From: Fife Scotland
I am still an active WPO player, through PBEM.
Look, I'm going to lay my cards on the table here. Tankerace did a great job converting the original WITP to WPO. His research was meticulous, and his promised last patch he teased us with, only to later say "no more patches, not now or probably ever", was a bitter disappointment. But taking a look at what the patch promised, most of it involved new weapon systems, new ships, airplanes, etc. WE ALREADY CAN DO ALL THAT! Kirk is the latest and probably greatest example of what a committed player can do with the editor.
What we need from Matrix is not more toys that we can come up with on our own, but to provide us with the things we cannot do. They seem to entirely miss the boat on the inherent strengths of WPO:
1) It is a true "alternate history", with the point of diversion happening in a year prior to the "war" breaking out, either in 1922 or 1926. Alternate history fiction has existed for over a hundred years, but with authors like Harry Turtledove growing in popularity, one would think that WPO would be in a perfect position to capitalize on this.
2) It is something completely different. We can't say - "oh well, it not like there isn't hundreds of other computer games that feature naval combat in 1920s", like for WWII. Matrix, you hold a valuable property here, why are you squandering it?!
3) The engine is 10 years old. Really, by today's standards, is it that complicated? Come on Matrix, you telling me you can't find an intern or entry level programmer who will work for practically nothing to upgrade WPO just to break into the industry and make a name for himself? At the very least, you'll keep your longtime customers happy. You might even be pleasently surprised if this improved Alternate History product does better then you might expect.
Here is what I would suggest Matrix do, that we can't:
a) Allow players more freedom to customize their PBEM games, such as:
i) Let players customize the warring sides. Why should it be the entire world vs. Japan? Was there not an Anglo-Japanese Alliance up to 1922? Why are we imposing an "Allies vs. Axis" theme on a 1920s game?
ii) Give players the opportunity to make Allied countries inactive unless attacked, like the USSR.
b) Allow players some degree of control over their aircraft production. This includes the types of aircraft produced, as well as some degree of their capabilities. I'd advocate a "Research and Development" phase - lets say you get one point every month which translates into upgrading a single capacity of your aircraft. You could apply it to existing aircraft (to a point) or develop your own models (which you'd be able to name). Think if it - you'd have your own little arms race with your opponent, just like happened in WWI and WWII. This would also compensate for the real-world lack of wartime experience going into 1920 aircraft designs.
c) Do implement the ship classes which Tankerace suggested, such as barges, patrol boats, AMC choices, etc. WPO has useless slots such as "Aircraft Transports" which betray its WITP roots, use those. Also, allow us more ship conversion options, as Tankerace wisely started. If I'm going to fight a four-and-a-half long war, I'd like some say over my fleet and aircraft composition.
d) Upgrade the AI. This can be done several ways:
i) Yes, consider converting the WPO engine to WITP. That would solve a lot of the problems there.
ii) If that is not feasible, how about opening up the forums to asking WPO players what their issues are, and then trying to change some of the hard-coding which are causing the problems? Again, this could be something an intern or entry level programer could do, or even get farmed out to a college or university at little or no cost.
iii) Developing an improved scenerio editor which has more control over the AI and its behavior.
The suggestion was made in an above post that WPO is dead. Well, with respect to the commitment of the company that continues to market the game, I reluctantly share that observation. Even the designer, (current wherabouts unknown), admits that the game required more tweaking, so I'd hesitate to call it a "finished product" - I'd guess its about 90% completed. Playable, but needlessly flawed. Players like Kirk have done an amazing job keeping WPO alive with new artwork and scenerios, but even he has about reached his limit.
Does Matrix consider WPO dead? They continue to sell the game. People continue to play it. Matrix has to know that the game still has the same flaws as WITP. If the current sales of WPO do not justify doing any more work to it, then perhaps they can release the code to players so we can improve the game ourselves? Matrix, your players do not want WPO to die. Do you want to kill it? Please, just be honest with us. Thank you for your time.
Well if know one wants to reply to emails,we will just post where everyone can see the current state off affairs,this great game has been sadly overlooked,Matrix please spare just a few moments from your busy lives and at least post a reply in the War Plan Orange forum cheers!
< Message edited by kirk23 -- 8/30/2012 3:11:19 AM >
Make it so!