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RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/29/2012 10:38:49 AM   
Apollo11


Posts: 22583
Joined: 6/7/2001
From: Zagreb, Croatia
Status: offline
Hi all,

The current WitP-AE that we all love and play is result of decade of work!


The UV ("Uncommon Valor") was released in summer 2002 (i.e. 10+ years ago) and its ALPHA/BETA development probably started in 2000 (i.e. 12+ years ago)!

The WitP ("War in the Pacific") was released in summer 2004 (i.e. 8+ years ago) and its ALPHA/BETA development probably started in 2002 (i.e. 10+ years ago)!

The WitP-AE ("War in the Pacific") was released in summer 2009 (i.e. 3+ years ago) and its ALPHA/BETA development probably started in 2007 (i.e. 5+ years ago)!


The WitE "("War in the East") is first in the series and it was released in late 2010 (i.e. 1.5+ years ago) and its ALPHA/BETA development started in 2009 (i.e. 3+ years ago)!


So... it is only fair to compare WitE to UV and not WitP-AE...


Please raise your hands if you still play UV (I owned it from start and played it a lot but stopped when WitP was released - similarly like I stopped playing WitP when WitP-AE was released)!


Also, when WitE was released there were some balancing issues but bugs as such (CTDs and inability to play) were never an issue - the game was very playable even from get go!

Please note that, same as with other Gary Grigsby releases, there is constant stream of patches that fix all sighted issues and bugs (but, as always, there is still lively debate whether Soviets or Germans are favored - same as endless discussions we had with UV/WitP/WitP-AE and USA vs. Japan)!


Leo "Apollo11"

_____________________________



Prior Preparation & Planning Prevents Pathetically Poor Performance!

A & B: WitW, WitE, WbtS, GGWaW, GGWaW2-AWD, HttR, CotA, BftB, CF
P: UV, WitP, WitP-AE

(in reply to JocMeister)
Post #: 61
RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/29/2012 10:40:29 AM   
Ddog

 

Posts: 206
Joined: 2/17/2005
From: Cincinnati, OH
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: n01487477


quote:

ORIGINAL: The Gnome


quote:

ORIGINAL: Bullwinkle58
...

Unless I see WITP2.



I spend the majority of my gaming money over on Steam as well, more for the convenience, and the feeling that any game I have ever bought is free to be reinstalled and played again at a later date.

The thing I dream about though is WitP2 though. I'd prepurchase just to get development started - that gives me an idea, maybe a kickstarter project! (http://www.kickstarter.com/ for those who don't know what that is)

There are a number of issues related to having a witpII.
  • It is unlikely to be profitable- Esp. Not knowing how many people actually bought AE & having worked in IT - the cost of startup-delivery of the program would be fairly high.
  • AE was made by a team that got very little monetary reward/royalities. This mostly wouldn't be the case with WitpII - unless it just had a huge interface makeover using some of the core-code or there was an expansion on this game.
  • KickStarter is a good idea but there needs to be a team in place, a design doc (which I would guess would be hotly debated on here - all of us have varying views from the conservative to radical changes).
  • Remember witp-ae was an evolution of coding from PacWar - UV - witp - AE.

    I'd be willing to be involved in any capacity - but if we are going to push for a witpII - the ideas would need to be fleshed out first, deals made with GG and matrix to have access to the code, a team of 2-3 programmers brought in or sought from the forum users, a review of the changes and then coded to a point where Kickstarter could be utilised.

    Anyway - I'm in ... 'cause GG obviously won't be. THey canned Carrier Strike and the plans they have already for WITW,WITEII,WIW,WOW,WTF ETC will last another 10+ yrs.



  • Some folks have commented on things they would like to see in WitPII and made me think a bit. I used to play a series called Great Naval Battles:xxxxxx The cool thing about it was the ability to zoom in and out and participate at different levels. You could command CV TF's and when the fighting started you could zoom into a 5" gun or man a torpedo launcher. And you could move from gun to gun, ship to ship at will. So I was thinking of a WitPII that looked like AE that you could zoom in to something that looked like WitE and command Rgts/Battalions/squads at closer level, or actual planning of air attacks. So basically you would have computer control vs human control like on the AE TF's. You could pick the more critical battles to micromanage. I'm sure it would be a nightmare to put together and probably a beast to play. It could take a loooong time to give orders.

    Anyway, just brainstorming.

    _____________________________

    "If you can't take a joke, don't start a war."
    Tail gunner, Enola Gay


    (in reply to n01487477)
    Post #: 62
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/29/2012 11:27:23 AM   
    janh

     

    Posts: 1222
    Joined: 6/12/2007
    Status: offline
    quote:

    ORIGINAL: crsutton
    I would have no trouble spending $200 on a new WITP. Yesterday, I spent $12 bucks on a burger at Five Guys. It was good but only lasted me about 15 minutes and was then gone. We don't think twice about dropping $200 bucks on a new smart phone every two years. I have spent less than $200 on this system in the past decade. It the best deal I have seen since "free government cheese."


    I can only agree with that. For $200 the makeover would have to be from top to bottom, but another $80 I would spent readily without hesitation knowing it could only be better than what we already have. It would surely not be a waste of money.

    Wishing for WitP-AE II is one thing, yet reality seems to be another. If they'd want to do it, I suppose they need some good selling arguments. Right now a 3rd title in this series would compete with both "smaller/older" predecessors of their own doing. And even for many of the grognards of this genere or this forum, there would have to be some clearly new features, not just incremental improvements. Something that would work as a "punch line" or so. If you could give them that idea, they might become interested.

    With most of the improvements and ideas discussed before, I felt they rather qualify as incremental improvements and don't make a new game. I recall calls for Allied production, refinement of Japanese production, addition of more good types, more options for letting AI control the plenty micromanagement areas (from pilot training to a better convoy system; keeping them there for those who want to toy with them manually), an AI for Command and Naval HQs to let it control certain regions or units, opponent AI improvements (a true scripting/programming language with many of the hard-coded functions free to manipulate...), a myriad of wishes for improvements on the combat engines (the 4EB versus 200 passes trick/limit; ground combat resolution; ground combat model in general such it could also be used to mimic other theaters; detailed railroad capacities; along with railroads: an evolving map) and more.

    That would all be most welcome, and worth $80 to me, yet what would the selling factor be? AI "improvements" and regional AI subcommands? Awesome, but AI probably is the least visible and perhaps selling factor, though most customers play AI. A powerful, dynamic AI scripting language coupled with an overhaul of the ground combat could allow to create a War in Europe on par with AE, something I would certainly like very much, too. Yet nothing strikes me as a factor that could ultimately lead to sales?

    (in reply to crsutton)
    Post #: 63
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/29/2012 1:55:53 PM   
    Empire101


    Posts: 1957
    Joined: 5/20/2008
    From: Coruscant
    Status: offline

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Apollo11

    Hi all,

    The current WitP-AE that we all love and play is result of decade of work!


    The UV ("Uncommon Valor") was released in summer 2002 (i.e. 10+ years ago) and its ALPHA/BETA development probably started in 2000 (i.e. 12+ years ago)!

    The WitP ("War in the Pacific") was released in summer 2004 (i.e. 8+ years ago) and its ALPHA/BETA development probably started in 2002 (i.e. 10+ years ago)!

    The WitP-AE ("War in the Pacific") was released in summer 2009 (i.e. 3+ years ago) and its ALPHA/BETA development probably started in 2007 (i.e. 5+ years ago)!


    The WitE "("War in the East") is first in the series and it was released in late 2010 (i.e. 1.5+ years ago) and its ALPHA/BETA development started in 2009 (i.e. 3+ years ago)!


    So... it is only fair to compare WitE to UV and not WitP-AE...


    Please raise your hands if you still play UV (I owned it from start and played it a lot but stopped when WitP was released - similarly like I stopped playing WitP when WitP-AE was released)!


    Also, when WitE was released there were some balancing issues but bugs as such (CTDs and inability to play) were never an issue - the game was very playable even from get go!

    Please note that, same as with other Gary Grigsby releases, there is constant stream of patches that fix all sighted issues and bugs (but, as always, there is still lively debate whether Soviets or Germans are favored - same as endless discussions we had with UV/WitP/WitP-AE and USA vs. Japan)!


    Leo "Apollo11"



    Excellent points Apollo ++1

    _____________________________

    Our lives may be more boring than those who lived in apocalyptic times,
    but being bored is greatly preferable to being prematurely dead because of some ideological fantasy.
    - Michael Burleigh


    (in reply to Apollo11)
    Post #: 64
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/29/2012 5:33:58 PM   
    Bullwinkle58


    Posts: 8468
    Joined: 2/24/2009
    Status: online

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Apollo11

    Please raise your hands if you still play UV



    Did UV cost $80? Don't know, I didn't buy it. But an $80 game has to be finished in my book, especially if you want to get me to buy the next three. GG is not a beginner at this sort of thing, and he's not part of a volunteer dev group. It's his day job from what I understand.

    Just some perspective from a different direction.

    P.S. You can't compare UV to WITP, AE, or WitE. Some of the algorithms are similar in UV/WITP/AE and the interface as well, but in scope, research, flow, AI, etc. the three are not like the one.



    _____________________________

    The Moose

    (in reply to Apollo11)
    Post #: 65
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/29/2012 6:22:46 PM   
    Apollo11


    Posts: 22583
    Joined: 6/7/2001
    From: Zagreb, Croatia
    Status: offline
    Hi all,

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Bullwinkle58


    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Apollo11

    Please raise your hands if you still play UV



    Did UV cost $80? Don't know, I didn't buy it. But an $80 game has to be finished in my book, especially if you want to get me to buy the next three. GG is not a beginner at this sort of thing, and he's not part of a volunteer dev group. It's his day job from what I understand.


    UV was 60$ IIRC 10 years ago... I think it was the most expensive computer game I bought at that time...

    As for being unfinished - WitE was most certainly not released unfinished - there were no outstanding problems (no crashes, lockups and similar) apart from usual stuff that always was ironed in time.

    UV was the same.

    WitP was the same

    WitP-AE was the same.


    quote:



    Just some perspective from a different direction.


    Of course...

    But you must admit that you joined with WitP-AE and missed all the UV / WitP years...


    quote:



    P.S. You can't compare UV to WITP, AE, or WitE. Some of the algorithms are similar in UV/WITP/AE and the interface as well, but in scope, research, flow, AI, etc. the three are not like the one.


    Yes you can directly compare it... because interface (GUI) and algorithms are all derived from UV and that is the basic stuff... the data was big work but when you had framework (i.e UV game engine) it was much more easier...

    Please note that the biggest thing is always underlying game engine and interface (GUI) - Gary had basic data from 1980's and "Pac War"...


    Leo "Apollo11"

    _____________________________



    Prior Preparation & Planning Prevents Pathetically Poor Performance!

    A & B: WitW, WitE, WbtS, GGWaW, GGWaW2-AWD, HttR, CotA, BftB, CF
    P: UV, WitP, WitP-AE

    (in reply to Bullwinkle58)
    Post #: 66
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/29/2012 6:30:38 PM   
    Gary Childress


    Posts: 5525
    Joined: 7/17/2005
    Status: offline

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Apollo11

    Hi all,

    The current WitP-AE that we all love and play is result of decade of work!


    The UV ("Uncommon Valor") was released in summer 2002 (i.e. 10+ years ago) and its ALPHA/BETA development probably started in 2000 (i.e. 12+ years ago)!

    The WitP ("War in the Pacific") was released in summer 2004 (i.e. 8+ years ago) and its ALPHA/BETA development probably started in 2002 (i.e. 10+ years ago)!

    The WitP-AE ("War in the Pacific") was released in summer 2009 (i.e. 3+ years ago) and its ALPHA/BETA development probably started in 2007 (i.e. 5+ years ago)!


    The WitE "("War in the East") is first in the series and it was released in late 2010 (i.e. 1.5+ years ago) and its ALPHA/BETA development started in 2009 (i.e. 3+ years ago)!


    So... it is only fair to compare WitE to UV and not WitP-AE...


    Please raise your hands if you still play UV (I owned it from start and played it a lot but stopped when WitP was released - similarly like I stopped playing WitP when WitP-AE was released)!


    Also, when WitE was released there were some balancing issues but bugs as such (CTDs and inability to play) were never an issue - the game was very playable even from get go!

    Please note that, same as with other Gary Grigsby releases, there is constant stream of patches that fix all sighted issues and bugs (but, as always, there is still lively debate whether Soviets or Germans are favored - same as endless discussions we had with UV/WitP/WitP-AE and USA vs. Japan)!


    Leo "Apollo11"


    Hi Apollo11,

    Interesting analogy between WitE and UV. Maybe as WitE gets refined someday there will be a War in Europe similar to the way UV evolved into War in the Pacific. Such a War in Europe might be based upon the WitE engine once various kinks are worked out such as the air combat model and also a naval aspect would need to be added for a War in Europe. If that happens then I am all aboard with it! I think a War in Europe is in order since we have a War in the Pacific.

    _____________________________

    Favorites and/or other Great Games from Matrix :

    1. War in the Pacific/ Admiral's Edition
    2. Panzer Corps
    3. Commander: Europe at War
    4. John Tiller's Campaign Series

    (in reply to Apollo11)
    Post #: 67
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/29/2012 6:38:02 PM   
    Bullwinkle58


    Posts: 8468
    Joined: 2/24/2009
    Status: online
    quote:

    ORIGINAL: janh

    That would all be most welcome, and worth $80 to me, yet what would the selling factor be? AI "improvements" and regional AI subcommands? Awesome, but AI probably is the least visible and perhaps selling factor, though most customers play AI. A powerful, dynamic AI scripting language coupled with an overhaul of the ground combat could allow to create a War in Europe on par with AE, something I would certainly like very much, too. Yet nothing strikes me as a factor that could ultimately lead to sales?


    I started to write a long, detailed business plan-type post to yours, which I think asks the correct quesitons. But then I figured why bother? Matrix will either continue to progress its strongest franchise, or it won't.

    However, in answer to your "what's the selling proposition?" question I think you hit the nail on the head--it's the AI. I believe you (I think it's you) have posted in the past that you have RL experience with designing AI or neural net systems. If so I would bow to your technical expertise; I'm just a long-ex product manager. I see business problems and solutions, not technical ones. I think some kind of hybrib AI improvement--a "scripts-plus"--might be a development target which could be done for less money than a moon-shot. A script system which did interim examinaitons of the board and interactively called new downstream scripts which had some degree of self-programing, but short of a turn-by-turn true AI.

    I also think product design layered onto the current base could lead to a far more robust front-end set-up environment where the player essentially made more choices (perhaps from an RPG-like points budget which forced trade-offs), such choices to add cofficient modifiers to current algorithm outputs in order to create far better re-play. For example, the player has ten points to allocate to perhaps forty "buckets" of modification. Maybe torpedo dud rate. Maybe pilot fatigue accretion. Maybe chance-to-hit in night naval gunnery. Maybe a % increase in HI production rates for the same inputs. Maybe a universal change to the random number seeds so as to achieve a very random game, or a minimally random version. Etc. Each would have an historical base so those players could change nothing if they wished. This might be relatively easy to code as the overlays would simply modify the outputs already calculated by set, global amounts chosen by the player.

    The AI improvements, global set-up variables, coupled with the graphic and UI improvements talked about here many times (zooming map, TF templates, easier industry interfaces, etc.) would allow Matrix to re-market the WITP core one more time to current fans like us. It would remove the need to fund a clean-sheet stab at a new engine, which is possibly a seven-figure budget proposition. It would stay away from at least part of the spaghetti code problem by working on the periphery of the engine. It would leave the currently awesome OOB alone.

    Additionally, adding a third tier to the WITP family opens up important new marketing options. WITP becomes a sample sized/priced product, and, not to sound like a broken record, allows it to be a loss-leader out on Steam to drag eyeballs into the Matrix Web site. Run a weekend deal on WITP at $10, get some sampling. Add a big splash screen to the install directing buyers to AE (at full price) on the Matrix site, where some will buy, and others will go sideways and look at the other game offerings. Leave AE priced as it is now, take what volume is there at that price. This probably comes from a variety of consumer types and motivations, but Steam gets you traffic and with a three-tier you don't have to sacrifice AE; you sacrifice WitP. WITP2 stays on Matrix's site exclusively and is price-targetted at current AE players who are far less price sensitive and don't need to be sold. We can't be cannibalized since we already bought AE. If a complete newbie wants to enter the franchise at WITP2 and its price point then great. Matrix should do that all day long if they can. But Matrix needs to do a beter job at revenue-harvesting its older catalog. They don't like Steam, but the world of PC games never stands still, and the terrain has changed a lot since AE launched three years ago.

    JWE has said, and Matrix's statements at its recent Euro conference bear out, that they see themselves as hamstrung by publishing whatever swims by. They only sell what developers want to write. That seems overly passive to me given the degree of consolidation in the game space and in PC games in particular. If 50% of develpers want to write Battle of the Bulge games is that a good model for Matrix going forward? Do they not have deep industry contacts and the ability to put together a team to take their leading franchise forward? I'm not suggesting they do this with every B-class game they publish. I'm saying do it for this one which could command $100-plus retails. And, as above, I'm not proposing putting together a team to start with a clean sheet. I'm saying put together a structured team of AI and UI experts, and largely re-crank the WITP code through one more tour of duty.

    If they need to do consumer research on the idea they have a perfect audience right here who would answer a quesitonaire for nothing. Pre-ordering is also an option to test commitment.

    < Message edited by Bullwinkle58 -- 7/29/2012 7:08:57 PM >


    _____________________________

    The Moose

    (in reply to janh)
    Post #: 68
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/29/2012 6:47:21 PM   
    Bullwinkle58


    Posts: 8468
    Joined: 2/24/2009
    Status: online
    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Apollo11

    UV was 60$ IIRC 10 years ago... I think it was the most expensive computer game I bought at that time...

    OK. I didn't buy it. I did pay full retail for "Pacific War" on 3.5 inch floppy disks in the late 80s or early 90s. That was about $45 I think.

    As for being unfinished - WitE was most certainly not released unfinished - there were no outstanding problems (no crashes, lockups and similar) apart from usual stuff that always was ironed in time.

    It was unbalanced, a cardinal sin in a PBEM game. In particular the blizzard turns should have been hammered out before it was sent to market. From my reading of the forum since summer of 2011 to now it appears that most of the German players have left over balance issues, leading to the current state of the forum and AAR roster.

    quote:



    Just some perspective from a different direction.


    Of course...

    But you must admit that you joined with WitP-AE and missed all the UV / WitP years...

    I bought WITP at full, non-sale price and played it roughly daily until AE came out, completing two full GCs. Due to marital opposition to the price I did not buy WITP until 2005 when the marital situation was rectified. I bought AE the first week.


    < Message edited by Bullwinkle58 -- 7/29/2012 6:55:17 PM >


    _____________________________

    The Moose

    (in reply to Apollo11)
    Post #: 69
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/29/2012 7:08:19 PM   
    fcharton

     

    Posts: 951
    Joined: 10/4/2010
    From: Nemours, France
    Status: offline

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Bullwinkle58
    I'm saying put together a structured team of AI and UI experts, and largely re-crank the WITP code through one more tour of duty.


    Very good points. One additional benefit of working specially on the UI and AI would be the possibility for some AI scripts to be run in a "non AI" setting. A player could then delegate some basic work to AI scripts (a la Distant Worlds, or like the auto convoy feature in AE). Good targets for such scripts could be pilot management, base building, squadron rest/stand down scheduling. Right now, you either do it all yourself, or nothing gets done. The AI could provide a middle way.

    Such scripts could be interesting on a different level :
    - by allowing for longer turns (3 day turns are not very practical right now, longer turns even less so), and therefore making full campaigns a bit more manageable, timewise
    - by catering to a different audience, players who don't mind monster games, but would rather not have to handle all the details. This is the typical reason why some players won't play Japan.

    In a PBEM setting, the amount of AI allowed could probably be negociated (ie be a game parameter, which could change over time, ideally), either acting as a game-simplifier, or a game-balancer.

    As for the UI, I believe a lot of the specification works are already done, in the form of ... Tracker. Basically, allowing for more "Tracker like" screens in the game, that the player could interact with, would go a long way.


    Francois

    (in reply to Bullwinkle58)
    Post #: 70
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/29/2012 7:22:06 PM   
    Bullwinkle58


    Posts: 8468
    Joined: 2/24/2009
    Status: online

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: fcharton


    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Bullwinkle58
    I'm saying put together a structured team of AI and UI experts, and largely re-crank the WITP code through one more tour of duty.


    Very good points. One additional benefit of working specially on the UI and AI would be the possibility for some AI scripts to be run in a "non AI" setting. A player could then delegate some basic work to AI scripts (a la Distant Worlds, or like the auto convoy feature in AE). Good targets for such scripts could be pilot management, base building, squadron rest/stand down scheduling. Right now, you either do it all yourself, or nothing gets done. The AI could provide a middle way.

    Such scripts could be interesting on a different level :
    - by allowing for longer turns (3 day turns are not very practical right now, longer turns even less so), and therefore making full campaigns a bit more manageable, timewise
    - by catering to a different audience, players who don't mind monster games, but would rather not have to handle all the details. This is the typical reason why some players won't play Japan.

    In a PBEM setting, the amount of AI allowed could probably be negociated (ie be a game parameter, which could change over time, ideally), either acting as a game-simplifier, or a game-balancer.

    As for the UI, I believe a lot of the specification works are already done, in the form of ... Tracker. Basically, allowing for more "Tracker like" screens in the game, that the player could interact with, would go a long way.


    Francois


    Yes, I had considered AI scripts to be only the opposition in an AI game, but having certain sections of the own-player phase tree be automatable would certainly open the game up to more types of time-pressed players. If these scripts were customizable that would be even better. For example, tell the pilot management sub-routine to do a air unit sweep weekly and dump all pilots with EXP> 60 AND (Boolean operators in each sub-routine) ASW >40 into Reserve. And let the player turn it on and off through the war.

    Adding more and better management screens is a common want when people discuss WITP2. For me I don't want more spreadsheets and numerical presentation, although I think I'm in the minority. I have long advocated that Matrix ask devs to look at other games, such as the Civilization series, for ideas on how to present base/town data in more graphic ways, and allow sideways scrolling through data rather than top-down drilling.

    After I posted my other post on WITP2 design I thought more about how front-end customization could impact PBEM games. In exactly the same way, but with the added salt of psyops. Each player gets an agreed budget; if one player is more inexperienced he gets an agreed-upon bonus pot. Each player then secretly deploys his points. The psyops comes in where previous knowledge of the opponent's style is used to guide point deployment. If the opponent is known for creating huge air armies then those areas are pumped up in defense. But, if you know what your opponent usually does, you fear he will on-purpose put his points elsewhere to throw you off in this new game. Poker, before the game even starts. And if there were no limit on how much of the budget could could be put in any one bucket we might see some very interesting PBEM games.

    _____________________________

    The Moose

    (in reply to fcharton)
    Post #: 71
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/29/2012 9:04:18 PM   
    fcharton

     

    Posts: 951
    Joined: 10/4/2010
    From: Nemours, France
    Status: offline
    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Bullwinkle58
    Adding more and better management screens is a common want when people discuss WITP2. For me I don't want more spreadsheets and numerical presentation, although I think I'm in the minority. I have long advocated that Matrix ask devs to look at other games, such as the Civilization series, for ideas on how to present base/town data in more graphic ways, and allow sideways scrolling through data rather than top-down drilling.


    I suspect the best approach is a bit of both. For spreasheet (and graphics) it would be nice to allow the player to customize his own. The problem with predefined sheets is that they tend to try and serve different purposes, and therefore become "messy". This is typically the kind of things modern UI frameworks (Qt or something of the genre, if it were to be done in C++) are good at.

    This said, all this implies a clearcut separation between the model (OOB and game data, and engine) and the UI. If it is not already the case, preparing the original code for such a split might actually be the larger/riskier part of the project.

    Francois

    < Message edited by fcharton -- 7/29/2012 9:05:33 PM >

    (in reply to Bullwinkle58)
    Post #: 72
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/29/2012 10:30:37 PM   
    Empire101


    Posts: 1957
    Joined: 5/20/2008
    From: Coruscant
    Status: offline

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Gary Childress



    Hi Apollo11,

    Interesting analogy between WitE and UV. Maybe as WitE gets refined someday there will be a War in Europe similar to the way UV evolved into War in the Pacific. Such a War in Europe might be based upon the WitE engine once various kinks are worked out such as the air combat model and also a naval aspect would need to be added for a War in Europe. If that happens then I am all aboard with it! I think a War in Europe is in order since we have a War in the Pacific.


    If only Gary,....if only!!


    _____________________________

    Our lives may be more boring than those who lived in apocalyptic times,
    but being bored is greatly preferable to being prematurely dead because of some ideological fantasy.
    - Michael Burleigh


    (in reply to Gary Childress)
    Post #: 73
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/30/2012 7:45:24 AM   
    Apollo11


    Posts: 22583
    Joined: 6/7/2001
    From: Zagreb, Croatia
    Status: offline
    Hi all,

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Empire101

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Gary Childress

    Hi Apollo11,

    Interesting analogy between WitE and UV. Maybe as WitE gets refined someday there will be a War in Europe similar to the way UV evolved into War in the Pacific. Such a War in Europe might be based upon the WitE engine once various kinks are worked out such as the air combat model and also a naval aspect would need to be added for a War in Europe. If that happens then I am all aboard with it! I think a War in Europe is in order since we have a War in the Pacific.


    If only Gary,....if only!!


    Yep... there is plan for dedicated all encompassing "War in Europe"... Joel posted about that several months ago...


    Leo "Apollo11"

    _____________________________



    Prior Preparation & Planning Prevents Pathetically Poor Performance!

    A & B: WitW, WitE, WbtS, GGWaW, GGWaW2-AWD, HttR, CotA, BftB, CF
    P: UV, WitP, WitP-AE

    (in reply to Empire101)
    Post #: 74
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/30/2012 11:11:36 AM   
    janh

     

    Posts: 1222
    Joined: 6/12/2007
    Status: offline
    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Bullwinkle58

    I started to write a long, detailed business plan-type post to yours, which I think asks the correct quesitons. But then I figured why bother? Matrix will either continue to progress its strongest franchise, or it won't.

    ...

    The AI improvements, global set-up variables, coupled with the graphic and UI improvements talked about here many times (zooming map, TF templates, easier industry interfaces, etc.) would allow Matrix to re-market the WITP core one more time to current fans like us. It would remove the need to fund a clean-sheet stab at a new engine, which is possibly a seven-figure budget proposition. It would stay away from at least part of the spaghetti code problem by working on the periphery of the engine. It would leave the currently awesome OOB alone.


    Ah, I recall, yes. I guess in principle you are right. It would be interested in a questionaire, maybe with the possibility to rate the items one would like to see improved or expanded, or removed. Just out of pure curiosity to see what the majority would like. And ideally also those who do not regularly read or participate in the forum, and are part of the silent single-player audience.

    I would dare to bet that AI and use of AI to automate some micromanagement or delegate some local commands (china ground, rear area ASW and convoys, etc) would rate high. And UI probably too. Not that I dislike the present UI, but the more Michaels adds to it (*, #, ...), the more it appears to slowly be overloaded. Also a zoom and unzoom feature would be extremely welcome.

    Regarding the AI work I think you are speaking of Herwin. He studied that. I have been working only little with neural networks, although they are nowadays also being used in my field (theoretical/computational chemistry) to speed up codes. They are not very common, though, and also not meant to be "learning" in a larger sense. I have some experience with AI design, but mostly self-tought in my leisure time. In the past years I have been very busy writing AI enhancements and an "operational" AI for ARMA2, which is awfully modder-friendly with only very little hardcoded functionality not exposed to modding. It requires C++ knowledge as both the objects and the scripting language (with a special precompiler) are C++ based. With almost 1300 commands, local and global variables and various namespaces, you can do almost everything. The only limit is the CPU load, since in contrast to something like WitP it matters how fast your scripts are executed, and how many scripts run at any moment. The latter part is actually the bigger challenge, to avoid any overhead, unnecessary loops and so on. Often a look at the "numerical recipes", smart tricks/approximations and optimization is necessary.

    I recall Herwin was of the opinion that an AI could never be as good as a human, and I know from other people in that area that there is a lively debate about such arguments. Part of it is due to the problem what "good" is? Behavior by the book? Learning behavior? Ability to improvise? Ability to make mistakes? And how something that in one outcome would look like the most brilliant, improvised, unconventional move might be bone-headed in another.
    Herwin was probably right, we won't get AIs that will be on par with a good or poor human player -- not so soon, at least. There is many groups working on this general area, be it in the context of drones, industrial plants, robotics or whatever. They are making progress, some even in the area of learning codes (which gets back to the basic idea of neural networks, if I understood it's origins correctly). But no matter what would be doable in games with that today, I don't think any gaming company would invest that much yet. Not if a lot lesser investment gives you the same sales volume. And AI just is "just not a visible advertisement" (such as the graphics polishing of so many titles in the past 10-15 years, which somehow led to ignoring the further development of the game idea, features, AI etc.).

    In contrast to Herwin I believe that AI can, nonetheless be a lot better than most games show. WiTE, for instance, I find shows that. It is at least smart by the book, and does all the routine stuff very well. And it could certainly improved to also react even better to unusual situations, i.e. what for a human would be called improvisation. Also there we follow rules, and those could be implemented as well. Just at what cost, what time and efforts would it take? Too much for a company.
    Pretty much the same holds true for the ARMA series. Pretty good already as vanillia, it is amazing to see how much potential was opened up by just making this code to modder friendly and adding some many scripting functions, and more with each sequel and with each beta patch every month. Look at mods like ACE2, ACRE or so many others, they more than double the game content and not only fine-tune the AI, they really add new functionality to it. It took a long time, but since code is easily portable between the sequels, it gets carried on, improved and extended with every sequel.

    With scripting functions and codes analogous to ARMA2, you could expect the community to squeeze out a lot more from games like WiTE or AE. You would have to rely on static scripts, which say "trigger the invasion of Nomuea on a fixed date, or when a given base falls". You could make that a separate function to be called with arguments (containing the exact LCUs or selected them based on a HQ, add LBA or Naval assets and whatever parameter you might want), and have it called from a parent thread that for e.g. check the force dispositions in that region first (BB, CV, B-17 or Bettys or LCUs with AV>y detected in the past X turns within a range of N hexes from ...), or whether there was a decisive carrier battle preceding it as requirement, and making sure it fits into the global strategy. Then you have this function in each turn put out some status variables to the parent threat, e.g. checking whether force allocations were to little, too much, whether supply is needed or whether a sudden development rendered this move totally stupid for some reason (and then perhaps spawning a function that could organize an evacuation, reinforcement or whatever you wanted the AI to be able to do). Some scirpting might need a little bonus for AI, for e.g. letting it occasionally peek through fog-of-war a bit or so, but if done correctly, it would still look natural/normal to a player.

    I imagine in the beginning it would be a huge lot of work, but you could write such dynamic functions either for each set of targets, India, Adamans, OZ, DEI, Mariannas etc. taking into a account that way the peculiarities of the region a bit. Vanilla could be just about on par with the present AE AI, maybe with an additional check for naval assets before starting any of their scripts to avoid wasting CV or other capital ships against well-known player strongholds or such. The rest might be up to the community. And if you look at the DaBabes or RA modes, not to mention others, and perhaps a few of those silent single players who would be interested in a more flexible AI, I am sure after some 2 years all the vanillia scripts would have doubled in refinement and functionality -- after having seen how this scripting grew with each ARMA2. There would be a huge potential and I wouldn't want to imagine what someone like Andy Mac with his mean spirit might be able to do with such a toolkit at his hands -- he might be able to give even the most gifted PBEM players a hard time.

    I think this would be a better way for Gary and his crew in designing new AIs for their games, more efficient than hardcoding and testing every bit of AI code on their own. Not to mention that this level of mod-ability appears almost a selling reason by its own right nowadays. I would be very happy one day to browse the forum and to see the announcement of a WiTP2 with such features, but well, it may be long before that.

    (in reply to Bullwinkle58)
    Post #: 75
    RE: OT: WitE Forum - 7/30/2012 12:51:19 PM   
    fcharton

     

    Posts: 951
    Joined: 10/4/2010
    From: Nemours, France
    Status: offline
    This is probably the thread you were referring to, in memoriam.

    http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2895125&mpage=1&key=

    Francois

    (in reply to janh)
    Post #: 76
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