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Cutting PBEM out (if it ends up being cut out) will be a gamble for sure. Personally speaking, I think Steve is underestimating the pro-PBEM crowd.

We all must be prepared to have it mentioned in every review of the game as a negative.

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

4. If the file size is too large to be an officially supported feature, but small enough to be viable for hardcore high bandwidth users, we will unofficially (edit) provide a hidden back door for it.

Steve

My guess is they will try their VERY best to do this.

Provide a "hidden" backdoor for REALLY big files sizes for those that care to attempt massively huge file transfer.

I am just politely suggesting that they should not be claiming they are "unofficially supporting" PBEM smile.gif

I am JUST being (wordsmith) picky about saying "unofficially supporting" because at least to me that is a little bit like saying "I am from the government and I am here to help you!" or "Military Inteligence"

I am hopeing they will decide to unofficially "provide", "enable" "include" or othewise allow PBEM file transfer (importing and exporting) for PBEM files NO MATTER how big those files are.

NOW the real question is why are they NOT also saying TCP/IP may be equally compromised because I cannot for the life of me figure out how TCP/IP may still be "no problem" but the file size of the PBEM file may prove to be too big to allow e-mail file transfer? :eek:

What's the difference?... PBEM files are suggested to be too big for e-mail file transfer but somehow there is NO discussion that TCP/IP may also prove a REAL challenge as well??

I don't get it? :confused:

Any comments?

thanks smile.gif

-tom w

[ March 05, 2005, 09:34 AM: Message edited by: aka_tom_w ]

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A.E.B.

No Steve, some of the "B" crowd say this, others don't.
True, I should have qualified my comments to reflect this. But those people aren't the people still arguing things like "there is only one opinion that matters, and that is that PBEM is the only way to play the game".

We can only go off the bits of information BF.C chooses to feed us with about CMX2. The fact that we reply demonstrates how much we care about the game.
Although I think sometimes people pick and choose what they react to, and perhaps even overreact sometimes, by and large the feedback is productive and useful for us to see.

If you do not want us to react, don't feed us information.
That's a pretty B&W view point. We like to have feedback... it's why we have these Forums and it is why we take time out to be here. Obviously. But sometimes the feedback is out of step with reality in some way. At that point the feedback ceases to be useful.

Many gaming companies choose this method.
We could too, but why? Seems to me that would be detrimental to the products we make. Just because we don't agree on some issues doesn't mean that interaction with each other is pointless.

Le Tondu,

Cutting PBEM out (if it ends up being cut out) will be a gamble for sure. Personally speaking, I think Steve is underestimating the pro-PBEM crowd.
If anything I am over estimating it. The simplistic voting in this thread shows that, even when completely inflamed and energized, the PBEM crowd is still outnumbered 3:1. And since this forum is visited by the most hardcore, likely pro-PBEM, players we have... when the unwashed masses of CM players are thrown into the mix the ratio is only going to change unfavorably for the pro-PBEM crowd. I'd be surprised if PBEM is a deal breaker for more than a few % points of our total buying audience.

Note that the size of the "B" crowd only matters because we have choices to make. And those choices are mutually exclusive. Either we make the better game and risk losing PBEM, or we avoid making the better game and ensure PBEM. If 90% of our potential audience said that PBEM is the only thing in the world they care about, well... we'd have to sacrifice the game's potential. But since it's more like a few % of people feel this way, the choice should be obvious.

BTW, there is no shame in being in the minority. It doesn't diminish the value of your point of view as a valid way of thinking. But it is not the only way of thinking, and therefore in the final analysis not the point of view catered to.

We all must be prepared to have it mentioned in every review of the game as a negative.
If it is, it will be buried in at the bottom of the review and likely won't take away anything from the score worth mentioning. We can live with that ;)

Steve

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I for one would regret the cutting of PBEM, because I can't see how a time-consuming game like this can be played via TCP/IP on regular basis. Especially against overseas players. So I hope that the new changes don't affect PBEM, or that guys at least leave an option to build it in in later reincarnations.

Good luck.

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BTW, there is no shame in being in the minority. It doesn't diminish the value of your point of view as a valid way of thinking. But it is not the only way of thinking, and therefore in the final analysis not the point of view catered to.

Please. Thats like saying there is no shame in having a 120+ IQ.

Combat Mission PBEM play represents the best wargaming experience period. There is not anything better in the whole industry.

This thread has certainly shown that there are different species within this hominoid group.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would not move on from playing against the AI to some form of human-human play.

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Since you asked so politely.

Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

for PBEM we will have to, without any doubts at all, gut the game design right now before we code any further.

Whenever I see a rhetorical choice between two unpleasant options, I know I'm dealing with the logical fallacy of a false dilemma. When an identifiable sub-group is then singled out and then wrongly blamed for causing the false dilemma, well, that's just adding more fallacies to the mix.

That was the reason for the link.

In terms of making the fallacy come true, designing and building the game in it's entirety, and only then trying to figure out how to include various modes of play seems to be a good way to go about it. And that seems to be what you're saying Steve. You've identified that file size might be a problem, but you've said you aren't going to do anything about it until it's to late to do anything about it. Good plan.

Actually, to be honest, I'd be stunned if that was your plan, but it's the distinct impression you've given in your posts on this topic.

Now, in an effort to be constructive: could you explain how you expect TCP will work if you can't get Async to work? Isn't the same amount of data pushing required in either case? Also, how do you envisage CoPlay being played - is getting more than two people to schedule a TCP CoPlay session realistic? I know people will do it - heck, CoPlay is probably the most interesting feature of CMx2 I've yet seen - but will they do it often? Will lots of people do it, if they have to go back to the bad old days of board-gaming game-scheduling?

It seems to me that in CMx1 there is only one repository of game information for each game currently in progress, and that is the file that bounces back and forth between players (by whatever method). This file must therefore contain all the information pertinent to that game being played - forces, map, damage, movement orders, targeting orders, morale, ammo, C&C, etc. Every time a file is sent, all that information is sent, regardless of whether it's needed or not, regardless of whether it's changed or not. If file size is the only bar to implementing Async, why not cut back on the amount of redundant data being pushed back and forth? A 'database file' on each PC being used for the game that holds map, force, ammo, and damage data, for example, that only gets upgraded when required.

So, for example, the only change to map data sent might be "new shellhole size 3 at 145-68; rubble light building at 147-67". That's it. Since everything else is the same, it just gets lifted out of the file on the local machine. Same for ammo counts and morale states, etc.

There are problems, of course. I used to play PBEMs on two separate PCs, which would mean that each of those PCs would have to have an up-to-date 'database file' for each game I was currently playing. Also, the 'database file' would need protection against corruption, hacking, and accidental deletion. Given that no one AFAIK has managed to hack either the scen files or the PBEM files of CMx1, I'd say that securing against hacking is well within BF.Cs capabilities. Protection against corruption and accidental deletion are relatively easy to surmount also. Given that the 'database file' on each PC would be identical at any given point in the game, it should be possible to send that to the other player if it were necessary.

Also, this is no guarantee that all files would be nice and small (whatever 'small' means in terms of file size in a years time). Busy turns would see lots of state changes which would mean a large file. But on average, turns should be smaller and more manageable. And, incidentally, TCP would likely run faster too. Maybe, from time to time, it'd be necessary to send the whole database each way to ensure synchronisation. But again, the point is that it's not happening every file transfer.

Oh, one last point - Async players, almost by definition I should think, don't mind waiting for long file downloads. TCP players would mind, I imagine.

JonS

Oh, and for the record, I've been quite consistent in saying that I'll most likely buy CMx2:I, including my 'A' vote in this 'poll' thread. The satisfaction I get from sex with the pig after the first month or so will determine whether I buy CMx2:II.

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Its not just the 'new' hole in the ground. Its when the new hole got there.

It seems that each 1 meter sq is going to have a state. That means as the turn clicks away, that 1 m^2 is tracked by state and time. If the clock ticks by 1/10 sec for example, that 1 m^2 needs 600 chronological states. And it could be many things like dust/smoke/hole (crater/shellhole/foxhole/trench/etc/etc).

But you do bring up a point that does the game need to know every 1/10 sec or just the change and when it occurs.

The map size for a 500m by 500m battle would have 250, 000 m^2 for example. Each one of those could have many differet states to depict the terrain and the environment. Lets say its 8 cause thats 2^3 power. Lets say that each state is described by a byte. Thats 2 million bytes to just track a static map. Multiply by 600 (60 seconds at 1/10th sec update) and we need the scientific calculator. 12 with 8 zeroes. 1,200,000,000 bytes.

Thats just the map. All the troopies have a similar state/time database. While the number of troopies is not as large as the number of square meters, they might acually have larger databases. Mostly tracking what they see. relatively speaking. And this will be a very dynamic changing database. How often it needs to be updated may not be as fast as 1/10 sec.

[ March 05, 2005, 12:09 PM: Message edited by: Wartgamer ]

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Originally posted by Wartgamer:

BTW, there is no shame in being in the minority. It doesn't diminish the value of your point of view as a valid way of thinking. But it is not the only way of thinking, and therefore in the final analysis not the point of view catered to.

Please. Thats like saying there is no shame in having a 120+ IQ.

Combat Mission PBEM play represents the best wargaming experience period. There is not anything better in the whole industry.

This thread has certainly shown that there are different species within this hominoid group.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would not move on from playing against the AI to some form of human-human play.

So if someone disagrees with you they are a rube? Nice.

-dale

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Perhaps the Poll should be..

How do you like to have Sex?

A. I masturbate exclusively. (plays the AI)

B. I masturbate a little but have some gay partners, and we go LIVE! (TCP/IP)

C. I masturbate a little but have all the fine women's at my own leisure (PBEM)

D. I only masturbate and PBEM/TCP/IP as needed. I exclusively am consumed with creating Pornography! (scenario designers)

Am I leaving anyone out?

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Can someone please tell me why TCP/IP is not threatened the same way PBEM is?

There has not been ONE word of discussion about how or if TCP/IP play will or might be impacted, BUT somehow the game files might be too big for PBEM but "no problem" for TCP/IP??

I say this because Steve has lumped TCP/IP in the same "no problem" category as solo play or LAN play or hotseat head to head play.

Does this not at least make some other folks here besides me curious?

(confused)

:confused:

-tom w

[ March 05, 2005, 01:17 PM: Message edited by: aka_tom_w ]

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Originally posted by jim crowley:

Yikes, do I have to have sex with a pig in order to play CMx2 :eek:

In case you missed it, the other alternative is masturbation. :D

And afterwards; is it permissable to convert said pig into bacon sarnies?

Didn't your mom tell you not to play with food ? ;)

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This is more a issue of the consumer market and what they are competing against. Steve is not concerned that for some of us Pbem is important. For BF's part, sales will not be hurt to a great level without pbem, it is easy to see that they have already weighed that decision if they don't see a easy solution for designing it into the game. This is much easier to decide since they are somewhat the only game in town. Make all the threats you want, but most of us will buy the game because what other choice do we really have.

Most of the other stuff out there is junk if you are looking for something that creates the sence of protraying reality

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Originally posted by Battlefront.com:

I'm not imposing anything... I'm sitting here STUNNED (to use a Dorosh term) that people are actually suggesting that PBEM "is the game" and that there is no point in making something with out it. This has been stated directly, in plain language, several times now. I'm not inventing this perspective.

I for one am not even trying to say that PBEM is the game. What I am saying is that PBEM is the sole feature that keeps me playing CMx1 games. I do not support the (supposed) argument that it is not worth your while to produce a product without PBEM capability. But since I do not play FPS or simulator games online I find it hard to imagine I would start playing CMx2 online just because it is so absolutely wonderful.

IMO supposing I or others subscribed to your version of the PBEM fraction mission statement would mean I would not be equally surprised if you started converting CMx2 to PS2 and XBOX. smile.gif

It's not relevant because a) we don't know and B) we'll likely unofficially support PBEM (at the very least) provided it isn't ridiculous to do so. And we'll just cross that bridge when we come to it.

But obviously you have some sort of signs and portents of things to come, otherwise you would not have brought this entire issue up.

Not sure what this has to do with this discussion, but the answer is the save game feature is not a problem. It simply saves the last state the game was in. Piece of cake.

So, in theory, you could make a save of a TCP/IP game and, again in theory, make that file transferable between systems ? ;)

Strawman because such an issue won't come up. We've already done x-platform networking so it is a known.

IIRC CMx1 does not work in native OSX.

Viable PBEM support is an unknown simply because it is dependent on quantity of data, not the type of data.

Yep. And I as I have pointed out before SMTP/IMAP is not the only method of transfer available.

But to carry your thinking through... if we knew ahead of time that some feature of our game design would quite possibly kill cross platform support we would consider chopping out that feature AFTER evaluating its importance to the game vs. the number of Mac sales we might lose if they couldn't play against a Windows machine. If the value of the feature was greater than the Mac sales we MIGHT lose, then we would go forward with the design at the risk of perhaps not supporting Mac to Windows network play.

I work in a mixed platform environment and while there are no (major) problems doing file sharing between OSX and MS server platforms I have not seen a workstation-workstation filesharing between OSX and W2K/XP work without extensive preparations. (Granted, working in the printing industry does seem to render the Mac users to be mostly of the old-OLD school with a natural aversion to MS server products being involved in the mix instead of the more traditional Unix servers. smile.gif ) Since OSX is essentially a Unix and NFS sharing being a sort of a biach to implement even in the MS Professional workstation version family I just wonder how the Home editions will be able to handle it.

Hopefully you will see that our logic on this is solid and consistent.

Apart from the you-know-what feature feasibility I see no reason to think that your train of thought is running in circles. :D

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The math does remind me of a project I worked on. Its similar in that each grand database can be locked and encrypted and only the reciept of the new states/timeline can unlock it. So each side locks up its 'game' when it sends out a turn.

So the game could send one file, a map update. another file, the units update, perhaps a fire update. And then each side assembles a movie from an events chronology.

The events chronology gets info from the databases as needed to reassemble the movie.

At 0.1 seconds, it gets all new map updates. it looks for any spotting updates (from unit databases), it looks for any firing updates, and so on.

[ March 05, 2005, 01:51 PM: Message edited by: Wartgamer ]

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Note the role that having to play the movie has on the database's impact.

If you did not need to play any movies, there would be very little problem. You would just send a last 1/10th of a second info flop from the very last 59.9-60 second period. The player has 'jumped' ahead one minute and had his eyes closed, if you will.

This is why I brought up the idea of the snapshot instead of a movie. Ever use the >> to jump ahead in the movie mode? I believe its a 5 or 10 second jump? Thats what I mean.

What if the game was a 30 second turn? What if you could just have 5 second snapshots? Hit the >> 6 times and thats what you see? Could you get the same amount of battlefield situational awareness without all the eyecandy?

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So the basic thing is, at what unit SHOULD you get the whole picture?

What if you were to 'snapshot' from all HQ units? Do you really need to movieplay from all units? Is it even realistic?

My own opinion is that a full 'continuous' movie is only realistically appropriate (and yes I know its my opinion) at the Company HQ level.

I believe that the new cmx2 is going to be the best wargame at this level ever. I believe the game should actually be Titled: Combat Mission2:Company Commander!

[ March 05, 2005, 02:18 PM: Message edited by: Wartgamer ]

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I remember that project and the guys we called CLOGs (Computer Limited Obnoxious Geeks). These were basically guys that did no programming or low level coordination, but would just come up with more outlandish features that would just CLOG up the code. Yeah, Boss' sons of course.

Everytime we tightened things up they wanted to jam up the works. The thing that really saved us was the cheap 66mHz and 100mHz hard drives that started to become available and cheap. We could use the hard drives to flow it all nicely.

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The first Party Congress of the People's Front for PBEM is now in session (developers, avert your eyes).

On the agenda for this Party Congress is the critical issue of which anaology most accurately describes CM without PBEM. So far suggestions include:

1) Sex with a pig

2) Masturbation

3) McDonalds

Other suggestions which come immediately to mind:

4) A bicycle with the training wheels permanently attached

5) A revolution without a cause

6) An engine without a car

Choosing one is the first step in talking about starting a rebellion.

The agenda for the next Party Congress: "What have the Romans ever done for us?"

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Steve,

I've only recently became PBEM leaning because of a good friend's preference for it due to his military commitments.

It is funny. When CMBO was not TCP/IP available, I didn't like leaving PBEM behind. When TCP finally arrived, I loved it. Actually, it is my preferred way of playing the game. When (and if) it is gone, I will still be happy with owning a copy of CMx2.

You're right. We will love it.

Also, I think your strategy of revealing now what might bother some folks later on is a sound one. It gives us time to come around so when the game is released it will be smooth sailing. I see only success for BFC because of it all.

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