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Games

Discussion in 'Military and War' started by trapdoor, May 1, 2017.

  1. trapdoor

    trapdoor Governor

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    To continue a conversation on games.
     
  2. trapdoor

    trapdoor Governor

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    I particularly like your "shifting maps" idea, but I know plenty of people who wouldn't like it because they think the ability to figure out the best places on the maps is part of the gamesmanship. I wish that X-Box live had an "adult swim" area for guys like me.

    I also played "Axis and Allies," and enjoyed it, but really one of the best games I ever played was the computer game callled "The perfect general" I think. You had a series of maps and you played hot-seated with an opponent. It incorporated the essential use of terrain, but the weapons were sort of notional.

    That game updated with a modern weapons-modelling and real-world terrain system, would be great today.

    I also used to enjoy "Steel Panthers" a WWII armor game. For grins I bought a copy off Ebay a few eyars ago and ran it on a PC that was about ten generations newer than it was designed for. It was kind of interesting watching Panzers moving at a scale speed of about 500 mph.
     
  3. Arkady

    Arkady President

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    Yeah. As I mentioned, though, I wish the way of figuring out the best places was by way of thinking it through, and knowing some key principles, rather than by way of trial-and-error or word-of-mouth, which is how play is currently optimized for each map. The current way it's done is just not a very good simulation of a real war situation. It's not like Easy Company gets to take the same artillery position on D-Day 100 times until they've worked out the optimal approach. They got to size up the situation once and acted on that, and then they never saw exactly that configuration again for the rest of the war.

    Interesting idea. I'd try that. If nothing else, it would be a relief from the brain-dead caliber of the trash talk you get when the voice channel is dominated by over-caffeinated sixteen-year-olds and stoned undergrads.

    Anyway, as much as Call of Duty can annoy me, because of these issues we discussed, where the people who play all the time have huge advantages, I'm even more annoyed by the games that are specifically built so that everyone just kinds of runs around and gets gunned down equally, regardless of skill level. I played a Star War Battlefront game like that. The way it's set up, with all blind alleys and exploding grenades, even after you've mastered the maps and the controls, you still die approximately once per every PC kill, just like when you started. Without the ability to get meaningfully better, the game loses its appeal. So, I'd want something that rewarded more skilled players without having an excessive learning curve for newbies.

    Here's an idea for that, which might be hard to implement, but would solve the problem: have a ranking system similar to the real military, where promotions shift your responsibilities from being primarily a shooter to being primarily a tactician.

    So, for example, maybe each game could consist of two teams, each of which have fifteen respawning player characters and also thirty non-respawning AI team members, into which the players respawn. This would put the total force size at a the size of a very small military company. You'd level up through various roles as you gain more experience:

    (1) Private -- (1 per Sgt) you only control your own player, and you have a long respawn delay, to prevent a bad player from burning through his team's AI players (with off time spent in observer mode, to learn from more experienced players). You are also limited in your zone of operations to an area defined by a certain distance from your squad leader, or an areas assigned by your squad leader (a sergeant). Ability to communicate with corporal and squad leader within squad.

    (2) Corporal -- (1 per Sgt). Same rules as a private, but with a short respawn delay. Access to better weapons/armor. Ability to communicate with members of the squad.

    (3) Sergeant -- (2 per Lt.) Same rules as a corporal, but no respawn delay, and your zone of operations is much larger, and directed by your Lt. You get control over localized reward packages (e.g., short-range mortar strikes). You also get to assign roles to two AI Privates (which could be anything from providing cover fire from a given location, to serving as a wingman to yourself or your corporals). Ability to communicate with commanding Lt. or any squad member.

    (4) Lt. -- (2 per team) Same rules as a Sergeant, but with a much larger zone of operations dictated by the Captain. You also get control over large-scale reward packages (e.g., air support), plus a large "mini-map" giving you intelligence over more than just your immediate surroundings. You also get to assign roles to five AI players, including delegating assignment to Sergeants under your control. Ability to communicate with Captain or either Sgt. under your command.

    (5) Captain (1 per team)-- no rules on zones, even bigger mini-map for intelligence, ability to communicate with either Lt., ability to distribute reward packages. Ability to assign roles to any AI players.

    Your score is based on your own kills plus the kills of anyone under your control (AI or human, direct or indirect). That way, early on, the best way to maximize your score is just your own shooting, but the higher up you go, the more you'd be hurting yourself if you focused on being a rifleman rather than running your group well.

    That strikes me as providing a better way of balancing the game, in that the most experienced players would be running the show rather than just gunning down noobs. It would also reward cooperation, and it would allow for a more realistic approach to the battlefield -- for example, you'd want to get your captain in a position where he's safe enough to spend most of his time giving orders, and also a position where he's got some visibility into the battlefield.

    Cool. I've played Civ in hot-seat mode, which is super slow, but also makes it way more strategic.

    Hehe. Every now and then I'll play online with a glitched game -- for example, someone has figured out a trick that makes gravity work at one-third force, which totally changes the dynamics of the game -- people leaping 20 feet in the air, hopping up onto roofs where the designers didn't mean them to be able to go, etc.
     
  4. Jen

    Jen #walkaway

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    I played Axis and Allies. ... if you mean the board game. It's probably still in my game closet.

    Years ago I played "Russian Campaign" and "Battle of the Bulge" when those war games used hexes and cardboard pieces.

    But that was before the internet.
     
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  5. trapdoor

    trapdoor Governor

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    I've played one of those "hexes and cardboard" games -- but I'm drawing a blank now on what it was. I owned one called "Richtofen's War" that was a hexes and maps dogfight simulation but it was not fast moving enough for my 16-year-old mind. I might enjoy it today. I've not found a good Internet game like it.

    As far as adult Internet games go, I signed up for the trial version of Eve, and it looks good, but really I don't have the time to devote to it.
     
  6. Jen

    Jen #walkaway

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    Those hex games didn't move fast enough for me either. No dogfight in the world was that slow. But I gave it a go.......

    My husband and sons have played a lot of the internet games. Most of them, I think. I am a bit more selective. I played Star Wars but it seemed dull. I played early Ultimas. I watched hubs play Asheron's Call......didn't do it myself. I have played World of Warcraft since it came out. That's my game of choice. I have Dragon Age Origins on my computer, but I can't get the urge to play it.
     
  7. trapdoor

    trapdoor Governor

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    When it comes to video gaming, I'm pretty much console based right now, on the X-Box One platform. I'm addicted to the various games in the Skyrim universe, and to the Fallout series, but I haven't had a lot of time to play this year.
     
  8. trapdoor

    trapdoor Governor

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    I agree, although I confess to saving games right before I get into a potentially overwhelming situation, just so that I can have another chance if I get obliterated.



    Amen to that.

    What you describe is not a bad idea, but it wouldn't be my gaming cup of tea. I don't even like the one extra "helper" non-player-character you can run in games like Fallout, and I really don't like administering to a platoon of followers as you can do in other games.
    I've done that once, playing Halo, and I agree that it's fun.
     
  9. Arkady

    Arkady President

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    There were also games along the same lines regarding Rome and Samurai that I enjoyed. Can't remember their names.

    By the way, ever watched Wil Wheaton's "Tabletop" on Youtube? It's weirdly enjoyable. Basically Wheaton (of Stand By Me and Star Trek:The Next Generation fame) plays a different board game every week, with a group of celebrities ranging from the B-list (Alan Tudyk, Brandon Routh, Felicia Day, Grant Imahara, Seth Green, etc.), on down to obscure voice actors and YouTube personalities. The board games are mostly new ones I'd never heard of, but a lot of them have really interesting game dynamics -- for example, there's one where all the players are cooperating to survive a zombie apocalypse, but one of the players is secretly working to sabotage them (only that player knows his true goal). With the right group of players and the right game, it can be a blast to watch. Another one that I enjoyed watching was a Dracula game, where one player plays as Dracula and the others play as vampire hunters.

    http://geekandsundry.com/shows/tabletop/
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
  10. Arkady

    Arkady President

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    I've played a couple freemium MMO games, which are an amazing deal if you can resist shelling out money for the fancy stuff (which I can). One was a Star Wars game based on the Old Republic, and it was my first exposure to that style of game, which can be quite enjoyable when you hook up with other players to take down enemies who you'd be no match for individually.
     
  11. Arkady

    Arkady President

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    I never played WoW (other than the old offline version from the 90s), because there are so many lifers that I didn't particularly want to be a noob asking all the dumb questions. I've preferred a couple newer MMOs where I wasn't a particularly late arriver, so everyone was asking the same dumb questions.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2017
  12. trapdoor

    trapdoor Governor

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    I made an indulgent purchase about a year ago and bought a TLC/Roku television, and have become utterly addicted to the obscure on YouTube, so this goes on the list. I think Wheaton is a pretty interesting guy, actor and geek in his own right, so this sounds good.

    Of course when I was young, we all played Dungeons and Dragons, and I think if you had the right group of people that could still be a great evening or two of fun -- but like a lot of this it is time consuming. Damn hard to work it in when you have work, a spouse or SO, kids, etc. Who has that 8-hour Saturday night for taking down a wizard with fireballs?
     
  13. Arkady

    Arkady President

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    I really enjoyed a couple Elder Scrolls games, but for whatever reason, Skyrim hasn't done it for me. I've finished two Fallout games, which are among the only games I've ever played through the main storyline before getting bored and moving on. Knights of the Old Republic I and II are a couple others. Most of the time I do what I did with Skyrim and play for a while then get a sense it's just going to be "more of the same" and quit.

    Ever play "Silent Hunters" -- the WWII sub simulator? I've played a couple of the more recent versions of those. They work well for my methodical mind. I like tracking a fleet's position, moving ahead and lying in wait, then aiming each torpedo for maximum effect, before escaping. Even on high difficulty levels, I can absolutely school the AI cruisers that are meant to protect the fleets, by picking just the right moment to strike. I like the mental geometry of it -- there are lots of ships moving at once in various ways, and if you can picture it all, you can anticipate a moment when the cruisers will on the far side with obscured views, and your torpedoes can arrive just as the tacking convoy is perpendicular to you, so you won't miss any of your shots.
     
  14. Arkady

    Arkady President

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    Hehe. Yeah, I think we're all guilty of that. But that's not an issue with the online games.


    Part of the problem is that AI is still so damned bad. In Fallout, I can't tell you how many times I was setting up for a perfect sniper attack when some meat bag of a companion charged into battle and screwed everything up. And God forbid you give them anything explosive, because they'll inevitably chuck it right at the enemy you're going toe-to-toe with.
     
  15. trapdoor

    trapdoor Governor

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    OMG, you've described one of the problems perfectly - - and that's setting aside the limited number of commands you can give the NPC. I've basically sort of used them as supply dumps, giving them my extra gear and giving them a "wait here" command in some prominent spot I can revisit.
     
  16. Arkady

    Arkady President

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    My attention span is so bad that YouTube is right up my alley, with so much of the content consisting of seven or eight minute segments. Some of the ones I watch these days:

    Geek & Sundry (a channel, which includes Wheaton's Tabletop as one of the shows)
    Cracked (comedy -- Cracked After Dark is Particularly Funny)
    College Humor (comedy -- more hit or miss)
    Screen Junkies (Honest Trailers and How it Should Have Ended)
    Wendover Productions (an explainer channel)
    Various language video blogs
    Khan Academy (free college-level courses)
    Survival Lily (bushcraft)
    Primitive Technology (dude doing stuff with stone age techniques)
    Nerdwriter (mostly film criticism)
    Vlog Brothers (social commentary)
    LindyBeige (military history commentary)
    The Metatron (military history commentary plus some material on linguistics)
    Sigma 3 Survival School (prepper stuff)
    It's Okay to Be Smart, Seeker, National Geographic, Nature Video, NASA (science stuff)

    Yeah. I haven't played since I was 17 or so, but really loved it back in the day. The Geek & Sundry channel, above, has a few ongoing D&D-style campaigns broadcast as videos. I haven't gotten into them because they're slow (campaigns lasting dozens of hours), but it's an interesting idea, and some of the gamemasters are really extraordinary. One of the games includes a bunch of players, plus a gamemaster, who are all professional voice actors, which is pretty entertaining, because they can really get into it.
     
  17. trapdoor

    trapdoor Governor

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    I never played "Silent Hunters." Years ago I had the sub operations game called "Harpoon" that Tom Clancy said inspired the book "Hunt for Red October." Unfortunately, I could never get "Harpoon" to run correctly. Subs would get half-way to an engagement point and then simply stop moving, etc. But if you like that I recommend reading certain passages in the book "Cryptonomicon" by Neil Stephenson. One of the main characters is a WWII German U-boat commander and he deals with many of those undersea operational issues.

    I need to get back into Fallout IV. I'm trying to do several of the side quests before completing the main quest. I think I've now located everything important on the map, but I'm still learning some of the subtle signals -- the game design is complex (but you've played it and you know it). I have Skyrim for X-box 360, and it locked up my game trying to defeat the big dragon in the final quest. I'm no longer using that console and haven't bought the game for X-box one.

    And I have to admit that the X-Box one console has been a bit of a disappointment in the area of "game library." Most of its games are designed to be played on-line and have the on-line problems we discussed. There are too few intricate, broadly scoped games designed for one play that are offered on the platform. I own about 20 X-Box 360 games, and only two, so far for the X-Box One.
     
  18. Arkady

    Arkady President

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    I bring them along, because you can use them effectively as a distraction -- hey, go attack that Deathclaw with a baseball bat, while I shoot him from the third floor of this building.

    Also, you get bonuses if you level up with them enough. Plus they open up additional story lines. Besides, I get a sociopathic thrill out of making my evil companions think I'm evil and the good ones think I'm good, while romancing multiple characters.
     
  19. trapdoor

    trapdoor Governor

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    I've seen about half this list, and College Humor and Screen Junkies are frequent favorites of mine. I'm also a bit addicted to "Jay Leno's Garage." But you've alos given me a few to look up.

    Well, I'm mid-50s and chubby, but if I were in my 20s I'm confident I'd be LARPing as that was always what I really wanted. Even now, given time for another hobby, I'd like to set up a forge and make armor. I may have to seek out the games you describe. The one with the voice actors would be interesting. Not long ago I was watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and I recognized the voice of one of the actors, so I looked him up. His name is Monte Markham. He was in "The Guns of the Magnificent Seven" years ago with George Kennedy, but the reason his voice was so familiar is that as he aged, he and his wife founded a production company for documentaries. He's narrated half the shows on the History Channel, including "Great Ships" and most of the A&E Biography series (sorry for the digression -- I thought it was interesting that I recognized him not from his face, even though I'd seen him in movies before, but from his voice).
     
  20. trapdoor

    trapdoor Governor

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    I've used them to gain access to the various story lines, but I really do tend to see them as more of an encumbrance than an aid.
     

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