Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

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Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by leastonh1 »

Hi,

Could someone please clarify the thread subject? When I look at the games info on the site, some are Intermediate, others Medium or Moderate in complexity.

Is there any chance of a complete list in order from easiest to hardest, just to make it easier to interpret please? [:)]

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Jim
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by Jonathan Palfrey »

Good point, and good suggestion!

It would also be interesting if Matrix could assess a typical playing length for each game in hours. Of course this could only be very approximate, but it's just to give a rough idea. It should be for the full game, not for cut-down versions or scenarios.
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by TonyE »

Wow, Harpoon: Commander's Edition would take me quite literally years to play thru the included scenarios once, and that isn't even considering the variability within many of the scenarios. 
 
Looks at WitP too, how do you put a number on that?
 
I can see that play length for some titles would be an interesting and perhaps meaningful metric, just probably not for the ones I like to play.  When seeing a question like this I often think of Civ II which can still suck me in for hours at a time if I'm not on my guard.  The depth of play isn't that great, but the ability to engage me and make me forget about the clock is almost unmatched.
 
Hehe Jim, I got to put my 2 cents in on how HCE should be 'ranked' on the Matrix site and given there don't seem to be any even moderately <g> defined metrics as to what each level means to Matrix, I don't think they should be taken as all that accurate in comparing the titles outside of a single series (where in theory the people are comparing known quantities and specifiers).&nbsp; A tool but not an answer...
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by Jonathan Palfrey »

Re playing length, I suppose one could just put "interminable" for some games, and leave it at that. Then anyone interested in a limited playing time could cross those off his list straight away.

But let's not forget Jim's original suggestion about a better classification of difficulty.
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by TonyE »

How should one quantify level of difficulty?&nbsp; I threw in some of my experience in doing that for HCE and can only say the system as it stands lacks applicability and consistency (except perhaps when comparing WitP to WarPlan Orange, directly related games where a comparison can be fairly easily made).&nbsp;
&nbsp;
imho at the very least Matrix would need to define what each of their descriptors mean instead of letting people like me pick and choose without any meaning being assigned to moderate/intermediate/etc.&nbsp;
&nbsp;
That's just the tip of the ice berg.&nbsp; To one person a certain type of game is easy, to the next it is difficult, how does one deal with that?
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by Jonathan Palfrey »

Oops, my mistake. Jim's word was "complexity", which is better than "difficulty".

Yes, of course people have different standards of complexity. However, if you ask people to sort games in order of complexity, I hope they'd come up with roughly the same order.

It would be interesting to find some objective measure of complexity. The average number of mouse clicks per turn (or per minute in a continuous-action game) might serve the purpose, but it would be very tedious to measure. And it would depend to some extent on personal playing style: one player might consistently clock up more clicks than another.

Perhaps worth mentioning in this context: in the game of chess, each player takes precisely one action per turn.
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by TonyE »

Sounds like a neat social engineering exercise (anyone have a place where we can rank complexity of Matrix games and not see the results of others until you've done your own ranking?).&nbsp; Well said Jonathan [:)]
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by leastonh1 »

Yes, I was thinking specifically of complexity rather than difficulty... and of a comparable level within the bounds of sense and possibility. So AT is suitable for a novice and Low to Medium complexity compared to WitP. I have no idea what the difference between those three words is in the thread title as they are all open to interpretation and I have no index with which to compare each one. Matrix must have some yardstick, but I don't know what it is.

So....is it?
Novice
Easy
Medium
Intermediate
Moderate
Hard
Impossible

Or something else??

To what do you compare "Easy" or "Hard". I think there are probably quite a few games I'd consider buying if I was more informed of their level of complexity in comparison with each other or something like chess or Risk or Axis & Allies etc. Something familiar to "most" people. Let's face it, once you've purchased one or two wargames, you can generally compare those to the next one you buy in terms of their relative complexity.

So if there was a matrix (pun intended) of Matrix games which showed comparitive complexity, or at least a general guide, then I'd be more inclined to look a bit closer. I know this is to some extent arbitrary and subjective, but I know that AT is a hell of a lot easier to get into and play than HttR for someone new to wargaming.

I'm a long time 1st person shooter player and would consider myself advanced. So, I know I can pretty much pick up any of these and be up and running quickly. Some are single, some team based, some just shooters, some stealth. Just as wargames differ in their level, style etc. So a grognard interested in operational WWII wargaming can probably pick up any title and play comfortably, gui notwithstanding. Yet a novice would be lost with all but a few games. I guess I was trying to help those, like me, who are absolutely flummoxed by certain games and need a bit of help when window shopping [:)]

Cheers,
Jim
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by Jonathan Palfrey »

I'd like to suggest an objective way of estimating the complexity of a game: just count the number of pages in the manual.

The manual contains what the company thinks you need to know in order to play the game. If you need to know a lot, it's a complex game; if you need to know very little, it's a simple game. Sound reasonable?

The estimate isn't precise. If you ask two different companies to document the same game, you'll get manuals of different sizes. But it's an objective figure that should give you a reasonable idea of complexity, and it's very easy to measure.

There's a problem if you get a game that relies heavily on context-sensitive help rather than a traditional manual. But I think most wargames have a manual; am I wrong?
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by TonyE »

Interesting approach with page counting!&nbsp; It could spark a whole new wave of more detailed manuals instead of the incessant march towards key cards and nothing else.
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by Jonathan Palfrey »

As far as I remember, all the computer games I've bought have had manuals -- though not necessarily printed on paper. Are there some that do without?

If any game is supplied completely without documentation, presumably the company thinks it must be usable without documentation, in which case it must be unusually easy to play and I'd like to hear about it...
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by leastonh1 »

Jonathan - I still have my boxed copy of Falcon 4, along with the original telephone book sized manual! It's enormous. So, you may have something there. [:D]

So, is this thread going to turn into....who's got the biggest manual? I'll have to go into the loft for the Falcon book, so give me some notice please! [;)]
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by JudgeDredd »

ORIGINAL: Jonathan Palfrey

As far as I remember, all the computer games I've bought have had manuals -- though not necessarily printed on paper. Are there some that do without?

If any game is supplied completely without documentation, presumably the company thinks it must be usable without documentation, in which case it must be unusually easy to play and I'd like to hear about it...
Afraid that doesn't work all the time. Good theory, but flawed I'm afraid.

My example would be GTR2 (or just plain GTR, or any of the EA Racing simulations). Absolutely no manual to speak of, and yet a plethora of options that would make a mechanics eyes water! You simply have no idea what to do to set your car up...you have all the options there, but no indication of what they do!
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by ravinhood »

Hrmmm that Battle for Britian spiral bound manual was pretty huge. I didn't find it that hard to play though and hell I really didn't even read it. I just jumped into one of the planes and flew by the seat of my pants. But, I do like a huge manaul that does include a lot of the history of the battle one is simulating. I still find it amazing with all the industry the Germans had that they lost the Battle of Britian. GOering was an idiot yes? ;)
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by Jonathan Palfrey »

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd
Afraid that doesn't work all the time. Good theory, but flawed I'm afraid.

My example would be GTR2 (or just plain GTR, or any of the EA Racing simulations). Absolutely no manual to speak of, and yet a plethora of options that would make a mechanics eyes water! You simply have no idea what to do to set your car up...you have all the options there, but no indication of what they do!

Generally, car racing games don't need documentation the way most wargames do. People know how to drive a car, more or less. Even my seven-year-old son plays car racing games happily enough without reading any manuals.

This means, of course, that car racing games are easier to play than wargames. Great for car racers.

In your case, you found a car racing game where more documentation would have been appreciated than was provided. What may have happened to you is that you bought a cheapo version of the game from which the manual had been removed. Alternatively, the company underestimated the need for documentation. It can happen. This sort of thing reminds us that the manual's page count isn't really a precise measure of complexity -- just a good indicator of it.

Years ago, I bought an EA car racing game (Need for Speed: Porsche 2000). It came with a manual, though not a large one: 32 pages. The game wasn't difficult to play. A bit difficult to play well, but that's a different matter.
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by Jonathan Palfrey »

ORIGINAL: ravinhood

Hrmmm that Battle for Britain spiral bound manual was pretty huge. I didn't find it that hard to play though and hell I really didn't even read it. I just jumped into one of the planes and flew by the seat of my pants. But, I do like a huge manual that does include a lot of the history of the battle one is simulating. I still find it amazing with all the industry the Germans had that they lost the Battle of Britain. Goering was an idiot yes? ;)

Strictly speaking, we should count only the manual pages describing how to play the game, and not extras such as historical notes or strategy tips. In most cases it won't make much difference, but it may be worth bearing in mind for manuals with copious notes.

I see that Hermann Göring was credited with 22 kills in the First World War, so he wasn't an idiot pilot, but, according to the Peter Principle, "In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." [:)]
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by leastonh1 »

ORIGINAL: Jonathan Palfrey
In your case, you found a car racing game where more documentation would have been appreciated than was provided. What may have happened to you is that you bought a cheapo version of the game from which the manual had been removed. Alternatively, the company underestimated the need for documentation. It can happen. This sort of thing reminds us that the manual's page count isn't really a precise measure of complexity -- just a good indicator of it.

I remember my friend buying a boxed copy of MS Flight Sim 2004 (iirc). He had a box full of documents and a huge manual, flight plans and all sorts of other things. I can't remember how much he paid, but it was somewhere in the region of £80 ($160). I bought a copy soon after seeing his and paid a little less (mail order). I was disappointed to find not a single printed page in the box! MS had dropped the printed documents after the initial print run, to save money. You could buy the documents seperately, but I'd then have ended up paying more than my friend. As this "game" was so complex, I soon gave up trying to play with a pdf in the background. Impossible. I felt very cheated and haven't bought anything so complex since without checking first.

I'd still rather pay a bit more for a printed manual than have pdf's. That hasn't helped me with Korsun Pocket though, I still can't get my head around it! [:D]
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

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ORIGINAL: Jonathan Palfrey
ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd
Afraid that doesn't work all the time. Good theory, but flawed I'm afraid.

My example would be GTR2 (or just plain GTR, or any of the EA Racing simulations). Absolutely no manual to speak of, and yet a plethora of options that would make a mechanics eyes water! You simply have no idea what to do to set your car up...you have all the options there, but no indication of what they do!

Generally, car racing games don't need documentation the way most wargames do. People know how to drive a car, more or less. Even my seven-year-old son plays car racing games happily enough without reading any manuals.

This means, of course, that car racing games are easier to play than wargames. Great for car racers.

In your case, you found a car racing game where more documentation would have been appreciated than was provided. What may have happened to you is that you bought a cheapo version of the game from which the manual had been removed. Alternatively, the company underestimated the need for documentation. It can happen. This sort of thing reminds us that the manual's page count isn't really a precise measure of complexity -- just a good indicator of it.

Years ago, I bought an EA car racing game (Need for Speed: Porsche 2000). It came with a manual, though not a large one: 32 pages. The game wasn't difficult to play. A bit difficult to play well, but that's a different matter.
Jonathan

I think you have wires crossed there, or I wasn't clear in which case I apologise. I'm talking about car racing simulations...not games.

I didn't buy the cheap version. I am an avid racing simulator...I love the series and have been playing them since Grand Prix 2. On the other hand, I am not a big fan of racing games. There is a world of difference between driving a car in GTR2 and driving a car in a general EAs Need for Speed Underground. Sure both will allow you to jump in and play, but try staying near the front of the field when playing the more than competent AI without adjusting.

GTR2, Nascar Sim Racing, Grand Prix Legends...they are racing simulations and they come with a minefield of options for you to tweak the car in the garage so you go out on the track and get the best time you can....come in, change some things, go out etc, etc.

Racing simulations even model tyre temperature and associated grip. These games NEED manuals...they just don't come with one and it's laziness on the part of the developers.

It is also (partly) because each driver using these sims has a different driving style (some like them loose, some like them tight) and each setting on the car can affect the "balance"...so their is no "proper" guide to setting the car up, being as each person will prefer different styles.

What I'm talking about is a manual that doesn't help you setup the car, but a manual that explains each and every aspect of each and every possible change that could be made. In fact in the case of my racing simulations, I had the same size of manual for them as I did for Call of Duty 4. The manual that came with Call of Duty 4 was the right size for the game. The manuals that came with my racing games are not.

RH mentioned Battle of Britain. There is also a world of difference between flying a WWII fighter and a state of the art fly by wire jet simulator (Falcon 4). Falcon 4 needed a large manual...Battle of Britain did not.

Generally speaking, manuals have taken a nose dive in the industry to save money (ironic being as computer games cost less than they did in 1995 and printing is considerably cheaper than they were back then). When a manual does come along, I find they mostly miss the mark. Often more pages are given to optimising you computer prior to setup, running setup, making a connection for PBEM and the EULA.

More manuals are needed for more types of games, and they should be going through a QA phase.
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by Jonathan Palfrey »

ORIGINAL: JudgeDredd
I think you have wires crossed there, or I wasn't clear in which case I apologise. I'm talking about car racing simulations...not games.

Sorry if I inadvertently caused any offence. I'm not a devotee of these things (though I quite liked Need for Speed: Porsche 2000) and I don't distinguish between car racing games and simulations in the way you do. My seven-year-old son has a bunch of them lined up: GTR, Need for Speed Underground, Colin McRae Rally 4, Flatout 2, etc. He doesn't distinguish either, except that I suppose he finds some more difficult than others. He's adept at steering a car with the arrow keys and refuses to use a steering wheel, although I have one.

My idea of using the manual page count as an indicator of complexity was only intended for use with wargames. If it doesn't work for car racing simulations, that doesn't really bother me. It just indicates that those companies underdocument their products: which is their fault, not mine.

If you like, you could adapt my idea by estimating the page count of the manual that your simulation OUGHT to have. [:)]
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RE: Intermediate, Medium & Moderate - Which is harder?

Post by JudgeDredd »

No offence caused my friend.

I just wanted to point out there is a world of difference between Need for Speed and GTR2 (in that one is lite and the other is hardcore)

And fair point about your comment being directed at wargames. I shall bow out graciously...[;)]
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