Cards?

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Andy Brown
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Cards?

Post by Andy Brown » Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:58 pm

I'm not trying to be controversial here (OK, I am!) but I'm disappointed with GP.

I'm disappointed that the same company that provides me with immersive, continuous-time, movie-fidelity space combat seems to have set its sights so low when tackling planetary surface battles.

One of the early claims I read for GP was that it drew a lot of inspiration from Panzer General (or something like that!).

Newsflash: There aren't any cards in PG! There don't appear to be any cards in SotS/SotS2 either. Could this have anything to do with their popularity?

After the 3D space battles of SotS/SotS2, a move to 2D hex-and-turn-based card-driven ground combat is, to say the least, anti-climatic. I realise a SotSverse Steel Beasts ( http://www.steelbeasts.com/ ) is probably a bit ambitious for Kerberos but are you really sure you the lottery of a card-based system is the best way to do tactical ground combat?

Twenty-one years old and arguably still the definitive planetary assault game:
http://www.abandonia.com/games/557/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkvob4-KGq8

Cheers,

Andy Brown

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Mecron
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Re: Cards?

Post by Mecron » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:40 pm

And you really don't grasp what we are doing here but that's ok...We all have a pet peeves based on yesteryear. But the world moves on and games evolve. Cards are a healthy innovation to wargaming seen across the industry, both board and computer. They add a variation and decision making layer when before there was, at best, a random event table. The dice system we are using is even more innovative. And that's a good thing for this style of game.

But really, you don't need us to make the exact game as you could have gotten 21 years ago. As you show, you can still buy it if that is where your head is at. Just like in sots, we are here to take the values of the old days and mesh them with the mechanics and power of today. But that doesn't mean you have to come with. ;)


Good luck!

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Hamann
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Re: Cards?

Post by Hamann » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:48 pm

If you asked me 6 months ago I would say I didn't like something as a deck system in a tactical or strategy game. However, since I've played Wargame that has changed a lot. I think it makes playing with different strategies interesting (adding replayability), and can render some moves that would be considered bad, somewhat more effective. Put the struggle for orbit supremacy on top of it and we have an interesting mechanic to make the game more dynamic. It also allows for a touch of personal flavor.

I'd agree that the alpha deck does seem a bit generic and bland, but alpha is alpha, and as stated on the kickstarter videos, we will be getting exclusive cards for each army, and some orbital supremacy contest cards as well.
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Mecron
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Re: Cards?

Post by Mecron » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:04 pm

lol yes you have less than a quarter of the cards at your disposal on the alpha :twisted:

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Space Voyager
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Re: Cards?

Post by Space Voyager » Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:05 am

I see cards just as assets or available moves in your arsenal, presented in a card-like fashion. It could be presented in other ways, too, but cards are just as good IMO.

But I think the main problem is understanding that while this game is in SotSverse, it does not represent what SotS2 ground combat would (WILL!!!) be like. There is no time in a space empire opera for anything like GP at each colony...

I'm sure Kerberos would be quite ok with making a SotS version of Steel Beasts, but if you read the explanation of their development direction (completely indie, starting small), this game is completely on-course.

Best wishes from me.
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Vanish
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Re: Cards?

Post by Vanish » Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:40 am

Andy Brown wrote:[...] seems to have set its sights so low when tackling planetary surface battles.
[...]
Newsflash: There aren't any cards in PG! There don't appear to be any cards in SotS/SotS2 either. Could this have anything to do with their popularity?

To me, sounds like card games stole your lunch money during high school years, and you never fully recovered :lol: Remember that seeing the alpha/beta stages of a game under developement is a privilege, despite how common it's become. So unless you have something useful to say... you'll win little points trying to bring some "zOMG how dare they stray from classic formula" intranet drama here ;)

On topic, objectively speaking, I stand at the other end of the spectrum. Most of the stuff I want/wanted to hear more about, during this alpha, were the cards. To me, they add that special bit of flavor to a genre I'm a little leery about diving into. So KB has their own way of drawing in a larger audience, and I can testify it works :thumbsup:
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Andy Brown
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Re: Cards?

Post by Andy Brown » Sat Sep 28, 2013 9:56 pm

I'm happy with cards, but not with the combination of cards and tactical combat. If GP was about Sotsverse magic users, I wouldn't have posted :D

I understand your Kickstarter campaign has been a bit sluggish. Your publicity was pretty good and the alpha demo was excellent. I wonder, however, if it's demonstrating a game that not too many people want to play?

IMO, the foundation of the SotS games is the continuous-time, superbly-modelled 3D space battles. Over the years, you guys have worked up the other 4X stuff but, at its heart, SotS has always been about immersive tactical combat. That's certainly why I bought into it. Generally, the mechanics of SotS tactical battles recreate quite realistically (if you can use that word in connection with far-future space battles :) ) most people's concept of what such battles would actually be like.

GP is an electronic boardgame with all of a boardgame's abstractions. It "feels" about as far from the SotS equivalent of surface combat as it's possible to get. It's certainly not the game I would want to be the surface combat module of SotS. Sure, that's not what it's meant to be but I suspect that's how many are judging it. IMO, you've set up an internal contradiction. Many SotS tactical battles fans simply won't appreciate the GP system. GP may be made by Kerberos but, to them, it won't feel like a Kerberos game.

The tech arguments are easily disposed of. GP isn't innovating, it's going back to the past. Too many "computer" games these days are simply automated boardgames. I would argue that the power of modern computing machines is better used (as SotS uses it) to create immersive simulations, not to increase the complexity of game mechanics born in the days of pen and paper. As for cross-platform capability, Combat Mission ( http://www.battlefront.com/ ) is arguably one of the most realistic tactical wargame commercially available today. So is Combat Mission:Touch.

Maybe I don't "get" GP but I like to think I do get SotS and I do get tactical wargames. I find a disconnect here. Maybe others do too.

Cheers,

Andy Brown

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Mecron
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Re: Cards?

Post by Mecron » Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:06 pm

So far its you...and that's unfortunate...and I know its the clarion cry of the internet to end your post with the "maybe others agree" but hopefully you will come around when the full depth and variety of units are there.

Till then though, enjoy your grudging ;)

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Erinys
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Re: Cards?

Post by Erinys » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:18 am

Andy Brown wrote:I'm happy with cards, but not with the combination of cards and tactical combat. If GP was about Sotsverse magic users, I wouldn't have posted :D


:lol: I know you didn't mean this the way I read it, but it made me laugh out loud. The way you worded this made it sound as if you were comfortable with just about any game feature so long as it was a safe, useless, non-original re-hash of some other game!

Just shook a laugh out of me because we get that a lot from people who just can't deal with the unfamiliar. It was weird how many people decided that the original SotS had "changed so much" over the course of its expansions, when really the major difference was that they had finally played it enough hours to get used to it.

I think some times a new idea has to be broken in properly? Like a new pair of shoes? :googly:

Anyway, I know you didn't mean it that way, but it cracked me up. So thanks. :)

IMO, the foundation of the SotS games is the continuous-time, superbly-modelled 3D space battles.


:P As the writer of the franchise, I disagree (she said, in a self-serving effort to preserve her job!). The foundation of the games is the universe, which offers a vibrant setting for many different genres. The SotS universe has gone far beyond the original 4X titles. The fastest selling game in the history of the studio is actually The Pit--not a 3D space battle to be seen. :angel:

Also, the fact that one type of game has been done well by a great team does not mean that another type of game cannot be done equally well by the same team. And the fact that not every genre, scale, or playable platform for a game appeals to your personal taste does not mean that we can always limit our creative aspirations to cater only to you.

I realize that some fans of the original Sword of the Stars honestly believe that we should do nothing for the rest of our lives but make the same game over and over for the next fifty years, upgrading the engine periodically to improve the graphics. By the same token, some music fans would really like to hear their favorite band play nothing but the same power chord pop song over and over for the next 50 years, as well. Certainly I like it when an older band is still willing to play their older stuff at a concert!

But I also know that most musicians would rather blow their brains out than to spend the rest of their lives NEVER being able to write and perform another original song. And if I actually like the musicians and care about their music, I will try their albums as they come out and see if my taste can grow and change with them over time, or whether I'm just a fan of one album that came out when I was thirteen.

There are certainly fans of Kerberos who have been fans of the work we do since before Kerberos existed. They loved Homeworld, they loved Cataclysm, they loved Ground Control and Treasure Planet: Battle at Procyon and Sword of the Stars and Fort Zombie and even The Pit. They will probably be willing to at least try any game that we make, because they love games and they're just genuinely interested to see what we'll do next.

Regardless, I'm really glad that you liked the original 4X titles! I like them too, and would love to work on other epic games of that scale. But I have to tell you the truth: right now the limiting factor for the scales of the games we make is NOT us--it's you.

If you and other fans of the original SotS games would like to see more games with that level of 3D art and real-time combat, please be aware that it's going to take a HELL of a lot more carrot, and a HELL of a lot less stick, to make that happen. You can post to these forums all day long saying that you love immersive 3D space battles, but talk is cheap, and development is not. You will have to offer real support, both in terms of crowd-funding efforts and PR, if you ever want to see another 4X epic from this studio.

The tech arguments are easily disposed of. GP isn't innovating, it's going back to the past.


Android devices, iPads and cross-platform compatibility are NOT things of the past. Sorry. That's just plain nonsense.

As for the basic concept and presentation? Yes, there is a wargame feel to it. But ALL Kerberos games are firmly rooted in gaming tradition and long, intimate personal experience with various types of game. We were ALL gamers first, reviewers and devs second/third, and we still are. If you don't get that, you don't really understand the studio at all.

Our 4X space strategy games are based on a very long love affair with the form, both in PC and boardgame format--we're talking a love of the form that went back decades. Our rpg's are based on a very long love affair with THAT form, in PC and pen-and-paper format, which again, goes back decades.

Ground Pounders is simply an expression of love and interest in another form. Love him or hate him, one of Mecron's gifts as a designer is that he is a life-long, very passionate gamer--and he typically works with developers who share that passion.

The Kerberos approach is to be fully immersed in the tradition and excellence of a certain type of game, and then to see what we can do to bring something new to that genre. We have done fundamentally the same thing with every game we've made: we did it with SotS, Fort Zombie, SotS 2 AND The Pit. And like it or not, we are doing it with Ground Pounders. ;)

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Andy Brown
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Re: Cards?

Post by Andy Brown » Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:50 pm

Erinys wrote:
The tech arguments are easily disposed of. GP isn't innovating, it's going back to the past.


Android devices, iPads and cross-platform compatibility are NOT things of the past. Sorry. That's just plain nonsense.


While most of your post had me nodding in a relaxed, "fair enough" kind of way, this is a cheap shot unworthy of you, Erinys. If you read on from the passage you have selectively quoted, it's perfectly obvious that what I am lamenting is not the migration to mobile devices but the failure to properly exploit the computing power of such devices by employing game mechanics originally developed for the limited processing architecture of the human brain.

I don't play rogue-likes but I can see that, if I did, The Pit is a rogue-like I'd want to play. I do play tactical wargames and GP is not a tactical wargame that I want to play. Sure, maybe that is just me, but then again maybe it's not. Maybe the GP Kickstarter campaign's reduced success indicates other people don't want to play GP either?

I don't think it's enough for game developers to make games they want to play. They have to make games other people want to play.

All just my opinion, of course. I understand that. But every bit of feedback helps, right?

Andy

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Mecron
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Re: Cards?

Post by Mecron » Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:32 pm

Right up to the point where you start talking about cheap shots and then its clear your constructive interest in games is less important than your desire to win the Internet and that is unfortunate.

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NuclearHuggz
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Re: Cards?

Post by NuclearHuggz » Sun Sep 29, 2013 9:50 pm

Andy Brown wrote:... what I am lamenting is not the migration to mobile devices but the failure to properly exploit the computing power of such devices by employing game mechanics originally developed for the limited processing architecture of the human brain.


To be fair, Angry Birds didn't exploit that computing power either, yet it seems to have done relatively well for itself.

Andy Brown wrote:Maybe the GP Kickstarter campaign's reduced success indicates other people don't want to play GP either?

I don't think it's enough for game developers to make games they want to play. They have to make games other people want to play.


The Ground Pounders Kickstarter campaign actually had more backers than The Pit's Indiegogo campaign, so I don't think there's a whole lot of merit to that argument. Especially considering that, as Erinys pointed out, The Pit is Kerberos's fastest selling game to date.

Getting back to the issue of cards:
I have logged at least 200 hours on SotS, SotS ][, and The Pit. Each. Therefore, I can say with a high degree of confidence that one of the reasons those games have so much replayability is the inclusion of the "Sadorandomizer," which ensures that no 2 playthrougs are the same. SotS I and ][ have randomized tech trees and star systems, and The Pit has randomized floor layouts and item drops. These factors force you into to adapting your strategy around what you have available to you -- in other words, you are forced to play with the hand you are dealt. (See what I did there? :D) I don't see how the card system in Ground Pounders is any different.

Also, keep in mind that you only played the Ground Pounders Alpha demo. The Pit's final release version was noticeably better than the beta, and was improved with every update -- and even more so with the expansion. The same holds true for both SotS 4x titles. I don't see any reason to believe that Ground Pounders will be any different.

I'm skeptical about some of Kerberos's design decisions on the game too, but given their track record, I'm more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one.
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zanzibar196
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Re: Cards?

Post by zanzibar196 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:27 pm

I actually kinda like the concept of cards representing random events on the battlefield, and feel that Kerberos will, most likely, make this mechanic something cool.
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Night Warden
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Re: Cards?

Post by Night Warden » Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:16 am

zanzibar196 wrote:I actually kinda like the concept of cards representing random events on the battlefield, and feel that Kerberos will, most likely, make this mechanic something cool.


Right, out of curiosity has anyone on here played Solium Infernum or Armageddon Earth?, both TBS games from the same dev, making very heavy use of cards, each worth a look in their own right although their focus is definitely on the multiplayer. The thing is I'm having a hard time thinking of better ways than cards to do stuff like this for a TBS game... most of what I can think of either doesn't mesh with other mechanics or you end up with something like using tokens instead which ends up being the same thing in a different jumpsuit. I mean you could go all Paradox/grand strategyish but then you end up with a very different game.

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Erinys
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Re: Cards?

Post by Erinys » Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:04 am

Andy Brown wrote:All just my opinion, of course. I understand that. But every bit of feedback helps, right?


Sure. And every bit of feedback is accepted and appreciated! However, that doesn't mean that every bit of feedback is pragmatically useful.

In this case, it's hard to get value from your feedback, not least because you started off arguing one point and then you were arguing a second and now a third point which conflicts with the first.

First point: "I don't want a 'small' 2D-mapped wargame which models planetary battles using the classic Big Concepts of ground war: supply, support, interaction with terrain. If I want ground war, I want it with BIG 3D IMMERSIVE TACTICAL COMBAT RAAAAR like SotS and SotS 2!"

Answer to that point is pretty simple: thank you for liking SotS and SotS 2! And while we can see how the big 3D ground game that you want could be VERY cool, we also want to make this game, for three reasons.

1) Because we think that any type and scale of game can be done well, and we think that we can do this 'little' game well.

2) There always were and there will always be people who DON'T like 3D, and DON'T like real-time tactical combat, and we would like to make a rich, interesting turn-based game that those people will enjoy.

3) We would love to deliver BIG 3D IMMERSIVE TACTICAL COMBAT RAAAAAR again someday, but we would need a lot of genuine, enthusiastic fan support, both financial and PR, before it will be possible to make another epic 3D-type game. The current level of support for the studio absolutely will not cut it, at all. So if you want more SotS to ever happen, I'd suggest everyone get in touch with his/her inner cheerleader. Because being negative doesn't get things done.

Second point: "I don't like the use of randomizing features like Effect Cards in this game, and I think that GP is 'just' a boardgame made into a computer game."

Answer to that is: we're sorry that you don't like the randomizing features of the game, like the Effect Cards and the Dice. We think that they're fun and they add richness and re-playability to the game, so they're staying. :P

So far as the second point: we simply have to disagree. GP is more than just a boardgame analog. The game is doing a lot of things that are difficult or impossible to do with tiny paper counters and maps that have to be spread over a table, and it is doing them elegantly, quickly, from global distances, and across multiple platforms. Boardgames are cool, but sometimes computer games are cooler, and this is one of those times.

Third point: "Talking about platforms is a cheap shot, and I think GP is not using the maximum computing power of mobile platforms anyway."

The point about connectivity and the new platforms available for playing games is not intended as a cheap shot, at all. PC game developers used to poo-poo console games too, but consoles are a very important platform. We think that the way of gaming is cool, and we want to make something that you can play on the bus or sitting on the couch with your tablet as well as at your desktop or lap-top.

As to the "computing power" issue...you might actually be surprised to find how many bottlenecks and sticking points modern mobile platforms have, in terms of their "max computing power". There is no mobile device capable of handling the demands of the old Sword of the Stars, for example, at least so far as I know: that 3D tactical battlefield comes with a heck of a lot of physics, and physics eats up a lot of memory. Remember, every bullet and missile is a thing that really exists in real time.

Regardless, I think the real message you want us to get here is that you do not want/like this particular game--at least based on the alpha. That's ok, you're certainly entitled to an opinion! We appreciate you taking the time to express that opinion. But please keep in mind that plenty of people told us the same about SotS back when we released the first demo. They hated the real-time combat, they hated the 3D battlefield and the physics-based combat, they hated the 3D map, the randomized tech tree, blah blah blah the list goes on forever, really.

Ultimately, there is room for more than one kind of fun in the world. We kept making SotS and released the final version to the public anyway, much to the howling and teeth-gnashing chagrin of people who did not want the features of SotS that you like. But if you like SotS...aren't you glad that we actually make the games we want, rather than just letting people who "don't get it" tell us what to do? ;)

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