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INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 5:49:04 AM   
dogovich

 

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INTEL REPORT.

Well.... I guess there is no one out there who is better able to report on what is new with the Campaign System than I am. And while I would like to tell you that we went in and just souped it up like an old classic car, I'm afraid the truth might not make you all as happy as you might like. What we did want to do was provide a product for you that would run well and have a lot of new features. That I think we achieved.

It has been mentioned that the Campaign Series is an old game system and I have to admit that such is true. But isn't it remarkable that the game has such replayability that it continues to entertain us as long as it has? The game system is quite and elegant and despite its age (in game years) she remains a grand old lady with quite a large following. The design adapts fairly readily to a large number of player mods that have been created throughout the years, and while it may have its limitations, I believe that there is still quite a bit that we can do with it. I like working with it, and now that I am actually able to redo some of the code, I have a number of interesting changes that I'd like to implement in order to make it a better product. At the same time however, I don't want to destroy the flavor of the original game that has attracted so many of us and there are a number of areas I'd like to leave untouched. Many of these involve areas that remain controversial amongst many players and always seem to start up arguments on some of the message boards. I don't think it's our business to try and force a decision on anyone and therefore will just let things stay as they are.

Jason and George have put forth a great deal of effort putting in the new equipment and country files that they did, and I of course concentrated on the Far East. But just in case you didn't know, Peter, our programmer kind of vanished on us and thus we were left without anyone to do any of the real in-depth programming required to dig deep into the code and make significant changes to such things as the AI. On the other hand, I do have some experience with coding and being somewhat familiar with how the game engine works (from my days of modding the same) was able to make a number of changes that benefited the game editors and made things better for those who develop a lot of the scenarios that we all like to play. Most significantly, I amended the org editor to encompass a time period extending from January 1930 to December 1953. That means that future changes to the game can include everything from the invasion of Manchuria all the way up through the end of the Korean War. Do we have the units to support these yet? No. But they can be developed. I added additional nation slots to the force pools to allow for all of the new countries that were added to the game, and as things go further, am planning on adding even more to allow for additional countries to be added to the force pool.

The map editor for West Front and Rising Sun have both been modified to make maps for each of the five climatic zones covered by the game. That means that West Front now includes Jungles and Asian Temperate, and Rising Sun can also do Deserts, Mediterranean. So now if you want to have the French fight the British in Africa (or even cover the liberation of Ethiopia) you can do so.

John Tiller was recruited to work on a couple of problems, one of which was the XP problem. I'm glad to say that after hours and hours of running scenarios using the new game files that running on XP doesn't seem to be a problem. Most significant to me is the absence of that annoying repeating sound problem. Additionally, you do not need to load any CDs to play the game. Just select whichever of the three you want to play and go. I always did hate switching CDs while switching between games. And David Heath assures us that they are going to test the game out against Vista to make sure that it works there before sending it out to the world.

Trains now work. They can fight (if so equipped to do so), carry passengers, and they actually stay on the tracks. I was involved in the initial pioneer work on this a number of years ago, but it was George and Jason who actually pushed it into West Front and East Front. After seeing how well they looked, I included them in Rising Sun as well. Rising Sun also has a number of new patrol ships, Sampans, and junks that I think give it a great deal of flavor. These boats even shoot back and forth and one can have riverine battles and contested river crossings. In fact, the waters have become quite crowded with ships, landing barges, and such for all three of the games and that provides for all sorts of possibilities. I am really excited about the Chinese and Soviet additions to this game and wonder why TalonSoft didn't bother to include them in the first place. Also, with the addition of the Soviets (pro-ally and anti-ally) players can begin living out Patton's dream of taking it to the Russians and driving on to wherever.

All of the new units that can be found in the Blitz Krieg PB#1 expansion for East Front can also be found in our East Front. I think Jason got a bit carried away with equipping the Russians and Germans with new toys, but in the end the stuff works. We have command sections for the companies and battalions that have one or two vehicles per section, but alas the leaders still are as they were before.

There are a couple of spotter plane units included in the force mix that don't actually work like we want them to, but give me some time. Once I get this initial release off of my back, I can take time to really dig into the software and start making some significant improvements. I made planes work pretty well in Divided Ground, I think I can do the same here.

Regarding Divided Ground. When Matrix got the source code from Take Two, no one could find the Divided Ground Source Code. However, I have made it one of my main quests to recreate it from the existing Campaign Series Source Code that we do have and therefore start souping it up as well.

I've worked in the defense software industry for over 20 years and can pretty much gauge how much effort it takes to make changes in a software system. Things like "tweaking the AI" are easy to identify as problems, but not so easy to change or fix. Most of what people see as bugs are actually limitations in the design and code. The three of us are eager to make enhancements but at the same time, we have to proceed slowly to ensure that when we attempt to fix one problem we don't create a bunch more. That's easy to do with software. But so far, CS has proven fairly robust, and I look forward to exploring the code and "tweaking" it like a classic automobile.

Now just in case you haven't noticed, there are only three of us on the team working on the game. For us this is a part time endeavor and we still have to pay attention to our full-time jobs, families, and in my case farm animals. So as much as we wanted to get this totally bug free, there are probably some minor glitches out there waiting for someone to find. Most of these will be limited to easy fixes to the various data files, but regardless of what they are, if you report them on the forum, we will listen and try to let you know what we are doing to get them corrected. One of my pet peeves with a lot of game forums in the past, especially TalonSoft was that we would report problems and not hear back on them until suddenly, bam! They were corrected, or else not. I'd like to think that we will be far more responsive than TalonSoft ever was, and like several of the other teams working with Matrix, we'll continue to support the game as long as we are able.

As for pricing, I believe David mentioned that the game would sell for $35.00. That's not a bad deal. Especially since you're getting all three of the main games. And considering the improvements that have been made I'd buy it.

If anyone has any other questions, I'll try to answer them. We submitted the game files to Matrix for "Gold Mastering" and Vista testing, so it shouldn't take very much longer before it is ready for release. I have placed a hold on any further changes so that we can quit delaying things. But other than that, we'll see what happens. If I get overly busy here on the farm, and don't get to the message boards, Jason is always there to alert me of something, so we'll just wait and see.
Post #: 1
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 6:55:39 AM   
AndyfromVA1

 

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$35 is a reasonable price for the whole package. I already have "Europe in Flames" so I'm going to have to look at the changes to see if it's worth it to me.

I had the same situation with TOAW and in the end I decided that TOAW 3 was not different enough from Century of Warfare to justify buying the new game (especially since TOAW was not something I played all that much).

I always preferred The Campaign Series to TOAW, so I'm more inclined to buy the new Campaign Series if there are a sufficient number of improvements (and cool features).

(in reply to dogovich)
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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 7:49:59 AM   
Arkady


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thank you dogovich, I like your report and I appreciate all work done on the game


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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 7:54:01 AM   
Reggy


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I agree, $35 is a great deal.  I hope I can play all three games without changing CDs too! 

Thanks for all your efforts Dogovich, Jason and George and all the rest on this project (although my wife may not be so thankful).

It will be good to get the game out, even with a few warts as I am sure the patches will be around soon enough. 

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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 9:46:02 AM   
klhbekool


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$35 is more than a great price I can't wait to get this update to a classic
Thank you guys for your hardwork

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Post #: 5
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 12:08:55 PM   
jamespcrowley

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: dogovich

INTEL REPORT.

We have command sections for the companies and battalions that have one or two vehicles per section, but alas the leaders still are as they were before.



Do any of these changes/additions impact on the existing scenarios or are they designed solely for new user-created scenarios?

Presumably, these command sections are just to bring-up the number (of vehicles) to the historical levels and they have no command functions as such?

Is it likely, or even possible, to "switch" the leader functions to the command sections, at least at battalion level?

Also, from memory, company command was integral to one of the platoons. Would it be possible to have a separate company command, given the existence of the command sections?




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Cheers

Jim

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Post #: 6
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 12:36:58 PM   
JudgeDredd


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$35 sounds reasonable to me. As I stated somewhere else, I sold my Western Fron and Eastern Front games and gutted that I did so (under the kosh from the missus)...so I'll be more than willing to pick these up again.

Thx for the update


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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 4:09:52 PM   
BAL


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I appreciate the team's hard work on this & think that $35 is a very reasonable price.  I expected it to be more. 

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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 5:21:19 PM   
Temple

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: James Crowley
quote:

ORIGINAL: dogovich

INTEL REPORT.
We have command sections for the companies and battalions that have one or two vehicles per section, but alas the leaders still are as they were before.

Do any of these changes/additions impact on the existing scenarios or are they designed solely for new user-created scenarios?

Presumably, these command sections are just to bring-up the number (of vehicles) to the historical levels and they have no command functions as such?

Is it likely, or even possible, to "switch" the leader functions to the command sections, at least at battalion level?

Also, from memory, company command was integral to one of the platoons. Would it be possible to have a separate company command, given the existence of the command sections?


Ah, the memories of this debate, whether to have separate command sections for the companies or to have it integreted into the first platoon. For some interesting reading about this subject, check out this article by Glenn Saunders.

(in reply to jamespcrowley)
Post #: 9
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 5:30:29 PM   
bubbak

 

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$35.00 is a great price now I have an extra $15.00 I can use on the Battleground series.

I've only played Rising Sun so I'm going to buy this .

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Post #: 10
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 5:49:14 PM   
Jason Petho


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From: Terrace, BC, Canada
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quote:

ORIGINAL: James Crowley
Do any of these changes/additions impact on the existing scenarios or are they designed solely for new user-created scenarios?


There are a small number of platoons (maybe 3 at the most in East Front) that are impacted in old scenarios, but most of the changes/additions will impact new scenarios.


quote:

ORIGINAL: James Crowley
Presumably, these command sections are just to bring-up the number (of vehicles) to the historical levels and they have no command functions as such?


These new command units are designed to be used as "kampfgruppe" or "task force" HQ's. They do provide the same capabilities as normal HQ's. You can create a task force with any oob while in game. For example, a large scenario, you are in command of a division, this division has one of these kampfgruppe HQs included (these are generally 1SP), you can organize a formation consisting of a company from here and there and have them all operate under a unified command.

quote:

ORIGINAL: James Crowley
Is it likely, or even possible, to "switch" the leader functions to the command sections, at least at battalion level?


Not at the moment, potentially in the future.


quote:

ORIGINAL: James Crowley
Also, from memory, company command was integral to one of the platoons. Would it be possible to have a separate company command, given the existence of the command sections?



This is done in some cases, mostly armoured formations.

Hope that helps
Take care and good luck
Jason Petho




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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 6:15:09 PM   
JJKettunen


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This is on my shopping list. I hope there's now three platoons, not just one, in Finnish infantry companies for June-September 1944... 

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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 6:37:48 PM   
jamespcrowley

 

Posts: 421
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jason Petho


quote:

ORIGINAL: James Crowley
Do any of these changes/additions impact on the existing scenarios or are they designed solely for new user-created scenarios?


There are a small number of platoons (maybe 3 at the most in East Front) that are impacted in old scenarios, but most of the changes/additions will impact new scenarios.


quote:

ORIGINAL: James Crowley
Presumably, these command sections are just to bring-up the number (of vehicles) to the historical levels and they have no command functions as such?


These new command units are designed to be used as "kampfgruppe" or "task force" HQ's. They do provide the same capabilities as normal HQ's. You can create a task force with any oob while in game. For example, a large scenario, you are in command of a division, this division has one of these kampfgruppe HQs included (these are generally 1SP), you can organize a formation consisting of a company from here and there and have them all operate under a unified command.

quote:

ORIGINAL: James Crowley
Is it likely, or even possible, to "switch" the leader functions to the command sections, at least at battalion level?


Not at the moment, potentially in the future.


quote:

ORIGINAL: James Crowley
Also, from memory, company command was integral to one of the platoons. Would it be possible to have a separate company command, given the existence of the command sections?



This is done in some cases, mostly armoured formations.

Hope that helps
Take care and good luck
Jason Petho





Thanks for that Jason.

I must admit that this is starting to look rather good, especially given the likely price. I think I shall be a buyer.

I have recently unearthed the Empire booklet for the UK edition of West front, which has the tutorial and data tables in it (although the games and manuals for both East and West Front are long gone).

There are nearly 110 pages to West Front alone; there must be at least that much for East Front as well, not to mention Rising Sun and all the new units that have been added. These tables are going to be very desirable for us old time players; I do hope they can be reproduced in some format, fairly shortly after release.


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Jim

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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 7:16:02 PM   
golfbill


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A very hearty well done to all of you. The price is extremely reasonable. I do know something of working on stuff part time and maintaining a family etc. We will await the release. See Marc I am learning. Thanks for the schooling on chat rooms etiquette.

Bill

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Post #: 14
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 7:20:30 PM   
Tiger88_slith


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Quick question:

I have herd rumors that all of the current scenarios (both custom and standard) that we have been using with the current CS edtion from Talonsoft will also work with the new Matrix edtion - is this true?

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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 7:23:24 PM   
Jason Petho


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Tiger 88

Quick question:

I have herd rumors that all of the current scenarios (both custom and standard) that we have been using with the current CS edtion from Talonsoft will also work with the new Matrix edtion - is this true?



Logically, they should.

One can convert old files to the new version, but cannot convert new files to work on the old series.

Take care and good luck
Jason Petho



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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 8:33:56 PM   
vadersson


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Sounds like great work guys. The only thing that surprises me is that the game is still 3 programs. I would have thought that it would not take much effort to meld them into one front end to cover all the games and just load scenarios. Then you would also just need one map editor. Why did they have to stay three games?

Thanks and well done,
Duncan

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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/10/2007 8:46:54 PM   
Jason Petho


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quote:

ORIGINAL: vadersson

Sounds like great work guys. The only thing that surprises me is that the game is still 3 programs. I would have thought that it would not take much effort to meld them into one front end to cover all the games and just load scenarios. Then you would also just need one map editor. Why did they have to stay three games?

Thanks and well done,
Duncan



Hello Duncan.

Yes, I agree and that was our intention. But as Dogovich noted, we "lost" our programmer.

We would still like to head in that direction, ultimately.

Take care and good luck
Jason Petho




< Message edited by Jason Petho -- 5/10/2007 8:49:18 PM >


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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/11/2007 12:36:28 AM   
Jarexx

 

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Just two things i'd like to know.

[1] By the sounds of things this version is more modder friendly is this true?

The limited number of sound and army slots in the original always imo kind of gimped me when it came to modding , also theres the fact i'd like to make use of the huge amount of material i've just sitting around on my HD for years

[2] Will it be backwards compatible with people who choose to stick to the original and not upgeade to this newer version , or will they run into peoblems when it comes to PBEM?

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Post #: 19
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/11/2007 12:50:57 AM   
dogovich

 

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We'll, it is just as modder friendly as the past versions.  People who use my encrypt/decrypt routines to build platoon data files and such will be able to use the same on the released version.  I am not sure about backwards compatibility.  I have not run into that problem.  But I should know for certain when the gold master is finally created.

Quite frankly, as regards mods and adding new countries and such, we are actually receiptive to that adn are willing to work with anyone who seek to have their stuff added to the game.  I'd just like to maintain some uniformity over any country list stuff so as to avoid conflicts with future updates and such.  Scenario developers are especially encouraged to contact us.  And although I can't say for certain, there is a possibility of actually being paid for your work if the powers that be like what they see.

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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/11/2007 1:00:57 AM   
Jason Petho


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jarexx

[2] Will it be backwards compatible with people who choose to stick to the original and not upgeade to this newer version , or will they run into peoblems when it comes to PBEM?


As noted above, original scenarios will not be affected by the MOD, so potentially one could play an old stock or custom scenario with someone who remains with the old version.

Conflicts will arise with new scenarios.

Take care and good luck
Jason Petho



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Post #: 21
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/11/2007 1:45:03 AM   
TAIL GUNNER

 

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Hi.

Will there be any new LCGs?

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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/11/2007 1:49:34 AM   
Jason Petho


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Juggalo
Will there be any new LCGs?


One for East Front, with more in the works.




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RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/11/2007 2:29:19 AM   
jchastain


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I must admit that given the above history, I am somewhat surprised at the decision to go ahead and launch the game.  Examining it from a purely business decision standpoint, one would assume that a replacement programmer would have permitted additional functionality that would have allowed for a higher price point.  Obviously you have tried to find a replacement and haven't yet been successful.  But if we assume that the search will continue and that this work will eventually be done, then you will eventually bear the cost of the intended upgrades but the results will now be introduced as free patches, or perhaps as an "expansion".  With a game that is already classic, I would not have thought a further delay of several months (to allow a programmer to be found and to make the intended changes) would have impacted sale figures.  And expansions generally only reach a portion of the audience of the original.

So... I wouldn't ordinarily expect an answer to such a question.  But while the kimona is fully open I suppose it doesn't hurt to ask.  What was the business justification behind the launch decision?  Was there a date commitment is the contract when you acquired the rights?  Do you not believe the extra enhancements would have supported a higher price?  Are you considering packing the additional changes as some type of future paid expansion?  Or have you now given up on finding a capable coder so that the enhancements going forward will primarily be minor fixes and scenario updates rather than the originally envisioned programming changes?

I know you guys serve a niche market with mostly part-time labor, and that many of your business decisions obviously have to account for that unqiueness in your situation.  And I am not criticizing your decision (though I also know some on these boards will misunderstand my comments and likely will tell me to stop complaining).  I just don't understand the business driver here and I am therefore curious.  Do you mind sharing what led you to the decision to go ahead and publish the title as-is?  Thanks.

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Post #: 24
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/11/2007 2:52:17 AM   
Jason Petho


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jchastain

So... I wouldn't ordinarily expect an answer to such a question.  But while the kimona is fully open I suppose it doesn't hurt to ask.  What was the business justification behind the launch decision? 


A question for David.

quote:

ORIGINAL: jchastain
Was there a date commitment is the contract when you acquired the rights? 


A question for David.

quote:

ORIGINAL: jchastain
Do you not believe the extra enhancements would have supported a higher price? 


I would imagine so, but I don't think a higher price was what Matrix was after. I think the pricepoint was set long ago.

quote:

ORIGINAL: jchastain
Are you considering packing the additional changes as some type of future paid expansion? 


Some changes will come as patches, others will come in the form of something along the lines of the Mega Campaign packs for Steel Panthers.

quote:

ORIGINAL: jchastain
Or have you now given up on finding a capable coder so that the enhancements going forward will primarily be minor fixes and scenario updates rather than the originally envisioned programming changes?


For the moment, Wyatt is learning more about the code as the days go on, I would imagine substantial code changes are to come in the future. Of course, finding a programmer to work for free will always be a challenge.


quote:

ORIGINAL: jchastain
I know you guys serve a niche market with mostly part-time labor, and that many of your business decisions obviously have to account for that unqiueness in your situation.  And I am not criticizing your decision (though I also know some on these boards will misunderstand my comments and likely will tell me to stop complaining).  I just don't understand the business driver here and I am therefore curious.  Do you mind sharing what led you to the decision to go ahead and publish the title as-is?  Thanks.


Again, a question for David.

Take care and good luck
Jason Petho


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Post #: 25
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/11/2007 5:12:38 AM   
Temple

 

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Well, I can explain one business driver. I love the old Talonsoft games but some are iffy under WinXP and probably all would be iffy under Vista (when I eventually get Vista). I'm very happy to support Matrix Games and their business model of providing DRM free downloads, with the option of a printed manual, disk and box, keeping alive some of these great games. And that they are making updates to them is even better. I certainly think it's worth $35 for the three Campaign Series games, brought up to Vista compatible standards and updated. And all the new hardware and nations available in the editor? Priceless 

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Post #: 26
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/11/2007 6:52:11 AM   
Arctic Blast


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I have never played any of these games, but from what I've read ans seen, they look like something I will most definitely want to sink my teeth in to.

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Post #: 27
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/11/2007 10:41:14 AM   
JudgeDredd


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quote:

ORIGINAL: jchastain
...I would not have thought a further delay of several months


Shut up!

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Post #: 28
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/11/2007 4:46:21 PM   
Bioman

 

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Campaign series and Vista
From everything that I have read the present version of the Campaign Series games do not run under Vista. There seems to be a problem with the armour ranges being set to zero. If no major changes have been made to the Matrix version I do not expect it to work any better. Luckily I was not foolish enough to upgrade to Vista.

(in reply to JudgeDredd)
Post #: 29
RE: INTEL REPORT - 5/11/2007 5:11:10 PM   
Jason Petho


Posts: 13853
Joined: 6/22/2004
From: Terrace, BC, Canada
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Bioman

Campaign series and Vista
From everything that I have read the present version of the Campaign Series games do not run under Vista. There seems to be a problem with the armour ranges being set to zero. If no major changes have been made to the Matrix version I do not expect it to work any better. Luckily I was not foolish enough to upgrade to Vista.


If I understand David correctly during our last conversation, the Campaign Series is now working under Vista.

Take care and good luck
Jason Petho


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(in reply to Bioman)
Post #: 30
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