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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ?

 
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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/16/2012 8:57:10 AM   
Jo van der Pluym


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Today is't 9 days to Xmass. My excitement goes up. I try to remain calm.

Matrixgames please release 3.5 for Xmass.

< Message edited by Jo van der Pluym -- 12/16/2012 8:58:01 AM >


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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/16/2012 3:41:18 PM   
Oberst_Klink

 

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Some thing by accident wrote and replied to Jo; which was supposed to be here:

You got my full support on this one, 'Fliegender Holländer'!

I myself put further scenario development on ice. Why the beta progression can't be as transparent as in WitP AE or WitE, I do not know. I recall that Bob himself would be happy to take over from Ralph, if only he could get hand on the source code. There are at least two others I know, Martin and Andy, who work together on a better version of Andy's Scenario Editor; so the guys know some/most of the TOAW coding or processes. Maybe it's time to collect some digital signatures (basically a petition with our forum names) from the community and send a request to M-G?

Klink, Oberst

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/16/2012 6:26:08 PM   
Jo van der Pluym


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Oberst_Klink

Some thing by accident wrote and replied to Jo; which was supposed to be here:

You got my full support on this one, 'Fliegender Holländer'!

I myself put further scenario development on ice. Why the beta progression can't be as transparent as in WitP AE or WitE, I do not know. I recall that Bob himself would be happy to take over from Ralph, if only he could get hand on the source code. There are at least two others I know, Martin and Andy, who work together on a better version of Andy's Scenario Editor; so the guys know some/most of the TOAW coding or processes. Maybe it's time to collect some digital signatures (basically a petition with our forum names) from the community and send a request to M-G?

Klink, Oberst

Guten Tag Herrn Oberst

It can work. You can add me on the list.


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Post #: 63
RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/16/2012 7:26:38 PM   
Telumar


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Guten Tag, Herr Oberst - hope you're well! :)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Oberst_Klink

I myself put further scenario development on ice.


Pity.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Oberst_Klink

Why the beta progression can't be as transparent as in WitP AE or WitE, I do not know.



Honestly i don't know why, too.

As for the current state of the beta and Ralph: I do not know much more about Ralph's whereabouts than you. I wish i would, as does everyone else on the dev board. There has been no new beta since September 9th and the current version (3.5.0.56) is not playable as some new features still need to be debugged while others are not yet implemented or only partially functional. This is also true for earlier stages of the beta, even a small bugfix release wouldn't be possible with what we have.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Oberst_Klink

I recall that Bob himself would be happy to take over from Ralph, if only he could get hand on the source code.


Did he say so? When?

quote:

ORIGINAL: Oberst_Klink

There are at least two others I know, Martin and Andy, who work together on a better version of Andy's Scenario Editor; so the guys know some/most of the TOAW coding or processes. Maybe it's time to collect some digital signatures (basically a petition with our forum names) from the community and send a request to M-G?

Klink, Oberst


What kind of request?

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/16/2012 9:51:36 PM   
Jo van der Pluym


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Telumar

Honestly i don't know why, too.

As for the current state of the beta and Ralph: I do not know much more about Ralph's whereabouts than you. I wish i would, as does everyone else on the dev board. There has been no new beta since September 9th and the current version (3.5.0.56) is not playable as some new features still need to be debugged while others are not yet implemented or only partially functional. This is also true for earlier stages of the beta, even a small bugfix release wouldn't be possible with what we have.



That's bad news for Xmass this year.

Or is there mayby hope


< Message edited by Jo van der Pluym -- 12/16/2012 9:52:33 PM >


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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/16/2012 10:54:09 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Oberst_Klink

Why the beta progression can't be as transparent as in WitP AE or WitE, I do not know.


Because the only person who could conceivably provide that transparency is named Ralph Trickey, and he isn't talking.

If someone could tell me Ralph's schedule for working on 3.5 for the forseeable future I could make a decent estimate of when it would be finished. But, as it stands, Ralph might show up tonight and pull seven straight all-nighters and finish it by Christmas. Or, he could work on it one day a year for the next 30 years, instead. That makes progress reports rather pointless. I'm sorry, but that's just how it is.

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/16/2012 10:57:56 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Telumar

As for the current state of the beta and Ralph: I do not know much more about Ralph's whereabouts than you. I wish i would, as does everyone else on the dev board. There has been no new beta since September 9th and the current version (3.5.0.56) is not playable as some new features still need to be debugged while others are not yet implemented or only partially functional. This is also true for earlier stages of the beta, even a small bugfix release wouldn't be possible with what we have.


Note that one of the issues 3.5 hasn't addressed yet is the issue with defenders using ignore losses. So it wouldn't even fix the most serious 3.4 problem.

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Post #: 67
NextGen - 12/17/2012 2:10:08 AM   
BearFlag

 

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Hi all,

This is probably a very bad first post. But as an (old) newbie, perhaps I can get away with speaking the unspeakable which, likely, is on the minds of some.

Suffice for brief intro that I've played TOAW for ten years mostly as a solitaire escape, have played wargames for over thirty years, have lurked here for a few years and have an extensive techie background.

That said, I'll stir up a hornets nest. I'll defiantly call out the (much thinned) crowd of torch bearers and pitchfork wielders.

Describing progress on the game as glacial would be understatement. Matrix took over the series in 2006 and has failed to establish a direction. And let's face it, versions 3 and 3.4, while cool, were not groundbreaking. Many of the things the game desperately needs, it still needs. Release times are now measured in years and maintenance releases have become none existent.

One could level the charge that Matrix's handling of TOAW has been visionless, but I doubt it is a lack of creative spark. Instead, I imagine the reality is more common and familiar - money. And who can blame them. A game and a company has to pay the bills and TOAW is not a big seller. This has been a chronic problem in the wargaming world since the days of Avalon Hill and SSI. There's just not a big audience. The series is caught between a rock and a balance sheet.

It is long the wargamers' lament that the genre will never see the success (or resources) of "Call of Duty" or "Starcraft." Perhaps the nearest turn-based game that made a load of cash was the "Civilization" series and its knock offs. But then, Civ was never really a wargame. Given the continued interest in TOAW and its obvious utility as a "game system" or "game maker", it occupies a niche which, to the best of my knowledge, has no other competing peer and so has a future.

But as is, the TOAW series is dead. It has exceeded its lifespan. It remains a fun game but is very long in the tooth. Developmentally, it's a corpse. Those changes (some listed below) that MUST be part of a nextgen "TOAW" are not forthcoming. And I think everyone knows it.

Because there is a niche, TOAW faces the certain prospect of replacement. The only real questions are when and whether that replacement is a further development of TOAW or a newcomer being written, perhaps right now, in a dark basement.

The possible futures for this game, this game type and niche are...

a) Do a massive revamp and devote the resources for a near complete rewrite. You could retain the current series name (with whatever legal hooks are involved) and renew dominance in the niche before someone else does.
b) A totally new game. If TOAW does not evolve, this is going to happen any way ... in that basement. It will mean the death (and the death of sales) of TOAW.
c) A complete rewrite. A new name. As an MG project.

I'm guessing, however, that current sales of the game are too low to justify options a) or c). Oddly enough, if someone undertakes b) it may well end up in MG's stable as many wargame writers are independent and go through a distributor like Matrix.

Continued incremental development of the game could follow a few paths:

d) As is. Which is to say barely. Sell it while you can. Kiss it goodbye when someone does b) above.
e) Adopt a more open development model in cooperation with the community. Put it up on secured SVN, vet a few (a couple? one?) player-programmers, have them sign non-disclosures, put Ralph in overall charge and see what happens.
f) Make it open source. This will not happen, of course. Just being thorough in presenting possibilities.

I could be wrong, but I believe TOAW singularly occupies its niche even after 14 years. It is less a game than an operational/strategic game-making system. A lot of games come with a scenario designer, but none achieve the scale and scope of TOAW. If there is another, please let me know. I'd like to switch. I've played TOAW for years but not much lately. It's a tired old game. Its limitations remain. Its irritations remain. And there seems to be no prospect for serious revamp.

So what would a nextgen TOAW (or new replacement) look like? Well, one need only look at the extensive and lovingly assembled Wishlist. You don't need to research interest groups; it's all there.

In the bigger picture however, there's also a need to recognize what the TOAW community and scenario designers have done with the system. In general, the urge has been toward big and strategic. The popular scenarios tend to this. This is also a direction that exposes TOAW's severe shortcomings. Consequently, the next evolutionary plateau for this niche would lean toward the strategic (but strive to still handle company-level battles) and provide much more refined scenario design controls. The fine details of the Wishlist aside, the "big" items would include:

1) Force identity and hex control: more exclusion zones (possibly with attributes), non-player/multi-player hex control, true neutral countries...
2) Players: multi-general, multi-player. The ramifications of such are extensive but well within reach of game modelling/programming
3) Multi-player implies levels of diplomatic engagement (and governing program). Imagine an operational wargame combined with the wheeling/dealing of the old Diplomacy game.
4) Strategic implies economy. The current equipment-based units and replacement system nearly begs for an economic model to input feed the replacements system.
5) Of course - better sea/air
6) Scenario design: almost EVERYTHING should be accessible to the scenario designer. This means easily pluggable graphics (much more soft rendering and much less hard blitting), granulated access to program variables, fine control of replacements (start, stop, numbers, bolus). The goal strongly suggests a script-driven event system with the option (not requirement) for complex triggers and results.


Finally, money. The uniqueness of this niche, its lack of contenders and its possiblities may well support an entirely different business approach. It's not that there's "Call of Duty"-like cash out there, but there is the opportunity support the company and the game with a new marketing model.

Bring on the pitchforks... ;)

< Message edited by BearFlag -- 12/17/2012 3:29:09 AM >

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/17/2012 2:28:25 AM   
Baris

 

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It is pity that this game still has great potential for sales for Matrix. It is very flexible. İmagine all the new and corrected scenarious based on new flawless engine. This engine and this game too valuable for being thrown to the bin.
It has the potential to be better than even War in the Pacific. If there is a need for signature to be sent to Matrix who will able to decontamination for bugs I'm in.

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/17/2012 8:58:08 AM   
Oberst_Klink

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay


quote:

ORIGINAL: Oberst_Klink

Why the beta progression can't be as transparent as in WitP AE or WitE, I do not know.


Because the only person who could conceivably provide that transparency is named Ralph Trickey, and he isn't talking.

If someone could tell me Ralph's schedule for working on 3.5 for the forseeable future I could make a decent estimate of when it would be finished. But, as it stands, Ralph might show up tonight and pull seven straight all-nighters and finish it by Christmas. Or, he could work on it one day a year for the next 30 years, instead. That makes progress reports rather pointless. I'm sorry, but that's just how it is.

Bob,

as I recall in one of many threads about 3.5, you're are one of the chaps that could push it ahead, IF only you'd get hand on the source code. There are a bunch of lads out here who have a graps of the mechanisms of TOAW, including Martin, Chris and of course Andy who spend hours to tweak and perfect Andy's Scenario Editor etc.

Klink, Oberst

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/17/2012 9:11:46 AM   
Jo van der Pluym


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It's 8 days for Xmass. And from excited i am now

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/17/2012 1:05:50 PM   
Olorin


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BearFlag, excellent post.
I think TOAW still has the most potential to be the best operational/strategic wargame in Matrix' portfolio. Even War in the East hasn't surpassed it, imho, and that game only deals with the Eastern Front, which is only one aspect of what TOAW can do with its engine. They do have plans to make War in the West and then combine the two, so I think they are committed to that franchise for good. I am not sold on WitE at all, I find it has many problems. I still think a fully backed TOAW 4, which will incorporate all or most of the items in the wishlist, would be the best bet for Matrix to expand its market beyond the niche, into Hearts of Iron territory.

< Message edited by Olorin -- 12/17/2012 1:06:56 PM >


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RE: NextGen - 12/17/2012 4:06:27 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: BearFlag

Matrix took over the series in 2006 and has failed to establish a direction.


I can't agree with that. It was more like this: Before you add that new rec-room to the house, you first must fix the gaping hole in the roof and all the broken windows. ACOW had huge problems that needed fixing and that came first. We thought we were finally at the point by 3.5 that some serious expansion could be addressed. Unfortunately, that's when Ralph's issues seem to have cropped up. We still don't know why.

quote:

But as is, the TOAW series is dead. It has exceeded its lifespan. It remains a fun game but is very long in the tooth. Developmentally, it's a corpse.


I think that's a stretch. Games are still being played; scenarios are still being designed. I fully expect 3.5 to be completed. I just can't say when.

quote:

The possible futures for this game, this game type and niche are...

a) Do a massive revamp and devote the resources for a near complete rewrite. You could retain the current series name (with whatever legal hooks are involved) and renew dominance in the niche before someone else does.
b) A totally new game. If TOAW does not evolve, this is going to happen any way ... in that basement. It will mean the death (and the death of sales) of TOAW.
c) A complete rewrite. A new name. As an MG project.


Hmmm. You mean like a made from scratch TOAW IV? I wonder...

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/17/2012 4:08:47 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Oberst_Klink

... IF only you'd get hand on the source code.


Big if, of course.

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/17/2012 4:17:06 PM   
Oberst_Klink

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay


quote:

ORIGINAL: Oberst_Klink

... IF only you'd get hand on the source code.


Big if, of course.

...but possible. I don't recall which thread exactly, but I definitely remember You are one of the chaps who can handle it for sure. Regarding the 'glitches' that were 'introduced' from 3.2 to 3.4, I am sure they can be, with the help of a change log, being reverse-engineered.

Anyway, at the moment I am figuring out if Blogger or Wordpress have got a template for 'online petitions' in order to collect some support and comments from the community.

Klink, Oberst

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/17/2012 4:27:36 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Oberst_Klink

...but possible.


Then you know more than I do.

quote:

I don't recall which thread exactly, but I definitely remember You are one of the chaps who can handle it for sure.


It was a PM. And I didn't say anything about being able to "handle it" - just that I would love to get my hands on it. Nobody but a pro could replace Ralph. But I do think we could help him along a bit if he would let us.

quote:

Regarding the 'glitches' that were 'introduced' from 3.2 to 3.4, I am sure they can be, with the help of a change log, being reverse-engineered.


But not without either Ralph or the source.

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/17/2012 5:38:43 PM   
Panama


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Well, they have finally reduced the price for the download version recently. A logical move for a virtually unsupported game.

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/17/2012 5:53:37 PM   
berto


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay

But not without either Ralph or the source.

Who de jure or de facto owns the TOAW franchise now -- Ralph or Matrix?

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/17/2012 5:57:44 PM   
BigDuke66


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Can't see that, Dl version isn't cheaper than I bought it years ago.
I guess you mean reduced for xmas sale like many other games.

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/17/2012 8:30:46 PM   
ColinWright

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Baris

It is pity that this game still has great potential for sales for Matrix. It is very flexible. İmagine all the new and corrected scenarious based on new flawless engine...



Lol. Isn't wishing for 'the new flawless engine' something like waiting for the lion to lie down with the lamb?

...Let's shoot for 'less flawed,' shall we?


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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/17/2012 10:54:02 PM   
Baris

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: ColinWright


quote:

ORIGINAL: Baris

It is pity that this game still has great potential for sales for Matrix. It is very flexible. İmagine all the new and corrected scenarious based on new flawless engine...



Lol. Isn't wishing for 'the new flawless engine' something like waiting for the lion to lie down with the lamb?

...Let's shoot for 'less flawed,' shall we?



Wow, This part of Matrix forum is really "deep internet"...
Not a native language of mine so excuse the term "flawless". Engrish is not my native language.
Anywaaay, on topic. To be able to play "repaired " game is in my wishlist. Watching the forum for months but posting now to encourage guys who can make some kind of communication with the devs. From what I understand we agree on that.


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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/18/2012 6:54:44 AM   
Jo van der Pluym


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It's now 7 days for Xmass. I am now a little bit

Mayby a good and to Ralph and Matrix Games helps

< Message edited by Jo van der Pluym -- 12/18/2012 6:56:01 AM >


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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/18/2012 9:50:11 AM   
BearFlag

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay

I can't agree with that. It was more like this: Before you add that new rec-room to the house, you first must fix the gaping hole in the roof and all the broken windows. ACOW had huge problems that needed fixing and that came first. We thought we were finally at the point by 3.5 that some serious expansion could be addressed. Unfortunately, that's when Ralph's issues seem to have cropped up. We still don't know why.

...

I think that's a stretch. Games are still being played; scenarios are still being designed. I fully expect 3.5 to be completed. I just can't say when.


Indeed it is and they are. I fall back on my assertion that TOAW solely occupies its unique niche. This is both the source of its continuing popularity and the origin of market vulnerability. But I also agree with Baris in that it is falling short not only of its potential, but the potential of that niche. Scenario designers have grumbled for years under restrictions which date back to the TOAW 1. Development of the game, both old and new, has progressed little in the direction suggested by its common use. So while it may be impolite to state, this failing belongs early to Norm Koger and later to Matrix.

Koger's releases followed the standard pattern for many wargame "engines." Add some new scenery, some new scenarios and some new equipment and re-release it. This is the pattern that has worked for wargame producers since the 1970's. It is assumed to be THEEEE way to stay afloat. But I would argue that this is a unique niche deserving a (risk on!) unique approach. But that's another discussion.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay
Hmmm. You mean like a made from scratch TOAW IV? I wonder...


This is the tantalizing prospect, isn't it? In it lies the hope that TOAW will -finally- go where no computer wargame has gone before. A universal game design system for the modern era. (Well, some have gone there, but not in a compute-powerful, networked world.)

Does this sound more like "vision" and "direction" than repairing a hole in the roof over six years?

I can lay out with some precision the matrix (ooh, a pun) of possibilites which wraps my relative ignorance. Some of it revolves around the legal status of "Norm Koger" and "The Operational Art of War." Firstly, a living person's name is never free of legal ramifications. Period. Secondly, the game title is always "Norm Koger's TOAW", so I'm guessing there are some persisting legal hooks. Perhaps, Koger still gets a cut on sales. I don't know.

So it is likely ...

that any derivative product of Koger's code base will inherit prior legal bindings...

that any, utterly new, product wishing to use the name "NK" or "TOAW" may similiarly inherit...

that any, utterly new, product wishing to avoid legal entanglement must adopt an entirely new product name.

None of this, of course, speaks to the practicalities of actually writing a new or derivative game. Someone has to program it and the Matrix budget does not likely include plans for underwriting such risk.

Afterall, we're talking about one game, one code base, intellectual property claims and no cooperative development. There's no money in it without risk and vision. And it is on these sad grounds I reiterate that TOAW is developmentally dead. It's future is half-assed patches and, eventually, utter replacement from right field (the dark basement).

One escape from this inevitable future might be Matrix opening up the development for TOAW. It's not without danger. Volunteer programmers could run off with your code. But, really, this is a matter of coming up with reasonable controls and a security model. Matrix's interests have obviously to be protected. Perhaps certain source files would be omitted from the SVN repository like main.c or "combat_calculations.c". But then there's the problem that the volunteer needs to be able to compile and test. Maybe the withheld sources would only be available as object files. Alternatively, the close hold code would be compiled into a development-only DLL. I mean, really, the barrier to a coopertive enterprise which also protects Matrix is a technical challenge, not a frigging brick wall.

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RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/18/2012 10:59:32 AM   
Oberst_Klink

 

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OK, here it is:

https://www.change.org/petitions/matrix-games-keep-toaw-iii-supported

A calculated risk and not sure if I get 'banned' from the Forum in return. But I personally feel we, as a community, should voice our concerns and of course utmost dedication to Norm's child, no?

Klink, Oberst

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(Marcus Porcius Cato Censorius)

Visit the Gefechtsstand!

(in reply to BearFlag)
Post #: 84
RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/18/2012 11:31:21 AM   
Olorin


Posts: 617
Joined: 4/22/2008
From: Greece
Status: offline
Signed!

(OT - Oberst, your inbox is full, did you get my PM?)

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"Drang nach Osten"
--A TOAWIII AAR--

(in reply to Oberst_Klink)
Post #: 85
RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/18/2012 11:34:46 AM   
Oberst_Klink

 

Posts: 1299
Joined: 2/10/2008
From: Germany
Status: offline
Just noticed; there were 150 PMs in there. Shoot again!

And thanks!

Klink, Oberst

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Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam
(Marcus Porcius Cato Censorius)

Visit the Gefechtsstand!

(in reply to Olorin)
Post #: 86
RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/18/2012 4:56:20 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 6933
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: BearFlag

Development of the game, both old and new, has progressed little in the direction suggested by its common use.


I disagree. Just check out how much "blue" is in the wishlist document. The progression has consistently addressed items of the fanbase's desires as expressed in that document. They haven't all been addressed yet, of course, but many have. And, whether you like it or not, fixing the hole in the roof is going to be more important than adding the rec-room.

quote:

Koger's releases followed the standard pattern for many wargame "engines." Add some new scenery, some new scenarios and some new equipment and re-release it.


A complete falsehood. Norm made major engine changes to TOAW all the way till Talonsoft folded.

quote:

quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay
Hmmm. You mean like a made from scratch TOAW IV? I wonder...


This is the tantalizing prospect, isn't it? In it lies the hope that TOAW will -finally- go where no computer wargame has gone before. A universal game design system for the modern era.


You didn't read between the lines. I'll make it explicit: Intentions (I can't be more specific than that) for a made-from-scratch TOAW IV have always been a future project vision - once 3.5 is finished.

(in reply to BearFlag)
Post #: 87
RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/18/2012 5:17:20 PM   
Grimnirsson


Posts: 117
Joined: 12/25/2011
Status: offline
Signed!

and shared on the HFC site. We have 'a few readers' so this hopefully reaches out to those interested :)

The Operational Art Of War III – a call to arms!

< Message edited by Grimnirsson -- 12/18/2012 6:41:12 PM >


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(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 88
RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/19/2012 12:44:57 AM   
PRUSSIAN TOM

 

Posts: 135
Joined: 10/23/2008
From: Los Angeles, Califonia
Status: offline
Also signed! I'd also love to see a functional 3.5. It is sad to see all the loyal fans having to put new projects on "hold" ; I hope that Matrix addressed this issue, but they do have a bottom line they have to pay tribute to.....Perhaps in 2013!

(in reply to Grimnirsson)
Post #: 89
RE: TOAW 3.5 approaches ? - 12/19/2012 2:24:21 AM   
wodin


Posts: 7934
Joined: 4/20/2003
From: England
Status: offline
Matrix track record for in house development and remake sis very poor as far as continued support goes..many games either never see the light of day or they are brought out (the ones that do hit retail are normally old games after a facelift but are never supported in the long run) and then abandoned or the part time enthusiasts trying to keep it going end up leaving..

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(in reply to PRUSSIAN TOM)
Post #: 90
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