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PBEM in CMx2


Andreas

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Who's got time to play TCP/IP?

Also, I play against people from Singapore to the east cost USA. How could you do that without some form of asynchronous play?

And who plays solo? It'll never match playing a person because dancing on the AI's grave just doesn't have the appeal.

Like FPS games, you play against the AI until you're good enough to play against friends.

Dropping PBEM play would be a huge mistake, regardless of file size.

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Originally posted by Other Means:

some form of asynchronous play

Therein lies the nub of it. I don't care what they call it, but I don't want to be limited to playing the AI (which I don't) or playing TCP/IP / real-time (which I can't).

Jon

[ February 27, 2005, 12:19 PM: Message edited by: JonS ]

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Originally posted by JonS:

</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Other Means:

some form of asynchronous play

Therein lies the nub of it. I don't care what they call it, but I don't want to be limited to playing the AI (which I don't) or playing TCP/IP / real-time (which I can't).

Jon </font>

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I still play the AI more than some, but it's definitely secondary to PBEM play for me. I've played TCP a few times, but organizing it with the other player and blocking out uninterrupted time is close to impossible for me. So I think losing PBEM would be very bad news, from my perspective.

Clearly, the issue is file size. And I understand that BFC doesn't want to hobble the game by limiting turns to a manageable file size. But I sure hope there's way to make this work without losing PBEM.

[ February 27, 2005, 02:20 PM: Message edited by: CombinedArms ]

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Well if they dont put in PBEM it is no loss for me personally as I never play any game by PBEM..never have and never will.

I personally prefer real time TCP/IP or hotseating to play and take the 1 or so hours it takes real time to play the scenario than taking 2+ days of PBEMing and all the problems that arise occasionally from that..lost files,resending cause other player never recieved etc.etc.Though these are just my personal preferences to playing the game.That and me at home most of the time on disability gives me more than enough time for TCP/IP.

Im also probably one of the few that still regularly plays against the AI as well.

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Originally posted by Wartgamer:

I play PBEM 98% of the time. Most other times its just doing some tests.

If the files get too big, can they not be broken down to 1 meg chunks? These can then be reassembled by the game? Even this could get cludgey if the game turns are 20 megs or so.

Not necessarily. The game could have a built in SMTP server & IMAP client. A servlet could send and recieve game files automatically.

Enter the opponents email address & the game could check your inbox, assemble the files & signal turn waiting. You could then open the game proper & play it. The game would then chunk the emails & send them behind the scenes.

Suit me.

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I just did some reading in that thread, too, and was very surprised by several things. Firstly, it was amazing how rude Steve was. It's pretty sad a company representative would tell paying customers they're insane and pathetic, and that they're a bunch of whiners.

It's also surprising that BFC somehow knows solo play is much more important to customers, especially when he discounted forum opinions and magazine surveys. He must have a magic eight ball that gives him his information.

All-in-all, a very disappointing and poor example of customer relations.

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That crap about Solo Play, I used to play solo play cause I didn't really know anyone in the community, now I know a few I have about 3-4 PBEM's running at one time from all over the world.

Things about understanding your customer base for CM. The average age is a lot higher, most people have kids and families so dedicating 2 hours to a game is impossible.

So PBEM suits it to a tee.

People like us in Australia play people from all around the world where time zones are not relevant or work styles. It allows me to meet and play all sorts of people.

You take away PBEM you take away my ability to do that.

Also PBEM suits a game about strategy where its not a click fest you can spend a whole day if you wished cotemplating before you move.

Look at your current customer base before you do away with PBEM, you may find you destroy a great community who will be discouraged at buying your product.

And who cares if it 10 Megs, I can still send and recieve that size file, if some people can't then I am sure the clever people of the community will make a program for splitting and reessembly of files.

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The harsh reality is, that BFC is a company out to make as much money as it can. If that means designing a new game that caters to an entirely new group of computer wargamers and leaving every one of us behind, they'll do it and not bat an eye.

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I would think any company would want to keep the existing customer base as much as possible. I doubt the market for any real wargame exceeds 100K copies. Losing the existing customer base (probably 25-50K copies) would not make sense.

The game would have to provide a challenging, varied computer AI before I would buy it (given no PBEM).

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Originally posted by Sanok:

The harsh reality is, that BFC is a company out to make as much money as it can. If that means designing a new game that caters to an entirely new group of computer wargamers and leaving every one of us behind, they'll do it and not bat an eye.

Don't you think your being a bit harsh here Sanok? BFC said time and again that obviously they want PBEM to be in, yet not to the cost of making the game less then they intend just for the sake of it.

To me it isn't like they're giving up on us.

FWIW. Cheers.

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Originally posted by Wartgamer:

I would think any company would want to keep the existing customer base as much as possible. I doubt the market for any real wargame exceeds 100K copies. Losing the existing customer base (probably 25-50K copies) would not make sense.

The game would have to provide a challenging, varied computer AI before I would buy it (given no PBEM).

I completely agree with you. That's why Steve's rude and insulting posts were so shocking.

I'd also not bother with the game without pbem, unless the AI was top-notch. Even so, playing a live person, plus meeting new people, is the best part of playing CM.

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My feeling all along has been that the desire to make the ultimate , in realism, in pretty effects, is the greatest danger to a game. I quote Advanced Squad Leader as the example ....

However I know personally 6 people who have bought the game. Only two of us play it regularly and the reason we do is because of PBEM. I recommend it to all and sundry because it is a good human v. human game. Enthusiasts for the game are worth more in terms of the longevity and continuing promotion of the game than any glitzy realistic but essentially solitary game.

I am saddened by Battlefronts attitude. I can understand the desire to do bigger and better but gameplay is the most important aspect of all. Edsel .....

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I am more than a bit surprised at the hot seat play being so out of favour. It is AFAIK the easiest way to implement multiplayer games.

Has there ever being any serious study made about which game modes are the most used ?

Solo play is no. 1, that is pretty self evident.

To me email and hotseat are almost equal. (Yes, I do have friends and we do play both email regularly and perhaps even more importantly head to head whenever I can escape for a few hours. That is a social function. It is nice to go back home once in a while with the thumbs in working order because banging the consoles is fun but after the evenings me hands are shot. ;) )

I have never ever played TCP/IP unless it has been in a home LAN.

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I think BFC/BTS are quite aware of how popular PBEM is to those players who frequent the forums. However not all of CM's players frequent these forums (as hard as that is to believe for some people) and most likely forum members don't even constitute the majority of people who have purchased and played the game. Therefore, as much as we may not like to think so, our thoughts on how CM is played and what features must be in the next version may not match the overall reality or potential demand.

I don't believe that BFC/BTS is trying to get rid of their current player/fan base in a quest for some mythical audience of millions of untapped players who would suddenly want a wargame of CM's nature. I believe that a number of people on these forums are over-reacting and making knee-jerk reactive statements as if every detail of CM's development is known and has been decided, especially if it effects them negatively in their opinion. I don't think that BFC/BTS will drop PBEM if they can help it and they may even pursue other options as yet unmentioned (though these pose their own risks/costs too) if need be.

As Steve said, the main issue is the size of the data files that get generated. For many people this does pose a problem for PBEM since a vast majority of mail systems have limitations on attachment sizes. A built-in SMTP server/email client is also not a completely feasible option either (this is how some SPAM is generated on the net and it would be noted by some email systems as such). Possibly breaking the PBEM into fixed size chunks is a possibility, though the potential file size of PBEM turns could still cause problems if the total aggregated file size ends up very large (50+ Mb, etc.), though such huge sizes for a single turn seem unlikely for a majority of play in CMx2.

As noted above all of this is just speculation at this point and Steve was just warning players that some changes could come along that not all users would like. He cautioned that these details are still not known at this point in development. Nevertheless several posters decided they would harangue him on this point with threats along the line of I'll never buy your &$%^! again if you drop PBEM. It's pretty hard to reply to people who react like this without reading things thoroughly (and attempting to get clarification). It's also one of the reasons why Steve hates talking about things in development and speaks of 'grogs' derisively since it was this sort of ardent 'fan' that gave him the most grief regarding CMBO's feature-set and development.

Another thing to remember, the PBEM file size isn't increasing solely due to 'eye candy' considerations. Relative spotting could have one of the largest effects in increasing PBEM file size - and this is considered one of the key improvements in CM by both BFC/BTS and most users on these forums.

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