Why will Command triumph

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Miguel Ramirez

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Jan 18, 2012, 12:13:46 PM1/18/12
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Just saw this video on their forums:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_lcO0EZZGw

The only I can say is "Awesome".

Cheers,

Miquel.

eddys...@hotmail.com

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Jan 18, 2012, 3:27:05 PM1/18/12
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On Jan 18, 6:13 pm, Miguel Ramirez <miquel.rami...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Just saw this video on their forums:

Here's 1 reason why it will fail :

This guy thinks it's a good idea to post a grainy video of him doing
<something> in an application that has more menu-items than M$ Office,
with no voice-over telling us what exactly he's doing.

They have names for people like that - none of them are nice.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx






Bostonmyk

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Jan 18, 2012, 5:45:10 PM1/18/12
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On Jan 18, 3:27 pm, "eddyster...@hotmail.com"
Thanks for the input Eddy.

When and if we do an open beta can you take a look and give some input
on our interface? We really want to do a good job.

MM

Bostonmyk

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Jan 18, 2012, 5:48:02 PM1/18/12
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Thanks Miquel,

Please let us know if there is anything you'd to see in the game.

MM

Bostonmyk

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Jan 18, 2012, 5:57:15 PM1/18/12
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On Jan 18, 12:13 pm, Miguel Ramirez <miquel.rami...@gmail.com> wrote:
If you're interested we're maintaining a build roll string to give
people an idea of where we are with things.

http://www.warfaresims.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=9008

Thanks!

eddys...@hotmail.com

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Jan 19, 2012, 2:19:26 AM1/19/12
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On 18 jan, 23:45, Bostonmyk <boston...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> When and if we do an open beta can you take a look and give some input
> on our interface? We really want to do a good job.

Too late. I already read enough about it to know that this is not
going to be a game for me. Too detailed and not enough abstraction. I
realize that those details are the heart of the game and in there by
design and more power to you if you like that.

Nevertheless, purely out of curiosity I sure would have appreciated a
video that was a) clear and b) had some audio which explained what was
going on. But a 13 minute grainy image video of a guy clicking left
and right on unreadable menu-options ? What idiot thought that was a
good idea to promote the game ?

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Miguel Ramirez

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Jan 19, 2012, 5:46:55 AM1/19/12
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>> When and if we do an open beta can you take a look and give some input
>> on our interface? We really want to do a good job.
>
> Too late. I already read enough about it to know that this is not going
> to be a game for me. Too detailed and not enough abstraction. I realize
> that those details are the heart of the game and in there by design and
> more power to you if you like that.
>
> Nevertheless, purely out of curiosity I sure would have appreciated a
> video that was a) clear and b) had some audio which explained what was
> going on. But a 13 minute grainy image video of a guy clicking left and
> right on unreadable menu-options ? What idiot thought that was a good
> idea to promote the game ?
>

I watched on HD and I had no problem reading the options. Regarding the
clarity of the interface, it isn't that different from working with
Command Ops Scen Maker. Actually, they're following the conventions used
in Harpoon (which is bad, because those weren't the best metaphors and
good, because those metaphors, no matter how poor it's what people is
used to). I had no trouble "decyphering" this, because of my acquaintance
with the former.

The video was made by one guy beta-testing, and posted on the forums on
request by the regulars there. Not on the main page, or some videogame
outlet. So your comment regarding production values - more so when this
is an effort from former players/consumers who are following that line of
"putting their asses on the firing line - is a bit off, Eddy.

Cheers,

Miquel.

Miguel Ramirez

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Jan 19, 2012, 5:47:41 AM1/19/12
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>
> If you're interested we're maintaining a build roll string to give
> people an idea of where we are with things.
>
> http://www.warfaresims.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=9008
>
> Thanks!

I'm subscribed to that thread, Boston :-)

Cheers,

Miquel.

eddys...@hotmail.com

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Jan 19, 2012, 6:06:54 AM1/19/12
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On 19 jan, 11:46, Miguel Ramirez <miquel.rami...@gmail.com> wrote:

>
> The video was made by one guy beta-testing, and posted on the forums on
> request by the regulars there. Not on the main page, or some videogame
> outlet. So your comment regarding production values - more so when this
> is an effort from former players/consumers who are following that line of
> "putting their asses on the firing line - is a bit off, Eddy.

If production values suck, they suck irrespective of who made it - I
don't know where you get the HD version of this, but the link you
provided is grainy as hell and the menu-items are definitely not
readable, which wouldn't be such a problem if there was some audio to
go with it.

It's not rocket science to get acceptable quality, even if you're just
a beta bunny - been there, done that

http://cota.matrixgames.com/downloads/cota%20-%205%20minute%20guide%20v2.0.zip

Feel free to comment on it

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Vincenzo Beretta

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Jan 19, 2012, 6:18:12 AM1/19/12
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> Too late. I already read enough about it to know that this is
> not going to be a game for me.

Pity, you could have checked if the final game has some of those amazing
"The scenario plays by itself and ends up the same way no matter what the
player does", the developers are famous for.

I and Herman even made a video with one of these scenarios played two times,
side by side. On one side the player the actually tries to win it, on the
other side the scenario is let running by itself. The end result, no matter
what, is the same. It is quite funny to watch, with ships exploding with no
reason at all and stuff :o)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwuPiDNMPE4

For those still incredulous, the developers even actively defended this "we
sell it as a wargame scenario but it actually is an interactive video"
choice...

http://www.warfaresims.com/?p=962

...It doesn't matter how any videogame writer worth his salt will tell you
how breaking the rules and remove control from the player *in those parts of
the game where he is supposed to be in control* (as opposed to narrative
cutscenes) is both cheating and bad writing. Yup: even in the games "quoted"
as examples.

[Which, BTW, makes even more worrying their announcement that in Command
"scenario files will be encrypted"
(http://www.warfaresims.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=10706#p45620). Be
ready for your USS Carl Vinson to eXplode out of the blue, just in case...]




Miguel Ramirez

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Jan 19, 2012, 6:31:54 AM1/19/12
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>
> It's not rocket science to get acceptable quality, even if you're just a
> beta bunny - been there, done that
>
> http://cota.matrixgames.com/downloads/cota%20-%205%20minute%20guide%
20v2.0.zip
>
> Feel free to comment on it
>

Eddy, you're missing my point, and I sincerely don't understand your
attitude. I don't see how you can compare something posted on a forum out
of a whim on request by people interested in the game with a carefully
crafted - how many hours went into that? - video which is meant to
provide documentation to play a game.

The intention behind the act is very different in the two cases. And
given the intention of the Command video, I can well forgive grainy
videos (just check the resolution settings video on youtube) made with
what looks like a cheap FRAPS clone (hence the low framerate).

Cheers,

Miquel.

Miguel Ramirez

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Jan 19, 2012, 6:46:51 AM1/19/12
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> Pity, you could have checked if the final game has some of those amazing
> "The scenario plays by itself and ends up the same way no matter what
> the player does", the developers are famous for.
>
> I and Herman even made a video with one of these scenarios played two
> times, side by side. On one side the player the actually tries to win
> it, on the other side the scenario is let running by itself. The end
> result, no matter what, is the same. It is quite funny to watch, with
> ships exploding with no reason at all and stuff :o)
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwuPiDNMPE4
>
> For those still incredulous, the developers even actively defended this
> "we sell it as a wargame scenario but it actually is an interactive
> video" choice...
>
> http://www.warfaresims.com/?p=962
>
> ...It doesn't matter how any videogame writer worth his salt will tell
> you how breaking the rules and remove control from the player *in those
> parts of the game where he is supposed to be in control* (as opposed to
> narrative cutscenes) is both cheating and bad writing. Yup: even in the
> games "quoted" as examples.
>

I see. So you are basically saying that, for instance, Lucasfilm - where
this kind of deus ex machina was a usual plot device in their games -
were "crap"?

The argument should be - in my opinion - more like "Please, specify in
your notes that this scenario includes a deus ex machina that preordains
its result".

Actually, their explanation and comparison seemed to me to be on-topic an
right. It would have been nice to put it explicitly on the scenario
designer's notes. I haven't ever played that scenario because I didn't
find it interesting, which is something different than thinking that "the
guy who designed that is crap". Let's not forget that an scenario
designer can do whatever he pleases. He's not signed any contract with
anybody guaranteeing *counterfactuals*.

That these are possible usually make for interesting games, of course.
But I can understand that an scenario like that - think of Kobayashi Maru
- can be interesting, educational or even enjoyable.

If you didn't like that, the thing a person with some minimum common
sense and good faith would do would have been to, say, write an e-mail
politely requesting the deus ex-machina to be removed. Or, very much like
James Kirk, you can edit it out yourself, sending the version of the
scenario to the original author, explaining - politely and in an amiable
tone - the reasons that lead you to do so.

However, I don't see this *reasonable* things even been considered. Since
I think you're a quite intelligent and bright individual, this all smacks
of personal enmity due to certain episode we have already discussed on
this newsgroup, and has been debated on the Internets for years and years.

> [Which, BTW, makes even more worrying their announcement that in Command
> "scenario files will be encrypted"
> (http://www.warfaresims.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=10706#p45620). Be
> ready for your USS Carl Vinson to eXplode out of the blue, just in
> case...]

Looking at this other post after considering the feedback given by other
people, I don't think it's all said and done

http://www.warfaresims.com/forum/viewtopic.php?
f=50&t=10706&sid=6496745c4c46cf77cf9c4258702a65ac&start=20#p45904

and scenario-specific database overrides sound fine to me (and to others
who expressed his opinion already on this newsgroup).

To be honest, this thread is pure FUD. The sad thing is that it is old -
or rather, ancient - FUD. Good luck with that.

Paraphrasing Shaggy: "Common seeeeeeeeeense, where art ya?" :-)

Cheers,

Miquel.

Miguel Ramirez

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Jan 19, 2012, 6:58:13 AM1/19/12
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I mean, I don't understand your attitude as in "you look to me you're
going ballistic on me".

Cheers,

Miquel.

eddys...@hotmail.com

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Jan 19, 2012, 7:24:26 AM1/19/12
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On 19 jan, 12:31, Miguel Ramirez <miquel.rami...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Eddy, you're missing my point, and I sincerely don't understand your
> attitude. I don't see how you can compare something posted on a forum out
> of a whim on request by people interested in the game

I'm not telling those Command guys how to run their game development
process, but in the projects I've been involved with *nothing* gets
put on a public forum without getting vetted by the dev team.

Ergo, if something appears on a public forum this means that they've
signed off on it, and that includes agreeing with the quality, or the
lack thereof, of it.

> with a carefully
> crafted - how many hours went into that? - video which is meant to
> provide documentation to play a game.

First impressions count. That's why serious developers hate to post
screenshots of placeholder graphics ... or post crappy video.

> The intention behind the act is very different in the two cases.

Sure, but all I did was click on a link and then after 10 seconds
check if I hadn't accidentally muted my speakers, then stared
incredulous for a minute at it, then realized there's 12 minutes more
of that and then making up my mind as to what "quality control" means
for those devs.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Vincenzo Beretta

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Jan 19, 2012, 7:28:16 AM1/19/12
to
> I see. So you are basically saying that, for instance, Lucasfilm
> - where this kind of deus ex machina was a usual plot device
> in their games - were "crap"?

Specific example, please? Because if it is done in a cutscene then it is
fair; but if you are supposed to protect a cargo with your X-Wing, you
manage to do it with sweat and blood, and at the end the cargo explodes for
no reason at all and you get the message "You failed", then, yes, it is
crap.

Another good example are games with linked campaigns, like "Sturmovik". At
the end the Germans will lose the war, because you cannot change the overall
course, but you still fly missions tied to a specific moment of the war with
a fair chance to complete them.

> The argument should be - in my opinion - more like "Please,
> specify in your notes that this scenario includes a deus ex
> machina that preordains its result".

That would be fair, but by putting such a sticker you would run the risk
that the gamer buys/plays a wargame where he actually has a say about what
happens on the battlefield, wouldn't you? ^^

(Or, if he is in for a "preordained re-enactment, just watch the excellent
"Santa Cruz" video on Youtube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QvNQS7HLYE)

> Actually, their explanation and comparison seemed to me to be
> on-topic an right.

No, it isn't, because...

> It would have been nice to put it explicitly on the scenario
> designer's notes.

...It would have been MANDATORY, so that the player could decide if he liked
the idea or not *before* wasting one hour of his life. No amount of
explaining your reasons from a podium with a megaphone will change this,
believe me.

> I haven't ever played that scenario because I didn't
> find it interesting, which is something different than thinking
> that "the guy who designed that is crap".

I agree: by not playing it you can't evaluate it, so it is different.
Someone who played it - with the results we saw - is instead perfectly
entitled to think about "the guy who designed that crap".

> Let's not forget that an scenario designer can do whatever
> he pleases.

Very true. And people who play the scenario can judge both it and the kind
of craft shown by his author the way they want. This is true for comic
books, movies, restaurants and even building bridges, too. If the product is
a commercial one this becomes known as "voting with one own vallet".

> That these are possible usually make for interesting games, of
> course. But I can understand that an scenario like that - think
> of Kobayashi Maru - can be interesting, educational or even
> enjoyable.

The Kobayashi Maru scenario didn't cheat and didn't break the rules at all.
Watch the movie again.

> If you didn't like that, the thing a person with some minimum
> common sense and good faith would do would have been to,
> say, write an e-mail politely requesting the deus ex-machina
> to be removed.

Some players did exactly that. The result was the aforementioned "megaphone
and podium rant" that I linked. Maybe you should read it. They were even
called "stupid" at the end (the Schiller's quote is wrong BTW, but
whatever).

> Or, very much like James Kirk, you can edit it out yourself

Let's even put aside that "fixing the game for yourself Total War-like" is
quite frowned upon by people who just buy the game and expect for it to work
and be enjoyable. Can you explain how I will be able to edit these kind of
stunts out of "Command" scenarios IF THE FUCKING SCENARIO FILES ARE
ENCRYPTED?

> However, I don't see this *reasonable* things even been considered.
> Since I think you're a quite intelligent and bright individual, this all
> smacks of personal enmity due to certain episode we have already
> discussed on this newsgroup

If you mean the tampering of their own database for Harpoon 3 so that
scenarios for some reason "unapproved" by them crashed, this is a whole
different matter, and, if anything, even more reason for concern about
"Command".

Anyway, to be clear, I have no "enmity" towards whatsoever: I don't like to
see lies spreaded about me, true. But I usually limit myself to pointing out
facts, and to try to separate opinion from fact. *This* sometimes causes
enmity towards me, but this is their problem :o)

eddys...@hotmail.com

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Jan 19, 2012, 7:43:49 AM1/19/12
to
On 19 jan, 13:28, "Vincenzo Beretta" <vincenzo.bere...@fastwebnet.it>
wrote:
> But I usually limit myself to pointing out
> facts, and to try to separate opinion from fact. *This* sometimes causes
> enmity towards me, but this is their problem :o)

Some people can't handle the truth ... and most of them are involved
in naval wargame development :)

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

eddys...@hotmail.com

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Jan 19, 2012, 7:47:46 AM1/19/12
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On 19 jan, 12:58, Miguel Ramirez <miquel.rami...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I mean, I don't understand your attitude as in "you look to me you're
> going ballistic on me".

I thought it was pretty clear my ICBM was directed at the amateur-
night level quality of the video, not at the guy who posted the link

You stated your reasons why you think it was ok to post such a video,
I stated that it lowered my opinion of the game devs - seems pretty
fair.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Miguel Ramirez

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Jan 19, 2012, 8:27:57 AM1/19/12
to
>> I see. So you are basically saying that, for instance, Lucasfilm -
>> where this kind of deus ex machina was a usual plot device in their
>> games - were "crap"?
>
> Specific example, please? Because if it is done in a cutscene then it is
> fair; but if you are supposed to protect a cargo with your X-Wing, you
> manage to do it with sweat and blood, and at the end the cargo explodes
> for no reason at all and you get the message "You failed", then, yes, it
> is crap.
>

Loom ending comes to my mind - one of the best endings ever, by the way.
And the example you put regarding the cutscene: whatever you do, you get
the cutscene, and the story moves forward. The cutscene in question was
HMS Sheffield blowing up. And Origin weren't "crap", either, at least not
when they made Wing Commander 3.

So the problem is that you got a "You failed" message in a game? Oh, come
on.

> Another good example are games with linked campaigns, like "Sturmovik".
> At the end the Germans will lose the war, because you cannot change the
> overall course, but you still fly missions tied to a specific moment of
> the war with a fair chance to complete them.
>

That's a quite pointless remark. Harpoon 3 didn't have anything like
"linked campaigns". Just scenarios that were recommended to play in a
specific sequence.

You play an scenario out of a campaign and try to analyze it depriving it
of its context. That's why your arguments aren't convincing at all.

>> The argument should be - in my opinion - more like "Please, specify in
>> your notes that this scenario includes a deus ex machina that
>> preordains its result".
>
> That would be fair, but by putting such a sticker you would run the risk
> that the gamer buys/plays a wargame where he actually has a say about
> what happens on the battlefield, wouldn't you? ^^
>

Let's not confuse the engine with a scenario that runs on the engine,
please. People reading this are intelligent enough to tell the difference.

>> It would have been nice to put it explicitly on the scenario designer's
>> notes.
>
> ...It would have been MANDATORY, so that the player could decide if he
> liked the idea or not *before* wasting one hour of his life. No amount
> of explaining your reasons from a podium with a megaphone will change
> this, believe me.
>

I see. So all this because you wasted *one* hour of your life because of
evaluating the experience provided by an scenario in a campaign by taking
out of its context?

Man, how many rail stations have you burnt down already after you
"wasted" *one* hour waiting for a train? Or, how many doctors have you
killed with that axe you always carry on your backpack while waiting
*one* hour before they told you, "Nah, you're OK, don't waste my time"? I
can go on and on.

This does look as an over the top - I know this is redundant -
overreaction. Like one guy trashing his computer with a keyboard because
- oh surprise - Windows just crapped on his spreadsheets wiping them out.
He had to buy a new computer... with Windows, of course :)

>> I haven't ever played that scenario because I didn't find it
>> interesting, which is something different than thinking that "the guy
>> who designed that is crap".
>
> I agree: by not playing it you can't evaluate it, so it is different.
> Someone who played it - with the results we saw - is instead perfectly
> entitled to think about "the guy who designed that crap".
>

Then starting your lines with "In my opinion" or "I think that" would
help me to understand you better.

>> Let's not forget that an scenario designer can do whatever he pleases.
>
> Very true. And people who play the scenario can judge both it and the
> kind of craft shown by his author the way they want. This is true for
> comic books, movies, restaurants and even building bridges, too. If the
> product is a commercial one this becomes known as "voting with one own
> vallet".
>

Perfectly fair. You'll cast your vote, very much like I'll do when the
time comes for it.

>> That these are possible usually make for interesting games, of course.
>> But I can understand that an scenario like that - think of Kobayashi
>> Maru - can be interesting, educational or even enjoyable.
>
> The Kobayashi Maru scenario didn't cheat and didn't break the rules at
> all. Watch the movie again.
>

Ahem, just watched the movie two weeks ago. Setting those odds was
"cheating" - I can't believe that the Klingon Empire would have so many
cruisers to spare... and that the Federation had so little ships-of-the-
line to send :) And, lest not forget, Kirk didn't get the boot because -
deus ex machina incoming, take cover! - the Vulcan planet was being
ripped apart and the trial was suspended :-)

>> If you didn't like that, the thing a person with some minimum common
>> sense and good faith would do would have been to, say, write an e-mail
>> politely requesting the deus ex-machina to be removed.
>
> Some players did exactly that. The result was the aforementioned
> "megaphone and podium rant" that I linked. Maybe you should read it.
> They were even called "stupid" at the end (the Schiller's quote is wrong
> BTW, but whatever).
>

I don't see any name calling going by labeling anyone as "stupid" there,
Vincenzo. Perhaps my English all of a sudden broke on me, and I can't
read it properly anymore. Let's quote the part of interest, for the sake
of documentation:

[...]
The “Hand of God” trick turned out to work pretty well; the special units
targeted only the specified assets and the “holy cr@p!” effect towards
the player was achieved. Of course this capability had to be used
sparingly and carefully: If a scenario turned unwinnable because of a
“Hand of God” action the players would soon lose interest. For this
reason, the loss of the “morituri” units, while making the scenario
harder, did not make it impossible: In the Falklands scenario, you can
still win after the Sheffield blows up. Likewise, in the WW3 classic
“Clash of the Titans”, you can still win the epic battle even after
unavoidably losing two of your four supercarriers (the preservation of
the carriers is not part of the victory conditions).
[...]

To be honest, this is a very reasonable explanation. Your are rather
saying that Schiller's quote is wrong and claiming that someone is being
branded with the scarlet "S" for stupid. You're not explaining anything.

>> Or, very much like James Kirk, you can edit it out yourself
>
> Let's even put aside that "fixing the game for yourself Total War-like"
> is quite frowned upon by people who just buy the game and expect for it
> to work and be enjoyable. Can you explain how I will be able to edit
> these kind of stunts out of "Command" scenarios IF THE FUCKING SCENARIO
> FILES ARE ENCRYPTED?
>

Yet another very bad comparison. You're mixing three different things
here, Vincenzo:

* The engine (a.k.a. the thing that does the computation)
* The data (a.k.a. the data repository that contains the definition of
the objects that can be processed by the engine)
* The scenario (a.k.a. a selection of a particular set of objects in the
database, arranged in a specific way, and scripts for animating those
objects in some way)

Scenarios will be encrypted if the scenario designers wants it so. So far
as I understand, it's an option. The database might or not be encrypted -
something that I think it's a bad move, but that's their call - and will
more than probably provide with scenario overrides for database objects.
Time will tell, but I think - I hope - they will make the correct
decisions.

Now you mention Total War mods... were they fixing the engine? No, not
really. The same sorry excuse of "tactical combat across the ages" is
there, the same terribly boring strategic game is there, the same AI "if
it flies, shoot it" diplomacy is in place. It's just masked and made more
palatable, but it isn't fixed by any measure.

What Total War modders do are to provide us with scenarios that override
or replace the original game objects databases. Indeed, they are much
more interesting than the ones provided by the game - engine - developer.
Ironically, the players are the ones who realize Total Wars true
potential, not the devs.

As we say in Spain, not by making your point louder - achtung CAPS LOCK
key on! - you'll be more convincing.

>> However, I don't see this *reasonable* things even been considered.
>> Since I think you're a quite intelligent and bright individual, this
>> all smacks of personal enmity due to certain episode we have already
>> discussed on this newsgroup
>
> If you mean the tampering of their own database for Harpoon 3 so that
> scenarios for some reason "unapproved" by them crashed, this is a whole
> different matter, and, if anything, even more reason for concern about
> "Command".
>

Anybody who knows about databases perfectly understands what was the
issue. They broke the data interface - their platform and system primary
keys were changed from the looks of it - something that they were fully
entitled to do, moreso when it was necessary to accomodate more features.
Backwards compatibility is a good thing to have, but it's not always
feasible.

That they didn't offer the tools for users of their database to migrate
their data into the new schema - tools I'm pretty sure they had - is
something I can understand, though I wouldn't do things that way. I'm
more of an "open" standards & tools guy in this respect. I think all you
needed to do was to get in touch with them and ask them - again politely
in amiable terms - to do it for you.

Or - all the rest failing - just learn a bit about databases and figure
out how to make the scenarios work for you. It's not rocket science,
either.

Or did you pay anything for that database? Was there a support contract
signed?

> Anyway, to be clear, I have no "enmity" towards whatsoever: I don't like
> to see lies spreaded about me, true. But I usually limit myself to
> pointing out facts, and to try to separate opinion from fact. *This*
> sometimes causes enmity towards me, but this is their problem :o)

Ok, that's also perfectly fair Vincenzo. Indeed people reads sometimes
too much between the lines. And regarding that - separating fact from
opinion - let me tell you that you have an ally on that enterprise.

However, in this particular topic, it seems that my definitions for
"fact" and "opinion" are a bit different :-)

Cheers,

Miquel.

Miguel Ramirez

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 8:38:22 AM1/19/12
to

>> I mean, I don't understand your attitude as in "you look to me you're
>> going ballistic on me".
>
> I thought it was pretty clear my ICBM was directed at the amateur- night
> level quality of the video, not at the guy who posted the link
>
> You stated your reasons why you think it was ok to post such a video, I
> stated that it lowered my opinion of the game devs - seems pretty fair.

Sure, fair enough :) I just was a bit confused.

Miquel.

Frank E

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 8:47:05 AM1/19/12
to
On Thu, 19 Jan 2012 12:18:12 +0100, "Vincenzo Beretta"
<vincenzo...@fastwebnet.it> wrote:

>> Too late. I already read enough about it to know that this is
>> not going to be a game for me.
>
>Pity, you could have checked if the final game has some of those amazing
>"The scenario plays by itself and ends up the same way no matter what the
>player does", the developers are famous for.
>
>I and Herman even made a video with one of these scenarios played two times,
>side by side. On one side the player the actually tries to win it, on the
>other side the scenario is let running by itself. The end result, no matter
>what, is the same. It is quite funny to watch, with ships exploding with no
>reason at all and stuff :o)
>
>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwuPiDNMPE4
>
>For those still incredulous, the developers even actively defended this "we
>sell it as a wargame scenario but it actually is an interactive video"
>choice...
>
>http://www.warfaresims.com/?p=962

I'll agree that this type of a mechanism seems pretty silly in a
wargame but damn. If you don't like way that a scenario is
constructed, skip it and play ones that you do enjoy. Their biggest
crime here seems to be that they tried to add a story element to a
game that wasn't designed for it and it doesn't appeal to you. I don't
own H3 but I gather that there are 100s of scenarios out there for it.
Why should anyone care that you don't like some of them?

>...It doesn't matter how any videogame writer worth his salt will tell you
>how breaking the rules and remove control from the player *in those parts of
>the game where he is supposed to be in control* (as opposed to narrative
>cutscenes) is both cheating and bad writing. Yup: even in the games "quoted"
>as examples.
>
>[Which, BTW, makes even more worrying their announcement that in Command
>"scenario files will be encrypted"
>(http://www.warfaresims.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=10706#p45620). Be
>ready for your USS Carl Vinson to eXplode out of the blue, just in case...]
>

OK, anyone care to take the time and clue me in to what I'm missing
here? I didn't think the people making this game where the same people
that are responsible for H3 but I'm seeing the same people that are
usually hating on the Harpoon developers (with good reason from what
I've read) going after these guys and trashing a game that isn't even
in beta yet.

I will admit to going WTF when I read the post linked about.

"The database format is open and the contents accessible, but the
moment you change anything in it the game will refuse to use it. So
practically no third-party DB editing. If you've been following us you
know why."

"The scen files are editable in the scenario editor. If you open them
in an outside app (e.g. Notepad) they are encrypted."

The only reason I can think of to discourage player made scenarios is
that they want to sell a lot of expansion packs. Given the nature of
the harpoon community, this seems counterproductive.

Rgds, Frank

eddys...@hotmail.com

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 8:55:10 AM1/19/12
to
On 19 jan, 14:47, Frank E <fakeaddr...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
> I will admit to going WTF when I read the post linked about.
>
> "The database format is open and the contents accessible, but the
> moment you change anything in it the game will refuse to use it. So
> practically no third-party DB editing. If you've been following us you
> know why."
>
> "The scen files are editable in the scenario editor. If you open them
> in an outside app (e.g. Notepad) they are encrypted."

<insert Gollum's "my precious" scene>

> The only reason I can think of to discourage player made scenarios is
> that they want to sell a lot of expansion packs. Given the nature of
> the harpoon community, this seems counterproductive.

It's indicative of a funny duality : on the one hand they want to sell
their game, on the other they don't want others to play with their
toys.

True professionals like people messing with their games - it sells
copies

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Giftzwerg

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 9:34:01 AM1/19/12
to
In article <jf6uka$81l$5...@dont-email.me>, miquel....@gmail.com
says...


>
> Just saw this video on their forums:
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_lcO0EZZGw
>
> The only I can say is "Awesome".

And not a card anywhere in sight!

--
Giftzwerg
***
"In short, the myth of Obama?s brilliance was based on his teleprompted
eloquence, the sort of fable that says we should listen to a clueless
Sean Penn or Matt Damon on politics because they can sometimes act
well."
- Victor Davis Hanson

eddys...@hotmail.com

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 9:43:34 AM1/19/12
to
On 19 jan, 15:34, Giftzwerg <giftzwerg...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> In article <jf6uka$81...@dont-email.me>, miquel.rami...@gmail.com
> says...
>
>
>
> > Just saw this video on their forums:
>
> >http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_lcO0EZZGw
>
> > The only I can say is "Awesome".
>
> And not a card anywhere in sight!

(Sea)Tigers Unleashed ?

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Miguel Ramirez

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 9:56:30 AM1/19/12
to

> It's indicative of a funny duality : on the one hand they want to sell
> their game, on the other they don't want others to play with their toys.
>

I must say I don't understand this bit about the encryption either very
well.

More like they don't want someone to have an easy time to "rip" the work
by scenario designers. They do indeed seem to welcome others to play with
their tools - scenario making and read-only database - to make the toys.

That's not to say that encrypting the scenarios makes much sense to me.
It's very restrictive. It's introducing a hurdle for users to jump over.
And this hurdle is that of having to ask the scenario designer for the
"key" to "unlock" the scenario.

More than a device to syphon money out of a community, this looks to me
as a mechanism that empowers the scenario designers - who want it - to
decide who can make derivative works from their work. Scenario designers
who don't care about this, can make publicly available the key, or just
set it to empty.

> True professionals like people messing with their games - it sells
> copies
>

I know quite a few "professionals" who don't like at all people messing
with their games (or software in general). I'd rather say "Developers who
trust their potential users like people messing with their games".

Why not take a look at the reasons for they taking this approach? Eddy's
analogy with "[the remnants of] Harpoon community being a tank full of
sharks" isn't far off the mark.

I mean, if they're doing this it's because someone who wanted to style
himself as an scenario designer limited himself just to copy the plain
text specification of an scenario and wiping out all references to the
original author. Or someone setup a website and in order to attract
traffic - and hence revenue from advertising - but not having the time to
develop content for the site decided to take the "easy way" - instead of
asking for permission to the scenario authors - described above. Or if -
even sadder - this "ripping and replacing names" was all about seeing who
had the biggest "e-peen" measured in "number of scenarios available and
done".

If this was a common practice - and worse, something nobody cared about -
I can certainly see it as a reason for the once thriving and lively
Harpoon community to become a memory of the past. As a "legit" designer -
i.e. one who *actually* made his own scenarios - this would have been
extremely discouraging, unless one had a hide thick as that of a
rhinoceros.

I do indeed think that the scenarios they provide with the game should be
completely open, otherwise it would prove hard for people to figure out
how to make their own scenarios. But giving authors - scenario designers
- full power to decide who can make derivates or not... I can't hardly be
against that.

They can even create the framework for a "cottage industry" based on
people making a living out of scenario designing by selling their
scenarios, as that guy who made Victory Games' Vietnam total conversion
into Advanced Tactics.

Cheers,

Miquel.

Miguel Ramirez

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 9:59:39 AM1/19/12
to

>> Just saw this video on their forums:
>>
>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_lcO0EZZGw
>>
>> The only I can say is "Awesome".
>
> And not a card anywhere in sight!

Hah! :-) That I like card-driven mechanics doesn't mean I hate in
principle anything closely resembling a 1980's Avalon Hill game :)

Miquel.

Vincenzo Beretta

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 10:00:27 AM1/19/12
to
> Loom ending comes to my mind - one of the best endings ever, by
> the way.

And of and adventure game, which is fine.

> And the example you put regarding the cutscene: whatever you do,
> you get the cutscene, and the story moves forward. The cutscene
> in question was HMS Sheffield blowing up.

Exacly. I'm not playing the attack on the HMS Sheffield: I'm watching a
video about how the Sheffield blew up. With two important features: A) I can
watch a documentary and B) with a documentary I can relax instead of
following instructions.

> And Origin weren't "crap", either, at least not
> when they made Wing Commander 3.

Generally speaking no. That cheat, however, was crap, and using it to
justify your approach means using crap to justify your approach.

> So the problem is that you got a "You failed" message in a game?
> Oh, come on.

Why, I know that I'm the only one in the whole videogaming world who tries
to get a "You succeeded" message when I play, but still... :o)

> That's a quite pointless remark. Harpoon 3 didn't have anything like
"linked campaigns".

The point of the "pointless remark" is that you can have an overall, fixed,
narrative (done via images, text, cutscenes or all of the above) and *still*
give full control to the player *in the parts where he is involved*, without
cheats.

If in a wargame I'm put in command of the Japanese fleet at Midway, I fully
expect to have a fair chance to do better than Nagumo, and to best Fletcher
and Spruance. Having three of my carriers disappear at Jun 4th, 10:22 AM
because "this is what happened, you moron" an happy player makes me not.

> You play an scenario out of a campaign and try to analyze
> it depriving it of its context. That's why your arguments
> aren't convincing at all.

No. I play a scenario where I succesfully repel a Backfires strike only to
have their targets explode anyway. That's why "podium and megaphones"
arguments aren't convincing at all.

> That would be fair, but by putting such a sticker you would run the risk
> that the gamer buys/plays a wargame where he actually has a say about
> what happens on the battlefield, wouldn't you? ^^

> Let's not confuse the engine with a scenario that runs on the engine

...Or with the track record of those designing scenarios that run of the
engine, just to say...

> please. People reading this are intelligent enough to tell the difference.

I fully hope so.

> I see. So all this because you wasted *one* hour of your life because
> of evaluating the experience provided by an scenario in a campaign
> by taking out of its context?

> Man, how many rail stations have you burnt down already after
> you "wasted" *one* hour waiting for a train?

Well, I wouldn't go so far as to compare a certain kind of scenario
designing skill with the Italian Railways, but be my guest ^^

However, I neither ever burned down my PC after a scenario, NOR I was ever
happy to have wasted an hour waiting for a train.

> - oh surprise - Windows just crapped on his spreadsheets wiping
> them out. He had to buy a new computer... with Windows,
> of course :)

...Or Lynux, Ubuntu, MacOS...

>> I agree: by not playing it you can't evaluate it, so it is different.
>> Someone who played it - with the results we saw - is instead
>> perfectly > entitled to think about "the guy who designed
>> that crap".

> Then starting your lines with "In my opinion" or "I think that"
> would help me to understand you better.

Sorry, but it won't happen. This is because my example is about how
experience *entitles* someone to express that comment - neither it forces
him nor it implies that it is the only comment acceptable.

> Perfectly fair. You'll cast your vote, very much like I'll do when
> the time comes for it.

This is a given: people daily vote with their wallets about JR and Panzer
Corps. Then the votes are collected and the results presented to the
developers.

> Ahem, just watched the movie two weeks ago. Setting those odds
> was "cheating"

No: they were "unsurmoutable odds". This is different. Can you point me
where, in the scenario, the Federation ship just exploded?

> I don't see any name calling going by labeling anyone as "stupid"
> there

"In conclusion: Chris Roberts, you’re damn lucky that Wing Commander was
released in the 1990s. Had you waited just a decade more to realize your
epic vision, you would be dogged time after time in Internet forums and
newsgroups by heckling members of the peanut gallery who, perhaps because
they realize that they’ll never reach up to your level, try instead to bring
you down to their own – and once there, beat you by experience.

Such are the times we live in.

UPDATE: In Call of Duty – Modern Warfare, there is a sequence in which you
do your best to get your player character out of a warzone, only to
(unavoidably) die by the after-effects of a nearby nuclear detonation. No
doubt, the devs of that game will earn their own share of forum idiots
criticizing the “futility” of the whole sequence and the “pre-ordained”
result.

Wasn’t it Schiller who said that, in the face of human stupidity, even gods
fight in vain?"

Alas, we poor lowlife, who will never be able to realize the greatness of
this kind of vision - and so will buy "Panzer Corps" instead (Schiller's
quote is still wrong, BTW).

> Time will tell, but I think - I hope - they will make the correct
> decisions.

> Now you mention Total War mods... were they fixing the engine?
> No, not really.

Well, some of them do: check out the various AI mods, for example.

> the same terribly boring strategic game is there, the same AI "if
> it flies, shoot it" diplomacy is in place. It's just masked and
> made more palatable, but it isn't fixed by any measure.

I think you should check www.twcenter.net more often, since features ranging
from the AI and the diplomatic model are improved, changed, expanded and
rewritten by scores of mods. A Mod like "Third Age 3.0" for Medieval II
rewrites the diplomatic model so to be more in line with Middle Earth's
history - which, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with European
history in the Middle Ages.

> Ironically, the players are the ones who realize Total Wars
> true potential, not the devs.

My guess: the devs got a clue and release moddable games. They even made a
public apology because "Empire" was harder to mod that other games.

The same does Bethesda for their Elder Scrolls line, BTW: when they announce
that the full modding tools for Skyrim will be available for free within the
end of January, IMHO they demonstrate to have a strong grasp on the clue.

The same can be said about the developer of "Armored Brigade", BTW, but we
already kudosed him a lot and we don't want for him to rest on laurels
instead of developing further the game, don't we? :o)

>> If you mean the tampering of their own database for Harpoon 3 so
>> that scenarios for some reason "unapproved" by them crashed,
>> this is a whole different matter, and, if anything, even more
>> reason for concern about "Command".

> Anybody who knows about databases perfectly understands what
> was the issue.

If only :^(

> They broke the data interface - their platform and system primary
> keys were changed from the looks of it - something that they were
> fully entitled to do, moreso when it was necessary to accomodate
> more features. Backwards compatibility is a good thing to have,
> but it's not always feasible.

This is true. So true that this was not the problem at all. To see what the
problem was, just check the link they provided
(http://www.warfaresims.com/?cat=129). I don't mean "go to the linked page",
just check the very link name:

http://www.forums.gamesquad.com/showthread.php?23874-Unannounced-Database-changes

*UNANNOUNCED* database changes.

This meant that I did a scenario using version, let's say, 6.11 of the
database. Then I told you "Hey, Miguel! Wanna check this scenario I made? It
is for version 6.11 of the database!" You said "Cool! You downloaded v6.11,
ran the scenario, and it crashed. Because the version number was the same,
but the database had been modified, and so there was a database mismatch.

This alone would be grounds for "irresponsibility in DB management". Then,
if really one wants to delve in soap opera, he can always read statements
like:

"[Herman's] first major act of IP theft was the illegal acquisition and use
of the H3-SBR tool. Not being able to use the stolen tool effectively (in
fact, his scens began to crash because of it)..."

...Which become quite funny, given the above :o)

> I think all you needed to do was to get in touch with them
> and ask them - again politely in amiable terms - to do it
> for you.

Ah, yup, the new idea in DRM: "Chain DRM for creativity".

> Or - all the rest failing - just learn a bit about databases and
> figure out how to make the scenarios work for you. It's not
> rocket science, either.

No, it wasn't. A "compare" was all that was needed to see how v6.11 had "USS
Carl Vinson - item #640" while v... er... 6.11 had "USS Carl Vinson - item
#1640" - and then delete the "1".

The problem was contacting your friends and explaining to them that they had
to use the "right" v.6.11, and not the "wrong" v.6.11. You can easily see
how it got complicated fast ^^

> Or did you pay anything for that database? Was there a support
> contract signed?

No, but there was a mutual exchange of (good) work: the database - when
nproperly mantained - was a great tool for scenario designers, while
scenario designers gave to the DB visibility and popularity.

Ah, one last thing. I hope it will be useful to you.

I never bothered to answer to this "definition" you can find on the
developers blog (the rants, for those wondering what the heck of tangent did
this thread took, tie the past attitudes with the current expressed line of
the new game):

"Vincenzo “I will never outgrow my 2005 forum ban” Beretta"

I never bothered to answer this because, as you saw, anyone of average
intelligence can see how they already torpedoed themselves without outside
help (funnily enough this is a ANW bug too).
However my honorable title is worth of analysis for third parties because it
gives you two important facts:

First, the delusional idea by the writer to be part of some "elite,
exclusive circle; so elite that people sent out from the Eden will despair
for the rest of their lives".

Second, given that I was banned for revealing the database mismanagement, it
gives you the rule to remain in the elite club: Omerta.

All of this because, IIUC, you are a fan of Command, its potentiality and
his developers. So, my advice is: thread lightly and listen to all
"friendly" PMs from them giving you "advice". Good luck! :o)

Miguel Ramirez

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 10:00:41 AM1/19/12
to
>
> (Sea)Tigers Unleashed ?
>

On nice, accurate maps and a sound game model... I can certainly live
with an spreadsheet (but not too many!).

Cheers,

Miquel.

Frank E

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 10:12:58 AM1/19/12
to
On Thu, 19 Jan 2012 05:55:10 -0800 (PST), "eddys...@hotmail.com"
<eddys...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>On 19 jan, 14:47, Frank E <fakeaddr...@hotmail.com> wrote:
>>
>> I will admit to going WTF when I read the post linked about.
>>
>> "The database format is open and the contents accessible, but the
>> moment you change anything in it the game will refuse to use it. So
>> practically no third-party DB editing. If you've been following us you
>> know why."
>>
>> "The scen files are editable in the scenario editor. If you open them
>> in an outside app (e.g. Notepad) they are encrypted."
>
><insert Gollum's "my precious" scene>
>
>> The only reason I can think of to discourage player made scenarios is
>> that they want to sell a lot of expansion packs. Given the nature of
>> the harpoon community, this seems counterproductive.
>
>It's indicative of a funny duality : on the one hand they want to sell
>their game, on the other they don't want others to play with their
>toys.

This seems to go beyond that though. They appear to be going out of
their way to create extra drama and say 'fuck you' to anyone who wants
to mod the game.

"We've created an open data base that anyone can access but the game
prevents you from actually changing anything."

"We've created a text based scripting language for our scenarios
(otherwise why mention notepad) but we won't let you access the
information."

If they want to lock it down, why go out of their way to point out
that they have an open system all in place, they just don't want
anyone to use it?

>True professionals like people messing with their games - it sells
>copies

Yeah, this whole thing does feel terribly bush league.

Rgds, Frank


Vincenzo Beretta

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 10:13:38 AM1/19/12
to
> I'll agree that this type of a mechanism seems pretty silly
> in a wargame but damn. If you don't like way that a scenario
> is constructed, skip it and play ones that you do enjoy.

But I already do that. However, since the designers of "Command" openly
defended the "interactive video" approach, I simply mused "pity that Eddy
won't go on the beta-team: he could, maybe, have told us what kind of
scenarios to expect, so to be able to make an informed decision before
forking the $$$s".

> OK, anyone care to take the time and clue me in to what I'm
> missing here? I didn't think the people making this game
> where the same people that are responsible for H3

No. But, as I said, they designed a lot of scenarios characterized by
"unavoidable events", and, as I said, they defend this choice. Since I
personally don't like it at all, I wonder if this approach will be used in
*their* game too.

> The only reason I can think of to discourage player made
> scenarios is that they want to sell a lot of expansion
> packs. Given the nature of the harpoon community,
> this seems counterproductive.

It *is* counterproductive in a general sense: just look at TOAW for an
example of a successful game where scores of third-party stuff still allowed
for official scenarios and expansions to be published. But this is their
businness and their call.

eddys...@hotmail.com

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 10:18:45 AM1/19/12
to
On 19 jan, 16:00, "Vincenzo Beretta" <vincenzo.bere...@fastwebnet.it>
wrote:

> This is a given: people daily vote with their wallets about JR and Panzer
> Corps. Then the votes are collected and the results presented to the
> developers.

This just in : after going retail in Germany and making it into the
Top 20 sales charts of pc games sold there, Matrix just announced
Panzer Corps will be released retail in Russia as well.

JR who ?

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

eddys...@hotmail.com

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 10:25:03 AM1/19/12
to
On 19 jan, 15:56, Miguel Ramirez <miquel.rami...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> I know quite a few "professionals" who don't like at all people messing
> with their games (or software in general).

Oh sure, they only sell less games.

There's a reason mainstream gaming companies release all those editors
for their games you know - and altruism isn't it.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

eddys...@hotmail.com

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 10:36:42 AM1/19/12
to
Don't forget that We The People, the granddaddy of CDG, was an AH game
too.

It met with a lot of opposition too - only to get totally embraced by
the wargame community much much later - grumpy grogs don't easily
change their mind or ways you know ... and tend to forget later that
they first were totally set against that newfangled card thingie.

Given the commercial success of A Few Acres of Snow - it sold out and
a reprint is announced - it will only be a matter of time before more
and more wargames will start to use this deck-building mechanic. Not
that this will matter one bit to the pc wargame crowd, stuck in the
seventies as they are, but I hope some developer will pick up on it
and create some digital wargame using this mechanic for the tablet
market.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Miguel Ramirez

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 10:42:32 AM1/19/12
to

> And of and adventure game, which is fine.
>

Ok, you don't find this practice kosher on a wargame setting. Now I *get*
it :)

>> And the example you put regarding the cutscene: whatever you do, you
>> get the cutscene, and the story moves forward. The cutscene in question
>> was HMS Sheffield blowing up.
>
> Exacly. I'm not playing the attack on the HMS Sheffield: I'm watching a
> video about how the Sheffield blew up. With two important features: A) I
> can watch a documentary and B) with a documentary I can relax instead of
> following instructions.
>
>> And Origin weren't "crap", either, at least not when they made Wing
>> Commander 3.
>
> Generally speaking no. That cheat, however, was crap, and using it to
> justify your approach means using crap to justify your approach.
>
>> So the problem is that you got a "You failed" message in a game? Oh,
>> come on.
>
> Why, I know that I'm the only one in the whole videogaming world who
> tries to get a "You succeeded" message when I play, but still... :o)
>

In the context of a campaign game, where you have a "game master", I can
well live with the occasional failure.

>> That's a quite pointless remark. Harpoon 3 didn't have anything like
> "linked campaigns".
>
> The point of the "pointless remark" is that you can have an overall,
> fixed, narrative (done via images, text, cutscenes or all of the above)
> and *still* give full control to the player *in the parts where he is
> involved*, without cheats.
>

In this particular case, I fail to see how a Harpoon scenario can be cut
into bits. A nice feature in Command is that Event Engine, which will
handle that without cheating. By the way, a scenario designer - the game
master - never cheats. And when he does, he's fully entitled to do so :-)
Very much as you're to dislike it :-)

> If in a wargame I'm put in command of the Japanese fleet at Midway, I
> fully expect to have a fair chance to do better than Nagumo, and to best
> Fletcher and Spruance. Having three of my carriers disappear at Jun 4th,
> 10:22 AM because "this is what happened, you moron" an happy player
> makes me not.
>

The argument was more complex than saying to anyone "shut up you moron".

>> You play an scenario out of a campaign and try to analyze it depriving
>> it of its context. That's why your arguments aren't convincing at all.
>
> No. I play a scenario where I succesfully repel a Backfires strike only
> to have their targets explode anyway. That's why "podium and megaphones"
> arguments aren't convincing at all.
>

Hmmm, I don't recall the Argentinian Air Force to have a Regiment of
Backfires at hand. I'm sure though, that they would have *absolutely*
loved to have one of those.

> Well, I wouldn't go so far as to compare a certain kind of scenario
> designing skill with the Italian Railways, but be my guest ^^
>

Spanish railways have improved, but sometimes this happens as well :)


>> - oh surprise - Windows just crapped on his spreadsheets wiping them
>> out. He had to buy a new computer... with Windows, of course :)
>
> ...Or Lynux, Ubuntu, MacOS...
>

The joke was about a guy who only knew about Windows... so he was tied to
that very fine operating system. It's Linux, not Lynux, and neither Linux
(which is just the kernel of the Operating System, by the way) nor Ubuntu
need to be bought. You can download them free of charge (though Ubuntu is
slowly evolving into a small Windows with their Unity crap).

> Sorry, but it won't happen. This is because my example is about how
> experience *entitles* someone to express that comment - neither it
> forces him nor it implies that it is the only comment acceptable.
>

Fair enough.

>> Ahem, just watched the movie two weeks ago. Setting those odds was
>> "cheating"
>
> No: they were "unsurmoutable odds". This is different. Can you point me
> where, in the scenario, the Federation ship just exploded?
>

Note the double quotes and my reference above to the Scenario Designer/
Game Master. And by the way, Kirk's simulated ship didn't blow up,
because he hacked the simulator. It's usually the ship-of-the-line the
one blowing :-)

> Alas, we poor lowlife, who will never be able to realize the greatness
> of this kind of vision - and so will buy "Panzer Corps" instead
> (Schiller's quote is still wrong, BTW).
>

What's the right quote?


>> Now you mention Total War mods... were they fixing the engine? No, not
>> really.
>
> Well, some of them do: check out the various AI mods, for example.
>

You mean the AI scripts? That's not part of the engine, very much like
the 3D models of the units and maps are. It's like saying that the
victory conditions you set in Command Ops are part of the engine. That
is, simply not true.

> I think you should check www.twcenter.net more often, since features
> ranging from the AI and the diplomatic model are improved, changed,
> expanded and rewritten by scores of mods. A Mod like "Third Age 3.0" for
> Medieval II rewrites the diplomatic model so to be more in line with
> Middle Earth's history - which, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do
> with European history in the Middle Ages.
>

I check it regularly, because of the Westeros total conversion. But my
deep dislike - or rather, absolute burn out - of the Total War engine
stands.

> My guess: the devs got a clue and release moddable games. They even made
> a public apology because "Empire" was harder to mod that other games.
>

Creative Assembly got that right. Too bad their games are far too
expensive for what they offer.

> The same does Bethesda for their Elder Scrolls line, BTW: when they
> announce that the full modding tools for Skyrim will be available for
> free within the end of January, IMHO they demonstrate to have a strong
> grasp on the clue.
>

Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim: Buggy engine, terrible game design, they
have mod tools. Daggerfall: solid engine, good game design, no mod tools.
And your point is?

> The same can be said about the developer of "Armored Brigade", BTW, but
> we already kudosed him a lot and we don't want for him to rest on
> laurels instead of developing further the game, don't we? :o)
>

In all cases you're confusing the terms Vincenzo. Note the difference I
made between engine, database and scenarios. They're three different
things, which are related, and come packaged together.

Modders don't improve games (which is the three things taken together),
they're actually borrowing the engine in order to make new games, that
inherit the limitations and features of the engine.


>> They broke the data interface - their platform and system primary keys
>> were changed from the looks of it - something that they were fully
>> entitled to do, moreso when it was necessary to accomodate more
>> features. Backwards compatibility is a good thing to have, but it's not
>> always feasible.
>
> This is true. So true that this was not the problem at all. To see what
> the problem was, just check the link they provided
> (http://www.warfaresims.com/?cat=129). I don't mean "go to the linked
> page", just check the very link name:
>
> http://www.forums.gamesquad.com/showthread.php?23874-Unannounced-
Database-changes
>
> *UNANNOUNCED* database changes.
>

I checked the content of the thread linked, Vincenzo. I don't know if
that's a "bad" thing as crossing ghostbusting rays, though :)

> This meant that I did a scenario using version, let's say, 6.11 of the
> database. Then I told you "Hey, Miguel! Wanna check this scenario I
> made? It is for version 6.11 of the database!" You said "Cool! You
> downloaded v6.11, ran the scenario, and it crashed. Because the version
> number was the same, but the database had been modified, and so there
> was a database mismatch.
>

That's what you say. That someone says X doesn't mean that X is true, of
course. If such was the case then, coming forward with copies of the two
versions of the database and pointing to a difference in their checksums,
so people could check by themselves, would have proven what you say.
Nothing like this is in this thread, just a bunch of edited forums posts.

Given that the other party has offered a cogent explanation, I do
sincerely think that his was the most likely sequence of events.

1) ok, they just released 6.11. Time to migrate my scenarios.
2) I use the beta script I got from my buddy.
3) For some reason database object ID's are messed.
4) Oh Sh*t!

> First, the delusional idea by the writer to be part of some "elite,
> exclusive circle; so elite that people sent out from the Eden will
> despair for the rest of their lives".
>

The elite you refer to is that includes those with access with the tools
to migrate the data?

Let me tell you one thing, that it's very *clear*: keeping such tools,
which further the public good away from those who benefit from them, is
something I don't like. But still, that was *their* program and *their*
call to make it public.

> Second, given that I was banned for revealing the database
> mismanagement, it gives you the rule to remain in the elite club:
> Omerta.
>

Complaining about the tool not being public would have been fair.
Covering up for the 1-2-3-4 sequence above is another matter.

Comparisons with the Omerta are bad taste.

> All of this because, IIUC, you are a fan of Command, its potentiality
> and his developers. So, my advice is: thread lightly and listen to all
> "friendly" PMs from them giving you "advice". Good luck! :o)

Two things:

First, by definition, I can't be a "fan" of something I have yet to
enjoy. I just found out something interesting, and came it to share. Very
much like Eddy does. Not everybody finds the things that Eddy posts to be
their cup of tea: just take a look at the A Few Acres of Snow/Twilight
Struggle discussions. That's fair.

Second, the merry fact that I have formal qualifications on databasesand
programming, as well as some experience - not nearly as extensive as that
of others, that's the main reason I started following this group - with
wargames (and especifically in this case Harpoon 3) gives me a vantage
point where, sincerely, none of your arguments hold any water in my eyes.

People with different backgrounds than mine might be easily convinced,
but not me.

Cheers,

Miquel.

Miguel Ramirez

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 10:44:24 AM1/19/12
to

> You mean the AI scripts? That's not part of the engine, very much like
> the 3D models of the units and maps are. It's like saying that the
> victory conditions you set in Command Ops are part of the engine. That
> is, simply not true.
>

That should read *very much like the 3D models of the units and maps
aren't*.

Cheers,

Miquel.

Miguel Ramirez

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 10:46:35 AM1/19/12
to

> Given the commercial success of A Few Acres of Snow - it sold out and a
> reprint is announced - it will only be a matter of time before more and
> more wargames will start to use this deck-building mechanic. Not that
> this will matter one bit to the pc wargame crowd, stuck in the seventies
> as they are, but I hope some developer will pick up on it and create
> some digital wargame using this mechanic for the tablet market.
>

This is a truly interesting topic, Eddy. How would you reformulate deck
building mechanics so the possibilities of the medium - a computer
simulation - are fully exploited?

Perhaps a nice project could come out of that discussion :)

Cheers,

Miquel.

eddys...@hotmail.com

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 11:06:00 AM1/19/12
to
On 19 jan, 16:46, Miguel Ramirez <miquel.rami...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Given the commercial success of A Few Acres of Snow - it sold out and a
> > reprint is announced - it will only be a matter of time before more and
> > more wargames will start to use this deck-building mechanic. Not that
> > this will matter one bit to the pc wargame crowd, stuck in the seventies
> > as they are, but I hope some developer will pick up on it and create
> > some digital wargame using this mechanic for the tablet market.
>
> This is a truly interesting topic, Eddy. How would you reformulate deck
> building mechanics so the possibilities of the medium - a computer
> simulation - are fully exploited?

Well, in essence it's all about making choices with a delay effect and
build-in uncertainties as to when an option will become available
again. Those things get mechanically translated to cards and decks in
a boardgame. With a computer you need an UI element which you can
shuffle through quickly to look at all your options, then decide which
one you'll pick. Stacked tabs ?

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Miguel Ramirez

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 11:32:13 AM1/19/12
to

>> This is a truly interesting topic, Eddy. How would you reformulate deck
>> building mechanics so the possibilities of the medium - a computer
>> simulation - are fully exploited?
>
> Well, in essence it's all about making choices with a delay effect and
> build-in uncertainties as to when an option will become available again.
> Those things get mechanically translated to cards and decks in a
> boardgame. With a computer you need an UI element which you can shuffle
> through quickly to look at all your options, then decide which one
> you'll pick. Stacked tabs ?
>

Stacked tabs might be a bit too literal for the types of Giftzwerg, who
would go sniffing around for clues of card-driven impurity before tossing
the two of us into a bonfire.

Now seriously. Yes, that's the idea. From that perspective, AGEOD leader
activation mechanics are the closest thing in a computer wargame. But
those are way *too random* actually: activation doesn't take into account
the player, is just something that happens, like raining.

A way closer thing would be to have *variable* command delays. I think in
Command Ops these are in place, but there's an "upper bound" on those
delays.

Hmmm, coming up with good examples of such mechanics - which aren't
better accounted by high-fidelity modeling - implies moving upwards in
abstraction, perhaps to the strategic level (in a similar way as the BoB
game you mentioned).

Cheers,

Miquel.

sunb...@gmail.com

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 12:23:04 PM1/19/12
to
> This seems to go beyond that though. They appear to be going out of
> their way to create extra drama and say 'fuck you' to anyone who wants
> to mod the game.
>
> "We've created an open data base that anyone can access but the game
> prevents you from actually changing anything."
>
> "We've created a text based scripting language for our scenarios
> (otherwise why mention notepad) but we won't let you access the
> information."
>
> If they want to lock it down, why go out of their way to point out
> that they have an open system all in place, they just don't want
> anyone to use it?
>
> >True professionals like people messing with their games - it sells
> >copies
>
> Yeah, this whole thing does feel terribly bush league.
>
> Rgds, Frank

Hi Frank,

A few points to clarify.

1) A scenario editor is built-in with the game and will ship with the game. The video linked in the post that started this thread shows the ease with which one can use this editor to construct a scenario. We are confident that the scenarios produced from the community will easily match, and probably best, the scenarios bundled with the game.

2) The game will probably ship with 2 different databases, together covering the 1945-2020+ period. These databases will not be amendable to _third-party_ editing, but will be continuously updated (in fact, they already are; check this thread for example: http://warfaresims.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=6302) with new research as well as info provided by the game's community. The reason for the no-3rd party policy has to do with past abuse of the database openness in the H2/3 community (see example here: http://www.warfaresims.com/?p=1262).

We have received feedback from the community on ways to counter the obvious negative effects of this restriction, and we are examining them. If we can accommodate the need for per-scenario tinkering of DB values without leaving the DBs open to plagiarism, we will try hard to.

3) Scenarios will be editable in the game's scenario editor. They will, however, not be editable by an external editor e.g. Notepad, since the file's contents are encrypted. This again has to do with preventing wholesale ripping & plagiarism. Members of the game's community have asked for making this encryption optional, so that this protection can be applied selectively (and enable more manipulation of the scenario). We are considering this.

I hope that this addresses your concerns.

Cheers,
Dimitris
WarfareSims.com

Vincenzo Beretta

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 1:25:35 PM1/19/12
to
> Ok, you don't find this practice kosher on a wargame setting

No, I don't find it kosher on a lot of genres - almost all, actually.
However, in classic adventures you solve puzzles and enigmas, and you are
rewarded with a new bit of narrative, until you have the wholestory. Same in
most FPS, RPGs etc.

Have you ever wondered why the less "narrative" genre of them all, wargames,
produces the best narrative in videogames, i.e. AARs? Because in other games
meeting challenge is rewarded by a bit of storytelling, whereas in wargames
meeting challenge *actually builds the story*. This is why people follow,
let's say, good War in the Pacific AARs like if they are dramas published
two-three times a week. Just go on AE forum and look for GreyJoy's one.

> In the context of a campaign game, where you have a "game master",
> I can well live with the occasional failure.

Well, I'm the game master of my current D&D campaign and I can assure you of
one thing. Should I ever say "Your courage and your flair for battle killed
the dragon with minimum losses - pity that, you realize, you are dead
anyway..." I will not survive.

> The argument was more complex than saying to anyone "shut up you
> moron".

I saw, I only distilled the significant bit :o)

> Hmmm, I don't recall the Argentinian Air Force to have a Regiment
> of Backfires at hand.

You haven't watched the video I posted, have you?

> (Schiller's quote is still wrong, BTW).

What's the right quote?

It was not Schiller, but *Joan of Arc*, in "Die Jungfrau von Orleans" by
Schiller, who said "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain."

Now, this may seem nitpicking, but differentiating what a character says
from what his writer says it quite important (or Manzoni would be a stupid
because Don Abbondio says stupid things). Beside, if you don't do that, you
lose the ability to distinguish the real world from fiction - which is, BTW,
a nice sigil to that streak of rants ^^

> Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim: Buggy engine, terrible game design,
> they have mod tools.

The jury isstill out on Oblivion, but... Skyrim?? And, re bugs and bad
design decisions, thanks God for the modtools.

> Daggerfall: solid engine, good game design

Daggerfall was probably the most buggy game ever when it got released. Check
its history.

> And your point is?

That when the modding scene became integral part of PC gaming, between 1998
and 2000, Bethesda published "Morrowind" and there are still mods being done
for it even today.

> That's what you say. That someone says X doesn't mean that X is true

I can assure you that some people think that it is :^D

> course. If such was the case then, coming forward with copies of
> the two versions of the database and pointing to a difference
> in their checksums, so people could check by themselves,
> would have proven what you say.

Well, no, because *I* could have manipulated one of the two copies.
Manipulating DBs to make people look bad works two ways...

However, fair enough. I can only point out the LONG explanation about how
OBVIOUSLY DBs are changed (something that no one ever challenged) while the
core of the case, the "unannounced" posted just above, is somehow untouched
^^

> 1) ok, they just released 6.11. Time to migrate my scenarios.
> 2) I use the beta script I got from my buddy.

Ah, yup, the legendary tool. Have you ever seen it, BTW?

> 3) For some reason database object ID's are messed.
> 4) Oh Sh*t!

Either that or *this*: "How to crash a database in six steps"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY_zJGXx-0Q

But, please, before making a call watch the video this time :o)

> Comparisons with the Omerta are bad taste.

Imagine the Omerta itself, then...

Frank E

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 1:54:06 PM1/19/12
to
On Thu, 19 Jan 2012 09:23:04 -0800 (PST), sunb...@gmail.com wrote:

>> This seems to go beyond that though. They appear to be going out of
>> their way to create extra drama and say 'fuck you' to anyone who wants
>> to mod the game.
>>
>> "We've created an open data base that anyone can access but the game
>> prevents you from actually changing anything."
>>
>> "We've created a text based scripting language for our scenarios
>> (otherwise why mention notepad) but we won't let you access the
>> information."
>>
>> If they want to lock it down, why go out of their way to point out
>> that they have an open system all in place, they just don't want
>> anyone to use it?
>>
>> >True professionals like people messing with their games - it sells
>> >copies
>>
>> Yeah, this whole thing does feel terribly bush league.
>>
>> Rgds, Frank
>
>Hi Frank,
>
>A few points to clarify.
>
>1) A scenario editor is built-in with the game and will ship with the game. The video linked in the post that started this thread shows the ease with which one can use this editor to construct a scenario. We are confident that the scenarios produced from the community will easily match, and probably best, the scenarios bundled with the game.
>
>2) The game will probably ship with 2 different databases, together covering the 1945-2020+ period. These databases will not be amendable to _third-party_ editing, but will be continuously updated (in fact, they already are; check this thread for example: http://warfaresims.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=6302) with new research as well as info provided by the game's community. The reason for the no-3rd party policy has to do with past abuse of the database openness in the H2/3 community (see example here: http://www.warfaresims.com/?p=1262).

Seriously? You're planning to sell me a game for $60 (or whatever) and
then you're worried that I'm going to plagiarize your database by
modifying it? That makes absolutely no sense.

Let me also point out that there's no such thing as a perfect
database. There are always going to be gray areas where knowledgable
people disagree. Would you rather have them bitching to you about
changing it or just let them change things on their own to be more in
line with what they believe is right.

>We have received feedback from the community on ways to counter the obvious negative effects of this restriction, and we are examining them. If we can accommodate the need for per-scenario tinkering of DB values without leaving the DBs open to plagiarism, we will try hard to.

Not only should you 'leave it open to plagiarism', you should be
embracing it! You should take it as a complement to your game that
anybody cares enough to dig into the DB. They're almost certainly
adding value to your product and it's not costing you a dime.
Insulting those people by calling it plagiarism is just stupid.

>
>3) Scenarios will be editable in the game's scenario editor. They will, however, not be editable by an external editor e.g. Notepad, since the file's contents are encrypted. This again has to do with preventing wholesale ripping & plagiarism.

Again, why do you care?

Rgds, Frank

Miguel Ramirez

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 3:09:24 PM1/19/12
to


> No, I don't find it kosher on a lot of genres - almost all, actually.
> However, in classic adventures you solve puzzles and enigmas, and you
> are rewarded with a new bit of narrative, until you have the wholestory.
> Same in most FPS, RPGs etc.
>
> Have you ever wondered why the less "narrative" genre of them all,
> wargames, produces the best narrative in videogames, i.e. AARs? Because
> in other games meeting challenge is rewarded by a bit of storytelling,
> whereas in wargames meeting challenge *actually builds the story*. This
> is why people follow, let's say, good War in the Pacific AARs like if
> they are dramas published two-three times a week. Just go on AE forum
> and look for GreyJoy's one.
>

Thanks for the heads up. If one day I decide to go back to the mess
WitP:AE was, I will. Is it better than the ones by Cuttlefish?

That wargames the best narrative in videogames is a *highly* debatable
topic. And regarding WitP AAR's, the best ever was the one by Cuttlefish.
I lost interest in WitP a year and a half ago. And I think it was too
late. You won't hear me moaning around places "Hey, give me back those
years of my life".


>> In the context of a campaign game, where you have a "game master", I
>> can well live with the occasional failure.
>
> Well, I'm the game master of my current D&D campaign and I can assure
> you of one thing. Should I ever say "Your courage and your flair for
> battle killed the dragon with minimum losses - pity that, you realize,
> you are dead anyway..." I will not survive.
>

Hmmm, really? Who are you playing with? Sixteen year olds? Come up with a
*good* story and I'll let your dragon disintegrate my character at any
time (or kill half the Starks). Be sadistic like that without a good
story and then that will be the last time I play (or I read you) with you.

>> The argument was more complex than saying to anyone "shut up you
>> moron".
>
> I saw, I only distilled the significant bit :o)
>

Or misrepresented the argument.

>> Hmmm, I don't recall the Argentinian Air Force to have a Regiment of
>> Backfires at hand.
>
> You haven't watched the video I posted, have you?
>

What video Vincenzo? I can't find any youtube link in your previous
messages.

> Now, this may seem nitpicking, but differentiating what a character says
> from what his writer says it quite important (or Manzoni would be a
> stupid because Don Abbondio says stupid things). Beside, if you don't do
> that, you lose the ability to distinguish the real world from fiction -
> which is, BTW, a nice sigil to that streak of rants ^^
>

You said it all. I find that like saying that it wasn't Murdoch the one
speaking when the sock puppet spoke, but the sock puppet itself. To be
honest, it's not only nit-picking but also "correct" in the sense that
Romantics just picked up historical characters and used them to their
leisure to put forward the values or whatever the author wanted.

>> That's what you say. That someone says X doesn't mean that X is true
>
> I can assure you that some people think that it is :^D
>
>> course. If such was the case then, coming forward with copies of the
>> two versions of the database and pointing to a difference in their
>> checksums, so people could check by themselves, would have proven what
>> you say.
>
> Well, no, because *I* could have manipulated one of the two copies.
> Manipulating DBs to make people look bad works two ways...
>

Vincenzo, when you will realize you sound like someone who doesn't have a
clue at all about databases and worse, pretend that nobody knows about
those?

> However, fair enough. I can only point out the LONG explanation about
> how OBVIOUSLY DBs are changed (something that no one ever challenged)
> while the core of the case, the "unannounced" posted just above, is
> somehow untouched ^^
>

Sigh. They released new database version, they change the ID's for many
objects in the database. Were they supposed to announce it in any way? I
mean, like sending e-mails to people or anything? Seems not

http://forums.gamesquad.com/showthread.php?23949-Official-request-to-
Don&p=294190&viewfull=1#post294190
[...]
A little bit of information about the DB2k and Scenarios created.

First and foremost the database 2000 is not a product of AGSI but a
product of Ragnar Emsoy. The game comes with a db editor and Ragnar has
consistently updated and developed into a resource all parties use. For
those of you into metrics this is easily 1000's of hours of work. He has
done so tirelessly and doesn't charge a dime for it. It is a resource
freely distributed to the community because he likes the game and he is
doing a service to the players.

Now because its updated regularly there has always been an understanding
that as the database is updated the scenarios must be updated too because
the database version and the scenario must match. Ragnar does maintain
and update scenarios on his site however he has never been responsible or
the scenarios on other people's sites or hard drives. That is a
reasonable expectation because the knowledge on how to do it is provided.

Now from what Herman/Vince have pinned up on your board (with screenshots
and all) they are claiming that the database changed. This is not news as
its updated all the time and certainly not the responsibility of Ragnar
to fix. It is Ragnars database and he can do what he wishes with it. It
is up to Herman and the scenario writers to learn how to update their
scenarios to the database they are using.

If Herman wishes to host and maintain scenarios using the DB2k it is his
responsibility to keep them properly updated. It is not Ragnar's. He just
provides the resource and is by no means obligated into some sort of
service or social contract. All of these errors can be rectified by
opening the scenario deleting the bad units and entering new one's. This
is nothing new and not all that difficult. Seriously about 10 seconds per
unit. It just requires the motivation to do so.

Now if folks don't like this thats okay. There are other databases out
there and more importantly a database editor. So they have the ability to
create and use other databases if they don't like how Ragnar updates his
database or does business.
[...]

So don't give me any "unannounced" crap. Eventually the layout of the
Database on which Ragnar was working changed so much with respect the
layout of the database, that the ancient version of the object ID
remapping tool some people acquired stopped working. In other words, that
was previously the usual practice - download Ragnar's database, make a
pass over your scenarios to make them conform the DB layout with an old
version of an script - just, out of the blue, stopped working.

Why couldn't you find someone with some programming knowledge to write
for you guys your own tool? Wasn't anybody like that in your circle of
Harpooners? Sincerely, that's very unlikely.

It's bad to keep "secret" such tools? Yes, it is. Because if they prove
to be really useful, some people who really want it will go very far in
order to get it. That I've already granted you: keeping tools that
further the "public" good away from the public isn't a good thing in my
book.

>> 1) ok, they just released 6.11. Time to migrate my scenarios. 2) I use
>> the beta script I got from my buddy.
>
> Ah, yup, the legendary tool. Have you ever seen it, BTW?
>

Not "legendary", it's something that anybody who has worked as a Database
Manager has written at least once. So I don't need to see it, because I
just wrote a similar tool *two days ago* in a different context for a
different kind of database, just for the very same reasons Ragnar wrote
his tool. If I can do it in my spare time or between breaks at work, why
should I presume nobody else can?

It doesn't precisely sound to me as black magic at all. To others,
perhaps it sounds like writing new pages in the Necronomicon. But
actually it's a quite worldly affair.

>> 3) For some reason database object ID's are messed. 4) Oh Sh*t!
>
> Either that or *this*: "How to crash a database in six steps"
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY_zJGXx-0Q
>
> But, please, before making a call watch the video this time :o)
>

Now you provide the link. But let me remind you that videos aren't
arguments, illustrate arguments. And your "argument" is that changing
fields that are primary key of a DB register is bad news for applications
trying to process documents trying to ? That's *so* enlightening
Vincenzo... I already understood the problem you were having, by the way.

Are you saying this to me or it's a gesture to the "gallery"?

And I wonder what was kind of agreement was between DB2000 author and
maintainer and "unaffiliated" scenario designers, as this guy pointed out
very clearly 7!!! years ago

http://forums.gamesquad.com/showthread.php?23949-Official-request-to-
Don&p=294207&viewfull=1#post294207

[...]
Well let me ask you this. Why wasn't Ragnar contacted ahead of time and
why was it posted directly to a third party user lists. Was it looking
for a resolution or was it looking for a very public argument? Why was it
posted twice to your list and once pinned? (Ahead of AGSI support links I
might add). Just looks like a problem was being looked for rather than
asked about.

Now in terms of practice, Rag lays out his policies here.

http://www.harpoonhq.com/harpoon3/instructions.html

He clearly says that he's only responsible for scenarios on the HHQ and
not other websites. The only guarantee is that he'll maintain the HHQ's.
So up to other other sites to guarantee the quality on their own. That
means double checking and doing the work it takes to maintain Harpoon
scenarios.

In terms of purposefully changing the values to screw up another's work.
It certainly looks that way from what Reck posted and how he posted it.
However the database is updated all the time and I don't think Ragnar
needs to be hung up on some cross for it.

Personally I think if Vince had just emailed Rag and asked whats up to
begin with all this noise would have never happened. Instead we needed to
incite the mob.....and I don't think it was just because of a screwy
database update thats for sure.
[...]

Note the first sentence in the last paragraph, Vincenzo. If you had
written that e-mail, we wouldn't be discussing this.

Now I've spent more than an hour writing this rather than going home.
Should I get mad at you because "you made me waste an hour of my life"?

Again: "Common seeeeeeeense, where art ya?"

Cheers,

Miquel.

Miguel Ramirez

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 3:42:56 PM1/19/12
to

> arguments, illustrate arguments. And your "argument" is that changing
> fields that are primary key of a DB register is bad news for
> applications trying to process documents trying to ? That's *so*

Now that's an example of "thinking in Spanish and writing in English".
Sorry guys for not coming out coherently. But I do like to re-read what I
write on the Internet.

That should read:

And you "argument" is that changing fields that are primary key in a
relational database is bad new for applications that rely on snapshots of
the database?

That's something who knows about databases learn in the trade: either
developing a web application which is exporting data for batch processing
by a server application or developing a videogame :-)

A couple things more (since it's so late and I'll need a cab to get back
home, it doesn't matter anymore):

1) Why didn't you write that e-mail to Ragnar, Vincenzo? Can you tell us
7 years after the deed?

2) In the video you linked you were compacting a Microsoft Access
database (see the pop-up that comes up just in between 0:45 and 1:00),
afterwards we can see you clicking the option on the menu. That's a bit
weird, causes (clicking on buttons) usually go before effects (pop-ups
telling you stuff), not the other way around.

3) What happens when one compacts an Access Database?

Let me explain to you that when a register is deleted from a relational
database, most implementations do not change the layout on the disk of
the data in order to not have to recompute indices - i.e. internal tables
which allow to speed up look up of data based by making queries over its
primary key in a WHERE statement for instance - and other stuff
particular to the database management system you use.

That's a delicate operation you don't do on a whim, Vincenzo (regardless
of what M$ "documentation" says). These indices don't get recomputed
every time you drop a register from a table for a variety of good
reasons. The first one that comes into my mind is efficiency and
potential inconsistencies when dropping a collection of registers
(because primary or foreign keys becoming invalid).

So let's say, a few registers were deleted somewhere. Something perfectly
reasonable that hardly can be used as proof of malignant intention.

Compact & Repair changes the layout in the disk, removing dead references
and probably changing the values of any Automatic ID fields in your
tables. Then you take an snapshot - by exporting it to the Harpoon
format. You make an scenario. Then you use a different database, which
hasn't got applied Compact & Repair. You export that one. You try to load
the scenario - originally made with compacted and "repaired" version of
the database - with a copy of the un-compacted database. You more than
probably just shot yourself in the foot, Vincenzo.

Cheers,

Miquel.

Giftzwerg

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 5:04:55 PM1/19/12
to
In article <jf9gid$2oh$2...@dont-email.me>, miquel....@gmail.com
says...

> Stacked tabs might be a bit too literal for the types of Giftzwerg, who
> would go sniffing around for clues of card-driven impurity before tossing
> the two of us into a bonfire.

Hmmm. Even with the knowledge that this paragraph is firmly tongue-in-
cheek, I'd say it's you guys who are bent on preaching the siren song of
"cards," whereas I'm just the dog in the manger observing that "cards"
are just another way of compromising the power of the PC with the notion
that "it needs to work on paper first."

A better compromise? Maybe. You haven't convinced me. But where I
come from is the position that "CRTs" or "cards" are both *bad*
representations of a real-world military situation when our purpose here
is discussing how to leverage the properties of increasingly capable
computers to directly represent military realities.

Giftzwerg

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 5:07:35 PM1/19/12
to
In article <GFsYT2KWZCG4lR...@4ax.com>,
fakea...@hotmail.com says...

> Not only should you 'leave it open to plagiarism', you should be
> embracing it! You should take it as a complement to your game that
> anybody cares enough to dig into the DB. They're almost certainly
> adding value to your product and it's not costing you a dime.
> Insulting those people by calling it plagiarism is just stupid.

I dunno. Here I would observe quite simply that one of the worst
disasters to befall HARPOON2-X was the proliferation of "databases" that
were mutually incompatible and ended up as vexing trouble-spots for
aspiring players.

I know I fall into that category.

Bostonmyk

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 6:11:28 PM1/19/12
to
On Jan 19, 1:54 pm, Frank E <fakeaddr...@hotmail.com> wrote:
Hi Frank,

We've moved the mod capability from the database to the scenario. You
can add and remove mounts, sensors, weapons and the rebuilder lets you
do a couple of neat things which for the most part is what editors
want to do. So we're not exactly taking away and a freeze on db edit
capability isn't set in stone. The nice part is we can go another way
if it turns out to be a bad decision.

The driver behind all this is to minimize mismatch issues as Gifty
mentioned and prevent the community from screwing each other over by
stealing each others work.

Thanks

MM



Thanks

MM

Bostonmyk

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 6:45:24 PM1/19/12
to
On Jan 19, 2:19 am, "eddyster...@hotmail.com"
<eddyster...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> On 18 jan, 23:45, Bostonmyk <boston...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> > When and if we do an open beta can you take a look and give some input
> > on our interface? We really want to do a good job.
>
> Too late. I already read enough about it to know that this is not
> going to be a game for me. Too detailed and not enough abstraction. I
> realize that those details are the heart of the game and in there by
> design and more power to you if you like that.
>
> Nevertheless, purely out of curiosity I sure would have appreciated a
> video that was a) clear and b) had some audio which explained what was
> going on. But a 13 minute grainy image video of a guy clicking left
> and right on unreadable menu-options ?  What idiot thought that was a
> good idea to promote the game ?
>
> Greetz,
>
> Eddy Sterckx

The game is very detailed but I think its pretty approachable.

Thanks for your input on the video Eddy. I am not really sure how to
say "no" to anyone trying to help out but will try and do better in
the future

MM

Bostonmyk

unread,
Jan 19, 2012, 8:27:33 PM1/19/12
to
The only thing that ever really gets me annoyed is they're missing the
best opportunity they'll ever have to get the game they want beyond
building one themselves. Much of our game development has been driven
by implementing things that people request and given some effort they
could have been in positions to make big design decisions. Its a big
bummer especially if you consider that the alternative doesn't seem to
going anywhere but as one big bug collection on utube.

MM

eddys...@hotmail.com

unread,
Jan 20, 2012, 2:37:46 AM1/20/12
to
On 20 jan, 00:45, Bostonmyk <boston...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Thanks for your input on the video Eddy. I am not really sure how to
> say "no" to anyone trying to help out

It's called an NDA.

That way you don't need to say "no", and you only say "yes" to stuff
that actually gives a good first impression of your game. But I'm sure
you figured that out already.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

eddys...@hotmail.com

unread,
Jan 20, 2012, 2:35:24 AM1/20/12
to
On 19 jan, 23:04, Giftzwerg <giftzwerg...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> In article <jf9gid$2o...@dont-email.me>, miquel.rami...@gmail.com
> says...
>
> > Stacked tabs might be a bit too literal for the types of Giftzwerg, who
> > would go sniffing around for clues of card-driven impurity before tossing
> > the two of us into a bonfire.
>
> Hmmm.  Even with the knowledge that this paragraph is firmly tongue-in-
> cheek, I'd say it's you guys who are bent on preaching the siren song of
> "cards," whereas I'm just the dog in the manger observing that "cards"
> are just another way of compromising the power of the PC with the notion
> that "it needs to work on paper first."

A world-class wargame developer with above average programming skills
might be able to create a pc wargame that goes beyond hex & counters
and doesn't suck. Lesser mortals better go through many iterations on
paper to make sure their wargame works as a game before they start
coding.

You know that challenge that got talked about in here ? A pc wargame
developed in a year. Well, I'm happy to say that we've already beta-
tested the paper design twice, both resulting in rather radical
changes. Changes that for an idiot who would have started coding
immediatly would have meant re-doing months of work - or, and this is
the sad reality of pc wargame design : it wouldn't get redone, because
too much work got sunk into it already and developers just hate to
throw that all away.

That's why so many pc wargames have seriously over- or underdeveloped
pieces : their design never got tested until it was too late.

> A better compromise?  Maybe.  You haven't convinced me.  But where I
> come from is the position that "CRTs" or "cards" are both *bad*
> representations of a real-world military situation when our purpose here
> is discussing how to leverage the properties of increasingly capable
> computers to directly represent military realities.

I've said it before and I'm saying it again : I'm a design for effect
guy. I don't give a hoot whether a developer uses cards or crt's or
even ouija boards, I just look at what effect it has on the game and
if it forces me to make the same tough choices the commander at the
time had to make.

Oh, and yes, my design has cards - lots of them :)

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Miguel Ramirez

unread,
Jan 20, 2012, 4:41:18 AM1/20/12
to

> could have been in positions to make big design decisions. Its a big
> bummer especially if you consider that the alternative doesn't seem to
> going anywhere but as one big bug collection on utube.
>

This last bit is a particularly sad affair.

Cheers,

Miquel.

Miguel Ramirez

unread,
Jan 20, 2012, 4:52:19 AM1/20/12
to

> You know that challenge that got talked about in here ? A pc wargame
> developed in a year. Well, I'm happy to say that we've already beta-
> tested the paper design twice, both resulting in rather radical changes.
> Changes that for an idiot who would have started coding immediatly would
> have meant re-doing months of work - or, and this is the sad reality of
> pc wargame design : it wouldn't get redone, because too much work got
> sunk into it already and developers just hate to throw that all away.
>

Interesting and happy news :) Keep us posted on this, please. And if you
need help with the programming or anything technical, let me tell you
have one here who can help and would be delighted to do so just for the
sake of a unfortunately somewhat sleepy hobby.

Cheers,

Miquel.

eddys...@hotmail.com

unread,
Jan 20, 2012, 6:01:49 AM1/20/12
to
Step 1 : get it working as a game
Step 2 : get it out there as a free print&play or POD publication
Step 3 : convert it to digital format

Believe it or not, but Step 1 is the most difficult part :)

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

Giftzwerg

unread,
Jan 20, 2012, 6:10:18 AM1/20/12
to
In article <e9f6c1ca-aae6-4e26-b4d6-1973bfc426b9@
1g2000yqv.googlegroups.com>, eddys...@hotmail.com says...

> > Hmmm.  Even with the knowledge that this paragraph is firmly tongue-in-
> > cheek, I'd say it's you guys who are bent on preaching the siren song of
> > "cards," whereas I'm just the dog in the manger observing that "cards"
> > are just another way of compromising the power of the PC with the notion
> > that "it needs to work on paper first."
>
> A world-class wargame developer with above average programming skills
> might be able to create a pc wargame that goes beyond hex & counters
> and doesn't suck. Lesser mortals better go through many iterations on
> paper to make sure their wargame works as a game before they start
> coding.

<shrug>

Then they'll end up with a mediocre, compromised, and thoroughly
forgettable PC game - regardless of how "modern" their paper & pencil
rules are.

Giftzwerg

unread,
Jan 20, 2012, 6:12:08 AM1/20/12
to
In article <7ffccf94-b8c1-4d8b-b8de-0a2798b1bf48
@g41g2000yqa.googlegroups.com>, eddys...@hotmail.com says...

> > Interesting and happy news :) Keep us posted on this, please. And if you
> > need help with the programming or anything technical, let me tell you
> > have one here who can help and would be delighted to do so just for the
> > sake of a unfortunately somewhat sleepy hobby.
>
> Step 1 : get it working as a game
> Step 2 : get it out there as a free print&play or POD publication
> Step 3 : convert it to digital format
>
> Believe it or not, but Step 1 is the most difficult part :)

The three games I most play would not exist if the designers had
followed this appallingly bad advice.

Miguel Ramirez

unread,
Jan 20, 2012, 6:14:33 AM1/20/12
to

> Step 1 : get it working as a game
> Step 2 : get it out there as a free print&play or POD publication Step 3
> : convert it to digital format
>
> Believe it or not, but Step 1 is the most difficult part :)
>

I believe it Eddy :)

Cheers,

Miquel.

eddys...@hotmail.com

unread,
Jan 20, 2012, 7:19:59 AM1/20/12
to
On 20 jan, 12:12, Giftzwerg <giftzwerg...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> In article <7ffccf94-b8c1-4d8b-b8de-0a2798b1bf48
> @g41g2000yqa.googlegroups.com>, eddyster...@hotmail.com says...
>
> > > Interesting and happy news :) Keep us posted on this, please. And if you
> > > need help with the programming or anything technical, let me tell you
> > > have one here who can help and would be delighted to do so just for the
> > > sake of a unfortunately somewhat sleepy hobby.
>
> > Step 1 : get it working as a game
> > Step 2 : get it out there as a free print&play or POD publication
> > Step 3 : convert it to digital format
>
> > Believe it or not, but Step 1 is the most difficult part :)
>
> The three games I most play would not exist if the designers had
> followed this appallingly bad advice.

Brilliant designer don't need to follow my advice, this advice is
meant for the rest of them.

This is a numbers game.

The amount of people who can design a good game is limited - you need
only check the BGG developer's forum to see that.

The subset of those who can design a good wargame is even more
limited.

The infinitesimal small portion of those who are also good at
programming produce 1 great pc wargame every 3 years.

But, wait, what if you weren't looking at just that small overlap
between great designers and good coders, but could convince good
coders to take one of those great designs and convert that to a
digital format ?

Just look at what got released in 2011 and tell me 95% of them
wouldn't have been better games if the developer had spend his coding
time on someone else's design i