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Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects?

 
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Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/12/2012 9:22:39 AM   
doomtrader


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Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects?

I have read one of the aspqrz's post and the question above come to my mind.

What is more important for players:
To have as much realistic mechanisms implemented to the game, or only the realistic effect is important?
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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/12/2012 10:58:44 AM   
Romdanzer

 

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hmmm........ well wouldn't realistic mechanisms result in realistic effects?

On the other hand realistic effects does not necessarily mean having realistic mechanisms.

but I fail to see how implementing realistic mechanisms wouldn't result in realistic effects. Not yet any way...

Romdanzer

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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/12/2012 11:30:32 AM   
Greyshaft


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You expect me to believe that anyone can program a 'realistic' mechanism of WWII? No matter how 'realistic' you make it all there will always be someone who drills too far and complains when they find a hard-coded script they don't like. IMHO the mechanisms don't really matter - it's how it feels to the player that matters. Its the sizzle that sells the steak, not the calorie count!


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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/12/2012 11:32:54 AM   
doomtrader


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Let me ask the question in other way:
Can the mechanism be unrealistic if the effect is realistic?

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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/12/2012 12:09:23 PM   
aspqrz

 

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I don't think you can definitively say.

It really depends on the particular issue.

On the face of it, however, I'd go for realistic effects as it seems to me (a non-programmer, so I'm probably wrong ) that realistic effects may be easier to achieve ... so that may be the best way to go if that's the case.

Phil

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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/12/2012 12:35:44 PM   
Peter123

 

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Absolutely in favor of the effect. For example I can remember some games where the performance of the units take in account every man and vehicle of the unit, only to obviously get unrealistic performances.
Much better in my opinión simply to assign final parameters like strenght, movement etc. and then assign a "cosmetic" but historicaly accurate unit composition. This way, You can easily get realistic looking units with realistic behaviour, and that's what I want.


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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/12/2012 3:39:55 PM   
freeboy

 

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effects .. this is not a game about details..

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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/12/2012 5:05:51 PM   
RandomAttack


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IMO the effects are what matters most.

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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/12/2012 7:50:23 PM   
Rasputitsa


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The effects should be realistic, but obviously we want want the mechanisms to be realistic as well.

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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/12/2012 10:28:22 PM   
Greyshaft


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rasputitsa

The effects should be realistic, but obviously we want want the mechanisms to be realistic as well.



If 'realistic' results can be achieved by implementing statistical probabilities then I would favor that approach over a more long-winded coding exercise to create 'realistic' mechanisms. As a software consultant I design and write software programs so I have a little knowledge in this area and I'd respectfully disagree with your statement. Let me give you an example ...

Suppose we know from experience that the long term summer average temperature for Sydney Australia over the last 130 years since records began is 26 degrees centigrade - nice balmy weather. If I want to include that long term average as a factor in a calculation then I can either:

a) do a lookup to a separate database table using a web service provided by the Bureau of Meteorology, grab those historical 130 temperatures and recalculate the average every time I want the number - or I can...

b) hard code the number "26" into my calculation (along with an appropriate comment line).

If I have determined that the user is happy to have a figure that is accurate to +/- 5% (=1.3 degrees) then it makes no sense to do the lookup since even if the temperature rises to 40 degrees on the following year that only increases the average temperature by one tenth of a degree. Obviously there is no need to implement the realism of a repeated lookup to the historical data tables.

That is a simple example and there are doubtless cases where a result set cannot be reduced to statistical tables, but my default position would be that if the results pass the wargamer's Turing test (i.e. does it feel 'realistic') then the underlying mechanism is irrelevant.

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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/13/2012 6:38:41 PM   
Rasputitsa


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Greyshaft
quote:

ORIGINAL: Rasputitsa
The effects should be realistic, but obviously we want want the mechanisms to be realistic as well.


If 'realistic' results can be achieved by implementing statistical probabilities then I would favor that approach over a more long-winded coding exercise to create 'realistic' mechanisms. As a software consultant I design and write software programs so I have a little knowledge in this area and I'd respectfully disagree with your statement. Let me give you an example ...

Suppose we know from experience that the long term summer average temperature for Sydney Australia over the last 130 years since records began is 26 degrees centigrade - nice balmy weather. If I want to include that long term average as a factor in a calculation then I can either:

a) do a lookup to a separate database table using a web service provided by the Bureau of Meteorology, grab those historical 130 temperatures and recalculate the average every time I want the number - or I can...

b) hard code the number "26" into my calculation (along with an appropriate comment line).

If I have determined that the user is happy to have a figure that is accurate to +/- 5% (=1.3 degrees) then it makes no sense to do the lookup since even if the temperature rises to 40 degrees on the following year that only increases the average temperature by one tenth of a degree. Obviously there is no need to implement the realism of a repeated lookup to the historical data tables.

That is a simple example and there are doubtless cases where a result set cannot be reduced to statistical tables, but my default position would be that if the results pass the wargamer's Turing test (i.e. does it feel 'realistic') then the underlying mechanism is irrelevant.


My gaming 'pay grade' is pretty low, but I thought of the question in more basic terms about game mechanisms, for instance the effect of uber-Pzs has been discussed and which game feature should used to adjust them. Adjusting experience levels has been suggested, but I think supply and rail repair are the relevant items to address, as with more realistic supply effects the uber-PZs would not be so significant (capturing a city allows them to easily bound on to the next target), but altering city supply could have effects on other parts of the game. In attempting to get realism in one area you could lose it in another, so you might have to adjust an unrelated feature to get the required result.

Units can draw significant supply levels from enemy cities/towns, recently captured, which I thought was unrealistic, the game mechanism to counter this is to surround the city from all six adjacent hexes and trigger a siege (bit medieval), but to change captured city supply levels might alter other aspects of the game. Could the Germans holding out in a Soviet city (Stalingrad) for seveal months be possible, if supply effects were changed.

I think the answer is that, when newly captured, cities provide the enemy units with minimal supply, but over time the supply level increases so that eventually the city can support enemy units, but can the game do that ?

I think we would all want realistic game results, but are we able to also adjust the right game features/mechanisms to get the required effects, or does there have to be compromise and possibily unrealisticly adjust some game features to arrange the right results elsewhere.

In those terms it would be ideal to have the right effects generated by the historically relevant game features/mechanisms, or do you get a fix by adjusting something else, which, although not entirely relevant, happens to provide the desired effect.


< Message edited by Rasputitsa -- 2/13/2012 10:29:45 PM >


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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/13/2012 9:16:11 PM   
LiquidSky


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There seems to be two types of gamers. The Book Readers, and the Armchair Generals.

The Book Readers try to find some similarity from what they have read in history to what is occuring in a game. They use this knowledge as a benchmark for victory. As well, they are comforted by the power of hindsight. They would rather manipulate the framework, then the pieces. When Victory finally comes, he is satisfied because he got to emulate <insert famous general here>.

The Armchair General looks at a game as its own world. Whatever he can do within the engine to defeat his enemy is fair game. He expects no less from his opponent. When Victory finally comes, he is satisfied because it came from his own ingenuity, rather then following somebody elses blueprint.

Realistic mechanisms should provide a good framework for a game. Throwing in effects as events is good when they are unknown. They provide a reason for strategy, and will favour the player who can adapt. Personally I like the idea of designing not based so much on reality, but on perceptions. For example..the Germans were deathly afraid of the French attacking them early. So make the French units powerful in 1939, but fix them so they cant move into Germany. Then in some random spring turn, remove their power boost.

This would be designing for effect.

In Great Struggles for Europe, a WWI simulation, they have a rule that if you are out of supply, you are eliminated. While it may seem strange that large forces would evaporate because you got behind them and took a supply source (a city), but the effect really was that players were very concerned about their flanks. A silly unrealistic rule.....has a realistic effect.

Another one is having sudden death victory cities. If taking Moscow in WiTE by summer 1942 caused an axis victory, you could sure bet the Russian player will defend it heavily. Maybe so heavily that Case Blue becomes a possibility. That is design for effect. It is silly to think the russians would surrender if Moscow was to fall..yet they did defend it heavily, and some German generals were insistant that they had to take it.

I am a strong believer in design for effect. But it sure upsets the Book Readers.



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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/13/2012 9:21:33 PM   
Berkut

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: doomtrader

Let me ask the question in other way:
Can the mechanism be unrealistic if the effect is realistic?



I think that goes without saying.

Example:

Flipping a coin has a 50-50 chance of getting heads.

I can roll a die, and say "If I get a 1-3, I am going to say that simulates getting heads, and 5-6 will simulate getting tails".

Is that a realistic mechanism? Not really - rolling a die has little mechanically in common with flipping a coin, and the variables that influence the result are very different.

Is the effect realistic? Absolutely - assuming your coin and die are both unbiased, the results will be perfectly realistic in the outcome - 50% either way.

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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/13/2012 9:31:33 PM   
Berkut

 

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I think many PC wargames lose sight of an important element in making a good game.

And that is giving the player a clear understanding of how the system works, and hence how their actions as a player actually drive the system.

Now, to some degree this can be a good thing, it that it avoids "counter counting", and forces the player to work in a more abstract level. On the other hand, a lot of times computer games are so impressed with their ability to crunch numbers that they add in a LOT of numbers, which just leads to the player having a hard time understanding what actually matter, and what does not.

A good example of this is War in the East. Which is a great game by the way, but there are so many numbers, the player is often overwhelmed with trying to understand which ones are actually important! Does it really matter to the player if a given infantry division using the 1943 Motorized Grenadier Squad as opposed to the 1944 Mechanized Grenadier Squad? Of course not - in which case, why model at that level of detail?

Does it matter if a given system rolls 10 dice to figure out an overall 25% odds of something happening, or if it rolls 1 die with an overall 25% odds? People often mistake more numbers with greater detail, but that often isn't really true. A lot of times it is just more noise.

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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/13/2012 9:51:21 PM   
Grimnirsson


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quote:

And that is giving the player a clear understanding of how the system works, and hence how their actions as a player actually drive the system.


Which is why I still prefer board wargames/consims...I can read a rule book and understand how the game is supposed to work. I often can judge a game on the rule book alone based on my previous experience with other consims. The 'rules' of a computer consim are less transparent and therefore I need much more time to get into a game and get a feel for it.



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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/13/2012 10:27:24 PM   
Rasputitsa


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quote:

ORIGINAL: LiquidSky
There seems to be two types of gamers. The Book Readers, and the Armchair Generals.

The Book Readers try to find some similarity from what they have read in history to what is occuring in a game. They use this knowledge as a benchmark for victory. As well, they are comforted by the power of hindsight. They would rather manipulate the framework, then the pieces. When Victory finally comes, he is satisfied because he got to emulate <insert famous general here>.

The Armchair General looks at a game as its own world. Whatever he can do within the engine to defeat his enemy is fair game. He expects no less from his opponent. When Victory finally comes, he is satisfied because it came from his own ingenuity, rather then following somebody elses blueprint.

Realistic mechanisms should provide a good framework for a game. Throwing in effects as events is good when they are unknown. They provide a reason for strategy, and will favour the player who can adapt. Personally I like the idea of designing not based so much on reality, but on perceptions. For example..the Germans were deathly afraid of the French attacking them early. So make the French units powerful in 1939, but fix them so they cant move into Germany. Then in some random spring turn, remove their power boost.

This would be designing for effect.

In Great Struggles for Europe, a WWI simulation, they have a rule that if you are out of supply, you are eliminated. While it may seem strange that large forces would evaporate because you got behind them and took a supply source (a city), but the effect really was that players were very concerned about their flanks. A silly unrealistic rule.....has a realistic effect.

Another one is having sudden death victory cities. If taking Moscow in WiTE by summer 1942 caused an axis victory, you could sure bet the Russian player will defend it heavily. Maybe so heavily that Case Blue becomes a possibility. That is design for effect. It is silly to think the russians would surrender if Moscow was to fall..yet they did defend it heavily, and some German generals were insistant that they had to take it.

I am a strong believer in design for effect. But it sure upsets the Book Readers.


'Unity of Command' seems to be a game with a loose connection with the historical events and to be successful you need to know the game, more than the history, there are limited ways to win and you need to solve the puzzle. The other option is a game where if you understand the historical events you should have a reasonable chance of playing the game well. All games have rules and you need to know these, to make the game work, but war is not absolute and in reality a lot of it was intuition.

I don't get a lot of pleasure from number crunching and detailed odds analysis, so I guess that may make me a 'book reader' and I would not want a game that can be solved, because with that solution cracked, the game is dead.

The first game of ToF I played was 'Fall Gelb' as Axis v AI, the Soviets attacked in turn 4, impossible, not historical, would never have happened, maybe, but it led to a great game.

I think the game should have the historical capabilities of each side's WW2 forces and there is a framework of politics (US unlikely to join Axis, etc.), weather (bad things happen in winter) and geography (supply), but after that let the game go where it will.

As a potential 'book reader' I would like to see realistic cause and effect, running in line with actual WW2 capabilities, but I wouldn't say 'this is the historical timeline I have read about and this should happen in my game', it's more that this is how forces performed and how could I do better, or worse which is just as likely.

One effect we all have is hindsight, we know the plot, where things worked and where they didn't, what to guard against, etc.. The game needs to have the uncertainty that existed during the actual events, before the books were written and I think in large measure it does that.


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How about realistic victory conditions? - 2/13/2012 10:55:52 PM   
Greyshaft


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I think one unanswered challenge for game designers is to create variable victory conditions which reflect the random events that have been thrown into the game. For example, a Soviet attack on Germany in 1940 is certainly possible but in that case it is inappropriate to insist that Germany can only "win" by defeating both Comintern and the Allies. Perhaps it is more "realistic" to acknowledge that under those circumstances Germany faces an undeserved uphill battle and dynamically change the game rules so that a German victory can be achieved by holding Berlin and the Ruhr until May 1945.

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RE: Realistic mechanisms or realistic effects? - 2/14/2012 6:17:07 AM   
Hairog


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TOW has done a good job of bringing into play the naval game and the air war on a strategic level. There isn't much detail but the feel is right. The Admirals guess at where the enemy would be and sent their ships out and waited for the results. Sometimes HMS Hood takes a critical hit and sometimes you sink the Bismark. A few tweeks are needed here and there but on the whole they've managed to balance realistic effects that realistic mechanisms should have brought about.

The power of the Uberpanzers is an abstraction. At this point a needed abstraction so that the AI can react with a realistic effect. That's what you want IMHO. I'm not a process guy myself. I like to get it done and worry about the details later in an after action report.

Now I do agree that the choices should be realistic and logical as possible. An example would be the convoys: Britain has to have shipping to bring in the raw materials it needs for war. If they ignore the Uboat menace then they will lose. Is it realistic to have this hex called the British the exact routes the convoys take...no but the result is adequate and logical. So from where I'm standing it is quite a fine line and so far TOW is doing a pretty good job of it.

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