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Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada?

 
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Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/21/2014 3:00:28 AM   
Agathosdaimon


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Hi, sorry if i have missed a bio somewhere, but if OTS is Simcan by another name, you guys have done great with FPG and FpC:RS - would you ever consider taking a look at another great Simulations Canada Game Red Sky at Morning - as a modern air/naval strategy its exactly the type of global dynamic wego campaign game that CMANO lacks (though i love CMANO also for what it does do)

just a query :)
regards
Post #: 1
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/21/2014 10:45:56 AM   
CapnDarwin


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From: Newark, OH
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No is the short answer. Rob Crandall who is our lead programmer is the same lead programmer from FPG. Matrix games acquired the rights to a number of SimCan titles and Rob hooked up with Matrix to work on a couple of the titles. I'll have Rob jump in later today and give a better answer.

_____________________________

Work on Southern Storm continues as we squish bugs and work on features.

Cap'n Darwin aka Jim Snyder
On Target Simulations LLC

(in reply to Agathosdaimon)
Post #: 2
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/21/2014 11:37:56 AM   
Agathosdaimon


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ah okay, so no chance Red Sky at Morning we ever be seen again - a shame for so many to miss out on a game that really makes one feel like they are in 'Wargames'

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RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/21/2014 11:58:45 AM   
Mad Russian


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"...so no chance <insert your favorite board game> we ever be seen again - a shame for so many to miss out on a game that really makes one feel like they are in <insert your most intense gaming experience>".

Most board wargames are not good candidates to be ported over to the computer. Some systems would do a very good job porting board games over.

The issue is time.

What gets created, that works best, in what medium. This game system works well for the time and place we selected. It may not work well in other times and places.

Do you guys want us to stop working on the FPC series and see if we can convert a 1991 boardgame?

Good Hunting.

MR





< Message edited by Mad Russian -- 4/21/2014 12:59:39 PM >


_____________________________

The most expensive thing in the world is free time.

Founder of HSG scenario design group for Combat Mission.
Panzer Command Ostfront Development Team.
Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm Development Team.

(in reply to Agathosdaimon)
Post #: 4
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/21/2014 12:14:56 PM   
CapnDarwin


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From: Newark, OH
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Rob may have a better idea of what Simulations Canada stuff is in the hands of Matrix and if there are plans to use it. We (OTS) do not own any rights to the SimCan code. Our work on Flashpoint Campaigns Red Storm is all in house work and we will be focusing on developing more content on this engine.

_____________________________

Work on Southern Storm continues as we squish bugs and work on features.

Cap'n Darwin aka Jim Snyder
On Target Simulations LLC

(in reply to Mad Russian)
Post #: 5
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/21/2014 12:20:49 PM   
pzgndr

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mad Russian
Most board wargames are not good candidates to be ported over to the computer.


Oh c'mon. In lieu of daytime TV soap operas, following the epic dramas of Empires in Arms and World in Flames here on the Matrix forums for the past decade is about the only manly entertainment left to us. It's cheap entertainment!

(in reply to Mad Russian)
Post #: 6
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/21/2014 12:55:38 PM   
CapnDarwin


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Joined: 2/12/2005
From: Newark, OH
Status: online
Good call Pzgndr.

_____________________________

Work on Southern Storm continues as we squish bugs and work on features.

Cap'n Darwin aka Jim Snyder
On Target Simulations LLC

(in reply to pzgndr)
Post #: 7
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/21/2014 1:05:19 PM   
Agathosdaimon


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Red Sky at Morning isnt a board game. And no i dont mean stop working on this - i mean for future. - Red Sky at Morning is a great text based global naval strategy PC game - a WW3 1980s-2000- like Main Battle Tank - these were no board games. I guess i was just querying where those guys went
thanks

(in reply to CapnDarwin)
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RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/21/2014 1:13:46 PM   
Agathosdaimon


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Capn Darwin

Rob may have a better idea of what Simulations Canada stuff is in the hands of Matrix and if there are plans to use it. We (OTS) do not own any rights to the SimCan code. Our work on Flashpoint Campaigns Red Storm is all in house work and we will be focusing on developing more content on this engine.


thanks - sorry, i was on the wrong path here querying in this forum,

(in reply to CapnDarwin)
Post #: 9
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/21/2014 2:25:39 PM   
CapnDarwin


Posts: 7748
Joined: 2/12/2005
From: Newark, OH
Status: online
No, it's a good question. I know Rob was involved in the SimCan titles that Matrix acquired. He may have better information. We will be chatting tonight in ourweekly Dev call. I will have him add to this post.

_____________________________

Work on Southern Storm continues as we squish bugs and work on features.

Cap'n Darwin aka Jim Snyder
On Target Simulations LLC

(in reply to Agathosdaimon)
Post #: 10
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/22/2014 1:36:33 AM   
IronManBeta


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Hi there. I didn't expect to see SimCan mentioned again but it sounds like at least a few of us have fond memories of it still.

SimCan was run by Steve Newberg who had a PhD in nuclear physics and was an officer on nuclear subs for a time. After leaving the navy he moved to rural Canada and programmed computers - mainly writing software for the local telephone companies as I recall. The whole SimCan board game and computer game was a sideline that he much enjoyed. Steve St. John and Bill Nichols also released a lot of games under the SimCan umbrella, and yours truly did 3 - Malta Storm, Midway Storm and Solomons Storm back in the 80s and 90s. I wanted to do a version of Divine Wind on the whole Pacific War but never managed to complete it. I always wanted to do a brigade level 1940- 43 North African game for SimCan.

Steve eventually retired to the west coast and looked for a buyer for SimCan. Finding none, he tied up with David Heath at Matrix and licensed all the games for redevelopment. That was in 2001 as I recall. I had just discovered Matrix myself and was lurking all the time and saw the announcement. After a few months I wrote David and asked how things were going. Before I knew it he had talked me into doing one of the games ("it will only take six months") and he offered me the choice of (drum roll please) "Main Battle Tank" and "Red Sky at Morning". I picked MBT because it was slightly closer to my interests at the time and so I converted my unfinished Desert War game into a demo for MBT. I went down to Origins to meet him in 2002 and pitched him on the idea. He was happy and the game that became Flashpoint Germany was started and came out in Feb 2005. Steve Newberg got a royalty on it and Matrix even created a "SimCan" logo to slap on it - Steve never got around to creating a corporate logo!

Another programmer was working on one of the other games but sadly it never saw the light of day. I think we were the only two that worked on any of the SimCan titles. Somewhere along the line though David sent me all the source code for the various SimCan computer games and I have Red Sky at Morning still sitting on my hard drive. It was written in Turbo Pascal and the source files are dated March 1991. I seem to recall that I bought a copy of that game at Origins but I don't see it on my shelves any more. I wonder if I gave it up when I sold my house a couple of years back and downsized into my current abode. Yikes! The rules and such are hopefully on the web somewhere as I no longer have them. At least two sites purport to have the game as a download if you are interested and can run it (presumably) in DOS BOX or some such thing.

It looks like someone at Matrix tried to do a Delphi 1 port of the game in 2001 and I have that too. They just mocked up a potential Windows UI for the menu structure but did not hook up any of the game code by the look of it. Interesting...

What I found when I did FPG was that the old code made a good inspiration for getting started but very little of it was all that useful in our modern object-oriented world. Using modern tools to reproduce obsolete code structures just wasn't that fun or productive for me. It *was* fascinating to look through all the old code though and I loved reading the AI parts. I definitely took inspiration from that back in 2003- 2004.

If someone came along and wanted to talk to Matrix now about it I'm sure they would get a hearing. You sit down with all the code and reverse engineer it to extract the data structures, game mechanics and AI rules. The UI too but that would not be kept. This takes a few months. From that you would try to estimate how many months it would take to turn that into modern software. Then multiply by 3 or 5 or some other random variable and that is when you will really ship it, lol.

Here is a snippet of code from Red Dawn at Morning that returns true or false if a potential target is within air range of a particular air base. Talk about a blast from the past. It is readable though (at least before HTML ate all the white spaces) and I suppose at least some of what I am writing now for FPRS is not really all that different:

FUNCTION TargetInRange( AirBaseID,TargetArea,TargetSubarea:INTEGER;
TGT_X_ORD,TGT_Y_ORD : LONGINT):BOOLEAN;
VAR TGTRANGE,MAXRANGE:LONGINT;
SQ,AC_CL : INTEGER;
result : boolean;
BEGIN
Result := FALSE;
TGTRANGE := 0;
MAXRANGE := -1;
WITH AirBaseInfo[AirBaseID]^ DO
FOR SQ := 1 TO ORD(AB_MaxSqdns) DO
IF (AB_Aircraft[SQ].AC_Sqdn_ID <> CHR(0)) AND
(AB_Aircraft[SQ].AC_Ready_Now <> CHR(0)) AND
NOT AB_Aircraft[Sq].AC_TRANSFER THEN BEGIN
AC_CL := ORD(AB_Aircraft[SQ].AC_Sqdn_ID);
IF (AircraftData[AC_CL]^.AC_Type = FTR) OR
(AircraftData[AC_CL]^.AC_TYPE = BMR) OR
(AircraftData[AC_CL]^.AC_TYPE = FTRBMR) THEN
MAXRANGE := LMAX(MAXRANGE,ORD(AircraftData[AC_CL]^.
AC_Range));
END;
RANGE_FROM_AIRBASE( AIRBASEINFO[AirBaseID]^,
TargetArea,
TargetSubarea,
TGT_X_ORD,TGT_Y_ORD,
TGTRANGE);
{NOTE: TGTRANGE IN 100'S OF MILES, MAXRANGE IN 50'S OF MILES}
IF 2*TGTRANGE <= 1.5*MAXRANGE THEN Result := TRUE;
TargetInRange := result;
{NOTE: FACTOR OF 1.5 FOR EXTENDED RANGE STRIKES}

(*** DEBUG CODE ***)
(*
writeln('airbase = ',airbaseinfo[airbaseid]^.ab_name);
writeln( 'tgtrange = ',100*tgtrange,' mi. ',
'maxrange = ',50*maxrange*1.5,' mi.');
writeln('target in range = ',Result);
writeln;
*)
END;

(in reply to CapnDarwin)
Post #: 11
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/22/2014 1:48:54 AM   
IronManBeta


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From: Burlington, Ontario
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Ha, I guess I didn't really answer your question. In brief, I was a SimCan computer game developer and I then went on to redevelop Main Battle Tank with Matrix after Matrix and SimCan did their deal. We called Flashpoint Germany a "SimCan" game for marketing purposes and SimCan got a royalty but really it was a whole new game from the ground up inspired by MBT. I would sometimes call or write Steve Newberg to get details of what he had researched or designed to amplify what I was seeing the code but often he couldn't help me with the details.

As time went by I just followed my own ideas while still trying to stay true to the general SimCan design ethos that Steve and I had discussed many times. That worked out pretty well and Flashpoint Germany sold from Feb 2005 until August of last year. Between 2005 and 2013 with Flashpoint Red Storm I rewrote everything multiple times over and incorporated a raft of new ideas and expanded game rules into the framework. After a while it became obvious that it was not recognizably a SimCan title any more so we cast about for a new name that reflected the current line up of me and Cap'n Darwin. He picked On Target Simulations and did the logo so that made it official. We have been going by that ever since perhaps 2008.

So does that make us a successor or off-shoot to SimCan? In spirit - quite possibly and remembering Steve Newberg as I do, that makes me happy.

Cheers, Rob C

< Message edited by RobertCrandall -- 4/22/2014 2:50:06 AM >

(in reply to IronManBeta)
Post #: 12
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/22/2014 12:42:12 PM   
Agathosdaimon


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Joined: 7/8/2012
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wow, thank you for this reply - its so great learning about how these games came together and i think Red Sky was quite amazing and simple to navigate through - i did try to play the MBT original on an amiga emulator but one really needs a detailed map on hand, i can see how Flashpoint Germany grew out of it. Red Sky is a brilliant elegant and challenging game and fires the imagination - thank you for your work on it and maybe in the not too distant future someone be it matrix or someone else can as you say reproduce the code. Speaking of the downloads, i found out you can put dosbox on an ipad even and so i did that and loaded Red Sky onto it - a strange sight to see such good old games playable on the ipad, actually it works quite well from what i can tell so far!

(in reply to IronManBeta)
Post #: 13
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/22/2014 2:46:34 PM   
Mad Russian


Posts: 13256
Joined: 3/16/2008
From: Texas
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Sorry, my mistake. I have most SimCan games and I thought it was a board game of theirs I had missed.

You might be interested in the Matrix version. There was a discussion here on the Matrix forums about the game.

http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=586540&mpage=1&key=򏌬

Good Hunting.

MR

_____________________________

The most expensive thing in the world is free time.

Founder of HSG scenario design group for Combat Mission.
Panzer Command Ostfront Development Team.
Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm Development Team.

(in reply to Agathosdaimon)
Post #: 14
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/22/2014 10:13:35 PM   
blackcloud6


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Joined: 8/13/2002
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quote:

i found out you can put dosbox on an ipad even and so i did that and loaded Red Sky onto it


Cool! How do you do that?

(in reply to Mad Russian)
Post #: 15
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/24/2014 4:10:18 AM   
Agathosdaimon


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you can get idos in the app store and then install iphone explorer on your computer - when you plug in the ipad you can open the iphone explorer to view the ipads contents like a harddrive and you just move the folders over for the games you want to run,into the apps doucments folder - you still need to type some commands in but you dont need to mount any folders as the documents folder acts as the c drive in idos. The program is not perfect in that i cant run all dos games as well as dosbox on a pc, but i can certainly do some -

(in reply to blackcloud6)
Post #: 16
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 4/25/2014 8:45:58 PM   
blackcloud6


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Agathosdaimon

you can get idos in the app store and then install iphone explorer on your computer - when you plug in the ipad you can open the iphone explorer to view the ipads contents like a harddrive and you just move the folders over for the games you want to run,into the apps doucments folder - you still need to type some commands in but you dont need to mount any folders as the documents folder acts as the c drive in idos. The program is not perfect in that i cant run all dos games as well as dosbox on a pc, but i can certainly do some -



Thanks much.

(in reply to Agathosdaimon)
Post #: 17
RE: Is OTS the current incarnation of Simulations Canada? - 5/19/2014 5:23:59 AM   
RooksBailey


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Wow, this thread has been an unexpected trip down Nostalgia Boulevard! I had no idea that the fellas behind Flashpoint Campaigns were some of the same people who made up Simulations Canada! Simulations Canada made two of my favorite wargames of all time: Grey Seas, Grey Skies, and To the Rhine. In fact, this thread caused me to go dig through my pile of Those Games That Shall Never Be Forgotten and uncover the old boxes:



Yup, still have them! I still think Grey Seas is one of the best naval sims I ever played (yes, I actually was a grog long ago ).

It really doesn't surprise me that one of the few wargames I purchased in the last few years would be from from some of the old SimCan guys! You fellas haven't lost your magic touch when it comes to programming immersive yet accessible wargames! Of course, the new team members have only made things better!





< Message edited by RooksBailey -- 5/19/2014 6:30:57 AM >


_____________________________


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