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Whats Next?

8 years 1 month ago #31 by Jim

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  • Replied by Jim on topic Re: Whats Next?
    And the combat will take place on this planet (#3 from the sun).

    -Jim

    "My God, if we've not got a cool brain and a big one too, to manage this affair, the nation is ruined forever." Unknown private, 14th Vermont, 2 July 1863

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    8 years 1 month ago #32 by Shirkon

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  • Replied by Shirkon on topic Re: Whats Next?
    And north of the equator.

    War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.

    Sherman, December 1863, remark to a Tennessee woman.

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    8 years 1 month ago #33 by Saddletank

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  • Replied by Saddletank on topic Re: Whats Next?
    I need to remeber what sadists the NSD team are.

    Can we have a small *meaningful* hint?

    HITS & Couriers - a different and realistic way to play SoW MP.

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    8 years 1 month ago #34 by RDBoles

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  • Replied by RDBoles on topic Re: Whats Next?
    I think we are going west. Shiloh,Chickamauga,or Murphreesburo. These are battles large enough in terrain and OOB's. Also each army was more or less on equal terms as to size and leadership abilities. Each battle could have gone either way in it's outcome. Each were a two day struggle. So in my humble opinion which counts for nothing, we go west.

    Move Forward

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    8 years 1 month ago - 8 years 1 month ago #35 by Saddletank

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  • Replied by Saddletank on topic Re: Whats Next?
    Maybe guys we could take the OT chat to the "other games" forum? Thanks.

    HITS & Couriers - a different and realistic way to play SoW MP.
    Last edit: 8 years 1 month ago by Saddletank.
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    8 years 1 month ago #36 by con20or

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  • Replied by con20or on topic Re: Whats Next?
    Sorry, my fault - I started that. I've created a 'subsims' thread in the 'other games' forum and moved the posts there.
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    8 years 1 month ago #37 by 35th Georgia

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  • Replied by 35th Georgia on topic Re: Whats Next?
    The Wilderness and Shiloh are two of my favorites. Wilderness being my first choice.

    "To walk into to almost certain death is insane,to do it with honor is heroic."

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    8 years 1 month ago #38 by Martin James

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  • Replied by Martin James on topic Re: Whats Next?
    They are both interesting battles. My worry with heavily wooded battlefields though is that I find they have less replayability. When you're in a wood, they all look very much the same.

    I found this with Chancellorsville. Very nice maps, but I now find myself going back to the older Gettysburg, Antietam and the Pipe Creek ones, which I feel give more terrain variety. My preference would therefore be for something a bit more open. Brandy Station was a good mix IMHO.

    I appreciate that others may feel differently :)

    Martin (J)

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    8 years 1 month ago #39 by rudy

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  • Replied by rudy on topic Re: Whats Next?
    I agree with your comment about trees.

    I didn't play many battles of the Chancellorsville release because of all the trees.

    I'll pass on Shiloh or the Wilderness, thanks.

    To keep up with developments in games, I think the Team has to improve on the graphics.

    The maps are good for about another year, but I think you somehow have to improve the appearance and movements of the units.

    Right now, they are kind of fuzzy, and their movements are herky jerky instead of smooth.

    Explaining that improved unit graphics will demand too much of todays computers won't cut it. New players will gravitate to games with better graphics. If you don't have the resources in-Team, bring in a wizard or you'll get left behind in the marketplace quite quickly.

    The other thing that players have been calling for is some kind of campaign system. With carryover. I recognize that could be difficult, because you would have to prepare battlefield maps for all the possible points of encounter, resulting from the almost randomness of the decisions of the player(s).

    So historical campaigns/battles would be the easiest to start with. And maybe throw in a few more battle maps to account for variation in decision-making.

    No Trees/open battlefields. Campaigns.

    Sounds like the New Mexico Campaign, or the Peninsular Campaign/7 Days.

    Historically, Fredericksburg would be painful to play, but it sure has a lot of what if's that could make it quite exciting.

    And maybe the retreat from Gettysburg?

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    8 years 1 month ago #40 by 35th Georgia

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  • Replied by 35th Georgia on topic Re: Whats Next?
    I was wondering Rudy if you wanted fries with that? lol Seriously though I will stand in defense of the team as quite clearly it has been demonstrated that the game at it's highest demand is quite a pull on most systems being offered even today. There are always those who go back to older games that are more thought out in gameplay than flash and pomp.Norb always seeks to improve and listen to the players. They were the ones who listened and saw the need for SOW while calls for a game like it were ignored for the most part.SOW may not be for everyone but I believe you will find alot of folks who will strongly disagree with your opinion. There is no disrespect intended by my comments and you are intitled to how you feel.

    "To walk into to almost certain death is insane,to do it with honor is heroic."

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    8 years 1 month ago #41 by rudy

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  • Replied by rudy on topic Re: Whats Next?
    No, I don't take your comments personally.

    But to be successful in the marketplace, you always have to improve.

    And to draw in new players, and to make some money for themselves, they will have to improve the graphics to stay competitive.

    There's not much of a future in relying on a very small niche market of players who still like to play Sid Meiers Gettysburg.

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    8 years 1 month ago #42 by Saddletank

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  • Replied by Saddletank on topic Re: Whats Next?
    The thing is, there isn't any other game in this marketplace. SoW has no competitors, nothing else comes even close to doing what NSD is doing. I feel that SoW is light years ahead of Total Wars offerings for battlefield RTS games, regardless of (and maybe BECAUSE OF) how different they look. TW is 90% eyecandy (and quite useless it is too) and 10% gameplay. I'd much rather have a game with 90% gameplay and 10% graphics thanks very much.

    I personally am fine with the graphics and to be honest when the cannons start to roar and the muskets rattle the last thing I even notice is how good or how poor the sprites look.

    To get battles of 35,000+ men a side you have to draw the line somewhere and if an improved set of smoother more fluid moving sprites meant we had to make do with 15,000 men a side I think that would be a backwards move and the wrong decision. Heck, if we could get 75,000 men a side I'd make do with even simpler looking units, semi-abstracted.

    Huge battles fought over huge battlefields with clever (and edging towards realistic/historical) command and control gameplay is the way to go, no-one else is in this same league.

    HITS & Couriers - a different and realistic way to play SoW MP.
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    8 years 1 month ago #43 by Jack ONeill

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  • Replied by Jack ONeill on topic Re: Whats Next?
    All,

    I agree with Brother Tank. (and yes, I'll get you those march music files at some point soon.)
    There is NO other Game OR Game Engine like this out there anywhere. The basic game is marvelous, AND when all you need to do is a little (sic) modding, you can have a completely different era to fight on your computer. I have currently the American Civil War, the American Revolutionary War, The Napoleonic Wars AND the Lace Wars, (War of the Spanish Succession, War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War), ALL running on my computer at the same time. AND all this is accomplished with a little work, a tweak here and there, and ZANG! New, different game. This is THE Game Engine of the Decade. IMHO, of course. But, what do I know? I'm just a begonia........

    Jack O'Neill B)

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    8 years 1 month ago #44 by rudy

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  • Replied by rudy on topic Re: Whats Next?
    Well that sure brought out the fanboys.

    No need to get all ruffled and defensive.

    I'm not saying the graphics are bad. And yes it is a wonderful game.

    But do you realize how old the game engine is now?

    If you're happy with a small graphics tweak every two years or so, good for you.

    Like improving the graphics for horses, so that they look like real horses instead of rejects from the glue factory. That one only took about 10 years to implement.

    But take a look at what's coming down the game pipeline. I admit it's MP, but equivalent graphics can be applied to a game system such as this one.

    www. warofrights. com

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    8 years 1 month ago #45 by Marching Thru Georgia

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  • rudy wrote:

    But take a look at what's coming down the game pipeline. I admit it's MP, but equivalent graphics can be applied to a game system such as this one.

    Yes that is very pretty scenery, but I didn't see any men on the field. How many units can the engine handle? What sort of AI is being written? Recreating TW won't be much of an accomplishment.

    My rig is an i7-3770K running at 4.9GHz with 16GB of low latency memory and a AMD 7970 with the GPU overclocked to 1200MHz. When I load the full Eckmuhl OOB, 300,000 men or 37,500 SOW sprites the fighting grinds to a halt. That's with the antiquated SOW graphics at 'Best'. I can fight a battle with 200k men, though. Will I be able to fight a similar sized battle with a credible AI using the CryEngine?

    I can make this march and I will make Georgia howl.

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    8 years 1 month ago #46 by rudy

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  • Replied by rudy on topic Re: Whats Next?
    "Will I be able to fight a similar sized battle with a credible AI using the CryEngine?"

    Of course you'll be able to.

    Did I tell you I sell real estate in Cuba?

    "That's with the antiquated SOW graphics"

    That's the point. It is antiquated.

    Time for an upgrade into the future.

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    8 years 1 month ago #47 by Jim

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  • Replied by Jim on topic Re: Whats Next?
    I pulled up vanilla NTW. The full strength infantry battalion has 120 troops, cavalry 45. You can have a maximum of 20 battalions in your 'army'. So an all infantry army would have 2400 models x 2 armies = a max of 4800 model soldiers.

    The base sprite ratio of GB is 1:4 so 4800 sprites = 19,200 troops or roughly one CS corps. The engine as currently configured can handle around 120K troops at 1:4 = 40K sprites. It is not just the sprite ratio, the AI has to run on the troops as well so the load relationship is not linear. The AI load of ~600 battalions is why Eckmuhl does not run even at a 1:10 sprite ratio.

    We have made some additional performance gains that should show up in the new generation "Next Battle". It is much too early in development to lay out any specific numbers but the early returns are promising. Of course we may take it all back with more sophisticated AI routines so the end result is a ways off yet.

    -Jim

    "My God, if we've not got a cool brain and a big one too, to manage this affair, the nation is ruined forever." Unknown private, 14th Vermont, 2 July 1863

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    8 years 1 month ago #48 by KG_Soldier

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  • Replied by KG_Soldier on topic Re: Whats Next?
    It's not about the looks (which I find just fine), it's about the guts, Rudy.

    SOW is as fine a computer wargame as has ever been made.

    That's the bottom line.

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    8 years 1 month ago #49 by Jack ONeill

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  • Replied by Jack ONeill on topic Re: Whats Next?
    Rudy,

    Be careful who you call a fanboy. I've played both games. If you want to play an arcade game, play TW. If you want to play a game that actually makes you think, play SOW. Guess which one I STILL play. Enough said.

    Jack B)

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    8 years 1 month ago - 8 years 1 month ago #50 by Flanyboy

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  • Replied by Flanyboy on topic Re: Whats Next?
    Rudy it's not all about graphics. Gameplay is huge and lets face it the retro gaming movement proves you don't need huge 3D budgets to get a good crowd of players playing your games.

    I think it's worth pointing out that most of these AAA games that spend movie like budgets on 3D graphics are bleeding cash right now. With a few exceptions AAA's are really hurting. They have pigeon holed themselves into providing mind blowing graphics but as a result the massive budgets that has created has meant the sales figures required to just break even are astronomical.

    I'm not saying graphics are not important but trying to compete with the TW series really isn't an option, I mean unless Sega wants to send over a check for ten, twenty, thirty million dollars?

    Also fwiw I really think the map textures in the Brandy Station release were a significant step forward, maybe they don't match Rome TW 2 but they are a pretty huge improvement over the way the maps looked in SOW even as recently as the Chancellorsville release, at least that was my impression when I joined the team and started testing Brandy Station.
    Last edit: 8 years 1 month ago by Flanyboy.

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    8 years 1 month ago #51 by rudy

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  • Replied by rudy on topic Re: Whats Next?
    Do people here actually read and think before they get all huffy and type out a knee jerk response?

    I said the map graphics are good.

    I didn't compare the game to TW.

    I didn't comment on the game mechanics because I think they are great already, and unique in the marketplace.

    I said that the game graphics could be improved, because they are fuzzy close up. When I play a game, I zoom in and out so that I can manage my forces but also feel like I am living in the action of the moment. Because of the quality of the graphics for the new maps, I frequently zoom in on the leader I have TC'd just so that I can follow it through the beautiful terrain.

    If you prefer the herky jerky unit movements to more fluid unit movements, then I am happy for you.

    But both the unit resolution and unit movements can be improved on.

    Look at the improvements the game team has achieved since the game first came out. Would you prefer that the game have remained unchanged since the beginning? There is always room for improvement, and to me, the area that the game could most benefit from improvement is in the graphics.

    Remain calm. Progress, change and improvement are normal. And something to strive for. Not something to resist or avoid.

    Have you heard of the term Luddites?

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    8 years 1 month ago #52 by Marching Thru Georgia

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  • Rudy wrote:

    Have you heard of the term Luddites?

    If we were, we wouldn't be conversing via the web.

    You miss the point of our argument. For many of us, AI behavior is the critical element. All of us want Norb to continue improving on this great game. However, nearly all the requests are AI related. There are only so many program instructions that can be processed per second. If TW graphics take up more of those than the current antiquated graphics do, it means the AI can not perform at as high a level as it does now. That is a bad bargain for many of us. No one is opposed to better graphics, so long as the AI can also be improved and the graphics work doesn't take up so much of Norb's time, (he's the sole programmer), that he can't work on the AI.

    I can make this march and I will make Georgia howl.

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    8 years 1 month ago #53 by Jack ONeill

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  • Replied by Jack ONeill on topic Re: Whats Next?
    MTG is right. It IS the gameplay, not the fancy colors, for most of us.
    My previous comp was one I cobbled together from scrap I scrounged from my former employers cast-offs. I had to run the uniform settings on lowest just to get it to do anything. I didn't care. The gameplay rocked. The AI was (and still is) head and shoulders above anything out there. With the updates to it, on certain settings, it is really hard to beat, especially now that it is learning how to use Heavy Horse in a well-timed charge. (This would be the Lace Wars aspect.) I firmly believe Norb is building SkyNet in his spare time. LOL! Even if my comp was still crap, I'd play this with no problem, and minimal complaint. A perfect example is/was Cossacks II. I had played the original Cossacks series until my eyes bled. (At one point I was a consultant map-designer for them, off the books), Cossacks II had fantastic uniforms, great units, good graphics, etc. The gameplay sucked so badly, I wanted my money back.

    So again, I say the trade-off is there. Fancy uniforms are a waste if the gameplay is boring. I want a challenge, not a paint job. This AI will serve well for quite a while yet.

    Jack B)

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    8 years 1 month ago #54 by Saddletank

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  • Replied by Saddletank on topic Re: Whats Next?
    Rudy, its good to have an exchange of different views and I'm sure Norb and the gang are reading their customers discussing the game, and taking on board various viewpoints, but when you begin to pepper your posts with snide remarks bordering on insults like "fanboy" and "kneejerk reaction" just because other forum members have different priorities to yours, you should be the one to pause and think. When you start being nasty to people we all know you've lost the argument, so take a pause and think about that please.

    Of course better graphics would be nice for all of us, but I personally simply don't see them when my brain is working in "tactical problem solution mode" (aka I'm in a desperate battle) and as others have said the AI and the game play should be a higher priority of NSDs over graphics that add nothing to gameplay.

    We definitely cannot have individual 3D model soldiers in a game like SoW and still have the huge armies and good AI, so NSD I am sure is always weighing up its options on that.

    Its something like building a main battle tank; there's a choice between armour, hitting power and speed. Right now NSD have a tank that hits very hard, is lightning fast but has weak armour. However since there is no other tank on the baattlefiled the enemy has with more than a pea-shooter as its main gun, I'm happy with the weak armour we have right now.

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    8 years 1 month ago #55 by rudy

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  • Replied by rudy on topic Re: Whats Next?
    Everyone has their own approach to this game.

    I don't play or have an interest in "huge armies".

    I'm more interested in smaller battles, say 10,000 - 15,000 per side.

    And improved graphics.

    Just like the recent improvement in horse graphics.

    And the improvements in terrain for the maps. They are really great.

    It's just coding and game engine improvements at the end of the day.

    It can happen. So it will happen.

    Oh, and I want campaign mode too.

    Make it so, No. 1.

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    8 years 1 month ago - 8 years 1 month ago #56 by Jolly

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  • Replied by Jolly on topic Re: Whats Next?
    www. warofrights. com

    Looks like the Oblivion engine, and a mighty fine one it is. Maybe a bit costly though to develop.
    Last edit: 8 years 1 month ago by Jolly.

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    8 years 1 month ago #57 by Jim

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  • Replied by Jim on topic Re: Whats Next?
    They are using Cryengine 3 and this apparently limits them to a battle map that is roughly 2.8 x 1 miles. You can see their provisional Antietam map borders here.

    Looking at the dates on their forum postings. They have been in development since sometime before May of 2012. The screenshots and video are quite pretty. So far they have not released any images of troops on the battlefield.

    I will be very interested to see their solution to the performance vs soldier number problem. Hopefully they will be able to make it work and release a game.

    -Jim

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    8 years 1 month ago #58 by Saddletank

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  • Replied by Saddletank on topic Re: Whats Next?
    The website mentions "player models" so this looks like it'll be a first person black-powder shooter.

    HITS & Couriers - a different and realistic way to play SoW MP.

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    8 years 1 month ago #59 by Saddletank

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  • Replied by Saddletank on topic Re: Whats Next?

    I don't play or have an interest in "huge armies".

    I'm more interested in smaller battles, say 10,000 - 15,000 per side.

    But NSD have pitched this game so that it can and needs to be able to support battles of 40k plus. That's what SoW does, so its engine has to support that many troops. Just because you don't want more than 15,000 a side doesn't mean others do not. It seems obvious Norb wants more and is designing games that deliver more.

    And the improvements in terrain for the maps. They are really great.

    You know these are just texture files, right?

    It's just coding and game engine improvements

    Do you realise what that statement covers? "Just" coding and "just" game engine improvements is what game development is. Game engines have their limits and simply cannot deliver things beyond their designed boundaries. I'm not suggesting that that's the case here but SoW in its current format isn't capable of supporting graphics very much more complex than what it does now because of everything else the game is grinding away doing, like running the AI.

    Of course an SoWII project may come along one day and that will probably be a big leap forwards but I think SoWI has proven that aiming at excellent AI and gameplay is more important than aiming "just" at graphics.

    HITS & Couriers - a different and realistic way to play SoW MP.

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    8 years 1 month ago #60 by rudy

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  • Replied by rudy on topic Re: Whats Next?
    "You know these are just texture files, right?"

    Yes, I do. And the result is improvement in the graphic appearance of the game.

    "SoW in its current format isn't capable of supporting graphics very much more complex than what it does now because of everything else the game is grinding away doing, like running the AI."

    Why do you make statements like this? Anything can be improved. This game isn't at it's limit yet. Look back through this thread. Jim said:

    "We have made some additional performance gains that should show up in the new generation "Next Battle". It is much too early in development to lay out any specific numbers but the early returns are promising."

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