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3.2 or 3.4 patch

 
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3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/18/2013 12:41:07 PM   
josant

 

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knowing the many bugs of the patch 3.4, (AA equipment that only are AA if the icon is AA, the ignore losses bug,...), which patch is better to play until we wait for the expected 3.5?
Post #: 1
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/18/2013 5:37:49 PM   
shunwick


Posts: 1804
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quote:

ORIGINAL: josant

knowing the many bugs of the patch 3.4, (AA equipment that only are AA if the icon is AA, the ignore losses bug,...), which patch is better to play until we wait for the expected 3.5?


Josant,

This is going to be a long post so please forgive me.

Furthermore, this is only my opinion and I very much hope Bob and others will comment on it in order to give as thorough an overview as possible. I shall attempt to answer your question as best as I can and then give what I think is as reasonable encapsulation of the whole “State of TOAW” as I see it. In addition, I am also writing this for potential new players as well if they are considering purchasing TOAW III but are put off by all the talk of 3.4 bugs.

Ok. So let’s go.

I do not know the version number of TOAW III as it is currently available from the Matrix site. It is most likely that it is the 3.4.0.202 version. If that is the case then new players will not have the option to “roll back” to an earlier version: for example 3.2. Edit: Not true. Please see later post.

For those amongst us who have the original release of TOAW III and all the subsequent patches, it is possible to install the original 3.0, rename the exe, and then install the next patch, rename that exe, and install the next patch and so on up to 3.4. This gives the option to choose whichever version is most appropriate for any particular scenario but herein lays a very complex issue which I will deal with next. And do not forget all the bugs in 3.2 that 3.4 fixed.

From here I apologise if this gets rambling.

TOAW has always had bugs. It is no different in this respect than any other computer game. The history of TOAW development has revolved around bug fixes and game development. Talonsoft tended to go for game development and bug fixes in that order. Ralph’s work on TOAW III has been more balanced. The list for ACOW to TOAW III 3.4 bug fixes is as long as your arm. Indeed, the current concern involving Ignore Losses is not a bug that was introduced by 3.4. It is a bug(?) that has been with TOAW probably since TOAW I but certainly with ACOW.

3.4 only highlighted the bug(?) because a couple of improvements to the combat engine combined with a couple of significant bug fixes to make the defence stronger and that is true even if you ignore the effects of Ignore Losses. The Ignore Losses issue became noticed because it was the most obvious example of the defence’s new found strength.

Bottom line: there are bugs in 3.4, there were bugs in 3.2, 3.1, 3.0, ACOW, TOAW II, TOAW I, oh and let’s not forget WOTY. There will be bugs in 3.5, 3.6 etc and TOAW IV. Yes, I have faith!

What does all this mean in practical terms?

The most important consideration in my opinion, and should be the main concern for everyone, is not specific bugs in 3.4. It is play balance.

Even if you ignore the Ignore Losses problem, it is clear (from my experience) that the increase in defensive resilience has damaged many of the older scenarios in terms of play balance and essentially broken some (curiously, there are some old scenarios that play better under 3.4 than they did originally).

Scenarios that were designed to be very tough for attackers are now so tough that attackers cannot make any headway. Attu Island 43 is a good example of that and I believe the Soviets trying to break the Mannerheim Line is another.

Now all of this is not as bad as it sounds at least in terms of blaming 3.4 for it. It has always been the case that scenarios created before the latest release/patch had their play balance upset from the original. TOAW I and TOAW II scenarios were in need of re-balancing with the introduction of ACOW. ACOW scenarios needed re-balancing with the introduction of TOAW III. Technically, TOAW III 3.0 scenarios needed re-balancing (or at least looking at) with the introduction of 3.1 and so on. Most players (and I am speaking generally) were happy to overlook any play balance issues in the TOAW III versions since they tended to be rather minor. 3.4 changed that with a vengeance.

More than ever before (at least with scenarios created for TOAW III) older scenarios (pre 3.4) need looking at and re-balancing.

I would like to summon Secadegas here to comment on Veers’ 3.4 changes to Europe Aflame since I am sure that his opinion on the changes to Europe Aflame would be instructional due to his vast experience with that scenario. Joao, please don't make me sacrifice any chickens.

The whole issue of re-balancing old scenarios is complicated by two factors.

First, all scenarios are different in the way that their designers chose to balance their scenarios - if indeed they tested for play balance at all.

Fire in the East and Europe Aflame are very good examples of that. Both of those scenarios are so large that they could not possibly be play-tested adequately prior to release. They both rely on play-testing after release and support for updating the scenarios from comments received from players. Europe Aflame is probably the most successful in this regard and that is due entirely to the dedication and work of Mark Stevens and now Veers in keeping it updated and the player-base of that scenario for pointing out errors and suggesting improvements. Both Fire in the East and Europe Aflame had very good reasons for less-than-rigorous play testing prior to first release.

It should come as no surprise that not all scenarios are created equally and that only a small number of designers support their scenarios through all iterations of the TOAW engine.

The point is that there is no single re-balancing strategy that can be mechanically applied to pre-3.4 scenarios just as turning off the new turn rules sometimes helps, sometimes hinders, and sometimes makes no difference at all.

Second, players vary in their willingness, experience, confidence, and time constraints upon them to make the re-balancing changes themselves. Ideally, of course, the original designer would re-balance their scenarios. Apart from a few dedicated designers, this is not going to happen. Neither is it worth waiting for a third party to do it either.

I began my TOAW career with TOAW II back in 1998. I was not connected to the internet. I had no chance of an opponent beyond the PO. What I wanted from the game, more than anything else, was a challenging game. It meant learning the editor. It meant upping the supply and replacements for the PO side. It meant dropping in anything from an extra regiment to an extra army-group. These were not re-balancing issues per se but it forced me to learn how to use the editor.

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I am convinced that players need to their hands dirty. For new players I cannot stress enough the need to learn how the editor works (it is not that difficult – well, deciphering the Event List can be a challenge but generally speaking re-balancing does not require messing with the Event List) and it is crucial.

I am currently listing nearly 900 scenarios for TOAW. That is: 89 for 3.4, 290 for TOAW III excluding 3.4, 255 for ACOW, 15 for WOTY, 50 for TOAW II, and 183 for TOAW I. As a whole they are of variable quality but not a single one is without value and most have much to recommend them. The vast majority of them require re-balancing.

Who is going to do it?

We all should.

Best wishes,
Steve


< Message edited by shunwick -- 5/25/2013 7:05:03 PM >


_____________________________

I love the smell of TOAW in the morning...

(in reply to josant)
Post #: 2
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/18/2013 6:03:54 PM   
berto


Posts: 5240
Joined: 3/13/2002
From: metro Chicago, Illinois, USA
Status: online

It's not always just a question of "play balance". With 3.4, in the developed-before-3.4 Burma Campaign 42-45 scenario, supply is totally borked.

It's not to say that 3.2 is better than 3.4. No doubt, overall 3.4 is better. But for some scenarios, you are better off with 3.2 (and even earlier, if the scenario is old enough?).

If you follow this discussion

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=3233527

a bit further down Bob Cross aka "Curtis Lemay" was kind enough to point out the ftp server where you can still get TOAW 3.2, and 3.3 for that matter.

I maintain both 3.3 and 3.4 installs on my system, and play scenarios appropriate for each.

_____________________________

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PIKT, http://pikt.org
Campaign Series Lead Programmer, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tt.asp?forumid=226
AGElint debugging toolkit, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2978333

(in reply to shunwick)
Post #: 3
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/18/2013 6:18:05 PM   
shunwick


Posts: 1804
Joined: 10/15/2006
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quote:

ORIGINAL: berto


It's not always just a question of "play balance". With 3.4, in the developed-before-3.4 Burma Campaign 42-45 scenario, supply is totally borked.

It's not to say that 3.2 is better than 3.4. No doubt, overall 3.4 is better. But for some scenarios, you are better off with 3.2 (and even earlier, if the scenario is old enough?).

If you follow this discussion

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/fb.asp?m=3233527

a bit further down Bob Cross aka "Curtis Lemay" was kind enough to point out the ftp server where you can still get TOAW 3.2, and 3.3 for that matter.

I maintain both 3.3 and 3.4 installs on my system, and play scenarios appropriate for each.


Berto,

Even so, 3.2 comes with its own list of bugs. All I am saying is that if you go with 3.2 you inevitably miss out on the bug fixes that 3.4 brought. Not to mention that you would still need to re-balance a TOAW I scenario to 3.2 standards. In that case, you might just as well re-balance to 3.4.

Thanks for linking in that discussion.

I forgot all about 3.3.

For anyone wishing to download previous versions of TOAW III the link is:

ftp://ftp.matrixgames.com/pub/TheOperationalArtOfWarIII/

The 3.4 download includes the 3.3 version.

Best wishes,
Steve

< Message edited by shunwick -- 5/18/2013 6:38:35 PM >


_____________________________

I love the smell of TOAW in the morning...

(in reply to berto)
Post #: 4
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/18/2013 6:19:08 PM   
shunwick


Posts: 1804
Joined: 10/15/2006
Status: offline
.. double post.


< Message edited by shunwick -- 5/18/2013 6:29:37 PM >


_____________________________

I love the smell of TOAW in the morning...

(in reply to shunwick)
Post #: 5
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/18/2013 6:41:05 PM   
berto


Posts: 5240
Joined: 3/13/2002
From: metro Chicago, Illinois, USA
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: shunwick

Even so, 3.2 comes with its own list of bugs. All I am saying is that if you go with 3.2 you inevitably miss out on the bug fixes that 3.4 brought. Not to mention that you would still need to re-balance a TOAW I scenario to 3.2 standards. In that case, you might just as well re-balance to 3.4.

I would rather play the Burma scenario with 3.2-bugs but a working supply system than that same scenario in 3.4 where supply is totally borked.

I'm not questioning whether overall 3.4 is better; no doubt it is. The player just needs to be careful about which scenario he plays.

About DIY balancing -- I don't have the time. Got bigger fish to fry.

_____________________________

Early MusiChicago, http://earlymusichicago.org
PIKT, http://pikt.org
Campaign Series Lead Programmer, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tt.asp?forumid=226
AGElint debugging toolkit, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2978333

(in reply to shunwick)
Post #: 6
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/18/2013 7:39:08 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 7246
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
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quote:

ORIGINAL: berto

I would rather play the Burma scenario with 3.2-bugs but a working supply system than that same scenario in 3.4 where supply is totally borked.


The Burma scenario supply is only "borked" if you opt for New Supply trace option. 3.4 allows players to choose the old supply trace instead.

(in reply to berto)
Post #: 7
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/19/2013 1:49:21 AM   
berto


Posts: 5240
Joined: 3/13/2002
From: metro Chicago, Illinois, USA
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay


quote:

ORIGINAL: berto

I would rather play the Burma scenario with 3.2-bugs but a working supply system than that same scenario in 3.4 where supply is totally borked.


The Burma scenario supply is only "borked" if you opt for New Supply trace option. 3.4 allows players to choose the old supply trace instead.

Could be. But when I saw how borked that scenario was (IIRC, I also saw a Japanese unit in Rangoon in turn 1!), I wondered about what else might be screwed up.

My point is, unless somebody who really knows a scenario, ideally the scenario designer himself, has thoroughly vetted it with 3.4, you are taking a non-trivial chance of playing a compromised scenario, obvious or not. IMO, it's not worth the risk, my risk. So if a scenario has not been explicitly vetted for 3.4, I am content to play it under the TOAW version for which it was designed, even if that means forgoing some of the goodies (and bug fixes) in 3.4.

_____________________________

Early MusiChicago, http://earlymusichicago.org
PIKT, http://pikt.org
Campaign Series Lead Programmer, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tt.asp?forumid=226
AGElint debugging toolkit, http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2978333

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 8
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/19/2013 11:12:36 AM   
shunwick


Posts: 1804
Joined: 10/15/2006
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: berto


quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay


quote:

ORIGINAL: berto

I would rather play the Burma scenario with 3.2-bugs but a working supply system than that same scenario in 3.4 where supply is totally borked.


The Burma scenario supply is only "borked" if you opt for New Supply trace option. 3.4 allows players to choose the old supply trace instead.

Could be. But when I saw how borked that scenario was (IIRC, I also saw a Japanese unit in Rangoon in turn 1!), I wondered about what else might be screwed up.

My point is, unless somebody who really knows a scenario, ideally the scenario designer himself, has thoroughly vetted it with 3.4, you are taking a non-trivial chance of playing a compromised scenario, obvious or not. IMO, it's not worth the risk, my risk. So if a scenario has not been explicitly vetted for 3.4, I am content to play it under the TOAW version for which it was designed, even if that means forgoing some of the goodies (and bug fixes) in 3.4.


Berto,

And that is perfectly reasonable.

All I am saying is that for anyone who wants to explore the full richness that TOAW offers, there are many, many scenarios that are pre-TOAW III. For those scenarios, DIY re-balancing (as you put it) is the only game in town.

Best wishes,
Steve

< Message edited by shunwick -- 5/19/2013 11:13:32 AM >


_____________________________

I love the smell of TOAW in the morning...

(in reply to berto)
Post #: 9
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/19/2013 1:27:43 PM   
LOK_32MK

 

Posts: 107
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My opinion is go with the latest. No piece of software is ever bug-free and 3.4 despite its flaws has many new and interesting features.
But ultimately it is up to you to decide what you prefer

(in reply to josant)
Post #: 10
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/19/2013 1:41:48 PM   
josant

 

Posts: 93
Joined: 3/14/2007
From: Spain
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: LOK_32MK

My opinion is go with the latest. No piece of software is ever bug-free and 3.4 despite its flaws has many new and interesting features.
But ultimately it is up to you to decide what you prefer


Finally, i think like you and so i will use the latest 3.4 patch. Thanks all you for your responses

(in reply to LOK_32MK)
Post #: 11
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/19/2013 2:07:05 PM   
Sekadegas

 

Posts: 183
Joined: 5/16/2007
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There is a lot of noise about TOAW III 3.4 being totally broken and unplayable. That's simply not true.

However this version has a major problem but since i was one of the first to point it out ( http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3022382 & http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3056061 ) i'm pretty confortable to say that version 3.4 is the best version ever created for TOAW.

Vastly superior to previous versions in design capability and game options.

If you like TOAW on previous versions you'll have to like this version even better.

It must be noted that the problem created by the overrated adjustments on the fortified status regarding RFC (Retreat From Combat) done on 3.4 have a different impact over different scenarios. Some scenarios play much better under 3.4 than on previous versions as the quantity and range of available indirect fire support change from one scenario to another. As a clear example there are the CFNA series where - contrary to the past when was too easy to be the attacker - the playing feeling is much more rewarding.

Other scenarios however suffered greatly from the fortified status RFC 3.4 adjustments. Even if there are changes on scenario design that might improve these scenarios under 3.4 the problem can't be fully overcame until the combat system is adjusted.

Summarizing... having the RFC fortified status (and entrechement on a lesser scale) re-adjusted (and the minor AAA bug solved) TOAW will be at its very best shape ever.

When that's done I can't ask for more...






< Message edited by Sekadegas -- 5/20/2013 11:52:01 PM >

(in reply to shunwick)
Post #: 12
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/19/2013 5:29:02 PM   
Shazman

 

Posts: 118
Joined: 1/4/2009
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You seem to have forgotten other broken things. Like anti air units not working properly. For a game that uses air power as much as this one that is, uhm, uncomfortable.

Also not being able to use Ignore Losses because it doesn't work properly is a big deal since it removes an extremely useful tool for someone wishing to strongly defend a position. The only solution anyone ever gives is don't use ignore losses. WTF. It's something you really need from time to time. How can you not use it?

If you are playing a scenario built around a version earlier than 3.4 use it with that earlier version. Otherwise the scenario may not work properly. Unless you want to go through the scenario and rework it for 3.4 which does not work properly anyway.

Someone really needs to get to work on 3.5.

< Message edited by Shazman -- 5/19/2013 5:31:00 PM >

(in reply to Sekadegas)
Post #: 13
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/19/2013 6:41:23 PM   
Sekadegas

 

Posts: 183
Joined: 5/16/2007
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shazman

You seem to have forgotten other broken things. Like anti air units not working properly. For a game that uses air power as much as this one that is, uhm, uncomfortable.


It's a issue but it's a minor one. When you play it you don't really feel it. TOAW had much more important bugs in the past and people continued playing it.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Shazman

Also not being able to use Ignore Losses because it doesn't work properly is a big deal since it removes an extremely useful tool for someone wishing to strongly defend a position. The only solution anyone ever gives is don't use ignore losses. WTF. It's something you really need from time to time. How can you not use it?


There is nothing wrong with Ignore losses. The problem is the Fortified status (and entrenched at a lesser scale) of the units and the adjutments done to this version. If your units are mobile or in defending status even if in ignore losses the RBC results are still intuitive and coherent.

But as i told there are scenarios playing better under current version.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Shazman

If you are playing a scenario built around a version earlier than 3.4 use it with that earlier version. Otherwise the scenario may not work properly. Unless you want to go through the scenario and rework it for 3.4 which does not work properly anyway.


I don't agree with you. I'm playing EA everyday under 3.4 - EA is one of the scenarios that suffered more with the changes - and is still good fun. Of course it can be better if the current combat resolution gets improved.

And to people that only play PO the problem isn't even there because PO seldom entrenches his units.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Shazman

Someone really needs to get to work on 3.5.


Can't agree more. But meanwhile try to play it. Isn't that bad...





(in reply to Shazman)
Post #: 14
RE: 3.2 or 3.4 patch - 5/19/2013 6:47:23 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 7246
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: berto

Could be.


Let's be clear: The known supply problem in that scenario was caused by using the New Supply trace option and is fixed by disabling it. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Could there be some other undetected problem? Sure, but you could say that about anything.

quote:

But when I saw how borked that scenario was (IIRC, I also saw a Japanese unit in Rangoon in turn 1!), I wondered about what else might be screwed up.

My point is, unless somebody who really knows a scenario, ideally the scenario designer himself, has thoroughly vetted it with 3.4, you are taking a non-trivial chance of playing a compromised scenario, obvious or not. IMO, it's not worth the risk, my risk. So if a scenario has not been explicitly vetted for 3.4, I am content to play it under the TOAW version for which it was designed, even if that means forgoing some of the goodies (and bug fixes) in 3.4.


That's fine, but I would say that using a TOAW version later than the one the scenario was posted with is just one of a litany of risk factors any scenario incurs. They are made by hobbyists, not professionals, who may or may not have the design experience, the dedication, or even the mental faculties needed to pull it off. And even if the came equipped with all those, I can relate from sad experience that even on a scenario you designed yourself, after years of experience with the editor, months or even years of human v. human playtests, the scenario can still be posted with very serious bugs lying dormant, waiting to pounce on players.

(in reply to berto)
Post #: 15
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