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The Good in FPC

 
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The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 1:35:27 AM   
Mad Russian


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We have tons of threads about what you guys thought should be changed or fixed.

What do you think we did right? What is it about the game that keeps you playing it?

Good Hunting.

MR

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Founder of HSG scenario design group for Combat Mission.
Panzer Command Ostfront Development Team.
Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm Development Team.
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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 1:43:27 AM   
**budd**


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The first thing i noticed was that the hold order works much better now, that was a big issue for me.

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I don't buy all the wargames I want, I just buy more than I need.

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 2:54:40 AM   
David Clark

 

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Purchased the game today, so I only have a few hours' experience to relate.

- The first game I've played since Flashpoint: Golan to properly implement the OODA cycle. I've been trying to figure out a really elegant way to do this for a decade, and FPC's implementation is elegant, simple and effective.

- More generally, an appreciation for soft factors that reminds me of Dunnigan's old NATO Division Commander. A game that doesn't just treat electronic warfare as either another weapon system or a nonentity - it's so claustrophobic to be relying on runners under a thick blanket of broadspectrum noise.

- Made me feel like I was pushing cardboard tanks around on my old Assault or MBT maps, but without all the table look-ups and memorization. FEELS like a modern war sandbox.

- No super-weapons. Everything takes time, every technology has its weaknesses. Helicopters, night vision, smoke, bridging - every wonder-weapon works a little less well in practice than you expect, and modern combat is messy, confusing and incredibly violent.

- A feeling of actual friction and fog of war - the simpler my plans are, the better they seem to succeed. I really feel like I'm in the brigade commander's shoes - the perfect plan is always too complex to work, and I always have to settle for something messy but doable.

Those are just the 'intangibles' - they're not the sort of things that can appear in a bullet list on the back of a retail box, but they make this game feel like the sort of thing that was made by The People Who Were There. This is the Ralph Peters 'Red Army' of WWIII games; if you've read that novel, you'll know what I mean.

On a more technical note:

- The UI is USABLE. This feels like a game that was actually usability tested by someone other than the developer himself. No offense, but practically all the other Matrix titles I own feel like they were shipped with a first-pass UI that looks pretty from a distance, but gets in your way when you play. This UI just does what you want, and gives you all the info you need, but gets out of your way when you need the big picture.

- Stable - no crashes, no issues. Warning dialogues boxes in actual English when I try to do something stupid with the scenario builder, for example. This product was obviously written by someone who practices defensive programming, another unfortunate rarity from this publisher.

- The price. Slitherine/Matrix have a reputation for sticking to price points much higher than narrow-market games are running these days. I've been debating my purchase since I heard about this product three days ago; when I logged into Steam today and saw the price, I ordered immediately. Good work, whoever put that pricing together.

Anyway, that's all the enthusiasm I have right now - I have to get back to the game!

(in reply to **budd**)
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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 3:12:17 AM   
Capn Darwin


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David, thanks for the nice review. We do spend time and thought on the UI layout and we went with a well known windows based format and show enough info to keep the player informed. We also listen to what you the player wants to see as well.

Enjoy the game!

< Message edited by Mad Russian -- 11/22/2014 2:33:36 PM >


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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 5:15:26 AM   
TheGreatDebate

 

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I think David's post the most eloquent that I've seen in many a forum regarding a gamer's succinct review of a product. He's on target and has played many an old fond title of mine that certainly adds to his weight as a reviewer in my mind.

I will only add that if all game developer's were as dedicated to their product as to yours, it would be an amazing world for gaming. Good work; your on my very short list of developers that I will buy titles from!

Kudos to you also for allowing the players/modders/mapmakers to create new content. The Berlin map is a work of art!!!


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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 11:14:57 AM   
wodin


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I'd like actual Arty ammo count so choosing the right type of bombardment is more critical.

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 12:55:34 PM   
Capn Darwin


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Wodin, on the list for 2.1. Arty for sure and probably all other units on discreet ammo tracking. We want to have mission selections and setup from the scenario side more detailed and more dynamic.

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 1:38:48 PM   
Mad Russian


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Not saying we still don't want feed back for the game but there are tons of threads for that. Let's keep this thread for what you guys like about the game. It's good to know what you think we can improve on but it's also very helpful to know what you think we've done right.

Thanks for all the comments so far. We appreciate the feed back we get from the gamers who play our games. The Flashpoint Campaign series is developed by wargamers who don't think they know everything. We look for as much feedback to incorporate into the series as possible.

Keep those cards and letters coming and we'll try our best to continue to improve and expand on the series.

Good Hunting.

MR

_____________________________

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Founder of HSG scenario design group for Combat Mission.
Panzer Command Ostfront Development Team.
Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm Development Team.

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 2:16:22 PM   
rwenstrup

 

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Been playing war games since Tactics II by Avalon Hill. Every once in a great while a well thought out, well implemented game comes along that stands well above the others...and Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm is one of those. It's hard to describe how a good game feels...many other games look the same. It's just how it flows...it plays in a natural way. Kinda like playing basketball when all the shots are hitting. I can think of two games that I believe have captured the 'moment' for me in a truly effective way since computer war gaming began...Steel Panthers and Flashpoint Campaigns. Excellent job!

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 3:10:53 PM   
wodin


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Whoops sorry MR misread the thread title.

The biggest love for FC is the turn mechanics. Being WEGO and with the EW\Force Cohesion aspect makes it a unique experience to play. It now looks amazing aswell. The whole design from UI to mmersionis spot on I feel and a reason why I desperately want to see a WW2 version infact any new game be it SCI FI to WW2 would be a definite purchase from me.

It's actually hard to pick whats good about FC as no aspect is actually bad..it's all good!


quote:

ORIGINAL: Mad Russian

Not saying we still don't want feed back for the game but there are tons of threads for that. Let's keep this thread for what you guys like about the game. It's good to know what you think we can improve on but it's also very helpful to know what you think we've done right.

Thanks for all the comments so far. We appreciate the feed back we get from the gamers who play our games. The Flashpoint Campaign series is developed by wargamers who don't think they know everything. We look for as much feedback to incorporate into the series as possible.

Keep those cards and letters coming and we'll try our best to continue to improve and expand on the series.

Good Hunting.

MR



< Message edited by wodin -- 11/22/2014 4:14:28 PM >


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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 4:11:32 PM   
jack54


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So much to choose from but out of the newer stuff...

'{end of movement stance}'... and, never would have thought it but,the {'ATGM' launch message.}

I really enjoy the message, it seems to add to the immersion factor; I get more of a feel of 'what's happening'....

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 5:10:07 PM   
jglazier


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The way you guys show and use the order of battle is simple, elegant and brilliant. I am no genius of military operations and structure by any stretch of the imagination, and I often struggle with this aspect of coordination. So often, games convolute the OB and/or make it difficult to match up the OB list with what you are seeing on the map.

FC:RS keeps it all on one screen and it just works very well, without any of the fuss. Even a civilian like me who knows very little about the military TOE and OBs can quickly comprehend what's going on on the map, and move my units with some semblance of cohesion and organization.

Bottom line, your UI is second to none, for a wargame particularly, and generally it puts many non-game applications I have used to shame.

Well done! You guys done good. Oh, and the game is just a blast to play, too.

Just one thing - I wish the game would show you exactly what units are subordinate to the HQ when you click on the HQ. Like, highlight all of them when the HQ is selected. If there is already something like this, then pardon me. I did not notice anything, or any setting to change this.

Thanks!

< Message edited by jglazier -- 11/22/2014 6:53:52 PM >

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 6:24:37 PM   
Capn Darwin


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jglazier, if you Ctrl+ left click any unit on the map, all of the subunits will get a yellow band on them and the selected unit gets a full highlight. You can also do the ctrl+left click on the OOB tree and the units on the map will highlight.

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 7:15:32 PM   
jglazier


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Perfect! See, I knew you guys would have thought of this. Thanks again Jim.

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 8:32:42 PM   
Emir Agic


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Capn Darwin

jglazier, if you Ctrl+ left click any unit on the map, all of the subunits will get a yellow band on them and the selected unit gets a full highlight. You can also do the ctrl+left click on the OOB tree and the units on the map will highlight.


This is very useful function. Is there any way to make it always turned on? I think that making yellow band default for showing sub-units from same formations would save player from repeating tedious ctrl + left click command every time.

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 9:57:10 PM   
Capn Darwin


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Emir, that is a good idea. I'll make sure we add that to our list. Probably a few functions that would be good to toggle on/off.

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Back from Origins. Refreshed. Looking forward to next year already!

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 11:08:34 PM   
jds1978


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Feels like a 'Golden Age of War Gaming' classic.

The command cycle.

Sandbox style editor

Interesting niche topic.

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/22/2014 11:11:17 PM   
rosseau

 

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It's an amazing leap from the first Flashpoint. What I like most is the dedication of the team and the professionalism and/or respect shown by the posters. Putting it on Steam will hook a few more dedicated players to add to the current pool that will support the game and modules for years to come.

Oh yeah, and I like the editor

< Message edited by rosseau -- 11/23/2014 12:13:43 AM >

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/23/2014 1:00:36 AM   
wodin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jack54

So much to choose from but out of the newer stuff...

'{end of movement stance}'... and, never would have thought it but,the {'ATGM' launch message.}

I really enjoy the message, it seems to add to the immersion factor; I get more of a feel of 'what's happening'....




Love that too..though would like to see it expanded i.e when an ARty unit is set to CB fire and it finds an enemy arty unit to be told in a message "CB fire Arty located in hex "....""

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/24/2014 11:01:40 AM   
Alchenar

 

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Most of my feedback is a bucket-list of things I'd like improved in the UI, but on a purely positive note I think it's helpful to compare/contrast with the closest competitor I can think of (Command Ops).

On that basis, I really like the hex-based map. Too many wargame developers aim uncritically for 1:1 simulation without stopping to think about a) whether that makes for a good game, and b) whether or not too much detail in one area will clash with abstractions made elsewhere to create a result that's less accurate than just abstracting in the first place. Within my first couple of games I was finding it easier and easier to scan the map and see lines of sight and fire without even needing to pull up the LOS overlay.

Limited orders per turn. Too many wargame developers either lose track of the central theme of their game or fail to include one in the first place. FPC revolves around the concept of competing battle plans as much as competing armies and everything around your turn is about using your limited number of actions in the best possible way to out-think your opponent. It's tight and focused and I love that.

The two sides play differently - using the same rules. If anyone thinks it's odd to think of this as a special bonus I invite you to go look at War in the East and the number of special rules the dev team have been throwing into and out of the game in order to try and make the Soviet side 'work'. The result there is that the two sides are almost two different games and have to be learned separately. In FPC once you've learned the basics of how to move one army around then you've learned how to move all armies around, which means you get to focus entirely on the tactical problem and not on trying to remember if the unit you have is going to do something odd because of a special rule that applies only to it.

In conclusion: FPC, definitely a game.

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/24/2014 11:29:39 AM   
Hexagon

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: jds1978

Feels like a 'Golden Age of War Gaming' classic.

The command cycle.

Sandbox style editor

Interesting niche topic.


Maybe now you can do it like this to show OOB on map:

-The colour triangle to show the regiment/brigade in NATO and division in WP
-The yellow banner in counter allways present with battalion colour for NATO and Regiment in WP.
-The square around counter appear when you click in an unit and show company units in NATO and battalion in WP.

Maybe the problem is that in the game we have 2 diferent scales by side in units... i like see in game the ability to join units to add more power to player in how deal with diferent situations (for example to join 2 damage companies to have a true company for example).

I know some guys that are going to buy game with the special offer... i really expect see this in SF because for me with the players edition price is an instant buy next year.

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/24/2014 11:33:53 AM   
ultradave


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I like the pop up window that asks what stance to assume after a movement order. Great idea.

And the maps. They are a HUGE improvement.

Those two things stand out for me.

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/24/2014 7:09:45 PM   
Newsoft


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One thing I really like about this game? It's available on Steam, which made me buy it today. Also, love the new maps and I also think this is the typical "Easy to learn, hard to master" gaming experience. You guys deserve all the success!

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/26/2014 4:48:00 PM   
Action Camper

 

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What you did right? Everything But the most thing i like is the editor. Now i can build historical Bundeswehr battalions with the perfect Chain of Command.

You guys are genius.


Sorry for my bad language.

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/27/2014 3:39:55 AM   
istari6

 

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I'm in software development myself (medical), so I fully understand a developer's desire to hear something positive once in awhile about the current product. Particularly when OTS is doing such yeoman work in fielding the multiple critiques and ideas for future versions :).


MAJOR

#1. Operational AI. The Soviets move incredibly fast, while maintaining mass and showing flexibility in response to unexpected situations. A great example of this occurred when I was slow repositioning a Bradley company in the opening turns of battle. A T-80 company+ came rolling over the hills at full speed (arriving much sooner than I expected) and caught them in transition, practically annihilating them. I could see the rest of the T-80 battalion massing behind as they continued down the road past my flaming wrecks. I scrambled to put M1s in a blocking position further down the autobahn. The M1s opened up and caught that lead T-80 company in an ambush, devastating them. I smiled waiting for the rest of the battalion to keep rolling into my killing zone. Instead, the rest of the T-80s stopped just out of range, paused, and then took a bypass route SW avoiding my ambush entirely. My jaw dropped. After finally finishing all of the standalone scenarios, I now have a healthy fear of the velocity, mass and agility of the Soviet Army in full attack mode :).

#2. Campaign Design - the overarching plot and the Google Earth plug-in are fantastic. Many fiction authors used Sir John Hackett’s “The Third World War” as their backdrop (see "Team Yankee", "The Chieftains", etc) and called it a day, focusing their attention on creating specific tactical battles. Instead, the OTS team took the time to construct a plausible 1989 storyline putting NATO in a worst-case scenario, then showing how the various battles all interconnected at the operational/strategic level as part of Red Storm. I really enjoyed “following the story” as I moved from scenario to scenario in chronological order and uncovered what was happening to NATO, and it created an extra level of drama when I was fighting "back to the wall" scenarios like "12 Bravo", "Test of Wills" and "Thor's Hammer".

3. Scenario Design - the main impression is tension, tension, tension. Every scenario I played was a challenge, and the pressure was unrelenting. Mistakes were punished, sometimes brutally. Only a few times did I feel like I mastered the enemy early and then proceeded to beat him up at my leisure. Several times I suffered an outright Decisive Defeat in my first play through (hello Pied Piper!) and saw what Soviet doctrine looked like when it worked as designed. The scenarios were always well-balanced, challenging and yet still managed to show the full range of the game engine. I never felt like I was fighting the same battle twice.

3. OOB UI - others have already commented on this, but wanted to call out the ease of cross-attachments and the way in which out-of-command units are highlighted in red. Makes it very easy to understand what's happening with the command net as units are fragmented under the stresses of battle, and I've enjoyed the process of creating customized units via cross-attachments during the setup phase to meet specific tactical challenges. I'd always heard this kind of cross-attachment was a strength of NATO's (the US and UK in particular), and it was gratifying to have a chance to use it in practice (and suffer the consequences when I didn't pay attention to the command relationships).

4. Readiness - I appreciate the way this single variable responds to the various stresses and strains of the battlefield. It's an elegant mechanic that shows how long road marches in tactical formation wear down a unit even without any enemy contact (I'm looking at you, Challenger I platoons). Or the way in which even harassing artillery fire gradually undermines the combat effectiveness of a force. Or the way in which Readiness plunges after a prolonged period of sustained firefights. Units just get "fought out" in an organic way that feels right, and really limits the NATO commander's ability to rely on a few wunderwaffen like other games.

5. Tactical AI - while there are specific "corner cases" where the AI will be further improved for future versions, overall the tactical responses of individual units really "make sense". My units will pull back even when on Hold orders when they've reached a certain level. The way they'll pull back and find cover to Resupply on their own. The way in which units pause and sidestep when meeting unexpected obstacles. They show enough initiative to add realistic self-preservation, without having so much they're constantly breaking the overall plan.

6. Meaningful Options - as Sid Meier famously said, game design is about "giving the player meaningful choices". The options for movement, artillery and other tactical choices are few but meaningful. Hasty Movement and Deliberate Movement have real impacts on gameplay. Same with Harassing versus Neutralizing. Yet I don't feel burdened by lots of choices that are there just because it "adds realism", without really affecting the tactical choices.

THE LITTLE THINGS

1. Thermals Modeling - very cool details like the way that the morning haze affects thermals, or the variability of sighting under different conditions of rain (seen most vividly in "Test of Wills". Learned a few things about thermal sights here!

2. Colored LOS Overlay - I appreciate the way that LOS tool is colored by ease of sighting into the specific hex. It's a little touch, but really helps the player grasp the situation quickly.

3. FSCC as a toggleable option during the game - I appreciate that this UI component is exposed and can be switched on and off during the battle. Another of those little things that show careful attention to the UI and what the player will need exposed rather than buried in submenus.

4. Uncertainty in Enemy #s - at first I was confused when the enemy tank companies kept shifting in size :). Weren't there 8 there a minute ago? Why are there now 6? Why are they up to 10? What is going on? Then I realized the game is modeling the inherent uncertainty in reporting from men under stress and with varying visibility in a battlefield swept with smoke and fire. Nice touch.

Hope this gives some helpful feedback to the OTS team on all they've done right with the current version!

Chris



< Message edited by istari6 -- 11/27/2014 4:51:05 AM >

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/27/2014 9:52:29 PM   
henri51


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I have not played enough yet to judge to what extent it is possible (I am still in the tutorial), but I would like to see the game (or scenarios) to implement the concepts of "Maneuver Warfare Handbook" by William S. Lind, and "The Art of Maneuver" by Robert Leonhard. Implementing the Boyd cycle in this game is a good step in the right direction.Maybe some of the scenarios described in the above books could be adapted for this game?

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/28/2014 12:20:35 AM   
WABAC

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: henri51

I have not played enough yet to judge to what extent it is possible (I am still in the tutorial), but I would like to see the game (or scenarios) to implement the concepts of "Maneuver Warfare Handbook" by William S. Lind, and "The Art of Maneuver" by Robert Leonhard. Implementing the Boyd cycle in this game is a good step in the right direction.Maybe some of the scenarios described in the above books could be adapted for this game?


In keeping with the OP I would like to say that one of the nice things about this game is the tool set provided to create your own scenarios.

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/29/2014 3:45:21 PM   
ultradave


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I should add one more thing to the 2 I listed above. FP:RS has a somewhat unique perspective into operational level warfare. Somewhat similar to Battles for the Bulge, but brought forward to the modern era. (with BFTB you have to consciously avoid stopping and meddling, whereas here you are forced to set up and let it run). I think one of the major things that appeals to me about it is that it is about the same perspective I had as an active duty Army officer when I was brigade fire support officer. It has the same feel as planning out an operation at the same level I worked at. Interesting to see how some of the things "game out" that we practiced for in real life, and covers the same time period.

I enjoy the aspect of NOT having to micromanage every action on the board, but rather plan ahead and then see how the plan unfolds. It's more akin to being in the HQ and watching the same thing..

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RE: The Good in FPC - 11/30/2014 4:40:49 PM   
raventhefuhrer

 

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I have a few things to add or reiterate.

1) Steam - I've heard it alleged that Matrix Games prices their games too highly, and I'd probably agree. Sight unseen, I wouldn't have shelled out $60. However, over the week I saw this on Steam, heavily discounted, and purchased it. I mention this because, without Steam I never would've heard of this game, and without the discount I likely wouldn't have bought it even had I known about it. So I think this was a good relationship, and I hope you continue it with future titles. I am an accountant by trade so I understand a little of what goes into deciding on a price point, so I know people who criticize your chosen price points may be doing so unfairly. I just hope the increased volume of sales from Steam is a worthwhile relationship.

2) Developer Support - you are engaged on the forums. I even posted a thread on Steam and a developer responded to it within an hour as I recall. Obviously that can't and won't always be typical, but it's a pleasant surprise.

3) Immersion - the tone of the game is very nice. For essentially watching squares shoot blue/red lines at each other, the action is surprisingly riveting as you pray for the tell-tale explosion bloom to signify a kill, and then hope more follow. Oftentimes seeing your enemy do something, and then hurriedly trying to react leads to a great amount of excitement and suspense. So you have done basically the best job possible in making this sort of game exciting.

4) Tutorial - you guys did a good job with the tutorial scenario and the accompanied PDF. After playing through the tutorial successfully, following what essentially was an illustrated walkthrough, I understood the game a lot better.

< Message edited by raventhefuhrer -- 11/30/2014 5:42:35 PM >

(in reply to ultradave)
Post #: 29
RE: The Good in FPC - 11/30/2014 6:05:27 PM   
Capn Darwin


Posts: 6819
Joined: 2/12/2005
From: Newark, OH
Status: offline
We are glad to see that you are enjoying the game.

_____________________________

Back from Origins. Refreshed. Looking forward to next year already!

Website under construction

Cap'n Darwin aka Jim Snyder
On Target Simulation

(in reply to raventhefuhrer)
Post #: 30
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