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The CMx2, PBEM poll


Vadr

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

Guys... one thing that I find really annoying with the "B" crowd is that they keep talking about the possible lack of PBEM as if it kills off the possibility of playing against a Human. That isn't the case at all. If there is no PBEM you can still play against another Human. Nothing is preventing this EXCEPT personal choice. While I understand that some people only want to play against a Human in one way, that is not the same as saying the game won't allow Human vs. Human play if PBEM is not possible. Just keep that in mind, please.

Steve

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A

But PBEM would be sorely missed. I just don't have the time for an online matchup. Heck, I have trouble finding the time for PBEM sometimes. I have a feeling that without PBEM, CMx2 will have a shorter "play" life on my system.

But I'm willing to be surprised. :D

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Please guys... I KNOW why you love PBEM... I've played more of that than TCP/IP myself, but not for the same reasons perhaps. There is no misunderstanding about what it is and what it isn't. At least not for me. PBEM is an extention of the game, but it isn't the game. We are going about making the best game possible and then whatever extensions we can make from it we will. PBEM, if possible, will be amongst those extensions.

My gripe above is that PBEM is not the only way to play the game. It might be the primary way you play, but that isn't the same thing. It would do well for your own sakes to remember that because if there is no PBEM you should look at the game first before deciding if it is/isn't for you. I suspect you'll do this anyway, but it doesn't hurt to remind you guys at this early stage that you should be keeping a much more open mind.

As for the sales angle... if we felt we were slicing our marketing throats by not having PBEM as an option we would hobble the game's design to make sure it could support it (proactive hobbling is the only way to ensure this, sorry to say). But the truth is that even if we lost 1 in 10 of our customer base soley because of no PBEM support, the features that would cause such support to be dropped would certainly net us many times more NEW customers we otherwise wouldn't likely get.

This makes the choice an obvious one for us to make... better game, better sales instead of hobbled game, lower sales. This is one of the rare times when potentially abandoning hardcore customers will not only result in bigger sales but also a superior product for the majority of the fan base. Those kinds of choices don't often come up in this game business, so we'd be absolute idiots to turn away from it. And we ain't idiots :D

Steve

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

Guys... one thing that I find really annoying with the "B" crowd is that they keep talking about the possible lack of PBEM as if it kills off the possibility of playing against a Human. That isn't the case at all. If there is no PBEM you can still play against another Human. Nothing is preventing this EXCEPT personal choice. While I understand that some people only want to play against a Human in one way, that is not the same as saying the game won't allow Human vs. Human play if PBEM is not possible. Just keep that in mind, please.

Steve

Sorry, but let me make another annoying post. As an example, let's take Mike in New Zealand and me as two wargaming geeks who enjoy playing CM against each other. Hotseat doesn't look like a promising option for us. Since we're on opposite sides of the planet, we're not exactly on the same time schedule for online play. Losing PBEM's time flexibility without a viable replacement means I will never play Mike in CMx2.

You guys at BFC have created wargames so engrossing, so far ahead of anything else available that a world-wide community formed around them. These forums show that pretty eloquently. I appreciate what you've done and congratulate you for your success. Any of us can play Combat Mission with somebody half a world away, at our own pace, with no scheduling conflicts for distractions like family, work, or sleep. In my opinion, eliminating PBEM play (or a substitute of some kind) in future CM games drives a huge wedge into that global community. I perceive the "personal choice" you mentioned above as:

1. I give up my overseas CMBB/CMAK friends as future CMx2 opponents, or

2. We reschedule our lives to play CMx2 online.

Please let me know if I've overlooked something here.

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BTW, here are a few things we would have to "hobble" to ensure PBEM would work:

1:1 soldier representation

1m terrain resolution

Deformable terrain

Relative Spotting

These are all backbone features, and there are probably a lot more too. Now, it MIGHT be possible to have our cake and eat it too, but the only way to ensure PBEM is to trash these game elements now before putting in another 6 months of development only to find out "whoops... PBEM isn't practical... guess we have to trash the game engine and start over again".

I know most of you guys understand this, but I guess I owe it to you to keep explaining it just to make sure. PBEM is a valued feature, it's just that it isn't valued higher than the core of the game system.

Steve

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Dave,

In my opinion, eliminating PBEM play (or a substitute of some kind) in future CM games drives a huge wedge into that global community.
No doubt it would if it were to happen. But the alternative is far worse... driving a wedge between a good game and a fantastic one before we even know if PBEM is not possible. In other words, it is either we pursue a vastly better game and simulation OR we sacrifice the vastly better game for a single feature that adds nothing to the game itself.

As tough as it might be to someday say "we can't support PBEM", the decision to pursue the best game possible at the risk of losing PBEM is not a tough choice at all. It is the only sensible one for us to make.

Steve

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

BTW, here are a few things we would have to "hobble" to ensure PBEM would work:

1:1 soldier representation

1m terrain resolution

Deformable terrain

Relative Spotting

So 50 megabyte PBEM turns may be an unpleasant side effect of these improvements?

Let me put it this way, given the choice of that or no PBEM, I'd find a way to get 50 meg files back and forth to my opponents. I've run an FTP server before, I can do it again. Hell, people play chess by snail mail, right?

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Malakovski,

So 50 megabyte PBEM turns may be an unpleasant side effect of these improvements?
Yes, that is our concern and why we aren't promising PBEM will be supported, though we are likely to have some sort of "hidden" PBEM feature if the file size is ridiculously huge but still within the realm of reason.

The problem with PBEM is that it must store each and every state change for whatever length of time the turn goes on. More stuff, more potential for state changes. The only way to reduce this is to either limit the state changes (eg. 20 meter resolution and no Relative Spotting), limit the game scope (eg. 500m x 500m map with no more than 10 units each), limit the turn time (eg. 30 seconds instead of 60), or a combo of these elements.

Unfortunately, as I have said several times in recent posts, there is no way to know what combo of things will yield a usuable PBEM file size. So we would have to basically scratch all this stuff off the list and stick with CMx1's limitations (and they are limitations) simply on the off chance that we might not be able to support PBEM.

Steve

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I can totally understand where your coming from steve, but as a aussie and supposes the kiwi's we are the ones you be effecting the most. We won't be able to play your tcp/ip action or if we do within our own very small community, so we will sadly miss our US and European friends.

When you get to coming around to tell me that there will be no PBEM for CMx2.

Look at my sad sad face and say it gently

"It's ok we got a huge new customer base in North America and Europe, so screw you Aussie" smile.gif

Just make single play really really good cause I feel thats the most I will get out of it.

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

In other words, it is either we pursue a vastly better game and simulation OR we sacrifice the vastly better game for a single feature that adds nothing to the game itself.

Well, that's where we disagree. I don't think a game without PBEM is a better game, no matter what it does, but as I'm not going to change my mind, and I don't think you'll change yours, I'll let it drop.

As tough as it might be to someday say "we can't support PBEM"...

If you can't support it, then let us support it. I'm serious about this. The CM engine "couldn't support" getting one turn of PBEM into two emails. Well someone found a way to do it. The CM engine couldn't support map importation, but I believe someone wrote a program that scripted mouse clicks into the CM editor and managed to get some sort of importation working. CM couldn't (or rather didn't) support a PBEM management module, but someone wrote that. The CM engine did not have every single conceivable camo scheme for every vehicle, but the modders took care of that.

If there's a multiplayer feature and a way to save the game in multiplayer, someone will find a way to force PBEM out of the system, whatever the obstacles.

So if nothing else, make it easy to jerry rig! smile.gif

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

Yes, that is our concern and why we aren't promising PBEM will be supported, though we are likely to have some sort of "hidden" PBEM feature if the file size is ridiculously huge but still within the realm of reason.

AH! You're posting faster than I am! And I see you have already thought along the lines of my last message.

Thank you for taking the time to clarify your position on PBEM. As long as we agree that it is a sacred cow to be slaughtered only if absolutely necessary (with a way for us PBEM loons to resurrect her in secret on an FTP altar), all is well.

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C)

I'd want to see how it ships and what the options are for play against other people (as well as what the theatre/timeframe is). I agree with Malakovski on the time aspect of the current PBEM system, where you are not necessarily rushed into making your move for whatever reasons. I like that aspect and it is important for me.

Having issues like borg spotting and all the rest of the improvements discussed elsewhere is great, but if due to my own personal head-to-head preferences I am limited to AI only battles it could get boring in the long run playing against the AI where vehicles jitter back and forth in one spot while on the "attack".

But like everyone else, I'll wait and see what the guys code up and ship.

Andrew

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I think Mr. Spock had something wise to say about this

Spock is explaining his actions to James Kirk. The Vulcan entered a radiation-filled section of the U.S.S. Enterprise, even though to do so meant certain death. It was the only way to bring the main engines back online in time to save the lives of his shipmates.

Fighting the effects of the deadly radiation Spock rasps, "It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

Kirk finishes the statement for his friend, "Or the one."

I guess that just about sums it up.

Even within the confines of this online poll the folks here that have Voted for B (Won't Buy) are in the minority. There is one thing for sure about this issue there is a VERY vocal, irrate and persistent minority. Just look at how many A or C votes there are here and look and see how much ranting and bitching those folks did when they posted.

smile.gif

-tom w

Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

As for the sales angle... if we felt we were slicing our marketing throats by not having PBEM as an option we would hobble the game's design to make sure it could support it (proactive hobbling is the only way to ensure this, sorry to say). But the truth is that even if we lost 1 in 10 of our customer base soley because of no PBEM support, the features that would cause such support to be dropped would certainly net us many times more NEW customers we otherwise wouldn't likely get.

This makes the choice an obvious one for us to make... better game, better sales instead of hobbled game, lower sales. This is one of the rare times when potentially abandoning hardcore customers will not only result in bigger sales but also a superior product for the majority of the fan base. Those kinds of choices don't often come up in this game business, so we'd be absolute idiots to turn away from it. And we ain't idiots :D

Steve

[ March 04, 2005, 06:14 AM: Message edited by: aka_tom_w ]

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Maybe I'm technologically retarded, but surely if PBEM file sizes make PBEM impractical, a similar predicament would be encountered for TCP/IP games. A similar amount of data must surely be transferred via TCP/IP. Would this be a fair assumption?

If this is the case, TCP/IP seems like it would be even more tedious and impractical than PBEM if turn transfer data amounts increased dramatically. It would make the time constraints of an internet game even worse as you sit for maybe half an hour waiting to download turn info.

If my assumptions are correct, will there be any remote human vs. human play method possible except LAN?

Steve, please let us know if this is in any way a fair assumption. If PBEM must go out the window will internet play go with it?

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Originally posted by aka_tom_w:

Fighting the effects of the deadly radiation Spock rasps, "It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

Kirk finishes the statement for his friend, "Or the one."

Okay...it's logical, but that doesn't mean I'm going to be any happier if I'm the one who has to jump on the grenade.

Anyway, I just found the "original" PBEM hyteria thread. So I apologize for beating the dead horse. It was pretty thoroughly beaten last time.

To anyone else who may be getting worked up into a frenzy for the first time, read all about it here. The panic starts a few posts down.

Bottom line, you may have to jump on the grenade. Deal with it. If whining, begging, or hysterics was going to have any effect, it would have by now. It hasn't.

The only thing I don't understand, is the lack of understanding of the panic this causes among those of us who play this way. For me, CM PBEM is the only game I play. Not the only kind of CM I play, the only game, period, because nothing else comes close to the experience. It's something special, and of course I'd like to see that something continue into future games. If it doesn't...well, I guess I will keep playing BB and AK. If PBEM is dropped, I bet there will still be a community playing BB and AK five years from now. I hope that hypothetical small community pools their savings, buys the "outdated" source code from BFC, and produces the best PBEM wargame of all time.

It may be true that consumers always think in incremental changes, but I think it's not insignificant that this game engine has been good enough to keep us occupied for five years. I've played, last I counted, 114 PBEMs, and I feel I've barely scrated the surface of what this engine offers. That is surely a first in computer gaming. I'd hate for it to be a last.

It doesn't surprise me when Microsoft says, that's not economical, so you get to jump on the grenade, so I don't know why it does when BFC says the same thing.

Oh well, I'm tired, and melancholy...but not drunk. Perhaps I'll amend that and go to bed...

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Well, everything looks better after a scotch.

Not much better, mind you.

There's still some strange man (I think he calls himself Steve) who says he may have to shoot Bessie. Doesn't he know the sacred cow is all that nourishes us?

Tell you what, sir (Steve?), economically speaking, since those nasty economons seem to be at the root of things again, the CMx1 engine will soon be worthless, right?

No future revenue there.

It will be like the Windows 3.1 of the CM world.

I'll give you a hundred bucks for it. And the cow.

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