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Please help me decide on game features

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Please help me decide on game features

Post  Dr Ezra Sidran on Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:18 pm

I've posted a short survey to get user feedback on what features they would like to see in my new game. It will only take a few minutes and your input would be greatly appreciated.

http://general-staff.com/please-help-us-out-by-taking-this-survey/

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Major Bergil on Thu Nov 03, 2016 5:32 pm

Just to clarify my answers to your survey.

I rather like the idea of 2D sprites on a 3D map. That way you can have more soldiers on lower and higher end pc's, the terrain is more realistic in terms of line of sight and I rather like traditional animation which can be implemented with 2D sprites.

if I understood the first thing about programming a war game that's the sort of thing I'd go for.
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Thanks for the feedback!

Post  Dr Ezra Sidran on Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:10 pm

First, thanks for the feedback. I really appreciate it.

Now, when you say '2D sprites' do you mean individual soldiers? I'm thinking of 3D 'unit blocks' on a 3D terrain (very much like Kriegsspiel on a sand table, so to speak.

However, the biggest problem with doing a 3D game is that I certain that users want the ability to create their own scenarios and design their own maps. And that would mean creating 3D terrain, which in turn, would mean that I would have to create a 3D editing environment. It can be done. It's just kind of a pain from a programming perspective.

But, if that's what people want, then that's what I'll do.

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Major Bergil on Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:42 pm

You're welcome.

When I say 2D sprites I do indeed mean individual soldiers and such. 3D blocks have never really engaged me when it comes to computer gaming. Fine with friends around a gaming table with a supply of beer/liqour/wine and a bowl of nibbles but eh, with pc gaming I want something a little more substantial.

That's just me though Smile

If you want to do 2D and blocks you do that. Wink
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Sprites

Post  Dr Ezra Sidran on Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:59 pm

Actually 2D sprites have been pretty replaced with full 3D models. That really requires a good 3D engine and not something I feel like writing. Indeed, it would require licensing a third-party system (like Unity).

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Major Bergil on Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:39 pm

I'm not so sure... Many very popular and current games use 2D graphics for pawns and such.
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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Dr Ezra Sidran on Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:55 pm

Can you point me to some examples? I'm pretty sure that the Total War series and the Matrix games (Waterloo) aren't using sprites but full 3D models.

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Major Bergil on Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:57 pm

Of course!

The forum will not allow me to post links here or via PM so I have sent you an email.
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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Dr Ezra Sidran on Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:03 pm

Thanks!

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Uncle Billy on Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:11 pm

The SOW games all use sprites, not 3D models. This is necessary if the goal is to display a large number of controllable units.

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Dr Ezra Sidran on Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:18 pm

I thought SOW Waterloo had 3D rendered soldiers. I will have to look again. I only played it very briefly.

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Uncle Billy on Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:28 pm

The sprites are 2D, rendered from 16 angles.

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Dr Ezra Sidran on Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:37 pm

So there's no zoom then and the perspective (presumably isometric) is locked?

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Uncle Billy on Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:00 pm

There is a zoom function and the sprite view changes with every 22.5 degrees of camera rotation. The battlefield itself is 3D, but very few objects on that map are rendered in 3D. Foliage, fences, etc., for instance, have only 2 different views. The buildings are 3D objects.

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Dr Ezra Sidran on Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:12 pm

Thanks for pointing that out to me. As I said, I only played it briefly, got frustrated, and put it aside (actually gave it to a friend).

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Mr. Digby on Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:44 pm

FWIW my opinion is you should stick with blocks for your game. 2D sprites will be an IMMENSE amount of work (uniforms, organisations to name just to huge steps) and your game begins to become a Scourge of War wannabe. You should keep focused on a game that is more a digital representation of the classic kriegspiel, and to that end my suggestion is you should work on multiplayer support, preferably designing a game for 3 players - one each side and an umpire who actually inputs player orders and sends reports of what their troops see. That way you really are getting a PC version of kriegspiel and not something wargamey which has been done already.

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Dr Ezra Sidran on Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:00 pm

Thanks. You are confirming my original vision for the project except I am confident that I can write an AI that will function very well as an umpire.

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Miko77 on Sat Nov 05, 2016 9:14 pm

Hi Dr Ezra Sidran,
It's an honour to see actual games creator/designer on this forum.
I've been playing computer strategic games since late 80's and I was always frustrated that these games are not good enough and don't evolve in direction I'd like to see them evolve.
Anyway I'd better not elaborate on history but throw in my 2 cents into discussion.
It's been always frustrating that there is no good game for playing campaigns. Even if someone develops great engine for playing battles there would be always something missing - OOB not modable, limited maps, scenario editor not good or absent etc...
In groups/forums I participated there was always big interest in playing campaigns because historically for each battle played it was very important "what happens tomorrow". Currently there's no game that simulates war well on both battle and grand strategy scale... Total war is a laugh - sorry but "I go, you go" turns should have been out through window, banned and forgotten a decade ago. I know it's inevitable when playing table top board game but really... computers can deal with fog of war, supplies, attrition, ammunition, fatigue etc...
I think you can easily program what usually umpire does in campaign... however if you could leave an option for human umpire that would be also a novelty on games market.
I personally don't bother much about graphics.. but I do bother for as much realism as possible in units formations/behaviour... so I'd probably focus on that...
and of course MP support - you can't go without it...
- MP support
- saving games at any point
- couriers/orders delay system...
- reasonable AI for small formations
- visibility - I remember a French on-line browser game where they made it hyper-realistic time wise.. you could see only what you can actually see and you get greyed positions of units from the most recent reports... I wouldn't hope for such degree of realism.. but if you have corps in command it's reasonable that you see what it sees and don't get exact positions real-time of your allies...
- possibility to define/mod the doctrines (applied more/less successfully in HistWar)
- organisational decisions - size of battalions/squadrons, composition of brigades/divisions etc...
- not necessarily independent but representation of sub units (companies and squadrons)
- possibility of detaching skirmishers (but not as in vanilla SoW that any unit can do it in any numbers)
- formations - big variety and mod-ability desired...

The problem is... I can't see anyone making profit out of game like this... there is such a small group wanting this in games... we're willing to throw in some coins to support but we are so few...

ok.. I'd better shut up... a bit tipsy,
with kind regards,
Miko

ps. I probably forgot half what I wanted to say
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General Staff design

Post  Dr Ezra Sidran on Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:50 pm

We obviously think very much alike.

You want a game with orders / courier delay. That's how I designed this:


You want a game with 3D LOS:


See http://general-staff.com/general-staff-gameplay/

But, you are right: getting the financial numbers to work are difficult but I'm beginning to think I can do it. Back in the '80s UMS and UMS2 had $28 million in sales (incredible by today's standards). I, of course, saw very little of this. However, I'm thinking that a game that I put out directly could allow me to make a living with as little as 3,000 unit sales a year.

Please take around the General Staff site http://general-staff.com/ and feel free to write to me directly.

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Uncle Billy on Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:02 pm

One thing I'd recommend you avoid is the complete accuracy of the time and distance measurements. Only with a gps unit would one know that a distance was 2898 meters. Rather, 3,000 meters would be more realistic. I'd remove the courier time completely. That would never be known and would vary due to battlefield conditions.

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Dr Ezra Sidran on Sun Nov 06, 2016 3:22 pm

It's just soooooo easy to be precise with these calculations!

Thanks for the lesson? I'll start 'muddying' up the reports!

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Miko77 on Sun Nov 06, 2016 6:40 pm

I'd remove the courier time completely. That would never be known and would vary due to battlefield conditions.

ehhm... I'd imagine that adjutant to commander would take out his pocket watch and check the time (at least at corps level and higher).
It wouldn't be bending reality too much. However, I believe individual regiments wouldn't send their couriers separately to corps or division commander (unless being detached).
Reports would be made by "group commander" and position reported would be very vague unless it's very simple like ("we've reached town such and such").
It would be difficult to assess the time when courier departed and how long it took for courier to deliver the message (couriers probably wouldn't look at their pocket watches Smile).

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Dr Ezra Sidran on Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:22 pm

I see the courier delivering orders as much a gameplay issue as an accuracy issue.

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Mr. Digby on Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:09 pm

If going near to enemy units there could be a chance couriers would not arrive at all...

I agree the time a courier will arrive should not be given. Its just not the sort of information black powder era commanders dealt with. The time the message was sent would often be written on the letter but watches were not synchronised and a horseman might randomly choose a route he knows or thinks is safer rather than a route that might be the most direct. Messages turned up when they turned up.

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Re: Please help me decide on game features

Post  Dr Ezra Sidran on Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:45 pm

It's really a gameplay issue. If a player sends an order and it never arrives they're not going to think the courier was shot; they're going to think I wrote a buggy game.

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