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Game Project
FtoomshDate: Wednesday, 04/September/2013, 1:09 AM | Message # 1
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I posted a thread about a possible cooperative game project in 2014. I posted it in C1 Modding with feeder threads from C2 and AC. This was a mistake. I expected all discussion to consolidate in the C1 thread but discussion has spread through all threads. This is entirely my mistake. I should have realised that would happen. My other mistake was to outline an excessive wish-list which de-railed the whole discussion. Nowy has suggested I post a new thread in general chat. We should keep the discussion to this thread. What has already been written in other threads is not lost. Early discussers are generally aware of it but newcomers to this discussion can safely ignore previous threads and just follow this discussion.

BACKGROUND

A feature of this gaming community, like many gaming communties, is the fracturing or splintering of the game community throughout a number of games and mods. By this I mean some people play C1, some play C2, some play AC/FB/DN and some play various mods of each of these. An already relatively small community is splintered through various variants and mods of what are essentially all "cold steel and musket" games. A further issue is that the modding effort is also splintered as modders work on modding C1 or C2  or AC etc.

ANALYSING THE SPLINTERING OF THE COMMUNITY

People gravitate to and then stick with the game model which they prefer and become good at. This is a rather obvious statement but true all the same. If we look at it we can categorise the variants of games and mods with a few parameters.

Parameter 1 - Small or Large?

Small games tend to be tactical and large games tend to be strategic. In small games you often micro tactics squad by squad. In large games you tend to manouvre and engage large formations strategically with less need to micro tactics squad by squad. I will pick some arbitrary dividing lines. Up to 2,000 units per player we can call a small game when formations exist to assist troop handling. From 2,000 to 8,000 units per player we can term it a medium sized game. Over 8000 units per player we can term it a large game. People might think these numbers are high but please accept these definitions for now.

Parameter 2 - Arcade or Human Realism?

Arcade style (to use the terminology of the C2 menu) means there are no morale or fatigue effects. Human Realism means there are.

Parameter 3 - Military Distortion or Military Realism?

Military Distortion means sight ranges, weapon ranges, weapon effects and ammunition supply are unrealistically modelled. Military Realism means these aspects are made as realistic as possible while keeping the game playable.

Parameter 4 - The Growth and Engagement Model.

This refers to whether the game model is;

( a ) RTS - Economic growth from a small base and then conversion of economic resources into military resources.
( b ) Battlefield - Military units only, all pre-positioned on a potential battlefield.
( c ) Mobilisation -  Military units plus significant military works. Only forward elements start on map. Off map armies must be mobilised and forward deployed.

OVERCOMING THE SPLINTERING OF THE COMMUNITY

All of the above styles could theoretically be catered for in one game, or in our case one mod. What would be required would be menu selctions. So, in the menu selction you set the population ceiling per player. It could be anything from 1,000 to 16,000 (say) in doubling increment. (E.G. 1,000 or 2,000 or 4,000 or 8,000 or 16,000.) You would also set map size appropriate to unit size selection.

The you would set the other parameters (Arcade or Human Realism), (Military Distortion or Military Realism), (RTS or Battlefield or Mobilisation).

Thus one game caters to all tastes. The community would still, in a sense, splinter through these types. At the same time, the game interface and control would now be the same. Cross-playing, if I can call it that, would become more common. People would be more willing to try another style as adaptation to it would be easier. The player interface, controls and even general feel of the game would be more familiar to them.

Modders would now all work in the same mod but developing the sub-game style they are most interested in.

SUMMING UP

Clearly, the most advanced engine available would be the right engine for the project. This means the engine that can do the most things and achieve all the effects and models outlined above. It is also likely that a lot of existing work, at least in the engine chosen, would be useable and could be incorporated in modular fashion into the project. This would require that people demonstrate a "sharing with the community project" approach to their work. Of course, coming on board to such a project would be entirely voluntary. But once on board that would be the approach required.

I have no idea if this suggestion will strike a chord with the community. I am a late-comer to this forum and my modding credentials to date are low. My general community credibility realistically must also be "newcomer - real credentials unproven".

I am not even suggesting that I should lead the project if it ever got off the ground. In fact, in many ways I would prefer that someone more experienced, credentialled and recognised as a modder and programmer would lead the project. The leader might best be a person who is just that, a LEADER as well as an organiser and facilitator with existing high respect from the community. Personally, I would rather fill a role more like concept designer and RTS theorist. The mobilisation model would certainly require a lot of concept development. It is a rather new idea and has not been done in the genre to my knowledge.


Message edited by Ftoomsh - Wednesday, 04/September/2013, 2:11 AM
 
NowyDate: Thursday, 05/September/2013, 4:22 PM | Message # 2
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Finally you wrote here.

You recognized your earlier mistakes, but still cast too much words.
Reading such long posts could take too much time. Do not forget that programmers dislike long discussion.
These people are wellcome in new game project I suppose.

Let's try be more laconic.

BACKGROUND

All C1, AC, C2 games were based on "cold steel and musket" eras.
Those could mean that better base new projcet on chosen period from 17th to 19th centuries.
Therefore I suggested Napoleonic Wars which are well known and there could be easier find historical background.
Then modders could get better research there.

ANALYSING

I prefer such parameters.

P1 = Large game
with Grand Starategy Campaign, RTS skirmishes and Battlefield modes.
Big tactical maps with proper terrain conditions, simply buildings and units squads.
Roads, foot path, destroyable temporary bridges etc.

P2 = Human realism
with morale and fatigue effects, natural human and animal behaviours.

P3 = Military realism, but
with some simplicity and distortions which will keep the game playable

P4 = Include all 3 modes.
a) RTS
b) Mobilisation
c) Battlefield

SUMMING UP

All these parameters and modes are represented in C2 BFE, however it needs many improvements, especially in P1, P2 and P3 matters.
This game also had the most advanced engine available in Cossacks series games. This engine could be taken as base for new project.
It would be hard find skilled moders which can take part in this project, but it is still hopeful.

SIDE NOTE

Quote ("Ftoomsh")
  The mobilisation model would certainly require a lot of concept development. It is a rather new idea and has not been done in the genre to my knowledge. 


Try Battle for Europe Campaign in C2 BFE.  This is not perfect model, but you can find there grand strategy, mobilisation, battles and skirmishes. These needs some work under global map of Europe and that could be a problem, because this is not easy case.
Nevertheless it include more aspects than simple RTS or Battlefield model.


Message edited by Nowy - Thursday, 05/September/2013, 4:25 PM
 
MarshalDate: Thursday, 05/September/2013, 11:25 PM | Message # 3
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If you don't mind I will like to put in my opinion.  Be simple.  Really, aim for one idea first.  When it proves itself to be what you wanted or at least close enough to satisfy your desires, then go for the next idea.
I would first decide on map size.  Large would be best to start because once you can create large maps you can create smaller ones tailored to your other concepts.  It also helps in deciding which one of your realism/arcade concepts would be best suited when it comes to mobilization and other aspects that you have in mind.
Map size will also be a determining factor in choosing which game engine to mod.  CII doesn't allow for very large maps, and even if it did you would have to consider PC resources to play in a satisfactory fashion.  I have a pentium 4 CPU, 1 gig RAM and a 128 MB video card. I can't play the largest maps without the system lagging and giving 2 FPS when there's tons of action.  Playing acfb, I was able to play largest maps and have 4 nations and no lag to speak of.  So map size and how the game taxes a PC's resources must be considered.  I know my PC is weak, I can always upgrade it, but that's just an example and an experience I thought would be helpful to share.
Go for maximum realism after map size and engine type.  An example.  Age of Empires III.  It has small maps so that right there is a limitation that is difficult to overcome.  Then realism, oh my, that is the game's greatest weakness.  To make it realistic would require lots of work, once that is accomplished however, you can change anything concerning realism thereafter.  For you and whoever joins in this venture, ACFB and CI/CII have an advantage, they incorporate a level of realism that can be built upon and altered.
If this realism thing also extends as far as moral, fatigue and resources at hand to use in battle, then you must look at all game aspects and closely examine the games that you are willing to mod.  Play them, each and every one of them, thoroughly and precisely.  Don't look over anything in these games and look at other mods that have been made for them to get an idea of what you would like to incorporate into your own mod.  You might even want to try ACDN, at least you will have an idea and can see which games offer what.  Look at them for yourself and then listen to what others have to say, you will be able to tell if what others are telling is truth and/or if they are trying to manipulate you into modding the game they want.  Believe me, if you don't know everything about this then it's easy to be mislead by others that think they know what they're saying.

Just my two sense.
Me


1st Prince de Wagram, 1st Duc de Valangin, 1st Sovereign Prince de Neuchatel, Marshal of France, Marshal Louis Alexandre Berthier

Message edited by ab_99 - Friday, 06/September/2013, 11:39 AM
 
NowyDate: Friday, 06/September/2013, 8:47 AM | Message # 4
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Marshal

You cast simple and reasonable remarks here.
However you could take your advices to yourself too.

Maps are not main feature in the game or mod. Could you play spoiled games on large maps?
Then simple map case did not work here. It is important factor, but not main factor I suppose.

Try find old threads in this section where people compared C1 and C2 games, and compared engines C2 and AC.
It is clear that C2 engine gives more opportunities to modding than AC. The latter allow use bigger maps and massed units.
It is enough for simple big scale battles, but it is not enough for realistic warfare, proper units behaviours, tactical and terrain conditions etc.

C2 allow include big maps and many, many unit too. However in such case it require resignation with some other features as like roads, villages, many fauna and flora elements etc. C2 units are more detalied, include some human behaviours. They works more smoothly and there could be deployed many squads too. C2 has better graphic, include beautiful, but poorly scaled and too detailed buildings. These features require better computers.
Nevertheles I believe that skilled modders could simplify several aspects in the game.


Message edited by ab_99 - Friday, 06/September/2013, 1:21 PM
 
MarshalDate: Friday, 06/September/2013, 10:38 PM | Message # 5
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I appreciate what you have said, truly do.  I wish to know what exactly I should point to myself as I felt that I was writing this because I follow this rule of thumb. I am not defending myself but sometimes I am blind to my own self and need others to point out my mistakes.  

      As for the maps priority, well, maybe I was being biased.  I always feel that bigger is better and after having been playing CII for a couple months now, I still feel ACFB gives a good amount of leeway in terms map size and everything else.  I could be wrong, CII is a whole lot more advanced and probably would need the least changes.  How big do the maps get and how playable are they?  Does the game allow dual GPU?  Well, I guess I should have first asked whether or not this game is CPU reliant or GPU reliant.  But my lack of knowledge is the reason why I suggested that Floomsh should thoroughly examine the games, weigh their strengths and weaknesses, listen to others and make an educated decision.  People who, like me, don't fully understand the games and try to say what game is best would be easy to uncover for someone who has a complete knowledge of the game at hand.  I see myself as being one of these and yup, realize I should keep my mouth shut on engine choosing.  

      Now what do you mean that ACFB is good for simple large battles?  After playing the Napoleonic mod for AC, I had to face the reality that my strategy and tactics were poor as I couldn't out general anybody.  I found hills to be my biggest weakness as I could not overcome anybody who, as Napoleon once said about Wellington at Waterloo, "fights sitting on his ass".  Terrain is a big deal of a challenge to who ever is on the lower end.  As for lifelikeness, yes, CII takes the cake by a long shot, the game has more human feel to it and makes you wish not to commit so many souls to their deaths.  
 
      The structures in CII are beautiful but are as you said "poorly scaled and too detailed".  The detail of the units are great but many have to be replaced as they are not all realistic.  Take the French mounted grenadier or lancer, they aren't designed at all after the real deal.  

      You could tell me a lot more I'm sure, but those are just my observations about the concerned games here.  Maybe map size isn't the most important factor here, but what I believe should be decided first is what period of history are we going to decide.  If it's Napoleonic then CII is your game as AC has been modded for that period, though, I feel it can be improved but that's up to debate.  If it's an other than deciding which engine would best fill the role desired would then be decided.  But to decide on engine first then era is exactly what went wrong with those who tried to make the first plane.  The Wright bros first designed the plane then the engine, I feel the same should be applied here.

Me.


1st Prince de Wagram, 1st Duc de Valangin, 1st Sovereign Prince de Neuchatel, Marshal of France, Marshal Louis Alexandre Berthier
 
NowyDate: Saturday, 07/September/2013, 11:14 AM | Message # 6
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Quote ("Marshal")
I appreciate what you have said, truly do.  I wish to know what exactly I should point to myself as I felt that I was writing this because I follow this rule of thumb. I am not defending myself but sometimes I am blind to my own self and need others to point out my mistakes.  


Everybody can makes mistakes, but better do not stay in mistakes.
Taking your words, you also could:
- be simple
- aim for one idea first
- then go to next ideas
Let's try to be more laconic and cast facts in masages too. Less usless words and more proven facts it is better for clear discussion.

Quote ("Marshal")
    As for the maps priority, well, maybe I was being biased.  I always feel that bigger is better and after having been playing CII for a couple months now, I still feel ACFB gives a good amount of leeway in terms map size and everything else.  I could be wrong, CII is a whole lot more advanced and probably would need the least changes.  How big do the maps get and how playable are they?  


Size map never was my main factor in the game. Nevertheless in editor mode you coud test how big they could be in C2.
 

Quote ("Marshal")
Does the game allow dual GPU?  Well, I guess I should have first asked whether or not this game is CPU reliant or GPU reliant.  


I am not programmer and my computer knowledge is very limited. I guess that other people here can give you better answer in that matter.
 

Quote ("Marshal")
Now what do you mean that ACFB is good for simple large battles?  


Yes, they are simple, it is mean that these big battles are limited to simple battlefield model. That dose not mean that they are simple to play.
 

Quote ("Marshal")
  Terrain is a big deal of a challenge to who ever is on the lower end.  As for lifelikeness, yes, CII takes the cake by a long shot, the game has more human feel to it and makes you wish not to commit so many souls to their deaths.  

That's why I prefer C2 than AC or HEW.
Terrain factor with more relalistic graphic and human behaviours are better represented in C2. However I want to see in the game less slughterhouse and more human reactions on danger, and more realistic combats. Organized wafare, worse fire arms accuracy, less kills and casualties, more retreats and military units surrender option are necessary.

Quote ("Marshal")
  The structures in CII are beautiful but are as you said "poorly scaled and too detailed".  The detail of the units are great but many have to be replaced as they are not all realistic.  Take the French mounted grenadier or lancer, they aren't designed at all after the real deal.  


C2 buildings of course are poorly scaled and too detailed. They are beautiful, but these elements are useless in military combats. These also require better computers. However modern machines give more opportunities to play even with more detailed elements.
 
Units in C2 are not so bad. In such small scale they are quite good. Even French mounted grenadier and lancer are acceptable. Keep an open mind, they implemented Vistula Uhlans for French, because that were very good and famous units in French service e.g. Battles of Albuera or Dresden. 
C2 also include another French lancers which were created from 6 Dragons regiments in 1810. Check it in editor mode please.

Quote ("Marshal")
 If it's Napoleonic then CII is your game as AC has been modded for that period, though, I feel it can be improved but that's up to debate.  If it's an other than deciding which engine would best fill the role desired would then be decided.  But to decide on engine first then era is exactly what went wrong with those who tried to make the first plane.  The Wright bros first designed the plane then the engine, I feel the same should be applied here.


Video games can not fly as the aeroplanes can do.
Game engine is important as base for modding I suppose.
More advanced engine is better.
 
Shorter and well known period is better for new project too.
Therefore I suggested C2 engine and Napoleonic Wars period.
 
FtoomshDate: Sunday, 08/September/2013, 10:51 AM | Message # 7
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Ebel_Angel seems to be away. Maybe on holiday or something. I will be interested in her opinion on best engine for such a project. Just to re-cap, I am looking for the engine that gives all or most of these factors and still allows the game to run acceptably on modern PCs;

( a ) Highest unit count possible.
( b ) Biggest maps possible.
( c ) Most realistic human behaviours.
( d ) Most realistic weapons performance.
( e ) Capability to extend menu system and incorporate all game types (RTS, Battlefield, Mobilisation).

As I said, this is a project suggestion for 2014. I would not see the project beginning until at least March 2014. It depends on whether there is enough interest. Although, if there is no interest I might attempt a project myself.

It is pretty clear that only C2 or AC/FB engines stand a chance. Unless morale, fatigue etc. can be added to C1 engine but I doubt it.


Message edited by Ftoomsh - Sunday, 08/September/2013, 10:52 AM
 
DaddioDate: Sunday, 08/September/2013, 3:50 PM | Message # 8
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I have not been adding anything to these discussions, mainly because I lack the knowledge to make any informed suggestions. 

But I do have some thoughts. 

I would think that each progression of engines, advancements were made. using this rational then C2 would be the best.

But even C2 has a lot of age on it. And I am not sure that it would work reliably on the more modern PC's out there now.

Windows 8, and 64bit PC seem to be a real problem. and without the support from the now defunct company, I fear we are doomed from the start.

I have not upgraded my pc from XP, because I do not want to give up my C2. But someday I will be out of options.

But with that said, I would be willing to help in any way I could with my limited skills on any project the group comes up with.


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MarshalDate: Sunday, 08/September/2013, 8:00 PM | Message # 9
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Quote (Ftoomsh)
( a ) Highest unit count possible. ( b ) Biggest maps possible.
( c ) Most realistic human behaviours.
( d ) Most realistic weapons performance.
( e ) Capability to extend menu system and incorporate all game types (RTS, Battlefield, Mobilisation).
Exactly what is the main priority from the list you stated?  
What era are you planning on covering?  
Are you planning on modifying the source codes?  
Are you gonna add new nations, units, building or anything else?
I just want to make sure I understand fully what the idea is.  You seam to be covering a bunch of stuff but I just want to know what the main priority is.
Me

Added (08/September/2013, 8:00 PM)
---------------------------------------------

Quote (Ftoomsh)
( a ) Highest unit count possible. ( b ) Biggest maps possible.
( c ) Most realistic human behaviours.
( d ) Most realistic weapons performance.
( e ) Capability to extend menu system and incorporate all game types (RTS, Battlefield, Mobilisation).
Exactly what is the main priority from the list you stated?  
What era are you planning on covering?  
Are you planning on modifying the source codes?  
Are you gonna add new nations, units, building or anything else?
I just want to make sure I understand fully what the idea is.  You seam to be covering a bunch of stuff but I just want to know what the main priority is.
Me


1st Prince de Wagram, 1st Duc de Valangin, 1st Sovereign Prince de Neuchatel, Marshal of France, Marshal Louis Alexandre Berthier
 
FtoomshDate: Monday, 09/September/2013, 0:01 AM | Message # 10
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To answer Marshal's points;

( 1 ) Unit counts of 16,000 troops per player (corps size) would be the minimum benchmark.
( 2 ) Maps the size of C1 2x maps would be about right but with roads and villages PLUS plenty of open ground too.
( 3 ) Either engine of C2 or AC/DN/FB would give adequate morale, fatigue, supply factors I think.

To answer Daddio's point;

Daddio has raised a very real concern. As these engines all are legacy now, could any of them be trusted to work in the future on future systems? Considering some articles I have read recently I am beginning to have serious doubts myself. My doubts have increased to the point that I think people who want to run legacy games, or even who want to run a desktop PC(!), will probably have to switch to Linux. And it's not easy from what I hear to get these games to run in Linux.

Why do I make this point about Linux? I suspect the common commercial systems, Microsoft and Apple will move to other devices (phones, tablets, notebooks, laptops etc.) Even Win 8 from what I hear is not really suitable for running a desktop PC. I have serious doubts that any OS system but Linux will support desktops in say five years time. I believe Microsoft and Apple are slowly but surely losing interest in supporting desktop PCs. That's just my opinion of course.

This certainly puts the whole idea in a doubtful position. Still, it's better to kick the idea around now and cancel it if it looks like a bad idea rather than rush ahead, half build it and find there is no OS support anymore.


Message edited by Ftoomsh - Monday, 09/September/2013, 0:02 AM
 
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