Behind the Lines
In This Issue
A Letter from the Editor
Ah, E3... Time of Booth Babes, dazzling light shows, and three days of
900 decibel music. I left for E3 on the 9th, I returned on the 12th,
and my hearing returns sometime around October. Every year I talk to
people and they say "Gosh I wish I could go to E3." So today, I
dispel the myth- No you don't. It's loud, its got the epileptic
light show from hell, its got tons of people wall to wall complete with
body odors. To make matters worse if you DO go there you're probably
working, and if you're working you have a schedule that looks something
like mine. 36 meetings in 3 days. No lunch breaks, no bathroom
breaks. Business at breakfast, business at dinner. I came
home a wreck, mentally and physically exhausted, and when I relay this to
some passerby they will pipe up "Oh, E3, I wish I could have gone."
If I am arrested for assault following whatever unfortunate person says
that... you now know why.
Joe Lieberman, Editor
Feature: The Releases are Coming!
Holy good golly miss molly. Due to a number of circumstances way
beyond anyone's control, the following months are going to be crazy.
We've got releases galore and not much time to do them in.
We've got PureSim Baseball 2006, the continuation of our spots
line. PureSim 2006 has got some awesome improvements. My
favorite so far is the new Almanac. When I was a baseball junkie (At
the age of 9 or so) my favorite thing to do was to read over the Almanac.
Now, before you tell me how much of a geek I am/was, I AM a geek, so don't
bother. The point is PureSim now is able to track detailed histories
in the Almanac. Literally able to generate THOUSANDS of pages of your
fictional history that you create. Nostalgic of the famed '2030'
Oregon Woodchippers season you played yesterday? All the stats are
right there at your fingertips.
Then, of course, Harpoon 3. Harpoon is the closest you can
get to commanding a naval task force without going through bootcamp.
The engine, as you may know, is so realistic that actual naval military
powers use it to train their officers. Mind you, the military gets a
special version, but they probably pay a little more for that luxury.
The biggest key feature in this new game in the Harpoon series is
multiplayer. For the first time Harpoon fanatics can go online and see
who's got the biggest strategic guns. Harpoon 3 may be the last naval
warfare game you'll ever need to purchase.
Oh it doesn't end there though. Conquest of the Aegean is
coming along too, real close now. This is the sequel to Highway to the
Reich, and it is destined to live up to its predecessor. Highway to
the Reich is famed for having a wonderful command structure, making what is
technically a real time strategy game actually have STRATEGY in it, and
moving at a speed even the most stoic wargamer can respond to (plus you can
pause the action to put in orders). If a broad command of many units
wandering around the Aegean is you poison, Conquest of the Aegean is your
If broad command isn't your thing, then Panzer Command: Operation
Winter Storm has you covered as well. This is the best looking
wargame since... ever! It looks sharp, it plays sharp, it is a true 3D
wargame. It is easy enough for beginners with a magnificent AI both on
your units and your enemies, and complex enough for veterans when you get
down to controlling individual tanks in simultaneous turn based glory.
Coming real soon is The Operational Art of War. Our very
first game with the TalonSoft license. The original was so well
received it is actually difficult to search the internet and find negative
things about it. "Brilliant" and "incredible simulation" comes
up numerous times.
To make it all seem a LITTLE bit crazier... It's all happening THIS
SUMMER... So much for going to the beach for the PR guy (me)!
Feature #2: Interview with Shaun
Please welcome Shaun Sullivan, author of PureSim Baseball 2005 Gold
Edition and the newly released PureSim Baseball 2007. Both
great products and incredibly detailed simulations of baseball goodness.
I decided to get Shaun's opinion on the classic game, but unfortunately he
didn't have any of those great ballpark hotdogs to go with it!
BTL- Hello Shaun. I'm sure our readers care about you just
as much as they care about your game, so tell us a little bit about yourself.
Shaun- Well, I am a father of four, lover of baseball (and baseball sims).
I own every baseball sim ever released for PC. I am a die hard Red Sox Fan.
What more is there?
BTL-I like the fact you didn't mention your wife, despite the
fact she is cooking dinner in the background. Don't worry, I won't
tell her you love the Sox more than her. At least you put your kids
first! So you said you owned every baseball Sim. What was your
favorite, other than your own game of course.
Shaun- Hey I love the Sox just as MUCH as I love my wife!
It's complicated! Ok the answer to your question is Earl Weaver Baseball for Amiga. 1986 or so. I played
that game to death and the game that got me into making my own baseball sim. I actually hacked the player stats by breaking it open. I
was also really involved with the Front Page community from Dynamix.
We'll give them honorable mention to this question.
BTL- So not every reader out there is a die hard fan of the
game. What is it about PureSim that will appeal to the Saturday 'game
with the kids' fan?
Shaun- PureSim is very approachable, especially since we have the Lahman
stats right from the get-go now, packaged with the product. It only
takes three clicks to get going with any time period, ever. The game
can control as little or as much as you want. So in the end, as long
as you know the basics of baseball there's something you can be doing in
PureSim. It's also a great way to get to know the game better.
BTL- So there seem to be a lot of ways you can play the game.
Can you categorize some of the more common ways players can get involved
in the PureSim universe?
Shaun- There are the folks that prefer general management.
Managing the team budget, salary caps, sign players, make trades, ect.
These players probably don't sit there and play out every game, but take a
much broader scope on managing their team. There are also
those that prefer the strategy of baseball game to game. When to call a bunt or a
pitch out or when to pull a pitcher off the mound. The strength of the game is it is equally approachable
from both perspectives. There's also the people like me who love
BTL- There's a lot of new stuff in the 2006 version. What
new feature is your favorite?
Shaun- The most exciting feature is the Almanac. It keeps
the entire history, every pitch, every at bat of your virtual career.
Every true baseball gamer loves stats and now PureSim provides incredible
BTL- Ok lets get to real life stuff. In your expert
opinion, who in real Major League Baseball is going to garner the most
press coverage this year?
Shaun- The core rivalries of the northeast are always a good
choice for getting a lot of print. Also Barry Bonds' chase of Hank Aaron's all time
homerun record and the controversy around possible steroids. I simulated this season hundreds of times. PureSim points to the White Sox as a big power again and the L.A. Dodgers
may make a comeback as well and have a shot at the title. A good
point is this game isn't just about replaying history, it is also about predicting the
BTL- So are suggesting PureSim could be used to bet on sporting events!?!?? Can you
beat the curve on it? How many millions have you made!?
Shaun- Well I have had that thought, but I have never gone ahead and
made a bet based on the results. I believe PureSim to be incredibly
accurate, but any number of random factors in a single game could totally
change the outcome. If I had to bet on a simulated game, I would bet
on a PureSim simulation, but I guess I am too stoic.
Disclaimer: Matrix Games nor PureSim support the use of PureSim
Baseball to predict betting on sporting events. If you happen to win
big let us in on it though!
BTL- So what's the biggest appeal of PureSim to Matrix Fans who
haven't quite crossed over to baseball?
Shaun- It has gotta be the ability to go back and replay
historic events. You can go back to any time point in history, 1952,
1902, and 2002 and really see if you can alter what happened or see if the
PureSim engine lives up to its reputation.
BTL- So speaking of history, what do you think was the most exciting moment in
baseball, through all time and so on and some such?
Shaun- Need you even ask!? The Red Sox win the World Series in 2004. 0-3 against Yankees
and then they swept four games to win the pennant and defeated the
Cardinals 4-0 in the World Series. An 8 game winning streak at just
the right moment... those were the days!
BTL- Er, those days were only two years ago man.
Sheesh, Red Sox fans are all like this... they get all teary eyed talking
about anything that happened in 2004. Ok, well, I will let Shaun go
and revel in his victory. I can only guess how many times he has
replayed the 2004 season in an attempt to duplicate that momentous event.
And so we leave our heroic developer, still retelling the play by play
action of the 2004 World Series even though the mic was turned off a long
time ago. Shaun Sullivan is a baseball fan first, game developer and
father second, husband a close third (apparently). We at Matrix
Games wouldn't have it any other way. Find out more on PureSim 2007
at the new website: www.puresim.com
or take a look at it at the Matrix Games site at
Article: Lazy Gamers
I believe gamers are getting lazier. Ok, gamers have always been
lazy. Sure my mousing-finger can click 270 times a second, but
apparently that isn't "working out" according to my wife. However,
this article isn't about my inability to run marathons. It's about
the GAMES themselves making the population lazy. Now wait, before I
get lynched by people saying "The games don't make us fat," let me explain
that isn't what I mean either. Once upon a time strategy games were
the most popular genre. Not just strategy games, turn based strategy
games! However, as time has gone on the size of the turn based
market has fallen considerably. I postulate the reason for this
decline is because strategy games reward hard work. Strategy games
are difficult, that is what makes them fun. It is fun to overcome
adversity by use of your noggin. As time went on a variety of other
'strategy' genres have been crowned king of sales. In the mid 90s
the RTS genre took flight. RTSs were pretty lazy about rewarding
intelligence and more about rewarding ability to micromanage. We
took a step down the slippery slope of rewarding players for the wrong
reasons. Following the rise of RTSs we saw the MMORPG world sprout
and put a death-grip on the industry. MMOs took this rewarding
players for wrong reasons a leap forward. While RPGs were originally
wargames (as we discussed a while back in an article), the MMORPGs didn't
reward tactical brilliance at ALL. They rewarded time spent.
Each generation of gamer has become more lax in requiring skill to
succeed. Imagine what impact that must have on our mentality as a
race of humans.
In the tactical era of the 80s- Smart thinking and creative methods
delivered successful results.
In the RTS era of the 90s- Micromanagement and trying to control every
detail deliver successful results.
In the MMO era of the 2000s- Time spent delivers successful results.
Am I the ONLY person concerned by this? In the early days of
games it taught us a valuable lesson- planning and logical thinking made
us successful. In the RTS era it taught us exactly the OPPOSITE of
what a management class will teach you. In management you learn that
you must rely on your team and understand a BROAD SCOPE in order to create
success. Micromanagement leads to failure and usually mental
breakdown of the managing body.
And now we teach that the more time you spend the better your rewards
are? Are we suggesting that if I spend twice as long writing this
newsletter, but not producing anything extra with that time spent, that I
am delivering a better product? I worry that there is a subconscious
rule being taught to gamers that doesn't equate into reality... and I am
very glad that I have the mental vigor to work and play wargames, and
equally glad my readers do too!
What on Earth are all these people talking about?
Rumor: A little birdie told me that Star Chamber: The
Harbinger Saga will be releasing a new card set very soon. More
Fremen has a War in the Pacific fan site!
http://www.telefonica.net/web2/witp/en/index.html. It's a real
class act so if you're a WITP fanatic, fan, or hanger-on, be sure to stop
by and take a look!
Shaun Sullivan at PureSim, with the help of some beta testers, have
come up with a new Career Arc for PureSim Baseball 2007. Read
about it here:
There's also some interesting research on the T-34 being a "hunk of
junk". T-34s play an important role as "things Germans can shoot at"
in the upcoming Panzer Command: Operation Winter Storm. It's
This section provides links to the updates released between the
last newsletter and now. No more having to search for download
links; we've got 'em right here!
Flashpoint Germany v. 1.11
Gary Grigsby's World at War v. 1.20
Maximum-Football V. 1.0.139
War in the Pacific V. 1.81
Crown of Glory v1.20
Keep an eye on the news page and forums at
information on these two upcoming patches!
A Parting Shot
You know what I like best about May? It isn't Cinco De Mayo, but
that is a close second. It's May Day. Not because it is an
adopted Pagan Holiday... in fact I know very little about the Holiday.
It is just fascinating to me that May Day and Mayday (the distress call)
sound remarkably similar. Ok, that segue sucked, but the fact is I
was curious if there was a relation between the holiday and the distress
call. Some research in the Wiki universe showed this:
Míaider is the infinitive form of the reflexive verb "help me" within
French syntax; however, it isnít used as a stand-alone imperative command.
This has led some etymologists to claim that what the convention really
meant was an abbreviation of the phrase, "Venez míaider" ("Come help me"). "M'aidez"
(which is not gramatically correct either) is considered an acceptable
alternative. In both cases, however, mayday must be considered as a rather
crude English phonetic representation. It should be also noted that while in
English the phrase is only used in distress situation, in French it carries
no more sense of urgency than its English translation "help me". What French
people in distress actually shout is, "Au secours!".
It further goes on to say, The Mayday callsign was originated in 1923 by
Frederick Stanley Mockford (1897-1962). Whilst senior radio officer at
Croydon Airport in London, Mockford was asked to think of a word that would
indicate distress and would easily be understood by all pilots and ground
staff in an emergency. Since much of the traffic at the time was between
Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in Paris, he proposed the word "Mayday" from
the French m'aidez.
So there you have it. May Day (May 1st) and Mayday are NOT related.
They didn't name the last words of uncountable pilots after a holiday for
the working man.