Breathing Life

Discussion relating to Battlefront

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Breathing Life

Postby hank » Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:31 am

I'm an old time player of SSG games (relatively speaking). I bought KP when it first hit the airwaves. I bought Across the Dnepr the instant it was released. I subsequently bought BiN as soon as it was released also. I passed on BiI due mostly to its campaign selection (I'm not a big historian of the Italian battles). There was a significant leap in the game engine from KP to BiN; but other than some good enhancements to AI and a few other features I thought I was stick to BiN until the next game release after BiI. (right or wrong that was my purchase strategy)

I played several pbem games and tournaments with KP and BiN. And if you review my results you can see I play for fun and education thus my lackluster record. I don't play just to win, I play to learn the battles; but don't get me wrong I always strive to win.

Now that BF has been out for many many moons, I've been playing pbem and against the AI since its release. I feel BF is a better game than the previous three realeases in some ways; in others it may not be but I feel its personal preference in these regards. That's enough of history and time to desribe my disatisfaction.

At the Matrix site and this site the BF activity has been dismal. There's actually more traffic on the KP/BiN/BiI forums individually than BF. There are many more scenario's available for these three games each, than there is for BF and from what I can see, there were several more sce's created by users in the first year of their life than there has been for BF by a long shot.

How can we breath life into this wonderful game? I think its going to have to be up to SSG to do something about this.

My suggestion is for SSG to build a scenario package for BF. SSG did this for KP via the Across the Dnepr scenario pack. If SSG could sell a scenario pack for $30 or so, they could possibly make some money to help fund their next release. I would even say if a sce pack was made for BF, those who don't have BF could be offered a discounted price for the Battlefront game engine (to hopefully lure new players into the group).

I would even suggest reuse the map graphics if possible and release sce packs for the past battles ... wonderful sce's like Korsun Pocket, or TAO, or Across the Dnepr, or Normandy, or anything that's been officially issued by SSG.

BF is such a wonderful game IMHO with lots of potential for future development. I know I could try my hand at building a sce but I never had to in the past. I tried my hand at one using BiN and I struggled through an attempt at a Kursk South sce but after several manweeks of work I just got burned out (plus work and a computer crash just killed my desire to try and restart/finish it).

Why such low interest in this game? Any other suggestion to rejuvenate this game?

thanks for listening to my holiday rant

Hank
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Postby Joe » Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:04 am

I have an AAR almost ready to go - as soon as our current game is over.

The AAR, as with the previous AAR, I post on various forums about the place.

I know got at least one person to get the game as a result!
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Postby Chris Merchant » Mon Dec 17, 2007 9:18 am

Under the guidance of SSG I am finalising the Battlefront game manual revision and I would hope to see this available early next year.

The game system introduced in Battlefront is just too good to see languish so I'd encourage any of you with some spare time to put into the hobby to help out, even talking on the forums about it is enough to stir things up sometimes.

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Postby falco » Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:00 pm

Yes, I too have been mystified as to why the BF forums have been so quiet compared to the KP/BIN/BiI forums when they were first released.

Perhaps BF simply hasnt sold as well as its former counterparts and the lack of activity is simply a reflection of this??....I dont know but as the former posters have rightly pointed out, BF is simply too outstanding a game to let languish the way it has been.

What is the solution? I guess a scenario pack from SSG would be a good start. More tourneys would be another. It sounds as though there are several custom scenarios on the way.

Anyway just my 2cents worth.
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Postby Howard7x » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:50 am

Ive said this many times over, but seeing as this is a new thread, im going to say it again.

SSG is a small dev house that just happen to create my personal favourite strategy games. With them being small means they can only focus on so many things at once.

BF was rushed in the end due to the resources taken up by Carriers at War. It never recovered and the support since CaW has been poor. There were small things missing from BF that made the game feel unpolished and i also think the choice of scenarios strangly turned people off along with the terrible AI, it must have become more difficult to code than they initially thought. Also i suppose they expected the user community to help out with scenarios after release but the editor is just far too complex for most of us.

I think SSG realised they could do no more with the current engine and hopefully were going to see something of a change in direction next year. A new user interface prehaps? and an editor thats easy to use :D

I know SSG dont want to dissapoint their fans and the so long as they keep churning out games like KP/BII/BIN i will be along for the ride.
Never, ever.... ever again!

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Postby Joe » Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:22 am

As far as the scenarios are concerned, I would make a guess that by having them in the 4 most popular wargaming areas the theory was that modders could make scenarios aet almost anywhere!

The scenario editor of the old RUN 5 series was very easy to use!

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Postby Brubaker » Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:32 am

Some very good points made in this thread. My 2 cents is this:

As a long time scenario creator I have to admit that I prefer the older engines to the Battlefront one for creating scenarios. This is simply because (from a design point of view) the older engines prvide more gratifying results more quickly, than with Battlefront. I am not saying they are better engines, but they are simpler to design with.

I also prefer designing strategic type games so again the older engines are more suited to this.

I agree that the BF series needs a scenario pack to help it along. I also think it needs a major rework of the editor to simplify the process for everyone to use. I am delighted to see Chris reworking the manual which will help to this end.

Changes (imporevemnts) I would like to see made are:

- Multiple units able to move in stacks
- Thorough documentation (being addressed by Chris)
- Spreadsheet capable data editing of data files

This is simply my opinion and not that of anyone else I am aware of.

As far as what I would like to see in a game, as I said I prefer the larger style strategic games so if the above 'problems' were addressed I would certainly build in the BF engine.

Cheers

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Postby stevel40831 » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:29 am

At one time I had up to 10 PBEM games going at a time (KP/AtD/BiN/BiI). I haven't played any in months. Most of this was personal disappointment with BF and some of it was a bit of disillusion regarding the issue of cheating within the older engines. I don't care to rehash the cheating part of this, but, it was an important factor in my losing interest. I realize of course that you can play people that you trust, which is what I was basically doing (Anton & Andrew were the two I played against most often) but as they moved on to BF it was difficult to get games going with the older titles. People moved on to BF since it was new and that's understandable.

My main reasons for losing interest in playing BF were the lack of scenarios that were included and the play imbalance within them. How many times can you play Saipan and Novi....sk before getting burned out on them? Gazala, my personal favorite, just didn't feel right and maybe it was too grand an undertaking for BF. I'm not a big Market Garden fan so that one, which is probably the most popular, didn't get much play from me. So that leaves Brubakers Crusader, which I'm sure is very good, but I never really played around with it as I had already lost interest in BF.

Personally, I prefer the scale represented in KP/AtD/BiN/BiI much much more than BF. I feel there are still many more battles to be relived under the old engine and that it (the old engine) was unexpectedly abandoned in favor of BF. There are other wargame companys out there who churn out game after game under an older engine and they are very popular. I feel very strongly that the older engine is much superior to this other company whos name I won't mention that I can't help but think that a similar strategy could be successful.

My last comment is about this idea of users being relied upon to create the scenarios for a game that a game publisher puts out. I know there are a few of you out there who have created awesome scenarios (for the older engine), I admire the results of your work greatly, and appreciate the amount of time that you put into it for no financial reward. Personally, I buy games to play, not so that I can create scenarios for either myself or others to play. I think that designing a game engine and then relying on the user community to design a pool of scenarios for you is a crazy idea and doomed to failure. You can argue that point if you'd like, but the number of scenarios created after a full year speak volumes.

Anyway, got to a bit of rambling there... sorry about that! I keep coming to the forums, browse some of the comments, and keep hoping for some sort of newsflash that SSG has decided to go back to the older game engine and start cranking out scenario packs or something, but, looks like that's not going to happen.

Steve

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Postby Noakesy » Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:33 am

stevel40831 wrote:At one time I had up to 10 PBEM games going at a time (KP/AtD/BiN/BiI).....


It's easiest for me to say "agreed" :D However, I still have 7 or 8 games going at any one time, the cheating never really bothered me that much as most people I play I THINK are ok (alright, apart from that dodgy Strax bloke :wink: ) and I enjoy the banter as much as anything else. I would whole heartedly encourage more DBWWII games, and Leo's/Brubaker's recent addition of Kharkov is recognition of how good these can be.
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Postby Bertram » Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:33 am

I think (at least) part of the problem is fragmentation.

First we got KP. There was in essence only one battle included (even if it was cut up to be served in 4(?) iterations - and it had the Bulge)). The players build some nice scenario's for KP. That really made the game last.
Then we got BiN. Same original deal - the landings, cut in scenrio's and the Bulge added. The engine was better, and again the players build some great scenario's (I think quality actually got better). Shame you could not use the scenario's from KP for BiN. The user ones got ported (more or less), but still, you had two games on your pc, and as theengine was improved, it was kind of silly to use the old one - except some folk never bought the new game.
Then we got BiI. Another improvement of the engine, a new place to do battle (with the scenario's a bit more apart). The users made some very good scenario's - even a version of the Bulge (quality improving again). But again, you could not play the old battles on the new engine, not all battles got ported, and some people got left behind. And now you had 3 games on your computer. I personelly was working on two scenario's for BiN when BiI came out. I stopped working on them, tried to port them, but the map got some funnny effects...shelved them, didnt want to do the same work again, and didnt want to finish them for an old engine.

Now you have got the Battlefront engine. In some aspects it sure go better. I love the command system and the supply system. In some aspects it just got different (the artillery). I dont know if I like it better or not ... mainly it is different. It got 4 scenario's, but somehow the replay factor is less then the previous games, maybe with exception of the Gazala one.

But now everyone has to have 4 games on their pc to be able to play those user made scenario's. The persons making scenario's have to learn a new skill set (and a more difficult one at that, if I understand them correct), and must be wondering if they want to do the same battle again, for the new engine, or if they want to research a new battle. Scenario's that were being worked upon are being abandoned, as (right or wrong) impression is that others have moved on to the new engine (Kursk, or WiE for example).

I for myself am playing BiI again (thanks to the Rommel tournament), and playing a BF (Gazala) scenario. My opponents are kind of slow (except Doggie), and I have plenty of time, so I was considering an other PBEM, but do I really want to post an invitation in the 4 pbem subdivisions of the forum? (and to be honest, I didnt even put KP and BiN on this pc yet, and am wondering if I could find the needed piracy protection numbers).

So, I would suggest that, with hindsight, it would have been better to sell BiN and then BiI as upgrades to KP. Upgrades with better features, with new scenario's, but with all old scenario's playable as well (probably after an upgrade of the scenario). It would have cost a few customers (those that bought KP after buying Bin, or bought KP and BiN after buying BiI), but it would have prevented the fragmentation of the user base. And it might have brought in a few customers as well, as the last iteration (BiI), would have had way more value (as in scenario's) then it had now.

As BF hadnt happend I would suggest just that, dust of all scenarios, make them optimal for BiI and drop KP and BiN (maybe make a DBGold and market it that way - might even get a few new customers). '

Now that BF has happened I am not so sure. It might be possible to translate all scenario's to BF, but that is more work. And I am not sure the different scale translates good enough. If possible a BF with all the old scenario's might be an option, maybe with one or two new ones thrown in, and an upgrade to the engine - but then as a way to replace the DB series and the BF that is, not as yet an other game besides them.

If it is not possible then I would at least suggest to merge all scenario's of the DB series to BiI, so there are only 2 game engines left. And to make a next iteration of the BF engine (if any) an upgrade, not a new version, with a number of scenario's.

In line with this I would suggest to reorganize the forums (once again), to put al the DB items together (just a DB series discussion/pbem and design item, not a separate one for each DB game). That might make the user group somewhat less fragmented.

And I would recommend to unstick some threads, as it is a bit silly to see a tournament sticky, and then to realize that the last post to that thread was in april 2006.....
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Postby J Campbell » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:41 am

excellent posts all around. I agree wholeheartedly on the scenario pack-that would be the best for BF. I loved Kp and played alot of Across the Dnepr as well as it was large and was on the eastern front.

Personally, I wish that SSG would make a Fortress Holland scenario covering the german air assault on that nation. i realise that users might ( i say might because i have yet to see anyone make scenarios for BF-myself included as it is very cumbersome). be able to do this but would be best done by SSG.

Operation Typhoon may also have interest or a post stalingrad relief attempt-at the battalion level this game has many opportunities. i love the SSG systems better than any other-i still have all the games on this computer well after i have taken others off.

i am contemplating purchase of Conquest of the Agean to bide the time until future developments....

BTW- Novorossisk is awesome but just a tad too short. would love to have something along those lines but longersay double that scenario length with timed reinforcements for each side etc.

thx,
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Postby Kingpin » Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:55 pm

I couldn't get into the new scenarios and I really didn't feel like learning a new system only to have those scenarios as my reward.

The previous engine wasn't broken. Sure tweaks are always required but a new engine wasn't.

Also, the banter and political conversations which generated a tonne of interest in the site were crushed for no apparent reason.

I also agree with the comment that relying on the community to produce quality scenarios is a backwards strategy. The scenarios are the game to a very large extent. The engine is important but really is meaningless without a scenario to hold our interest.

East Front. It sells.
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Postby hank » Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:51 am

Thanks for all the responses. I never thought this thread would get so much interest. Its also been very civil; which is what I like ... good debate and exchange of ideas.

After reading through these posts I started looking for any posts from SSG insiders who refer to what plans they have for the future. I'm not saying they're not here but I haven't found any yet. And I'm not asking for definitive information since I know that's against their policy; just a nod that something is being worked on by the worker bees. ??

Does anyone know what their plans are for the near future? Is another game of any type in the works?
(another CaW, another DB, or anything BF, etc.)

If they are working on another game, I'm sure any scenario packs for BF or a next release would not be available for a long time. Which would mean our wishes and hopes would have to be put on hold for a while.

I'm reconsidered my decision to not buy BiI in the near future. Are there a lot of people playing BiI pbem games? I can see there are a lot more user scenarios for BiI than BiN.

thank you Gentlemen (and Ladies) and have a Happy Holiday and Merry Christmas

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Postby Noakesy » Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:57 am

hank wrote:I'm reconsidered my decision to not buy BiI in the near future. Are there a lot of people playing BiI pbem games? I can see there are a lot more user scenarios for BiI than BiN.


Personally ALL of my games are BiI, and I tend to have 7 or 8 going at once usually (most tend to be 3-4 turns/wk).

I saw some note from Gergor somewhere else (either here or Matrix) mentioning a new game and new AI, but I can't recall if it said much else.
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Postby Bertram » Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:28 am

I also have some BiI games going. If you like the engine I would suggest you buy it, it has the most- and in my opinion the best - selection of scenario's.

I was under the impression that work was being done on the CaW game. I think an update was being made to the engine and an extra scenario was being made? Not sure though, not following that game.
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