jwilly

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Everything posted by jwilly

  1. Infantry sprint--way faster than realistic. Trucks and other wheeled vehicles across open ground--way faster than realistic. Ships and boats--way faster than realistic. Infantry direction changes while sprinting, and acceleration/deceleration--way better than the best NFL halfbacks. Motion gaminess is a theme at CRS.
  2. This gets at the strategic downfall of CRS's original combined-ground-air-naval-game marketing intent. There aren't enough development resources to develop the air game to its full potential, and it's limited by the global-simulation system created to model the ground game and those aspects of air warfare that directly interact with ground action. And the naval game is forever limited to being a bad-cartoon shooter, because the time-space-interaction constraints of the ground game's simulation system preclude creation of a realistic naval game.
  3. I'd think a significantly larger outfit, buying CRS's product, wouldn't particularly care about the relatively tiny revenue stream from existing customers...some of whom would leave anyway as the game's marketing focus likely was sharpened. I'd think that any such purchase would be to acquire the existing codebase, whatever IP is associated, and the transferable experience/knowledge. The value of the latter of course has evolved over time as people have come and gone. Just my historically uninformed thoughts, though. Analysis always yields to historical facts.
  4. Yes, understood. The question might have been most applicable when the game was founded and shortly thereafter, and was running on its founding investments; and perhaps during brief periods thereafter when the financial situation was briefly close to stable. For instance, the period of RA's partial development. But even now the published path forward seems to be a commitment to more of the same, but more successful. I hope the latter comes to pass, but that hope requires a large measure of irrational confidence. The value of Ries' and Trout's analysis and principles is in its historical success in multiple other markets. Of course, it might not work here...CRS's gaming niche might be fundamentally different from other kinds of markets. Or, CRS might not have what is required to commit to it. In any case, the forums presumably must be seen as a product element. Some customers have said over the years...jocularly in most cases, but with an element of truth...that they don't play much but continue to subscribe to "play" the forums. Any substantial change to the forums presumably would be made in order to better align their focus and zeitgeist with that of the game's marketing intent. Xoom tells us that the existing forums sometimes are seen by CRS to foster negativity. If so, then the different participation and contributions of various forum users must have different effects on that negativity. CRS in many respects has been a data-driven company; its game of course is built on a core operational database that records many player actions for which a metric has been developed. Perhaps if CRS hasn't already, forum metrics beyond the rolling reputational score and the post counts...which don't help with Xoom's current concerns...might be developed so that data driven management could be applied to the forums as well.
  5. Certainly I'm no expert on what approach is best, and I wasn't trying to suggest that "things were really better in the old days". Re-reading Xoom's OP, though...is the current forums approach maximizing its delivery of benefits to CRS's bottom line? I thought that was the point of Xoom's issues 1 through 4. I've wondered over the years about CRS's expressed desire for new customers, but their hesitance to explore new game directions that while they likely would result in the loss of some existing customers who don't favor that new game direction, might result in the gain of a greater number of new customers who do favor that new direction. What matters to CRS's bottom line, after all, is the total number of customers...old, new, vet, noob...and those customers' profitability. A company that's wedded to its existing customers even while revenue is inadequate, and is risk averse and lacks confidence of its market understanding and therefore is unwilling to entertain a product direction change, is a friendship society, not an enterprise. Ries and Trout in their classic "Marketing Warfare" observed that a small company in a market dominated by much bigger companies has the best chance of success if it defines itself as a guerrilla marketer, identifies a single product theme that the big guys aren't good at or don't care about because the number of customers interested in it isn't big enough to be of interest to them, and gets laser-focused on delivering that theme and only that theme, to that small-to-the-big-guys segment of customers who want that theme. Any divergence is a mistake, even if it seems like additional revenue. Since its beginning, OTOH, CRS seems to have tried to offer a game that provides some historical focus, and some gameplay focus, and some of anything else that someone might want. It's always seemed to be the opposite of a focused approach. I thought there was a marketing plan underlying the "good idea to bring the game a bit closer to historic accuracy", and that CRS was finally focused on a niche that the big guys aren't doing. I don't know the inside story, but it doesn't appear that that's how it worked out. If there's a guerrilla marketing niche focus now, I don't know it. Of course, what I know doesn't matter, but like a lot of us I'd like to see CRS succeed.
  6. A number of years ago, I was Lead Mod here. I had Rafter's OK to immediately move-to-a-hidden-location, or occasionally edit, posts that accused CRS of bias, otherwise attacked them, and/or threatened CRS with loss of the poster's business and other game contributions if X wasn't changed as the poster wanted. Anyone that felt a need to make the latter threat in particular, wasn't going to do so using a server and bandwidth paid for by CRS. We also were less open to posts by vets with the general themes: change the game to take away some of the other side's capabilities and give more capabilities to my side, or make it easier for me to kill a lot and not be killed myself. Noobs of course often make the latter type post, not knowing any better yet, and those were tolerated more. That modding approach made business sense to me, but OTOH, eventually Rafter fired me for my inability to get along with back-then-more-freewheeling OT flame wars, so maybe I was wrong. It remains my view though that CRS's current direction to the mod team is more tolerant than IMO it should be.
  7. No, I was serious, as befits a Xoom thread about a business issue. But I certainly might be wrong, cf: Kilemall's post.
  8. What's the vet:noob ratio on Facebook, as opposed to here? How often do noobs become steady posters, or at least lurkers/readers, there as opposed to here? Do the forums tend to run off the noobs that try to participate here? It's long been recognized that the game's vets are a gameplay-barrier to customer retention, because gameplay has such a steep learning curve to get good enough to survive long enough to have fun...and that learning curve is so steep because of vets' time-gained skill levels and their lethality toward unskilled noobs. Are the vets in the forums a similar barrier to noobs having fun participating in the forums?
  9. Some supporters of how the game (maybe) could grow beyond its present market position talk about greater focus on realism. CRS's focus on realism was a key differentiator from the competition when WWIIOL was introduced. Those who are concerned with CRS staying in business right now focus on balance. No balance --> not enough players on the losing side --> no more game. Then there are those who think that both "realism" and "balance" are bad if they mean more effectiveness for the other side, or good if they mean more effectiveness for their side.
  10. Won't happen any time soon. There's no place in the central database for tracking such loose weapons, there's no room in the packet utilization for the transactions involved, and an entire new and larger set of infantry models...all infantry types, each with every other nationality's weapons...would have to be modeled and coded.
  11. Would make no historical sense at all. Unless of course the Germans have defeated the French and driven the British off the continent. Then a French Resistance would make total sense.
  12. Can Creator handle two different terrain tile sizes? Specifically, 800 meter tiles for low-feature-density terrain such as flatlands, water, and most towns/cities, and 50 meter tiles for high-feature-density terrain including locations with rough terrain...? One 800 meter tile would be replaced in selected locations by 256 50 meter tiles, with corresponding greater texture resolution. The existing tile-set appears to be no more than 64 different tile designs. Is this an upper limit, or can the tileset be numerically greater than this?
  13. German DDs had no armor, with mild steel hulls, superstructures and gun housings to protect against splinters only. A solid-AP-shot round of 37mm or larger might penetrate the hull into a boiler or engine room near the water line amidships/aft and break something critical...wiring, ductwork or machinery. No guarantees, but there wasn't much space in WWII destroyer engine and boiler rooms that wasn't filled with essential equipment. Small caliber HE OTOH would be a nuisance, potentially destroying light topside equipment and maybe harming AA crew at battle stations but not much of a threat to seaworthiness. HE shells wouldn't be a major risk until maybe 75mm/88mm caliber. No sensible captain, though, would ever operate his ship within range of a shore mounted gun that showed an interest in hitting him and an ability to do so. The shore bombardment destroyers at D-Day waited until the battleships and cruisers had softened things up and ended the return fire before moving in close. I'd think that a 75mm or 88mm AT or tank gun, with its precise direct-fire sighting and its high velocity and flat trajectory, would be a real threat to any unarmored ship within 1 or 2 thousand meters of the gun.
  14. Not to single you out, because a lot of folks here have expressed the above view in past discussions...but consider that the ground game is built on the concept of combat instances. That's because combat is why people play games like WWIIOL. The stuff in between the fighting--the travelling from one location to another, the sitting in a defensive position watching around you for hours and days, with usually nothing happening ever--isn't any game-fun. It doesn't contribute anything to the game's marketability. Almost no one plays a WWII game because they want to sit in a foxhole and watch a field for two hours, and have nothing happen. So, CRS mostly excludes that. If the ground game had been better concepted, they would have entirely excluded that. So why should a naval game include the traveling from one location to another, and the defenders watching the horizon for hours and days with nothing happening? Or maybe the naval game will have AI to intelligently move naval assets around the map, with players spawning into crew positions when combat is imminent...but what's the point? The commercially saleable gameplay is the combat. The fight, if it's realistic, won't last long enough for more players to travel across the map to join in. Why not just do what the ground game does, and provide a players'-intentions-determined context for each side's units to define the start of a fight, and let them go at it? Then apply the outcome of that fight, and other fights in the same time period, to the rest of the game. All the British coal convoys are sunk in the past few days? The Germans get victory points, and maybe the British get smaller spawn lists for the next few days. Not spending all those development resources to build strategic naval AI to move stuff around on the map...that would generate no additional CRS revenue...would allow those resources to be used for something else that does generate revenue. And, a further economic consideration: AI operated naval strategic activity...all of the game world's maritime movement, operated continuously on the map...if at all realistic, would result in very little combat activity. It's a big game map, and real naval activity is very low spatial-density. Real naval activity also is very low chronological-density...99.999% no action, interspersed with .001% combat terror. But, naval subscribers would pay their money for that combat, not to be bored. The game needs to offer as much naval combat as its customers are willing to pay for, and a minimum amount of boredom. Those customers won't be paying to fire up the game when they get home from work, and do nothing for two hours because their convoy isn't found by the enemy. In an instanced naval game, OTOH, CRS's system would start up an instance when players want to fight. More players than will fit into one instance? No problem, start another one. Or ten more, if there are that many customers. That's a commercial focus. CRS needs that. Some of the players want to be air attackers? No problem, start an instance during daytime with good enough weather that air attack works, and match players that want to pilot bombers against players that want to do air defense. Ditto for MTB attackers: the instance is at night or in low-visibility weather. Or, do an instance for submarine attackers. Sometimes the attackers would be surprised that the instance they drew has them bumping into a hunter-killer patrol instead of the convoy they were looking for. Oops. Sometimes the convoy is lightly escorted relative to the attacker force. Sometimes it's the other way around. The point is, the naval game should be all about delivering combat-gameplay when customers want it, with a minimum of scarce development resources expended on the no-action context for that naval gameplay.
  15. It was quickly realized in WWII that ships were easily sunk by aircraft, so operations anywhere near an airfield had to take place at night or in limited-visibility weather. The existing naval game absurdly takes place during daytime and clear weather...just one of its goofy design choices. CRS doesn't have the coding resources to tackle visually realistic weather. Using mostly existing capabilities, though, they could achieve a visually pretty realistic night for boat-to-boat short range engagements that could withstand player gamma- and brightness-jacking and the like. But, it'd have to be done in an instance, because it wouldn't allow air players to attack the surface at night, which is a key commercial aspect of the campaign game. It wouldn't have starshells, flare pistols and searchlights, but it'd be a starting point. (Actually, there are some potential no-new-technology workarounds for flash/flickering illumination that could be tried, if CRS were interested in a naval game.) I think realistic feel could be achieved in a current-capability boats-and-freighters-vs-surface-raiders quick-combat game. The existing game of course is easily capable of realistic feel in a boats-and-freighters-vs-daytime-air-raiders quick-combat game.
  16. Yay! Thin case instant fuzed bombs (for use against soft targets) Thick case delayed-fuze bombs (penetrating, for use against factories, steel ships, fortifications) Rockets Incendiary/smoke bombs?
  17. A rise or berm is necessary at water's edge because the poorly-concepted terrain technology put the default ground level at 0 height, and the water level also at 0 height. Having no elevation change at the water's edge would look funky as heck. So, a berm is put there. That said, the complaint comes across as just another request to be able to kill without being killed. Naturally a land unit is going to take advantage of whatever terrain protection they can. Nothing unrealistic about that. If your vessel is so close to shore that its gunfire is flat-trajectory to the target, and the unrealistic gunsights don't allow you to pinpoint-aim your shots to hit the mostly protected enemy gun...well, you're too close to shore to survive. In any case, everything about the present quickie-kluge naval game is silly. Model functionality, choice of vessels modeled, unrealistic armament, no terrain, no weather, no night, twenty foot tall eighteen foot beam vessels on rivers with twelve foot bridge clearances and twelve foot wide dam locks, bad game integration and absence of purpose. The whole thing.
  18. The CRS argument was that funding RA would be an investment in the future of the campaign game, which had proven itself to not have a large enough market to support a paid staff, and at that point had nearly burned through all the funds its formal investors were willing to sink into it. The plan was that RA would generate much more revenue and would be able to support a much larger paid development team, which would be shared with the campaign game since much of the technology was to be used in both games. That could have worked. Certainly plenty of other tactical combat games were making money in that time period, and CRS had a bunch of technology that could be re-purposed in that direction. They just started the original company with the wrong product concept. The big-map, expensive-to-develop campaign game should have come after they had a solid revenue stream from a shooter.
  19. All of CRS's strategic development efforts over the years have had to consider limited resources. Rapid Assault was built on WWIIOL's engine because that allowed RA to utilize a large part of WWIIOL's code, and all of its live-object models. WWIIOL, as a game that to a significant extent is about maneuver and how to win the campaign game, cornered the quite small market for that game-type. The commercial premise of RA was that it would ditch the maneuver and the campaign game, and focus instead on the vastly larger market of players that want to play a game that is mostly about fighting. The WWIIOL engine is fully capable of presenting much higher resolution terrain. It doesn't do so now mostly because the very large map practically requires large (800m x 800m) terrain tiles, which inherently then deliver insufficient texture resolution and are very limited in ability to model steep or sharply modulated terrain. RA's terrain was to be built with much higher terrain texture resolution and a much greater capability for high-value slopes and small features. It was critical to the RA project being commercially realizable that it mostly use the existing model set. There definitely was no chance that all those models could be re-built. The existing game models trees using a library and code system that doesn't inherently provide that capability. In order for a tree to be able to fall in any direction, that tree must be a live object. It could not be a several-state terrain element, with one state for "tree downed to the north" and another for "tree downed to the east". There is a fixed limit on how many live objects can be managed within the interaction radius of a given player, set by the design of the database that holds the current status of all the live objects in the game. That's also related to the design of the data packet that is the basis for client <---> server communications. The game can manage more objects than was the case ten years ago...but not an infinite number. The database and packet stream still must be designed for a maximum number of objects. And, every one of those objects that was a tree would displace a player-object from the largest possible battle.
  20. Suggested about 10K times. Search is your friend.
  21. Discussed multiple times before. WWII naval-commanded ground forces wore ground force field uniforms in the field. Any soldier would know that wearing blues or whites in the field would be suicidal.
  22. Assume for purposes of discussion that the British coastal coal convoys and the German coastal/Skagerrak iron ore convoys are modeled via instancing, for fights only. That doesn't stop the existing naval game from proceeding, or any other naval game mechanics from being developed, but there'd be no interaction between them except insofar as outcomes of convoy escort/raider fights would affect victory points and each side's supply. Say you're a German-side player and you want to raid a British convoy. You go to the convoys interface and click on that choice. I'm a British-side player, and I want to escort a convoy. I go to the interface and click that choice. Each of us waits for however long it takes for the instance to fill up. The interface might show us how the fill process is going, so we know what to do with our time. Each of us could organize friends or squaddies in advance, of course. That'd fill up the sides instantly. Maybe the interface could provide for limited-join fights for one squad against another. Or, reserve some spots for noobs. CRS would decide how it would be most commercially successful. We'd all spawn into the instance simultaneously. If the attackers had selected bombers, it'd be some randomly selected time during daylight with weather somewhere between clear and barely good enough for air attack. The British convoy would be a mile or so off a countryside coast, headed south low in the water or north empty. The attackers would approach from the northeast, east or southeast. If the attackers had selected torpedo boats, it'd be night, with weather somewhere between clear and barely good enough for surface attack...which might mean light rain or even snow, with fairly rough seas. They'd attack from any direction but straight from the west. All those setup choices except what we want to play would be made randomly by the game-system. The attackers would start with distant visibility of the convoy. The convoy would not see the attackers yet, though that might happen quickly. Visibility range would depend on time of day and the weather and sea conditions. There'd be X freighters and Y escorts...for now, British Fairmile B motor gunboats with autocannon armament. Dependent on eventual modeling, some of the escorts might be sloops, corvettes, frigates or armed trawlers. If the instance was during daylight and a player had indicated an interest, there might be a Coastal Command fighter overhead, flying CAP. There'd be Z attackers. From the air, they'd be torpedo- or bomb-armed He111s, or eventually Ju88s or other aircraft with enough range and suitable payload. On the surface, they'd be S boats with two torpedoes and light AA. Bombers would have one player, or two if there would be air defense. Escorts would have one player for helm and one for each major weapon. MTBs would have one player for helm/torpedoes and one for each other major weapon. Freighters would be unarmed and would be AI operated with control programming from several choices in advance by the escort commanders. Occasionally an attacker might spawn in, and...surprise...they've been intercepted by a defensive patrol comprising a heavy-fighter sweep during day or a group of destroyers at night. Not good if you're the "attacker". That'd be a random occurrence, not selected by the defensive player. The goal for each side would be to take as few losses as possible, and inflict maximum losses on the enemy...especially the freighters, with their individually low value but strategically critical cargo. Action would continue until any surviving attackers were out of visual range of all defenders. That might happen occasionally, but my guess is that usually, pressing the attack to inflict maximum losses on the defender would also result in maximum losses for the attacker, and it took more resources to build a three-engined S-boat or four-engined bomber than to build a cheap coastal freighter. Player success or failure in a given attack, for their stats, would be determined by relative points score. If you sink all the other side's cheap freighters, but you lose all your own expensive raiders, your side's losing ground and your stats should reflect that.
  23. Not realistic. Navies don't "capture and hold" water areas. They intercept and try to defeat enemy sea-control combat forces; if they succeed at that, they interdict enemy sea routes to a forward base to prevent resource movement; if they succeed at that, they try to capture that enemy naval base by delivering ground forces; and if they succeed at that, the process starts over with another enemy base. In our game, there aren't very many naval bases to be fought over. The British/German focus was directly on step 2, trying to interdict enemy sea routes to close off coastal convoy traffic that was critical to each side's industrial economy. "Control points" would be irrelevant to that. What matters is that each side has a frequent flow of convoys along a completely known coastal route, behind the respective coastal minefields, backed up by closely spaced coastal defensive airfields. If you want to attack the other side, one of those convoys is your target. Moving ships to capture sea areas isn't what will make CRS money. Customers would respond positively to a naval game in which they would spawn in a minute or less from fighting. Building a game in which gameplay consists of hours of no-contact sea-square capturing, or searching for the enemy, or no-contact convoy movement would be an anti-revenue move on CRS's part.
  24. Exploitable. Say I'm a tactical bomber unit supporting an AB attack. It's very tactically useful for me to bomb the snot out of the defenders while per plan the attackers run right through. So, someone spawns an irrelevant infantryman near the takeoff airport, and I MG him before flying to the target. That turns off my FF capability for 24 hours. Now my guys can attack while I bomb. That'd be an advantage, not a punishment. There are no potential punishments that would be both acceptable to players. Anything important enough to affect behavior would drive away a significant number of customers, who are accustomed to just shooting without being realistically careful and without realistic fear of death, and being surrounded by like-minded fighters. In real life, intentionally killing friendlies gets you removed from the war, or maybe even executed. And, everyone operates with Fear-of-Death, so they put a high priority on being very aware of friendly fire and not running into it. Games can't work that way, because all that matters is tactical success and there's zero fear of death. And, there's no commercially viable, non-exploitable way to motivate realistic behavior.
  25. Do we also need "good AI" to operate ground units when we don't occupy them, so that they move intelligently between battles? That situation is exactly parallel. We spawn ground units in the immediate vicinity of a battle. They fight, then if they survive they despawn, available to be respawned for another battle later. If ground units didn't despawn after battles, and instead AI took them over and moved them along a player-planned or AI-determined route, then it would make parallel sense to do the same with naval units. But, that's not how the ground game works. The proposal is that the naval game should function much like the ground game, in which one side decides it wants to attack, and thereby a battle is started up...partly because the resources to develop "good AI" that results in realistic game behavior don't currently exist and there's no logical prospect that they will exist in the foreseeable future, and partly because a persistent-ships naval game has never been done commercially on such a scale...all other game developers having concluded that there aren't enough potential customers to make it economically viable, because it wouldn't deliver much fighting when players want to play.