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Fascinating....

1 year 2 months ago #1 by MarkT

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  • Fascinating.... was created by MarkT
    Despite all the work I have recently done on SOW Gettysburg, my first love is the Napoleonic Wars. After neglecting this forum for a long time, I am dismayed to find more attention is given to EVERY OTHER minor war of the period, than to Napoleonics. Billions of marvelous sprites. There is a severe lack of adequate sprites for the war waterloo was writen for.. Hell, even some staple Austrians and Russians would open the door to a great library of games. It is a shame.
    Kevin, with the KS group has done some pretty remarkable stuff, while packing it all into a dinosaur of a mod. It is like a black hole. Everything gets sucked in. Unfortunately, If you don't like some features, you are stuck. But there are some very fine features too. All of my napoleonic maps are going to stay out of the public. A very bad vibe has been cast on the Naps community. Maybe someday, sprites will magically appear and I will play them.

    I also see this forum is slowly fading away. A shame. I have a lot of maps to do for SOWGB

    Mark S. Tewes

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    1 year 2 months ago - 1 year 2 months ago #2 by RALB

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    1 year 2 months ago #3 by MarkT

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  • Replied by MarkT on topic Re: Fascinating....
    Lace war maps are nice, very nice. But we are looking at Napoleonic wars SPRITES.
    I have my own historical Nap maps. Thanks.

    Mark S. Tewes

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    1 year 2 months ago #4 by Little Powell

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  • Replied by Little Powell on topic Re: Fascinating....
    I don't think the period is intentionally being ignored, it's just hard to find sprite makers. It's a pretty intense process which involves 3D modeling every troop detail (and you know how flamboyant the Napoleonic uniforms can get) then rendering to 2D.

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    1 year 2 months ago #5 by mitra76

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  • Replied by mitra76 on topic Re: Fascinating....
    In the cent jours mod Gunship (Andrew) added some austrian,hessian and wurttemberg troops. The plan is to add more and more units for every new update of mod thanks to Andrew work

    Visit my wargames blog: warforgame.blogspot.it/
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    1 year 2 months ago #6 by Davinci

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  • Replied by Davinci on topic Re: Fascinating....

    Little Powell wrote: I don't think the period is intentionally being ignored, it's just hard to find sprite makers. It's a pretty intense process which involves 3D modeling every troop detail (and you know how flamboyant the Napoleonic uniforms can get) then rendering to 2D.

    I think that the "Sprites" have served their purpose, and it's time to move towards the 3D Models.

    The Real World Battlefields look great, but the sprites are never going to attract that many new users.

    I have started playing the NTW - Civil War Mod, and it's not because of the great "AI" but that the 3D Models are a lot better to look at!

    One must always think about the tomorrows to come, and not about the yesterdays that have pasted!

    davinci

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    1 year 2 months ago #7 by MarkT

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  • Replied by MarkT on topic Re: Fascinating....
    I am VERY much aware of the diversity of the Uniforms, BUT,
    Austrian Infantry - Two types Helmeted and Shko - White uniforms
    Austrian Cavalry - Hussar, Ulan, Curassieur
    Russian Uniforms - Musketeers and Guard
    Russian Cavalry - Hussar, Cossack, Curassieur
    One type of artillery to start for each...

    Add from there. Just these would enable a lot of options. AND INSPIRATION!!!!
    You want accurate maps, I will give you accurate maps.

    ALSO, What is this about another WATERLOO? or is this just old rehashed? :dry:

    Mark S. Tewes

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    1 year 2 months ago #8 by DarkRob

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  • Replied by DarkRob on topic Re: Fascinating....

    Davinci wrote:

    Little Powell wrote: I don't think the period is intentionally being ignored, it's just hard to find sprite makers. It's a pretty intense process which involves 3D modeling every troop detail (and you know how flamboyant the Napoleonic uniforms can get) then rendering to 2D.

    I think that the "Sprites" have served their purpose, and it's time to move towards the 3D Models.

    The Real World Battlefields look great, but the sprites are never going to attract that many new users.

    I have started playing the NTW - Civil War Mod, and it's not because of the great "AI" but that the 3D Models are a lot better to look at!

    One must always think about the tomorrows to come, and not about the yesterdays that have pasted!

    davinci


    I think different things appeal to different people. For me the graphics and sprites of SOW were always good enough to get the job done. It just wasn't the selling point for me of the game. For me it was the scope of the game. Being able to fight huge epic battles at the battalion/squadron/battery level in real time was what sold me on the game.

    Sure there may be games out there that look prettier than Scourge of War, but Ive never seen one that can do what Scourge of War can.

    Graphically a lot of things that happen in this game are abstractions anyway. I mean none of you really believe when your troops garrison a building they are actually walking through walls right? Its enough to know that its just representing your troops entering the fort.

    For an old board wargamer like me, its a quantum leap above cardboard counters and hex maps.

    Heres what I really think about though, if the scourge of war engine is already over a decade old, and is STILL ahead of the curve mechcanically compared to other much newer games, just think what NorbSoft could come up with next.
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    1 year 2 months ago #9 by Davinci

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  • Replied by Davinci on topic Re: Fascinating....

    DarkRob wrote: Sure there may be games out there that look prettier than Scourge of War, but Ive never seen one that can do what Scourge of War can.

    Heres what I really think about though, if the scourge of war engine is already over a decade old, and is STILL ahead of the curve mechcanically compared to other much newer games, just think what NorbSoft could come up with next.

    I'm not in No way trying to put the game down, I have spent a lot of time with this series going back to CWBR.

    But, here is just a comparison of the competition that has to be won over to be successful in this market.

    According to the data from "Steam"

    Scourge of War - Current Players = 9
    Napoleon Total War - Current Players = 1087

    Scourge of War - All Time Peak - 38 Players
    Napoleon Total War - All Time Peak - 4650 Players

    Now, everyone here knows that "Scourge of War" is a better game, and everyone else knows that "NTW" looks a whole lot better, and in this world of gaming, looks do matter!

    That was basically My whole point, the "2D Sprites" have served their purpose, and it is time to move away from them if "NSD" wants to attract a larger following!

    davinci

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    1 year 2 months ago #10 by RebBugler

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  • Replied by RebBugler on topic Re: Fascinating....
    I agree completely with Rob, after being obsessive over my toy soldiers and setting up total room battlefields, spending hours moving one soldier at a time fighting a battle, eventually evolving to board games, then by high school the obsession wore off. Not until decades later did that obsession grab hold again when video games with 2D sprites emerged. Sure, the abstraction is there, but the gameplay is eons beyond my early battlefield endeavors...I've been hooked ever since their arrival.

    I don't ever see 2D sprites being replaced, just being repurposed. They'll always be the most efficient way to produce tens of thousands of sprites on the battlefield. I see them as eventually being repurposed as the background or distance sprites used in conjunction with 3D sprites, which would appear at closer viewing distances. The SOW team discussed this off and on, but game engine and memory issues thwarted anything beyond discussion. Maybe something along these lines will come to fruition with a new engine and new technology...Here's hoping.

    Back on thread, I thought Tim's new process of switching out headgear and jackets to save memory while providing for more uniform variances would open up a slew of new sprite developments. Maybe Tim or Andrew will chime in on this possibility and possibly give some pointers to potential sprite developers.

    Expanded Toolbar - Grog Waterloo
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    John Bonin "2nd Texas Infantry" (1977 - 2012)
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    1 year 2 months ago #11 by MarkT

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  • Replied by MarkT on topic Re: Fascinating....
    ALSO, What is this about another WATERLOO? or is this just old rehashed? !!!!!!!?????

    As stated, it is all a matter of taste. Every map I do I try to improve. I try to make it better than its predecessor, But I can only go so far without the ability to create my own buildings, I am in a rut.

    I was told quality is in the eye of the beholder... I disagree. The fight for quality is something that I strive for constantly. I constantly fought for realism in the game as well as historical accuracy. As it ended up SOW has to be modded to be more realistic. To me, that is a failure. Too many decisions were made in a vacuum. Spontaneous short sighted crap.

    But it still is the best out there. I tried NTW, don't like it. We fell short of competing by our own decisions.

    Mark S. Tewes

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    1 year 2 months ago - 1 year 2 months ago #12 by r59

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  • Replied by r59 on topic Re: Fascinating....
    Hi Davinci.
    This may worth opening a new thread about the "legacies", in terms of coding/design/gameplay experiences, of the SOW series, perhaps...
    Anyway, I suspect simply "plugging in" 3D models wouldn't suffice to get a relevant impact on those numbers.
    The abstractions DarkRob mentioned, would kill the immersion for most of people anyway...
    Aesthetically speaking, I'd prefer, as instance, seeing much more entertaining fort garrisoning/sieging (walls/gates), urban fighting, bridge crossing mechanics; mitigating inconsistent battle lines, unit manouvers, spacings and buffering zones under fighting conditions; improving firing/explosions/smoke graphics and sound effects; replacing guns from the artillery sprites with 3D models (you'll often see them "flying" when not aligned to ground); physically simulated roundshots; avoiding brutal hiccups on MP and frame rate drops in SP; and so on.
    Just to name the first things coming to mind on that side...
    That being said, the games remain rough diamonds for me. But still gems. ;)
    Last edit: 1 year 2 months ago by r59.

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    1 year 2 months ago #13 by Davinci

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  • Replied by Davinci on topic Re: Fascinating....
    @"r59" - So, how is everything going in Life?

    OK, Let "Me" try this another way, there are roughly 500 to 1000 members off and on that follows this game and the previous games.

    At roughly "Fifty Dollars" per game that still only amounts to approximately "25,000 to 50,000" dollars.

    In the Gaming World, that is not a lot of money, you are basically only appealing to the "Same" group of people.

    A Newer Engine would almost have to be "64 bit" which would mean a lot more memory, and better looking Unit Graphics.

    Sometimes for the better good, one must sacrifice Quantity for Quality.

    Only speaking about the Si8ngle Player part since I never played the ( MP ) game, but I don't remember that many people ever playing as the whole Army, most played the Brigades, and the Division Levels.

    But, "Reb" did have an interesting idea about moving the units as "Sprites" and changing them into "3D Models", but I have no idea how one would archive that!

    So, I guess that "We" will all have to agree to disagree, it is My opinion that "Graphics" are the main selling point towards the future of gaming!

    davinci

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    1 year 2 months ago #14 by RebBugler

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  • Replied by RebBugler on topic Re: Fascinating....

    r59 wrote: Hi Davinci.
    This may worth opening a new thread about the "legacies", in terms of coding/design/gameplay experiences, of the SOW series, perhaps...
    Anyway, I suspect simply "plugging in" 3D models wouldn't suffice to get a relevant impact on those numbers.
    The abstractions DarkRob mentioned, would kill the immersion for most of people anyway...
    Aesthetically speaking, I'd prefer, as instance, seeing much more entertaining fort garrisoning/sieging (walls/gates), urban fighting, bridge crossing mechanics; mitigating inconsistent battle lines, unit manouvers, spacings and buffering zones under fighting conditions; improving firing/explosions/smoke graphics and sound effects; replacing guns from the artillery sprites with 3D models (you'll often see them "flying" when not aligned to ground); physically simulated roundshots; avoiding brutal hiccups on MP and frame rate drops in SP; and so on.
    Just to name the first things coming to mind on that side...
    That being said, the games remain rough diamonds for me. But still gems. ;)


    Yes, absolutely, and I've got more!

    Expanded Toolbar - Grog Waterloo
    Bugles & Flags Gettysburg - Toolbar, Flags, Scenarios and more...
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    1 year 2 months ago - 1 year 2 months ago #15 by r59

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  • Replied by r59 on topic Re: Fascinating....
    Davinci, I'm sorry for that, but it's simply impossible to find myself in disagreement with someone being a personal modding hero since the MMG forum times. :evil:

    I only meant to say that I'm under the impression that if NSD would have "just replaced" ( :huh: ) 2D sprites with 3D models in SOWWL, every single abstracted low-level mechanics like the one mentioned by DarkRob (units penetrating walls), would have been equally considered very significant (negative) factors by any typical gamers' opinion.
    And that, again just for the sake of argument because we're talking about things probably beyond NSD possibilities (a 3D animation system like TW, that's an huge beast!), they could eventually had better luck with those people oversensitive to graphics, by revamping directly the abstractions while retaining the actual sprites system (possibly with improved performances, plus effects).

    But these kind of speculations fell clearly apart if we're gonna talk about NSD future projects.
    I think our opinions in that respect are much closer.

    Everything's more or less fine here, thanks.
    Ciao. ;)
    Last edit: 1 year 2 months ago by r59.
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    1 year 2 months ago #16 by Davinci

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  • Replied by Davinci on topic Re: Fascinating....

    r59 wrote: I think our opinions in that respect are much closer.

    @"r59" Agree, and Thanks!

    But, without a Great Community there would never be a "Modder", and this is One of the Best Communities currently on the Internet!

    So, Thanks for being apart of that Community!

    davinci

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    1 year 2 months ago - 1 year 2 months ago #17 by 52ndOx

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  • Replied by 52ndOx on topic Re: Fascinating....
    As I new owner of SOW (proving that the game can still attract fresh users), I hope that I may offer my view of the sprite topic.

    For me it is not about how they look, the appeal of the game is more the scale and feel of the battles, and the sprites are fine in that respect. But the problem is performance.

    It takes massive effort to pre-produce 2D objects (with basic animations and only 16 different facings), and then CPUs are tasked with switching areas of memory to produce the in-game images, without the benefit of multi core or hyper threading support. Resulting in stone age performance. The bottleneck is RAM and bus speeds.

    3D models not only look better, which is relatively unimportant but still relevant, but all the business of rendering units (with any direction facing and much better animations), texturing, and lighting, can be handed off to the GPU and its shaders, (allowing lighting and shadows in real time and not baked into textures) and thus freeing the CPU to run the AI logic and interface.

    (And those 3D models have to be built anyway to produce the sprites).

    So not only more attractive, but also much faster and smoother on modern PCs.
    Last edit: 1 year 2 months ago by 52ndOx.
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    1 year 2 months ago - 1 year 2 months ago #18 by r59

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  • Replied by r59 on topic Re: Fascinating....
    Hi 52ndOx!
    Thanks for the interesting contribution to the discussion, first of all. :)
    For what it's worth, these were the very exact reasons why I also believed 3D models should be employed in future games from NSD.
    Probably only moving everything to GPU, simulation of figures too (like a GPU particle system), could make the sprite option minimally competitive. But tradingoff everything, it wouldn't be a practical enough solution, imho.

    Anyway, "just replacing" 3D models in the PR engine, would have not improved the situation.
    By no means, really.
    Performances would have degraded even more.
    The sprite renderer itself has absolutely no clue about what optimal drawing means (and we could talk for hours about it, so don't get me started here, please.. for the sake of everybody health :blush: ).
    Can't even think for a moment how the animation system would have handled crowded scenes...
    But also visually, it probably would have not resulted significantly more attractive with all the known abstractions still in place (walls penetrations, etc.).
    In both cases, a massive amount of work would have been needed to improve the situation.
    Maybe beyond the dev team intentions and possibilities.

    But also sticking with all the unavoidable flaws at foundations of the approach (memory requirements, transparency sorting and so on), a lot more could have been done to improve the billboards rendering performances, though.
    If only we could put together a team of 2-3 people (the sprites reprocessing step "scaries" me especially :dry:), we might code an unofficial revamp to the system and get more than decent results.
    Making the whole game a little more "breathable".
    I throw the pebble, if anybody is interested around here. ;)
    Last edit: 1 year 2 months ago by r59.
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    1 year 2 months ago #19 by 52ndOx

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  • Replied by 52ndOx on topic Re: Fascinating....
    Well I am new around here, and I know nothing about how the SOW engine works in detail.
    But when I run the software I see my CPU maxed out on one core, the others idling, buses at capacity, and the GPU asleep with most of its 6GB VRAM empty.

    About the only major improvement I could imagine with the game, was if my hardware, which is only mid range by modern standards, could actually be usefully employed.

    I realise its not happening of course.
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