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RE: When? - 8/31/2008 10:47:56 AM   
cbpraem

 

Posts: 7
Joined: 10/3/2004
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Given the wast amount of time allready invested in the game, I am confident this title will be released.
I am hoping Steve has some idea as to what remains to be done and has an idea of how long it will take - if not, then I for one would be worried. Judging from the comments by vfzimmermann and Grabeshot Bob we are close, no?
Now to the question. Could we have an estimate of when this will ship?

this year?
next year?
2-3 years from now?

(in reply to geozero)
Post #: 721
RE: When? - 9/2/2008 9:20:09 AM   
undercovergeek

 

Posts: 1526
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From: UK
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any monthly update?

(in reply to cbpraem)
Post #: 722
RE: When? - 9/2/2008 9:42:46 AM   
Grymme

 

Posts: 1821
Joined: 12/16/2007
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Actually i think an estimate in percentages regarding how much of the work that has been done would be more informational than just an estimate on release date.

Is 20 % done 50 %, 70 % done, or more?

(in reply to undercovergeek)
Post #: 723
RE: When? - 9/2/2008 10:37:52 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 22035
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Grymme

Actually i think an estimate in percentages regarding how much of the work that has been done would be more informational than just an estimate on release date.

Is 20 % done 50 %, 70 % done, or more?

Ye gods, I have put in over 7000 hours on this so far and Chris worked on it for 7 years. 20% done? All concerned will be dead before it is done then. I have 1600 hours budgeted to complete MWIF product 1 - for whatever that is worth.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Grymme)
Post #: 724
RE: When? - 9/2/2008 10:47:28 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 22035
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: undercovergeek

any monthly update?

I haven't missed one in the last 38 months.
=================
September 1, 2008 Status Report for Matrix Games’ MWIF Forum

Accomplishments of August

Project Management
Our current plans are to release MWIF product 1 in late March, 2009. There is still some uncertainty about that date, mostly related to NetPlay.

Communications
I monitored all the threads in the MWIF World in Flames forum daily and uploaded versions 10.01, 10.02, and 10.03 to the beta testers.

Patrice make a few more adjustments to the map data which I will include in version 11.00.

Dan was on vacation for last 2 weeks in August.

Peter Skoglund continues to help with developing scripts for the AI Opponent.

Jesper Pehrson sent me his latest and greatest on the land unit writeups, which I included in version 10.02. Nothing new from Andy Johnson on the naval unit writeups though he remains quite active as a beta tester.

Michael Andersen finished all the ~70 default scrap lists, so new players can use a well thought out default list for each major power for each scenario. Now he is working on starting setups for convoy pipelines and the disposition of naval forces.

Nothing new from Robert Nebel on the Test Scripts.

No information from Matrix about getting a price on a printed copy of the map.

No communications with Chris Marinacci or Harry Rowland.

Hardware and Software Development Tools
I have not installed ThemeEngine July/2007 - the status on this is unchanged from last month.

Beta Testing
I uploaded 10.01, 10.02, and 10.03 to the beta testers this past month. For the last two weeks I have been working on digressions which necessitate changing the content of the saved games. Because this will invalidate all previously saved games, I will number the version 11.00. It will include some map data changes that will also invalidate all the GAM files.

Version 10.02 fixed some bugs and added the new feature Selectable Units List. I find this to be a great addition, since it displays exactly which air units are available to fly each mission when that phase of the game comes around.

So far this is only in use for air units during air mission phases and the naval air phase, but after soliciting advice from the forum members I have a list of other places where this will be very useful: HQs for use with an offensive chit, HQs that can provide HQ support, Land units that can destroy factories, Air units available for naval air support (interception), HQs for reorganizing units, TRS’s for reorganizing units, Naval units capable of offensive and defensive shore bombardment, Units capable of invading, and Units capable of debarking from transports. In addition, I am already using the Selectable Units Form as part of Digressions, for units that need to be Relocated, Rebased, or Returned to Base. More about that below.

Units, Map, and Scenarios
Patrice continues to work on the map, fixing the weather zones for southern California so it rarely experiences snow. This is pure data and has no effect on the programming. His few relocations of cities in the US is likely to invalidate all the saved games.

Optional Rules
I made some small progress in the optional rules, cutting 10 hours off the estimated time to complete them.

Player Interface
After waiting for almost 3 years, I finally redid the Main form. It went through a half dozen major versions this past month but I am very happy with it now. I’ve removed some unused items, de-emphasized others, enhanced some, changed the colors and sizes of numerous elements, and repositioned them all (literally). Most of the items displayed can now be clicked on to bring up additional information, usually the standard help form for the topic. For example, if the player clicks on the current weather in a hex (e.g., Fine) the full weather report is shown including the probabilities of what it will be the next time the weather roll takes place.

This design style, of letting the player learn more about a topic by clicking on the current status, is really sweet. It is obvious to the player, easy for him to remember, takes up zero real estate on the form, and is trivial to code.

I drastically improved the information concerning the current Action Choice (e.g., Land vs Naval vs Air actions), which previously had only cryptic references. As a case in point, A:3 is now Air: 3, and land attacks are shown as Attacks: 4. When the program updated these was messed up too, so these are now always correct. Going along with that, once a major power has completed its phase of the game, its flag is changed to ‘faded’ in the displayed list of decision makers. When Germany finishes its naval moves, the Italian flag is shown, with all the relevant information for Germany replaced by that for Italy. This might seem obvious, but the processing sequence from CWIF was confusing. My conversions to a separate Phase module for each phase of the game has cleaned this up.

A major change to the Main form was the inclusion of the Universal Data Panel. This enabled the removal of same from the Setup Tray and Units in Hex form. It took me a couple of passes but I think the Setup Tray is now the best that can be hoped for. It is long and low which minimizes its vertical footprint. Because monitors are wider than they are high, vertical space is more precious than horizontal. I’ve tied the Flyouts to the Universal Data Panel on the Main form. The Units in Hex form likewise has a low profile.

Speaking of Flyouts, the player can now see all the units in a hex using the Flyouts (9 at a time) and select which units he wants to move by clicking on the unit depictions in the Flyouts. This is by far the easiest way to review what is in a hex and pick out the units you want to move. I have been a little chary in added features to the Flyouts, but I did enable selecting/deselecting all the naval units in a hex using Flyouts (double click on a naval unit) and then add or subtract individual units to that list. So, you can select all the naval units and then deselect the convoys, as a quick way to select all the naval combat units.

The Selectable Units List enables the player to click beside any of the displayed units to have the map center on the unit. Clicking on the unit itself, “picks the unit up”, just as if the player had done so from the Flyouts or from the hex. I still need to add a popup that shows all legal destinations.

My design specification is for a unit’s valid destinations to appear as a popup list if the player right-clicks beside the unit. Then the player can reposition the map on a destination by clicking on the destination name/label. If the player wants to move the unit to that destination, he simply clicks on the unit and the map is repositioned for him to drop the unit into the hex. The advantage here is that air units have a long range and is it quite common for the air unit’s hex and the target hex to not be visible at the same time. Zooming out is one solution but then the units and hexes are small, requiring precise control of the mouse to select the unit and its target hex. This way the player can keep the map zoomed in as he enters his choices for which air units move to which target hexes.

Internet - NetPlay
Dan feels he has coded himself into a corner with his NetPlay design and wants to go back to his original design which was less complicated. He’ll work on that in September.

CWIF Conversion
I bit the bullet and went through all the references to the ‘phase’ destroy units I inherited from CWIF. There were 168 references and I have cut that down to 86 so far. Eventually I will eliminate it entirely, replacing it with a Land Combat subphase. There were 23 places where the current phase of the game was changed to Destroy Units. I have been able to remove 21 of those so far, by replacing them with digressions to Scrap Units. Of the two remaining, OverStacking and Land Combat Casualties, I’ll convert the latter to a subphase of the Land Combat phase. Overstacking can be handled as a digression to Scrap Units.

In trying to fix the bugs in Naval Interceptions I was forced to go back to RAC (Rules as Coded) documentation and lay out the ‘requirements’ with great precision. Given that understanding, I have built a new design using Digressions to accommodate Relocations, Overruns, and Returns to Base. Relocations are a common game device where a unit is moved from A to B without regard to any of the rules pertaining to movement - I call this ‘teleportation’. An example of Overruns is when naval units are forced to rebase to a friendly port; and lastly, during naval combat, units can be forced to Return to Base.

All of these 3 new Digression types involve moving naval units, and both Overruns and Returns to Base are subject to Naval Interception. Once I have these 3 new digression types fully implemented, the code will be vastly easier to understand and I can go back to the original problem of fixing the bugs in Naval Interception. The best part of this is that the 3 new digressions will eliminate 3 more ‘phases’ from CWIF: ForcedRebase, ForcedNavalRebase, and ForceNearRebase.

As part of the work I have been doing on digressions, I reviewed and revised the subphases for declaring Vichy France. This let me remove the phase SetupVichy by folding it into the Vichy phase as a subphase.

I’ve included program documentation fragments at the end of this report to give you a better understanding of the work required to create Digressions and the Vichy subphases.

MWIF Game Engine
I finished converting the Ground Support, Rail Moves, and Land Moves phases to support NetPlay. There might be some bugs in Ground Support but the other 2 look pretty solid. I did a massive review and standardization on advancing from phase to phase and switching major powers within a phase. Together with the changes to the Player Interface described above, the program now smoothly transitions from one to another, keeping the player well informed as to where he currently is and what he is suppose to be doing.

The big news here is that the code for the Rail Move phase is 3 pages long, and for the Land Move phase it is 4 pages long. This is compared to the 25 pages needed for each of the 7 air phases. I expect that most of the remaining phases that I need to convert (30+) will be less than 5 pages each and doable in a couple of hours each.

Later in the month I converted the Factory Destruction and Liberation phases to support NetPlay and as predicted, each of these was less than 3 pages long.

Saved Games
I keep this functioning at all times though the beta testers have reported one problem I have yet to investigate.

Player’s Manual
Nothing was scheduled.

PBEM
Nothing was scheduled.

Historical Detail, Animations, and Sound
Nothing new.

Help System and Tutorials
After going through RAC carefully, so I could write the code for the digression correctly, I reviewed the diagrams I had created for the sequence of play. In several places I made edits, mostly for clarity, rather than of substance. Because these diagrams form the basis for the tutorial pages on the sequence of play, I now have the task of someday going back to the tutorial graphics and making those same edits.

AI Opponent
Peter Skoglund sent me his proposed setup script for the AI Opponent for Persia and is working on the same for: Iraq, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, and the Netherlands. Once I finish proof reading what he sent me for Persia, he should be able to finish the others quite quickly.

Other
The hospital next door continues to work on the roof and has put up scaffolding for applying stucco to al the walls.

My quartet remains mired at 2 hours of rehearsal a month - quite depressing. For instance, our lead singer was in Reno for a few days and then Florida for a week. The navy has him inspecting their bases around the world. Now I was confused as to why the navy would even have a base in Reno, Nevada but after some thought I decided it would probably be of great benefit to the overall performance of the navy to have all naval personnel complete at least basic training in dealing with prostitutes and gambling.
====================================================================
August summary: Mostly work on the player interface and replacing ‘phases’ with digressions. The only thing I would like to do more than work on the AIO is to start testing NetPlay code.
====================================================================


Tasks for September

Communications
Continue monitoring the forum threads.

Map and Units
Make corrections to the map for version 11.00.

Beta Testing
Upload versions weekly. [est. 2 hours]

Redesign of MWIF Game Engine
Continue to work through the sequence of play giving each phase its own module. [est. 170 hours]

CWIF Conversion
Convert CWIF style internet formats to Game Record Log Formats. [est. 30 hours]

Player Interface
Finish the code for determining and displaying supply lines. [est. 10 hours]

Complete the Task Forces forms. Implement Task Forces as a new “unit type”. [est. 30 hours in October]

Create hex destination lists for air missions. [est 10 hours]

Optional Rules
Review, comment, modify, and create code for optional rules [est. 20 hours]

NetPlay
Implement the bidding capability using NetPlay. [est. 10 hours]
Incorporate the Indy10 code for the two player system into MWIF. [est. 20 hours]
Incorporate the multi-player (more than 2) system into MWIF. [est. 10 hours in October]

AI Opponent
Define LAIO variables with their supporting functions. Design the parser for LAIO. Create a few more rules as text and encode them for testing the parser. [est. 30 hours]

Help System and Tutorials
Nothing scheduled until December.

Player’s Manual
Nothing scheduled until November.

Historical Detail, Animations, and Sound
Nothing scheduled until December.

Other
I have been doing a lot of work scheduling the Pan Pacific Convention events (October 29th to November 2nd) that we are hosting for 800 barbershoppers in Honolulu. Planning is in pretty good shape at this point so I should be able to cut the time I have been spending on this to 10 hours in September.
================================================================
September summary: Keep the beta testers busy and respond to their bug reports. Continue work on Game Record Log conversions to support NetPlay for entire sequence of play. Make some progress on the optional rules. In other words, the exact same thing as last month.
================================================================

// ****************************************************************************
// Vichy subphases.
// ****************************************************************************
  TVichySubPhase = (
    vspControl,                 // RAC 17.2.
    vspMoveNonFrenchLandAir,    // RAC 17.3 para 1, by owning major power.
    vspMoveNonFrenchNaval,      // RAC 17.3 para 2, by owning major power.
    vspMoveFrenchAtSea,         // RAC 17.3 para 3, by Vichy controller.
    vspMoveFrenchLandAirAxis,   // RAC 17.3 para 4, by Vichy controller.
    vspMoveFrenchNavalAxis,     // RAC 17.3 para 4, by Vichy controller.
    vspDestroyFrench,           // RAC 17.3 para 5 (Allied player choice).
    vspMoveFrenchLandAirAllied, // RAC 17.3 para 5, by Vichy controller.
    vspMoveFrenchNavalAllied,   // RAC 17.3 para 5, by Vichy controller.
    vspProduction,              // RAC 17.3 para 6, by Vichy controller.
    vspSetup,                   // RAC 17.3 para 6, by Vichy controller.
    vspMoveFrenchVichy,         // RAC 17.3 para 7, by Vichy controller.
    vspUnitControl,             // RAC 17.3 para 8 - 11.
    vspConquerFrance);


========================
//  TDigression = (digRelocate, digOverrun, digReturnToBase, digScrapUnits,
//                 digNavalInterception);
// TDigression types are digressions from the main sequence of play that occur
// at different places in the sequence of play.  Program branching logic is
// controlled by which digression return value is assigned.
//
// Digression return values are:
// 1 - Relocating units (teleportation) to the nearest legal hex.  [RL]
//     drOccupy: units relocated due to occupation; Axis - Eastern Poland;
//               Allied - Greenland/Iceland and N. Ireland.         
//     drConquer: non-combatant units relocated due to Conquest or Surrender.
//     drPeace: all units relocated - enforced peace in Rumania and Finland.
//     drVichy: non-French land and air units relocated when Vichy Declared.
// 2 - Rebasing Overrun units (including 'effective' overruns where units are
//       forced to rebase and naval units are given double their range).  [OR]
//     drOverrun: units overrun during Land Movement and Advance after Combat.
//     drCollapseVichy: units overrun when Vichy Collapses.
//     drPartisan: air and naval units overrun by arriving Partisans.                  
//     drConquer: enemy naval units overrun due to Conquest or Surrender.              
//     drVichy: non-French naval units overrun when Vichy Declared.
// 3 - Returning units to Base.  [RB]
//     drLandCarrierPlane: carrier air units aborting to a carrier from
//                         air-to-air combat.
//     drLandPlane: land based air units aborting from air-to-air combat.
//     drNavalCombatAbort: naval units aborting voluntarily, or due to a combat          
//                         result, from a naval interception combat.
//     drReturnToBase: air/naval units returning to base at the end of the turn.
//     drVichy: French units returning to base when Vichy Declared.
// 4 - Correcting overstacked hexes.  [OS]
//     drLiberation: stacking might be violated because liberated units have
//                   changed their relationship to the country that controls the
//                   hex they are occupying.
// 5 - Scrapping destroyed units.  [SC]
//     drOccupy: units relocated due to occupation have no hex to go to.
//     drConquer: units relocated/overrun due to Conquest or Surrender have no
//                hex to go to.
//     drPeace: units relocated due to enforced peace in Rumania and Finland
//              have no hex to go to.
//     drLiberation: stacking might be violated because liberated units have
//                   changed their relationship to the country that controls the
//                   hex they are occupying, thereby destroying units.
//     drVichy: units overrun/relocated/returned to base when Vichy declared
//              have no hex to go to.
//     drOverrun: overrun units destroyed outright/unable to rebase.
//     drCollapseVichy: units overrun, when Vichy collapsed, unable to rebase.
//     drPartisan: units overrun by arriving partisans destroyed outright/unable
//                 to rebase.
//     drLandCarrierPlane: air units destroyed when unable to return to carrier.
//     drLandPlane: land based air units returning from a mission destroyed when
//                  they have no hex to go to.
//     drNavalCombatAbort: units aborting voluntarily, or due to combat result,
//                         from any naval combat, have no hex to go to.
//     drReturnToBase: air/naval units destroyed when unable to return to base
//                     at the end of the turn.
//     drCarpetBombing: units destroyed by carpet bombing.
//     drAirCombat: units destroyed in air-to-air combat.
//     drAntiAirCombat: units destroyed by anti-aircraft fire.
//     drNavalCombatResults: units destroyed in naval combat.
//     drLandCombat: units destroyed in land combat.
//     drFactoryDestruction: synthetic oil units destroyed by land units.
// 6 - Naval Interceptions.   [NI]
//     drNavalMovement: naval units intercepted during naval movement - can stay
//                      at sea.
//     drReturnToBase: naval units intercepted during return to base - must
//                     return to port within their normal range.
//     drOverrun: naval units intercepted while rebasing due to overrun - must
//                return to port with twice their normal range.



_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to undercovergeek)
Post #: 725
RE: When? - 9/2/2008 12:48:13 PM   
undercovergeek

 

Posts: 1526
Joined: 11/21/2006
From: UK
Status: offline
thanks for that - glad to see the date hasnt shifted by an age - good luck and thanks for all efforts

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 726
RE: When? - 9/2/2008 12:51:10 PM   
Froonp


Posts: 7995
Joined: 10/21/2003
From: Marseilles, France
Status: offline
quote:

AI Opponent
Peter Skoglund sent me his proposed setup script for the AI Opponent for Persia and is working on the same for: Iraq, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, and the Netherlands. Once I finish proof reading what he sent me for Persia, he should be able to finish the others quite quickly.

I like what he did so far, this is very good.
I hope he will be able to do the main minor countries the same way in the future !

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 727
RE: When? - 9/2/2008 2:12:36 PM   
Sewerlobster


Posts: 330
Joined: 5/7/2007
From: Reading, Pa. USA
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
Ye gods, I have put in over 7000 hours on this so far and Chris worked on it for 7 years. 20% done? All concerned will be dead before it is done then. I have 1600 hours budgeted to complete MWIF product 1 - for whatever that is worth.


What it's worth is whatever you'd charge for working 4.3 years <total> of your life 40 hours a week (taking only 2 weeks vacation a year). And assuming the 1600 hours left doesn't increase and is all yours , thats 40 more weeks of work.

As you can see, the vast majority of the posters are quite patient; and those that aren't will still be customers. These progress reports and forums show the great progress. Thanks again.


_____________________________

Why choose the lesser evil: Vote Cthulhu.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 728
RE: When? - 9/2/2008 6:41:16 PM   
Stabilo

 

Posts: 140
Joined: 2/3/2008
Status: offline
Better wait some more months than getting a mediocre result.

Go on, Shannon, take all the time you need!

(in reply to Sewerlobster)
Post #: 729
RE: When? - 9/2/2008 7:04:36 PM   
Ohio Jones


Posts: 31
Joined: 11/26/2007
From: Canada
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Froonp

quote:

AI Opponent
Peter Skoglund sent me his proposed setup script for the AI Opponent for Persia and is working on the same for: Iraq, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, and the Netherlands. Once I finish proof reading what he sent me for Persia, he should be able to finish the others quite quickly.

I like what he did so far, this is very good.
I hope he will be able to do the main minor countries the same way in the future !



I'm curious - to what extent is minor set-up contextual based on who is issuing the DOW, and what fronts they have access to? Should the Netherlands set-up, for example, look different if it was a French DOW vs. a Japanese DOW? Or are these powers smll enough that their basic set-up and strategy is consistent from opponent to opponent?

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 730
RE: When? - 9/2/2008 7:57:33 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 22035
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ohio Jones


quote:

ORIGINAL: Froonp

quote:

AI Opponent
Peter Skoglund sent me his proposed setup script for the AI Opponent for Persia and is working on the same for: Iraq, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, and the Netherlands. Once I finish proof reading what he sent me for Persia, he should be able to finish the others quite quickly.

I like what he did so far, this is very good.
I hope he will be able to do the main minor countries the same way in the future !



I'm curious - to what extent is minor set-up contextual based on who is issuing the DOW, and what fronts they have access to? Should the Netherlands set-up, for example, look different if it was a French DOW vs. a Japanese DOW? Or are these powers smll enough that their basic set-up and strategy is consistent from opponent to opponent?

I'll let Peter (Pesk Pesk) answer this in detail. In general, the setups are done specifically for each country.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Ohio Jones)
Post #: 731
RE: When? - 9/2/2008 8:07:14 PM   
Froonp


Posts: 7995
Joined: 10/21/2003
From: Marseilles, France
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Ohio Jones
I'm curious - to what extent is minor set-up contextual based on who is issuing the DOW, and what fronts they have access to? Should the Netherlands set-up, for example, look different if it was a French DOW vs. a Japanese DOW? Or are these powers smll enough that their basic set-up and strategy is consistent from opponent to opponent?

Look at the specific threads, you'll see that he takes that into account. For the Netherlands for instance, he considered an Allied DoW as well as a Japanese one.

(in reply to Ohio Jones)
Post #: 732
RE: When? - 9/3/2008 6:06:30 PM   
Norman42


Posts: 244
Joined: 2/9/2008
From: Canada
Status: offline

Quote Steve:

quote:

Now I was confused as to why the navy would even have a base in Reno, Nevada but after some thought I decided it would probably be of great benefit to the overall performance of the navy to have all naval personnel complete at least basic training in dealing with prostitutes and gambling.


I got a good chuckle from this.

However, I do believe the Navy has several weapons test facilities in the deserts of Nevada. The hookers and dice are just 'collateral damage'.

_____________________________

-------------

C.L.Norman

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 733
RE: When? - 9/3/2008 9:58:19 PM   
mlees


Posts: 2263
Joined: 9/20/2003
From: San Diego
Status: offline
NAS Fallon (NAS means Naval Air Station) is home to the Navy's "Top Gun" fighter school, and Fallon is used for squadrons to base out of while doing "live fire" bomb training in the deserts of Nevada, as well as various other training (including cooperative excercises with the USAF).

Fallon is a couple hours east of Reno by highway (I forget exactly how many). When I used to travel for my job, if I had to go to Fallon, I would fly into Reno, pick up a rental car, and drive to NAS Fallon.

Join the Navy, and see the world. Including it's deserts.

(in reply to Norman42)
Post #: 734
RE: When? - 9/4/2008 2:37:25 PM   
meisterchow


Posts: 284
Joined: 12/12/2007
Status: offline
When my brother was in the Navy, he spent a year at NAS Sugar Grove, in the mountains of West Virginia.  Sugar Grove is a site for a long range communications array.

_____________________________

'Fear God and dread nought'
Coat of Arms Motto of Baron Fisher, of Kilverstone

(in reply to mlees)
Post #: 735
RE: When? - 9/11/2008 9:31:50 AM   
GShock


Posts: 1245
Joined: 12/9/2007
From: San Francisco, CA - USA
Status: offline
Popping by to say a few things.

I wish the DEVs and all the community my best wishes and good luck for WiF. A speedy development and a wonderful result in sales. Tackling this boardgame is a must (and yes, i've been waiting since '99 too) but it's a troublesome mission. I have extremely serious doubts the AI may cope in more than an insufficient way against human players due to the ultra-high complexity involved in the processes of unit building, political choices and combat and i hope my doubt is not taken as a show of disrespect because it isn't. I hope that the DEVs focus on the most important part, involving the Multiplayer so that the obvious results of an AI that would be more complex to build than Deep Blue or Deep Fritz were, can be forgotten by an excellent MP experience. I know the AI is strictly needed, and i know how hard it is and how frustrating it will be, especially at 1.0 so, for this part of development, i wish the best of lucks two times even.

I beg the developers not to make the same mistake appearing in EiANW: presuming every player/customer is a grognard of WiF.

Build the manual with lots of pictures and examples, a manual that can be understood by everyone.

We will also need several video tutorials, better if embedded within the game launcher (a-la-WBTS).
Finally, consider building an user interface that not only allows handling "pieces" in a relatively easy way but that also allows the most stupid of all newbies to understand what's going on, why something didn't go as planned, why a move is not allowed and all to be coupled with an extensive log showing all the informations needed not to play but to understand & play.

The learning curve for this game will be very steep and without a good manual, a good ui and video tutorials, many players will be scared away prior or after the purchase and this is a serious threat to the post-development budget for the DEVs. With the exception of the UI that needs to be programmed, i think any BETA could be suitable to guide a team of "tutorialists" and "manualists" and this sub-project is free of charge for the DEVs. Where only good can come and no bad is present, forsaking these things would just be foolish.

Most grognards do not understand this issue, thinking automatically that everyone has their great knowledge of the game mechanics. Thinking these much needed "training tools" are superfluous would be a costly mistake with results already witnessed in EiANW and a very superficial display of thinking for the DEVs. 

Again, best wishes to everyone involved in the process. I am, like many others, awaiting in eager anticipation for this game and i hope my suggestions are taken for the sake of everyone.

(in reply to meisterchow)
Post #: 736
RE: When? - 9/11/2008 7:11:12 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 22035
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: GShock

Popping by to say a few things.

I wish the DEVs and all the community my best wishes and good luck for WiF. A speedy development and a wonderful result in sales. Tackling this boardgame is a must (and yes, i've been waiting since '99 too) but it's a troublesome mission. I have extremely serious doubts the AI may cope in more than an insufficient way against human players due to the ultra-high complexity involved in the processes of unit building, political choices and combat and i hope my doubt is not taken as a show of disrespect because it isn't. I hope that the DEVs focus on the most important part, involving the Multiplayer so that the obvious results of an AI that would be more complex to build than Deep Blue or Deep Fritz were, can be forgotten by an excellent MP experience. I know the AI is strictly needed, and i know how hard it is and how frustrating it will be, especially at 1.0 so, for this part of development, i wish the best of lucks two times even.

I beg the developers not to make the same mistake appearing in EiANW: presuming every player/customer is a grognard of WiF.

Build the manual with lots of pictures and examples, a manual that can be understood by everyone.

We will also need several video tutorials, better if embedded within the game launcher (a-la-WBTS).
Finally, consider building an user interface that not only allows handling "pieces" in a relatively easy way but that also allows the most stupid of all newbies to understand what's going on, why something didn't go as planned, why a move is not allowed and all to be coupled with an extensive log showing all the informations needed not to play but to understand & play.

The learning curve for this game will be very steep and without a good manual, a good ui and video tutorials, many players will be scared away prior or after the purchase and this is a serious threat to the post-development budget for the DEVs. With the exception of the UI that needs to be programmed, i think any BETA could be suitable to guide a team of "tutorialists" and "manualists" and this sub-project is free of charge for the DEVs. Where only good can come and no bad is present, forsaking these things would just be foolish.

Most grognards do not understand this issue, thinking automatically that everyone has their great knowledge of the game mechanics. Thinking these much needed "training tools" are superfluous would be a costly mistake with results already witnessed in EiANW and a very superficial display of thinking for the DEVs. 

Again, best wishes to everyone involved in the process. I am, like many others, awaiting in eager anticipation for this game and i hope my suggestions are taken for the sake of everyone.


We have most of this already covered. Every time we recruit more beta testers we make sure to include people who have never played WIF, and I make a strong plea for "first impressions" from them. That's to address the issue of people close to the product wearing blinders regarding vocabulary, visual images, and numerous other built-in assumptions.

David Heath (head of Matrix Games) has been quite insistent about creating video tutorials for MWIF, and that should not be difficult to do. They will be done very close to the release date though, since we do not want to have last minute changes render them obsolete.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to GShock)
Post #: 737
RE: When? - 9/12/2008 8:49:57 AM   
vonpaul


Posts: 177
Joined: 8/5/2004
From: Sydney, Australia
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glad to see you are paying to attention to this..actually it is a huge relief. I've only played one game of EIA since i bought it last year (and even that ended after a turns) so i definetly agree with GShock. In fact i would go further and say that I'm hoping this game (in addition to a great training material) will reflect the huge advances in online usability since the mid-90's.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 738
RE: When? - 9/12/2008 6:20:10 PM   
yvesp


Posts: 2083
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Hi all!


It's my first post here, even though I've been following this thread from the very first beginning (and Chris progresses before this even existed... I even have one of his versions somewhere on my computer). I can probably be said to be what some call a "grognard of WiF"...

Well, to the point: I sometimes read that the game should focus more on the multiplayer part rather than the AI one, should there be a choice to do.


I beg to differ, for many many reasons.


Multiplayer in WiF will very likely be a feature of the game that will get mostly used by the most dedicated WiF players, those who are able to and willing to devote long play sessions and schedule rendezvous with such minded friends. Having played head to head WiF games, I know from experience that a full game is a 30h+ affair (much more if a side doesn't desist at half the game). That's accounting for rules shortcuts such as two players playing simultaneously (forbidden under the RaW), for example when a player has finished his moves on a theatre and lets the next one begin his moves on that theatre while he finishes his turn in another theatre ; such shortcuts will probably not make it in the computer game. Having also played multiplayer games, I know by experience that more than one time a player will just disconnect (out of spite or any other better reason), leaving the others either with an inactive side or a stranded game ; I see no reason why this would not be the case with this game too. More, while the AI must be able to take the place of a missing player (she disconnected, never to come back), it should also be able to hand back his place to the player (she was on holidays, but did not want to prevent the other players from playing, and now wants her seat again; considering the length of the game, that’s legitimate). In that latter case, the player will expect the AI to have done at least a reasonable job. When you consider the duration of a game, it comes logically that these situations are more than likely to happen in any single multiplayer game.


The consequences of these are:
* You won't always find 8 players
* Sometimes, you may be willing to play with less than 8 players and rather than have some control multiple countries, have the computer handle the empty seats (and not be a moron!)
* If a player disconnects, you will want the computer to be able to take his place

All these reasons show that to have a highly rewarding multiplayer game you need a very good AI. Without it, a lot of multiplayer games will just end up bitterly, or worse, just be unable to start. Considering the scarcity of multiplayer people for such a game (and lets face it, even Wif players are scarce), it would be bad policy to discourage the few that would try by giving them a bad experience.

On the other hand a strong AI (something really difficult to achieve, I grant you) will not only cover all the shortcomings for multiplayer games, but it will make the single player game a worthwhile experience (I'm personally not considering anything but single player play, due to the fact that I now have a wife and children; if you read above, I am now among those willing but not able to play long game sessions) and is a powerful selling argument. I even know some people (who do not even know WiF as a war game) who look interested by this computer game, but certainly not for multiplayer, and not if the AI is so pathetic that it makes the game uninteresting. I bet there are many other such potential players/customers around. A strong AI can also be put to good use by the novice player to improve his skill with the game without having to face the embarrassments of making a very poor decision in the front of “friends”, and it will in turn produce more players willing to enter multiplayer games.


Last of all, a strong AI could also be used to ease the burden for novice (or not so novice) players, for example if it can be used as “counsellors” to take the charge of some tasks: building new units, deciding whether to scrap destroyed aircrafts, placing convoys... depending on what the player is focused on (learning) at the time; or as a way to accelerate the game by letting the computer decide for things the player is not interested in. Such a “pluggable” AI would make the learning curve a lot less steep. I don't know if this can be done, though.


As a conclusion, I really hope for a very good AI, even if this means scrapping multiplayer in the initial release. Only then it will be possible to implement a multiplayer feature that people can really enjoy.

I wish Shannon more than good luck on this, because I see how difficult that task will be.

I know that the game will use scripts for the AI. I hope that these will be well documented and that there will be some way to legally and easily share them, so that dedicated players can in time improve them. The player community is a resource that can certainly be counted on to support such a game.


Yves

(in reply to cbpraem)
Post #: 739
RE: When? - 9/12/2008 9:46:31 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 22035
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From: Honolulu, Hawaii
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Yvesp,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for your insights.

Supporting Internet play and the AIO requires a common code foundation that was not part of CWIF. In particular, an essential element is switching between decision makers as dictated throughout the WIF sequence of play.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to yvesp)
Post #: 740
RE: When? - 9/13/2008 4:34:06 AM   
brian brian

 

Posts: 3190
Joined: 11/16/2005
Status: offline
I just hope the documentation makes a very strong point that new players should play the two specially designed intro scenarios a lot. They really do work well for learning the game, and are plenty fun to play. It wouldn't even be terrible to strip the naval units out of the Barbarossa scenario completely to really emphasize learning the land units and systems. Playing Barbarossa and then Gudalcanal can really take some of the steepness out of the learning curve. When I got my first copy of Final Edition, that's the first thing we did despite plenty of WiF5 experience.

It's a lot more natural to want to dive into the full global campaign game, but that's how people get in over their heads immediately.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 741
RE: When? - 9/13/2008 12:29:30 PM   
yvesp


Posts: 2083
Joined: 9/12/2008
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

Yvesp,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for your insights.

Supporting Internet play and the AIO requires a common code foundation that was not part of CWIF. In particular, an essential element is switching between decision makers as dictated throughout the WIF sequence of play.



Yes, that is something I am aware of.
I have a fair understanding of how all this works internaly, and this is also why I suggest that the AI might be "pluggable", in order to help players. There is of course an additional cost for that. Is this on your roadmap ? If not, is there a chance that such a feature could be included in a later version ?

Yves

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 742
RE: When? - 9/14/2008 7:58:22 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 22035
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: yvesp


quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

Yvesp,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for your insights.

Supporting Internet play and the AIO requires a common code foundation that was not part of CWIF. In particular, an essential element is switching between decision makers as dictated throughout the WIF sequence of play.



Yes, that is something I am aware of.
I have a fair understanding of how all this works internaly, and this is also why I suggest that the AI might be "pluggable", in order to help players. There is of course an additional cost for that. Is this on your roadmap ? If not, is there a chance that such a feature could be included in a later version ?

Yves

Yves, sorry, but I do not understand your question.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to yvesp)
Post #: 743
RE: When? - 9/14/2008 9:34:29 PM   
Taxman66


Posts: 1567
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From: Columbia, MD. USA
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Perhaps he is asking for the ability to have a live player to look up an AI suggestion before making his mind up how to place the defending units.

_____________________________

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(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 744
RE: When? - 9/14/2008 10:00:02 PM   
yvesp


Posts: 2083
Joined: 9/12/2008
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Taxman66

Perhaps he is asking for the ability to have a live player to look up an AI suggestion before making his mind up how to place the defending units.



Something along that line.

AI suggestions to do all sorts of things would be (very) welcome, especially for the tasks that new players may find confusing or uninteresting. I took as exemple the scrapping of planes, something that even veteran players sometimes have a difficult time to decide on (may I run out of planes of that class ? is it good enough to be kept ? is it near the end of the year and will I soon get better planes ? what do I have in my force pool ? what will come in my force pool next year ?), all questions that a novice player may not feel ready to tackle, and that may detract from his main concern, being just entering and understanding the basics of the game... Even veteran players might appreciate the AI advice in order to speed up the decision process.

Obviously, a lot of tasks that a player has to complete can benefit from the IA insight. You take it or not... and if you're entering the game, you can then focus only on what you want to understand at the time. Suppose you play a land scenario and don't want to get involved in the naval rules ? leave that to the AI...

That kind of AI advice is what I called (very badly I admit) "pluggable AI" (you cross a check somewhere to receive AI input for a list of tasks where the AI can provide insight)...

Yves

(in reply to Taxman66)
Post #: 745
RE: When? - 9/14/2008 11:58:45 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 22035
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: yvesp


quote:

ORIGINAL: Taxman66

Perhaps he is asking for the ability to have a live player to look up an AI suggestion before making his mind up how to place the defending units.



Something along that line.

AI suggestions to do all sorts of things would be (very) welcome, especially for the tasks that new players may find confusing or uninteresting. I took as exemple the scrapping of planes, something that even veteran players sometimes have a difficult time to decide on (may I run out of planes of that class ? is it good enough to be kept ? is it near the end of the year and will I soon get better planes ? what do I have in my force pool ? what will come in my force pool next year ?), all questions that a novice player may not feel ready to tackle, and that may detract from his main concern, being just entering and understanding the basics of the game... Even veteran players might appreciate the AI advice in order to speed up the decision process.

Obviously, a lot of tasks that a player has to complete can benefit from the IA insight. You take it or not... and if you're entering the game, you can then focus only on what you want to understand at the time. Suppose you play a land scenario and don't want to get involved in the naval rules ? leave that to the AI...

That kind of AI advice is what I called (very badly I admit) "pluggable AI" (you cross a check somewhere to receive AI input for a list of tasks where the AI can provide insight)...

Yves

I have thought about this, since it has come up before. The parlance I am using is AI Assistant (AIA) to differentiate it from AIO (Ai Opponent).

AIA is not part of MWIF product 1, since it would require additioanl work.

To handle the players dropping out of an internet game, we are providing for the ability of the team leader on each side to remove/insert players, which includes simply having one player assume control of another player's major powers.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to yvesp)
Post #: 746
RE: When? - 9/15/2008 3:22:27 PM   
mlees


Posts: 2263
Joined: 9/20/2003
From: San Diego
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Sorry to be so slow, Shannon.

If the team leader cannot find another human player to fill the vacancy in his team, can he assign himself to be able to move those units?

For example, in a six player game (let's say 2 Axis versus 4 Allied), the "USSR" player has to drop out. Can the Allied team leader assign the "France/China" player the task of running USSR until they find a replacement player?

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 747
RE: When? - 9/15/2008 7:05:44 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 22035
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
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quote:

ORIGINAL: mlees

Sorry to be so slow, Shannon.

If the team leader cannot find another human player to fill the vacancy in his team, can he assign himself to be able to move those units?

For example, in a six player game (let's say 2 Axis versus 4 Allied), the "USSR" player has to drop out. Can the Allied team leader assign the "France/China" player the task of running USSR until they find a replacement player?

Yes. The only tricky bits are when a team leader drops out. But we have that covered as well.

Steve

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to mlees)
Post #: 748
RE: When? - 9/15/2008 7:39:33 PM   
gatsby

 

Posts: 9
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Hi

First post in this forum... I was a beta tester on CWIF...and even though I have kept up with the status reports ..I am still confused about hot seat play...Essentially will I be able to play the game without any AI?Specifically will I be able to play all the majour powers just like I do with the board game... For me it is the only reason I want MWIF..I just don't have the room to play and I find the Vassal modules too slow because they don't do any of the book keeping functions...

I am not interested in multi player or any AI...I would assume Hotseat play would be implemented but don't remember seeing anything about it...I am old now so maybe I missed it..

Thanks for your patience if I missed a thread on this..

John Allen

(in reply to cbpraem)
Post #: 749
RE: When? - 9/15/2008 8:59:06 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 22035
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: gatsby

Hi

First post in this forum... I was a beta tester on CWIF...and even though I have kept up with the status reports ..I am still confused about hot seat play...Essentially will I be able to play the game without any AI?Specifically will I be able to play all the majour powers just like I do with the board game... For me it is the only reason I want MWIF..I just don't have the room to play and I find the Vassal modules too slow because they don't do any of the book keeping functions...

I am not interested in multi player or any AI...I would assume Hotseat play would be implemented but don't remember seeing anything about it...I am old now so maybe I missed it..

Thanks for your patience if I missed a thread on this..

John Allen

MWIF will have the following modes of play:

Single computer
Solitaire: one player moves all the units and makes all the decisions.
Hotseat: two players (Axis and Allied sides) play using the same computer.
AI Opponent: one player plays either the Axis or Allied side and the AIO plays the other.

Mulitple computers
PBEM: two players (Axis and Allied sides) play by sending their decisions over the internet using email.
Internet: 2 to 6 players play by sending messages over the internet. Usually all players will have to be "logged in" at the same time but there are some provisions for bringing players up-to-date if they have not been connected the whole time.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to gatsby)
Post #: 750
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