby, you ain't the boss of me.

PBEM PBEM PBEM PBEM! Neener neener neener!

-dale

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TCP/IP play means that the whole stream, sent in packets in a btye/compressed form, may still represent a sizable flow if it includes, all the minimovies (actually all the data needed to display them).

So one computer crunches out the turn, and for each timeslice, could flow that crunched info over to the other computer.

This may take some time.

But once the TCP/IP player has all the crunched info, does he not have to start watching all the movieplaybacks to get his situational awareness (I suppose he may actually start watching one unit's movieplayback as it streams in, at the rate it is recieved)?

Relative Spotting has the effect of making a player need to revisit the battlefield anew in some ways everytime the turn comes.

The natural inclination of a human when presented with multiple viewpoints, is to compare them and even review previous viewpoints to clarify things. My feeling is that teh human will spend much time analyzing the situation, not because he is insane or stupid, but because he needs to figure out what is going on.

This will certainly slow down TCP/IP play especially if the game is very large. What is the point of TCP/IP play if it takes so long?

Others can certainly answer the question better than me: Just how long would it take to TCP/IP 50 megs of data. The sender must crunch the time frame, store that data, send that data, recive a request for more data, crunch next time slice, etc? So its slower than just a strict download I suppose?

[ March 06, 2005, 12:58 PM: Message edited by: Wartgamer ]

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Yo Steve,

I have refrained from voicing an opinion or making a suggestion about a possible option because I have a great deal of faith that BFC will do the right thing and build the best game possible. But I do want to throw out an idea that I don't know if someone has already mentioned. I call it my "To the Volga" idea. The satantic fiend Berli designed the To the Volga operation for CMBB and it is still unplayable on my system. I hope that one day I (or maybe one of my decendents) will have a computer system that can handle that operation. So my thought is, IF PBEM is found to not be reasonably managable perhaps a patch with the unmanagable PBEM feature could be released after the game (not unlike how TCP was released after CMBOs release so as to not slow down CMBOs release). Then when the time comes that peoples computers and ISPs can handle the files it is already there.

Also, you're right about the ISP size thing. Mine just went from 10MB to 30MB. My fathers (comcast.net) Just went from 10MB to 250MB...they didn't even annouce to him that they were increasing it..just one day it happened. So who knows we may all have 2 gigs of email storage space in a couple of years...one never knows.

Love,

Elvis

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

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.

What is more, when it comes to TCP/IP gaming most DSL speeds are non-quarantteed maximum speeds. So even if you have a 8Mb both ways DSL connection (which most do not have globally) you may end up with a 56k connection. A 100Mb download will be a PITA. I would imagine a binary data stream of equal amount would be an equal PITA.

I also wonder if people with better speed connection will be able to choke the slower speed players game simply by being able to issue more orders in a, say, 60sec orders phase CM TCP game so that the slow connection player gets to click a unit and then wait and see the clock tic away while the fast connection player is feeding data in so that the opposing CPU gets flooded with the order data coming in..... ;)

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Dale is correct about our approach to customer relations. From the beginning we have been honest and upfront about the vast majority of what we do. Sometimes there are reasons to hold back (such as I am with major parts of CMx2), but in good time these things will be known as well.

The whole thing with PBEM started simply because someone asked the question and I gave the honest response "we don't know". That started off a fecalstorm the likes have not been seen on this Forum in a long, long time. We have been told to get our priorities straight, abandon features to ensure PBEM, deliver PBEM or risk mass customer abandonment, etc., etc. All because of one question and one honest answer. Perhaps in hindsight I should have dodged the question, but I had thought this crew was mature and experienced enough with how we operate to not run around like a Chicken Little. I wouldn't say I was dead wrong on that count, but I made a serious miscalculation for sure. Some people clearly weren't up to it.

Steve

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Er... I try pretty hard to avoid culture specific and/or obscure references so as to not confuse our large international crowd. Just relaized that many might not understand the "Chicken Little" comment I made. So, thanks to the power of Google, I present to you... the story of Chicken Little ;)

http://eleaston.com/chicken.html

Enjoy :D

Steve

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

This presumes, of course, that there is not much fun to be had in the single player experience. I can't say with absolute certainty how much better CMx2's will be than CMx1, but I know it will be clearly better.

Oh, I have no doubts about that. smile.gif

If it were feasible to do this, we would. Inherently we are a game developer... not a PC game developer. We are only the latter out of necessity since game boxes, as neato as they might be, are not up to the task of a CM type game.

Perhaps a "CM Light" family of games.... ;)

Sure we do. We understand that with the introduction of various features we are increasing the data processing by a huge amount. What we don't know, and can't know, at this point is what the practical implications might wind up being.

Have you done any research about how much the different machines give different results in the orders resolution phase ?

No. There would be no movie playback in that case, just the final state of the turn. Not an option.

How about a slide show instead a movie ?

Of course if some sort of FTP server arrangement worked, that would be fine by us. But then it isn't PBEM any more.

How purist do you have to be ? I send a mail saying game file downloaded and my opponent informs me when he is done. smile.gif

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Tero,

Have you done any research about how much the different machines give different results in the orders resolution phase ?
No, but anecdotal info all throught CMx1 development has shown that the CPU is critically important. I remember when I upgraded from a 604e Mac to a G4... I think the crunch time reduced from several minutes down to a few seconds. I remember having Charles on the phone, who had the same speed computer as I did, and he it "GO!" the same time I did (same file, of course) and we were just amazed at how much faster the crunching was.

So... the good news is that we aren't too worried about the CPU handling the new load of data. It is, of course, possible that we might overwhelm it... but remember that when we released CMBO some people were playing it on a 486!! The demands on the CPU, excepting graphics, have remained largely the same since. So take the CMx1 design and imagine the new CMx2 features running on systems that are perhaps as much as 100 times faster than what CMx1 was programmed for. We've got some elbow room for sure :D

How about a slide show instead a movie ?
I don't think there is value in offering that sort of a feature.

How purist do you have to be ? I send a mail saying game file downloaded and my opponent informs me when he is done.
PBEM is PBEM, so it is not a good idea to extend it to another way of transfering files. That get's things all confused rather quickly ;) Better to call it something else, such as "asynch transfer" (PBAT?) or whatever.

Steve

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Of course if some sort of FTP server arrangement worked, that would be fine by us. But then it isn't PBEM any more.

How purist do you have to be ? I send a mail saying game file downloaded and my opponent informs me when he is done.

It would be nice if it were automatically opened for you as soon as you uploaded. So the game finishes a PBAT file. It opens the email and enters info in title and fields. When the file is downloaded, a email is sent to both parties also. So you know that at least its progressing. You get an email when its up there waiting for you. So it just pushes the game along with notifications.

An interesting thought at this stage of the 'discussion' is: Could it possibly be faster to play PBAT then TCP/IP? Would it almost be the same speed? Given equal amount of time to plot turns, who would be faster?

TCP/IP should allow you to watch one units movieturn as the data flows in. Note it would only be as fast as that data comes in. So if it took 3 minutes to get the whole turn over, then thats the rate you could see the movie at.

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Originally posted by Wartgamer:

PBEM PBEM PBEM PBEM! Neener neener neener! dalem

Dale is correct about our approach to customer relations

Steve

Well, he could be a little less repititive perhaps?

Tell you what - the day you learn to use UBB code for embedded quotes like a normal person, I'll stop saying neener neener.

-dale

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

Check out the size of a CMx1 scenario file to see how much savings would be had compared to a PBEM turn in the thick of battle for that scenario. The scenario file size is pretty much the same as the savings you are talking about gaining.

About 10% on average. Less on busy turns (which is when its really needed), more on quiet turns (when its less important anyway).
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Originally posted by dalem:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Wartgamer:

PBEM PBEM PBEM PBEM! Neener neener neener! dalem

Dale is correct about our approach to customer relations

Steve

Well, he could be a little less repititive perhaps?

Tell you what - the day you learn to use UBB code for embedded quotes like a normal person, I'll stop saying neener neener.

-dale </font>

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

Have you done any research about how much the different machines give different results in the orders resolution phase ?
No, but anecdotal info all throught CMx1 development has shown that the CPU is critically important. I remember when I upgraded from a 604e Mac to a G4... I think the crunch time reduced from several minutes down to a few seconds. I remember having Charles on the phone, who had the same speed computer as I did, and he it "GO!" the same time I did (same file, of course) and we were just amazed at how much faster the crunching was.

So... the good news is that we aren't too worried about the CPU handling the new load of data. It is, of course, possible that we might overwhelm it... but remember that when we released CMBO some people were playing it on a 486!! The demands on the CPU, excepting graphics, have remained largely the same since. So take the CMx1 design and imagine the new CMx2 features running on systems that are perhaps as much as 100 times faster than what CMx1 was programmed for. We've got some elbow room for sure :D

Actually I meant to ask about how much variation could there be in the outcome when the same sets of orders are excuted independently in two different machines.

I don't think there is value in offering that sort of a feature.

Just trying to find ways to scale down the file size. smile.gif

PBEM is PBEM, so it is not a good idea to extend it to another way of transfering files. That get's things all confused rather quickly ;) Better to call it something else, such as "asynch transfer" (PBAT?) or whatever.

OK. smile.gif

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After reading most of the relevant posts it seems that the CMx2 that BFC envisage is definately worth the increase in game file sizes.

Therefore the problem lies in the ability to transfer the files to an opponent other than TCP/IP.

If this means, as already mentioned, an alternative to PBEM that demands a better connection, etc, so be it.

As long as there is a website that files can be sent to and downloaded from there shouldnt be a problem other than each players connectivity rate.

I wouldnt mind waiting half an hour to download a game file if it meant that the game was better and still retained the more relaxed and convenient method PBEM offered over TCP/IP play.

So i say "reach for the stars BFC" as long as there is "some" way of using a data file transfer format that does not demand "too" much of an upgrade in connectivity.

As from July my ISP is going to be offering a 2 MG download service at fractionally more the price of my current 0.5 MG connection speed.

Other ISP companies are offering the same deal give or take some price and restriction nuances so i would create a game to force an upgrade amongst the players as opposed to hobbling the game to fit the present connectivity and data transfer limitations.

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Originally posted by Wartgamer:

Quickly changing Topic:

Speaking of storys, I am going to read a story called "The Emperors New Clothes".

I think experiences like this PBEM thread illustrate that if BFC went out without clothes on, nobody would hesitate to let them know.... And probably point and laugh. m/ :D
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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

...I had thought this crew was mature and experienced enough with how we operate to not run around like a Chicken Little. I wouldn't say I was dead wrong on that count, but I made a serious miscalculation for sure. Some people clearly weren't up to it.

If the particular method of asynchronous play (PBEM) had been distinguished clearly from the principle of some form of asynchronous play (which it seems is not really at great risk), I don't think there would have been the frothy, irrational explosion there has been. I, for example, would not have felt the need to post one word about it...
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Tero,

Actually I meant to ask about how much variation could there be in the outcome when the same sets of orders are excuted independently in two different machines.
Ah... they were HUGE. As in, within a turn or two you were basically playing two entirely different games. Just think about it... Machine One shows the King Tiger getting killed.... Machine Two shows the round being deflected. Now... how quickly do you think THAT is noticed smile.gif

Malakovski,

If the particular method of asynchronous play (PBEM) had been distinguished clearly from the principle of some form of asynchronous play (which it seems is not really at great risk), I don't think there would have been the frothy, irrational explosion there has been. I, for example, would not have felt the need to post one word about it...
It should never have been a frothy, irrational explosion at all. Period. Especially when I said about 1000 times that it wasn't a sure thing that PBEM was on the chopping block, only that it might possibly be. And to be fair to me and others... the mention of a backdoor and FTP solution was brought out rather early in the fecalfest, but routinely ignored because I refused to say that PBEM was sacred. In other words, the "hearsay" I committed was really the only thing that mattered to some people, not possible work arounds (unless the work arounds involved guaranteeing PBEM support ;) ).

Steve

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Originally posted by Other Means:

BFC could offer server space for file transfer. At a small fee of course. FTP to the centeral repository & FTP down the other side. Voila - PBAT.

Just please don't jump on this revenue stream to exclude customers (*cough - me*) from using their own space.

FTP is not going to be the best solution, because then there are two transfers for every file, one to the server and one from the server. Much better would be to transfer directly between players.

A simple service could achieve this by simply tracking who is online and who is playing who. When two opponents' computers are online at once, the transfer starts, directly between them. No need for BFC or anyone else to have massive server space devoted to the scheme. Just a server tracking who's online and what their IP address is, and a client app to talk to the server and transmit/receive.

This way you take your turns, go to bed, and they transfer during the night. You wake up, more turns have arrived. Even if the turns were huge, you could still transfer a good number overnight.

E.g., I have 384 kbit upspeed. Not all that blazing, but that comes out to something like 1.3 GB over an eight hour period (sleeping). Let's say tuns are a monstrous 200 MB (they won't be), that's still four a night. Perfectly workable until broadband speeds increase...

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

It should never have been a frothy, irrational explosion at all. Period. Especially when I said about 1000 times that it wasn't a sure thing that PBEM was on the chopping block, only that it might possibly be. And to be fair to me and others... the mention of a backdoor and FTP solution was brought out rather early in the fecalfest, but routinely ignored because I refused to say that PBEM was sacred. In other words, the "hearsay" I committed was really the only thing that mattered to some people, not possible work arounds (unless the work arounds involved guaranteeing PBEM support ;) ).

Well I'm glad it's all cleared up now, anyway.

Asynchronous play is sacred, PBEM is a goat you can take to the altar any day.

As irritating as I'm sure these threads have been to you, the level of emotion really just reflects on how much we all enjoy these games and how important they have become. Far more important than any game should, perhaps, but it's a testament to depth of the revolution CMx1 brought about.

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