HPS Bad

The Seven Years’ War was fought across the globe and called by some the first “World War” as virtually every major power participated. In the center of events was Prussia, almost constantly at war and lead by the now legendary Frederick the Great.

Relive the exciting and trying days of Frederick the Great in Horse and Musket: Volume I, the improved and expanded combination of the previous Prussian War Machine and Prussia’s Glory titles. Horse and Musket: Volume I is a reboot of the successful Horse and Musket series, including not only two solid historical titles in one package, but also many new game features, a powerful new editor, and a complete graphics overhaul to an already acclaimed gaming system.

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DeadInThrench
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HPS Bad

Post by DeadInThrench »

Playing HPS FIW and.... I am starting to get VERY unimpressed with one aspect of these games.

All other things being equal, a unit that is twice as large as another unit, should inflict twice as many casualties, and a unit that is three times as large, should inflict three times as many casualties.

But, in HPS FIW.... NADA (at least in one PBEM game I am playing as well as scenarios I am playing)... and in fact three 20 man units will inflict considerable more damage than one 60 man unit (at least it appears that way).

This can get very frustrating as you are working with the data (number of men in unit, etc) that you have and then it just turns out not to work that way. One gets the impression that the design here... is not very impressive, mathematically speaking.

At least in HnM2..... the number of men in a unit is a direct modifier to the attack. However, even in HnM2.... then things go astray with the system. They then use the attack level to determine a number of 'hits' (what, is this AD&D?) and then give casualties based on a number of hits... and any subsequent moral or disruption check is affected by the number of hits. Instead.... a common sense approach here would be to use the attack level (with randomizing) to directly determine the number of casualties inflicted, and then modifiers to subsequent morale and disruption checks... should be based on the percentage of hits taken by the defending unit (relative to the size of the unit).

In other words..... a 100 man unit that takes 5 casualties.. well, possible it might rout but otherwise.. no big deal. But... a 10 man units that takes 5 casualties... sheesh... just lost half it's men in one round and would be OUTTA THERE in a real world situation. But, as best as I can tell from the PWM data.... in HnM2.... the chances of the above two units routing... are the same (which is absurd IMO).

IMO... the problem here... is most of the designers for small scale actions come from the miniatures groups and... their mathematics... in general are not very good (I am referring to the miniatures rules I have seen).

Whatever.... just wanted to express myself on this one.

Comments?

DiT

P.S. Oh, and I would not want to underemphasize how primitive the 15-25 casualties per hit system looks. Once had a 1 strength Indian unit inflict 17 casualties. Again, a VERY primitive system... what can I say.
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Bodhi
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by Bodhi »

ORIGINAL: DeadInThrench

the designer (John Tiller?) never made it out of grade school with his mathematics. One can respect the dept of historical research in these games but.... sheesh.

....

Comments?

From the HPS page about John Tiller
EDUCATION:

B.A., Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas, 1975.
M.Sc. Mathematics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, 1976.
Ph.D. Mathematics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, 1980.
Bodhi
DeadInThrench
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by DeadInThrench »

If there were some mathematical formulaes that would indicate that I am mistaken re the combat results I allude to.... or some VALID rational as to why units twice as strong as others do NOT inflict twice as many casualties... then.... that would be something.

Otherwise.... a PhD... though nice... does not change the writing on the wall.

DiT

P.S. And what we are talking about here... is not calculus or differential equations... it is something much simplier (numerics maybe). Just a matter of matching the right stuff up with what the situation dictates.
DeadInThrench
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by DeadInThrench »

Hmmmm... while I am at it... more 'sheesh'....

In HPS EAW.... if unit A moves to attack unit B.... then unit B fires first in the defensive fire phase.... then unit A fires in the offensive fire phase at half strength (this seems reasonable IMO).

But then.... in the next 'player turn'.... unit A fires first (in the defensive fire phase) and then unit B fires (in the offensive fire phase).... and so on for each player turn.

In other words.... after the initial fire..... each unit gets to fire TWICE in a row and this is the way things continue until one side routs or whatever.

Is there any rational for this? I doubt it. Just an undesirable aspect of the turn sequence they use IMO. Also, at some points, the overall firing of the attacking unit... is greater than the defender and, IMO, this also does not make any sense.

In HnM.... they get around this to a certain extent. Unit B fires first, then Unit A fires (at full strength I believe), but then in the next player turn.... there is a first fire phase and thus unit B fires first and then unit A fires. In other words, to this point, no problems with units firing twice in succession while the other unit is just standing there. However, after this point... unit A would fire first in the next player turn and thus we are back to the 'each unit fires twice in a row while the other is just standing there'... syndrome).

Unless I am mistaken on this.... units in this era... when they marched up to fire one another... well, it was just a matter of both sides firing continuously until one or the other ran, retreated, or the battle otherwise changed re other units joining in, etc.

So, IMO.... would make more sense... to have a turn sequence.... where first a side moves and then there are offensive and defensive fire phases (doesn't matter which goes first, but units that have moved should fire at half strength) and then.... all casualties are assessed, routs determined, etc, AFTER both sides have fired. In other words, simultaneous fire for all practical purposes.

I can't remember which ones... but I know there are some games that do things this way. Why neither HPS EAW or HnM2 do things with simultaneous firing rather than sequential.... is something that does not make any sense, IMO.

DiT
Capitaine
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by Capitaine »

I do agree, DiT, that simultaneous fire makes much more sense.  Not sure why a computer game cannot accommodate that function.
MacDuff
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by MacDuff »

ORIGINAL: Capitaine

I do agree, DiT, that simultaneous fire makes much more sense.  Not sure why a computer game cannot accommodate that function.

It's probably mixing apples and oranges to even suggess this, but in Age of Rifles there is a close resemblence of simultaneous fire depending on the orders you gave the unit, e.g. wait fire, close fire, free fire, etc. Selecting the wrong one could have been detrimental to the unit. The computer would take over until all the fire sequences were resolved.

In HPS games players have much more controll over firing events and I think hardcore grognards perfer it that way. You really have to play ahead in HPS games.

HnM games are more similar the HPS games than AoR, although IMO HnM tends to be more enjoyable (personal preference, I also play HPS games). The best asset of the HnM games is the design / edit features, which is by far, the best asset of the game.

To the designers of the next series of HnM games, I would suggest adding an additional level to the edit feature by giving allowing the player/scenario designer to adjust terrain unit disorder criteria (percentage of disorder a unit would incur as moved through broken/obstructed terrain). Or, you could bypass this suggestion entirely by allowing a general order formation, similar to the one found in the old Napoleon's Battles.

A question: To what extent did units march in cadence in the GNW and the earlier part of the 1700s?

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RE: HPS Bad

Post by Panama Red »

Cadence marching was "invented" by the Prussians in the early 1750's to aid in controlling all their infantry unit formations and maneuvers (per the book "With Musket, Cannon and Sword").
DeadInThrench
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by DeadInThrench »

Just for the heck of it... decided to do a little test to see if my concerns about smaller units being too powerful were warrented.
 
So, set up a test scenario with a 70 man British line unit starting adjacent to 4 Indian units, with the leaders for both behind each. The British unit was C quality while the Indians were D, which shouldn't make a difference in casulties but, if it did, the the British units should inflict more. Also, the British unit had musket (damage at range 1: 6) while the Indian units had small arms (damage at range 1: 5). So, if anything the British unit should have indlicted slightly more damage.
 
But, in successive tests of this.... the Indian units in fact inflicted 4 times the casualties and twice the fatigue. Also, since the fatigue that the Indian units incurred was only on ONE unit (and thus only on 1/4th of the starting 70 men), they effectively inflicted 4 times this much, or 8 times the fatigue.
 
Then... created a super sized Indian unit... 70 men... and ran the same test. In this one, the Indian unit still inflicted about 50% more casualties than the British unit but... for the casualties that the Indian unit took... it incurred about 4 times the fatigue that the British unit incurred. Now, the Indian unit was in extended (e.g. skirmish) formation and the British unit was in line... but my guess was these differences were a result of the unit being an Indian unit. In other words, it appears that Indian units inflict 50% more casualties than they would otherwise but, they run out of gas a lot faster than other units. IMO... this seems reasonable.
 
But, in any case.... overall about the same damage.... and this compared to the 4x (or whatever) greater damage that you got with the smaller units.
 
IMO... cannot make any rational argument that 4 smaller units should do more damage (and particularly like 4x more damage) than they would if they were all combined into one larger unit... and thus... my suspicions are indeed warranted that... HPW FIW has a serious problem with smaller units being way too powerful.
 
HnM had a problem along these lines as well (not sure if to this extreme an extent) and this MAY have been cleaned up in HnM2 but I have not played HnM2 enough to know.
 
In HPS Campaign 1776... British against Americans.... the unit are much closer in size so this problem doesn't show... at least not as much... and this was the first game in this series and FIW was the last. Also, with the scenario editor.... you can always combine the Indian units into larger units, and break down some of the larger British units into smaller ones.... if you want to get around this problem and get more historical results.
 
The British failures early on in the FIW were not a result of inferior quality troops, but due to inferior genaralship, and their ultimate victory, was only possible with overwhelming strength.
 
HnM is better than the HPS games in having much better differentiation between line and light infantry, and for this period (less so in NA but still significant) this is something critical. But, both combat systems.... still have problems that defy common sense, IMO.
 
DiT
DeadInThrench
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by DeadInThrench »

Oh... a couple of other things here.

First, in HPS the modifier for being in a fort (embankment)... is .6, while in HnM... it is .25. Not enough (!) IMO in the HPS games. To correctly simulate the British disaster at Ticonderoga... the scenario designers gave the French line units quality of A (grenadiers) and B, while giving the British units qualties of C (grenadiers) and D. IMO, this is absurd... and does not do justice to the British units, and the real problem here is, like I say... the .6 modifier for being in a fort... is no wheres near enough (.25 is much better).

Also... I was playing a game PBEM and got my latest turn and, some units of mine that had routed previously.... were as if they never routed at all.

Hmmm... in situations like.... you simply don't know if it was due to an honest mistake of the player you have been playing against, or.... particularly if things are not going well for you given your moves.... he has been replaying his turn until he gets results he wants, or even backing the game up a couple of turns and redoing things to his advantage... doing his best to cover up his actions.

Again, in situations like.... even if you don't have something go strange... you simply do not know if you are looking at something like this or not.

WinSPWW2... has MUCH more sophisticated PBEM features. You simply cannot play your turn over or the game will see this and notify the other player... and there is no way you can bring up the other player's turn, etc.

In short.... would be nice if we could get PBEM enhancements along these lines in HnM2.

Hmmm... but, yeah, I won't hold my breath here re this or other enhancements.

Whatever,

DiT

anvl
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by anvl »

DiT..

Hmmm,, i am just cuirious as to why you are speaking so much of the faults of the HPS games? Seems you would be more likely to get your answers in the HPS forums.

Concerning education,,, did you by chance find time to look at any of the sources i recommended to you?

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DeadInThrench
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by DeadInThrench »

Hmmm.... just wanted to say here that I modified a number of the EAB scenarios so that there is less than a 2-1 disparity in the size of all units and... have played them out against the computer and.... given the decisions of the computer and the units involved... IMO they play out much along the lines of what you would expect given those decisions. Am thinking of offering some PBEM with these through another forum.. whatever.

Yeah... making these comments here in the hope that HnM3 does not make any similar mistakes. I have not heard of any plans for any EAB upgrade.. and IMO HnM does better with Line Infantry tactics to start with... and it has Cooney's graphic engine which is a big step up from both HnM and EAB.

Lastly... I was a bit ticked off when I found this disparity between large and small units and my comments were made on that. This is MOSTLY a problem in their FIW game as only there do you have as big a disparity in unit sizes as I have mentioned. I have found some other problems as well but... in general these games can be played and, if it were not for them, well, almost nothing out there on the battles of this period.

So, again, my gripe was with this one problem and not HPS in general or even the EAB series in general.

DiT
DeadInThrench
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by DeadInThrench »

Just a few more comments here on the EAB series....

Besides the problem with smaller units being way too strong.... the OTHER big problem is the AI (or course). About the same as in HnM..... it attacks all right but.... one unit at a time... just like in HnM... and that means getting massacred against any reasonably good player. I convereted Hubbarton to a 'no real small units' scenario and the computer just sent his Brit units in one at a time (more or less) and... I massacred them.

IMO the strength of Tiller's series here is the historical accuracy. At least they APPEAR to be about as historically accurate as you are gonna get.

Still... some scenarios have their problems. There are two 'what if' scenarios on Washington and Fort Duquense... one attacking it and the other getting ambushed along the way and... the description for both starts with 'after having received reinforcements', and then you bring them up and Washington not only does not have the reinfircements he was supposed to get... he doesn't even have the Brit unit under MacKay that did arrive. So, almost as if the designers of those scenarioes were having Washington attempt something that was too insane for even Washington to try.

Lastly... the scenerios by Tiller for Brandywine seem to be very well done but.... sheesh... at typically 1 casuality per shot this scenario might just take forever. So, I am thinking of doing a convert to PWM. But... one problem to start..... the C1776 scenerio has a map that is over 300 hexes wide... and the most that PWM will support... is 99.

Whatever,

DiT
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Erik Rutins
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by Erik Rutins »

I just noticed this thread and I have to step in. We don't condone personal attacks in general on this forum and we certainly have a rule of cordiality towards other wargame developers and publishers.

The comment regarding John's education was over the top. This forum is about Horse and Musket, not HPS and in general we really don't want to have negative discussions regarding the games of other developers here. Frankly, it's just not fair to them as this isn't a place they're likely to check and it could also be construed as us condoning this opinion, which is not true.

I own several HPS titles and have a great deal of respect for John's work. In fact, we're working on re-releasing the Battleground series with his help. I have to ask you to take your criticism of HPS elsewhere, either e-mail HPS with your comments or post your opinion on another non-Matrix forum, thanks.

I understand you were attempting to make comparisons between Horse and Musket and other systems. That's fine, but slamming other developers is not.

Regards,

- Erik
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DeadInThrench
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by DeadInThrench »

I admit that my personal comments on these games were 'over the top' for posts here in the Matrix forums.... and have gone in and modified my posts removing the personal comments. Unfortunately, nothing I can do to remove the one case were my comment was quoted by another poster. Possibly that poster can modify that one.

I was pretty ticked off when I first found the bug, and felt a need to express myself. Nonetheless, that doesn't change the fact that the comments were inappropriate for the forums here.

So, I have done my best at removing the comments, will make a point of not going 'over the top' again, and apologize for having done so in the first place.

DiT

P.S. Actually, the thread title and possibly any comments on other games might be construed as going 'over the top'. So, if you decide to delete the entire thread... no problem on my end.
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by tolstoy1812 »

I have no problem with what was described - a small unit taking 50% casualties and standing. So many strange things happen in war, that chaotic results such as this are merely examples of courage, dumb stubbornness, or the "band of brothers" syndrome, if you will. Part of the fun of the games is making up a narrative, and another part is dealing with chaos on the battlefield. Things go wrong. War (at least in this period) is not a matter of percentages and predictable straight-line outcomes, in my opinion. But that is only an opinion. I like a game that has a plausible narrative - if I did not find it possible to fit the situation described into a narrative that I can believe in, I would abandon the game. Shopping for something else may be the direction to take if the problem is really intollerable.

One of the problems of historiography is that no two people's narratives of a typical day of battle can ever be the same. Allesandro Barbero's book The Battle, about Salamanca in 1812 (I think the date is right) helped me to understand why the narrative of a battle, witnessed by several participant/observers, is filled with inconsistencies and contradictory explanations of what really happened, and why it happened. I recommend the book.

Just think of your frustrations as being the kind of thing Frederick was feeling and experiencing at Chotusitz!  [:)] 

The one aspect of wargaming, whether in miniature or in virtual miniature, that is never addressed, is the player-morale-check. There aren't any rules for it, but you can see it happen. At some point, a player may fail his iterior, personal morale check and, like Frederick, feel that the day is lost, when in fact it isn't. At conventions it's often explained as, "I gotta pick up the kids." I have done it too! It's interesting to watch for. But in H&M, the odds could just as well be defied by rusults in your favor as by results against you, so I don't mind the randomness. I believe that the randomness does mimick the behavior of the jail birds and desperate characters who were the private soldiers of Frederick's day.
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by sullafelix »

" Cadence marching was "invented" by the Prussians in the early 1750's to aid in controlling all their infantry unit formations and maneuvers (per the book "With Musket, Cannon and Sword"). "
 
They may have brought it back but the Romans to my knowledge first used it. It was brought to European attention when De Saxe wrote his book  ( books? ) on military matters. he wanted to bring back the pike and legion ( really a minature corps ). Some of his ideas seem out there now but if you view them from that time, many make sense. Until the Prussians and their emphasis and speed on firing not much had changed since the late 17th century in warfare.
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DeadInThrench
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by DeadInThrench »

Hmmm.... kinda surprised to get a reply on this thread.... seems like such a LONG time ago.

But, in any case, the test I did was taking a British unit against an Indian unit, one against one, and running this various times keeping track of the results. Then, I broke the Indian unit down into 4 smaller units, identical to the larger Indian unit, but each only having 25% of the men. And, the results I got were..... the smaller units inflicted about 3x the casulties and, when you take into account the disrpution and morale loss were only inflicted on one of the smaller units, only took about 1/3rd the casualties.

So, I call this a design bug.... actually... I call it a severe design bug.... in the sense that the scenarios don't play out right given the stats that the units have. No ways I can rationalize this and, if someone disagrees with me on this well, we are in disagreement (e.g. I will not waste my time arguing this).

One thing though.... you can easily edit the HPS EAB scenarios... and I edited the Fort Necessity scenario, combining or breaking down units until they were all within a 2x range, and then, as George Washington, was able to successfully defend Fort Necessity (lol). Of course, this was only because of the idiot AI.... throwing it's units against me in a piecemeal frontal attack fashion. But, given this, the scenario seemed to play out within reason given the changes I made.

Still..... this series has other problems. In the Saratoga scenario... the Hudson river... runs east to west (groan). In the Ticonderoga scenario.... the French line infantry has morale of A and B, while the British have C and D... and I am not a fan of the British but, this is absurd... and the reason they had to do this.... is to make the scenario play out given JUST a .6 modifier when attacking a fort (HnM uses a .25 which is much more realistic).

But, if you want to play around with the HPS EAB scenarios.... you can probably get them to play out right (not much you can do about the AI though).

Speaking of AI... Tim Coakley is a good guy and I wish him well... and no doubt Magnus does great artwork... but if they don't do something about the HnM AI.... particularly given the fact that the game is difficult to play PBEM (have to defer all leaders so one player can move all his units then the other).... they are gonna have problems selling a new release IMO.

With HnM.... was pretty much the same as HPS EAB.... piecemeal frontal attack... and that's not too impressive. But, with PWM... the AI digressed. I wrote a little program to convert any Dragoon or HnM scenario to PWM... and played out a number of Bill Sherman's F&IW scenarios in PWM... and the AI.... now always tries to outflank... which is interesting except... it leaves it's center wide open leaving it totally vulnerable to counter attack. And, of course, the outflank attacks come in... piecemeal.

What's worse... in playing Mollwitz... my right flank hit first and... the computer turned all his units across his line in that direction... leaving them WIDE OPEN to flank attacks by my advancing center (yeah, beat the computer AI in that one.... 73-4).

Then of course, if you watch what the computer is doing when it is his turn... moving units back and forth in a dithering fashion... you wonder what it is doing and truth is.... it doesn't know what it is doing <g>.

Uh... whatever.

I will say here... as far as good AI is concerned... I recently played some of Dave Landry's and Chuck Kroegel's Gettysburg Turning Point, First Day scenario, and Sons of Liberty, Saratoga scenario... and in these games.... the AI will make probe type attacks and then not attack and you start wondering what it is doing... and THEN... it will hit you like a ton of bricks. In GTP I had Devin and Gamble entrenched and re-inforced and, when he hit me I inflicted casualties for sure but he drove me outta there in no uncertain terms. In Saratoga... similar intelligent tactics.... which I would describe overall as being at the level of an excellant player.

Now, GTP and SOL have way down level graphics... CGA/EGA and, they are only available now through the abandonware sites, and you need to use DosBos with them. But, still, seems like a huge difference in the AI.

Hmmm... whatever... I was out of war/strategy game playing for about 15 years and, in that time, the graphics of the games have improved but, the game systems and AI in particular, in most cases, have gone downhill in no uncertain terms.

DiT
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by sullafelix »

The AI in the old SSI games and SSG games from the same period was a lot smarter than almost all you see today. I believe the reason was that back then you could only play hotseat which&nbsp;I never heard of anyone doing. The lack of AI for the last 10 years can be dropped right at the feet of PBEM and playing&nbsp;online. When those old games were made the AI had to be good or the game didn't sell.
&nbsp;
It's really frustrating because all I keep getting bombarded with is how many gamers play online against each other. This is true for FPS and the pseudo strategy of the rts crap that rolls out at an amazing rate. But I will be damned if&nbsp;I believe that more than 5% of strategy gamers play online. A human opponent may be the best but a computer opponent won't twist the rules and make a completely ahistorical outcome come about. Also most human opponenets view strategy games in the same way they view checkers or some other game. As long as they get the win to hell with actual tactics etc. I've experienced and read about so many people put off by online wargaming who like me refuse to do it again.
&nbsp;
SSG and some other companies are still up to par but not many others. I know matrix doesn't like to bash other games but I do have an example. I bought a Napoleonic game recently that looked to be my nirvana come to life. Being so enraptured&nbsp;I jumped right into an 1813 campaign, no reading the manual or anything.&nbsp;I just moved willy and nilly about the board with nary a clue.&nbsp;I was so disgusted when the scenario time was up and I had&nbsp;won an overwhelming victory.&nbsp;I know with SSI's&nbsp;Battles of Napoleon&nbsp;I was happy to come away with a draw and was ecstatic and floating for a day or two if&nbsp;I had won.
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sullafelix
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by sullafelix »

Did I read correctly and see that you wrote a program to use H+M scenarios in Dragoon Prussian war machine? if so is there a place to douwnload it from. Thank you.
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DeadInThrench
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RE: HPS Bad

Post by DeadInThrench »

Hmmmm... back in the late 80s.... I ran a BBS (Achilles' Leisure is what it was named) where people played war/strategy games by save file upload. I had to do the organization of the whole thing in the BBS code... but it came off reasonably well. Players had to dial in long distance.... and LD rates were not cheap back then. But, we had people playing Second Front (now War in Russia) and we also were doing some Reach for the Stars as well as some other games.

So, you could play against other people even back then but.... it was not all that easy.

When you refer to online wargaming..... if you are talking the real time stuff (as opposed to PBEM) you are talking more 'war/adventure' gaming, no?? (Yeah, I have not tried and do not plan on trying that stuff... no interest).

As far as the program I wrote to convert Dragoon and HnM scenarios to PWM... I have not uploaded that anywhere as I do not want to compromise Matrix' product offerring and... they might not be too happy with me if I did upload it.

Hmmm.... I also wrote ANOTHER little program... to convert (including crunching down to a size that I specify) HPS EAB scenario maps to PWM format. Got that done for Guildford Courthouse... but trying to convert the units would have proven to be much more difficult and, planned to do that by hand but.... didn't pursue that project from there.

Whatever,

DiT
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