ZeroAce

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  1. On the subject of peripherals and VR, that brings up another point: One the reasons I wanted to get a playstation 3, as well as giving me a bluray player, was because I wanted to try playing shooter games by using something like this: https://www.amazon.com/PlayStation-Move-Sharp-Shooter-3/dp/B002I0K622 https://www.amazon.com/Move-Blaster-Combo-Pack-Playstation-3/dp/B0045CZCT8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1547250073&sr=8-4&keywords=playstation+move+shoot That had the potential to deliver experiences you couldn't get with a mouse and keyboard, and potentially even be more effective than a mouse and keyboard. Or the potential of using the motion controller for sword fighting games. I played a PC medieval themed sword fighting game based on the source engine a long time ago but there's only so much you can do with a mouse and keyboard setup. It really demands motion control to come to life. I think the problem is they just never came out with any good games that really capitalized on the motion control, designed to use it from the ground up - at least not ones I am aware of. Peripherals are usually only as good as the support they get from game developers. But the point is I was more inclined to buy a console when they offered me something I couldn't get on the PC, and that came about through the peripheral options. I also bought TrackIR to play WW2OL with, so I was all about wanting things that would increase both immersion and effectiveness. Long ago I looked into Nividia's VR at one point for the PC but it didn't seem like there was enough support to justify the cost. But, in concept, I'd prefer to play VR based shooter or simulation games if it was affordable and had good game support. I might still prefer the mouse and keyboard for overhead strategy games but for any game where first person immersion is a critical part of the experience you really benefit from adding VR or good peripherals.
  2. I don't understand why you say the scale of the game would need to change. It sounds like you're operating here from a presumption that console gamers only want small scale FPS games like CoD built off the unreal engine to dazzle them with sparkles as they run and gun around the map. But, as I was saying, that presumption is just not true these days. There are plenty of PC gamers who only use to want that out of games too and as a result they shunned the hardcore or patient PC games. It's a gamer demographic issue for certain but it's not a demographic issue that is necessarily tied to a particular platform anymore. There's not even an age demographic difference between consoles and PCs anymore. The only real age difference comes when you compare the user base of a nintendo console vs an XBox/Playstation (because nintendo is cheaper, it's hardware can't handle the same games, and therefore games that get produced exclusively for it tend to be geared towards a younger or more casual crowd). The Xbox/Playstation players are not much different from PC gamers these days. I don't think you need a new engine specifically to appeal to console gamers any more than you would need a new engine to appeal to PC gamers. IL-2 has been adapting their games to consoles for about 10 years already. Insurgency is a mil-sim round based shooter that started on PC, which I always loved for their realistic weapons handing and movement, and their newest iteration of the game (sandstorm) is also ported to Xbox and Playstation. I actually think they went so far as to optimize the game for the console because it's nigh unplayable on PC for a lot of people. Warthunder may have arcade mode as the most popular option, but it does have hardcore and intermediate sim versions of the game - and it is also is available on Playstation and Xbox. Even their "arcade" version of the game is really quite high fidelity and not a true arcade game. It's certainly not the level of fidelity you'd expect to see on consoles if you compared what console "fighter" games use to be like 20 years ago compared with PC flight sims. The idea of the PC being a different demographic of hardcore gamer who is willing to invest more money, time, and expertise into gaming mostly went out the window with the introduction of the Xbox 360 around 2005. It just took years for the effects to fully manifest as the transition from PC to consoles took place. The 360 could do anything a gaming computer could at the time and it had a vastly larger user base. This marked the beginning of companies moving away from making PC exclusive games to making games tailored for the consoles and then merely porting them over to the PC. Advances in PC hardware it meant nothing to the game developers because it made no sense for them to develop a game for the limited PC market and then spend all the effort of scaling it down for consoles. It just made more sense to design the game around the bulk of their market, the console, and then simply port it over the PC (and often not even doing a good job of that). There was no longer any advantage to pushing the boundries of the latest PC hardware. The only thing that probably kept me as a PC gamer was my preference for mouse and keyboard. That's still the only reason that some games like WoW or Civilization won't translate to a console. But, honestly, if the latest Xbox games start all supporting mouse and keyboard then I may have little reason not to buy a cheap console rather than build a new computer. It's cheaper for the performance and a lot less headaches if something goes wrong. At this point, if WW2OL was ported to console, I would probably prefer to hook up my PC joystick to a console to play it. Mainly because I haven't updated my gaming computer in 10 years (I've had little need to due to console hardware dictating game graphics quality). So if I really wanted to play the latest and greatest stuff, it would be cheaper at this point for me to just buy a console where the hardware is sold to me at below manufacturers cost than it would be for me to go build my own computer all over again. Then I could just use my laptop for work type activities and leave the gaming to the console with a mouse and keyboard hooked up to it. I also agree 100% that the game is not ready for a console port from a gameplay design and UI perspective. You want to make sure that when you make the port that you are able to capture the new players with a solid game experience. Too many times, at least from my perspective, I've seen WW2OL able to grab PC gamer's attention for a short time and get an influx of trials on a large scale but fail to retain those players. I believe the reason has always not because they didn't like the concept but because the consistency of it's execution was lacking due to incomplete game mechanics and poor UI design. The upside to this is that anything you need to do to the gameplay dynamics and UI to make it a better console experience are the exact things you need to do to also make it a better PC experience. So working on shoring up the PC experience can then lead to a later port to console. I don't believe the console would need different gameplay dynamics. And if they are required to use a mouse and keyboard it shouldn't require any change to the UI either. Although I suppose if you really want to try hard to make it playable with a controller then you could tweak their UI a bit. But I wouldn't expect them to have much success playing the infantry game on a controller so it's probably not something you'd want to encourage.
  3. I'd say it's an outdated assessment to write off console users as just a different breed of gamer who wouldn't enjoy more realism in a game, considering how the gaming landscape has changed. I think most core gamers are actually on the console simply because that's where all the games and accessible hardware is. Plus, there's very few games that are released exclusively for the PC these days anyway. There's not a lot of reason to continue being a PC gamer unless you grew up being a PC gamer. I think it has little to do at this point with a preference for certain types of games over another. Only a minority of strategy games remain PC exclusive out of the need to use a mouse and keyboard as the standard control scheme for the game to function properly. 20-25 years ago it was different - your choice of gaming platform, PC vs console, said a lot about what kinds of games you preferred to play. There was almost no overlap. Today you'll be hard pressed to find a major release PC game you want to play that isn't also available on Xbox or Playstation. It's just not economically as viable to release a game that doesn't tap into the console market. I also think it's a mistake to look at the situation you described with WW2OL and think the gameplay is not flawed, but instead appear to justify the flaws in WW2OL by saying it just appeals to a different type of gamer. Although WW2OL's gameplay does appeal to a different type of gamer, it's also flawed in it's design that results in inconsistency to the gameplay that doesn't need to be there. This inconsistency frustrates hardcore PC gamers no less than console gamers. That's why WW2OL has struggled to entice a large segment of the PC gaming market over the years. There's a lot of PC gamers out there who love the concept and type of game WW2OL is trying to be, but felt the execution was so lacking that they didn't want to spend their time or money on it. I believe a WW2OL with fixed game mechanics, capable of appealing to PC gamers, would be just as appealing to a significant segment of console gamers who would also appreciate a more tactical and realistic game. As long as they had the controller hardware to be competitive, like a mouse and keyboard. There are gamers out there who appreciate these kinds of games who just don't have access to a PC. I remember as a kid even playing a game like Panzer General on the original nintendo and loving it. They also released a version of that on playstation. You can't make the assumption that only people who play games on a PC would appreciate a historical strategy game like that. It really just comes down to whether or not the console controls allow you to execute playing a game that is complex or not.
  4. I think you're on to something. This really wasn't a concern 10 years ago but the gaming landscape has changed so radically in that time that I think it would be foolish not to at least attempt a console release that merges with the PC players (assuming the resources exist to do that, and you first have the game developed to the point where you know you can deliver a quality game experience to all the new players you're about to have flood into the game. The last thing you want to do is release too early into a new market and then fail to retain those players because the game isn't complete enough). Things have since changed. -PC gaming is an extreme minority by comparison. It was already a minority 10 years ago and it's only gotten worse. Don't be fooled by statistics that claim something like 35% of gamers in the US are on the PC. Playing farmville on facebook doesn't mean you're a gamer. Those kinds of "gamers" aren't ever going to play any kind of FPS game, or probably even have a computer capable of doing so, so they aren't the market we're talking about when it comes to players who might potentially be interested in playing WW2OL. We're talking about "core" gamers. And far too few of them are on PCs these days from what I see. -With the advances in console hardware, and the hardware being sold at a loss, there's very little reason to build a game for the PC exclusively. Few PC gamers have rigs that are significantly more powerful than the best console on the market. There's no need for them to because games are made with console hardware in mind - so almost no games get released for the PC that actually push the boundries of what the best PC hardware is capable of doing. Most of the games that are popular on PC are engineered to run well on old or subpar machines. There's no reason to design a game around the minority of PC gamers who have a dedicated modern PC gaming rig when that base is now so small. I wouldn't be surprised if it's also possible for every PC gaming peripheral to be made to be compatible with Xbox - which further lowers the reason you'd want to make a PC exclusive game. -As others pointed out, there's actually a migration away from desktop computers in general. People have phones and tablets to take care of many tasks their computer use to be used for. And of those that have a computer, most seem to prefer a laptop over a desktop in my experience. -With Microsoft opening up support for mouse and keyboards on the Xbox, the possibility exists for the console players to not be at a competitive disadvantage. Consoles also have options for light sticks or racing wheels so they have the full spectrum of control options available that a PC user does. They also have an advantage over your average computer user these days because you can use a standard controller to reasonably pilot a plane or tank - but you can't use a mouse and keyboard to do the same feat. A PC user is forced to buy a joystick. You also open up the option with consoles for some even more immersive tech like motion capture gun pointing as an infantry player (Such as taking the two motion control sticks on the PS3 and attaching them to a plastic gun designed for that purpose, which gives you a realistic pointing device that ties to your aim and the ability to move around in-game with your right hand thumb control as it rests on the pistol grip). As others have said, it is technically possible to have the servers shared and has been for a long time. The Xbox was originally designed with this in mind but they changed their minds when they realized console players would always get absolutely destroyed by someone using a mouse and keyboard in FPS games. Microsoft wouldn't even allow support for the mouse and keyboard on the Xbox for that reason. They didn't want controller using players getting wiped out by the players who plugged a mouse and keyboard into their Xbox. Part of it was also a marketing decision because if everyone felt like they had to start using a mouse and keyboard on the Xbox to be competitive then they didn't want to foster the perception that they were just selling a horizontal PC box rather than a true "console" experience. It should be relatively easy to port any windows based PC game over to Xbox considering that Microsoft designed the system to make cross platform development as easy as possible, unless the sheer age of the way the game was coded gets in the way of that for some reason. Playstation is different as it uses a Unix based operating system. At the very least they could tap into the majority of the US gaming market just by getting on Xbox, if they didn't have the resources to develop a port for Playstation.
  5. Something I forgot to address in the original post was the suggestion put forth by CRS that they may have to sacrifice some of the game's fidelity if they want to move over a new engine. This, to me, is an unacceptable option. The game would cease to be WW2OL if it did not have the best attempt at physics simulation of planes, vehicles, ballistics, and damage modeling that you could achieve. That was one of the game's biggest original selling points, and through the years was one of the pillars of uniqueness that kept the game afloat in a sea of flashier new WW2 games (along with it's scale and scope). A big part of creating a battlefield simulation is having simulation physics. The dynamics of the battle are altered in ways that bring out elements of historicity that we'd never otherwise be able to appreciate without accurate simulation. In an arcade level abstraction of vehicles and ballistics you cannot appreciate what the Matilda or Tiger were on the battlefield until you've actually had to face one that is simulated according to historical designs and ballistics. Likewise, you cannot appreciate the impact the Spitfire made on the outcome of the war until you've tried first defeating the 109e with a Hurricane or Hawk. You'll never fully appreciate why they made the decisions they did regarding aircraft weapons and loadouts until you start trying to use them in a simulation. You can learn and appreciate a lot about history from a video game if it's simulation quality is high enough. You know you've done something right with the way tanks and ballistics are simulated in the game when someone can pull out a WW2 German writing on recommended tank tactics and unit cohesion and find much of what he said directly applies to the virtual battlefield. That doesn't happen with the Battlefield franchise games. You can read about how good the spitfire was and why, but a simulation like this will bring it to life for you in a way of understanding you never had before. You'll never get that understanding from playing Battlefield's WW2 games. It reminds me of how when the inrangetv guys will do competition tests of WW2/WW1 guns they will gain an understanding and appreciation of what history says about these weapons in a way you never can just reading a book about it. I don't think new graphics is motivation enough for a new engine, especially if that is the price you have to pay for it. CRS is in a tough position if they truly cannot rework the existing game engine to deliver the dynamic spawning and coordination systems it needs, but they can't move to a new engine without losing WW2OL's identity either. As important as I think new spawn/coordination systems are for the viability of the game, I don't think cutting off their legs to achieve that is a winning strategy either. They need to rethink how they can preserve the simulation aspect of the game in the event of an engine transition. Giving up the simulation fidelity for a new engine would be like giving up the persistent battlefield for a new engine. You're throwing away a core identity pillar of what makes WW2OL what it is. The game won't really be WW2OL anymore. It will have a hard time standing out from the competition if, instead of continuing to try to be the virtual battlefield simulation, you instead try to become merely the WW2 mod of Planetside 2 (and all the arcadeness that implies). There are way too many WW2 games out that achieve quite a significant scale of combat, or achieve high levels of fidelity, for WW2OL to be a standout alternative without continuing to have top notch simulation fidelity along with a persistent full scale battlefield. I think you'd do as much harm as good with that approach by sacrificing one key element to gain another. I am working on a post that will go into depth of analyzing what we need and why to fix the problem. I'll either post it here or start a new thread for it because of how large it would be. It's not a simple subject to address because it's a facet of the game that intersects with every major aspect of the game. You can't reshape the way players experience battle for the better through new spawning systems without also reworking capture mechanics, supply mechanics, communication tools, and UI based coordination tools to mesh with and facilitate the new dynamic spawning systems, At some point they start to become mutually dependent on each other in order to deliver the proper battlefield experience. For instance, a lot of the bad battle experiences or impossibility of executing an attack comes down to bad capture mechanics. But these bad capture mechanics were a reaction to try to solve problems inherent in the game's design that led to battles being avoided rather than fought. But those problems are a symptom of bad static spawn systems. By moving to a dynamic spawn system you necessitate a completely new capture model to account for how the situation has changed. Furthermore, when you start talking about creating dynamic spawns that give you all the upsides of design without any of the downsides (or heavily minimized downsides), you also by definition start requiring new mechanics for disabling spawns that go beyond just shooting or bombing a spawnpoint. Preventing a single spawnpoint from getting shot or bombed has always been an inherently terrible way of simulating the holding of territory. As a result, no amount of tweaking the current dynamic spawnpoints is going to do you much good if you don't have the ability to change the dynamics of how they are disabled and or kept active. For instance, dynamic infantry spawnpoints would have to move towards an area capture model that shuts off the spawning of the point until the capture attempt is terminated. I'll go into why that solves the problem in my later comprehensive post. However, that doesn't mean you need all of these facets to be developed and implemented at the same time, because many elements of the system will improve the game if implemented piecemeal as long as you design those individual elements with the overall structure in mind that it will eventually fit into. So this means you need to think about and plan out the overall picture in detail before you start toiling away at the individual parts, to make sure they will all fit together well when it's all said and done. I wouldn't say the end result would be overly complicated - if anything our goal is to design something that is somewhat straitforward and simple, yet powerfully effective. Truly brilliant engineering achieves complicated results with the simpliest mechanism possible. However, the process of analyzing the game's parts and trying to reshape them to fit together differently is not itself a simple thing to talk about. It's also difficult to talk about what they can or cannot achieve with the coding tools available because we honestly just don't know what the extent is of how far they can twist and push the truck/FRU systems from a coding perspective. We also just aren't in a position to be able to say what the engine is or is not capable of doing. As a result, the best we can do is merely outline from a design perspective what the game objectively needs and why and then leave it up to the engineers to figure out how they can best achieve those core goals with the tech the options they have. The task is made easier for them if we can come to some core principle conclusions about what the game needs to be and how it has to achieve that. Some guidelines the abide by in design. Guidelines like that will allow them to potentially engineer different solutions to the same problem, that achieve a similar result, because they operated according to the same guidelines that were already established about what the game needs and why. This ties in with what I just was saying to madrebel - I do think that the missing key here is a clear vision of what they want to achieve in terms of want they want a battle to look like and what they want the player to experience. You have to do that before you can start evaluating whether or not what you have is achieving that and why it isn't. But if you can nail down some core values and goals, it becomes easier to start evaluating what does or does not serve that goal.
  6. You could do stuff like that, and it might help a bit, but ultimately I don't think it's enough of incentivization to matter by itself. I have long advocated for killing three birds with one stone and it relates to this F2P incentivization. This goes back to the long standing need in the game for a personal spawnpoint system to prevent waste, griefing, abuse, or missuse of valued equipment. You can then allow F2P players to experience just enough of the different types of equipment to increase their desire for more of it. You earn points by doing things successfully, and things the game wants to reward you for doing, and earn a set amount over time even when not logged in. They would earn points at a much slower rate than subscribers and have a much lower cap on how much they can store. They might be prevented from using truly top tier equipment like the Tiger right when it comes out, but they'll get to play with enough of the tanks to make them wish they had a Tiger. This encourages more use of the free rifleman to build up points for specialized infantry weapons. And it discourages someone from immediately spawning out the Tiger as soon as an AO is placed and then proceding to suicide it strait into the center of town. The intent of the system would be that it doesn't actually have much negative impact on players who currently think of the team, tend to only spawn specialized equipment when they have a genuine need for it, fully intend to play their spawned role to the best of their ability for it's intended purpose, and will even try to stay alive or RTB if possible. As opposed to the selfish arse who likes to spawn sappers constantly because, hey, why not greedily play as a sniper who is also hogging all the explosives just in case you might possibly have a tank wander near you. Nevermind the fact that you'll probably die 20 times without ever being near a tank before that sniper/party-time sapper fantasy actually becomes a reality. That's also the kind of player who will suicide their plane into the ground after dropping their bombs in order to get back to the target quicker. No, we need a system that forces players to consider the consequences their choices have on the entire battle. You shouldn't be spawning that sapper unless you intent to seek out and hunt tanks while not risking yourself unnecessarily playing sniper or rushing capture points. Why do I say three birds instead of two? Because this system also gives you leverage you can use to encourage players to act in certain ways that are beneficial to the entire team. Want to encourage people supplying mortars and LMGs with ammo? There's supply points for that. Want to encourage people to tow equipment? There's supply points for that. Want to encourage people to guard CPs as part of an active defense objective? There's supply points for that. The possibilities are endless. In effect, by rewarding people for their selfless acts of teamwork, you're saying they've earned some more leeway to be selfish and spawn more of the top tier equipment for themselves. So it all balances out.
  7. Squad has a lot more in common with WW2OL at a tactical level than it does with other shooters. -A military simulator approach towards weapons handling and behavior. -A miltiary simulator approach towards player movement and vitality. -Larger scale combat than it typically found in other shooters in terms of player numbers, engagement ranges, and map size. Given all these variables, Squad would find themselves suffering from the same problems a typical WW2OL battle does if they had not attempted to deal with this by introducing dynamic spawning systems and robust coordination tools. Especially since, with the population numbers reduction, WW2OL often won't even have battles larger than a full Squad server, and the numbers they do have will feel even smaller because of how the spawning system results in low density combat. Planetside 2 is also the only game on the market that is close to WW2OL at the strategic level in terms of a persistent map where you assault one base from another. They have to deal with the same potential pitfalls as WW2OL, therefore it's self evident that there's something to be learned by seeing how they have avoided those problems in PS2. For instance, how do you deal with travel times? Mobile spawn points. Vehicle based spawning. Bases that aren't so far apart in the first place. Furthermore, they also had to come up with ways of letting players quickly figure out where the battles are and how to join them. This is a critical factor in games like this where you never have a large enough playerbase to have dense battle going off over the entire frontline at once. Something that makes WW2OL and PS2, or even large map based games like Squad or ARMA, fundamentally different from your typical small closed map shooters. Obviously, since they share similar problems, we can learn a lot by seeing how they address the problems (or how they don't).
  8. I am a firm believer that a game must be built to require teamwork to succeed before players will be inclined to use it. Many a game has gone through the effort of integrating commander systems and voice comms only to see the average player ignore these systems in favor of mindless spawning and killing - because the game was designed in a way that allowed mindless spawning and killing to still result in players feeling like they are achieving something with their mindless killing despite the objective not being achieved, or merely allowing the objective being achieved by mindless spawning and killing. Change the way victory conditions and game mechanics work if you want to force players to gravitate towards teamwork. But I equally believe that a game requiring teamwork to succeed, without extensive tools to facilitate how you want them to work together, is going to flop and leave players frustrated at their inability to function effectively. I believe WW2OL falls into the later category more than the former. Players have battered their heads against the wall of a town uselessly long enough to understand that teamwork is necessary to take it. But the tools are so non-existent that few bother even attempting to lead outside the context of a squad where everyone has already agreed beforehand to meet at a predetermined time to follow your orders. And the poor spawning mechanics themselves don't even lend themselves to effectively organizing and executing combined attacks. But in order for a game to design itself around the kinds of teamwork they want to see they have to have a very clear idea of what they want to see happen. If you don't aim at a target you are sure to never hit it. I would say what WW2OL wants is to replicate infantry Squad dynamics and Company level infantry combat. It wants to replicate Wing dynamics and Squadron level air combat. It wants to replicate Tank Platoon dynamics as well as Tank Company level combat. I would go further to say we also want to replicate the dynamics of how all these elements interact with battlefield support systems like entrenchments/fortifications, artillery, anti-tank guns, intelligence gathering, etc. It wants to represent some of the larger strategic and supply concerns beyond the company/battalion level of the battlefield (although I think it's less concerned with being a perfect replication of this as it is concerned with being a perfect replication of battlefield tactics). WW2OL also wants to replicate how they coordinate together to take and hold ground. It's a tall order, but that's also what makes WW2OL different from even games like Warthunder or Post Scriptum where all these elements are never represented together all at once. With those criteria in mind, you can start to design your game's organization and communication, as well as your spawning and supply systems, around facilitating those goals. You have a double pronged approach where on the one hand you put pressure on players, out of necessity, to follow the paths you want them to. But on the other hand you also create in them incentives and desires and expectations to operate this way, while then providing the tools for them to fulfill their desires. This ends up being a win/win for both the developers and the players when this is achieved. This is a function of incomplete and broken spawning systems that were never good ways to replicate the kind of combat we want to see out of the game. How combat unfolds in a game will always be dictated by how you design your spawning and supply systems primarily. Secondarily it will be influenced by how you design your communication and organizational systems - but spawning and supply is still the primary issue at play here. It would be a great mistake to go about integrating all these new fangled coordination and communication systems in the game, expecting some great improvement in gameplay, only to realize that tactics haven't changed much because the underlying mechanics of how you take ground haven't improved to better reflect a simulation of real combat dynamics. That's why a lot of games find themselves in a position of creating teamwork systems that go unused because they didn't design game mechanics that actually required or incentivized players to use them in the way you wanted. I can say from experience that a 500m MS is the bare minimum required to have any chance of successfully assaulting a town. No town has ever been taken by a 1km MS. A 1km MS is what you use while you struggle to gain the ground necessary to support a 500m MS. In order to be on an even footing with the defenders you need to be able to spawn close to the common combat engagements ranges, which is about 300m or less. 500m is about as far out as you can get and still sprint close to combat distance which minimizes your delay in getting back to the fight. 500m is still not ideal because of that delay if you want to achieve dense infantry battles with small population numbers. The is a simple mathematical reason why this is the case. You can basically figure out whether or not the level of combat in WW2OL is viable and will result in a battlefield conclusion being reached with a mathematical equation that factors in the total population participating in the battle, the time of travel from their spawnpoints to the battlefield, and the total amount of supply available in the spawnlists associated with that battle. For instance: Imagine you have 1000 players on each side, and the spawn list on each side has a supply of exactly 1000 infantry units. This will result in achieving 100% battle density because 100% of your supply will always be on the battlefield, and it will be very easy for them to all spawn out together and travel together towards the objective. As long as they all spawn together at the start of the battle then they will all arrive at the battlefield together so the fact that they had to travel an hour to get to the battlefield has no negative impact on whether or not this battle can reach a decisive conclusion. These 1000 players on each side are going to eventually clash, and do so in force as a dense mass, and victory or defeat will become very clear as one side will inevitably kill more than the other side. Either the attackers will take ground by killing more than the enemy kills, or the defenders will successfully defend the town by denying the attackers the ability to kill them off. Either the attackers will call off the attack and fortify their position to prevent a counter attack, or they will get wiped out so bad that the defenders can counter attack to seize ground. Change just one factor of this equation and you can render viable combat impossible. Give each side a supply of 2000 infantry units instead of 1000, but keep the player numbers and distances the same. Now it becomes utterly impossible for the attackers to ever achieve victory by tactical superiority. Because even if they win the initial clash, the defenders all get one free respawn that puts them right back on the battlefield in less than a minute. The attackers effectively have no respawn option because it would take them an hour to get back to the battlefield. Could the attackers still win? Yes, but only through attrition. It will be impossible to win through tactical superiority due to the disparity in time to battle. The only way they can win is by dying, but killing more than they lose, and then traveling back to the battlefield a second time to wipe out the rest of the defender's supply. This is difficult to do when you are in the disadvantaged position of the attacker, and becomes further impossible with the distances involved because your entire playerbase is going to strung out in an uncoordinated mess as they all respawn at different times. The defenders, in contrast, have the advantage of cohesion because they respawn close to where their existing force already is. Now lets take this equation down even further: You have a supply of 1000 infantry units, but you have only 50 players, and the time to battle for your infantry is 10 minutes. This is an even worse situation because, even though your time to battle is much lower now, your ability to exert influence over the battlefield gets exponentially worse the smaller your player numbers get in relationship to the amount of supply you have. The later is the situation we find ourselves in the most, which is why so many battles feel like pointless games of cat and house rather than serious attacks. The attackers have no serious way of overcoming the circumstances of this situation unless they are able to achieve abusive a massive swing in population advantage or pull off some kind of amazing gamey camp before the defenders can get setup. You fix this problem by introducing more robust spawning systems that allow the attackers to get in close and stay close so that they have a reasonable chance of bringing the battle to a conclusion by out-fighting their opponents to take and hold territory, as opposed to being forced to only win battles by attrition (a proposition which has become impossible as player numbers have declined further and supply stockpiles have only gotten larger after brigade spawning came out).
  9. The same company also created a modern warfare version called "Squad". Same basic model of spawning and organizational teamplay. I just referenced it in another thread about what WW2OL needs to focus on developing. It's not just about having tools, but it's about designing your game in a way whereby players want or need to participate in the system for success. Planetside 2 has also done some of this stuff to a degree. Although not as effectively as Squad, for various reasons. But many lessons can still be learned from Planetside 2 because the game's premise is so similar to WW2OL. I've been saying for over a decade that WW2OL needed systems like that. But long ago a lot of people were way too content with the existing HC and squad system to realize that you absolutely needed an ad hoc way for players to coordinate dynamically together via in-game tools. More than that, it needed to become the primary means of organization. The HC/Squads should plug into the in-game system of organization - not the other way around. So everyone in-game gets included in the process, 24/7, not just the minority who choose to voluntarily go out of their way to learn how the HC system works and how to plug themselves into it. And the game has leadership potential 24/7, not only during the prime time hours or prime days when certain HC or squads are active. It also gives players more avenues for learning how to lead, and leading in a way that doesn't require consistent commitment day after day. One of the downsides of HC or squad leadership was the expectation that you were always on and always having to be doing stuff. Dynamic in-game systems free you to lead when you feel like it without the pressure of committing all your time to it. It also frees inexperienced players up to be able to get their feet wet without having to commit to a sustained leadership role they may not end up wanting to do or may not feel like they would be good at doing. Seeing it done in other games probably highlights for some what is being missed out on in WW2OL. And, as player numbers dwindled in WW2OL, I think it becomes more apparent how badly these systems are needed to coordinate dynamically the players that are there.
  10. The options on question #2 don't really cover the fact that I tend to take the lead when I feel like the situation or the tools are conducive to actual leadership. Most of the time there's no way to take leadership in-game because you have so few tools available to you as a mission leader. And even if you did have more tools, everyone is scattered across innumerable missions so chances are you have few people or none to influence as mission leader. The only time in this game I ever felt like I had a reason to take mission level leadership, and the tools to do so, was right after the FRU was released. Because I was really good at staying alive and keeping my FRU up whenever it would get destroyed, I ended up having most people in the battle eventually join my mission. This in turn gave me a lot of sway over the course of the battle by being able to use my tools to influence the bulk of the infantry players participating in the battle. Because they were on my mission I could use map markers and text alerts to reasonably coordinate general objectives and recommend strategies for the players to use, while also keeping enemy alert icons accurately placed on the map to aid them. Also, because I would avoid combat entirely to survive so the FRU would never go down and was constantly monitoring the state of the battle, I was in a better position than anyone else to assess what needed to be done and then use my free time to give direction to the players. However, most players aren't use to following mission level leadership or don't want to - so merely offering suggestions as a mission leader likely wouldn't be enough to have a significant influence over the battle. Yet, with the original FRU, I had direct power over shaping the flow of the tactical battlefield even without their consent because I could dynamically shift the FRU's spawnpoint freely to anywhere I deemed the players would be best focused on. Whether or not they liked it, I could decide we were going to hit the left flank of the town and give up trying to get in on the right side, simply by moving the spawnpoint. I don't think most minded this because they were just happy to be fighting constantly and winning. But I don't know that most of them would have been inclined to voluntarily do what I suggested without me using my leverage as squad leader to shift everyone's priorities and positions via shifting the spawnpoint.
  11. Wow, Xoom really climbed that HC ladder higher than I expected anyone could; Being promoted to the next highest rung above HC CinC, that of a CRS officer, and then being promoted to become CinC of CRS.
  12. I received an email to a survey wherein you requested feedback from the players on which direction the game should take in it's development course: Building up the current game engine by working on a list of features or rewriting the game from the ground up on a new engine. The truth is the answer is neither option was a good one. I say this only out a genuine desire to help you create a better game by providing some necessary perspectives. Why was neither option good? Neither addressed the core fundamental game design issues that were holding WW2OL back from providing a consistently good gameplay experience without compromising the game's simulator goals. To go down either of your proposed paths would amount to repainting the Titanic instead of identifying the source of the leak and seeking to repair it. After many years of thought on the subjective, I would sum up the overall problem behind both new and old players as: *Lack of consistently high quality dense combined arms battles.* Why has battle quality declined with player numbers? Well, the truth is that the game design was always flawed but high player numbers helped to cover over that by having such sheer numbers of players on the battlefield. It's only during low pop timezones or as population declined that we started to see the errors in the system manifest most clearly. These problems are: 1. Flawed and incomplete spawning and supply mechanics. 2. Incomplete or nonexistent communication and organizational mechanics. This is the core of your game. A game at it's most fundamental level is about the victory conditions and the means by which you achieve that. Nothing else matters if these elements aren't functioning properly. Not the graphics nor the amount of equipment available. Fix those two issues and you have a solid foundation from which to build upon with better graphics, more gameplay features, more equipment, etc. Fail to fix these issues and you'll never see the game grow no matter how many new vehicles or improved textures you come out with. For those who may not know me, you may be asking; Why should I put trust in your analysis of the game's core problem and your ability to prescribe a solution? Two reasons. 1. I've been around a long time. I followed this game when it came out with more eagerness than probably any other game. The only thing preventing me from joining in 2001 was knowing I didn't have a computer that could run it, so I waited until 2003. For many years I continued to play and support the game because I believed in the goal they were working towards achieving. 2. I've got a track record of being able to successfully diagnose problems with the game and prescribe solutions that worked. I say this not out of boasting, but only to emphasize that what I will outline about the game's problems comes from much effective deep analysis and is not just a flippant conclusion. What were past examples of my successfully analyzing the game's needs? After CRS came out with a depot spawning system (as a surprise christmas gift, without consulting the playerbase for feedback beforehand) the system had many fundamental flaws because it bypassed logistics entirely (you could teleport across the front instantly, bypassing the entire battlefield of supply line interdiction). I was the one who put forth a more moderated solution to bridge the gap between the need for fast time to battle while also preserving the need for supply line interdiction. I provided a detailed outline of a truck spawning system which gained CRS's attention and earned community support behind the idea. Although they did not implement the system entirely as I envisioned it, they made it close enough to what I suggested that the truck spawn has continued to serve the community since then as something which has had a lot more upsides than downsides for the direction of the game. The FRU is another example of a bad idea that was given to us as another surprise christmas gift without consulting the playerbase for feedback on how it would actually impact the game for better or worse. I remember thinking afterwards how could they not realize what problems the FRU would unleash? If they had posted about their intentions beforehand I could have warned them exactly how the FRU debacle would have unfolded because I understood from past experience what happens when you give players impossible to shut down offensive spawnpoints without the ability to interdict logistical supply. I was also the one who was first most vocally and effectively making the case that infantry gameplay would be improved rather than hurt by the addition of weapons like LMGs, RGs, snipers, and semi-autos (I also kept lobbying for flamethrowers, to no avail yet). Back then it was only seen as acceptable for players to advocate introducing more infantry based anti-tank weapons. It might seem self evident today that these anti-infantry infantry weapons were a good thing to introduce; but you have to understand that back then it was commonly accepted wisdom amongst the community that infantry had a tough life and died too easily to tanks anyway so why make their life harder by introducing more weapons that would kill them faster? I pointed out that part of the reason infantry felt so irrelevant was because they didn't have the tools to do their job effectively without leaning so heavily on tanks. By giving infantry more tools to take and hold territory, and attrit the enemy, you'd actually reduce the sense that the game was dominated by tanks with infantry just being fodder for them. On a related note, I can also effectively argue how introducing heavier mortars and artillery would actually make the game better if implemented with realistic constraints, especially for infantry by reducing their dependence on the tank to take ground or relying on aircraft to take out tanks or guns... which also bucks against the conventional community belief that artillery couldn't do anything other than make life harder for players - but that's a subject for a different thread. So, why is the spawn and supply system flawed? *Static FBs and ABs. A lot of the problems the game suffers from could be fixed with a dynamic system of mobile spawnpoints. A lot of game mechanics have been invented over the years to bandaid over the problems created by static spawn systems but to no avail. You've got to tackle the core problem which is that static FBs and ABs are neither a good simulation of real world battle flow nor are they an effective gameplay mechanic (unless your network of static bases are so densely packed across the battlefield that your system can operate almost as though it had a dynamic system). Why is it such a problem? a) It makes dense battles impossible to have unless you achieve a predetermined number of players in the area. The further apart spawnpoints are the less dense the battlefield will become, which leads to players spending more time traveling than fighting. A dynamic system gives you the capability to move the spawnpoints closer together so that smaller numbers of players can still feel like they are participating in a dense action packed battlefield. b] It's campable. Getting pre-camped or overrun before a defense can be mounted wouldn't be as much of an issue if you could simply spawn from a point a few hundred meters away from the point in contention. c] Attackers don't have the tools they need to effectively prosecute an effective attack. This leads to attackers being forced to rely on overwhelming numbers or gamey tactics as the only way to move the map. The attackers have too far to travel to battle given how small the population size is. Their FB is easy to blow out from under them. Their trucks are easy to take out so infantry can't close the gap to town. The attacker's end up strewn over a column advancing towards the target often unable to achieve critical mass because more of their players are tied up in traveling to combat than fighting on the frontline. The defenders, in contrast, always have a high percentage of their numbers on the frontline fighting due to short travel times. This leads to unsatisfying battles, lack of consistency, lack of density, and most importantly a sense that most attacks are going nowhere anyway so why try to do anything other than rack up some kills. Truck spawns and depots helped alleviate some of the problems ages ago, but they were never suppose to be the end word on dynamic and mobile spawn systems. They were merely a good start on a concept that desperately needed to be fully fleshed out for the game to function properly. d] You can't rely on attrition to win battles due to low population numbers and rotating supply. This is not itself a problem, as we don't have to have attrition be the basis for moving the map, but it becomes a problem when the poor game mechanics don't lend themselves to winning battles without attrition being a major factor. Back before brigade supply and lower player numbers, attrition of an AB use to be the primary means of taking a town and thus moving the map. If dynamic pushing spawn systems were a reality then we'd see a lot more territory able to be taken without the need to completely wipe out the enemy's supply first. By taking away player's abilities to take towns via attrition, without introducing the systems attackers need to effectively take and hold ground, you end up with an unsatisfying state of game that rarely results in quality battles for either side. Either it's a stalemate or it's lopsided, without much room inbetween like it use to be. e] Although trucks were a decent system, depots and FRUs were examples of bad attempts at solving the problem until they were both modified. Any dynamic spawning and advancement system has to pay respects to simulating logistical constraints in some way. Trucks, by having to travel and being fragile, did a decent job of retaining a sense of logistical restraint on their depoyment. FRUs were horrendous ideas because they gave you all the benefits of an advancing and persistent spawn system without any of the logical responsibility or risks involved in achieving that. Same with the original depot spawns. There are ways to achieve a more robust offensive spawning system without compromising the logistical integrity of the game, and both sides of the coin are necessary for WW2OL to be a successful design. You can't have logistics systems that keep players so tied up in travel that good battles cannot be easily had. And you can't have lazy systems that try to get players densely together for quick combat in a way that throws logistics out the window. If you do the later then your entire strategic layer of the game becomes meaningless and you may as well make a sandbox shooter. The key is crafting systems that do both in sync. f) You can't effectively simulate the dynamics of a defense without giving players the ability to establish dynamic entrenchments, spawnpoints, and other support related points (like battle emplacements that guns or infantry can spawn into). As well as giving defenders multiple lines of spawn points they can utilize as defense in depth to counter blitz attacks along the frontline. And why is the communication and organizational system flawed? *There's no effective in-game system that is geared towards dynamically raising up players as leaders and giving them the tools to lead, as well as no systems to dynamically group up players and put them under leadership. Specifically: a) Nobody is on the same channel for the same battle. b] Missions can't be used as tools for coordination because they only serve as spawnpoints. Players working on the same objective are spread out over multiple missions without any purpose other than the need for having multiple spawnpoints. c) You forced players to come up with their own in-game communications structures and then force new players to discover this on their own. A large percentage of the playerbase never knew about it, or never cared enough about it to actively go out of their way to use it. d) There exists no in-game structure designed to dynamically plug players together. There are people out there who want to be led, and people who want to lead, but the game gives them no tools to come together in a quick and effective way. This leads to an over-reliance on squads as the basis of the game's organization, which doesn't serve the players who want to be part of coordinated action but cannot because their squad isn't online or active at the time. It also doesn't serve players who like to be part of more varied types of activities considering that most squads tended to specialize in a narrow field of interest. The lower player numbers get, the worse this problem gets, and the more there is a need for a dynamic system of in-game leadership and organization build directly into the fabric of the game's design and interface that transcends the squad structure. e) There is no in-game organizational structure for players to plug themselves in to with regards to attack and defense. It all has to be done out of game in squads or HC forums, which fails to harness the bulk of players online at any given time towards any kind of coordinated objective. A game like this demands dynamic leadership and coordination as much as it demands dynamic spawning and supply. f) Similar to missions, brigades serve no actual organizational or communication purpose but only serve as sources of supply. Brigade OIC is an pointless position that serves no purpose for facilitating teamwork or communication. Especially when multiple brigades are in the same town all working on the same objective and they need a single leader rather than multiple leaders. Brigades are a good example of a half-baked system that doesn't seem to have a clear idea of what it is trying to achieve. You can't just throw random communication/coordination tools out there and expect it to have an impact. This kind of stuff has to be holistically designed from the ground up to weave it's way into ever facet of the game from bottom to top with a singular purpose of getting leaders and followers dynamically connected towards achieving real goals. Kind of like the need for a holistic and comprehensive spawning/supply system, it's not the kind of thing you can expect to get good results from if you throw out half-baked piecemeal incomplete features. You really need the whole package coming together to make it function properly. I have a lot of ideas about how the system could be reworked to achieve these core gameplay goals; but unless we first come to terms with what has to be changed about the game then there's no point in talking about how we can address those problems. I'd rather keep this thread focused for the sake of brevity on identifying the core problems rather than launching into detailed expositions on the potential ways to fix it, as that would stretch for pages. Such details would be better left for later. However, I would like to point out some other games that have also tackled these same problems. What's interesting is that some other games over the years have recognized these core problems and have followed similar paths in many cases to what I've long advocated WW2OL needed to do. We see some of these issues being dealt with in Planetside 2; not only with their spawning mechanics, but also with dynamic coordination. Although I think their system leaves some to be desired, it's worth mentioning because there's a reason they deemed it necessary to move in these directions. The same reasons it's necessary in WW2OL because they share the same fundamental game structure of a large advancing map persistent map with hundreds of players using combined arms. Part of what undermine's the need to use planetside's coordination tools is that it's an arcade game rather than a mil-sim. If players don't have a need to use a tool then they generally won't. Planetside was designed to be winnable by random players zerging in the general vicinity to each other, so whenever you design a game that doesn't require dynamic teamwork to win you shouldn't be surprised when your dynamic teamwork tools fail to be fully utilized. This is also another problem we've seen happen in other more arcade-like games where teamwork tools go unused because they really aren't necessary and the players aren't forced to use them (like the dynamic squad system when it was introduced in Battlefield 2). You can't just "build it and they will come". You actually need to structure and design your game in a way that makes people want and need to work together. If you want one example of how game design matters in determining whether or not organizational tools are utilized, look at Natural Selection 2. Players won't win if they don't work as a team, so they use the teamwork tools afford to them in order to achieve victory and they make a point to work as a team because their own personal fun depends on them not being a complete lone wolf. Each team has a commander who sets the agenda and gives orders to the players on the ground. Although there's room for individual tactics, it has to be tempered with a healthy respect for following the lead of your team and the direction your commander is trying to give the team. Otherwise you won't accomplish anything. Many players find the enjoy being led by a competent leader and will actively request orders from the commander with the intent of obeying diligently. But overall I think the game that is the most exciting to consider on these matters is "Squad". Firstly because it is a mil-sim that aims for similar things as WW2OL did but on a smaller scale with a mostly infantry focus. However, enough is similar that there's a lot to learn. It has identified the same problems and came to some similar answers as I did. The core premise here is that they wanted mil-sim level gameplay like ARMA but they didn't want low density combat and frustrating experiences where players constantly spend more time traveling than fighting. That is a problem in both WW2OL and ARMA for similar reasons. (ARMA is actually a very poorly designed as a game, and is really only useful as a sandbox. This is why few find it's PvP satisfying and most turn to co-op missions against AI for satisfaction). Squad solves the travel time and combat density issues with dynamic base and spawn systems. But I think what is even more important is how they sought to solve the coordination/communication problem. They have a system of in-game structured leadership that dynamically gets random players plugged in and fighting together with people assigned as leaders who are expected to give goals and coordinate players together. This is powerful and effective because they have holistically designed their game from the ground up to function around this system. It's not just an afterthought. It is what makes the game different from just about any other realistic sandbox shooter where players just mull around doing whatever they want. And these are the kinds of systems I've said for years WW2OL needs in order to function properly. The best thing about Squad is that it's not just a system that sits on a shelf and doesn't get used. Because they have a game that demands this kind of coordination to succeed, and they have set up the system to be normal rather than optional to participate in, the end result is that it's regularly and effectively used in every game. In closing: I implore you to throw your development focus behind the dual core necessities of spawning/supply mechanics and teamwork/coordination mechanics. This is what will make or break your game. Whether you do that using the existing engine or do it with a new engine is immaterial. The important thing is that you must analyze which path you take based on what will best serve meeting these two core goals. If you can't deliver this kind of experience without a new engine then maybe you have no choice but to go down that path. If you can deliver this under the existing engine to a reasonable degree then I would personally think you're better off delivering a more playable and fun game that existing players want to stay around for and new players have an easier time integrating into and finding fun with. I can't say that the game in it's current state is solid enough to leave floating around unsupported without development while you spend years working on a new engine. If some of these core gameplay issues were addressed then I would think you would be ok to do that because the core fundamental gameplay would be solid enough to coast along; but otherwise I think you risk losing the players you have while doing nothing to retain new ones. WW2OL's cause is not lost. Despite all the advances made with other games that make WW2OL look less revolutionary than it once was, the fact remains that WW2OL still has the potential to do things that other games can't and no other game would try to. Games like Warthunder, Planetside 2, and Squad have all come along to take a bite out of what WW2OL use to be the only one to offer, but none of those games have the potential to offer the whole complete package like WW2OL does. In terms of being a historical mil sim on a persistent dynamic battlefield with player run battleplans. On a scope that allows for weapons that normally never see realistic adaptations in any other game that involve infantry focused gameplay; like aircraft and artillery. I would only offer one bit of warning about going forward: Don't forsake what makes WW2OL different if you go the route of building a new engine, or you'll never be able to stand out from the competition that has more resources to pour into development. The reason I unsubbed years ago, after many years of unflagging support and faith in CRS, was because of two things they did - both of which dealt with losing sight of their original vision for the game. 1. It started when they were talking about pouring development resources into a new instant action version of WW2OL set on a small scale static battle map. This was effectively admitting that they didn't know how to deliver quality battles on the main server so they were giving up and trying something new. This would have split the playerbase and destroyed the main server. Yet it would have done very little to draw in new players because it would not have been so different from other games that later came out. This was the first time my confidence in CRS was shaken. They were giving up on the vision I had been supporting for so many years and their new vision seemed to not show an appreciation for what their game really needed to succeed or what they players really wanted. 2. It seemed like they were aimless without direction and no longer were pursuing the two core goals I have talked about in this thread. Since almost nothing has been done to deal with those two core issues in the time since I left, my analysis of the situation at the time has proven to not be incorrect. Prior to that they had for years been doing a lot to advance the game's strategic and spawning system in positive directions that improved gameplay; but at some point they stopped. And if they weren't committed to continuing working on developing those facets of the game then I had little to look forward to because I didn't consider the spawning and coordination mechanics good enough as they were. In fact, they made finding quality battles downright difficult and frustrating. I got tired of spending more time looking for quality battles than participating in them. The real straw on the camels back with regards to this was the FRU. I lost faith in their ability to understand how their game worked enough to anticipate what the FRU would have done to it, or their ability to understand what direction the game needed to go in with regards to pursuing the two core goals. Although the FRU brought a lot of bad things to the game when it was released in terms of whack-a-mole non-existant logistics, it also brought some of the most fun I'd had in a long time because it allowed me to take a more dynamic squad leadership role and resulted in incredibly dense infantry battles the likes of which I had not seen in a very long time. I maintain that those good things could have been achieved without the bad aspects of the FRU if they had used a different system. However, the FRU highlighted for me the fact that I just wasn't having much fun anymore with the way the game's mechanics were set up. It's pretty bad when even something as imperfect as the FRU was still funner than what we had, because what we had was so incomplete and broken. So realizing that the current system just wasn't as fun as it use to be, and having no hope that CRS was working to improve those systems, leaving was the only option left.
  13. I remember being so excited at the concept of the game coming out. I probably heard about it via game websites. Battlefields of this scale were unheard of. World war 2 games in general weren't even that common yet. Having started off MMOS in Asheron's call, WW2OL promised to be the ultimate PvP experience. I followed it before it's release and after, eager to jump in. Unfortunately I had to hold off buying it for a year or two, because I didn't have a computer powerful enough to run it. A much greater multitude of RAM had to be acquired for that feat to be achieved. I never suspected I would get drawn into the forums and play them more than the game itself. Which was a unique and diverse community that I;ve never see matched by another MMO game.
  14. I suppose I could play the game that comes with the forums and find out if they ever introduced flamethrower equipped parachuting motorcycles ridden by dogs.
  15. Money saved downloading ram is more money for hookers and blow.