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IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover Latest instalment in the acclaimed IL-2 Sturmovik series from award-winning developer 1C: Maddox Games.

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  #21  
Old 02-12-2011, 05:07 PM
The Kraken The Kraken is offline
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Originally Posted by Bullethead View Post
Obviously, the existing IL2 community is quite happy with it, but they're a niche within a niche. While all serious simmers want realism, most of them are willing to settle for a bit less to get the gameplay they want. So until the IL2 franchise puts out that type of gameplay, it won't attract much in the way of new customers, no matter how realistic and graphically stunning it is.
But if you consider currently successful game franchises, or what is remembered as "classics", aren't they usually those with a clear focus on storylines and scripted events? When I mention "Wing Commander", is the first game you think of "Armada" or rather the main series? Case in point, maybe this approach for CoD is exactly what is needed to bring in new players, who would feel lost or bored with a realistic dynamic campaign.

Take the BoB2 WoV campaign, which is certainly an accomplishment: it's so complex to just get going that it would overwhelm any beginner. I mean, I too play flight sims since the early 80s and felt pretty lost at times.

I'm also flying offline only, but my experience with various dynamic campaign systems is that they are either a buggy mess (Rowan's BoB & MiG Alley, Falcon4), boring (EAW, Il2 FB) or unrealistic (Longbow II, CFS3, EE:CH, TAW). Sometimes all combined. Not that I didn't have fun with some of them, but it usually doesn't take long to find out what works and what doesn't, especially if there's a strategic layer involved.

I haven't played OFF but all I've heard about the campaign sure sounds great. But it's been a huge effort in itself and if resources aren't enough for that, then I'd rather not even see the team waste time with some halfhearted approach. Having another DCG-like random mission generator put into CoD is apparently what many people would be happy with, but personally I'm much more excited about other features important for offline play, mostly what's been revealed about the AI so far. Because only if that part works right do many other features people are asking for make any sense. What's the sense of any squadron management if half of the flight dies in each mission?

So for me the focus is right. 3rd party devs can and will come up with a campaign system, which they couldn't for any other feature that might have been dropped instead.

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Sorry if I ruffled any feathers.
You didn't - thanks for keeping things civil, sure doesn't happen too often anymore in this forum.
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  #22  
Old 02-12-2011, 05:22 PM
Chivas Chivas is offline
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I find it amazing that people can't drop the price of a couple pizzas and beers for even a one time fly thru of a scripted campaign. "Triggers" should make even a scripted campaign very interesting. You should get at least a few weeks of entertainment with the knowledge there will be more dynamic campaigns in the works by third parties and developer. This minimum investment could insure the long life of the only WW2 combat flight series on the market for the foreseeable future.
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  #23  
Old 02-12-2011, 06:02 PM
Blackdog_kt Blackdog_kt is offline
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I'm an IL-2 virgin but have been doing flightsims since most of you all were in diapers. I did the very first version of Flight Simulator on an Apple II back in 1980, which took 20 minutes to load from a casette tape. I flew every flightsim there was in the golden age of computer gaming, when flightsims were what it was all about. I was flying online in DOS Air Warrior before most folks knew there was such a thing as multi-player games outside of hotseat and split-screen. And I went through Air Warrior, Warbirds, and Aces High.

I never did IL-2 because I got into online flying so early. In those ancient days, flightsim AIs totally sucked and once I'd found the MMO persistant world format of AW, WB, and AH, I never had any desire to play 1-off "deathmatch" games with only a few players. Besides, about the time I got into the MMOFS scene, offline flightsims went into scripted campaigns that were universally corny and had exactly zero replay value.

Unfortunately, these days I live way out in the sticks where I can only get broadband via satellite. Because I require broadband for my job, I can no longer fly online due to satellite's built-in lag of several seconds. As such, I'm once again insterested in offline play.

And to me, that means a fully dynamic campaign. I don't want to be able to change history, I just want the flavor of flying in a huge battle for as long as I live. You know, the way RB2 and OFF do things. Of course, the AI has to be pretty good, too, but that's no longer the problem it was back in the day.

So, until a few days ago, I was VERY interested in COD. I was almost obsessing over it, rereading all my books on the BoB. But then I found out that the dynamic campaign had been scrapped. As such, I will NOT be buying this game unless and until it has a dynamic campaign.

I'm not hard to please on the eye-candy front and flight mechanics front. After all, I date back to when airplanes were just tiny dots no matter how close you were to them, and terrain was a grid pattern with a jagged line along one edge representing mountains, and all controlled via the keyboard at about 5fps. So while I greatly appreciate all such realism efforts by the IL-2 team, I view it as a total waste because offline play is practically nonexistent.

Oh well. Maybe one day Maddox or the community will make a dynamic campaign for COD. That, and only that, will make COD worth my money. And by that time, COD will be in the bargain bin so I'll get a better product for less money than I would by buying it now.

So my $0.02 is that it doesn't matter all that much what eye-candy and FM/DM realism get into a game. What I want is offline play value, and I just don't see that here. And you know what? Even if I had DSL out where I live, I'd still only want COD for offline play because its online play is so limited compared to the MMOFS format I'm used to.

IOW, if the IL-2 community wants converts from other flightsims, it needs to offer them something they don't get elsewhere. It needs either a fully dynamic campaign for offline play, or it needs to go MMO. Without either, it offers nothing to folks who like those things more than they do arguably better graphics and realism. And that, IMHO, is a real tragedy.
Well, you're entitled to your opinion by all means, it's just that not everybody will share it

The way it reads to me is "i was a strictly multiplayer flier, but now that i lack the required connectivity i'm upset about the trimmed down single-player". It's all fine and dandy if you are, but (and i say this with no intention whatsoever to insult you) this is just a repeat of what we see so often on these boards: "i want the features that are important to me personally, overall balancing of the product be damned".
Ok, i'm exaggerating a bit here to illustrate the point (in fact you seem like a much more civil and level headed fellow than many old-timers of the forum ), i think you get my drift.

Don't get me wrong, i am not one to take whatever is served to me under the excuse of "buy it or the genre will die". However, i don't base my decisions on a single feature alone. For example, i didn't buy Rise of Flight because i disagreed with the way it did some things. Notice the plural here, it was a decision based on 4-5 different instances of what i considered shortcomings, not one. For CoD, i will buy it because the amount of things i agree with are more than the amount of things i don't and guess what, i too am a fan of having a proper dynamic campaign in the sim, especially if it's done in a way that we can use both of online and offline play.

Again, you're perfectly entitled to think this way and buy at a later time or not at all, i'm not going to try and convince you.
It's just that this focus on a single feature seems a bit shortsighted to me (especially when you discount FM/DM in favor of playability in a simulator game about aircraft, if we all wanted it like this we'd still be flying lucasart's secret weapons of the luftwaffe), more so in fact under the current situation: they can release the game now and get cash to work on the dymamic campaign to be patched into the game at least a year from now (according to their words), or delay the entire game for a similar time frame. I think they did the right thing by providing us with options, since you can enforce this delay on yourself by not buying early while the rest of us can enjoy whatever is there. Just because the game is incomplete for some people, it doesn't mean the rest of us should be unable to play around with what's already there while waiting for the improvements




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Absolutely not.

At BEST (which is very, very rare), they're fun 1 time through, but they have zero replay value because you know EXACTLY what to expect. Where's the feeling of having to check six constantly and wonder what you'll be getting into this time when you know full well that the only enemies out there are those you saw the last time you played this mission.

At worst (most of the time), scripted campaigns are so corny that they're unplayable even once. Instead of just letting you be a regular pilot of that time and place, you repeatedly have to do some utterly bogus thing like kill a particular enemy ace flying some ridiculously amped-up uberplane, or rescue "spit girl" (I'd rather rescue "swallow girl"), or what have you, with the fate of the world hanging on your actions, and you have to keep playing the same damn mission over and over until you finally beat it.

Either way, the ONLY replay value of a scripted campaign is trying to beat your previous score by memorizing a pattern of actions based on complete familiarity with the situation. This might appeal to the Nintendo crowd but not to anybody beyond puberty.

Look, I'm a game designer myself, and I tell you, a "hand-crafted scripted campaign" is a complete joke. The "hand-crafted" part is just a marketing ploy to cover up the fact that the devs put next to zero effort into it. It's just a series of linked scenarios with little if any carry-over from one to the next. Anybody with a mission editor can do the same thing. The only thing the devs add is bogus things like your best friend from childhood always going down in flames during this one mission while saving you from some enemies who always magically spawn right behind you no matter how well you check six. Gee, what fun.

So, to me, in the absence of MMO action, a flightsim simply must have a truly dynamic campaign or I won't buy it. If I can't join any squadron on either side, and fly whatever missions come my way (and they're different each time I play that squadron), then forget it. It doesn't matter how pretty the game looks or how realistic it is if there's nothing meaningful to do with the aircraft. I'm not spending $50 to fly a few corny missions and be done with it.
I think it's not a case of putting no effort in it. They said themselves that with the amount of people they have (the whole team is about 25 people, with many of them having more than one field of responsibility), a dynamic campaign like the one you ask will take another year to complete.

This is coming from one of the developers that was actually responsible for designing the campaign engine. He said that they didn't want to do a simple dynamic campaign like the one we have in IL2, but one that will do the rest of CoD justice. He also said that it was a very hard decision for him to postpone it, because he had already prepared a few hundred pages of documents on the subject and that's just for the design phase, how it should work, what features to have, etc.

I already said i'm a fan of having a dynamic campaign that's good for single and multi-player use. Imagine people flying fighters over the channel in 30 minute hops to the combat area. On its own it's not much. However, if i'm flying a catalina in bad weather along the convoy approaches and hunting for U-boats, those players who are after a quick dogfight are actually shielding me from having enemy fighters wander into my operational area and we get a bit of spontaneous synergy going.
Now, if the campaign engine is good enough, me sinking a U-boat or just driving it away and saving the convoy, would have a positive impact on the amount of fuel, ammunition and spare parts these dogfighters have at stock on their airbase, and so on...

It's this kind of a campaign i'd like to see, one that the strategic layer can be automanaged by my PC (or the server, if i'm flying online), but may also be optionally managed by the players (for fans of BoB:WoV), missions have consequences in the proper scale (not winning the war thanks to the efforts of one pilot, neither having our actions have no effect at all, something in the middle), etc. However, this is a massive undertaking for such a small dev team, it's like an entire separate module to the base simulator, so it's going to cost some time and money.

It looks like the three of us (me you and the developer) all want the same thing, but real life constraints are forcing a simple choice: release a simplified campaign generator now, or release a proper dynamic campaign similar to the one we want next year.
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  #24  
Old 02-12-2011, 07:18 PM
BadAim BadAim is offline
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Originally Posted by Chivas View Post
I find it amazing that people can't drop the price of a couple pizzas and beers for even a one time fly thru of a scripted campaign. "Triggers" should make even a scripted campaign very interesting. You should get at least a few weeks of entertainment with the knowledge there will be more dynamic campaigns in the works by third parties and developer. This minimum investment could insure the long life of the only WW2 combat flight series on the market for the foreseeable future.
BINGO!

Sorry about the shouting, I'm a little excitable with all this tension over waiting for COD.
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  #25  
Old 02-14-2011, 02:19 PM
jpinard jpinard is offline
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Just about the only thing where they got this right was the Glowing Glory campaign. That narrative left me speechless.
What was this in?
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  #26  
Old 02-14-2011, 02:35 PM
Erkki Erkki is offline
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All honour to WB, AHII and WW2OL, but I have also very much enjoyed Il-2's dynamic online campaigns... Last one I took part to had over 100 players airborne simultaneously, with up to 20 guys in the same voice comms, diff sub channels of course.
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  #27  
Old 02-17-2011, 04:42 AM
Bullethead Bullethead is offline
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Originally Posted by Blackdog_kt View Post
The way it reads to me is "i was a strictly multiplayer flier, but now that i lack the required connectivity i'm upset about the trimmed down single-player". It's all fine and dandy if you are, but (and i say this with no intention whatsoever to insult you) this is just a repeat of what we see so often on these boards: "i want the features that are important to me personally, overall balancing of the product be damned".
Ok, i'm exaggerating a bit here to illustrate the point (in fact you seem like a much more civil and level headed fellow than many old-timers of the forum ), i think you get my drift.
When I started in forums in the late 80s, EVERYTHING said was what today would be called a bannable "personal attack". But that was back in the day before some idjit thought kids should have computers. So now, allegedly, a mere Facebook page can cause a bloody revolution these days. Give your kid a gun before a car and a car before a computer, based on the amount of harm he can do with each of them. So I do get your drift

Anyway, yup, until say 3 years ago, I'd only done online flightsims since the early 90s. Dial-up sucked for everything else but at least it could do a server-client MMO game as well as broadband.

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Don't get me wrong, i am not one to take whatever is served to me under the excuse of "buy it or the genre will die". However, i don't base my decisions on a single feature alone.
Sure, but some features are more important than others. Gameplay is a feature, and IMHO it's the most important feature. Without it, everything else, no matter how well-executed, is pretty useless. For instance, let's say you always wanted to own a Harley-Davidson, totally customized to your personal taste. You constantly dream of riding it all over the country, "looking for adventure and whatever comes our way". But when you go to the dealership, you find out that while you can get a bike exactly to your specifications, you're told all you can do with it is ride around the same block in the same town, over and over. But you still have to pay the full price for it. Maybe, someday, you'll be able to fullfill your dreams, but there's no guarantee, and all the while depreciation is setting in.

So what would you do? Buy the thing now and just admire the paint and chrome, without getting to ride it as you want, or wait a few years and buy it used for less than 1/2 the price and be able to hit the highway immediately?

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I think it's not a case of putting no effort in it. They said themselves that with the amount of people they have (the whole team is about 25 people, with many of them having more than one field of responsibility), a dynamic campaign like the one you ask will take another year to complete.
My own game company has way fewer employees and we do dynamic campaigns. I write the campaigns all by myself, AAMOF, on top of my many other responsibilities. It's not that hard to do, just tedious. Want to see my work?
www.stormeaglestudios.com

So I'm really not impressed by this argument. Reading between the lines, as a member of the industry myself, I see the lack of a dynamic campaign in COD as just the latest chapter in the long, tragic saga of Evil Publishers chasing short-term profits and to Hell with the interests of the Good Developers, the genre, and the customers. Ubi told Maddox that the game WILL ship by such-and-such a date, so Maddox had better have the FM, DM and artwork done by then, leaving no manhours left to do a campaign, and all gameplay worthy of the name limited to "small batch" online.

This is why my company is an "indy", as in it self-publishes.

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It looks like the three of us (me you and the developer) all want the same thing, but real life constraints are forcing a simple choice: release a simplified campaign generator now, or release a proper dynamic campaign similar to the one we want next year.
And folks wonder why there are hardly any PC games on store shelves these days. The Evil Publishers and the Evil Retailers are to blame.
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  #28  
Old 02-17-2011, 09:25 AM
Blackdog_kt Blackdog_kt is offline
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While i share your complaints about how distribution companies handle game releases nowadays, i think we have to be a bit honest with how the community at large operates as well.

I would probably have no problem waiting an extra 6 months to get a fully polished product and by the sound of it, it seems you share this opinion.
However, there's a large part of the community who's been chomping at the bit, going "is it ready yet?" and "how much longer?" all along the way.

I too dislike incomplete games but i know there is no such thing as a 100% complete and realistic simulator. The thing is, what happened with CoD was a choice of "scaled down release now" instead of "full fledged content half a year later".

I have no problem either way, because i can weigh pros and cons and if the "completeness index" is to my liking i can purchase, if not i can wait until more things are added (which is exactly what you describe, it's a perfectly valid outlook on things).

The stirring up usually comes from members of the community who on one hand want the game to ship early, but on the other hand don't realize that this will put a dent in things with regards to how complete it will be. I'm not referring to you here, it's obvious you realize this counter-balancing going on behind the scenes and i would expect no less from a member of the industry.

What i'm trying to say is that just like the features that make it into the release version are a compromise between time, cost, feasibility and hardware requirements, how to deal with the community and balance the desires, wishes and sometimes downright demands between different groups of fans with diverging agendas and priorities is also a tough balancing act
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  #29  
Old 02-17-2011, 02:05 PM
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brando brando is offline
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To be honest I'm having difficulty in establishing how a "dynamic campaign" would work, given the subject of the release; i.e. the Battle of Britain.

How could it go?
1) Volunteer for fighters, go through training, hang about at an army barracks in Middlesborough for 6 months, and then get a posting into Bomber Command?
2) All the above except you get posted to a fighter squadron. On your second flight you get bounced by Adolf Galland and crash in flames. Spitfire girl stands on the cliffs at Dover and weeps...or
2b) You get posted to a Defiant squadron....

3) You last through a few missions and get promoted to Flight leader. After your twentieth flight you get bounced.......&c
3b) or you fly into a barrage balloon cable ....
3c) or your fuel ignites and you have to spend six months in hospital having your face reconstructed. Spitfire girl takes one look at you and marries your best friend. Penalty is 50 heartbreak points and a posting to a training unit....or

4) You are one of the lucky ones who lasts through the whole campaign. You are awarded a DFC for which you attend Buckingham Palace and meet the King and Queen. Receive a hundred Honour points and a MkV Spit. You marry Spitfire girl and get shot down on your first mission over Amiens.....You spend the rest of the war in various Stalags. Spitfire girl gets bored and falls for a Mustang pilot....or

5)Your skill at jerking a joystick gets you posted to an elite squadron of supercharged Spits Your next mission takes you into a railway tunnel where you must skip a 500lb bomb into the path of Goering's train and escape vertically up a ventilation shaft. In the course of doing this you create the first clipped-wing Spit and gain 500 Inventor points....... on your return you get totally pissed on warm beer and find yourself unable to deliver when Spitfire girl offers her all....

6) Your final promotion. You are now Keith Park. You get to wear the white overalls and a tin hat and your flying is restricted to visiting 11 Group's bases in your personal Hurricane to encourage the Few. The rest of your time is spent in the Control room at Uxbridge. You get to meet Churchill and spend several hours arguing with Trafford Leigh-Mallory. Winning the campaign results in your being transferred to a Training command.

Or, you just get in your plane and do what the brass tell you to do. The most "dynamic" thing you can do is fly straight (but never for more than 30 seconds in a combat zone!), stay in formation, and either shoot down bombers (Hurricane pilot) or fighters (Spitfire pilot). Sometimes you may succeed, other times you may spend twenty minutes at 18,000 feet and never see a thing. You will count yourself lucky if your wings stay on as you dive back towards Blighty with a 109 on your tail. And pat yourself on the back when you find your way back to a field in bad weather conditions, even though you never found the single raider that you were scrambled to locate.

I hope you can excuse my sarcasm which is only meant in fun - and accept that there really isn't much room for manoeuvre campaign-wise. Fly and fight and hope to get yourself and your wingmen home. Keep on doing it until the Axis decide to quit their daylight bombing. Survive or die. That's what is being simulated here.
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  #30  
Old 02-17-2011, 04:05 PM
Majo Majo is offline
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I still think that the greatest dynamic campaign is to fly and fight online.

You might still try to fly with a specific purpose when you fly online in an open server, but you never know what you are going to find out there. Even in fixed competition scenarios you never know.

The expert, the unbeatable team, lucky shots, the re-incarnation of the super-nerd, the cheater, life (virtual) in all her brightness…

Too bad some people do not like it or simply just cannot make it or take it.

My guess, again, is that online gaming is now, and certainly will be, a great resource to make money in the long term for a game. It is a steady way to economically support the future development of the sim. Of course, I am not talking about the numbers of the mega-stars of the internet game-play like Call of Duty (not CoD any more…) but still a good way to face a long term project. This might not be the case, but it could be that the limited resources of the team (Oleg’s team) have been focused in online gaming as a priority.

One of “The core basics” of il2 is the online playability. A significant portion of the community likes that and I really hope they want us to be happy.

Anyway, more early than later, I am quite sure that a dynamic campaign will be available. As sure as I am that someday the Focke Wulf will roar & rule over the Channel.

Salutes.

Last edited by Majo; 02-17-2011 at 04:35 PM.
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