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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 24 2013 
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Anthropoid wrote:
...should be pinned down as either (a) working as designed; or (b) not working as designed and in need of an official tweak...

There is no official commentary either way from us, I haven't sat and discussed it with the team, as you say we're still fact finding on this. For me personally the balance is not what I was hoping for and in any future discussions of design changes I will flag this as a high personal priority. But that's just me. I'm the guy in the studio who's been talking waypoints for a decade :).

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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 24 2013 
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General

Joined: Jan 13 2005
Posts: 1432
Location: Washington, DC
IMHO, I think this is at the core of the issue--historical determination vs. free gameplay.

Historical determination--that Event X happened in 1956 (e.g. Suez Crisis) and will always happen on that date, regardless of player action (well..as long as the countries still exist), is an issue in many strategy games of this type. Paradox titles like HOI or Victoria tend to be bad about this, which leads to a very predictable game.

Free gameplay--think the Civilization series. You trade of 'historical accuracy' for a sandbox. Best, IMHO, for vague Risk-like games (playing the Americans in Civ V is not the same as playing the USA in HOI3, etc.).

SR2020 was much more of a free gameplay sort of game, esp. the Shattered World scenario, and SR2010 was even more. SRCW is more deterministic in design; the bipolar political system itself stops a lot of free-play sort of campaigns (and that is why I'm not a fan of it, esp. for modding).

Simply put, it seems to me that SRCW started with historical reality (e.g, the USSR collapses in 1991; the Korean War starts in 1950, and so on) and the built a game around that, but using a game system that was designed for free-play (going back to 2010). In turn, players/customers expected the game to be either an upgraded 2020 or a simulation of the Cold War, and were often surprised when they got both/neither. One of the issues with game design--you really can't please everyone all the time.

Honestly, I think SRCW is great in graphics, game mechanics, and I like the additional decades of technology, but I still prefer the looser SR2020 diplomatic system. The AI, at least from my experience, is pretty much the same--the key to human player victory is surviving the Zerg Rush of an attacking enemy then mopping up. Playing the US is pretty easy to win, either by conquest or politics, well before 1960, and I think there should be some modification of the US (maybe via more pro-USSR/Red events that shift things in their favor) at least at the Normal play levels.

And yeah, it is tougher to do the political thing with the USA set to VH diplomacy, but that doesn't really solve the problem if you like playing Egypt or South Africa.


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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 24 2013 
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Colonel

Joined: Dec 10 2012
Posts: 376
Human: Yes
Not to disagree with you Aragos, but just to clarify: you are combining two separate issues.

1. As you very aptly point out, the inherent overall design of the game is (seemingly) intended to be more historical than SR2020. Good, bad or indifferent, I see that as one separate issue.

2. With that in mind, it seems that right now the game is not fulfilling its intent to provide a largely historical backdrop in which the player can hustle, i.e., Blue Sphere by default tends to grow faster than it did historically.

I think that pinning down that #2 is, in fact, a consistent issue, what is causing it, and if it is deemed to be not-WAD, fixing it is what this thread is about.

Issue #1 is more of a "personal tastes" and Gouda vs. Gruyer with your crackers and wine kind of issue to me :D

Personally, I'm quite thankful for a game that seeks to implement the wonderful SR engine into an historical context. In the longer-term I think it could be augmented with mods or expansions that add if/then contingency to AI decision making, events, additional "what-if" events that did not occur historically but might have, etc.

While that is a very meritorious discussion that I think could foster literally years of productive modding or profitable expansions by BG, I just want to say that: that should IMO come AFTER the current "Blue Always Wins" problem is pinned down with certainty and 'fixed' if it is in fact broken.

ADDIT: and yeah waypoints! That would be sweet!

Aragos wrote:
IMHO, I think this is at the core of the issue--historical determination vs. free gameplay.

Historical determination--that Event X happened in 1956 (e.g. Suez Crisis) and will always happen on that date, regardless of player action (well..as long as the countries still exist), is an issue in many strategy games of this type. Paradox titles like HOI or Victoria tend to be bad about this, which leads to a very predictable game.

Free gameplay--think the Civilization series. You trade of 'historical accuracy' for a sandbox. Best, IMHO, for vague Risk-like games (playing the Americans in Civ V is not the same as playing the USA in HOI3, etc.).

SR2020 was much more of a free gameplay sort of game, esp. the Shattered World scenario, and SR2010 was even more. SRCW is more deterministic in design; the bipolar political system itself stops a lot of free-play sort of campaigns (and that is why I'm not a fan of it, esp. for modding).

Simply put, it seems to me that SRCW started with historical reality (e.g, the USSR collapses in 1991; the Korean War starts in 1950, and so on) and the built a game around that, but using a game system that was designed for free-play (going back to 2010). In turn, players/customers expected the game to be either an upgraded 2020 or a simulation of the Cold War, and were often surprised when they got both/neither. One of the issues with game design--you really can't please everyone all the time.

Honestly, I think SRCW is great in graphics, game mechanics, and I like the additional decades of technology, but I still prefer the looser SR2020 diplomatic system. The AI, at least from my experience, is pretty much the same--the key to human player victory is surviving the Zerg Rush of an attacking enemy then mopping up. Playing the US is pretty easy to win, either by conquest or politics, well before 1960, and I think there should be some modification of the US (maybe via more pro-USSR/Red events that shift things in their favor) at least at the Normal play levels.

And yeah, it is tougher to do the political thing with the USA set to VH diplomacy, but that doesn't really solve the problem if you like playing Egypt or South Africa.


Last edited by Anthropoid on Jan 24 2013, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 24 2013 
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General

Joined: Jan 13 2005
Posts: 1432
Location: Washington, DC
Good points all. Basically, I think that SRCW attempts to do a bit of both (historical determinism and sandbox) and compromises a bit on both. The result is that some people who want a complete Risk or Civ-like sandbox feel forced to repeat history, while others who want a completely historical game are put off by the ahistorical outcomes (e.g., the US "annexes" North Korea).

And I think that middle ground is where we get into debates over spheres, etc. Blue currently dominates on Normal settings because of the presets of the country files (ex: the UK is pro-Blue from start). The system tends to then pile more on, with a result that the entire map will go Blue by the late 1960s if the US is run by a good player, or with the AI just running normally. Yes, I agree that it needs to be tweaked, but I think that the Red/Blue problem goes deeper into the entire sphere issue. It, at least to me, overly simplifies a very complex geopolitical period (ex: If Mexico is firmly in Blue, a player can get an alliance etc with them easily as USA. But historically, the idea that Mexico would have let hordes of US troops pass through on their way to invade Guatemala, or that Mexico would have sent troops to Vietnam, etc. is pretty out there).


Make sense?


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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 24 2013 
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General

Joined: Jan 13 2005
Posts: 1432
Location: Washington, DC
I meant to add--on the Blue dominance subject--that the key might be in tweaking the USA and USSR files in the .cvp file, to reduce the influence numbers. I think there are a lot of capitalists out there in 1949 and that shifts the bar quicker.


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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 24 2013 
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Colonel

Joined: Dec 10 2012
Posts: 376
Human: Yes
Yep I see what you are saying. It is a good point.


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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 24 2013 
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Warrant Officer

Joined: Jan 01 2013
Posts: 42
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Really, Does the USSR always collapse in 1991 ?


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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 24 2013 
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Location: X:913 Y:185
Madman wrote:
Really, Does the USSR always collapse in 1991 ?

No, it never collapses...

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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 24 2013 
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Colonel

Joined: Dec 10 2012
Posts: 376
Human: Yes
number47 wrote:
Madman wrote:
Really, Does the USSR always collapse in 1991 ?

No, it never collapses...


Ah, so the historical events are only up to a certain point?


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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 25 2013 
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Anthropoid wrote:
number47 wrote:
Madman wrote:
Really, Does the USSR always collapse in 1991 ?

No, it never collapses...


Ah, so the historical events are only up to a certain point?

Before Update 3, the scripted events went as far as around '70 if I'm not mistaken...

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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 25 2013 
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number47 wrote:
Anthropoid wrote:
Really, Does the USSR always collapse in 1991 ?

No, it never collapses...


That was kinda Balts point, you dont win by having more members.. you win by the other sphere having none.. so while Blue always dominates.. it doesn't always "win" :wink:

number47 wrote:
Madman wrote:
Ah, so the historical events are only up to a certain point?

Before Update 3, the scripted events went as far as around '70 if I'm not mistaken...

Thats right, I haven't parsed the Events for any later events in update 3 though so it may be slightly more extended now.

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Redistribution of my mods is prohibited. By downloading them you agree to not redistribute the file(s) without expressed permission.


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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 25 2013 
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Joined: Jan 13 2005
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Location: Washington, DC
Yeah, but having lots of Blue friends sending you free cash is always nice :)


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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 25 2013 
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Colonel

Joined: Dec 18 2011
Posts: 252
Human: Yes
I used the cheat shelovesme with Soviet Union. Canada is now red.
Un approval seem to play a big role in sphere.

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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 25 2013 
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Niko465 wrote:
I used the cheat shelovesme with Soviet Union. Canada is now red.
Un approval seem to play a big role in sphere.


It does.. I stated it long ago.

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Redistribution of my mods is prohibited. By downloading them you agree to not redistribute the file(s) without expressed permission.


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 Post subject: Re: Blue always wins
PostPosted: Jan 25 2013 
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Colonel

Joined: Aug 23 2011
Posts: 267
Human: Yes
number47 wrote:
Madman wrote:
Really, Does the USSR always collapse in 1991 ?

No, it never collapses...


Playing as Israel, in 1986, I've just defeated the USSR. What's more, it was easier than Argentina and South Africa. They hardly put up a fight, even though they had lots of cash. You'd think they'd have tossed a nuke at me in reality....


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