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The CMx2, PBEM poll


Vadr

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I downloaded the demo for TACOPs and played it for quite awhile. I never bought the game. I just felt that it wasn't a 'keeper' (I have no clue if it had email either). It just gave everything out in the demo and I really didnt want more.

So even though I am a hard core wargamer, and something like tacops would seem to be up my alley, it just didnt get the bucks.

Cmx2 would have to really put on a show to get the bucks.

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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.

The Game itself is nothing, no matter how absolutely brilliant it is, if there are no human players to play it. Unless of course you plan on making it an AI vs AI screen saver.

To expand on your previous simile: the market is almost entirely comprised of males. How many males do you know who opt to masturbate instead of getting a real life partner just because masturbation is so absolutely brilliant and the sacrifices made in order to get the partner diminish the frequency and overall sensation of the entire experience ? And I am not saying we all do not enjoy the odd solo session from time to time but in the long run we all either change the venue to get new partners or we do not get hitched up with a nun who will not put out by default. ;)

What IMO is needed is asyncronous play in some form. What say the term PBEM is dropped in conjucntion of this from now on so as not to get hung up on the limitations of a single method of file transfer.

Some have suggested that BFC set up servers and charge for the service. That works IMO only if the game itself is a free download a la Warbirds.

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I would like to see a demo scenario with three different strategies 'waypointed' for that same scenario. In other words, be able to play the same scenario but have the AI play differently each time.

This would demonstrate the power of the new scenario design capabilitys.

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

Dave,

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />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</font>

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Originally posted by Michael Dorosh:

Because that is hubris on a JasonC scale.

Making the greatest computer wargame of all time has not, I'm afraid, been conductive to humility.

What he seems to be saying is that the several thousand (I would guesss) customers who play PBEM exclusively are not statistically significant enough to justify the inclusion of PBEM as a sine qua non for the new engine. This group has been dismissed as "grogs"--and God knows I've never been put in that category before--who are never satisfied with anything, and will complain about everything but Bren tripods, which they will argue about. Seventeen thousand posts? Sorry, doesn't count. Buy seventeen thousand copies and you'll have a say.

For some reason, BFC has always insisted on treating CM as a traditional computer game, "revolutionary," but still not all that much different from the others. The reality that its history has been radically different--i.e. longevity--hasn't seemed to have any effect on this thinking. Perhaps its just being trumped by the fact that developers need to keep selling new games. From that perspective, a game that satisfies the audience for five years is a sort of failure.

Fortunately I don't have to care about economics. So to me CM has been two things.

First and foremost, a scenario design tool. Firstly, because you have to have scenarios to play.

Secondly, as a simulation of warfare played thoughtfully against a knowledgeable and challenging opponent. Call him a grog if you like. TCP/IP and even hotseat don't, and won't, cut it. The AI isn't even worth mentioning.

Those are the only criteria by which I will judge any future CM. CM without PBEM would be as hobbled as CM without a scenario editor. To me it would be as hobbled as CM without monitor support. It may be a fine "game", but it won't be true to the best of what CM has been. As I think you put it in another thread, I'd rather read a book.

But we are beating a dead horse here. In pride and folly (from out perspective, the dollars may say otherwise), the decision has been made.

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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.

Maybe we should keep a running total

In the 107 posts in this thread (including RANTS that are NOT votes)

There are only 12 B votes that I could find.

I did not count the A votes.

But the B votes look to be about %10 of this voting audience and (sorry) but to be honest that was about Steve's guess, maybe %10 would not buy it because of no PBEM. (DId he say that or am i confused with his statement that for everyone sale that is lost do to no PBEM he was get 10 NEW sales? dunno :confused: )

Oh well, there is one thing we know for sure, its a DONE DEAL, they will not compromise the game to MAKE sure PBEM will work. I think they have been clear about that.

-tom w

[ March 04, 2005, 06:24 AM: Message edited by: aka_tom_w ]

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Originally posted by aka_tom_w:

its a DONE DEAL they will not compromise the game to MAKE sure PBEM will work. I think they have been clear about that.

Is the game compromised (in any way - coding, marketing, customer expectations, etc.) if PBEM is included, regardless of file size?
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Originally posted by Ace Pilot:

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

its a DONE DEAL they will not compromise the game to MAKE sure PBEM will work. I think they have been clear about that.

Is the game compromised (in any way - coding, marketing, customer expectations, etc.) if PBEM is included, regardless of file size? </font>
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Geez, how many times does Steve have to post this before it sinks in.

"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".

The key part again.

Now, it MIGHT be possible to have our cake and eat it too

So BFC obviously will attempt to get PBEM in.

Instead of whining like little children, why don't we all wait 6 months until we get a better idea from BFC about how CM2 really will be like? :rolleyes:

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Originally posted by aka_tom_w:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Ace Pilot:

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

its a DONE DEAL they will not compromise the game to MAKE sure PBEM will work. I think they have been clear about that.

Is the game compromised (in any way - coding, marketing, customer expectations, etc.) if PBEM is included, regardless of file size? </font>
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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

1:1 was discussed in a few threads. Did it really get sold as such a needed feature? In many threads, it just brought up so many questions as far as how it clashed with other game issues.

1m terrain resolution. I assume a 1m square actually. Are individual trees and soldiers driving this? Would 4m (2mx2m) work?

Deformable terrain. Not discussed that much.

Relative spotting. Subtle but its actually the Relative Movie playback that would be a memory hog. The need to pass back and forth all relative unit relative movies being the worst case perhaps. Since these individual movie playbacks mat just be an option, and some might argue quite unrealistic actually, this hog could be reduced.

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it was suggested it might be a "hidden" feature

i.e. not advertised and just for those who read about it here and seak it out.

it that is possible they will do everything they can to make it work

i have faith and I am not worried about this issue.

smile.gif

-tom w

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Originally posted by Lars:

Malakovski, what Steve said is the decision hasn't been made. We might still get 50 meg PBEM files. Better start saving for that T1 connection. ;)

I wasn't being clear. Sorry. I have read the original bitch thread and all Steve's posts therein. What I meant was that the decision that PBEM was notsine qua non. To me it's sacred, to them is sacrificable for other ends. That's the only (real) disagreement there is at this point, as nothing more has been decided.

I know it is not decided whether or not it will be finally possible, but what has been decided is that other criteria are more important and might make PBEM impossible.

Anyway, sorry. Didn't mean to throw more fuel on the fire, er, dead horse, or whatever it is now.

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Is anyone reading what gets posted here?

My takeaways from this thread:

1. A decision has not been made about PBEM.

2. BFC is planning some revolutionary features for the game.

3. BFC does not know whether the addition of those features will make PBEM an unviable option.

4. BFC is not willing to remove the revolutionary features to make sure that they can guarantee working PBEM.

5. Several people are demanding that BFC not make a revolutionary game, so that they can be assured of just playing the same thing they've been playing for years, just with prettier graphics.

Okay, 5 may be harsh, but that's what I'm taking from some of these posts.

Count me in the crowd that wants to see a revolution for the series. If that means PBEM can't be guaranteed, so be it. From my perspective, those wanting guaranteed PBEM, even if it means cutting the revolution, already have their game. Three of them, in fact.

I am ironicly reminded of a debate/flame session for a grand strategy game I've been testing for months. That game will not ship with TCP/IP, nor will TCP/IP be included in a later patch. TCP/IP is an almost nonsensical option for the game due to the nature of the game. It would have been an awful experience, and spending resources including it would have taken away from the resources available to make the game great. People bitched incessantly about this, because "PBEM wasn't good enough." The end result is that the game is going to be fantastic, and the developers rightly chose to ignore the TCP/IP demands to focus on making a great game, rather than include a feature that would have completely annoyed anyone who tried to use it.

Anyway, just my two cents. I don't want to lose PBEM, but would I sacrifice it for a revolution in the series? Absolutely! I already have multiple versions of CM1. I don't need CM1 with better graphics. I don't need Battlefield Command with its pretty graphics but tiny force size.

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

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.

the correct way to reduce it is of course to optimize the saving process. you do not need to save everything every single moment. 50 megs gives you 491 430 400 state changes. do you really have that many state changes during a turn, and if so, why.
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Originally posted by Becket:

5. Several people are demanding that BFC not make a revolutionary game, so that they can be assured of just playing the same thing they've been playing for years, just with prettier graphics.

You are not reading carefully. Not once have I, or I think anyone else, said, please leave out 1:1 representation et cetera for PBEM.

What we are saying is that, for a sizable portion of the community, CM is a PBEM game, and that no matter how good the engine may be, if we can't play it PBEM, we won't play it much, or at all. For us, an acknowledged minority, though I think more dismissed than need be, CM without PBEM isn't worth anything, or at least, it's not CM, but something else.

BFC has made lots of somthing elses, and no one's complained, because they were also making more CM games. What is distressing is that, if PBEM goes, the CM series ends. I don't care if you keep naming them CMxyz, all we PBEMers will ahve is three very good, but not nearly complete enough games, and there are plans for no more.

We stand a good chance (yes, I know it's not yet definite) of being left permanently out in the cold. BFC can make as many other revolutionary games as they like, but the effective end of the CM series due to the removal of an essential feature is distressing.

Making reasonable posts about it is complicated by the fact that a) we have no say in the matter, B) we've never developed games, c) we're almost completely in the dark about what's going on, and d) we're at an early stage where not much is set in stone. So what's coming out is more or less incoheret distress at the potential end of the CM feast which has been going on for years and years, to the great enrichment of our lives.

What's worse, BFC has not responded to my very reasonable offer to purchase the old engine from them. :D

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You are not reading carefully. Not once have I, or I think anyone else, said, please leave out 1:1 representation et cetera for PBEM.

I am actually questioning it,not only because it was mentioned as a PBEM 'hit', but also because I do not believe it lives up to its hype.

Since many functions can NOT be brought down to 1:1 level to operate with 1:1 soldier modeling; what is the point of it? Reality? No actually the opposite might be the truth.

1:1 needs a rethink.

Computer Upgrade: For many people who can not afford a better computer, PBEM may be immaterial. They just can't buy a game that their computer can't crunch very well. Hopefully, the demos will reflect medium sized games so people can decide.

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Originally posted by Malakovski:

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

Malakovski, what Steve said is the decision hasn't been made. We might still get 50 meg PBEM files. Better start saving for that T1 connection. ;)

I wasn't being clear. Sorry. I have read the original bitch thread and all Steve's posts therein. What I meant was that the decision that PBEM was notsine qua non. To me it's sacred, to them is sacrificable for other ends. That's the only (real) disagreement there is at this point, as nothing more has been decided.

I know it is not decided whether or not it will be finally possible, but what has been decided is that other criteria are more important and might make PBEM impossible.

Anyway, sorry. Didn't mean to throw more fuel on the fire, er, dead horse, or whatever it is now. </font>

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A 30 second turn may not be that bad an idea IF the game's new C&C can keep the player from abusing all the info like he does now.

Also, the 30 sec movie playbacks for the individual units (ugh) CAN be 'compressed' in that instead of a continuous play, they are just 5 sec 'jumps' or snapshots of what that unit 'experiences'.

The mechanics of why all the small movies get big has been discussed in the other threads. Basically, you must have a 'chronology' of all his relative info for each time incrememnt. This database includes all his personal states as well as his database of relative spotted units/spooks/whatever else.

My personal view (yes I realize its just mine) is that the most realistic setting (no individual unit movie playback) is easier for the game to crank out for PBEM. I would want to play PBEM this way typically. The movieplayback view is just from the 'company' HQ units (modified by relayed info). So the game just needs to pass the databases needed for 2-4 movieplaybacks instead of a database for every bazooka, squad, section, LMG,etc. It would also pass the last timeslice database for these units, of course, so that you can always 'see' what they see during the orders phase. Thats my understanding of it. Low level? Prehaps.

[ March 04, 2005, 08:14 AM: Message edited by: Wartgamer ]

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"We stand a good chance (yes, I know it's not yet definite) of being left permanently out in the cold. BFC can make as many other revolutionary games as they like, but the effective end of the CM series due to the removal of an essential feature is distressing."

No, if PBEM is not incorporated in CM2 then some players who consider this essential will or may not buy the game.

"effective end of the CM series"??? Not bloody likely. IMO, CM2 will be the start of a new series of great wargames.

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