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Some thoughts (lack of service in a certain game niche)


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#1 NKato

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 07:03 AM

Hello.

I don't know if anyone knows who I am, but I'm a Deaf gamer, and I'm big on tank combat. I've seen a lot of games that go hard-on in either direction of the spectrum: Free to Play (World of Tanks/War Thunder), and then the "hardcore" (Red Orchestra/Red Orchestra 2).

What is lacking, is an actual tank combat game that is set in the perspective of the tank commander/tank crew. If I had a movie to compare, I would choose Fury. Think of this thought I'm having as: "Fury the Video Game".

I even took the time to brainstorm a whole wishlist of features. But considering that Festung Europa is basically a competitor to Red Orchestra 2, I have to wonder if the developers, Jackboot Games, might be biting off too much for them to chew at this point. A dev team that's less than 20 people is a pretty small team. To create a 64-player game with so many assets, would take a ridiculously long time and I worry that the budget will run out, and JBG would end up having to be "bought out" by a publisher. Again, this is just me offering a healthy dose of skepticism. I have seen too many projects promise so much, and yet fall short with a resounding face-plant.

The point I'm trying to get at here with this post, is that there's a distinct lack of a proper singleplayer/coop tank-sim game. Think Call of Duty, but with Tanks. This is a niche that's unfulfilled. We're stuck with playing random matches in War Thunder, or getting stuck in shitty funnel-style maps in Red Orchestra 2. Neither game nor game design style scratches my itch as a tank enthusiast.

I think the easiest way for me to hammer out what I'd love to see in a tank game, is to just copy-paste my brainstorm document here. If there doesn't appear to be anyone - or any game developer - attempting to create a game in this particular vision, I'll probably take a shot at it. Eventually. Assuming I can actually learn Unreal 4.

Tank warfare is a genre that is horrendously underserved in a quality capacity. Currently the only games that offer decent tank warfare are RTS game series such as Men of War; free to play games such as War Thunder (Free to Play), World of Tanks; and the "hardcore sim" (though it really isn't) like Red Orchestra 2 (though I am loath to mention that game due to its bad map design). The majority of these games focus on competitive play and do not offer an engaging experience on the battlefield. The immersion factor is significantly limited.

I want to change that. I want to make a video game that reproduces the visceral feeling of the film, Fury, while also making it clear that it doesn’t take much to make a quality tank game that can be engaging to both the average gamer and the hardcore simulation enthusiasts. Basically, the goal is to make this game the Tank analogue to earlier Call of Duty/Medal of Honor games, while also respecting the prototypical behavior of the assets used: quality, historical accuracy, and engaging.


Game Element Brainstorm List

  • Singleplayer/Coop Campaign, able to host dedicated servers for Coop/Multiplayer 2vs2 games, might scale up to 4 vs 4 (or different combinations for balance - after all, Tigers are OP as f*ck).
  • Platoon Command/Tank Command, “RTS Mode” for managing your tanks and infantry.
  • Quality AI, able to make decisions for themselves in engaging the enemy. (Ambushes, flanking attacks, etc)
  • Large maps, at least 20x20 to 50x50 kilometers. Multiple missions within the same map.
  • Ability to customize the tanks’ camouflage patterns, decals, etc. Can also put on foliage camouflage, which is one-use only; becomes useless after firing once or twice (primarily for competitive play but can also be used for certain mission types).
  • Planned Allied Tanks: M4A1 75mm, M4A3E8, Sherman Firefly, Hellcat, M26 Pershing, T26E4-1 Super Pershing
  • Planned Axis Tanks: PzIV Ausf D, F2, and H; PzV Panther, PzVI Tiger I Ausf H1, Ausf E; StuG III Ausf F, G; Tiger II (H)
  • Super Pershing is a reward for ace tankers that get through the majority of the campaign with minimal casualties, think of it as a 90% competion reward.
  • Other Axis assets: Antitank 50mm PaK 38, Antitank 75mm PaK 40; Artillery: sFH 18 15cm gun;
  • Enemy will use camouflage to great effect, including Anti-Tank Emplacements.
  • Smoke shells will be a thing using volumetric particle effects, usable by both Allied and Axis.
  • Important rule to follow: Both the Allied and Axis actors in the game (player and AI) will play by the same rules...there will be no AI cheaters.
  • Ammunition Types: AP, HE, APCR, White Phosphorus (Smoke/Flare)
  • Important note: WP can be used as anti-infantry with less-destructive effects to the environment.
  • Combat will involve both infantry support and anti-tank; as such, infantry command functions are required.
  • Crewman XP will determine their responsiveness to certain things, such as identifying enemy infantry in foliage, ability to precisely take out threats, among other things.
  • Future campaigns should take different perspectives, such as the Wehrmacht in the Western and Eastern Fronts.
  • Emphasize survival: ejection button will have your crew bail out of your tank if you deem it critically damaged.
  • Implement a FPS-lite mode where the tank commander can use his pistol or SMG to protect his crew and tank at close range against infantry, or to dismount and man the larger 50-caliber machine gun. However, moving a certain distance away from the tank will have the game assume you are abandoning the tank, and the current mission ends at that point. The big difference is that dying in the tank will not give you an opportunity to continue the campaign, but bailing out and escaping the battlefield alive will permit you to crew a new tank and continue the campaign.
  • FPS Lite can be used to defend the tank from enemy infantry and other threats until it’s time to complete the repairs.
  • Can initiate field repairs on the tank in the event of battle damage.


So yeah, that's pretty much all I wanted to say. While I love the idea of Festung Europa, I'm getting sick and tired of the "competitive multiplayer" scene, and just want to play tank combat at my leisure without having to deal with shit-dribbling imbeciles in every multiplayer game I encounter - which is the norm in War Thunder! I'm also quite tired of seeing tanks get a "homogeneous" treatment in video games, largely War Thunder and World of Tanks are the most popular tank games, while RO2 is a lackluster tank experience (not enough tanks, bad map design, etc).

Sincerely,
NKato

P.S. I am in no way suggesting that Jackboot Games alter their game dev plans for Festung Europa. I've done my research and I have found virtually no game developers out there trying to create a game that comes anywhere near what I described in the above quoted text. So out of frustration, I posted this. On the subject of Festung Europa, JBG, I hope you guys never ever touch Punkbuster. I really hate it because it demands to be always-on.

#2 Hans Ludwig

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 04:17 AM

while RO2 is a lackluster tank experience (not enough tanks, bad map design, etc).


WT has terrible map design: White Castle Rock, Jungle (really? Jungle?), Mozdok (just because the cap is always in the center) and Karelia and Kuban. I actually wish I could play WT on RO/2 maps.

I don't know if anyone knows who I am, but I'm a Deaf gamer, and I'm big on tank combat.


You should write in greater detail about your experience as a deaf gamer sometime. Tell us what kind of gamer you are or what genre of games you most enjoy playing. While you talked about single player/co-op side of tanking, do you not like multiplayer or crewing a tank with a buddy or friend? How does one make multiplayer side of a game more immersive or inclusive to someone that is deaf?

#3 Dietrich Landrik

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 07:38 AM

I've got a buddy who is half deaf and enjoys tanking in RO. The loud engine makes it hard for everyone else to hear anyways and so he can just drive along following the numbered or typed commands of the commander.

#4 NKato

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 07:44 PM

You should write in greater detail about your experience as a deaf gamer sometime. Tell us what kind of gamer you are or what genre of games you most enjoy playing. While you talked about single player/co-op side of tanking, do you not like multiplayer or crewing a tank with a buddy or friend? How does one make multiplayer side of a game more immersive or inclusive to someone that is deaf?


I'm a very teamplay-oriented player, so I enjoy working with others to accomplish an objective.

Let me think...you know the games Sniper Elite V2 and Sniper Elite 3? Those games had a coop capability built in. Crewing a tank with a friend tends to be an exercise in frustration due to the need for voice communication (Red Orchestra 2 has poor quick-chat functions compared to what you'd find in games like Guns Of Icarus Online).

What I really want is a tank sim game that follows a campaign with the option to play offline (Singleplayer) or co-op (multiplayer), as opposed to pure competitive multiplayer.

I'm quite tired of the head-to-head multiplayer games that are prevalent in RO2 and War Thunder. I want a little bit of story and immersion to my WW2 sim experience. I don't want a game that goes, "Hey, here's a setting and some gear that's period-accurate and prototypical, go knock yourselves out in some random multiplayer matches."

I want something that goes, "Hey, you're in charge of Platoon 2, and we need you to go defend this line against the Germans in the Ardennes. Oh, and you can invite three of your friends to come along either as tank crew or as their own tanks."

There's a HUGE difference between those two kinds of games in terms of the game experience you get. The best analogy would be the early Call of Duty/Medal of Honor WW2 games, but framed in the context of tank combat.

#5 Father Ted

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 08:56 PM

A lot of your wishlist looks like things that can be done in Arma (I believe a WW2 mod for Arma 3 is in the pipeline) have you tried that? If you can cope with modern, there's Steel Beasts Pro. I've not played it myself, but it's reputedly a pretty good sim.

#6 Kashash

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 10:02 PM

Crewing a tank with a friend tends to be an exercise in frustration due to the need for voice communication (Red Orchestra 2 has poor quick-chat functions compared to what you'd find in games like Guns Of Icarus Online).


That's good that you mention it because just like you and me even though I'm not deaf, so many people don't use the microphone for a lot of different reasons. So I wish this would be directed at the JBG to emphasise on a good voice communication system that is quick and easy to use as an alternative way of communicating apart from speaking on the microphone which not everyone is capable of.

#7 NKato

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 10:45 PM

A lot of your wishlist looks like things that can be done in Arma (I believe a WW2 mod for Arma 3 is in the pipeline) have you tried that? If you can cope with modern, there's Steel Beasts Pro. I've not played it myself, but it's reputedly a pretty good sim.


That mod is dead. "Iron Front" is the name, and it's basically a conversion of a game that ran on the ArmA 2 engine. I really don't want to deal with the clunkiness of ArmA, if at all possible.

The wishlist items aren't just about having a multiplayer experience, but primarily co-op/campaign. I'm a little bit tired of pure sandboxes now, and would rather have a cross between your average traditional Singleplayer game and a sandbox game as part of the level design.

#8 NKato

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 09:15 PM

WT has terrible map design: White Castle Rock, Jungle (really? Jungle?), Mozdok (just because the cap is always in the center) and Karelia and Kuban. I actually wish I could play WT on RO/2 maps.



You should write in greater detail about your experience as a deaf gamer sometime. Tell us what kind of gamer you are or what genre of games you most enjoy playing. While you talked about single player/co-op side of tanking, do you not like multiplayer or crewing a tank with a buddy or friend? How does one make multiplayer side of a game more immersive or inclusive to someone that is deaf?



I just realized I didn't really explain myself very well as a deaf gamer. I play a lot of games, but one of my primary interests has always been simulation, because it's one of the few genres that lets me experience things close to reality that I would otherwise be unable to experience. Currently, I've been sinking my teeth into Cities: Skylines.

And regarding War Thunder...they're Russians. They're not going to put a lot of thought into the things they do. They're like... "throw shit at it and see what sticks", and it has led to a solid core game with a terrible player experience overall.

I personally dislike the Red Orchestra 2 maps because they are mostly "corridor" fighting maps where there are very few flanking routes due to map borders. Most maps are an "attack/defend" configuration, which increases the frustration factor significantly, especially when the enemy manages to find a location that is heavily entrenched and nigh impossible to flank due to the design of the map.

And to answer your final question: "How does one make multiplayer side of a game more immersive or inclusive to someone that is deaf?"

I have a suggestion: Check out Guns of Icarus Online. When you're aboard a ship, hit the V button, you'll get a communications menu. The way this menu works is a lot more intuitive and quicker to use than your traditional number-based comm menu from games like ArmA. I also recommend making certain comm menu functions context-sensitive (reliant upon what you're pointing your crosshairs at). Also, if I'm going to solo-crew a tank with AI crewmen, I would love it if my AI crewmen had the ability to warn me about enemies in close proximity (with directions so I can traverse the gun and mow them down). Oh, and it goes without mentioning: subtitles! Subtitling for any voiced content is an absolute must, even in multiplayer.

If I'm to play Festung Europa, I want to be able to easily operate in both stand-alone status in a tank while also being given the same visual limitations as in real life, but also be able to operate the tank with player/AI infantry support. My other wishlist item for Festung Europa is open-ended map design that does not peg you into fighting through predetermined routes/corridors that allow for excessive amounts of camping/entrenchment. That is to say, at this stage in development, this is a good time for you guys to look at getting double-floating point precision implemented into your game engine.

Space Engineers implemented it. Their maps went from 2x2x2 kilometer cube to over 2 billion kilometers from end to end. Star Citizen will be implementing this code as well, and I think Festung Europa would benefit greatly from using this newer kind of code to create larger, more detailed maps.

#9 Kashash

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 12:02 PM

I also recommend making certain comm menu functions context-sensitive (reliant upon what you're pointing your crosshairs at). Also, if I'm going to solo-crew a tank with AI crewmen, I would love it if my AI crewmen had the ability to warn me about enemies in close proximity (with directions so I can traverse the gun and mow them down). Oh, and it goes without mentioning: subtitles! Subtitling for any voiced content is an absolute must, even in multiplayer.

If I'm to play Festung Europa, I want to be able to easily operate in both stand-alone status in a tank while also being given the same visual limitations as in real life, but also be able to operate the tank with player/AI infantry support.


Yes and what I really always wanted in a game like DH especially when tanking is to warn off not just my own crew but other tanks that are nearby mine. So you for example roll onto the enemy with your battle group of 3-4 tanks in a particular array and when I spot an enemy tank I could then press for example tank "1", and the message of for example "enemy tank on the left" would go directly to the tank "1" in my battle group.

Also I'd like to have the ability to send voice commands/messages only to certain players by their nickname so that it doesn't mingle with the main chat. So you press on the player that you chose from and that player receives your message or a voice command on top of the screen so that it's seperate from the main chat that is in the corner of the screen. These directive messages would be more highlighted so that it's easier to notice than the main chat and not like currently in DH it's all mixed up with the main chat and that's why so many people fail to recognize the message that someone asks them for something. Because the orders/requests/warnings that are pertained to the middle of fighting situations shouldn't be convoluted with what people type random things on the main chat.

The good thing about them being seperated is that the directive messages will be only visible on your screen on top and that way the main chat won't be filled with all the orders/requests spammed in the corner that don't concern you so you can focus on the requests and orders easier.

#10 Dietrich Landrik

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 04:07 PM

A typical Panzer platoon had receivers with the platoon command tank having both a receiver and transmitter.

This was also mirrored in the infantry companies with the platoon radio being a receiver and the company radio being both.

The benefit of the halftracks was that they had receivers in them so the panzergrenadiers could be much more reactive with having their own onboard radio receiver.

#11 Dietrich Landrik

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Posted 14 March 2015 - 04:08 PM

There are already subtitles in DH when voice commands are given.

#12 short-fuse

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Posted 15 March 2015 - 02:12 PM

And regarding War Thunder...they're Russians. They're not going to put a lot of thought into the things they do. They're like... "throw shit at it and see what sticks", and it has led to a solid core game with a terrible player experience overall.


My sediments exactly. They basically copied and pasted WOT onto their platform and added a bunch of useless fluff to it and gave it a flashy name. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to see a bunch of tanks go head to head that I haven't seen in a game very long time but, it's the whole "TIER" vs "YEAR" has got me puzzled. It should be broken up into years in which the vehicles arrived onto the battlefield. Plus, incorporating tanks that either didn't serve during WW2 or tanks that showed up too late to make a difference.

#13 Kashash

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Posted 16 March 2015 - 02:36 PM

And regarding War Thunder...they're Russians. They're not going to put a lot of thought into the things they do. They're like... "throw shit at it and see what sticks", and it has led to a solid core game with a terrible player experience overall.


My sediments exactly. They basically copied and pasted WOT onto their platform and added a bunch of useless fluff to it and gave it a flashy name. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to see a bunch of tanks go head to head that I haven't seen in a game very long time but, it's the whole "TIER" vs "YEAR" has got me puzzled. It should be broken up into years in which the vehicles arrived onto the battlefield. Plus, incorporating tanks that either didn't serve during WW2 or tanks that showed up too late to make a difference.


That is true and it is so frustrating really... There are two almost exactly the same games, and yet we still don't have any decent games to play that matches DH or something decent.

Because of this I have no games to play at the moment. Ironfront44 is dead, the IIwwonline is dead even though it wasn't the best team-work game anyway... The only game similar to this now is Heroes & Generals but it's really just another arcadish type of niche.
Then there are WoT and War Thunder which are almost two exactly the same games and how pointless is that...

It's like the old technique of two companies only gaining profits for themselves and flourishing by playing off against each other instead of actually working to make a game that they truly want to play and is based on historical accuracy, not just to make money. As a result these cheap and quick products come out and you can see how flawed they are.

It's this money-chasing companies and competitiveness that neglects the development of the game.

#14 Dreek

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Posted 16 March 2015 - 04:06 PM

As a result these cheap and quick products come out and you can see how flawed they are.


Apparently a consistent player base with game loyalty is not enough to sustain a game with only niche qualities. "Cheap and quick" along "shiny and sparkly" are much more important than the finer implementations of game development, hence a "Hats off" to everyone who has participated in the long history of DH and it's posterity.
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