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First impressions here please

 
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First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 3:20:55 AM   
wodin


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Can the people who buy the game please post their first impressions when ready.
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RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 4:34:02 AM   
sabre100

 

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Well havent played much but what I have seen so far is excellent, the game is also very smooth and stable.

Nice Job

(in reply to wodin)
Post #: 2
RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 5:55:07 PM   
Chelco

 

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I got it yesterday and could play only for one hour, late at night.
I am totally in love with this game. Very well done!
Not a Cold War buff, barely what you should call an acquainted WWII PC wargamer, but very interested in realistic depictions of warfare, I am sure this game will have very good reviews.
I have to confess that I always lurked in these forums, but I wasn't impressed. Square tiles, move counter here to there, so what? But last night I realized that this game will likely be for me one of those "easy to play, hard to master" games. The classsics that never leave your hard drive. FPG is an enormous, complex beast that it will take me some time to even scratch the surface. So much detail in orders, dispositions, hardware, doctrine. You name it! Kudos to the developer(s?). For the ignorants like me, the hardware pictures and info are invaluable. The WEGO system was a terrific choice given the aggregation scale of terrain and opposing forces.
Looking forward to hear the opinions of the Cold War buffs here.
I played the first tutorial and had a blast. My favorite tool/aid so far (don't laugh, I AM that ignorant of Cold War) the line of sight key. No more guessing what's the vintage point that controls the valley. No more guessing of what's the best ambush position.
I will come back with more.
Cheers,

(in reply to sabre100)
Post #: 3
RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 5:57:10 PM   
Black Cat

 

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Since I only play against the AI I wonder how that is in attack and defense ?

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RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 6:13:38 PM   
Chelco

 

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Hi Cat,
Same single-player-only situation here.
What you ask is of my top interest and I wish I could answer in better detail. Maybe somebody can already answer this.
I didn't have time to experiment in detail. Basically I was in awe for the complexity of the game. I will give the scenario editor a try, time allows.
The scenario I played, first tutorial, is kindof simple and short. And that's on purpose, so you focus in learning how to move your forces. But the WP forces attacked me fiercely. On a first try, I lost almost a whole Abrams platoon (I placed them on a very exposed position and the WP mechanized infantry made use of their antitank capability). It was nasty. But then I READ the tutorial and became aware of the posibility of letting the WP forces to advance and surprising them when they are close. And it worked so good!
I will let you know as soon as I try the scenario editor.
Cheers,

(in reply to Black Cat)
Post #: 5
RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 6:44:50 PM   
Kelm

 

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Hi,

i will try to give my opinion, although my english is not very good...

One thing that i like with this game is that you can parametrer practically all the options which propose the game, windows, game options, turn length...for these last option it allow the player to choose between a close micro-managment of his units with short time turn, ot for long time turn to choose to play more with the doctrines, and the settings of his units. it's the same for the support units (artillery) you can choose between a "direct control of these units, or leave your units calls themself for support.

I have played the two tutorial scenarios, and if the overall game seem to be complex in his mechanics, after several replay with the two tutorial and try different approaches, i start to understand better the game.

The only thing that is missing for me in the game is music, i know that some players dont really attach importance to that, but when i play i like to hear musical accompaniment, for these last i have extracted the music that come with steel panthers 2...

BTW, it's just an opinion that i have after several hours of play, so i am sorry, of not being able to give you a more accurate point of view...and in conclusion the price is not very expensive for a game of this quality.

< Message edited by Kelm -- 1/25/2005 4:46:07 PM >

(in reply to Chelco)
Post #: 6
RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 7:11:10 PM   
sabre100

 

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After playing the 2 tutorials this game blows me away. Anyhow the graphics, the style, everything about this game is great. Really fun and challenging but easy to learn and get into the game. I love the sound effects for the weapons firing and vechile movement. Cant wait for user scenarios to start coming out. But this is a great game and you cant beat the price. Excellent game engine also, Matrix you should use this engine for other games and also make add-ons for this game it is a winner.

< Message edited by sabre100 -- 1/25/2005 5:13:14 PM >

(in reply to Kelm)
Post #: 7
RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 7:36:28 PM   
Poliorcetes

 

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I've done the first 2 tutorials a few times. So far I really like the game. I'm still trying to grasp all that is going on. I need to play with the Artillary TDP's, as I was having trouble getting the Right Click options to show up.
Learning to move everything in a timely matter definitely takes some getting used to. I selected isolated units rather than group selecting so my marches looked like an accordian. I need to read the manual some more to figure out what the movement numbers actually mean (7 what?) and how that fits with the numbers that appear when you Hotkey M.
AI is hard to tell. As the WP the americans just charged up the road at me, even though the only victory points were for staying in sector 6. I tried a flanking approach, it started raining (visibiilty dropped to 500 m, 1 square) and at the end had a bloodless victory as the US charged out of sector 6 and I snuck in the back (I never knew where they were). Given the huge effect of heavy rain and no weather forcast, I may skip the weather options.

The second tutorial was over in 3 turns. 2nd turn the WP ran into my dug in Abrams unit in the trees (90 cover rating), with 3 units. I destroyed 1 unit and damaged the 2nd with no casualties. Called in the airstrike whice destroyed the 3rd unit and suddenly won due to WP down to 18% units. I was very worried though as their sudden presence in the woods triggered every local units SOP withdrawl. My whole line collapsed into retreat to try to keep the minimum distance. Guess I need to turn off the SOP for frontline units or something like that. Even 1 recon unit can cause everyone to retreat if they make it close enough to trigger the SOP.

I look forward to a real scenario today.

Poliorcetes

(in reply to wodin)
Post #: 8
RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 7:57:16 PM   
TheHellPatrol


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Very solid i might add. Another huge step forward is having the manual available in the "help" menu, you can play the game AND browse the manual if need be. Without a paper manual this is a great replacement IMHO and should be done in all titles...hint, hint.

_____________________________

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
Henry David Thoreau


(in reply to Poliorcetes)
Post #: 9
RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 8:17:16 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Just to comment on a few things - the tutorials are supposed to be pretty easy to win if you use decent tactics. There are a number of more difficult scenarios in the game. The AI is no genius, no game AI is, but it makes for a decent opponent and is certainly an excellent training and practice tool. If you have the time and opportunity, once you've gotten to beating the AI regularly try a PBEM or TCP/IP game. FPG is one of our few titles to support both options so all gamers should have a multiplayer style they enjoy.

Regards,

- Erik

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(in reply to TheHellPatrol)
Post #: 10
RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 8:28:37 PM   
J P Falcon

 

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As a long time player of the board game FULDA GAP from SPI, I am watching these first impressions with much interest....so far it seems promising....

(in reply to Erik Rutins)
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RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 8:40:40 PM   
Catgh


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More Comments about the AI...

During testing we had a great deal of discussion about the AI. There were times that the AI was just plain to agressive. Here you were thinking you were playing a traditional attack/defense scenario and it turns out the AI decided to make it a meeting engagement. I guess what I am trying to say, the AI does pull out some surprises at times.

Like Erik said though, eventually everyone will be able to defeat the AI.

(in reply to wodin)
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RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 8:45:14 PM   
Oliver Heindorf


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what is SOP ? and why is game over when a unit is overrun

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RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 8:47:47 PM   
Catgh


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There is a rule when the opposing forces drop to less than a certian percentage (I don't remember it) the opposing force is considered combat ineffective, thusly playing the game is a waste of time from that point on.

SOP - Standard Operating Procedures - What the unit does when it encounter situations or when it needs to send reports about it situation back to command. Basically setting up when to fire and when to run is one of the big SOP decisions to be made.

< Message edited by Catgh -- 1/25/2005 6:48:50 PM >

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Post #: 14
RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 9:03:01 PM   
RobertCrandall


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Ah, you seem to be touching on two key features in the original SimCan game that we based this design on.

Main Battle Tank let you set the "standard operating procedure" for each and every unit with respect to how close enemy units were allowed to approach and how far away you were allowed to open fire at. "SOP" is the abreviation for this and it is found on the Doctrine tab of the Unit Description Panel in the bottom right corner of the main screen. It is well worth taking a look at once you get comfortable with the other mechanics of the game.

The other feature was the concept of "sudden death" if you suffered sufficiently severe losses. The game is over if your "line" combat units (infantry, tank, recon but not HQ or arty) lose 80% of their initial strength during the course of the scenario. That is a pretty horrific loss in a short time and it forces you to keep in mind that 'winning' is not enough if it costs your superior everything he entrusted you with.

Please also note that there is a rule in the victory conditions that if the game ends with sudden death then the winner gets a share of the victory points for sectors he could not otherwise claim yet. This is to prevent a 'flame-out defence' where you know you will lose but you (briefly) stop the other guy well short of his victory objectives and trigger sudden death before he can motor over and collect his winnings! I forget which of our sneaky diabolical playtesters came up with that one now, but it was a great way to minimze the success of the other side while it lasted....

I hope that this has addressed your points. If not, please let us know.

Cheers, Rob.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Oliver Heindorf

what is SOP ? and why is game over when a unit is overrun

(in reply to Oliver Heindorf)
Post #: 15
RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 9:21:08 PM   
RobertCrandall


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When I first started the game it was possible to embed the actual rules directly into the game itself as just another screen. That was really cool but then Adobe in it's wisdom changed the licensing terms for Acrobat so that only Microsoft's Internet Explorer was allowed that trick. Sigh. It is still programmatically possible but since it is not within the terms we had to drop it.

When Matrix grows to rival Microsoft in sales, the shoe will be on the other foot and a fully embedded rules package will doubtless return to the game. Until then, we just perform a simple shell out to Acrobat Reader and pop up the rules in a standard external window. If memory serves, this took precisely one line of code, so yes it would be nice if it became more common. Don't hold your breath though - Flashpoint Germany runs as a standard Windows application (i.e. it does not take over the whole screen the way most other games do) and this is why we can pop up that standard external window. For programs using DirectX for screen rendering (ie. virtually every other game out there) you lose all that and it becomes impossible to do the job.

Thanks for noticing though, that was a big design goal in my mind when I started. It sometimes seems to me that too many games are just too darn hard to get into. They have all too steep a learning curve that deters the casually interested people. We wanted this game to be a little more on the accessible side, so we made it a regular windows app to get the help file, added in unit silhouettes for the counters (I prefer NATO symbols but then I've been reading them for 35 years), let the user turn off detailed vehicle nomenclature like "2S3" instead of "SP Arty", and created some rather forgiving game options in the setup screens to make the workings of the game a little more visible. We let the game start with all the units fully spotted if you want. (Playing with automatic spotting turned off becomes nerve-wracking in the extreme but is a lot more fun once you have climbed the curve a little.) Oh, and we spent some time and care making and documenting the two tutorials too.

Hope you enjoy the game.

Cheers, Rob.

quote:

ORIGINAL: TheHellPatrol

Very solid i might add. Another huge step forward is having the manual available in the "help" menu, you can play the game AND browse the manual if need be. Without a paper manual this is a great replacement IMHO and should be done in all titles...hint, hint.

(in reply to TheHellPatrol)
Post #: 16
RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 9:48:30 PM   
Chelco

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Catgh
More Comments about the AI...
During testing we had a great deal of discussion about the AI. There were times that the AI was just plain to agressive. Here you were thinking you were playing a traditional attack/defense scenario and it turns out the AI decided to make it a meeting engagement. I guess what I am trying to say, the AI does pull out some surprises at times.
Like Erik said though, eventually everyone will be able to defeat the AI.


Hi!
A question:
I haven't had the oportunity to check the Scenario Editor in detail, but I saw that you could create something like a random battle. This means that the enemy AI is not scripted. Isn't it? What I mean is that you just put the AI opposing force in certain place, give them some objective sector and they will figure out how to achieve their mission goal. Am I right?
Thanks in advance for the feedback.

(in reply to Catgh)
Post #: 17
RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 10:06:48 PM   
JudgeDredd


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chelco

quote:

ORIGINAL: Catgh
More Comments about the AI...
During testing we had a great deal of discussion about the AI. There were times that the AI was just plain to agressive. Here you were thinking you were playing a traditional attack/defense scenario and it turns out the AI decided to make it a meeting engagement. I guess what I am trying to say, the AI does pull out some surprises at times.
Like Erik said though, eventually everyone will be able to defeat the AI.


Hi!
A question:
I haven't had the oportunity to check the Scenario Editor in detail, but I saw that you could create something like a random battle. This means that the enemy AI is not scripted. Isn't it? What I mean is that you just put the AI opposing force in certain place, give them some objective sector and they will figure out how to achieve their mission goal. Am I right?
Thanks in advance for the feedback.


I believe that is correct. You simply have to setup your achievment sector and the AI will get there by hook or by crook

_____________________________

JudgeDredd
I AM the Law!

(in reply to Chelco)
Post #: 18
RE: First impressions here please - 1/25/2005 10:14:34 PM   
Chelco

 

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Thanks Judge!
That's my kind of game!

(in reply to JudgeDredd)
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RE: First impressions here please - 1/26/2005 12:06:32 AM   
Oliver Heindorf


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Thank you Robert and Catgh.

(in reply to wodin)
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RE: First impressions here please - 1/26/2005 12:29:39 AM   
Catgh


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Judge is correct. The AI decides how to play the game from the starting positions you give it.

(in reply to Oliver Heindorf)
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RE: First impressions here please - 1/26/2005 12:50:37 AM   
ETF


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Ok so what are some negatives to the game? Has to be some :)

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RE: First impressions here please - 1/26/2005 1:27:59 AM   
Oleg Mastruko


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chelco
I played the first tutorial and had a blast. My favorite tool/aid so far (don't laugh, I AM that ignorant of Cold War) the line of sight key. No more guessing what's the vintage point that controls the valley. No more guessing of what's the best ambush position.


LOS check is great tool. But, as Belphegor and I discovered in our latest PBEM game, it's even more fun to play vs. human using "No LOS check" option. That way you HAVE to semi-guess what's best ambush position and what's the vantage point that controls the walley etc.

O.

(in reply to Chelco)
Post #: 23
RE: First impressions here please - 1/26/2005 1:40:15 AM   
TheHellPatrol


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ETF

Ok so what are some negatives to the game? Has to be some :)
After a night plus one full day i have only two "negatives"...
1) The scrolling takes some getting used to, i'm a lefty and using the keyboard arrows would be nice. Note: If you set the scrolling to the outside borders when you try to hit the "end turn" button the map scrolls...i don't think this was intended.
2) I saw some pixels in the "gas cloud", not as smooth as the explosions...that's it.
Pretty minor "negatives" for a freshly released piece of software...i must say. I am really liking this title, and anyone who has played Highway to the Reich be right at home as far as the style of play. I won a decisive victory as Nato/scn.#1 with fog of war etc. and the reason i enjoyed it so much was my proper defensive deployment coupled with a few well placed "chemical attacks" which led a few units into my ambush...great fun!

_____________________________

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
Henry David Thoreau


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Post #: 24
RE: First impressions here please - 1/26/2005 1:58:42 AM   
Marc von Martial


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quote:

1) The scrolling takes some getting used to, i'm a lefty and using the keyboard arrows would be nice. Note: If you set the scrolling to the outside borders when you try to hit the "end turn" button the map scrolls...i don't think this was intended.


You can adjust the scrolling behaviour to whatever suits you under

GAME -> SET MAP AUTOSCROLLING PARAMETERS

Just pick a scenario and adjust to preferd settings. This will stay default untill you adjust them another time.

_____________________________

Marc von Martial

(in reply to TheHellPatrol)
Post #: 25
RE: First impressions here please - 1/26/2005 3:34:37 AM   
ETF


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With this WEGO is it like Combat mission style in the sense we both give orders and sit back and watch the action? How long is the combat phase?

(in reply to Marc von Martial)
Post #: 26
RE: First impressions here please - 1/26/2005 3:41:23 AM   
Catgh


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ETF,

Yes it is much like Combat Mission. The combat phase length is user setable. The default is 30 minute pulses, but it can go down to 10 minute pulses.

(in reply to ETF)
Post #: 27
RE: First impressions here please - 1/26/2005 5:29:29 AM   
RobertCrandall


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quote:

ORIGINAL: TheHellPatrol

quote:

ORIGINAL: ETF

Ok so what are some negatives to the game? Has to be some :)
After a night plus one full day i have only two "negatives"...
1) The scrolling takes some getting used to, i'm a lefty and using the keyboard arrows would be nice. Note: If you set the scrolling to the outside borders when you try to hit the "end turn" button the map scrolls...i don't think this was intended.
2) I saw some pixels in the "gas cloud", not as smooth as the explosions...that's it.
Pretty minor "negatives" for a freshly released piece of software...i must say. I am really liking this title, and anyone who has played Highway to the Reich be right at home as far as the style of play. I won a decisive victory as Nato/scn.#1 with fog of war etc. and the reason i enjoyed it so much was my proper defensive deployment coupled with a few well placed "chemical attacks" which led a few units into my ambush...great fun!


Funny you should mention HTTR. Yes the game mechanics are extraordinarily similar although HTTR's are more extended in almost ever way. This was completely coincidental but amazing nonetheless. When I met the creators of HTTR at Origins in June we had a great time comparing notes. I like FPG because it is quicker and gets you to the point more directly. I like HTTR for the times when I really want to delve into the deepest details and get a god-like view of the details of the battlefield. I don't know if 2 games constitutes a trend, but it is nice to see some new directions in this genre too. Creativity is alive and well at Matrix!

Marc has described how to reset the map scrolling. Give it a try and report back on what settings seem to work for you. As Marc mentioned, once you have a setting that you like then it will be remembered every time you play the game thereafter. I might add that the playtesters disagreed somewhat on what constituted a 'natural' set of parameters. I have my favorites which nobody else seemed to like. I'd be interested to hear what worked for you.

Cheers, Rob.

(in reply to TheHellPatrol)
Post #: 28
RE: First impressions here please - 1/26/2005 5:49:27 AM   
TheHellPatrol


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Thanks guys, i was aware of the setup options but i need to fiddle with it until i find the perfect combination. I'm not used to having so many choices/options

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Post #: 29
RE: First impressions here please - 1/26/2005 6:36:43 AM   
TheHellPatrol


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RobertCrandall
I have my favorites which nobody else seemed to like. I'd be interested to hear what worked for you.
Cheers, Rob.

Okay, i found the perfect setup: game boundary 40/40/40/10(right)...i can hit the end turn button without scrolling. Back to the front.

_____________________________

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
Henry David Thoreau


(in reply to RobertCrandall)
Post #: 30
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