Shannon V. OKeets
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
I'm just wondering if Netplay will allow async play? ie a player is able to make a move without the other player being logged on? I'm thinking with the Matrix dedicated server, it could maybe store the Gamelog until the next player logs on, syncs up his game, does his phase and then shoots out his gamelog to the cloud for the other player to log back on.
Maybe its a pipe dream but it would be damn cool. For one it would replace the need for PBEM, second...I'm not a fan of Netplay...my gaming hours are irregular at best so a async style of play would be best and would allow a game to move much faster...and WIF is well suited to that.
So any chance of that with Netplay?
I have 3 answers: yes, maybe, and no.
The real problem with your proposed method of playing is the game itself. Very few places in the rules have one player make a lot of moves without requiring decisions by his opponent.
For instance, the 8 air missions all start with the non-phasing player deciding about Combat Air Patrol, then the phasing side flies it bombers and escorts, and back to the non-phasing side for defensive interceptors, then the phasing side flies attacking interceptors, and the air-to-air combat has numerous decisions by both sides. The non-phasing decides about anti-aircraft fire, the air missions go in, and then both sides return their air units to base.
Naval movement is about equally bad with naval units able to intercept and force combat on enemy naval units that enter their sea area.
Land movement is one place where the phasing side can move freely while their opponent watches passively. But even there, overrun enemy units (air and naval) that are forced to rebase have their moves plotted by the non-phasing side.
So the answer is NO.
Now for PBEM, I have designed an entire system of Standing Orders which enables the non-phasing player to say what he will do in certain situations. This enables the Artificial Assistant to made moves on his behalf by following the conditional logic defined in the Standing Orders. This has a very minor affect on the normal sequence of play. The disadvantage is that the non-phasing player doesn't have as much control as he would have if he were making each decision in real time, with complete knowledge about the tactical situation. I also have yet to finish coding the PBEM implementation.
So the answer is MAYBE, depending on the players' willingness to accept some compromise in their ability to control their units' movements.
However, I intend to make it possible for players to switch between NetPlay and PBEM. This would let them play over the internet for crucial places in the game where both players want to control precisely what their units do, and then switch to PBEM for the times when Standing Orders would work well enough. Which mode of play they use would be entirely up to the players.
So the answer is obviously YES.
There is also the technical question (which I can not answer at this time) on how much data can be stored on the Matrix Server. I don't think this will be a problem since the amount of data will be small - but I really don't know the answer since there could be several other technical impediments to assuming the system is cloud-like in its implementation.
Perfection is an elusive goal.