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SOWGB - The Research Paper? E-mail
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Written by Norb Timpko   
Saturday, 05 May 2012 03:24

Every once in a while we search the net to see what's being said about the game. During a recent search we were pleasantly surprised to find a research paper written by Mark Mullen at George Washington University. It's cool because he gets it! He knows why we make the game the way we do and you all play. He understands the dedication to creating a realistic experience. Since it's public on the net, I guess it's safe to share:

Realism vs. Reelism: The Scourging of Total War
Last Updated on Saturday, 05 May 2012 03:25
 
Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago by Saddletank #47899
NY Cavalry wrote:
I believe that SWG is so good is because it is self published. These guys have really given the players a lot of added options/improvements that I wonder would have happened if some big game company was involved.
Creative Arts and SEGA have given a far more open game in their Total War series than NSD have given with SoW.

In some ways, and for sound business ethics (and I'm not saying its a bad thing) small dev houses have to be much more restrictive in what they give away as moddable in their games.

born2see wrote:
garyknowz wrote:

A major factor for NSD's success is that there are no rigid artificial production deadlines (it ships when the creators feel the program is up to their standards). In addition, they don't have to simplify the game to appeal to a mass dummy demographic who are mainly concerned with eye-popping graphics and fast-paced action than a realistic war simulation experience.


Boy, you hit that nail on the head!

B
Well... hmm... there's a few things that are badly and incorrectly implemented in SoW and which could be made better, such as how units wheel, change formation and won't march in a given formation, and the hierarchy of artillery units and how they respond morale-wise. And there's some things which are obviously still busted, like some of the artillery effects. So I don't know that I agree completely with the above sentiments.

I am delighted with the game as it is, but there's niggly things that make me sigh and think "If only they'd seen this and fixed it", etc.
Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago by born2see #47873
garyknowz wrote:

A major factor for NSD's success is that there are no rigid artificial production deadlines (it ships when the creators feel the program is up to their standards). In addition, they don't have to simplify the game to appeal to a mass dummy demographic who are mainly concerned with eye-popping graphics and fast-paced action than a realistic war simulation experience.


Boy, you hit that nail on the head!

B
Posted: 5 years, 2 months ago by garyknowz #47869
NY Cavalry wrote:
I believe that SWG is so good is because it is self published. These guys have really given the players a lot of added options/improvements that I wonder would have happened if some big game company was involved.


I agree. A major factor for NSD's success is that there are no rigid artificial production deadlines (it ships when the creators feel the program is up to their standards). In addition, they don't have to simplify the game to appeal to a mass dummy demographic who are mainly concerned with eye-popping graphics and fast-paced action than a realistic war simulation experience.
Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago by norb #46194
Mazikainen wrote:
Hmm.. It's difficult to imagine that I'm reading a _research_ paper. The language and content are more like from a blog review, and most of the argumentation is based on the author's own opinions. The game design of wargames is a very fertile topic and I'd like to see more comprehensive research on the subject.

Sorry, I didn't mean to be a grouch. It's not like my own papers are winning universal acclaim either


It's from a university, it's in an academic journal, it's written by a member of the university staff, that's enough for me
Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago by born2see #46186
NY Cavalry wrote:

I believe that SWG is so good is because it is self published. These guys have really given the players a lot of added options/improvements that I wonder would have happened if some big game company was involved.


You're absolutely right on about that. Because of the way NSD is structured, we're able to do things a larger company could never do.

I'm very fortunate to be part of it.

B

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TC2M Selected as one of the Top 100 Games of All Time! E-mail
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Written by Norb Timpko   
Friday, 27 January 2012 02:33
Yeah, I was shocked! I got my copy of PCGamer today and Take Command 2nd Manassas was number 78 OF ALL TIME!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 01:21
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Posted: 5 years, 5 months ago by KG_Soldier #45100
The only question, really, is how long before SOW moves to the #1 position? it's already there in my book.
Posted: 5 years, 5 months ago by MarcusC #45045
This doesn't surprise me--I think I've spent a couple thousand hours playing TC2M! (hmmm, maybe more) It's nice to be in the top 100, deserves to be higher. A testiment to you Norb and all of the fine people who've been working with you. Thanks! To think about how many thousands of games have been released over the the years...major kudos sirs!
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago by con20or #42246
Obviously
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago by Chamberlain #42244
con20or wrote:
Awesome - you should be very proud.

What were the top ten?


Obviously, the games that Norb and Team did not develop, and they still SUCK !!



Chamberlain
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago by JC Edwards #42243
con20or wrote:
Awesome - you should be very proud.

What were the top ten?
Probably games with AI's that SUCK!

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Scenario Development Diary E-mail
Written by Matt Clyburn   
Thursday, 12 January 2012 12:20

Scourge Of War Scenario Development Diary

By Matt Clyburn

Part I - Research

This is more of an after the fact development article than a diary.  We wanted to document the process and what is involved with creating a series of scenarios for the Antietam battle pack, released in December of 2011.  This article will go into detail on the research that goes into creating scenarios from scratch.

So where to start?  There are two major elements to a scenario; historical accuracy and enjoyable game play.  There is also the replay value, but the first two are the most important.  First, and probably the most critical step in creating a scenario is the historical research.  Historical accuracy is always at the forefront when any content is created for this game.  I usually start with purchasing books on the battle.  There is also a period of research that goes into choosing the right book.  Is the book acclaimed for being historically accurate?  Does it contain maps?  Does it contain a full order of battle for both sides?  Does it have eyewitness accounts?  All of these things are important for creating an accurate scenario.  The research is ongoing during the entire process.  I design as I am researching, while taking lots and lots of notes, bookmarking, saving web addresses, and highlighting key parts of the books.

For the Antietam Battle Pack, I went with four books, as well as several online resources.

The first book I consulted, which is the most popular standard account of the Maryland campaign of 1862 is Landscape Turned Red, The Battle of Antietam by Steven W. Sears.  This book is a good introduction to the campaign, dealing with the politics and events leading up to the battle, but it also has a quite detailed account of the battle and also a nicely written account (although not as detailed) of  The Battle of South Mountain.

The second book I consulted was Antietam: The Soldiers’ Battle by John M. Priest.  Although the maps in this book aren’t the greatest since they don’t offer an overview of the field, (just small sections of the field where the specific actions took place and the units engaged) the eyewitness accounts are what make it great.  There has never been a civil war book that gave me such a like I was there feeling as this book.  The accounts are complete; truly going into the nitty-gritty and even gory details.  Although the Carmen maps (for which I will discuss later) were the best source for troop positions, Priest’s book was useful in finding which regiment or even company marched where, fought where, retreated where.

The third book, or rather series of maps I consulted were the Ezra E. Carman maps, or Atlas on The Battle of Antietam.  To me, it doesn’t get much more accurate than having a map creator that was actually there.  Carmen led the 13th New Jersey at the Battle of Antietam and later served as the historical expert for the Board that created the Antietam National Battlefield.  I used high resolution JP2’s of the maps which are highly detailed down to the regimental level.  They show all troop positions for both armies for different times of the day.  They also show arrows detailing the movements for the specific actions, which is an excellent resource to consult when scripting unit movement orders.

The fourth and final book I consulted was The Battle of South Mountain by John D. Hoptak.  This book has everything!  Maps, detailed accounts, order of battle, and photos.  It was a breath of fresh air because South Mountain is one of the lesser documented battles and not much can be found on the web.  The maps aren’t the best, but they offer general troop positions at the South Mountain gaps and are hand drawn, which is always neat.

Without going too into detail on the web sources I used since most of it is Googling this specific unit, this specific commander etc., the main web source was antietam.aotw.org.  This site has a timeline of the battle, lots of maps, order of battle, but my favorite part is the commander biographies.  I used these in creating the biographies that go into the Scenario Intro’s.

I also used an excellent battle chronology found at: http://www.jfepperson.org/antietam.htm. This was important in scripting the troop movements and attacks for the 11 hour, full battle scenario “AN17-Sept17-None but Heroes are Left (C-Army)” since it breaks down each significant troop movement and attack by its estimated time.

Another important part of the research although it gears more toward the map making aspect is visiting the battlefield.  For me personally, I won’t even think about re-creating a battle without walking in the footsteps of the soldiers that fought in it.  For the Antietam pack, two other team members (Jim Weaver, Lead Designer and Dave Waltman, veteran Tester) and I visited the Antietam and South Mountain battlefields.  We took tons of pictures to assist with creating the landscape of the field, and to verify certain hills, landmarks, ridges, etc.

One example that we documented was a knoll on the West end of the Sunken road or “Bloody Lane” that was in front of Rodes’ Confederate Brigade.  It was said that the Union solders advancing towards Rodes’ position could not be seen until they were less than 300 feet from the Confederates.  The 5th Maryland took severe losses as they moved up the slope of the knoll to find the Confederates waiting at such close range.  This is just one example of the dozens of areas on the field that must be portrayed accurately on our maps to make the game look and play historically.

So again, research is the first step in designing scenarios for the Scourge Of War game engine and is ongoing throughout the entire development process.  It is important for the designer to become almost to the level of obsessive compulsiveness when it comes down historical accuracy – e.g. this unit was posted here, this unit moved here at this approximate time, this unit fought here, this unit was in skirmish formation, etc. etc. etc.. Since we are re-creating battles that happened 150 years ago, unfortunately many details have been lost, historians have given us conflicting information, and we’ll never know exactly what those Generals we’re thinking.  However, we gather as much information as we can and do our best to piece together the puzzle.

 

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Scenario Test Scores - The Mad One E-mail
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Written by Matt Clyburn   
Monday, 02 January 2012 03:37

As part of a series of articles that we will be posting to document the making of a battle pack, we thought it would be interesting to post the Antietam/South Mountain test scores of our very own in-house Grognard; JC Edwards A.KA. Sarge A.K.A The Mad One.

Below you will find a list of all of the Antietam/South Mountain scenarios and JC's high scores for each.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 January 2012 05:37
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Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago by born2see #40713
Marching Thru Georgia wrote:


Perhaps he should test his mettle astride a horse. Methinks his scores will diminish somewhat.


I think you're right. Even with a laptop it would be hard to play, bouncing around like that, holding the reins while trying to frantically click the Charge button. I wouldn't want to try it.

B
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago by Marching Thru Georgia #40710
Perhaps he should test his mettle astride a horse. Methinks his scores will diminish somewhat.
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago by born2see #40701
Unbelievable! Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, will ever top those scores.

B
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago by Little Powell #40692
Read em' and weep right JC?
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago by JC Edwards #40691
AHA!

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2011 US Army Trains with 1863 US Army E-mail
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Written by Norb Timpko   
Thursday, 29 December 2011 19:51

United States Army College Selects Scourge of War: Gettysburg for Senior Officer Training

In a testament to the battlefield realism, historical accuracy and quality user experience of the game, the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas has chosen Scourge of War: Gettysburg for inclusion in its suite of classroom training simulations. The Army is using the game as part of its professional education program for developing the next generation of senior Army leaders.

Scourge of War: Gettysburg is being used in two different Fort Leavenworth classes. The first class trains Simulation Operations Officers and will use computer driven simulations such as Scourge of War: Gettysburg in combination with classic map, rulebook and dice war games the Army traditionally uses.

The second Mission Command class trains students in how to exercise command and control on the battlefield. This class will use Scourge of War: Gettysburg to simulate key action on the first day of the three day Gettysburg battle, including a multi-user Rapid Decision and Synchronization Process. They will use a scenario that puts the student in the command position of Union General John Buford or Confederate General Henry Heth, thus imposing the unforgiving real time pressure of battlefield command.

The US Army Command and General Staff College educates and develops leaders for full spectrum joint, interagency and multinational operations; acts as lead agent for the Army’s leader development program; and advances the art and science of the profession of arms in support of Army operational requirements.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 December 2011 19:51
 
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago by Blaugrana #41084
There are over 800 guests online on the forum as I write (Sunday pm in the UK). Is this all the trainee officers at Fort Leavenworth doing their homework ??!!
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago by Gfran64 #41041
This is great news!! Nice to see those in the know see things the same way we do.

Greg
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago by Chris G. #40721
bedbug wrote:
Yup, I'm thinkin the AP, 60 Minutes, and all gaming magazines, etc, should be notified!



Yep, I'd say a series of "hey check this story out" e-mails to those mentioned by bedbug are in order.
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago by bedbug #40689
Yup, I'm thinkin the AP, 60 Minutes, and all gaming magazines, etc, should be notified!
Posted: 5 years, 8 months ago by JC Edwards #40362
con20or wrote:
JC Edwards wrote:
Yes.......but! Could the US Army match wits with The Mad One?!


Watch out - they might draft you
Not at my age!

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