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Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy?

 
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Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/22/2010 2:44:20 PM   
delusan

 

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Matrix -
You really should talk to your new partners over at Slitherine about the "editor" they have produced for Battlefield Academy! I initiated a thread on the slitherine forum titled "Scenario creation & scripting" suggesting the revision of that editor to something a lot more user friendly. The user (and slitherine's) comments and replies are interesting.

Apparently the people at slitherine have never used real scenario editors as are included in TOAW, John Tillers Campaign Series, etc., etc., etc.

In my opinion, Battlefield Academy is going to have short legs if a better editor is not provided soon.
Post #: 1
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/22/2010 4:43:44 PM   
Iain McNeil


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Delusan you were replied to by Phil who said he was going to look for ways to add extra tools to the editor. The issue is the editor is far more powerful than the games you have comapred it to, but this makes it harder to use in some ways. Please do not post multiple times. I'll remove the other thread. The editor we have shipped is the same editor used to create everything in the game.

We've already released 4 additional maps since first release and user maps are starting to appear so the editor does the job. There is a balance between hardcoding and flexibility - we have made it flexible, which is far more work. It would have been very easy to do an editor like the games you compare to but it would not allow anywhere near the cool features our editor combined with teh scripting language does.

We will see if we can create templates to make things easier but the power of the engine means some of the simple thigns may be a bit harder than in other games but the aditional options are almost infinite.



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Slitherine Software
Website http://www.slitherine.com

(in reply to delusan)
Post #: 2
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/22/2010 5:14:19 PM   
delusan

 

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Hope the tools he's working on will replace this kind of thing ...

// Include all functions from the functions.bsf script.
// These include the bulk of the VP logic.
// This script lives in Data\Scripts
include "Functions.BSF"

// This function is called at the start of every turn
// (both player and enemy turns).
// You would tend to use this for events that happen at the start of a turn
FUNCTION StartTurn(side)
{

int team ;
int point ;
int AiTurn ;

// GetTurn() returns the current turn number,
// -1 is a special "turn" that is called in the beginning
// when the scenario is loaded.
if (GetTurn() == -1 )
{
// Setup VPs
PreBattleSetup() ;
}
else
{
// Check if any victory conditions are met
VictoryConditions() ;
}

// Place all AI behaviour in this section
if ( side == 1 )
{
// Calculation to make AI turn numbering easier to comprehend
AiTurn = GetTurn() / 2 + 1 ;

// Example: In this example we are sending AI units assigned to
// team 1 to specific AI points. You can assign AI units to
// specific teams and place AI points anywhere on the map using
// the AI settings dialog in the editor.

// Example 1: Move AI team to a specific AI point on turn 1
if( AiTurn == 1 )
{
// We're sending AI team 1 to point 1
team = 1 ;
point = 1 ;

// Move it
MoveTeam(1, team, point, 0) ;
}

// Example 2: Move AI team to a specific AI point on turn 3
if( AiTurn == 3 )
{
// Now we're sending AI team 1 to point 2
team = 1 ;
point = 2 ;

// Move it
MoveTeam(1, team, point, 0) ;
}
}
}

I think some scenario designers just don't want to deal with this.
(To be fair, the above code is page 1 of 2)

(in reply to Iain McNeil)
Post #: 3
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/22/2010 5:23:17 PM   
Iain McNeil


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Yes the issue is that to add VP's to the editor as part of the UI limits the editor significantly. It can do anything you imagine. As soon as you start trying to set the UI up and bolt that in to scripts you limit the editor to only doing the things we thought of and set it up for.

It can do so much more than that. Yes it is more work, but you can add features like ammo, fuel, units, weapons, commanders etc.

_____________________________

Iain McNeil
Director
Slitherine Software
Website http://www.slitherine.com

(in reply to delusan)
Post #: 4
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/22/2010 7:41:48 PM   
delusan

 

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Mr. McNeil

I was not referring to specifics within that code sample such as VPs. My point was that some people will not want to deal with copying files into a text editor, changing values within the code, saving the file, puttng it back into the proper directory, creating the proper directory, saving .BSF files, saving .BAM files, saving .txt files, etc, etc.

As far as this being done in the name of "power" ... that power is going to be useless to a lot of people who either do not want to or are not interested in plugging values into a "code template". Give us an editor that is user-friendly enough that we can plug values into the interface and have the editor engine handle all those directory finding/file copying/file writing etc. chores. If you dont have programmers who know how to write code that read/write to files, perhaps you should hire some - and I don't intend that in a disrespectful way.

An editor such as I am advocating could only be good for Battlefield Academy, which is a VERY enjoyable game in and of itself. Please try to extend BA's life by making the scenario creation process more accessible to more users - not just those that understand C programming logic.

But OK ... I've found that Matrix keeps a close eye on it's customers opinions and understands that a broader appeal is good marketing, so I'm encouraged that we have a written statement from Slitherine that TOOLS ARE IN THE WORKS. Time for us to wait and watch.

(in reply to Iain McNeil)
Post #: 5
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/22/2010 8:21:56 PM   
Iain McNeil


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From: London
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The point is you dont have to edit text files. Text files let you get in to the details and really control what is happening. You can do scenarios without them, especially MP scenarios as these dont currently permit scripting so you cant even if you wanted to.

Having said this as we said in our first response to you on the Slitherine forum, we are looking at ways to make it easier to do these things. This is why it is frustrating to have to deal with posts like this in multiple places implying the editor does not work when it does and that we are not improving it, when we have already said we are. It just takes so much time to deal with this misleading negative PR when we could be using the time to improve the game.

I am currently balancing scenarios but having to take time out to post here - delaying any improvements.


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Iain McNeil
Director
Slitherine Software
Website http://www.slitherine.com

(in reply to delusan)
Post #: 6
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/22/2010 9:29:32 PM   
delusan

 

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Waiting and watching.

(Please don't take time out to reply - just keep at it!)

(in reply to Iain McNeil)
Post #: 7
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/23/2010 1:41:26 PM   
Borsook


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quote:

ORIGINAL: delusan

Waiting and watching.

(Please don't take time out to reply - just keep at it!)

Interesting... not long ago if we could change things in txt file it was considered mod friendly, and such games were praised, now it appears it is not enough and people expect easy gui editors... I'm not saying that such expectations are not justified and should not be met, just that it curious how things change.

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Post #: 8
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/23/2010 3:53:00 PM   
delusan

 

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Great observation, Borsook. How times change!

I certainly wouldn't want to lose the flexibility that Slitherine has provided for us with the option of altering game code files. But imagine what it would be like if we could have an improved GUI scenario creation interface AND ALSO retain the present modding abilities of BA! I believe it would make many of us very happy. I'm hoping that this is what Slitherine is working on, and that they succeed in packing as much power into that non-scripting scenario-making GUI as possible.

Ive programmed in C for some time (as a hobbyist, not a professional), and personally have little problem with the programming logic or altering .BSF files. I do know that it's very easy to make a small unintentional alteration of a file such as mistakenly adding/deleting even a punctuation mark, that will totally crash the code. Unless the scenario designer understands the C-like code/logic used in BA, thereby enabling him to find the error - he's frustrated and probably disgusted and may feel it's not worth it to him, and we've lost a potentially fun scenario. If he goes and posts his code over at the slitherine forum, they'll try to help him out of his difficulties. But there are people out there who don't want to go thru that programming-like, potentially VERY maddening, process.

What I have been asking for will only improve the scenario creation experience for (hopefully) a lot of gamers. If Slitherine succeeds in improving and adding to the user interface, a wonderfully enjoyable game will become even better.

I think they realize that now. They say they're working on it. They deserve the respect and the time to work it out. Let's see what they come up with.

And folks, whether you agree or disagree with me on the above - ALWAYS LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. Some will call it 'feedback', others will call it 'petty nagging' or much worse. I call it getting my money's worth. I have the feeling that I've raised some hackles over at Slitherine, but I just love this hobby of PC wargaming.

(I know, I know ... what you REALLY WANT is for me to SHUTUP ALREADY!)

(in reply to Borsook)
Post #: 9
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/23/2010 4:01:33 PM   
Iain McNeil


Posts: 1940
Joined: 10/26/2004
From: London
Status: offline
Of course everyone wants a grpahical UI but it just isn't possible. Thats why dev studio is text based and thats after many years of development by a huge team. Nobody is saying it wouldn't be nice, but the point is it isn't possible.

Taking key aspects that users find harrd and working on them is possible so we need specific requests rather than general and unrealistic requests to make a graphical UI for something which cannot be represented graphically ;)

Constructive feedback is always welcome but continual requests for something we have said is impossible is not constructive feedback.

Suggesting you don't get your money's worth without an unrealistic feature like this is bizarre and unhelpful. I feel like I'm wasting my time though.....

_____________________________

Iain McNeil
Director
Slitherine Software
Website http://www.slitherine.com

(in reply to delusan)
Post #: 10
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/23/2010 5:27:06 PM   
delusan

 

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Joined: 5/13/2008
Status: offline
OH MY! Iain McNeil of Slitherine!

1. I never meant to suggest that I didnt get my moneys worth from BA! I was speaking of letting wargame publishers know when something is desired/hoped for. I stick by that one ... you'll just have to live with it.

2. Check out my "... wonderfully enjoyable game" and "... the flexibility Slitherine has given us" comments. Lower the Slitherine hackles, please.

3. I'm not making continual requests. I post. I share my thoughts and experiences regarding games I have bought. I discuss with other wargamers. My last post was not a request - it was a discussion with another wargamer. I try to use the persons name when Im speaking directly to them, and I didnt use yours. I was responding to Borsook's insightful post regarding how things have changed in PC wargaming. I clearly stated that Slitherine needs to be given "... the respect and time to work things out".

4. Sorry to hear about the graphical UI not being possible. HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT. But I'll wait to see what Slitherine comes up with.

5. Add 'bizarre' to the names that your comments may be called if you let PC wargame publishers know what you would like to see.

6. You seem a bit jumpy. Take a break. It's only a game.

(in reply to Iain McNeil)
Post #: 11
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/23/2010 5:59:16 PM   
Iain McNeil


Posts: 1940
Joined: 10/26/2004
From: London
Status: offline
That may be what you intended but it is not what you said :) Here is your post:


"You really should talk to your new partners over at Slitherine about the "editor" they have produced for Battlefield Academy! I initiated a thread on the slitherine forum titled "Scenario creation & scripting" suggesting the revision of that editor to something a lot more user friendly. The user (and slitherine's) comments and replies are interesting.

Apparently the people at slitherine have never used real scenario editors as are included in TOAW, John Tillers Campaign Series, etc., etc., etc.

In my opinion, Battlefield Academy is going to have short legs if a better editor is not provided soon."


There is nothing here about how much you like the game. All I am trying to do is counter the negative PR. It may be just a game to you but it's how we feed our kids so understand if we get upset when we feel we are being misrepresented ;) For people who have not seen your other comments it feels like you do not think the game is any good. Please re-read your original post and your one in the open forum :)

Feel free to edit it and add these positive comments! All I am trying to do is give people a realistic picture. No problem saying you would like to see a better editor - but your comments did not come across in a positive way at all. If you can say specific changes you would like it would be a lot more helpful.





_____________________________

Iain McNeil
Director
Slitherine Software
Website http://www.slitherine.com

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Post #: 12
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/23/2010 6:52:37 PM   
delusan

 

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Joined: 5/13/2008
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Iain McNeil of slitherine -

I can't find any reference to BA being a waste of my money in the above post. In my subsequent posts I have said how much "I enjoy playing" this "wonderfully enjoyable game". As far as implying things ... I seldom do that. I say what I feel without intentionally implying anything. Im a pretty literal guy. What you present above was my first post on the subject of BA's editor, and I expressed my opinions regarding the usefulness of the editor to the largest possible number of potential scenario designers. I was hoping that Matrix would say to you guys "Hey ... can you check out this customers suggestion, we see some other requests over at the Slitherine forum for the same thing ... see if anything can be done along these lines". However, you ARE correct in that I did not leave my lipprints all over BA in that post - it was intended to be to the point re: the editor.

You invite me to "say specific changes I would like". I know this will only raise your ire another notch, but it would have benefited the sales of BA if a powerful graphical GUI editor had been provided. That's my specific change. Provide that and I'll bet your children grow fat in no time.




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Post #: 13
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/24/2010 9:50:27 AM   
RayWolfe

 

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From: Kent in the UK
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Iain McNeil
I feel like I'm wasting my time though.....

Never was a truer word spoken!

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Post #: 14
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/24/2010 10:38:53 AM   
Iain McNeil


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From: London
Status: offline
You are right :) I wont be replying any more as its a waste of time :)

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Iain McNeil
Director
Slitherine Software
Website http://www.slitherine.com

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Post #: 15
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/24/2010 2:03:38 PM   
delusan

 

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Maybe something will come of all this.

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Post #: 16
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/24/2010 2:53:18 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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From: Vermont, USA
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Hi Delusan,

I can tell you the folks at Slitherine have used scenario editors before and we all care about our customers. I'm sure they are listening (and have already posted in reply) and they want to respond to feedback wherever possible. Battlefield Academy will continue to improve and be supported, as with the other Matrix and Slitherine releases.

Regards,

- Erik


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Director of Product Development


For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

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Post #: 17
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/24/2010 11:38:28 PM   
delusan

 

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Wow!  Just checked out my original thread ("Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy") over in the Matrix Forums General Discussion section .  The one you shut down because of duplication, Erik ....  Seems there is a lot more support for an improved editor than I thought from just following this thread.  Glad slitherine says theyre hard at work on it!  Sure glad they got that new video out first tho.

By the way Erik - My download of BA was immediate and without problem - however, I've been waiting 3 weeks now for receipt of my CD.

So far for me - seems like this game is snakebit.

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Post #: 18
RE: Thinking of buying Battlefield Academy? - 8/25/2010 12:36:18 AM   
geozero


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Interesting thread.

Some games work better with GUI editors and other do not. When there is no GUI editor, and it is all text, the only thing I ask is for clear documentation so that others on the fence may enjoy the modding process with the least amount of time to learn. I am not a programmer, will never be, took two courses years ago and it bored me. I like creating. Designing from a global perspective. I can "dream up" a game, scenario or battle. I am also a map geek. Give me a map editor and I will go sit in the corner and be happy for days.

So I think there is merit on all sides. While my voice probably does not matter and I do not have the game all I can say is that the game looks really good and with the right mod tools and documentation this will be a pretty cool game for years to come. I hope Slitherine listens... we are all not just customers (in one way or another) but advocates of the wargaming experience as a whole.

Peace brother.

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