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RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound

 
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RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/7/2005 12:48:58 AM   
Greyshaft


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
MWIF maintains two parallel time lines that show the actual history versus the game's history. Each turn the player can view the historical events that happened. For example, this enables the player to compare his capture of Paris against the historical date. When capitals or other major cities are captured or liberated, text descriptions are displayed about those events. The players can add to this database.


Does this include a menu option to shade the map to show what the Axis historically controlled at any time during the game? I know this job would involve a lot of research and data entry but that's what us wannabe beta-testers are here for.

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Post #: 61
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/7/2005 1:39:26 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Greyshaft
quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
MWIF maintains two parallel time lines that show the actual history versus the game's history. Each turn the player can view the historical events that happened. For example, this enables the player to compare his capture of Paris against the historical date. When capitals or other major cities are captured or liberated, text descriptions are displayed about those events. The players can add to this database.


Does this include a menu option to shade the map to show what the Axis historically controlled at any time during the game? I know this job would involve a lot of research and data entry but that's what us wannabe beta-testers are here for.


This might be possible using the strategic map. That map already displays which countries hold which hexes. All that would be needed is to define which countries held which hexes historically. I strongly recommend that this only be done for the 2 month turn intervals rather than something more ambitious.

Currently, the game worries about this when setting up scenarios and has a file dedicated specifically for this purpose. It identifies by year, by hex, all occupied territory. That is, it records hexes that the original owning country has lost control of. When you think of this as incremental changes, it is not quite so overwhelming. Of course, the file would have to be modified to accommodate 2 month periods in addition to years.

Essentially, most countries start the game controlling all the hexes of their home countries (China being a notable exception). Taking a snapshot of the world map at the start of each 2 month period to identify historically which hexes changed control would be the data for the file. Someone just has to do that, hex by hex, for the 35 two month periods that were WW II.

This is so low on my priority list that the next ice age is likely to arrive first (I say this fully aware of the current trend in global warming).

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Post #: 62
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/7/2005 6:22:48 AM   
Greyshaft


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
This is so low on my priority list that the next ice age is likely to arrive first ...
...which is still a good 10,000 years ahead of community expectations for the release of MWiF



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Post #: 63
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/7/2005 6:36:38 AM   
Neilster


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Sometimes when playing the old CWiF demo I thought it would be cool to be able to watch the historical war being played out using WiF’s structure. This could be achieved by a saved game being artificially created that modelled as closely as possible the production, moves and combat results of the actual war. Then we could use the proposed “watch saved game animation” feature to replay WW2.

Obviously there would be compromises and simplifications but the overall action would be historical. It would be useful to help understand the history as we could leap from theatre to theatre, scanning production and unit deployments etc. I’ve found that playing WiF has given me a much better idea of why things happened, especially the global/naval nature of playing the Allies.

If there is also a game option whereby we can jump into a saved game at any point, we could take over at any turn, and not just the specified scenario starts. Come to think of it, any scenario Matrix wanted to include could be automatically generated from the saved historical game.

Cheers, Neilster

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Post #: 64
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/7/2005 6:47:49 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Neilster
Sometimes when playing the old CWiF demo I thought it would be cool to be able to watch the historical war being played out using WiF’s structure. This could be achieved by a saved game being artificially created that modelled as closely as possible the production, moves and combat results of the actual war. Then we could use the proposed “watch saved game animation” feature to replay WW2.

Obviously there would be compromises and simplifications but the overall action would be historical. It would be useful to help understand the history as we could leap from theatre to theatre, scanning production and unit deployments etc. I’ve found that playing WiF has given me a much better idea of why things happened, especially the global/naval nature of playing the Allies.

If there is also a game option whereby we can jump into a saved game at any point, we could take over at any turn, and not just the specified scenario starts. Come to think of it, any scenario Matrix wanted to include could be automatically generated from the saved historical game.

Cheers, Neilster


A neat idea. For my part, it wouldn't be that difficult to give a 'player' the ability to choose the die rolls at every point in the game rather than having a random number come up (I know, you want that feature anyway). This would enable the recreation of the actual losses at Pearl Harbor, for instance, and all the other events that are decided randomly in MWIF (e.g., unit selection from the force pools, US Entry reactions, etc.). Still, playing out a full game, moving all the units such that they match actual history, would be a long and gruelling task - even after you acquired all the information you would need to make all the decisions historical.

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Post #: 65
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/7/2005 6:53:00 AM   
Neilster


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quote:

A neat idea. For my part, it wouldn't be that difficult to give a 'player' the ability to choose the die rolls at every point in the game rather than having a random number come up (I know, you want that feature anyway). This would enable the recreation of the actual losses at Pearl Harbor, for instance, and all the other events that are decided randomly in MWIF (e.g., unit selection from the force pools, US Entry reactions, etc.). Still, playing out a full game, moving all the units such that they match actual history, would be a long and gruelling task - even after you acquired all the information you would need to make all the decisions historical.

Yes, but could such a saved game be hard-coded using the saved game format? Perhaps scrapping/fudging could be used to tidy up any loose ends at the end of each turn.

Cheers, Neilster

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Post #: 66
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/7/2005 9:00:51 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Neilster
quote:

A neat idea. For my part, it wouldn't be that difficult to give a 'player' the ability to choose the die rolls at every point in the game rather than having a random number come up (I know, you want that feature anyway). This would enable the recreation of the actual losses at Pearl Harbor, for instance, and all the other events that are decided randomly in MWIF (e.g., unit selection from the force pools, US Entry reactions, etc.). Still, playing out a full game, moving all the units such that they match actual history, would be a long and gruelling task - even after you acquired all the information you would need to make all the decisions historical.

Yes, but could such a saved game be hard-coded using the saved game format? Perhaps scrapping/fudging could be used to tidy up any loose ends at the end of each turn.

Cheers, Neilster


Oh yeah, no worries there, mate. The debug version of the game lets the play tester place units where ever he wants and change who controls hexes at a whim. To provide the replay functionality, I just need a few more entry types for the record log to correspond to those actions. By the way, the record log entry types are looking to top out over 300 (I am up to number 220 as of today).

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Post #: 67
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/7/2005 10:03:27 PM   
Froonp


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quote:

Does this include a menu option to shade the map to show what the Axis historically controlled at any time during the game? I know this job would involve a lot of research and data entry but that's what us wannabe beta-testers are here for.

This would be G.R.E.A.T

I'm not sure it would help, but I have the Objective timeline from ADG's 2000 Annual, who shows who controled which objective on any given turn.

There are 2 such files. One shows the Objectives historicaly held, the other shows the objectives the country should have (from the game's point of view).






Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Froonp -- 9/7/2005 10:11:01 PM >

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Post #: 68
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/9/2005 8:47:45 AM   
geozero


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So many excellent suggestions...

It would be great if the game kept a log of major battles, etc. and losses, that you could later print. It's a geeky idea, but I always wanted to read how I played in the game. It;s better than going back to turn 27 saved game and replaying to see what alternate ending there might be.

Games with too much repitition in graphics and sounds get boring. I usually turn all the sound off for that reason. I like to see sounds implemented that give you some feel for the battle (background battlefield explosions, etc), and as mentioned sounds specific to unit types, ie. battleships that sound different than subs, army troops marching when moving or battle sounds when they are in combat.

How about the ability to name your units? Much like Hearts of Iron, you can start with historical names, or modify them in-game to your preference.

I've got to dig out my old board game....

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RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/12/2005 7:45:16 PM   
Dreadnought


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Id like to hear the national anthems of countries entering war.

It would be nice to hear air-raid-warning-signals when someone bombs strategicly.

When Germans use their Railway-Gun a short historic movieclip of a gun preparing too fire could be intergarted too, but i am not sure about that.


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Post #: 70
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/13/2005 12:21:46 AM   
Greyshaft


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One technique I've noticed in GG Battle of Britain is that the music sometimes fades out by itself and then after a number of minutes with no music it will launch into a stirring anthem just when the German bombers take off. Quite effective.

Don't ignore the occasional sound of silence.

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Post #: 71
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/13/2005 3:36:39 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Greyshaft

One technique I've noticed in GG Battle of Britain is that the music sometimes fades out by itself and then after a number of minutes with no music it will launch into a stirring anthem just when the German bombers take off. Quite effective.

Don't ignore the occasional sound of silence.

Excellent point.

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Post #: 72
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/14/2005 4:23:45 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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I have gone beyond a simple summary and have created a draft design document for these three elements of MWIF. The sections on sound and historical detail are very similar to what I posted as summaries previously for those areas. The animation section is brand new. Let me know what you think.

==============================================
Historical Details, Animations, and Sound for MWIF
(as of September 13, 2005)

[Copyright is always a concern when dealing with these matters.]

Options

Historical details, animations, and sound are not essential elements of playing MWIF. However, most players will find them to be attractive additions if the history is informative, animations tasteful, and sound entertaining. Even then, some players might find these extra features demand so many of their system resources, that they interfere with actually playing a game. Also, players’ judgments of what is informative, tasteful, and entertaining can vary widely. Therefore, all of these features are optional. Indeed, the program starts with ‘splash’ screens while the game loads and the player is given the option of turning these off as one of his first decisions.

MWIF has two broad categories of options: (1) optional rules for what is included in the simulation of WW II, and (2) game interface options. The former are set before a game begins and usually remain unchanged for the rest of that game. The later can be changed by the player at any time during the game, more or less depending on his mood. Historical details, animation, and sound fall into the latter category.

Historical details are displayed only when requested by the player, either indirectly by setting an option, or by direct request. They do not automatically appear unless the player has turned on the option for that to happen. The player can set these options when a game begins and, at any time during a game, change them by using a simple pull down menu. Because there are many different aspects of historical detail included in MWIF, ranging from simple text, through photographs, to short film clips from the period, the player has more than one control. Each element of the historical detail (see below for what the elements are) has its own on/off toggle switch.

Animations can be time consuming while playing a game. Like the historical detail, individual animation elements can be toggled on/off at any time during game play.

Both music and sound effects are optional and can be turned on and off at any time during a game. By default they start on, but as MWIF loads, the player is notified how he can turn them off. This is so a player with a less powerful computer system can speed up loading the program. When a player first starts MWIF, it is strongly suggested that he review the game interface screen where he can set a host of options to personalize what MWIF does and does not do.

Individual sound effects and music are pre-configured when the player first installs MWIF. At any time thereafter, the player can select a specific sound from a menu for some of the locations in the game sequence where sounds are generated (e.g., unit movement, unit disruption, unit destruction, bombs falling). This is not an elaborate system, but it provides for some personalization of the sound effects. Alternatively, the program can be configured to select sound effects randomly from the menu choices. Detailed options for the music are described in the section on sound below.

Historical Detail

WW II Look and Feel

MWIF strives for a WWII look and feel, that is slightly different depending on which major power the player controls (Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA, the Commonwealth, the USSR, France, and China). The goal is to draw the player into the game and let them experience the atmosphere of the world of the late 1930's and early 1940's. At times it should be luxurious and at others grainy and down to earth. After all, it is primarily the history of WW II that attracts players to this game.

To achieve this goal of look and feel, MWIF provides both military and civilian images from the period. These include photographs, video, newspapers, and other visuals that are memorable from the era. These images appear not only in the opening screens but also encompass overall design of the windows and forms used to present information during game play. More detailed textual descriptions, with additional images, are available upon request by the player. For example, there are background pieces on famous soldiers and statesmen for each of the major powers. Many of the images are in black and white or sepia, when that is appropriate. As an ideal, MWIF is a time machine, where the player can not only replay the conflict, but also relive it.....without getting hurt , of course.

Country information

MWIF includes a short history and important dates for each country, including minor countries that were important during WW II. This follows in the footsteps of Australian Design Group’s standard procedure to provide player notes for each scenario. Expanding on that concept, MWIF in some cases provides much more information on the background of the countries so the player can understand their recent past at the time of WWII and why they favored the Axis or Allied side. For example, here is a description for Algeria.

June 12, 1830 : France invades Algeria with 34,000 soldiers and occupies Algiers after a three-week campaign. France used the failure of the blockade as a reason for a military expedition against Algiers.

1834 : France annexed the occupied areas of Algeria, which had an estimated Muslim population of about 3 million, as a colony. Colonial administration in the occupied areas (the so-called régime du sabre, government of the sword) was placed under a governor general, a high-ranking army officer invested with civil and military jurisdiction, who was responsible to France’s minister of war.

1881 : France invaded Tunisia, claiming that Tunisian troops had crossed the border to Algeria, France's main colony in Northern Africa. Italy, also interested in Tunisia, protested, but did not risk a war with France.


[The Wikipedia is a good source for this.]

Unit information

When the player selects a unit, a large panel appears that provides historical details about the unit. This may include photographs, text, and a short description on the history of the unit during the war. It can be modified by the players so they can exchange files on units (or create a library of same) which could be used to replace the ones that come with MWIF. All the historical unit information is also accessible from an in-game browse function that lets the player read about every unit in the game.

Not every named unit appearing in MWIF has an historical counterpart, with many of them either being units composed from several historical elements or hypothetical units which exist to enable players to take the war in directions that it did not go historically. Another aspect of the history on each unit is that some of them changed dramatically during the course of the war. As a simple example, the air units at the start of the war represent about 250 planes while by the end of the war they are representing close to 500.

Textual information can include:
∙ A short description of the unit’s creation and composition.
∙ Numbers of men and machines with descriptions of the later’s capabilities.
∙ Equipment upgrades, replacements, TOE, and commanders.
∙ Historical engagements, campaigns, victories, and defeats.
∙ MWIF game (current and previous) engagements, campaigns, victories, and defeats.

Visual images vary but can include:
∙ Plate drawings of the uniform or primary vehicle.
∙ For some ships, side color views of the ships and blueprints for the standard 3 engineering views (top, side, and end on).
∙ Unit patches and insignias.

Here is an example for the Sopwith Camel. It gives information about the unit for MWIF “this is one of 'x' Sopwith Camels in the game” and from its actual history " The Sopwith Camel entered service in May 1917 and was armed with twin Vickers machine guns. It was a bastard of a plane to fly and the average life expectancy of an English pilot was a little more than two weeks. It has been claimed that the Sopwith Camel was responsible for shooting down 1,294 enemy planes during the war. “

While the entries provided with MWIF are merely meant to spotlight some units without being exhaustive, the players can add to the database that comes with the game. This database could get quite extensive, especially if histories of each military unit has it's own detailed entry.

Map information

MWIF permits the player to access historical information on some of the important locations on the map as well. This primarily means major battles fought or events that happened at a particular location. The players can modify/augment this information.

It has been suggested that a capability be provided to shade the map to show what the Axis and Allies historically controlled at any time during the game. This would involve a lot of research and data entry that is beyond the scope of MWIF Product 1. However, MWIF will contain the tools for someone to build a saved game file that corresponds to what happened historically. The review capability would apply to the strategic map view and not the detailed map view. The strategic map already displays which countries hold which hexes and all that will be added is giving the players the capability of defining which countries held which hexes historically. This should only be done for the 2 month turn intervals.

Essentially, most countries start the game controlling all the hexes of their home countries (China being a notable exception). Taking a snapshot of the world map at the start of each 2 month period to identify historically which hexes changed control would be the data for the file. Someone just has to do that, hex by hex, for the 35 two month periods that were WW II. When you think of this as incremental changes, it is not quite so overwhelming. The result of all that labor would be the ability to use the saved game animation feature to watch a replay of WW II.

Time line

MWiF contains is a WWII time line that can be filtered by theater of operations. For example, the European TOO contains the following:

1939
Sep/Oct Germany invades Poland, captures Warsaw, and Poland surrenders.
Nov/Dec USSR invades Finland.

1940
Jan/Feb Finland surrenders to USSR.
Mar/Apr Germany invades Denmark, Denmark surrenders, Germany invades Norway, captures Oslo, and Norway surrenders.
May/Jun Allies land at Narvik, Norway and later withdraw troops from Norway.
Germany invades Netherlands, Belgium, France, and captures Antwerp and Paris.

MWIF maintains two parallel time lines that show the actual history versus the game's history. Each turn the player can view the historical events that happened. For example, this enables the player to compare when he captured Paris against the historical date. When capitals or other major cities are captured or liberated, text descriptions are displayed about those events. The players can add to this database.

In addition to the time line, MWIF provides a broad overview of the war with paragraph sized "snapshot" summations of important aspects of the war (e.g., the Battle of the Atlantic). Other odd bits about the war can be added to these files by the players. For example, various espionage activities could be incorporated in to the description of the Battle of the Atlantic.

Animation

Overview

Under the category of animation MWIF primarily employs two types of presentation: film clips from the era, and animation of movement and combat. The former are vintage footage of the war. The latter employ the same map and unit depictions that are used during game play. There was some consideration of using animated figures (a.k.a. sprites) to depict movement and combat. This was not done for the following reasons.
(1) The scale of the game has each hex represent approximately 100 km, the land units represent tens of thousand of men, the air units represent hundreds of planes. Only the naval units represent individual or a small number of ships. Showing sprites of individual men or vehicles to depict movement or combat is a gross misrepresentation of what is being simulated.
(2) Creating this kind of animation would be labor intensive and time consuming. Given how much other work is required to create MWIF, sprites would have to be very important to warrant the effort.
(3) Canned animation routines become boring quite quickly and are likely to be turned off after the player has seen them a couple of dozen times. They might be a glitzy effect at first, but in the long run, would add little value to the game.

By comparison, the replay animations described below would be easier to program. And, because they would be based upon what actually happens in a game, the players are likely to sustain interest in them for as long as they play MWIF.

Film clips

MWIF includes old newsreels as well as footage of battle actions accompanied by sounds of weapons and equipment in combination with a timed sequence of historical radio reports and clips of newspaper headlines. These WWII era film clips punctuate major events. They are infrequently shown, since their repetition would become boring. Instead they appear at momentous occasions such as:
∙ When USSR demands of borderlands or pact areas.
∙ When war is declared
∙ When who controls a victory city changes
∙ When a country surrenders.
∙ When the Japan first port attacks the USA
∙ When Germany first bombs London (and the Commonwealth Berlin)
∙ When Allies invade mainland Europe
∙ When any country’s capital falls

The footage includes: Stukas diving with air raid sirens blaring in the background, SBDs diving on ships, on ships evading bombs amidst columns of water, planes surrounded by AA fire, an A-Bomb exploding, tanks moving across the steppe, troops manning machine guns, cavalry charging, ships docked for repair, boxes of B-17 dropping their loads all at the same time, a German heavy fighter firing all weapons at US bombers, the traditional US flag at Iwo Jima, landing crafts opening and troops pouring out of them, and so on. These are short, optional, in-game movies on major events with the expectation that a player is likely to only watch them once. Their purpose is to enhance the game experience.

Game history and replay

The program maintains a game record log that at the atomic level stores everything that happens in a game. This log can be used in combination with a saved game to return a game position to any point in a game by ‘scrolling’ either forward or backward in time. By referencing the game record log, MWIF has the capability for replaying the history of a game in progress or generating a replay for after action analysis/reports.

The replay uses the same screens that are used for playing the game. However, the player has control over which screens are shown. For example, he can elect to omit viewing detailed screens on combat, production, neutrality pact marker placement, naval moves, and so on. During replay the program can make all these things happen as they did in the recorded game without having to update the screens religiously, step by step. Instead, the detailed map can simply “jump ahead” in game time to each new position. As an added feature, for the seriously weird players, the game can be played backwards.

The two primary screens used for replay are the global map and the detailed map. The global map uses a 2 by 2 pixel square to represent each hex on the map. One of the standard game options is to color each hex to indicate which major power controls it. Using this map the player can see the entire world on one screen and watch the global progress made by each major power, impulse by impulse, in terms of hexes controlled. Alternatively, the player can use the detailed map for replay and watch individual units move hex by hex, or jump from starting hex to ending hex each impulse, or all of the units for each player instantaneously transition from their starting positions at the beginning of an impulse to where they ended up at the end of an impulse.

In other words, the players can control the map that is viewed (which portion and the scale - zooming in and out), the time interval between updates (both speed of the replay and simulated time), and which elements of the game simulation are displayed on the screen. Other options let the player limit the replay to specified countries or units. One way to do this would be by theater of operations. Another would be by unit type (land, air, or naval). And yet another would be to just view combats (land, air, or naval).

The replay feature is available during a game, but the view of the opponents’ actions are restricted to what is normally visible during the game. This feature lets the player review his moves for each turn immediately prior to committing to them.

The game record log is available for generating summary accounts of the game. For example, it can be used to tabulate by type, country, and theater of operations, the number of units: on the map, moved, in combat, killed, damaged, disrupted, put into production, and arriving as reinforcements. Another use would be to generate a table/chart that shows and compares the production capacity of the major power turn by turn, including how that production capacity was spent.

During a game the summary accounts can be used to report where combat occurred and the results of those combats, with more details on individual combats available a mouse click away.

Unit Movement and Combat

The replay capability lets a player watch how his opponent moved units on the game map. The replay of a unit’s movement can be shown in detail or simply the start and end positions indicated. The speed at which this happens is under the control of the player as it occurs. That is, the player can speed it up, slow it down, or even interrupt the sequence, as his mood dictates.


When units are destroyed, damaged, or disrupted in battle, very quick animations of the event are shown to communicate what has happened. These use smoke and flames and other simple visuals to indicate the level of damage inflicted. Damaged factories and resources are shown similarly. After land combat, the counters "slide" as they retreat or advance after combat. Air units also "slide" from their base hex to the target hexes and back, when they return to base.

For each combat, the player has the option of seeing the combat in detail. This is done by positioning the involved units in a separate panel, arranged for combat and in a layout such that all the involved units can be readily seen. The various statistics on the odds, the die rolls, and the results are displayed in the margins. The objective is to communicate not only what happened but why. So, the effects of armor, supply, surprise, terrain, etc. are displayed either in text or some other form. For example, the display could start with the basic strength of the various units engaged and then modify them for terrain and supply. Auxiliary units such as air, artillery, engineers, and HQs could be added incrementally, with the various shift factors such as supply and disrupted units the “piece de la resistance” (pardon the pun). Hopefully, the result will be that the player learns how the different elements of combat are integrated in the game to simulate reality. As always, the level of detail shown is optional and controllable by the player. A summary tabular report for each impulse is also available if the player isn’t interested in why his units just got killed, but just wants to hurry up and get more of them killed.

Other game actions possible for animation

Factories, oil refineries, resources, manpower, and partisan levels could be depicted visually. The sea and rivers, rather than having given a flat, static texture, could show animations of waves, sea shore, surf, and flowing water. These animations could also reflect the weather with frost, snow, clouds, rain, etcetera. It would be nice if the current status of a nation’s war status could be indicated visually. For example, somehow revealing Germany’s shift from enthusiasm in 1940 to sheer desperation in 1944.

Because some players have firm faith in their ability to effect die rolls by striking a bargain with the universe, MWIF includes animation of the dice rolling, with the random number generated by the program modified by which key on the keyboard the player chooses to initiate the die roll. Press the right key and you will get the right die roll! Other playful animations might mimic typical things that occur during a board game of WIF.

Sound

Music

Historical music can create atmosphere without being requiring a lot of system resources. It gives the player a different feeling for each nation and is educational as well, enabling a player to become familiar with different countries’ anthems and marches. National anthems are played for major events, a "national march" for national victories, and a "national hymn" for defeats. Some examples are:

USA: Anthem: "The Star Spangled Banner" (Sousa), March: "The Stars and Stripes Forever" (Sousa), Air Victory: "Wild Blue Yonder", Naval Victory: "Anchors Aweigh", Hymn: "Adagio For Strings" (Barber).

UK: Anthem: "God Save the King", March: "Rule Britannia", Hymn: "War Requiem" (Britten)

During more subliminal periods (e.g., planning) appropriate music from the era for the country is played: Big Band Music, classical German marches, music by Russian composers, etcetera. Propaganda speeches, (Tokyo Rose, Goebbels radio addresses, fireside chats, and so on), corresponding to the game date, are played to help maintain the WW II atmosphere.

Music can be repeated somewhat more often than a film clip before it gets old, but in addition, the player has other options for avoiding boring repetition. Each country has its own folder of MP3's to which the players can add their own selections. Also, MWIF does not require a full screen display, so a player can select his own music to be playing in the background during a game.

Sound Effects

As units move or engage in combat, appropriate sounds are played. This also happens for certain screens. Sounds might be repeated somewhat more often than video, but worrying about too much repetition is important. In particular, every time a player clicks on a unit (to select the unit, inspect the stack, move, or fight), a simple "click" sound is produced rather than something more distinctive, which would quickly become annoying.

Screens
Industrial clanging for the production screen,
Tropical jungle sounds when examining a hex stack in Burma.

Movement
Diesel rumbling or the noise of the tracks when tanks move,
Noise of trucks when motorized units move,
Noise of boots when leg troops move,
Inline or radial engine noise for aircraft maneuvering,
Train toots for movement by rail

Combat
Varies depending on the kind of attacking and defending units/weapons and combat result
Explosion sound when a unit is attacked and destroyed,
Stukas diving when flying ground strike missions
Stuka sirens
Bombs whistling
Artillery fire
Noise of the relevant type of gun AA fires, when ART bombs, etc...
Parachutes opening on an airborne assault.
Words "Go, go, go" when paratroopers jump,
Splash

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 73
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/14/2005 6:18:21 AM   
Greyshaft


Posts: 2234
Joined: 10/27/2003
From: Sydney, Australia
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
The program maintains a game record log that at the atomic level stores everything that happens in a game...

Does that mean that when playing against the AI a player has an infinite ability to rewind the game 'x' number of turns and pick it up at a point of his chosing Well THAT didn't work... lets go back six months and try launching Barbarossa again but this time I'll use the southern strategy.

_____________________________

/Greyshaft

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 74
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/14/2005 10:57:08 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 18170
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Greyshaft
quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
The program maintains a game record log that at the atomic level stores everything that happens in a game...

Does that mean that when playing against the AI a player has an infinite ability to rewind the game 'x' number of turns and pick it up at a point of his chosing Well THAT didn't work... lets go back six months and try launching Barbarossa again but this time I'll use the southern strategy.


My first reaction is "Sure, why not?" If the player wants to do the same thing over and over again until he gets the critical die roll to go in his favor, why should I say him nay?

The only constraint I can think of is that I'm not sure the player will be able to save the game state when ever he choses. For example, naval units aborting from a combat might have to fight through other enemy naval units to get to a friendly port. Saving the game in the midst of that consequential event list could be awkward. However, the game record log tracks every step of every transaction, so the player could load a saved game and automatically replay the game forward/backward to the point where he wants to change his decisions.

I am not entirely certain about permitting this though. There is a piece of my mind that doesn't want to let the player to be able to cheat when playing against the AI. That's probably due to my Puritan upbringing. On the other hand, to go through elaborate contortions to prevent players from cheating when playing the AI opponent seems like a lot of effort for no real benefit to me personally. I will go to extremes to prevent cheating in Internet and PBEM games, because I think the players deserve the certainty that they are playing in an honest game.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Greyshaft)
Post #: 75
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/14/2005 12:19:06 PM   
Greyshaft


Posts: 2234
Joined: 10/27/2003
From: Sydney, Australia
Status: offline
I agree it shouldn't be allowed in multiplayer... besides which, I'm sure the other players would notice if the game rewound six months I see it as useful when people are learning the game so they can try out the invasion of France a few times to try out different tactics. I do that myself when learning games but after I get an understanding of how it works I call off the battle and then start again from the beginning for the real game. Its not looking for a lucky die roll but more like trying to understand the range of die rolls.

"Lets see now... 4:1 is good and 2:1 is bad. What happens at 3:1? "

_____________________________

/Greyshaft

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 76
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/14/2005 1:07:25 PM   
Froonp


Posts: 7895
Joined: 10/21/2003
From: Marseilles, France
Status: offline
quote:

The game record log is available for generating summary accounts of the game. For example, it can be used to tabulate by type, country, and theater of operations, the number of units: on the map, moved, in combat, killed, damaged, disrupted, put into production, and arriving as reinforcements. Another use would be to generate a table/chart that shows and compares the production capacity of the major power turn by turn, including how that production capacity was spent.

This tabulated game record should be exportable to CSV format, to be openned in Excel or any other software like Excel.

Cheers !
Patrice

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 77
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/14/2005 1:11:34 PM   
Froonp


Posts: 7895
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From: Marseilles, France
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I'm impressed with your reports steve, can't wait to see the game !

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 78
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/14/2005 6:54:02 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 18170
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Froonp
quote:

The game record log is available for generating summary accounts of the game. For example, it can be used to tabulate by type, country, and theater of operations, the number of units: on the map, moved, in combat, killed, damaged, disrupted, put into production, and arriving as reinforcements. Another use would be to generate a table/chart that shows and compares the production capacity of the major power turn by turn, including how that production capacity was spent.

This tabulated game record should be exportable to CSV format, to be openned in Excel or any other software like Excel.

Cheers !
Patrice


I have almost completed the definition of all the different types of entries to the record log. There will be about 250 unique entry types. Though the underlying structure will be comma separated values (CSV), it will be encrypted while a game is in progress. Once a game is completed, MWIF will let the players decrypt it into a pure CSV file for later use. Nonetheless even after that, I believe it will be such that only a computer could love these files. We are talking seriously ugly for a person to read.

Once I get the entry types all defined (should happen this week), I'll post a sampling of them to the forum - somewhere - and make the full 20 page listing available upon request in PDF format.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 79
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/15/2005 1:18:03 AM   
Greyshaft


Posts: 2234
Joined: 10/27/2003
From: Sydney, Australia
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
Nonetheless even after that, I believe it will be such that only a computer could love these files. We are talking seriously ugly for a person to read.

Don't undersetimate the determination of the WiF community. If you provide the decrypted data then I'm sure there's a few spreadsheet jockeys who will create a data import, massaging and graphing tool to analyse the data.


_____________________________

/Greyshaft

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 80
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/15/2005 10:45:15 AM   
Froonp


Posts: 7895
Joined: 10/21/2003
From: Marseilles, France
Status: offline
quote:

Don't undersetimate the determination of the WiF community. If you provide the decrypted data then I'm sure there's a few spreadsheet jockeys who will create a data import, massaging and graphing tool to analyse the data.

Exactly. Excel is my best soft-friend .

(in reply to Greyshaft)
Post #: 81
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/17/2005 8:01:23 AM   
Froonp


Posts: 7895
Joined: 10/21/2003
From: Marseilles, France
Status: offline
quote:

Unit information

When the player selects a unit, a large panel appears that provides historical details about the unit. This may include photographs, text, and a short description on the history of the unit during the war. It can be modified by the players so they can exchange files on units (or create a library of same) which could be used to replace the ones that come with MWIF. All the historical unit information is also accessible from an in-game browse function that lets the player read about every unit in the game.

I think this is covered by the above, but felt I should write this anyway.
Short biographies may be written about each HQ in the game (Rommel, Manstein, Prince Paul, etc...). Those biographies would be great informations for the less WWII informed people.

quote:

WW II Look and Feel

To add a WWII era feel, there could be newspaper appearing on the screen at times, telling you about the events other than war (other that political, other than directly related to the war).
This newspaper could arrive just after the dialog that tells you you are now beginning a new turn, before the initiative is rolled.

Wikipedia is once again a goud source for that. Example :

J/F 44 :
The Daily Mail becomes the first transoceanic newspaper !!!
Shooting begins of the Nazi propaganda film, "The Fuehrer Gives a Village to the Jews" in Theresienstadt !!!

J/A 44 :
Port Chicago disaster: Near the San Francisco Bay, two ships laden with ammunition for the war explode in Port Chicago, California killing 232 !!!
August 7 - IBM dedicates the first program-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (known best as the Harvard Mark I.

M/A 45 :
April 12 - United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945) dies in office; Vice President Harry S. Truman (1945-1953) takes the Oath of Office.


< Message edited by Froonp -- 9/17/2005 8:02:47 AM >

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 82
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/18/2005 10:00:34 AM   
Neilster


Posts: 2245
Joined: 10/27/2003
From: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Status: online
Of course the newspaper should spin toward the reader from the distance and then stop, in time honoured fashion .

We'll also probably need one of those cheesy, disproportionately large radio towers on a black and white Earth, beaming circular radio wavefronts into the ether with a morse-codeish "beep beep be de be beep beep" sound effect . I'm serious. They rock!

Cheers, Neilster

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 83
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/18/2005 7:01:25 PM   
doctormm


Posts: 124
Joined: 5/28/2004
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Neilster

Of course the newspaper should spin toward the reader from the distance and then stop, in time honoured fashion .

We'll also probably need one of those cheesy, disproportionately large radio towers on a black and white Earth, beaming circular radio wavefronts into the ether with a morse-codeish "beep beep be de be beep beep" sound effect . I'm serious. They rock!

Cheers, Neilster


Movietone News, Die Deutsche Wochenschau, and other national/propaganda would be something nice to pattern on. Tokyo Rose or Lord Hee Haw playing while the Allied player plans moves would be amusing. A bit of a step up from just having your internet opponent always sending messages about how you're going to lose.

And for the Neilster -






Attachment (1)

(in reply to Neilster)
Post #: 84
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/19/2005 12:18:49 AM   
Greyshaft


Posts: 2234
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Of course the real problem is to tie in the game with history. No point having a bunch of whirling newspapers talking about 7th December being the "Day of "Infamy" if Japan actually attacks in Sep/Oct. Game events need to be easily distinguishable from historical events.

_____________________________

/Greyshaft

(in reply to doctormm)
Post #: 85
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/19/2005 12:59:16 AM   
Froonp


Posts: 7895
Joined: 10/21/2003
From: Marseilles, France
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Greyshaft

Of course the real problem is to tie in the game with history. No point having a bunch of whirling newspapers talking about 7th December being the "Day of "Infamy" if Japan actually attacks in Sep/Oct. Game events need to be easily distinguishable from historical events.

This is what I proposed in post 82, to have newspaper showing events of the era, but only events not tied to WWII, just to give a feel of the forties.


Example (taken from the Wikipedia) :

S/O 39:

October 11 - Manhattan Project: US President Franklin D. Roosevelt is presented with a letter signed by Albert Einstein urging the United States to rapidly develop the atomic bomb.

October 15 - The New York Municipal Airport (later renamed La Guardia Airport) is dedicated.

N/D 39 :

November 6 - The Hedda Hopper Show debuts with Hollywood gossip Hedda Hopper as host (the show ran until 1951 and made Hopper a powerful figure in the Hollywood elite). {Maybe too USA centric}.

November 15 - In Washington, DC, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt lays the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial.

December 2 - La Guardia Airport opens for business in New York City.

December 25 - A Christmas Carol was read before a radio audience for the first time. {Maybe too USA centric}.

December 27 - Earthquake in Eastern Anatolia, Turkey, destroys the town of Erzingan - about 100.000 dead


< Message edited by Froonp -- 9/19/2005 1:02:45 AM >

(in reply to Greyshaft)
Post #: 86
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/19/2005 7:16:21 AM   
Greyshaft


Posts: 2234
Joined: 10/27/2003
From: Sydney, Australia
Status: offline
I'm looking for something which shows war events (eg Japan declaring war on usa) but modifies the dates accordingly

_____________________________

/Greyshaft

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 87
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 9/20/2005 5:29:55 AM   
Neilster


Posts: 2245
Joined: 10/27/2003
From: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Status: online
Thanks doctormm. Exactly!

(in reply to doctormm)
Post #: 88
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 12/2/2005 11:32:35 AM   
composer99


Posts: 2116
Joined: 6/6/2005
From: Ottawa, Canada
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quote:

Sound

Music

Historical music can create atmosphere without being requiring a lot of system resources. It gives the player a different feeling for each nation and is educational as well, enabling a player to become familiar with different countries’ anthems and marches. National anthems are played for major events, a "national march" for national victories, and a "national hymn" for defeats. Some examples are:

USA: Anthem: "The Star Spangled Banner" (Sousa), March: "The Stars and Stripes Forever" (Sousa), Air Victory: "Wild Blue Yonder", Naval Victory: "Anchors Aweigh", Hymn: "Adagio For Strings" (Barber).

UK: Anthem: "God Save the King", March: "Rule Britannia", Hymn: "War Requiem" (Britten)

During more subliminal periods (e.g., planning) appropriate music from the era for the country is played: Big Band Music, classical German marches, music by Russian composers, etcetera. Propaganda speeches, (Tokyo Rose, Goebbels radio addresses, fireside chats, and so on), corresponding to the game date, are played to help maintain the WW II atmosphere.

Music can be repeated somewhat more often than a film clip before it gets old, but in addition, the player has other options for avoiding boring repetition. Each country has its own folder of MP3's to which the players can add their own selections. Also, MWIF does not require a full screen display, so a player can select his own music to be playing in the background during a game.

Sound Effects

As units move or engage in combat, appropriate sounds are played. This also happens for certain screens. Sounds might be repeated somewhat more often than video, but worrying about too much repetition is important. In particular, every time a player clicks on a unit (to select the unit, inspect the stack, move, or fight), a simple "click" sound is produced rather than something more distinctive, which would quickly become annoying.

Screens
Industrial clanging for the production screen,
Tropical jungle sounds when examining a hex stack in Burma.

Movement
Diesel rumbling or the noise of the tracks when tanks move,
Noise of trucks when motorized units move,
Noise of boots when leg troops move,
Inline or radial engine noise for aircraft maneuvering,
Train toots for movement by rail

Combat
Varies depending on the kind of attacking and defending units/weapons and combat result
Explosion sound when a unit is attacked and destroyed,
Stukas diving when flying ground strike missions
Stuka sirens
Bombs whistling
Artillery fire
Noise of the relevant type of gun AA fires, when ART bombs, etc...
Parachutes opening on an airborne assault.
Words "Go, go, go" when paratroopers jump,
Splash

_____________________________

Steve


My online handle probably says it all about my eventual vocation, so I might as well chip in with my two cents on the game's music & sound effects.

MUSIC

Musical Cues Based on In-Game Events
Because of the nature of this game, musical cues that precede or follow particular events, such as a successful land combat or a defeat at sea, or something, should be quite short; I would suggest no more than 10-15 seconds in length. They should play over an overview screen of the event causing the cue to play; when the player closes the pop-up, the event-based cue should either end immediately or play to its conclusion before beginning one of the regular cues.

However, given the sheer number of events that might precipitate cues, I would actually suggest that this system not be used, as the cues would quickly become trite and uninteresting. Space battles in Star Wars: Rebellion occured infrequently enough that the music was fun to listen to each time the prompts came up prior to and after the combat. But given the number of combat situations that regularly occur in a WiF turn, similar cues in this game would get stale quite possibly after the very first turn of play.

Balance of Pre-Existing Music vs. Original Music
Some pre-existing music would certainly be a good idea. I would in particular suggest, where possible, music from the early 20th century, containing a mix of composers from the major belligerents. Unfortunately, copyright issues may nix a lot of good possibilities (such as Stravinsky or Aaron Copland). Some Romantic and/or Classical period music may also be appropriate (case in point - Wagner).

It is important that less than half of any pre-existing music used be very obtrusive, as this game demands concentration on the part of the player, and music that calls too much attention to itself all the time can be a distraction and even an annoyance (there are a number of tracks that do this in Hearts of Iron, which exclusively uses non-original music). Some music still needs to be exiciting and vigorous, of course.

As for original music, I would certainly endorse it - it provides a nice change of pace from all the Richard Strauss, Edward Elgar, & Shostakovich or whatnot that'll be playing. Also, in particular original music can be scored for the game that allows for the creation of pieces that in some ways duplicate the styles of composers that would have had pieces featured in the game but for copyright concerns (such as Aaron Copland or Olivier Messaien). I don't know how much Japanese or Chinese music can be found from the war period itself, but since music in those styles is certainly a welcome addition I would certainly suggest that, in the absence of externally-sourced music, some original music in that idiom be composed.

The big key for both original and other music is that the player has to be able to tolerate hearing it more than once in the same hour, in the off chance that such a thing should occur. Most of my favourite game music is pretty short loops of stuff (from games like the Final Fantasy franchise or Ogre Battle, or even Starcraft and Warcraft III) that I could quite happily listen to again and again for fifteen minutes plus straight up without getting bored of it. With a big enough library to choose from, and/or the ability for the player to play their own music, plus a good random music-playing algorithm, there should be no concern about musical irritation (one of my biggest beefs with Hearts of Iron II is that, while the score is good, the fact that it's divided into "war" music and "peace" music means that too little music gets repeated too often, and many of the tracks are too intrusive to bear much repeating, though repeat they inevitably do).

What Pre-Existing Music to Use?
These following suggestions are entirely based on my own opinions, and should hardly be taken to be authoritative, although I will try to give reasons that are not 100% arbitrary.

German Composers
Wagner - best used sparingly because most of his music is loud stuff; good tracks to include are "Ride of the Valkyries", "Tannhauser Overture" (the theme of the German airborne forces), and "Siegfried Idyll" (mainly because it is quite soft-spoken for Wagner).
Johann Strauss(es) - The waltz-composing Viennese? I would highly recommend against.
Vienna School I (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven) - Although these fellows were never a "school", they are the big-time Classical composers, and they spent a lot of time in and around Vienna. I would generally suggest avoiding them because they are so ubiquitous.
Vienna School II (Schoenberg, Berg, Webern) - An actual school of composition; best avoided as, despite being over a half-century old, they are often considered too "avant-garde" for most listeners; however Berg has a number of pieces that may merit inclusion.
Richard Strauss - Some of this guy's stuff should be included for sure if possible; just not the sunrise cue from "Also Sprach Zarathustra", although other material from that tone poem ought to be considered. Not only is he from the early 20th century, but he briefly held a post in the Nazi music commission.
Mendelhsson & Brahms - I don't know about these two.

Russian & East European Composers
Tchaikovsky - Overused; best avoided (especially 1812 Overture, which, nice as it is is both too long and too loud).
Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff - Definite yes' all, if you can get them. Mussorgsky has a number of pieces that were later orchestrated by Ravel which merit inclusion.
Stravinsky - Absolutely.
Shostakovich - Probably, if copyright isn't an issue. He is really the quintessential Soviet-era composer.
Bartok & Kodaly - Maybe. Bartok can be a bit modernist for some ears.
Lutoslawski - Some of his surviving earlier works.
Chopin - Probably.
Smetana - Probably.
Liszt - Probably not.

American, British & French Composers
Holst, Elgar, Vaughn Williams, Britten - Yes, yes, yes! Although for Elgar I would suggest avoiding the Pomp & Circumstance pieces.
Copland, Gershwin, Barber, Ives - Definitely, although copyright may prove to be too much of an obstacle.
Ravel, Faure, Debussy - Definitely.
Some of the English 18th-19th century madrigalists might be a good idea, but there's so many other composers that they should probably come in as a last resort.

Other
- Japanese & Chinese music from the period, whether composed in the Western idiom or not?
- CW Dominion composers? (India & Canada come to mind)
- Sousa marches/anthems - one or two of these may be good, but they are marches, and that means loud and possibly distracting. On the other hand, as Pablo, I believe, first mentioned, they might be good for mini-cues.

That's probably (more than enough) on music.

FOLEY EFFECTS (SOUND)

For in-game sound effects, I think you've already got a reasonable list. I like not having distinct sounds for unit selection, as that would get tiresome real fast; likewise with when units are simply ordered to do something. When they actually implement an action is when you would have the Foley effects come in to play.

I would say you have different "click" sounds for the following:
- unit/stack selection
- unit/stack orders issued
- menu/screen selection
- menu option chosen

When would the Foley sound come into play? I would use a rail move as an example. It is the rail move phase. You select a unit you want to rail move and get the "click" sound. You select the destination hex to get another "click" sound. While the unit changes hexes and you are perusing for other units to select, two or three seconds of railway sounds play.

(On a somewhat related topic, I would play an animation for each atomic bomb raid made during the game, seeing as they are infrequent events of such great magnitude.)

Voice-Overs/Narration
Presumably you won't have a lot of this except in so far as you are able to get clips of speeches by political or propaganda figures. To keep things in their historical context, I would not provide translations of clips of speeches during the game, except in a separate text file that players can peruse at their leisure (including during the game but run out of any old text file reader rather than MWiF itself). This might save a few bucks on localization.

That is about it.

_____________________________

~ Composer99

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 89
RE: Historical Details, Animation, and Sound - 12/2/2005 6:46:51 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 18170
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
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You have increased my understanding on this topic by an order of magnitude. Thanks.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to composer99)
Post #: 90
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