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Mode of Play - 6/13/2009 2:35:02 AM   
Grapeshot Bob


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AI?, PBEM?, Solitaire?, Netplay?, Hotseat?

Please post your thoughts here if you wish.



GSB
Post #: 1
RE: Mode of Play - 6/13/2009 3:37:03 AM   
Harold Haralson

 

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I thought this topic had already been addressed in another thread.
In any event.... AI for me only.

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Post #: 2
RE: Mode of Play - 6/13/2009 3:44:15 AM   
Grapeshot Bob


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Harold Haralson

I thought this topic had already been addressed in another thread.
In any event.... AI for me only.


It was requested that the topic be moved out of the "When" thread.


GSB

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Post #: 3
RE: Mode of Play - 6/13/2009 4:34:41 AM   
wworld7


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And a good idea it was to do so.

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RE: Mode of Play - 6/13/2009 4:12:53 PM   
JonBrave

 

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i had been going to post my rant/rave there, but see it's been moved here! Please don't mind me, but I feel like having a moan....

to declare my credentials, i'm a pro-AIO, that's the only way i'll play it, period. i'm rather disappointed to read in the "When" thread how late on the development we are seeing discussions/realizations about the importance of the AI and its coding. even if you're not one who wants/cares about the AI, given the decision that it's going to be there, seems to me you should be concerned about how far it sounds like to has to go (for release)...

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Post #: 5
RE: Mode of Play - 6/13/2009 4:28:20 PM   
gridley

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: JonBrave

i had been going to post my rant/rave there, but see it's been moved here! Please don't mind me, but I feel like having a moan....

to declare my credentials, i'm a pro-AIO, that's the only way i'll play it, period. i'm rather disappointed to read in the "When" thread how late on the development we are seeing discussions/realizations about the importance of the AI and its coding. even if you're not one who wants/cares about the AI, given the decision that it's going to be there, seems to me you should be concerned about how far it sounds like to has to go (for release)...


I have read many of the ai threads that you will find above in the stickied threads. Maybe Steve still has the coding to take care of, but you will find hundreds of hours have already been poured into how the ai should "play".

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RE: Mode of Play - 6/13/2009 5:20:34 PM   
JonBrave

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: gridley

Maybe Steve still has the coding to take care of, but you will find hundreds of hours have already been poured into how the ai should "play".


I am aware of the postings on AI strategy etc. I am indeed talking about the description of just what is still to go on the AI coding side, plus comments about only very recent agreement between developers & publishers on the importance of AI for the product. divided by the release date.

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Post #: 7
RE: Mode of Play - 6/13/2009 6:06:52 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: JonBrave


quote:

ORIGINAL: gridley

Maybe Steve still has the coding to take care of, but you will find hundreds of hours have already been poured into how the ai should "play".


I am aware of the postings on AI strategy etc. I am indeed talking about the description of just what is still to go on the AI coding side, plus comments about only very recent agreement between developers & publishers on the importance of AI for the product. divided by the release date.

I wouldn't call it "recent agreement", since that implies a previous disagreement.

It is more like:
"Did the team win last night?"
"I'm pretty sure they did; they were ahead late in the game."
"I just looked it up. They did win."

Without doing some kind of market research, everyone has opinions, usually backed up with anecdotal evidence. But even small surveys can be hugely useful in clarifying the situation.

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Post #: 8
RE: Mode of Play - 6/13/2009 6:56:35 PM   
Anendrue


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30 years ago an old Sgt. from WWII told me, "Opinions are like buttholes everybody has them and they all stink. So do what the !#$$@ lieutenant wants and remember he stinks the place up just like the rest of us."  

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Post #: 9
RE: Mode of Play - 6/13/2009 7:10:39 PM   
Anthropoid


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I want Matrix to make a game that will strike a proper balance between (a) being fun for me and (b) appealing to a large enough segment of the game-buyer public that they stand to actually make a profit. Yes that is correct, I most definitely _want_ Matrix to profit, and Steve and whomever else is involved in making this product. When creators of these things are rewarded, it sets in motion a positive feedback loop that benefits our hobby in a long-term sense. This is not to disparage the tremendous service which the legions of committed volunteers in our hobby give to our hobby (testers, modders, etc.). Just to say that, ultimately, these games are commercial products, and if they do not turn a reasonable profit, the makers will either shrink size, quality, diversity of product line, or just plain go out of business. If companies that punish us with stuff like the DRM go out of business, great in my opinion, but Matrix is not punishing us. Matrix is our friend.

It is always easy to stand outside another man's house/business and take on a callous perspective like 'who cares if he and his wife are in there starving, I still want him to keep his lawn mowed,' i.e., to take the view that Matrix (and the developers) making a profit off of a game is irrelevant.

But if the game does _not_ make a profit, then in the long term it is unlikely that the game will be supported, patched, improved, modded, or that additional, perhaps even better games, be made in 2, 3, 5 or 10 years hence.

Based on all of this, any discussion of "no AI?" versus "AI?" seems pretty much irrelevant. I'm not aware of any computer games sold today that do not have AI. So in effect, if my anecdotal knowledge of the market is correct, making a computer-based strategy-game-=-no matter what the original foundation on which it is built was like-=-=-that does not have an at least half-arse AI in it (but preferably a decent to moderately good one) is market suicide.

Now maybe I'm wrong, so I'll repeat my question from the post in the other thread.

quote:

I'm very hesitant to post this because this just seems to be an endless round and round in circles, but  . . . I guess I cannot resist

Do you "anti-AI" guys actually believe that a game like this, _without_ an AI, would represent a potentially profitable commercial venture for Matrix?

If so, do you have some sort of market data to back up such conclusions?

I certainly don't have detailed knowledge of computer-game markets, let alone strategy wargames markets. But my anecdotal observation is that all computer-based games of which I'm aware _have_ an AI. Are there computer-games that do not have an AI that are sold? How big a segment of the overall market is that?

The issue of the game being so complex that a 'good' AI is unlikely, or the issue that 'there aren't any that are worth a durn' so far, both seem true to me. Can't argue with either of those points: most computer game AIs are a joke frankly.

But if there is no real market to sell an -without-AI- game to, and no precedent for games without an AI making a publisher like Matrix some profit, then the issues of the challenges of building one with a superlative AI are effectively moot. As far as I can tell, games with mediocre or even crappy AIs make LOTS of profit, and that is sadly just the state of affairs in this hobby/market. Isn't this new Empire Total War game like a huge profit maker despite the fact that it is basically impossible to not win against the AI?

< Message edited by Anthropoid -- 6/12/2009 7:09:46 PM >


Hoping this will not be taken as antagonistic, I just wonder if all you fellas have fully thought through the implications.

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RE: Mode of Play - 6/13/2009 8:13:00 PM   
JonBrave

 

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Steve,

In your 1st June Update Report, you said

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

... This was motivated by a conversation with David Heath about how important the AI Opponent will be.
... I now agree with Dave: the AIO is crucial for sales.


That was 6 weeks before supposed release date. That's what "concerns" me. I would have thought that was figured long ago, I have been returning to the thread for years. Polls can be conducted well in advance if wanted.

I do realise my tone is critical. But I do not mean to offend.


(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 11
RE: Mode of Play - 6/13/2009 9:38:56 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: JonBrave

Steve,

In your 1st June Update Report, you said

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

... This was motivated by a conversation with David Heath about how important the AI Opponent will be.
... I now agree with Dave: the AIO is crucial for sales.


That was 6 weeks before supposed release date. That's what "concerns" me. I would have thought that was figured long ago, I have been returning to the thread for years. Polls can be conducted well in advance if wanted.

I do realise my tone is critical. But I do not mean to offend.



This project was a mountain of work. Armed with a little white plastic spoon, I have been working away at the mountain, which kept me plenty busy (and productive). But given numerous comments of "Now? Now! Now? Now!", we considered a prerelease and perhaps a partial release. To make those decisions we needed more data to refine our unsubstantiated belief that "all 3 main modes of plays are important".

As for "figured out long ago", you don't worry about what color you are going to paint the rooms when you are working on digging a hole for the foundation.

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Perfection is an elusive goal.

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Post #: 12
RE: Mode of Play - 6/14/2009 10:47:40 PM   
TemKarl


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Anthropoid,

quote:

ORIGINAL: Anthropoid
I certainly don't have detailed knowledge of computer-game markets, let alone strategy wargames markets. But my anecdotal observation is that all computer-based games of which I'm aware _have_ an AI. Are there computer-games that do not have an AI that are sold? How big a segment of the overall market is that?


I developed "War In Europe" for Decision Games, and we released to market on march 30 this year with no AI. There's no doubt that a computer port (with no AI) of a 'monster' boardgame is a niche within an niche (within a niche even?). But we knew that when we started, and the results so far are that we have 'hit' the target we were aiming for. It just happens to be a fairly small target!

(in reply to Anthropoid)
Post #: 13
RE: Mode of Play - 6/14/2009 11:16:42 PM   
Anthropoid


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Well if you guys are making a profit and/or having fun with it, I say MORE POWER TO YA!

Good to hear that even a niche-within-a-niche among us gamers can still carve itself into place!!

_____________________________

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RE: Mode of Play - 6/14/2009 11:29:09 PM   
wworld7


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quote:

ORIGINAL: cwie
I developed "War In Europe" for Decision Games, and we released to market on march 30 this year with no AI. There's no doubt that a computer port (with no AI) of a 'monster' boardgame is a niche within an niche (within a niche even?). But we knew that when we started, and the results so far are that we have 'hit' the target we were aiming for. It just happens to be a fairly small target!


The new CWIE has brought back many fond memories. I am pleased with it. And I also look forward to CWiF being finished.

It is all good.

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Flipper

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Post #: 15
RE: Mode of Play - 6/15/2009 4:08:59 AM   
TSCofield

 

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Mostly AI although I probably will play a pbem game or two.

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Post #: 16
RE: Mode of Play - 6/15/2009 4:30:03 AM   
V22 Osprey


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I want it all:
AI-to play for fun
PBEM-every once in a while
LAN, TCP/IP, Internet Play-I play wargames against my dad, and I can only play against him with games that have an online feature because he hates PBEM.
HotSeat-Dont see how this could not be added.

I'm expect Matrix will charge $50 bucks minimum, War in the Pacific Price Maximum.If I'm going to pay this much for a game, it better have AI and a good one at that.

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Post #: 17
RE: Mode of Play - 6/16/2009 7:06:15 AM   
Joseignacio


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JonBrave

Steve,

In your 1st June Update Report, you said

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

... This was motivated by a conversation with David Heath about how important the AI Opponent will be.
... I now agree with Dave: the AIO is crucial for sales.


That was 6 weeks before supposed release date. That's what "concerns" me. I would have thought that was figured long ago, I have been returning to the thread for years. Polls can be conducted well in advance if wanted.

I do realise my tone is critical. But I do not mean to offend.




What "Dave" said is totally true. You can see the effect of a dumb AI in the results of the launch of Empire Total War, in terms of prestige (future sales) and in terms of inmediate sales cut through the feedback of online forums. Even though they tried to patch it decently afterwards.

As for me, I will play AI, like (i believe) 95% - 99 of the possible buyers. Honestly I don't think people will ever (with some extremely rare exceptions) Solitaire.

Hotseat is a possibiity but considering how extended is internet and computers, it's most probably obsolete in benefit of Netplay.

PBEM is another very minoritary option, although I believe it is not totaly substitued by Netplay. It may still be useful.

So, for me would be AI+ ocasionally Netplay. For the general market, i would include a niche for those who still need PBEM. I would say the other options are totally outdated. For example: How many people you know who play chess against themselves?


< Message edited by Joseignacio -- 6/16/2009 7:12:22 AM >

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RE: Mode of Play - 6/16/2009 8:38:06 AM   
Greywolf

 

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Well, pretty much every chess player I know DO play chess against themselves... usually as analysis of their previous games or preparation on new opening.

Often the simple fact of turning the chessboard around and playing in more "competitive" way help see the position on a new light.

Dont mess with the chessplayers because they are easily angered and prone to sillyness...

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Post #: 19
RE: Mode of Play - 6/16/2009 3:38:10 PM   
Joseignacio


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Okay, I was meaning "normal" chess players, those like any of us, who play chess just for fun. Of course I know people who are involved to a higher or lesser extent and level in champeonships or leagues and they can play against themselves, but not (in my experience) the usual chess player. Yes, I have a friend who is or was in competitions and they palyed against themselves or checked their play from the other side, but that's just one, and i know many more people who play chess and doesn't. Maybe 100:1 relation, at least in my circle.




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Post #: 20
RE: Mode of Play - 6/16/2009 4:26:11 PM   
Prince of Eckmühl


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Joseignacio

As for me, I will play AI, like (i believe) 95% - 99 of the possible buyers.


It may well be that 95% of the regular Matrix Games customers who, in turn, purchase WiF will play AI only. That actually makes a lot of sense, because that style of game is the publisher's bread and butter. Let me add, however, that Matrix is a low-volume publisher of what they, themselves, refer to as "niche" computer games.

Conversely, ADG has sold a boatload of boardgames that appeal to a completely different audience with completely different gameplay preferences, the sheer numbers of whom dwarf those associated with the customer base of Matrix games. And its not my intention to slag Matrix games with that comment. As I stated somewhere else in this thread, AI-only gamers would be lost without them.

Assuming that the game gets published and isn't so buggy and/or unfaithful to the boardgame as to turn a "traditional" WiF player completely off, then I'll probably purchase it. I'll spend some time studying the game, learning the GUI, planning moves and the like. Then, I'll look for a game with other wargamers. I seriously doubt that I'll ever open an AI game. I have no interest, whatsoever, in World Flames: AI Edition.

PoE (aka ivanmoe)

BTW: Here are the Matrix Games that I own; note the relative absence of hex/turn based games:

Battles in Italy
Battle of Britain 2
Carriers at War
CC3-CoI
CC4-WaR
CC5-TLD
CCMT
Conquest of the Aegean
Crown of Glory
Empires in Arms
Harpoon 3
Highway to the Reich
LGAA
Panzer Command Kharkov
Panzer Command OWS
Tin Soldiers Julius Caesar
Uncommon Valor
War between the States
War in the Pacific







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Post #: 21
RE: Mode of Play - 6/16/2009 6:17:28 PM   
praem


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quote:

I have no interest, whatsoever, in World Flames: AI Edition.


The survey is done, and it shows you are in the minority on this forum. More to the point. The decision has been made, and this discussion doesnt change a thing.

(in reply to Prince of Eckmühl)
Post #: 22
RE: Mode of Play - 6/16/2009 7:06:25 PM   
Mike Parker

 

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Well praem, he is allowed to express his opinion. 

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Post #: 23
RE: Mode of Play - 6/16/2009 7:32:45 PM   
Anendrue


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Playing against yourself is a challenge of your own strategy and tactics which exposes weaknesses rather quickly. I always miss things and feel like a novice after I play each side in any solitaire game. However I learn new things and that is always good. Still, I am not sure I improve as much as I do against other people since you can reinforce faulty tactics and ideas too. So for me the AI is a good way to get familiar with a game. Solitaire is a good way to test concepts and ideas out. While pbem, netplay and hotseat allow for tough competitions and the greatest learning expierance.

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Post #: 24
RE: Mode of Play - 6/16/2009 7:55:36 PM   
Grapeshot Bob


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Keep it polite guys. This thread was only started to get these posts out of the "When" thread.



GSB

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Post #: 25
RE: Mode of Play - 6/16/2009 11:05:45 PM   
SLAAKMAN


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quote:

AI?, PBEM?, Solitaire?, Netplay?, Hotseat?


Netplay/PBEM/Hotseat= 95%
AI/Solitaire=5% and mostly as reference, training, updates etc.



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Post #: 26
RE: Mode of Play - 6/17/2009 8:30:11 AM   
Caquineur


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quote:

ORIGINAL: abj9562
... So for me the AI is a good way to get familiar with a game. Solitaire is a good way to test concepts and ideas out. While pbem, netplay and hotseat allow for tough competitions and the greatest learning expierance.

Very good summary of my thoughts, thanks

To test concepts and ideas out, using the option to select the values of the die rolled (instead of having them random) in solitaire mode should be especially useful. It's on Steve's list (see here)

Alain aka Caquineur

(in reply to Anendrue)
Post #: 27
RE: Mode of Play - 6/17/2009 10:50:43 AM   
undercovergeek

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Joseignacio

quote:

ORIGINAL: JonBrave

Steve,

In your 1st June Update Report, you said

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

... This was motivated by a conversation with David Heath about how important the AI Opponent will be.
... I now agree with Dave: the AIO is crucial for sales.


That was 6 weeks before supposed release date. That's what "concerns" me. I would have thought that was figured long ago, I have been returning to the thread for years. Polls can be conducted well in advance if wanted.

I do realise my tone is critical. But I do not mean to offend.




What "Dave" said is totally true. You can see the effect of a dumb AI in the results of the launch of Empire Total War, in terms of prestige (future sales) and in terms of inmediate sales cut through the feedback of online forums. Even though they tried to patch it decently afterwards.

As for me, I will play AI, like (i believe) 95% - 99 of the possible buyers. Honestly I don't think people will ever (with some extremely rare exceptions) Solitaire.

Hotseat is a possibiity but considering how extended is internet and computers, it's most probably obsolete in benefit of Netplay.

PBEM is another very minoritary option, although I believe it is not totaly substitued by Netplay. It may still be useful.

So, for me would be AI+ ocasionally Netplay. For the general market, i would include a niche for those who still need PBEM. I would say the other options are totally outdated. For example: How many people you know who play chess against themselves?



i think steves survey was 60/40 so its not as big a majority as you may think - and a survey elsewhere puts PBEM above AI - beware the non-AIers are growing

(in reply to Joseignacio)
Post #: 28
RE: Mode of Play - 6/17/2009 11:36:18 AM   
Joseignacio


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quote:

ORIGINAL: undercovergeek


quote:

ORIGINAL: Joseignacio

quote:

ORIGINAL: JonBrave

Steve,

In your 1st June Update Report, you said

quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

... This was motivated by a conversation with David Heath about how important the AI Opponent will be.
... I now agree with Dave: the AIO is crucial for sales.


That was 6 weeks before supposed release date. That's what "concerns" me. I would have thought that was figured long ago, I have been returning to the thread for years. Polls can be conducted well in advance if wanted.

I do realise my tone is critical. But I do not mean to offend.




What "Dave" said is totally true. You can see the effect of a dumb AI in the results of the launch of Empire Total War, in terms of prestige (future sales) and in terms of inmediate sales cut through the feedback of online forums. Even though they tried to patch it decently afterwards.

As for me, I will play AI, like (i believe) 95% - 99 of the possible buyers. Honestly I don't think people will ever (with some extremely rare exceptions) Solitaire.

Hotseat is a possibiity but considering how extended is internet and computers, it's most probably obsolete in benefit of Netplay.

PBEM is another very minoritary option, although I believe it is not totaly substitued by Netplay. It may still be useful.

So, for me would be AI+ ocasionally Netplay. For the general market, i would include a niche for those who still need PBEM. I would say the other options are totally outdated. For example: How many people you know who play chess against themselves?



i think steves survey was 60/40 so its not as big a majority as you may think - and a survey elsewhere puts PBEM above AI - beware the non-AIers are growing


Of course, my perception can be wrong. However, what I was meaning is that i don't think the results of the survey are quite valid, since (IMO) that's not what people really does when they buy the games.

Old wargamers (somehow I include myself) like those who can form the fan group of this game ( I include myself no doubt) and the base of this forum can have very different behaviour than the final buyers' majority. Anyway, I think many people may have not understood completely what solitaire game meant (although it was explained for those who took care to read it) like it almost happened to me, when I nearly confused it with AI .

I wonder how representative is the votes of a small number of hardened grognards in the final requirements that the game should have. It's not a matter of "treasoning" a product like WIF by depriving it from some of it's characteristics, but of adapting the gameplay to the modern systems. I mean, it would be like making square roots by hand, although you have a computer.

Of course, this is a forum, full of opinions and that is just mine.

(in reply to undercovergeek)
Post #: 29
RE: Mode of Play - 6/17/2009 11:39:28 PM   
Jagdtiger14


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Praem,

Actually it is you who are in the minority on this forum, as I recall about a week ago, Steve mentioned NetPlay had a higher percentage than AI, and that does not count a survey done over at the Yahoo WiF discussion group where NetPlay came in ahead of AI as well. Regardless, there will be an AI...and I hope it will be nothing more than a minimal tutorial strength AI.


quote:

ORIGINAL: praem

quote:

I have no interest, whatsoever, in World Flames: AI Edition.


The survey is done, and it shows you are in the minority on this forum. More to the point. The decision has been made, and this discussion doesnt change a thing.



_____________________________

Conflict with the unexpected: two qualities are indispensable; first, an intellect which, even in the midst of this obscurity, is not without some traces of inner light which lead to the truth; second, the courage to follow this faint light. KvC

(in reply to praem)
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