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? - 9/1/2004 2:08:53 AM   
Oleg Mastruko


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What is happening with FPG?

O.

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RE: ? - 9/1/2004 11:04:17 AM   
Marc von Martial


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Major development advances in the last two weeks. Brushing it up

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RE: ? - 9/3/2004 12:59:37 AM   
deadman

 

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I'm sure this is more B.S. just like the July date...

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RE: ? - 9/3/2004 8:17:00 AM   
Wolfi-S

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Marc Schwanebeck

Major development advances in the last two weeks. Brushing it up


FPG is THE game I have been waiting fo a long time. And if it's as good as I think it will be, I am happy to wait a little more. I have been disappointed so often by games rushed out prematurely (eg. Jagged Alliance 2, etc) I appreciate it, that you are waiting until you consider the game ready.

Marc, I am from Bonn too BTW

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RE: ? - 9/3/2004 1:53:49 PM   
jrcar

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: deadman

I'm sure this is more B.S. just like the July date...



No it is coming, only so much speed with lots of part timers, and for me at least RL has gotten horribly in the road recently.

It isn't vapourware, it does work, and it is still being tweaked, mainly with graphics.

Cheers

Rob

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RE: ? - 9/3/2004 5:44:09 PM   
Catgh_MatrixForum


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Jrcar really hits it on the head. Everyone at Matrix and SimCan have been pushing to get this done, but the part-timers are really slowing them up. Matrix/SimCan have already been discussing docking pay from the voltuneers.

Things are coming along... A glimpse at a new feature is embedded... I apologize for the image quality...




Attachment (1)

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RE: ? - 9/3/2004 8:11:12 PM   
Cpt. Canuck

 

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One is fearful of even asking for another date.

Perhaps a weekly update from someone at Matrix/SimCan would go a long ways to keeping the pessimism from the potential buyers.

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RE: ? - 9/4/2004 12:16:15 AM   
IronManBeta


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Hello all -

This week saw the long anticipated arrival of scads of brand new animation clips for the game. Guess what - there were, well, scads and scads of new bitmaps to wade through, organize and incorporate into the game. That was good for many late night hours of quiet enjoyment in front on the monitor. Just another example of being careful what you wish for I suppose! Darn, they sure look nice though.

As often happens, integrating them in the first instance was easy enough technically but then the 'look and feel' of the game had changed markedly from what we are used to. Is it better? Is it worse? Who has fresh eyes any more? I play it for a while and try to form an opinion, then I change the timings and/or the scaling of the animations, and then I play it some more. More changes, more playing. All the while I see things that the new artwork breaks (last night is was the new nuclear contamination markers negating the LOS overlay in locations where both apply) and so I go back and rewrite that part of the code again. Then I test to make sure that the new changes haven't broken anything else in turn, and the cycle continues.

The week before I received scads of new sound files and it was much the same story. We have gone from perhaps 20% content complete to 95% content complete in the last 4 weeks. That is really, really good news. The unit testing went really well which is also good news. The integration testing is more of a challenge but that is less of a technical issue than an artistic one. Do I play the animations at 20 fps, 25 fps or 30 fps? Should I let them be individually varied? If I change the speed of the animation clips then the sound effects no longer match up very well. Is that really a problem? If I have to change one or the other, which is the easier one for the artist to do? What if I like it one way and David likes it a second and Marc a third? What if after all this, it doesn't run properly on one of the playtester's machines? Even if the timings are now right, is the scaling OK? Marc likes bigger explosions and I like smaller - if I give him the option to vary them on his machine and he doesn't come back with a directive, does that mean he is happy with what I gave him? So many questions...

This is all fun and easy stuff, but it does take a while to get a general agreement that it is good to go with. I have over 2500 private emails now on the project and the development forum has another 2000 of which half are probably from me. I can assure you that it is not for lack of effort that we are running late on this one.

I really wish the game had been done ages ago but it was not. Matrix doesn't release a game until it is properly done and Flashpoint is just not _quite_ there yet. I want a really good 'out of box' experience for everyone and that requires constant polishing and refining at this late stage.

It doesn't help any that the blasted day job keeps getting in the way either. I used to be able to close the door and work on FPG for all but an hour or two each day. Sadly, business has picked up and that is no longer possible. Some days I am lucky to get to the game by 10 p.m. but I work on it every single day nonetheless.

The AI received some serious tweaking in the last two months and that is part of my final testing too. It spun off nearly a gigabyte of post-mortem text files during the automated overnight smoke testing for me to read.

Finally, the herioc person we know as Catgh has championed the scenario creation end of things and is bombarding me with constant new versions. All of these need to be examined and tested too. I try to do that automatically in the smoke test but tracing down an issue turned up by it is often good for an hour or two of work. I should mention that Catgh and the others have worked above and beyond the call of any conceivable duty and their work is very much appreciated.

Oh yes, and there is the documentation. No programmer ever likes to document his work. I ended up writing virtually all of it even though one of my very few desires up front was that someone else do that particular job. There are constant little updates required now for that too. The final screen captures will have to go in shortly.

All in all we are sitting pretty right now. The punch list is down to less than a page and I just need to finish what is nearly done and not introduce any problems at the last minute by letting my focus slip. All I really need is one more wave of sound files and then we are ready for the final reality check.

Cheers all, Rob.

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RE: ? - 9/4/2004 1:06:30 AM   
JudgeDredd


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Rob

I fully appreciate your predicament and applaud you for letting the community know, in so much detail, how things are.

I, too, am a programmer and I know how "the little things" take so much time...and also how they create so many "follow on" problems.

What I would like to know, though, is this...You say you keep looking and thinking "Does this look right?", "What about that?" and "Who has fresh eyes anymore?". These are questions that I think cannot be answered by you...or anyone else who has worked on the project for so long. The problem, I see, is that it's very easy to say something looks "bland" or "not right" because you've worked on it so long...you just can't see the inventiveness of it....so my solution...

LET ME HAVE IT FOR A WHILE!

The Judge

< Message edited by JudgeDredd -- 9/3/2004 11:07:24 PM >


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RE: ? - 9/4/2004 1:08:51 AM   
Oleg Mastruko


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This update, or rather semi-update semi-confession is much appreciated Robert . To be realistic I'd say you have at least two months of work on this, but that's OK by me.

So while we wait, and while you fight with the code in the loneliness of your lair , some of the beta testers might give of more info on the game to help us get the feel. Some new screenshots would be welcome - especially since you say there's some new graphics in the game. Website hasn't been updated for ages. Perhaps there is tentative list of scenarios that will come with the game? I guess there's no campaign, just the independent scenarios? Are they intended for play vs. AI, for PBEM, or both? How many turns average sceraio for FPG has? How long does it take to play a turn in this system? How detailed and how huge is the OOB? Weapons database? What years are covered? '70s, '80s?

Sorry if those questions have been covered before, but I didn't find them.

Borisoffsky's AAR helped tremendously to get at least some feel of the game - actually before them this game was covered by thick fog of war for me. Now I feel I am familiar with some of the features at least, but any additional info would help to get us, boring potential customers, occupied and chit chatting while you work hard to put finishing touches on this product

O.

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RE: ? - 9/4/2004 1:54:50 AM   
Greyshaft


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Oleg Mastruko
Perhaps there is tentative list of scenarios that will come with the game? I guess there's no campaign, just the independent scenarios? Are they intended for play vs. AI, for PBEM, or both? How many turns average sceraio for FPG has? How long does it take to play a turn in this system? How detailed and how huge is the OOB? Weapons database? What years are covered? '70s, '80s?


Quick answers:
* 16 Scenarios - 5 BAOR, 6 US VCorp, 5 West German
* No campaign. Given the lethality of modern weapons it is not unusual for the "winner" in a scenario to be down to less than 50% of nominal TOE
* You can play v the AI or by PBEM
* You can set turns to be 10, 20 or 30 minutes long and each scenario runs for a maximum of 12 hours.
* Playing a turn is maybe 10-20 minutes real time... depending on which scenario and how methodical you want to be
* Sabre is the expert on the OOB. Sabre?

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RE: ? - 9/4/2004 2:24:47 AM   
Oleg Mastruko


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quote:

Quick answers:
* 16 Scenarios - 5 BAOR, 6 US VCorp, 5 West German


Playable from both sides - NATO and WP? Are there any units from "minor" nations in the OOB/TOE database? I think there were some Belgians and Dutch in BAOR sector, and how about Poles and NVA (East Germans) for WP player?

quote:

* No campaign. Given the lethality of modern weapons it is not unusual for the "winner" in a scenario to be down to less than 50% of nominal TOE


I'm fine with that. There are always some "campaign junkies" so it would not surprise me that this will be much criticised issue, but personally I have no problems with lack of campaign at all.

quote:

* You can set turns to be 10, 20 or 30 minutes long and each scenario runs for a maximum of 12 hours.


OK. Is there some general consensus among betas, like "30 minute setting is for sissies, real grogs play 10 minute turns" or are all settings valid and efficient? This is something that is set under game Preferences and can't be changed mid-game?

Will the scenario editor be in game?

Thanks for your replies much appreciated.

O.

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RE: ? - 9/4/2004 9:20:17 AM   
Catgh_MatrixForum


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First of all, there is a few people involved with the scenarios, I am just the "blender" on the team. Greyshaft has really done a super job of putting some ficition behind the scenarios and Sabre21 fleshed out Greyshaft's fiction with some strong OOB. All I have done is taken their work and blended it together.

Now to the questions...
quote:

Playable from both sides - NATO and WP? Are there any units from "minor" nations in the OOB/TOE database? I think there were some Belgians and Dutch in BAOR sector, and how about Poles and NVA (East Germans) for WP player?

Yes most of the scenarios can be played from both sides. There is only one that I can think of that really is meant to be played from one side. The combantants so far are the BAOR, US, West Germans, Soviet. Since some of the PACT forces are supplied with Soviet equipment, it is not hard to represent them. There is one scenario that has a NVA force.

quote:

OK. Is there some general consensus among betas, like "30 minute setting is for sissies, real grogs play 10 minute turns" or are all settings valid and efficient? This is something that is set under game Preferences and can't be changed mid-game?

Will the scenario editor be in game?


Please the pic for reference. There are a lot of different ways to play this beast. The most interesting way I have found is with the Limited Staff Rule. It limits the number of "orders" that can be given per interval depending on force side and turn internval length. So for instance NATO gets 4 staff points for a 10 minute interval. I use the staff points for placing orders. I can group select units and give them all one order, thus using 1 point; or I can give one unit one order using 1 point.

The 10,15,20,30 turn length changes the flavor a bit, but I don't think anyone has a strong opinion on it.

There are two scenario editors in the game. One is for setting up quick games and the other is the one to use for setting up the more indepth scenarios; basically what the team has been using. Of course if you want to get into the HTML briefings you will need some HTML editor.

To help with another question that might come up, there really isn't any AI scripting at all. The game system handles the AI for the games.




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Catgh -- 9/10/2004 4:01:41 PM >

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RE: ? - 9/4/2004 9:21:10 AM   
Catgh_MatrixForum


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Here is a frame of one of the new animations.... Enjoy...




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RE: ? - 9/4/2004 9:22:10 AM   
Catgh_MatrixForum


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Here is a screenshot of a section of the briefing screen. The briefings are HTML based and are only limited to ones talents.




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RE: ? - 9/4/2004 9:42:57 AM   
JudgeDredd


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Sounds great.

Thx

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RE: ? - 9/5/2004 1:42:53 PM   
Paul Wykes

 

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Thanks for the updates.

Watching this game since the beginning. Looking forward to it loads. I like the idea of Html based briefings. A scenario designer could really incorporate some good background/story telling to the battle.

I like the "explosion" animation. Looks very dramatic.

Is the "quick battle" editor used for AI Vs player battles, or just Player Vs Player battles?

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RE: ? - 9/5/2004 1:56:39 PM   
Greyshaft


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"Quick Battle" allows you to select a combat formation for each side then play a game

Alright then... I'll take a US Mechanized Regiment with a couple of Warthogs flying in support and then I'll attack ... ummm .... lets say I attack a Soviet infantry division with lots of artillery in support but I'll make their morale really bad so that I should win the battles as long as I keep moving and don't let the enemy artillery catch me..."


Any game can be played against the AI or another player (LAN/PBEM) and you can choose sides.

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RE: ? - 9/5/2004 2:03:09 PM   
Greyshaft


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Oleg Mastruko
OK. Is there some general consensus among betas, like "30 minute setting is for sissies, real grogs play 10 minute turns" or are all settings valid and efficient? This is something that is set under game Preferences and can't be changed mid-game?


No real consensus. We all do whatever pushes our own button. I like 30 minute turns because I don't think a command officer could (or should!) be getting updates and giving orders to each unit every ten minutes. I like the long range planning and then I live with the results. If you want it different then there's nothing wrong with that.

You can't change the timing mid game.

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RE: ? - 9/10/2004 11:11:00 AM   
Makoto


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any chance we'll be able to mod OOBs and TOEs ?

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RE: ? - 9/10/2004 6:12:42 PM   
Catgh_MatrixForum


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The explosion is right at the beginning of the animation of a "tactical" nuke...

Makoto, you can edit the OOBs and TOEs. I have started a new topic showing parts of the Extended Scenario Editor.

< Message edited by Catgh -- 9/10/2004 4:12:56 PM >

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RE: ? - 9/10/2004 10:07:47 PM   
Makoto


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thanks

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RE: ? - 9/10/2004 10:33:23 PM   
Paul Wykes

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Catgh

The explosion is right at the beginning of the animation of a "tactical" nuke...


I didn`t realise that nuclear weapons (tactical or otherwise) were going to make an appearance in the game.

Does the player have control, or are they part of some scripted "event"?

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RE: ? - 9/10/2004 11:40:55 PM   
Greyshaft


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There are no scripts in FPG. The AI makes decisions based purely on the tactical situation. The player controls his own nukes but you'd better be nice to the AI or KAPOW!!!

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RE: ? - 9/11/2004 12:08:36 AM   
Oleg Mastruko


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Are nukes available to player in every scenario or scenario designer has to decide to include nukes?

Any penalties for using nukes?

O.

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RE: ? - 9/11/2004 1:07:12 AM   
Catgh_MatrixForum


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Nukes are only available if certain units are included in the scenario. i.e. Frog 7 / SS-21

Yes you take a VP penatly for using them.




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< Message edited by Catgh -- 9/10/2004 11:14:00 PM >

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RE: ? - 9/11/2004 1:46:53 PM   
Paul Wykes

 

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Is there also biological and chemical weapons also?

Thanks

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RE: ? - 9/11/2004 3:18:24 PM   
wodin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Wykes

Is there also biological and chemical weapons also?

Thanks


You evil man..........

Is there? How about Hydrogen bombs? What about actually having the choice of chemical for the weapon!! HAHAHAhaha......

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RE: ? - 9/11/2004 4:40:15 PM   
Catgh_MatrixForum


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Just "Chemical" nothing more, no option to select your chemical...

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RE: ? - 9/11/2004 4:54:14 PM   
Paul Wykes

 

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How are such devastating weapons handled? I imagine a release of such a weapon would radically change the battlefield. The tactics that could be employed, effects on equipment etc..

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