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Farewell to JTCS

 
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Farewell to JTCS - 1/18/2016 11:37:07 AM   
Kool Kat


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Gents:

I thought long and hard before deciding to make my opinion on JTCS public. These are my thoughts and how I see the future of JTCS and the direction the Dev Team is taking this game platform. So, brace ourselves for the dissecting of each sentence... the mounted and "spirited" defense of every point and counterpoint... and the chorus of supporters who will rush to the new platform's defense. So be it.

It's my opinion and I stand by it...


IMHO the "JTCS train" has left the station a while back... embarking on it's last journey.

The Dev Team has stated that JTCS will be unbundled into separate titles... and a new game platform (CS: ME) will be utilized in the WW2 titles following CS: Vietnam.

The JTCS "engine" will slowly lose "steam" and come to a final halt down the tracks where it will rust and fall apart. JTCS will die a slow 2 year+ "death" with no future dev work, few new player-made scenarios (who wants to make scenarios for an obsolete game platform?), and a dwindling player base.

Frankly, I don't believe the Dev Team understands customer service or business savvy. Focusing on two "niche" titles (ME and the future Vietnam) first BEFORE tackling the much more popular and lucrative WW2 era looks to be a mistake. But, I'm sure what is driving CS Vietnam development is that the Matrix Team have already worked up the modern weapons tables and have some of the OOBs already built. Also, focusing on WF BEFORE the more popular EF content demonstrates a lack of market and industry knowledge. Again, development efforts seem to be centered around what is "faster" and "easier" to put out into the market... and not necessarily what is desired by the customer base.

It also appears that ME has glitches and some bugs, but as importantly there are few "balanced" scenarios. I took a look at the reported ME games. Playing lopsided scenarios is no fun... but might be a way to "balance" scenarios if you play exclusively against the AI? Have the AI take the advantaged side and you "might" have a somewhat balanced game? I also think its condescending to develop a tactical modern game from scratch, throw in a bunch of "historical" one-sided scenarios AND then tell the player base - you want "balanced" scenarios - go build them yourselves - something the Dev Team should have incorporated into their development efforts from the start. Did the Dev Team ever recruit CS PBeM players to help extensively play test the scenarios? Or ask veteran CS players to help design balanced scenarios? Also, the Dev Team is focused on 2D counters / terrain and don't play much PBeM (most have stated they play exclusively against the AI).

It's also disheartening to read some of the "fan boys" comments on the Matrix Forums - they are willing to shell out any amount of money for shiny new game platforms... but there is no discussion on play balance or holding the Dev Teams' "feet to the fire" to introduce more "balanced" and frankly more enjoyable scenarios into any of their game platforms. I am also skeptical that the Dev Team will be able to port over the thousands of player-made EF, WF, and RS scenarios into their new game platform. They have already stated the "plan" is to create a tool that will "convert" the numbering system of the original content for the new game platform... but who is going to test all the ported content? The "testing" will fall to the player base who will sit down to play a classic scenario... only to discover that it is unplayable or completely changed from its original form. The Dev Team is driving to launching a new title per year (as stated in the forums) - again IMHO is a reckless and untenable goal.

But again, all these events are 2+ years out. By the time the Dev Team turns its attention to unbundling JTCS, creating 3 separate game titles and modeling JTCS into the CS ME "mold" as a totally unrecognizable game platform from today... these forum comments will be long forgotten (or simply ignored)... and it will be business as usual at Matrix Games.

Oh well... it was a fun and memorable "journey" while it lasted...

< Message edited by Kool Kat -- 2/6/2016 1:13:50 PM >


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RE: Farewell to JTCS - 1/18/2016 12:50:13 PM   
Jason Petho


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Thank you for your opinion.

Jason Petho

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RE: Farewell to JTCS - 1/18/2016 2:26:19 PM   
pzgndr

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Kool Kat
The JTCS "engine" will slowly lose "steam" and come to final halt down the tracks


FWIW, I never really got into Tiller games before the combined Matrix version of JTCS. It seemed like "the engine" was used to spawn an endless number of narrowly-focused games, what I always thought of as the "Tiller Game of the Month Club."

I got into JTCS primarily because of the Ode to Panzer Blitz/Panzer Leader mods, and now Arab-Israeli Wars mod for Middle East. I'm not really interested in Viet Nam but a modern NATO-Warsaw Pact game would be nice. Really, I would much prefer to see "the CS engine" continue to improve with new upgrades backward-compatible to previous games/scenarios. I understand the business reasons for marketing "new" games, but if it comes at the expense of fracturing the community then that's a serious trade-off to be considered.

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RE: Farewell to JTCS - 1/18/2016 2:42:42 PM   
carll11

 

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My original experience with gaming started like most here with Avalon hill et al. All the Sqd ldr. Games, Napoleonic’s etc. I remember playing Panzer something other on my Commodore 64, horrid graphics ( at the ime it was boffo lol) etc. BUT it was a game!

My first tiller game was waterloo, the graphics were stunning, units etc…….they produced all the campaigns as standalones there after. And because each year/campaign was separate and they wanted to actually get the games out, they went away from the original graphics, which I discovered after e-mailing back and forth with one of the dev team , Rich Hamilton-were hand painted. Yup, a labor of love to be sure, it took months. Just for the maps. They had to go with a simplified block computer generated design( the Mechanics of the gamew however remained the same) , my upset was great, that’s how I came about emailing the dev. Team. But, I had to agree they had no choice. It was wait years&years for another campaign or……..so, I got used to it.
Change sux at times, but its necessary, I get that.

Bundling? I never expected to get 4-5 Campaigns in one re: they ( HPS Simulations) didn’t put them out that way, ever, so I never got used to getting say 3 for one as we do now with JTCS.

Now, today here in lies the rub imho- you are turning the clock back…. We did have to buy the unbundled version, those of us who have been playing it since it came out, the original TS- WF, EF, then EFII etc. so we paid separately, fine …………………years later great, they were now bundled, but to get the new expanded version, updates etc. we paid again…….now, we are going to step back in time? And go unbundled? And it appears, appears being the operative word, there may be no sppt. for the mods? Views/appearance will change, etc.?
The old (present) will wither, on the hopes that new community under the new paradigm will grow, as it did for the present mod community?
I am trying to figure out whats to gain? For Matrix, and for me as a gamer who loves this series as it is.

Its going to take a lot to make me pony up more $$ especially for something I have paid for twice ( and frankly even if I had only paid once) already. Add let me add the $$ is not the issue, I can afford it, but I don’t and won’t throw money around for change for the sake of change without real benefit……

So, in closing, I can be convinced, I never say never, BUT, I have 2 questions- , why and what for? Why is this change happening, exactly and what makes this an attractive alternative to what stands now?

(in reply to pzgndr)
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RE: Farewell to JTCS - 1/19/2016 12:32:53 PM   
MrRoadrunner


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Sad to agree with you Mike.
There really is no reason to un-bundle the series. Only in the mind of the clueless programmer.

They are doing it because they can and want to. They have left players and the "play-ablity" of the game out in the nether reaches of what they consider will be future success.
In the process their narrow focus becomes myopic. The forest for the trees comes to mind?

Bugs you say? We get: "What bugs? We cannot repeat what happened so therefore it is you and not the game? Or, it is you and your machine and not anything we have done." Those comments cut deeply.
Especially when it comes out later: "Uh, yes we have issues with off board artillery and helicopters being overrun by tanks. But, that and the other hundred problems will be fixed shortly. Don't worry we won't screw up EF, WF, and RS either. Plus, we'll be able to put in all the kewl things that we just love!"
"Trust us."
"And, no, it does not matter that 99% of the H2H scenarios created for the game are one sided (and after the "fixes" and redesigns most are still one sided) but, will be defended to death as playable H2H. It is you that have not been playing the game right. You do not understand. You do not know how to play this "new" and wonderful game we have created."
"And, oh, a small matter. It does not matter that the hundreds of independent scenarios created by other for the game may not work when we un-bundle. You and others can just make more."

No thanks!

They could have simply done Middle East and Vietnam and then Future and/or Past Multiple (insert title here) without messing with the Series. Those niche games could have stood or fallen on their own without having to effect the Series and it's players.

I've come to the same conclusion. Time is on the march and it will soon pass me and many others in regards to the Campaign Series.
The saddest of all is that it is being done intentionally with only the drive and effort of the team. A team who quite frankly is the "blind leading the blind" or the "dumb leading the dumber".

Regardless of the fanboy cheers. Most of whom are just fools who think that their dreams will come true. When all the changes are effected they can then sit in their parents basement and play with themselves to their hearts content.
I'm sure that is what they, and the team, want?

Finally. Before the pathetic and sarcastic comment comes in a reply, I'll just say; "no ... thank you ... Jason".

RR

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RE: Farewell to JTCS - 1/19/2016 1:02:15 PM   
Jason Petho


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Thank you for your opinion, Ed.

Jason Petho

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RE: Farewell to JTCS - 1/19/2016 1:08:38 PM   
zakblood


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seems one mod comments are enough

i take far too long to write so by the time i pressed ok, too late JP already had posted his reply

< Message edited by zakblood -- 1/19/2016 2:10:17 PM >

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RE: Farewell to JTCS - 1/19/2016 1:45:19 PM   
Plodder


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I must admit by being disappointed when I heard of the unbundling as I thought the series was going to go the other way.Having one exe and a common database for all the WWII games with all the other usability improvements would have been great.

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Farwell - 1/19/2016 2:03:17 PM   
KEYSTONE0795


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I've played the Campaign Series since it was first released. I remember how surprised I was when it was first bundled. What a present for the gaming community! Selfishly, I too would prefer the series remained bundled. What is more important to me is the "FUN" factor. I enjoy playing Middle East. I'm sure I will enjoy Vietnam. I am retired now, so I don't like to throw away money. I consider the money I've spent on all the iterations of the Campaign series money well spent. I'll continue to play and support the series as long as it remains FUN.

< Message edited by KEYSTONE0795 -- 1/19/2016 9:16:49 PM >

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RE: Hello Campaign Series - 1/19/2016 5:23:55 PM   
MrRoadrunner


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How about keeping the bundle? Support it and call it the Classic Campaign Series?

Then the crew can play around with the un-bundled parts, call them what they want as stand alone platforms and see what the market decides?

And, Zakblood, don't be shy, post away please. The more moderators the merrier?

Jason, mine is the opinion of a customer (apparently more than one). Just try to remember that?

RR

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RE: Hello Campaign Series - 1/19/2016 6:51:21 PM   
76mm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MrRoadrunner
How about keeping the bundle? Support it and call it the Classic Campaign Series?

Then the crew can play around with the un-bundled parts, call them what they want as stand alone platforms and see what the market decides?


Sorry, but I still really don't understand...as far as I know, no one is going to take away the "Classic Campaign Series." You can keep playing it for as long as you can find opponents. What sort of "support" are you looking for for the classic bundle?

(in reply to MrRoadrunner)
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RE: Farwell - 1/21/2016 9:27:13 AM   
Citizen Emperor


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quote:

ORIGINAL: KEYSTONE0795

quote:

I consider the money I've spent on all the iterations of the Campaign series money well spent. I'll continue to play and support the series as long as it remains FUN.


Same here. I just hope that future "unbundled" incarnations of EF, WF and RS not only feature cool new improvements (graphics, AI, etc.), but are not so altered from their original form that they aren't recognizable as being the same game system.

BTW, Keystone... Isn't that the notorious Krankor form PRINCE OF SPACE as your avatar?

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RE: Farewell to JTCS - 1/21/2016 11:36:04 AM   
Jafele


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MrRoadrunner

Regardless of the fanboy cheers. Most of whom are just fools who think that their dreams will come true. When all the changes are effected they can then sit in their parents basement and play with themselves to their hearts content.
I'm sure that is what they, and the team, want?

RR


The only fanboys I see are those who think JTCS is totally perfect. Thanks to their stupid idolatry, there is no progression in UI, AI or graphics in most of classic wargames nowdays. Fortunately there´s a dev team concerned about this sad situation.

< Message edited by Jafele -- 1/21/2016 12:50:59 PM >


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RE: Farewell to JTCS - 1/21/2016 11:39:29 AM   
76mm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jafele
The only fanboys I see are those who think JTCS is totally perfect.


Well, that's the thing...they like the game as it is, and are not being deprived of the ability to play it...so I can't really understand what they're complaining about?

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RE: Farwell - 1/21/2016 1:48:21 PM   
KEYSTONE0795


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Citizen Emperor


quote:

ORIGINAL: KEYSTONE0795

quote:

I consider the money I've spent on all the iterations of the Campaign series money well spent. I'll continue to play and support the series as long as it remains FUN.


Same here. I just hope that future "unbundled" incarnations of EF, WF and RS not only feature cool new improvements (graphics, AI, etc.), but are not so altered from their original form that they aren't recognizable as being the same game system.

BTW, Keystone... Isn't that the notorious Krankor form PRINCE OF SPACE as your avatar?



Yes, that is my favorite totally inept master villain - THE PHANTOM OF KRANKOR from Prince of Space!

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RE: Farwell - 1/21/2016 5:32:08 PM   
jreebel


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I really don't sympathize with complaints about paying more or again. I have paid for WF, EF and the bundle, as well as recently ME. I'm certainly far from rich, but if you take the hours of enjoyment playing the games and divide them into the cost, please tell me where you could get anywhere near the entertainment value received. Surely not from a month's cable viewing, going to a movie or buying a good book which cost much more per hour of enjoyment.


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RE: Farwell - 1/22/2016 3:25:21 PM   
rpwood


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Amen!

I have never paid less for more entertainment. Let's not forget that JTCS just underwent a major upgrade.

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RE: Farwell - 1/23/2016 1:36:42 PM   
carll11

 

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So, in closing, I can be convinced, I never say never, BUT, I have 2 questions- , why and what for? Why is this change happening, exactly and what makes this an attractive alternative to what stands now?

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RE: Farwell - 1/23/2016 2:21:28 PM   
76mm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: carl11
Why is this change happening, exactly and what makes this an attractive alternative to what stands now?


I don't know about you, but I like to be able to see the games I'm playing on modern computers/monitors, which rules out the old games for me. The additional zoom levels alone make the new game worth it, indeed necessary, to me.

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RE: Farwell - 1/23/2016 2:25:33 PM   
carll11

 

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I am sorry 76, I am not sure how you mean that- are you saying the graphics now are not displaying correctly? the present zoom levels, close in or out, (Hotkey 2 or 5) at least for me is pretty close in and 5 provides a great BF overview.., I am not sure being in any closer would gain anything, view wise...(?)

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RE: Farwell - 1/23/2016 4:25:14 PM   
Warhorse


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Do you have CSME? The extra 2d zooms at my 54 years of age are a serious bonus!!

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RE: Farwell - 1/23/2016 4:36:52 PM   
76mm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: carl11
the present zoom levels, close in or out, (Hotkey 2 or 5) at least for me is pretty close in and 5 provides a great BF overview.., I am not sure being in any closer would gain anything, view wise...(?)


They're displaying correctly, but even at max zoom, the graphics in the classic series are far too small for me to see comfortably. The graphics in CSME are much more to my liking--not only size, but generally the counters, etc. are crisper and have the factor indicators, etc.

< Message edited by 76mm -- 1/23/2016 5:38:22 PM >

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RE: Farwell - 1/23/2016 10:07:21 PM   
carll11

 

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No, I have not purchased it yet. So I have no frame of refeence re: the extra 2d....thx

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RE: Farwell - 1/23/2016 10:07:53 PM   
carll11

 

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Understood, thx.

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RE: Farwell - 1/23/2016 11:24:01 PM   
Warhorse


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Ahh, ok. There are now a couple new zooms, which is very nice, when used to the '4' view in JTCS! There are screenshots and such at the ME forum, so you can sort of see what I mean. But, there is so much more in the game that is new as well.

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RE: Farwell - 1/24/2016 11:57:34 PM   
carll11

 

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I pln on getting it soon..thx!

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RE: Farwell - 2/3/2016 11:32:23 PM   
Kool Kat


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Gents:

It really pains me to be negative and depressed over where this Dev Team is taking future JTCS development… but I call it like I see it.

I’m no stranger to the Dev Team. I’ve helped both Mike and Petri with play testing their JTCS H2H scenarios. I’ve worked with Jason as a fellow Blitz officer. Berto I don’t know very well, but have had a few “offline” conversations with him on various aspects of JTCS.

When I first started to suspect that the Dev Team was getting “off track” with JTCS development were those succession of game patches, starting with 1.03. In many cases, each successive patch was put out, in part, to fix bugs and errors introduced in the previous one! The Dev Team initially made Extreme Assault (EA) the default assault rule… and that started the fracture of the JTCS Community as players divided into two camps – EA and not EA. Also, not only did EA fracture our Community, it also “broke” many of the pre-EA designed scenarios. I played a JTCS scenario in which a single MG squad held out against waves of close assaults by battalion-sized formations!

Then, there was the business about the game interface with the tiny icons… engineers building bridges in 6 minutes… plane units that did not fly… and other out of scale units.

Sometimes, it’s best to just leave a “classic” game alone… and having played JTCS since early 2000… I really wish the Dev Team had stopped at the 1.04 patch… and left well enough alone. But, that’s not what happened.

And now, with the planned unbundling of JTCS and the publishing of three separate titles… the JTCS Community will fracture again – this time into the “classic” JTCS and “new” CS Series camps. I wonder how many times the Matrix Dev Team can subdivide a niche market that has a plethora of WW2 games and compete against such heavy weights as the Panzer Battles Series, developed and published by John Tiller Software?

I guess time will tell?


< Message edited by Kool Kat -- 2/6/2016 1:07:17 PM >


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RE: Farwell - 2/4/2016 12:28:01 AM   
Jason Petho


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quote:

Remember the discussion when the Dev Team argued that the scale of the game was “sometimes” 250 meters per hex and sometimes 6 minutes of time?


"Using the top five most played, Talonsoft scenarios, I thought it might be interesting to see how the original designers used the time scale within their scenarios."

Tank Graveyard at Minsk by Doug Bevard
Game Turns: 18 = 108 minutes
Actual Battle length represented by the scenario objectives and conditions for victory: ~10 hours (being generous as it lasted nearly 2 days) = 600 minutes
Designer modified time scale: 33.3 minutes per turn

Giants on the Vistula by Doug Bevard
Game Turns: 20 = 120 minutes
Actual Battle length represented by the scenario objectives and conditions for victory: 9 hours (being generous as it lasted nearly 36 hours) = 540 minutes
Designer modified time scale: 27 minutes per turn

Red Steel at Fedorovka by Doug Bevard
Game Turns: 14 = 84 minutes
Actual Battle length represented by the scenario objectives and conditions for victory: ~11 hours (being generous as it lasted nearly 3 days) = 660 minutes
Designer modified time scale: 47.1 minutes per turn

Storm 5-5-5 by Doug Bevard
Game Turns: 12 = 72 minutes
Actual Battle length represented by the scenario objectives and conditions for victory: ~4 hours = 240 minutes
Designer modified time scale: 20 minutes per turn

The Battle is Joined by Doug Bevard
Game Turns: 20 = 120 minutes
Actual Battle length represented by the scenario objectives and conditions for victory: ~8 hours (being generous as it lasted nearly 16 hours) = 480 minutes
Designer modified time scale: 24 minutes per turn


I don't recall anywhere that the map scale has been called into being anything but 250m per hex.

Jason Petho

< Message edited by Jason Petho -- 2/4/2016 1:31:41 AM >


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RE: Farwell - 2/4/2016 5:57:42 AM   
Crossroads


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Yes, how the units are modeled and in how many turns a certain historic battle would play out to historic results are two different things.

Not least for the reason the player has a complete "god view" to all friendlies even when Fog-of-war is in place. And larger the scenario the greater the deviation, typically.

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RE: Farwell - 2/4/2016 9:58:08 AM   
Huib


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Crossroads

Yes, how the units are modeled and in how many turns a certain historic battle would play out to historic results are two different things.

Not least for the reason the player has a complete "god view" to all friendlies even when Fog-of-war is in place. And larger the scenario the greater the deviation, typically.


Some of Kool Kats remarks apparently stem from his own failure (or unwillingness) to understand (turn based) game mechanics vs reality. By definition pauses in fights and battles, order delay etc. can only be modelled in real time games such as the Command Ops series for example and never in turn based games.

So claiming a specific turn is exactly a specific given historical time span (in whatever manual) is an impossibility and won't hold up in any game or scenario (whether JT Panzer Campaigns or Talonsoft CS). However that is not a concern, as the designer can determine the needed number of turns to make the best representation of the actual events.

On top of that Kool Kat's own custom scenarios also fail to qualify for the absurd fixed "scale" givens he claims to be carved in stone from the "old manual". In fact that is the case with ALL CS scenarios and that's just fine.

Cheers
Huib

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