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Some new feature ideas - 8/31/2019 6:01:49 AM   
Mord

 

Posts: 9
Joined: 12/27/2018
Status: offline
Hi. I have been playing the Campaign games (WWII and Middle East) off and on since Christmas. I have a few suggestions I'd like to throw out there for future consideration.

1.) I'd like to see an actual person name for a squad or vehicle. The generic "Rifle Squad" or whatever is boring and impersonal. A dude's name and the unit type would be much more engaging when playing and allow you to identify better with your men, immerse you in their exploits and add some humanity to them. It's much more dramatic when Sgt Jones assaults the enemy machine gun nest than Rifle Squad 44.

2.) I'd like to see tanks and vehicles be 1:1. It just takes me out of the moment when one is blown up and another magically replaces it. One of those cases where the abstraction annoys me. Not really that big of a deal but would be nice.

3.) I have no idea how many men are in a unit. The strength score really doesn't tell me anything. Could there be a way to track the actual number of men as well? 1 strength point equals 1 half squad tells me zero about a unit unless I memorize every nation's company structure.

4.) One of my favorite things to do at the end of battles is to examine units and the map to study where the heaviest fighting took place. I'd love to have a way to track this. Know how many guys a unit lost and what casualties they caused. And see some kind of casualty markers for men placed around the map as they are killed or wounded. If not actual bodies maybe blue and red Xes to represent friendlies and enemies. Building damage, etc. would also be cool.

5.A) I'd also love to see tanks/vehicles handled with more detail. Maybe add sub-systems to them and crews that can be damaged/knocked out. As it stands now a tank is either working or burning, doesn't seem to be anything else. Combat Mission has a very cool system for them that adds a lot of depth and immersion to tank/vehicle combat. Something similar to this would be very interesting (yeah, I know but I am fantasizing here).

5.B) The damage reports we receive right now are pretty generic and boring, at the least maybe some flavor text for all units. "Reduced by 1" is just so vanilla and neutral sounding. Crew member wounded, rifleman shot etc. would be excellent.

6.) Completely overhaul the graphical engine. Move to a format that allows for much clearer graphical fidelity. I don't mind that it is not true 3D. But I am completely uninterested in counters or NATO symbols. They bore the hell out of me. I play computer games so I don't have to stare at them. Plus there are a hundred games out there using NATO symbols and counters. So, I am only interested in the miniature look of the "3D' units being updated. I play a lot of Combat Mission but I enjoy the scope, play style, and graphical presentation this series offers. It could look better if the artist had more flexibility in creating units and not be hampered by the constraints of whatever the format is now. There's a lot of room for immersion in these titles, as you guys have shown with some of the additions you've added. Better graphics would go a long way in pushing that. And I don't mean this as an insult to what has already been made. I mod CM and I understand limitations when working in a space where one pixel can screw up a graphic. Most of my mods are in a 57X51 pixel box so I get it.

Any way, just some ideas to chew on, consider, dismiss, laugh at, etc. Be interested to know what people think of them.

VERY much looking forward to this Nam game. I've been waiting all my computer wargaming life for it.


Mord.

< Message edited by Mord -- 8/31/2019 6:45:49 AM >
Post #: 1
RE: Some new feature ideas - 8/31/2019 7:38:33 PM   
Jason Petho


Posts: 13249
Joined: 6/22/2004
From: Terrace, BC, Canada
Status: online
Thank you for your support. I hope you're enjoying the games!

Some comments:

quote:

1.) I'd like to see an actual person name for a squad or vehicle. The generic "Rifle Squad" or whatever is boring and impersonal. A dude's name and the unit type would be much more engaging when playing and allow you to identify better with your men, immerse you in their exploits and add some humanity to them. It's much more dramatic when Sgt Jones assaults the enemy machine gun nest than Rifle Squad 44.


Keep in mind that the fundamental unit size are platoons, broken down to half squads. So, having a guy's name probably won't be feasible. On the other hand, you can include leaders down to the company level and they can have any name you wish via the Organization Editor.

quote:

2.) I'd like to see tanks and vehicles be 1:1. It just takes me out of the moment when one is blown up and another magically replaces it. One of those cases where the abstraction annoys me. Not really that big of a deal but would be nice.


As above, the vehicles are also represented in platoons. These vary in size depending on the number of tanks/vehicles in a particular platoon. Of course, you can create your own scenarios where you can reduce the numbers of strength points per vehicle to 1 in the Scenario Editor.


quote:

3.) I have no idea how many men are in a unit. The strength score really doesn't tell me anything. Could there be a way to track the actual number of men as well? 1 strength point equals 1 half squad tells me zero about a unit unless I memorize every nation's company structure.


Yes, this is on my personal wish list too. Until that happens, most squads will vary from 4-6 men.

quote:

4.) One of my favorite things to do at the end of battles is to examine units and the map to study where the heaviest fighting took place. I'd love to have a way to track this. Know how many guys a unit lost and what casualties they caused. And see some kind of casualty markers for men placed around the map as they are killed or wounded. If not actual bodies maybe blue and red Xes to represent friendlies and enemies. Building damage, etc. would also be cool.


Some additional details at the end of the battles for statistics is another personal wishlist item.

quote:

5.A) I'd also love to see tanks/vehicles handled with more detail. Maybe add sub-systems to them and crews that can be damaged/knocked out. As it stands now a tank is either working or burning, doesn't seem to be anything else. Combat Mission has a very cool system for them that adds a lot of depth and immersion to tank/vehicle combat. Something similar to this would be very interesting (yeah, I know but I am fantasizing here).


This is probably unlikely as the units are platoons. But, who knows!?

quote:

5.B) The damage reports we receive right now are pretty generic and boring, at the least maybe some flavor text for all units. "Reduced by 1" is just so vanilla and neutral sounding. Crew member wounded, rifleman shot etc. would be excellent.


Good point!

quote:

6.) Completely overhaul the graphical engine. Move to a format that allows for much clearer graphical fidelity. I don't mind that it is not true 3D. But I am completely uninterested in counters or NATO symbols. They bore the hell out of me. I play computer games so I don't have to stare at them. Plus there are a hundred games out there using NATO symbols and counters. So, I am only interested in the miniature look of the "3D' units being updated. I play a lot of Combat Mission but I enjoy the scope, play style, and graphical presentation this series offers. It could look better if the artist had more flexibility in creating units and not be hampered by the constraints of whatever the format is now. There's a lot of room for immersion in these titles, as you guys have shown with some of the additions you've added. Better graphics would go a long way in pushing that. And I don't mean this as an insult to what has already been made. I mod CM and I understand limitations when working in a space where one pixel can screw up a graphic. Most of my mods are in a 57X51 pixel box so I get it.


Possibly in the future. We're quite happy with how the 3D units look, but yes, at the moment they are limitations with what can be done in the pixels available. That being said, the guys working on the graphics are really exceptional and the units they are creating a quite nice and in many cases, very unique.

quote:

VERY much looking forward to this Nam game. I've been waiting all my computer wargaming life for it.


I hope you'll be pleased with how we've chosen to represent the game and the units within. It's very exciting for us as it revealed a host of new challenges!

Jason Petho








_____________________________


(in reply to Mord)
Post #: 2
RE: Some new feature ideas - 9/2/2019 9:26:33 PM   
Mord

 

Posts: 9
Joined: 12/27/2018
Status: offline
Thanks for the responses, appreciated.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Jason Petho

Keep in mind that the fundamental unit size are platoons, broken down to half squads. So, having a guy's name probably won't be feasible. On the other hand, you can include leaders down to the company level and they can have any name you wish via the Organization Editor.


So, Captain is as small as we can go (for US at least). Yeah, It wouldn't work right if the only other guys named were Lts. (since they'd be the head of each platoon). It wouldn't be much more personal than what we already have. You'd never get a feel that Sgt. Black did something heroic, or Corporal Sims blew up a tank. etc.

I always try to bring a bit of role-playing to wargames to help immerse me deeper in the experience, even if they are a bit more board gamey, hence my interest in names. But it is what it is. I can live with it.



quote:

As above, the vehicles are also represented in platoons. These vary in size depending on the number of tanks/vehicles in a particular platoon. Of course, you can create your own scenarios where you can reduce the numbers of strength points per vehicle to 1 in the Scenario Editor.


Just need to wrap my head around it a bit and correct my thinking from other games I've played. I don't mind infantry abstraction (as far as unit models go) at this scale as much as I do vehicles for some reason. LOL.



quote:

Yes, this is on my personal wish list too. Until that happens, most squads will vary from 4-6 men.


This wasn't very well thought out, even for 90s standards. You'd think they would've come up with something better back then. The whole point of computer games was to take the mundane calculating out of the players hands so they could concentrate on the tactics yet the simplest of things forces you to jump through math hoops to figure out how many men you have. LOL.

So, I take it when a combat result says "Reduced by 1" you are losing a strength point which would equal 4 or 6 men?

quote:

Some additional details at the end of the battles for statistics is another personal wishlist item.


A lot of wargames seem to ignore this feature (along with naming units) or provide it in its most basic form. It's like the icing on the cake once a battle ends and adds to the role-playing immersion. It took us something like 4 years to see that added into the CM2 engine and it was sorely missed.


quote:

This is probably unlikely as the units are platoons. But, who knows!?


I knew I was reaching on that one, but I always hope to find ways to add more depth even if a game might be more on the abstract side visually. I've found extra bits of UI information can make a game as deep and engaging as if things were playing out right there in full 3D. An example might be CS Vietnam shows three men visually on the map but has a unit card listing everyone in the squad and shows who is wounded or killed whenever there is combat. The playing piece might be abstracted but the UI makes up for it by focusing on what's going on within the unit itself. That kind of thing.


quote:

Possibly in the future. We're quite happy with how the 3D units look, but yes, at the moment they are limitations with what can be done in the pixels available. That being said, the guys working on the graphics are really exceptional and the units they are creating a quite nice and in many cases, very unique.


I personally think visuals are hugely important in wargames. I can't count how many times I've read someone bragging about how graphics make no difference and they don't care how a game looks as long as it plays well. Then they wonder why only five guys play the game. There is no reason you can't have both in the 21st Century. The biggest problem is it's usually an either or proposition. LOL. You get games that look beautiful like Steel Division II, but seems shallow and arcade-y, or something very deep like Steel Panthers but is butt ugly.

I think the best thing you guys could do is to just create the path for more advanced graphics then there'd at least be the option for people to come along and update them over time. I play a lot of the battles on my 42 inch TV and still have a hard time making out what some things are (mostly the men based units). But don't get me wrong, I am not talking cutting edge triple A stuff here, but I don't know what that would entail. Moving to Png?

But I will reiterate, I really dig the miniature look, towns, cities and terrain are very immersive in the ME game. You get a good feel for the sprawling urban environments, with their quarters and districts. And the desert can be vast and epic without your computer grinding to a halt. Some times looking at the really detailed maps it feels like you are staring at some guy's table top diorama that he spent five years putting together. I love all that detail and immersion. You guys are definitely headed in a good direction.

quote:

I hope you'll be pleased with how we've chosen to represent the game and the units within. It's very exciting for us as it revealed a host of new challenges!

Jason Petho


I think I will, what with covering all the special features like LZs, tunnels, and utilizing Hueys, swift boats etc. It looks like you guys are really gonna capture the flavor of Nam. I am excited that I'll finally have a Vietnam game that will bring my books and DVDs to life and give me an avenue to experience the history on a more visceral level.


Mord.

< Message edited by Mord -- 9/2/2019 9:29:41 PM >

(in reply to Jason Petho)
Post #: 3
RE: Some new feature ideas - 9/3/2019 5:58:05 PM   
Jason Petho


Posts: 13249
Joined: 6/22/2004
From: Terrace, BC, Canada
Status: online
quote:

ORIGINAL: Mord

So, Captain is as small as we can go (for US at least). Yeah, It wouldn't work right if the only other guys named were Lts. (since they'd be the head of each platoon). It wouldn't be much more personal than what we already have. You'd never get a feel that Sgt. Black did something heroic, or Corporal Sims blew up a tank. etc.

I always try to bring a bit of role-playing to wargames to help immerse me deeper in the experience, even if they are a bit more board gamey, hence my interest in names. But it is what it is. I can live with it.


Yes, the captain would be fine. Although, you could add a second leader and call him Sgt Black. Of course, he would be working with a platoon, but you could role-play that Sgt Black lead a group to successfully capture an objective, destroy a platoon of tanks, and so on.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Mord

This wasn't very well thought out, even for 90s standards. You'd think they would've come up with something better back then. The whole point of computer games was to take the mundane calculating out of the players hands so they could concentrate on the tactics yet the simplest of things forces you to jump through math hoops to figure out how many men you have. LOL.

So, I take it when a combat result says "Reduced by 1" you are losing a strength point which would equal 4 or 6 men?


Keep in mind the originals of the original game, from board games. Where you would have step losses for your units on the map. I presume this is where this idea came from.

"Reduced by 1" means you are sustaining enough casualties that half of a squad has been put out of action for the remainder of the scenario. (keep in mind that everything is based and limited to in Strength Points from movement to how many Strength Points can fit in a hex).

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mord

A lot of wargames seem to ignore this feature (along with naming units) or provide it in its most basic form. It's like the icing on the cake once a battle ends and adds to the role-playing immersion. It took us something like 4 years to see that added into the CM2 engine and it was sorely missed.


While we are't adding this for 1.00, we are trying to add more immersion as you play by offering various messages popping up to let you know of your progress in any given scenario.



quote:

ORIGINAL: Mord
I knew I was reaching on that one, but I always hope to find ways to add more depth even if a game might be more on the abstract side visually. I've found extra bits of UI information can make a game as deep and engaging as if things were playing out right there in full 3D. An example might be CS Vietnam shows three men visually on the map but has a unit card listing everyone in the squad and shows who is wounded or killed whenever there is combat. The playing piece might be abstracted but the UI makes up for it by focusing on what's going on within the unit itself. That kind of thing.


Yes, for sure. Great idea. One other thing to keep in mind is that we're not allowed to use real names, for legal reasons. So any card like that would have to be a generic one. Interesting idea though!


quote:

ORIGINAL: Mord

I personally think visuals are hugely important in wargames. I can't count how many times I've read someone bragging about how graphics make no difference and they don't care how a game looks as long as it plays well. Then they wonder why only five guys play the game. There is no reason you can't have both in the 21st Century. The biggest problem is it's usually an either or proposition. LOL. You get games that look beautiful like Steel Division II, but seems shallow and arcade-y, or something very deep like Steel Panthers but is butt ugly.

I think the best thing you guys could do is to just create the path for more advanced graphics then there'd at least be the option for people to come along and update them over time. I play a lot of the battles on my 42 inch TV and still have a hard time making out what some things are (mostly the men based units). But don't get me wrong, I am not talking cutting edge triple A stuff here, but I don't know what that would entail. Moving to Png?

But I will reiterate, I really dig the miniature look, towns, cities and terrain are very immersive in the ME game. You get a good feel for the sprawling urban environments, with their quarters and districts. And the desert can be vast and epic without your computer grinding to a halt. Some times looking at the really detailed maps it feels like you are staring at some guy's table top diorama that he spent five years putting together. I love all that detail and immersion. You guys are definitely headed in a good direction.


Everything is currently moddable, which is super handy, but as you know there are limitations.

Yes, PNG is an option being tossed around in the background, but we are focusing on the gameplay experience first. That comes at a cost and that cost is UI and graphics. In due time though, we have a lot of games in the queue!

The other major hold back is our development budget. It's $0. Everyone working on the game is doing so out of a passion for the series or the subject matter or both.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Mord

I think I will, what with covering all the special features like LZs, tunnels, and utilizing Hueys, swift boats etc. It looks like you guys are really gonna capture the flavor of Nam. I am excited that I'll finally have a Vietnam game that will bring my books and DVDs to life and give me an avenue to experience the history on a more visceral level.


We're really hoping so!

Jason Petho



< Message edited by Jason Petho -- 9/3/2019 5:59:37 PM >


_____________________________


(in reply to Mord)
Post #: 4
RE: Some new feature ideas - 9/4/2019 3:04:09 AM   
Mord

 

Posts: 9
Joined: 12/27/2018
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Jason Petho Keep in mind the originals of the original game, from board games. Where you would have step losses for your units on the map. I presume this is where this idea came from.

"Reduced by 1" means you are sustaining enough casualties that half of a squad has been put out of action for the remainder of the scenario. (keep in mind that everything is based and limited to in Strength Points from movement to how many Strength Points can fit in a hex).


Makes sense, as I do approach this as more of a board game (or table top miniatures wargame)so that's probably what they were thinking.

I owned the original Campaign Series collection in 2000 but just couldn't get into it because I was more focused on tactical 1:1 representation (something that was still being abstracted infantry-wise even in CM at the time). But back in November I saw some vids of the ME game and they inspired me. I started to readjust my thinking and found there was a lot of fun that could be had in a game at this scale and style. It was detailed enough with cool little figures, vehicles and terrain that my imagination could fill in the (lack of in-your-face action) gaps quite nicely. Something I wasn't prepared to do 18 years ago. And it is nice to have a game that will offer me complexity but on a more relaxed and flexible level than the time investment on an average Combat Mission scenario.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Jason Petho
While we are't adding this for 1.00, we are trying to add more immersion as you play by offering various messages popping up to let you know of your progress in any given scenario.


I look forward to that. That kind of detail and flavor helps shrink the divide that "board games" can some times put between the player and immersion.



quote:

ORIGINAL: Jason Petho
Yes, for sure. Great idea. One other thing to keep in mind is that we're not allowed to use real names, for legal reasons. So any card like that would have to be a generic one. Interesting idea though!


Thanks. Just use the last name. Sgt. Baker, Lt. Johnson, Pvt. Gomez, etc.



quote:

ORIGINAL: Jason Petho

Everything is currently moddable, which is super handy, but as you know there are limitations.

Yes, PNG is an option being tossed around in the background, but we are focusing on the gameplay experience first. That comes at a cost and that cost is UI and graphics. In due time though, we have a lot of games in the queue!


Out of curiosity, what is the benefit of png files over a 24 bit bmp? Do they provide more detail?

quote:

ORIGINAL: Jason Petho
The other major hold back is our development budget. It's $0. Everyone working on the game is doing so out of a passion for the series or the subject matter or both.


I know that feeling! I just released a portrait mod for Shock Force II back in July. It took me about 9 months to create. I made over 3200 pics (probably created 1000 throw-aways just through tests and do-overs). My standing tally for the entire CM series is about 12,000 pics (which doesn't include all the test files and versions I've done since 2009). It takes a special kind of stupid, fanatical, dedicated, passionate, inspired, crazy person to put that kind of effort into a no-profit venture!



Mord.

(in reply to Jason Petho)
Post #: 5
RE: Some new feature ideas - 9/4/2019 5:10:09 PM   
Jason Petho


Posts: 13249
Joined: 6/22/2004
From: Terrace, BC, Canada
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mord
I owned the original Campaign Series collection in 2000 but just couldn't get into it because I was more focused on tactical 1:1 representation (something that was still being abstracted infantry-wise even in CM at the time). But back in November I saw some vids of the ME game and they inspired me. I started to readjust my thinking and found there was a lot of fun that could be had in a game at this scale and style. It was detailed enough with cool little figures, vehicles and terrain that my imagination could fill in the (lack of in-your-face action) gaps quite nicely. Something I wasn't prepared to do 18 years ago. And it is nice to have a game that will offer me complexity but on a more relaxed and flexible level than the time investment on an average Combat Mission scenario.


That's great news. Glad you found the series and see it's potential!

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mord
I look forward to that. That kind of detail and flavor helps shrink the divide that "board games" can some times put between the player and immersion.


Yes, little acts of this type of flavour can go a long way for immersion.



quote:

ORIGINAL: Mord

Thanks. Just use the last name. Sgt. Baker, Lt. Johnson, Pvt. Gomez, etc.


Even that can lead to legal challenges. So we use our leader names based on the organization they are commanding. Of course, there is nothing to prevent the player from changing the names to something more appropriate.



quote:

ORIGINAL: Mord

Out of curiosity, what is the benefit of png files over a 24 bit bmp? Do they provide more detail?


Scalability.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Mord

I know that feeling! I just released a portrait mod for Shock Force II back in July. It took me about 9 months to create. I made over 3200 pics (probably created 1000 throw-aways just through tests and do-overs). My standing tally for the entire CM series is about 12,000 pics (which doesn't include all the test files and versions I've done since 2009). It takes a special kind of stupid, fanatical, dedicated, passionate, inspired, crazy person to put that kind of effort into a no-profit venture!


We're definitely crazy.

Haha.


_____________________________


(in reply to Mord)
Post #: 6
RE: Some new feature ideas - 9/15/2019 1:08:16 AM   
Rosseau

 

Posts: 2390
Joined: 9/13/2009
Status: offline
"Crazy good" I would say. When I heard Vietnam long ago, I was cautious, as imo it's hard to do asymmetric warfare. But you literally had no other choice. Even Korea would have felt too much like WWII, and modern warfare Matrix seems to have covered with Flashpoint and Armored Brigade, etc.

So detail and flavor, as Mord says. Keith Nolan's books alone can give that, but we understand the game engine is somewhat limiting. I think the ambush factor and FoW needs to be really good, as well as avoiding any wack-a-mole scenarios (please). Anyway, looks great and it will be an instant buy for many.

(in reply to Jason Petho)
Post #: 7
RE: Some new feature ideas - 10/4/2019 7:14:18 AM   
Mord

 

Posts: 9
Joined: 12/27/2018
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rosseau

Anyway, looks great and it will be an instant buy for many.


Amen, brother! I've been waiting for a Nam game like this for a very long time. I just couldn't get into JT's Squad Battles because the graphics completely turned me off. I might have taken the leap if they'd carried over the 3D units they used in some of the other titles but pushing counters around just doesn't do it for me. I even watched a play through vid the other day and still couldn't get into it.


Mord.

(in reply to Rosseau)
Post #: 8
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