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Play Tester(s) or just catch and release?

 
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All Forums >> [New Releases from Matrix Games] >> The Operational Art of War IV >> Play Tester(s) or just catch and release? Page: [1]
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Play Tester(s) or just catch and release? - 11/25/2020 4:00:39 AM   
Zovs


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So, I have a pretty good sized scenario that could use some further play testing.

I have updated all the TWW series of scenarios (11 total), and have been play testing the crap out of them. First I only modified the colors using the color counters and the 2D Flat counter mods, but then I started messing with the text and then noticed during my first play testing of the small scenarios a couple of things. As I dug into the depths of these excellent scenarios, I noticed that they were all missing some of the new features that TOAW IV provides. So I set out to rectify this problem.

The first one to tackle was the Attrition Divider (AD) and Max Rounds Per Battle (MRPB). I play tested the crap out of two of the smaller scenarios and two of the medium scenarios. I think I got the right formula for this scenario's size, scale and scope. It's sort of bloody, but I think it works well for this scenario, it is World War Three after all, lol.

Next, I added a couple of ports and then noticed that supply was not really working the way I'd like to see it with the new supply rules. So for all the 'one-off' scenarios I came up with a formula that works pretty well for the scenarios (it's slightly different for each one, based on the feel of each one). But for the big scenario, the one that ties them all together I completely revamped the Supply Points.

So far I think all the one-off scenarios are working fine. I am now testing the big one.

This is where I think I could use some more eyes and ears.

On the one hand I am sick and tired of looking at these and editing them. On the other hand I think what I have modified works pretty well.

I don't want to sit on these forever and try to make them perfect since they are a) color modifications and b) tweaks to the original.

So the question is:

Do I solicited some expert play testers (Modern Warfare, Hypothetical World War III set in 1990)?

Do I just run this big one through solo, and if I deem it's okay, just upload them?

Any and all feedback is welcomed.

Oh, here is the complexity level:



Here is just part of the scenario info (essentially the scenario parameters):



Here is a global map view (note it's not as scary as it looks (size wise) the amount of units is quite manageable (I think).



Thoughts?

_____________________________


Beta Tester for:
Flashpoint Campaigns: Sudden Storm
War in the East 1 & 2
WarPlan & WarPlan Pacific
Valor & Victory
DG CWIE 2
SPWW2 & SPMBT scenario creator
Post #: 1
RE: Play Tester(s) or just catch and release? - 11/25/2020 9:03:43 AM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zovs

So the question is:

Do I solicited some expert play testers (Modern Warfare, Hypothetical World War III set in 1990)?

Do I just run this big one through solo, and if I deem it's okay, just upload them?

Any and all feedback is welcomed.


We used to have a gold standard for this in the old TDG days:

1) A single run through to make sure nothing is broken. This would be a proper hotseat solo playtest but if you can't bear it perhaps use a PO vs PO run through and then check to make sure
a) all the events that are expected actually occur
b) no reinforcements get stuck. I'm playing a scenario right now where some units are set to arrive at hexes where their deployment is not allowed and so they never arrive, which is very upsetting
c) nothing else weird happens
For these purposes it doesn't matter if the PO is programmed or not, but if the PO is programmed it might also help you to understand if the combat is totally screwy. Of course if stuff breaks you're then advised to not only fix it but also repeat the test- until nothing breaks.

2) Once that's done you should do what we used to call a "designer playtest": you would take on another player and PBM it out yourself. Because you're actually playing, you can notice screwy things as they occur and add them to a list of fixes. Because you know the scenario pretty well, it's likely that this won't be super balanced as you should have an advantage.

3) Once you're happy that the scenario runs through without any major showstoppers, it's opened up to "blind playtest". This means you drop out and two new players (ideally but not always different from the participant in step 2) pick up the scenario and run through. We used to recommend both parties to keep a detailed AAR, noting how the scenario feels as well as anything that they think should be changed/improved. This then also serves as something of a promotional item for the scenario before its release, and we used to publish these with designer commentary

For the scenarios we actually published through TDG (from memory, this was only a handful: Curt's Blitzkrieg 50, Pelle's Wintergewitter, Erik's Weserubung 40, my Poland 39 and maybe one or two others), we typically completed several blind playtests before the group signed off on publishing the scenario. Each member only had one scenario in official submission at a time and you could only formally ask for playtesters for your official submission, so as I recall if you had a new version ready to go it was pretty easy to get testers- because we all knew one another everyone had a reasonable degree of respect for everyone's opinion. The only problem was that the longer scenarios would take quite a while to go through each iteration, hence most of the above examples are medium sized scenarios.

The whole process was pretty time consuming but at the end of the day every single scenario that came out of TDG was pretty much guaranteed to be an excellent finished product. The whole point of the group was to cut through the mass of rushed, untested scenarios that were circulating at the time and give players a mark of quality.

As this is an edit to an existing scenario you may feel like a lot of this is excessive.

< Message edited by golden delicious -- 11/25/2020 10:22:47 AM >


_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to Zovs)
Post #: 2
RE: Play Tester(s) or just catch and release? - 11/25/2020 11:48:53 AM   
Zovs


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Ben +1 on all that.

I have done 1a-c and hence 'stuck' at 2. If anyone is interested let me know.

I am going to run through the big one today twice (once against the NATO AI and once with me playing both sides). All 11 scenarios are on 24 turns long so it does not take an inordinate amount of time to play through the smaller sized ones.

So far the scenarios play good. The AI is doing some silly things, and that could be the way that the original designer set up the PO. Playing against my self I know what I am doing and what are some common sense best practices when it comes to playing the game.

So I am open if anyone wants to take NATO and I'll run as Warsaw Pact to give the big one a run through.



_____________________________


Beta Tester for:
Flashpoint Campaigns: Sudden Storm
War in the East 1 & 2
WarPlan & WarPlan Pacific
Valor & Victory
DG CWIE 2
SPWW2 & SPMBT scenario creator

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 3
RE: Play Tester(s) or just catch and release? - 11/25/2020 11:58:28 AM   
golden delicious


Posts: 5314
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From: London, Surrey, United Kingdom
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Zovs

Playing against my self I know what I am doing and what are some common sense best practices when it comes to playing the game.


Ah but you get used to the way the game "should" play and perhaps don't notice something which a player could do which would totally break the scenario :)

quote:

So I am open if anyone wants to take NATO and I'll run as Warsaw Pact to give the big one a run through.


I would love to help but I'm still 120 turns off finishing my current PBM. I'll get back to you in 6 months.

_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to Zovs)
Post #: 4
RE: Play Tester(s) or just catch and release? - 11/25/2020 12:50:51 PM   
76mm


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I could probably give one a spin, although I am far from an expert player. What sort of turn rate are you looking for?

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 5
RE: Play Tester(s) or just catch and release? - 11/25/2020 1:18:44 PM   
Zovs


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From: United States
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Tom, whatever works for you.

I think if we can get in 5 to 8 turns I'll know from your feedback and what I am seeing if there is a little or lot more that needs to be tweaked.

Since you 'volunteered', I'll add your name to the guilty list lol.;

I got your email, so I'll send you the 'big' file, it's only 24 turns, and I think with the map space and unit density its not too bad and it flows quickly.

I'll also do the first turn as the WP and you can take NATO, the first turn is a cease fire so lets rip through that and then I can in my first moves this morning, I think if you can get your first (the 2nd game turn) done today I can move it to your turn 3 by this evening and then I'll be out for the Thanksgiving holidays and we can pick up next week.

Email coming forthwith.



_____________________________


Beta Tester for:
Flashpoint Campaigns: Sudden Storm
War in the East 1 & 2
WarPlan & WarPlan Pacific
Valor & Victory
DG CWIE 2
SPWW2 & SPMBT scenario creator

(in reply to 76mm)
Post #: 6
RE: Play Tester(s) or just catch and release? - 11/26/2020 1:15:44 AM   
Raindem

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: golden delicious
We used to have a gold standard for this in the old TDG days...


One of things I miss most about TDG was the pool of reliable play testers. Campaign for South Vietnam was also "certified" and released through TDG.

It's more difficult nowadays to find reliable play testers who will play the whole thing and provide feedback. But it's worth making the effort. A fresh set of eyes on a scenario can reveal all kinds of faults that the designer doesn't see for being too close.

_____________________________

Grab them by the balls. Their hearts and minds will follow.

(in reply to golden delicious)
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RE: Play Tester(s) or just catch and release? - 11/26/2020 9:47:04 AM   
golden delicious


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From: London, Surrey, United Kingdom
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Raindem


One of things I miss most about TDG was the pool of reliable play testers. Campaign for South Vietnam was also "certified" and released through TDG.


I half-remembered that, then I thought "Curt can't possibly have published two scenarios when a bunch of people didn't even publish one...."

Did we put out Agonia y Victoria too? I recall that got tested pretty thoroughly.

quote:

It's more difficult nowadays to find reliable play testers who will play the whole thing and provide feedback. But it's worth making the effort. A fresh set of eyes on a scenario can reveal all kinds of faults that the designer doesn't see for being too close.


I find it pretty hard to accept the idea of playing any match with a random now- to put all the effort into starting a scenario only to risk being ghosted after a dozen turns.

I'm still in touch with Colin, Jeremy and some of the hangers-on who were never members: 00Dawg, Specterx and viridomaros. I've done some playtesting with these guys over the past few years as I've been on-and-off developing a 25km/hex variant of Jeremy's Fall Grau. Grant Whitley was a round for a while too but seems to have gone for good now.

_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to Raindem)
Post #: 8
RE: Play Tester(s) or just catch and release? - 11/26/2020 12:44:25 PM   
Zovs


Posts: 5786
Joined: 2/23/2009
From: United States
Status: offline
Thanks for the feedback, yeah the lack of reliable testers is an issue.

_____________________________


Beta Tester for:
Flashpoint Campaigns: Sudden Storm
War in the East 1 & 2
WarPlan & WarPlan Pacific
Valor & Victory
DG CWIE 2
SPWW2 & SPMBT scenario creator

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 9
RE: Play Tester(s) or just catch and release? - 11/26/2020 12:52:01 PM   
Zovs


Posts: 5786
Joined: 2/23/2009
From: United States
Status: offline
Tom has already provided some good feedback from his first gander.

_____________________________


Beta Tester for:
Flashpoint Campaigns: Sudden Storm
War in the East 1 & 2
WarPlan & WarPlan Pacific
Valor & Victory
DG CWIE 2
SPWW2 & SPMBT scenario creator

(in reply to Zovs)
Post #: 10
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