User avatar
MarkShot
Posts: 2298
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:22 pm

Your thoughts on AGEOD, the games, and our evolution?

Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:29 pm

Well, there are enough games out there now for this question to be asked and discussed (or more accurately a series of questions). I will limit this just to games based on the AGE engine (thus, GI and WWI are excluded). So, we are talking about: BOA, AACW, NCP, and WIA.

I know many people here are historians and are particularly attached to certain epoques. However, for my question if you will, can we focus on the game mechanics, scope, and play.

(1) Which of AGEOD's games has greatest replay value? Why?

(2) Which of AGEOD's games has the most satisfying game play? Why?

(3) Which of AGEOD's games is the most intuitive to learn? Why?

(4) Which of AGEOD's game broke the most new ground? Why?

(5) Seeing the evolution from BOA through WIA, are you happy with the direction which has been taken in evolving the AGE game engine? Why?

(6) It is part of AGEOD's business strategy that each new game not only refines existing features, but essentially adds new modules (completely expanded scope) to the engine's capabilities. Putting aside periods and theaters, how would you like to see AGE evolve in the future?

(7) AGE was initially born as primarily a grand scale warfare engine. The evolution has been to go beyond warfare into many other realms. Where do your interests primarily lie? Is it with warfare? Is it with the challenges of national growth, leadership, and the international stage (with warfare as just a singe option)? Or is there something else?

(8) For those who have followed AGEOD's growth over the last few years and purchased the full spectrum of games is there anything else which you would like tell us about where we are going that you think we should know?

Feel free to answer any or all of the above. Please simply be clear as to what your response pertains to.

Thank you very much for your business, reflection, and time.

User avatar
GlobalExplorer
AGEod Veteran
Posts: 777
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:35 pm
Location: Berlin
Contact: Website

Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:11 pm

MarkShot wrote:(1) Which of AGEOD's games has greatest replay value? Why?


AACW hands down.

(2) Which of AGEOD's games has the most satisfying game play? Why?


AACW

(3) Which of AGEOD's games is the most intuitive to learn? Why?


(Of the two I have), BoA2, because I dont have so much micromagement.

(4) Which of AGEOD's game broke the most new ground? Why?


AACW, because it was the first game ever that gave me a grand campaign of that massive scope. With excellent visuals and without becoming overburdening.

(5) Seeing the evolution from BOA through WIA, are you happy with the direction which has been taken in evolving the AGE game engine? Why?


Yes. Because I wanted you to bring your graphics back to the level of Sandras, and you actually you managed that with WiA.

(6) It is part of AGEOD's business strategy that each new game not only refines existing features, but essentially adds new modules (completely expanded scope) to the engine's capabilities. Putting aside periods and theaters, how would you like to see AGE evolve in the future?



And I know Calvinus will kill me for that, but I would like to see a WWI game on the AGE engine.

(7) AGE was initially born as primarily a grand scale warfare engine. The evolution has been to go beyond warfare into many other realms. Where do your interests primarily lie? Is it with warfare? Is it with the challenges of national growth, leadership, and the international stage (with warfare as just a singe option)? Or is there something else?


I could see you make something like Colonization / Conquest of the New World, with options to found cities and trade.

(8) For those who have followed AGEOD's growth over the last few years and purchased the full spectrum of games is there anything else which you would like tell us about where we are going that you think we should know?


You guys rock and are one of my favorite game developers!

User avatar
Clovis
Posts: 3222
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:43 pm
Location: in a graveyard
Contact: Website

Sat Mar 21, 2009 11:30 pm

1) AACW, because of the strategic scope of the Great Campaign, assuring no game will follow the same path

2) AACW and BOA. BOA is easy and immediatly rewarding. AACW has added complexity, nut kept it in an abstracted way ( industry, manpower) and so easier to manage

3) BOA and as a close second WIA because of the simple oraganization rules

4) AACW: introduced a detailed chain of command, unit cohesion, industrial and manpoxer management. The scripting language was deeply extended too. NCP and WIA had added interesting features but nothing really "new"

5) Yes...and no. Yes because the constant refinement of the engine and of the AI have polished it to the point AGE is certainly the best 18th-19th Centuries wargaming tool ever created. No because yet today some weak points have to be addressed: naval warfare is a bit lacking in historicity, AI has yet to be strenghtened, the scripting language must be more documented. Last, there's NCP. I've sometimes the impression the better part to be tweaked in more refinements when the weaker remains slighty ignored.

6) See precedent replY. I would add a real diplomaty module.

7) I would love to see the engine adapted to the operational scale, ie a real Atlanta 64 or Austria 1809 campaign, with battalion units. Grand strategy scale could too be envisoned but I firmy believe the AGE strenght belonging to its military engine, the primary game focus must remain here even with additional modules for diplo, politics, etc
[LEFT]Disabled
[CENTER][LEFT]
[/LEFT]
[LEFT]SVF news: http://struggleformodding.wordpress.com/

[/LEFT]
[/CENTER]



[/LEFT]

User avatar
Carnium
Posts: 2115
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:08 pm
Location: Slovenia

Sun Mar 22, 2009 12:03 pm

1) AACW because of the huge GC and all improvements, followed by WiA, while NPC is at the bottom of that list.

2) Again AACW closely followed by WiA and again because AACW is a game of huge proportions while WiA is great if you are short of time and you need a fast yet enjoyable play. NPC had huge potential but it did not evolve as both already mentioned games as the lack of grand campaign seems to take away a bit too much from this great game.

3) WiA as it is really easy to learn.

4) AACW hands down. Probably THE best strategy game I have ever played.
It introduced a lot of things that before that I could only dream of ever seeing them. All the new and never ending improvements are keeping this game fresh and interesting for years.

5) Yes and no. WiA is a great improvement over BOA and I really like it, but as Clovis already said there are some features that were not taken over from NPC. Personally I was bit disappointed that WiA did not use the improved NPC engine but somehow improved and polished old BOA one.

6) Its hard to suggest anything new once you have already seen the new features of VGN. I just hope that the new games get the time to be properly tested before they are released to the public.
A bit off topic but still: AGEOD games need better protection as all its games were pirated once they were released trough retailers.

7) My dream game would be NPC with GC, WW1 and WW2 games based on VGN engine.Where domestic and foreign politics along with strong diplomacy would also play a huge role.
Also as a member of a "microscopic" nation I would like to see more small nations to be playable in the upcoming AGEOD games.

8) You are already one of, if not THE best, gaming company and I wish you all the best in the future.
Personally I just love the way the customers are treated here (great community and never ending updates) :coeurs:

User avatar
Gray_Lensman
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:04 am
Location: Who is John Galt?

Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:04 pm

deleted

richfed
Posts: 902
Joined: Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:50 pm
Location: Marion, North Carolina, USA
Contact: Website

Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:26 pm

I concur with GlobalExplorer ...

Looking forward to VGN!!
[color="DarkRed"][SIZE="2"][font="Book Antiqua"]"We've caught them napping!"[/font][/size][/color]

User avatar
lodilefty
Posts: 7578
Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2007 3:27 pm
Location: Finger Lakes, NY GMT -5 US Eastern

Sun Mar 22, 2009 2:28 pm

Gray_Lensman wrote:Do I even need to reply? :D


+1 :w00t:
Always ask yourself: "Am I part of the Solution?" If you aren't, then you are part of the Problem!
[CENTER][/CENTER]
[CENTER]Visit AGEWiki - your increasingly comprehensive source for information about AGE games[/CENTER]

[CENTER]Rules for new members[/CENTER]
[CENTER]Forum Rules[/CENTER]

[CENTER]Help desk: support@slitherine.co.uk[/CENTER]

User avatar
Hobbes
Posts: 4378
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:18 am
Location: UK

Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:28 pm

richfed wrote:I concur with GlobalExplorer ...

Looking forward to VGN!!


I agree with GlobalExplorer also - but not sure about point 7. To make some money maybe but other companies can make games like this.

NPC could have been a lot better + I would love to see an ancient game set around the med - but a very different game, maybe a year per turn.

EDIT: Maybe a year per turn doesn't work for games like these but there is always the problem of how to make games spanning a hundred years or more without making it into a monster 1,000+ turn game while still keeping a tactical element.

Cheers, Chris

User avatar
MarkShot
Posts: 2298
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:22 pm

Sun Mar 22, 2009 5:14 pm

Hobbes,

I thought at some point there were discussions about variable turn lengths or am I confusing this with Panther Games and our discussions of how a real-time system could be turned into a PBEM enable game? Too much brainstorming and too many withering brain cells! :)

User avatar
Hobbes
Posts: 4378
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 12:18 am
Location: UK

Sun Mar 22, 2009 6:07 pm

MarkShot wrote:Hobbes,

I thought at some point there were discussions about variable turn lengths or am I confusing this with Panther Games and our discussions of how a real-time system could be turned into a PBEM enable game? Too much brainstorming and too many withering brain cells! :)


Too many withering brain cells here as well Mark. I suppose variable turn lengths would be the only way to go but I don't remember ever playing a classic game that has variable length turns.

Cheers, Chris

Strategy
Lieutenant
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: Roa, Norway
Contact: Website

Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:01 pm

Hobbes wrote:NPC could have been a lot better + I would love to see an ancient game set around the med - but a very different game, maybe a year per turn.

EDIT: Maybe a year per turn doesn't work for games like these but there is always the problem of how to make games spanning a hundred years or more without making it into a monster 1,000+ turn game while still keeping a tactical element.


Cough! Cough!! ;)
Designer/Developer
MicaByte Games:
The Imperium Project (in eternal development)
A Brief History of Rome (Android & PC)
Pirates & Traders (Android)

User avatar
caranorn
Posts: 1332
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:20 pm
Location: Luxembourg

Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:51 pm

1) WIA. It's main campaign is long enough for a lot of variation, yet the system is simple enough to easily start a new game after a long break...

2) AACW. A wide range of strategic options an a more interesting conflict (to me)...

3) WIA. No unit building and economy...

4) BOA. Simply by being the first, surpassing anything existing before...

5) Having followed the various games over a long time it's almost impossible for me to notice an evolution. But the reason for that is Ageod's increddible policy of patching and updating the games...

6) I haven't spent enough time gaming recently to comment on this...

7) Anything strategic and related to external conflicts. That is not only wars themselves, but also the economics and diplomacy behind, respectively surrounding the conflicts...

8) Continue as you have in the past. I have seen other companies decline as their sucess increased. I'm happy to say I haven't noticed this with Ageod...
Marc aka Caran...

User avatar
MarkShot
Posts: 2298
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:22 pm

Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:55 pm

I must admit I had long ago raised a concern that our very first customers were wargamers, but that follow on games moved more into the realm of grand strategy. I was worried about alienating our initial customer base. Such things do happen. For example, I think Battlefront experienced quite a bit of that as their customers had a very high affinity for the WWII era and they decided to go modern warfare and assymetric.

However, I do believe AGEOD has done a good job of bringing along the original BOA customers into new games that go beyond pure combat.

Another concern I have with any game series (evolution) is the tendency to suffer from feature bloat over time. The continuous demand and perceived marketting need to always add new stuff is a very powerful force. There is nothing specific to AGEOD here as this is just as true of Microsoft Office as it is of any game company. Risks:

(1) The only ones who can easily pick up the next release are existing customers.

(2) Threshold is reached where the barrier of entry to new customers begins to become daunting.

(3) The series becomes increasingly grognard/hardcore further narrowing the market.

(4) As the entire system gets more complex, it becomes harder to test. The ratio of bugs and exploits to solid code increases. Additionally, AI programming becomes increasingly more difficult as the strategic and tactical problems grow exponentially.

I have to admit to being very struck by BOA. There was a little discussion of it over at http://www.wargamer.com a few years back, but the main thing that got me interested was a strong recommendation from a friend whose gaming opinion I highly value.

(Side note: My profession background falls in the area of systems design/architecture/management.)

I was instantly struck by the very clean, clear, and intuitive interface of BOA. The use of drag and drop was the very spirit of what MSFT had put forth in the evolution for the Windows desktop ... actions communicated graphically by treating interace components as nouns (objects) and mouse actions verbs (methods). On a professional level, I was very impressed with what I saw. Too many good games are hidden under some really atrocious UI (user interfaces). Here the UI showcased a well designed engine and focused the player's attention where it should be in a totally unobtrusive way.

Now, before I started with BOA, I had heard comments about the beautiful map and artwork. I wasn't expecting to really have this matter much to me. Being an engineer, function has always weighed much more heavily than form. But I must admit that I found Sandra's hand drawn work very compelling as opposed to the the usual computer rendered terrain. It greatly contributed to the period feel and added quite a bit to the immersion.

Works after BOA have had their own beauty and UI enhancements. However, my mind tends to drift back to BOA and the immediate impact it all had on first exposure. It was a transformational moment which I will not forget. (The closest other similar gaming memory might have been EAW [European Air War] and for the very first time seeing huge dog fights and formations. Until that time 16 planes in the air was the standard for flight sims. EAW filled the air with hundreds.)

Beyond that as time went on and new games were rolled out, I was very impressed with the ability to back port major new functionality from games under development back to earlier games in the series. This is a very rare capability and most engines are not so well structured that they can easily accomodate back porting without major rewriting of the previously released code. Rarely are customers even lucky enough to find that all scenarios can be loaded and run by an updated engine. With AGE, the product line has evolved forward, but existing titles have actually evolved as well in a form of "block upgrades" seen in some instances with weapons systems that have a very long service life.

Customers rarely are ever so lucky to find their favorite games regularly being reborn anew through a lengthy series of patches. Many CMBO fans would have felt truely blessed if their favorite scenarios could have been reloaded under CMBB or CMAK. Alas, there would be none of that and the closest thing was to have the same units included in CMAK's TOE and to have to recreate the scenario from scratch. The same for Panther Games (I am affiliated with PG on the Beta Team). Battles of the Bulge is being worked on and many would love to see the ability to load their old RDOA (Red Devils Over Arnhem) or HTTR (Highway to the Reich) scenarios be able to be imported into BFTB ... but alas things will be similar to going from CMBO -> CMAK.

The job Pocus did on building the AGE engine is very impressive not just as a game engine, but as a professional work of software development as well. Phil and Pocus realized a vision that falls nicely in the middle, between traditional TBS formats which can be very ponderous to play at times and the RTS format which tends to be a bit fast (maybe too fast) when it comes to games with such immense scope. AGE balances the desire of the player to apply intellect and analysis nicely with recognizing that most players have jobs, families, and responsibilies and cannot find the time to play a single campaign in six months to a year.

---

Well, it looks like I got carried away writing. Sometimes, I get very passionate about games and software. Feel free to take my observations with a grain of salt, since I have associated myself with AGEOD. However, know that many of the sentiments were reached prior to involvement with AGEOD. In fact, in part it was due to those sentiments which led to the association with AGEOD.

---

Good discussion, guys. Thanks for your posts. We appreciate the feedback and we know it takes time away from things you could be doing like playing your favorite AGEOD game! :)

User avatar
caranorn
Posts: 1332
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:20 pm
Location: Luxembourg

Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:27 pm

Just an ammendment to my response to 5). I obviously noticed evolution in these games. What I meant to say is that it was mostly gradual and therefore less perceptible. One could say that BOA was revolutionary for computer gaming, everything since was indeed an evolution by slow steps slipped in through the various game patches...
Marc aka Caran...

tc237
Colonel
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 10:37 pm
Location: Allegheny Arsenal

Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:45 pm

Mark,

You mentioned Battlefront.com's troubles after the release of CM:SF.
That was exactly what I thought of after reading your first post earlier this morning and have been thinking about the future direction for AGEOD throughout the day.
I don't want to see the same thing happen to AGEOD.

It can be very difficult to balance keeping current fans happy and at the same time bring in new players.
AACW, while a great game, can be a bit too much for alot of new players while NCP wasn't enough for the old Grogs.
I love both games equally, the depth of AACW and the instant action of NCP.

In my opinion a balance between AACW and NCP may be the way to go forward.
Make a detailed, Grogy game like AACW but somehow give the player the option to turn off the higher level supply/production elements so that they can play a quick game, like NCP.

But, the on/off process must be very easy and straight forward for new players so that they aren't overwhelmed by a large, complex "Options Screen".
Something like a one click button to switch between Basic and Advanced rules. (the Grogs get all their options screen with Advanced Rules)

I think you nailed it dead on with the list of 5 Risks.
Sometimes trying to completely satisfy the Grogs can be a slippery slope.
IMO as along as AGEOD stays true to the initial vision for the engine and company they will be fine.

Sorry for the disjointed post, hopefully I'll have a more coherent one later.

User avatar
Clovis
Posts: 3222
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:43 pm
Location: in a graveyard
Contact: Website

Sun Mar 22, 2009 10:59 pm

tc237 wrote:Mark,

You mentioned Battlefront.com's troubles after the release of CM:SF.
That was exactly what I thought of after reading your first post earlier this morning and have been thinking about the future direction for AGEOD throughout the day.
I don't want to see the same thing happen to AGEOD.

It can be very difficult to balance keeping current fans happy and at the same time bring in new players.
AACW, while a great game, can be a bit too much for alot of new players while NCP wasn't enough for the old Grogs.
I love both games equally, the depth of AACW and the instant action of NCP.

In my opinion a balance between AACW and NCP may be the way to go forward.
Make a detailed, Grogy game like AACW but somehow give the player the option to turn off the higher level supply/production elements so that they can play a quick game, like NCP.

But, the on/off process must be very easy and straight forward for new players so that they aren't overwhelmed by a large, complex "Options Screen".
Something like a one click button to switch between Basic and Advanced rules. (the Grogs get all their options screen with Advanced Rules)

I think you nailed it dead on with the list of 5 Risks.
Sometimes trying to completely satisfy the Grogs can be a slippery slope.
IMO as along as AGEOD stays true to the initial vision for the engine and company they will be fine.

Sorry for the disjointed post, hopefully I'll have a more coherent one later.


NCP weaknesses is to be lacking a Great Campaign. Not because players want only to play it. AGE engine shines when there's a strategic layer. NCP scenarios are just lacking this. The AGE grand operational scale is a little too big to portray purely operational matter; AGE needs operational picture to be crossed with the choice of a strategy to reach the objectives. BOA, WIA and AACW share this feature.

Of course, soem games need to be less complex than others to please all. But A great NCP campaign will just do justice to NCP operational strenght.
[LEFT]Disabled

[CENTER][LEFT]

[/LEFT]

[LEFT]SVF news: http://struggleformodding.wordpress.com/



[/LEFT]

[/CENTER]







[/LEFT]

User avatar
Gray_Lensman
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 4:04 am
Location: Who is John Galt?

Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:59 pm

deleted

User avatar
Clovis
Posts: 3222
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:43 pm
Location: in a graveyard
Contact: Website

Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:10 am

Gray_Lensman wrote:Not sure if you've seen this Clovis? You might check this thread out: http://www.ageod-forum.com/showthread.php?p=136721#post136721


Yes, I saw it. :thumbsup: And with the strength of the NCP operational basis, the great campaign should just blow away the competition. Really. In spite of its flaws, NCP is portraying Napoleonic warfare in colourful details. adding the scope of an Empire in Arms to that will just be terrific.
[LEFT]Disabled

[CENTER][LEFT]

[/LEFT]

[LEFT]SVF news: http://struggleformodding.wordpress.com/



[/LEFT]

[/CENTER]







[/LEFT]

User avatar
Stwa
Colonel
Posts: 395
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:01 am

Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:18 am

BoA artwork was simply the best in the series for all the reasons mentioned by others.

BoA v 1.12a with tracks system eliminated and auto-raise completely functional provides the best gaming experience, IMHO.

BoA unit and models are well thought out and keep things simple while emphaisising the differences between essential troop types withought intejecting undo complicaiton.

BoA original engine is best positioned to make additional games. Theatres/games do not need to represent an entire continent or an entire war.

BoA original engine is best positioned to transition to a tactical level game for representing the campaigns surrounding individual battles of any period maybe even the 20th century.

BoA original engine could produce a pure wargame of military objectives that does not interject economy or politics.

Perhpas WiA engine can reproduce the original BoA engine.

User avatar
MarkShot
Posts: 2298
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:22 pm

Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:50 am

Tony,

Nice to bump into you again. It's been too long since we last chatted.

I do a poor Don Adams impersonation, but would you believe I only cited four risks and not five! :) You missed it by that much!

Take care.

User avatar
Clovis
Posts: 3222
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:43 pm
Location: in a graveyard
Contact: Website

Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:50 am

BOA engine is unsuited for any conflict involving unit production, diplomacy or technological production.

BOA can't portray armies larger than a few thousands men because it lacks any depiction of developped military organization. So The European theater is closed.

BOA can only be suited for small, peripheric wars, except the 2 America ones in 18th century, which are by their scope offering real strategical value.

Even a portage to the Soth America liberation war would be difficult because of the lack of tools to account for the political turmoil.

BOA has never been conceived as more than a first step.

And on a pure business model, it would be a total failure. Just changing the subject without evolution would result in mowering sales. Most consumers wants new features.
[LEFT]Disabled

[CENTER][LEFT]

[/LEFT]

[LEFT]SVF news: http://struggleformodding.wordpress.com/



[/LEFT]

[/CENTER]







[/LEFT]

tc237
Colonel
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 10:37 pm
Location: Allegheny Arsenal

Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:01 am

Clovis wrote:NCP weaknesses is to be lacking a Great Campaign. Not because players want only to play it. AGE engine shines when there's a strategic layer. NCP scenarios are just lacking this. The AGE grand operational scale is a little too big to portray purely operational matter; AGE needs operational picture to be crossed with the choice of a strategy to reach the objectives. BOA, WIA and AACW share this feature.

Of course, soem games need to be less complex than others to please all. But A great NCP campaign will just do justice to NCP operational strenght.

You quoted my entire post so I am not sure what you were replying to.
I am going to comment your line that NCP's weakness was a lack of a Grand Campaign.
IMO, it is only a weakness in hindsight (and only to a sub-set of players) because NCP followed closely after the release of AACW (with it's wonderful grand campaigns and large scenarios).
If NCP was released first it would have been wildly applauded.
Lack of a "grand campaign" can not be a weakness if it was not part of the design in the first place. (sort of like saying lack of real-time is a weakness).

The point of my first post is that AGEOD needs to find a balance between an extra large grand campaign game and a smaller operational only game.
IMO they are the only company that can achieve this ideal game by offering players the option to switch effortlessly between Basic/Advanced game rules.


Stwa wrote:
BoA original engine is best positioned to make additional games. Theatres/games do not need to represent an entire continent or an entire war.

BoA original engine is best positioned to transition to a tactical level game for representing the campaigns surrounding individual battles of any period maybe even the 20th century.

BoA original engine could produce a pure wargame of military objectives that does not interject economy or politics.

Excellent points, AGEOD needs to be wary they do not alienate new/casual fans to satisfy hard core fans looking for the next 18th/19th century version of "War in the Pacific".

edit:
and now seeing Clovis' post, we can see the difference of opinion and taste in games that players can have. :D

User avatar
Clovis
Posts: 3222
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:43 pm
Location: in a graveyard
Contact: Website

Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:06 am

tc237 wrote:IMO, it is only a weakness in hindsight (and only to a sub-set of players) because NCP followed closely after the release of AACW (with it's wonderful grand campaigns and large scenarios).
If NCP was released first it would have been wildly applauded.
Lack of a "grand campaign" can not be a weakness if it was not part of the design in the first place. (sort of like saying lack of real-time is a weakness).



Not sure.Most of the NCP scenarios, in spite of more detailed rules, suffer from the no need to replay syndrom. Of course, it would as first be lauded for its system. But BOA, WIA and ACW has a replayability thanks to the strategic scope. And the best proof is the vast majority of game played are the Campaigns , not the smaller scenarios, except for most as a training tool.
[LEFT]Disabled

[CENTER][LEFT]

[/LEFT]

[LEFT]SVF news: http://struggleformodding.wordpress.com/



[/LEFT]

[/CENTER]







[/LEFT]

tc237
Colonel
Posts: 316
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 10:37 pm
Location: Allegheny Arsenal

Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:06 am

MarkShot wrote:Tony,

Nice to bump into you again. It's been too long since we last chatted.

I do a poor Don Adams impersonation, but would you believe I only cited four risks and not five! :) You missed it by that much!

Take care.

Thanks Mark,
There are very few people on wargame forums these days that will make me stop and read through an entire thread, you are one of them. :thumbsup:

User avatar
MarkShot
Posts: 2298
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:22 pm

Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:06 am

I agree that you have to keep delivering new features ... the gaming industries analog of "publish or perish". However, problem is how to do that without boxing yourself into a corner?

Now, I think there are a number of strategies to follow:

(1) New features add both complexity and simplicity at the same time. For example with PGs series, the unit count was upped, but at the same time an OOB navigator and unit type filters were introduced. The effect was more complexity offset by an improved UI.

(2) Provide a new feature, but abstract a lot of the minutia so to capture the flavor and the impact without vastly complicating game play. Another PG example, a supply network was introduced that make the control of the road network critical. Yet the push/pull mechanics of supply were highly abstracted so that the player didn't have to worry depots, convoys, and change an operational warfare game into one of logistics.

(3) Layering of new features meaning that all features of the game don't coexist at the same level. This is somewhat the opposite of #2 the abstraction approach. You allow for additional features which introduce fine control, yet they do not coincide at the same level as the core game play. So, grogs are happy for even greater control, yet noobs and casual gamers can practically ignore these new features. This doesn't have to strictly be multi-level. Similar affects can be achieved by providing the player with selectable options, but for the most part intelligently defaulting them so that they can be ignored if the player so choses.

---

I think another true challenge in evolution is the addition of features, but making the end result appear that it was part of the initial plan and everything fits seamlessly. This is as opposed to an ugly hodge podge where things were clearly tacked on at the last minute.

User avatar
Clovis
Posts: 3222
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 7:43 pm
Location: in a graveyard
Contact: Website

Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:15 am

MarkShot wrote:I agree that you have to keep delivering new features ... the gaming industries analog of "publish or perish". However, problem is how to do that without boxing yourself into a corner?

Now, I think there are a number of strategies to follow:

(1) New features add both complexity and simplicity at the same time. For example with PGs series, the unit count was upped, but at the same time an OOB navigator and unit type filters were introduced. The effect was more complexity offset by an improved UI.

(2) Provide a new feature, but abstract a lot of the minutia so to capture the flavor and the impact without vastly complicating game play. Another PG example, a supply network was introduced that make the control of the road network critical. Yet the push/pull mechanics of supply were highly abstracted so that the player didn't have to worry depots, convoys, and change an operational warfare game into one of logistics.

(3) Layering of new features meaning that all features of the game don't coexist at the same level. This is somewhat the opposite of #2 the abstraction approach. You allow for additional features which introduce fine control, yet they do not coincide at the same level as the core game play. So, grogs are happy for even greater control, yet noobs and casual gamers can practically ignore these new features. This doesn't have to strictly be multi-level. Similar affects can be achieved by providing the player with selectable options, but for the most part intelligently defaulting them so that they can be ignored if the player so choses.

---

I think another true challenge in evolution is the addition of features, but making the end result appear that it was part of the initial plan and everything fits seamlessly. This is as opposed to an ugly hodge podge where things were clearly tacked on at the last minute.


That('s indeed a very complex but essential question. AACW is suffering from a micromagement aspect.

This micromagement is incresaed by some quircks in the UI, like the slighty painful way to create divisions, corps.

On the whole, I don't think increased rule diffuculty to have been oversighted in the design. Supply is automated, the way to adress conscription, politics and industrialization has been abstracted sufficiently to keep it simple. critics are focused on the need to search and move new units on the map, division and corp creation.

What's needed in the future, apart evolution of the UI or new mechanism to automatize some processes, will be a peculiar efforts on tutorials. AGE needs video tutorials to teach the gameplay. Almost mandatory.
[LEFT]Disabled

[CENTER][LEFT]

[/LEFT]

[LEFT]SVF news: http://struggleformodding.wordpress.com/



[/LEFT]

[/CENTER]







[/LEFT]

User avatar
MarkShot
Posts: 2298
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:22 pm

Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:34 am

At PG, we delivered about 500 pages of documentation with COTA, but concluded that video tutorials would have been very helpful and friendly.

I had just one concern one with video approach which is perhaps even more appropriate for AGEOD than Panther Games. PG's engine/scenarios/documentation is strictly English (or more correctly Australian English; not American). However, there are many customers who have a good reading knowledge of English, but do not speak it as a native language. Video tutorials risk losing them due to listening comprehension abilities and possibly issues of a accent. For example if you are say Chinese and have learned American accented English, would an Australian accent present a problem to follow. Of course, I think if AGEOD seriously went with videos in say English, perhaps there could be four tracks of subtitles with English/French/Spanish/German.

---

Another was of reducing complexity while adding features is the use of AI agents or assistants. This has been done by PG and MMG which is largely the basis of the very game engine itself. NWS' new game Supremacy at Sea provides the player with a general staff which can handle an arbitrary number of issues.

I don't think intelligent agents would work too well with AGE and it would change the very nature of the product itself. Also, there are many who do not like such an approach and complain about the game becoming a spectator sport. However, the concept of a general staff handling some of the work load or putting part of the game on auto-pilot might allow for evolution while still making it noob friendly.

---

DISCLAIMOR (IMPORTANT): Anything I say in this conversation are purely my own rambling musings ... I am not representing AGEOD's position on current or future game engine evolution. I am just shooting the breeze with fellow gamers. I thought it might be interesting given the length of time AGEOD has been in business and the number of games that have been completed. Though I strongly suspect that those who do make the design decisions will be interested in the opinions expressed here. (They more or less do read most of what goes on the forums.)

User avatar
Stwa
Colonel
Posts: 395
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:01 am

Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:06 am

A strong game system and simplicity is the best approach. New whiz bang features, assistants, or other tools, might be nice, but the core system are what fans are most interested in.

Close Combat is a game system that has remained pretty much unchanged for over a decade, but enjoys sales even today and a large fan base and probably more mods than a single title in history.

HPS simulations could produce many titles utilizing basically the same engine, without adding new features.

BoA engine properly enumerates the unit/sub-unit relationship which could be anything from an entire army to a regiment to a simple warband.

User avatar
Evren
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:31 pm
Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:10 am

I'm not a wargamer, and although i'm interested in history, i'm certainly not attached to a certain "epoque". Here are the answers:

1)AACW. The very existence of a grand campaign with economic and political aspects adds a lot to the replayability.

2)AACW. I could never get into NCP and WIA as much as ACW because of the reasons that i explained above.

3)BOA and WIA as everyone else.

4)AACW again. It's the first Ageod game i played and i haven't seen much difference in NCP and WIA.

5)Depends. I just saw that the same engine was adapted to other theatres with less options. I would also like to see some tweaks regarding the naval warfare and the AI. But the support policy is so good that the particular games evolved so much that they turned into different and better games.

6)I guess it is the best for me to make a comment about this after playing VGN, since there are going to be more modules.

7)That is a bit tricky for me to answer. I'm not a real wargamer as many others here, i just like playing strategy games. So i could easily say the strategical part(diplomacy, politics etc..) draws my attention more. But, Ageod warfare engine is so solid and innovative that its use in a grand campaign creates wonders. Now i can not think of an Ageod game without both of them.

8)What really draws me to Ageod is the amateur spirit with a professional approach, in a quantitative world where the majority thinks that the "unit" of success is money. I also very much like the fact that Ageod is supporting 3rd parties by publishing their innovative games.

User avatar
Evren
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:31 pm
Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:59 am

MarkShot wrote:I agree that you have to keep delivering new features ... the gaming industries analog of "publish or perish". However, problem is how to do that without boxing yourself into a corner?

Now, I think there are a number of strategies to follow:

(1) New features add both complexity and simplicity at the same time. For example with PGs series, the unit count was upped, but at the same time an OOB navigator and unit type filters were introduced. The effect was more complexity offset by an improved UI.

(2) Provide a new feature, but abstract a lot of the minutia so to capture the flavor and the impact without vastly complicating game play. Another PG example, a supply network was introduced that make the control of the road network critical. Yet the push/pull mechanics of supply were highly abstracted so that the player didn't have to worry depots, convoys, and change an operational warfare game into one of logistics.

(3) Layering of new features meaning that all features of the game don't coexist at the same level. This is somewhat the opposite of #2 the abstraction approach. You allow for additional features which introduce fine control, yet they do not coincide at the same level as the core game play. So, grogs are happy for even greater control, yet noobs and casual gamers can practically ignore these new features. This doesn't have to strictly be multi-level. Similar affects can be achieved by providing the player with selectable options, but for the most part intelligently defaulting them so that they can be ignored if the player so choses.



This made me remember an old game called "Birthright" from Sierra. The game was bugged, but it was potentially a very good game.

It was a fantasy strategy game based on the fantasy world "Birthright", where you basically took control of one of the many "realms" and tried to dominate the map via conquest and alliances. It also had an RPG module inside the game, where you could manage parties from the characters in the game and finish quests.

There were 3 different layers you could play the game: Simple, Medium and Advanced.

The game had some complex rules for people who were not interested in fantasy worlds, but the layers provided a nice transition from beginner level to the advanced level, which you could only enjoy the game fully.

There was a tutorial for each level; the tutorials basically told you what to do turn by turn with a nice interface for every level. And you could play the campaigns on every level. You could start with the simple game tutorial, and play the campaign in that level, and when you felt ready, you could jump to the medium and advanced levels.

That can also be adjusted to Ageod games if the producers have enough time to spare; not for the existing games, but for future releases like "VGN", which includes diplomacy and such. For example; in basic game you can just produce basic military counters, and there's no military control or loyalty features for regions or no depots and supply distribution features over the map etc..

Return to “General discussions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Tac Error and 1 guest