Is it time to start OG2 ?

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LuisGuzman
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Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by LuisGuzman » 2019-10-12 15:47, Saturday

I started a poll to collect opinions about how OG should evolve. The result throws very clearly 2 conclusions that Csaba resumed quite well.

It is true that not many people has posted, and that there are not many opinions, but the result is quite eveident:
A. People prefers a stable release for a rather long time
B. The only area to eventually improve would be the AI

So I open this thread to start discussing if it is the right moment to start thinking on freezing current OG and start thinking on a new OG2, like Gixian suggested some time ago and Csaba raise in his reply to the poll.

These are the basic questions/reasons:

1.- Every new improvement, even optional, implies a potential danger to the backward compatibility, and thus a designer can't be sure his/her old campaigns will work the same with a new exe. This is really a very serious issue for designers

2. the game became too complex. It is even difficult for me to remember exactly why some optional features was added and even how they work exactly without checking the code.

Actually all options that have been modify/expanded several times, have a bad impact in code maintenance, making it more prone to side-effects and errors, and also more difficult to use by designers.

Conclusion seems to suggest that we shouldn't continue adding new improvements to this exe, or at least we shouldn't add significant changes that would mean reworking other game rules or AI. Maybe just a couple of minor things easy to isolate in code at most and focus on work out the AI (3.0).

The other choice would be to rework current code to get OG2 with a cleaner code and rules, assuming that it will take much longer.

I'd love to know your opinions.
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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by Gixian » 2019-10-12 16:46, Saturday

As I have stated in the other thread, I definitely prefer this way - to minimize changes to OG1 and to aim for an OG2.
In my subjective point of view, there are many reasons for this:

1) complexity of existing code base
(Too big, too vaguely document - as far as I can judge something I have never seen. :D Penalized by containing some obsolete features (many of them 4x rewriten due some ad-hoc changes), support for multiple file formats, graphic libraries, etc. When switching to OG2, many of this can be cut, codebase can be minimalized, refactored, prepared to withstand few more years of ad-hoc changes that will come. :winkgrin )
2) complexity of existing features
(Before adding new features, the old should be evaluated and part of them dropped. A bad example: It's always easier to teach AI how to behave on night turns, if you have 20 unit specials that may interfere with it than if you have 50.)
3) the opportunity to fix (or remove) weird stuff
(There are some unit specials, which implements some very sound idea in a very strange way, that (at least under some circumstances) makes no sense. It cannot be fixed in OG because of backward compatibility. At least for a short time at the start of OG2, we would be able to change stuff freely.)
4) leftovers from PG/PG2, which should be handled differently
(Transport system comes to my mind. Like that you cannot update transport for a unit no longer available (for example from minor nation that you have no longer access too), or all the strange details of interaction of PG2 rules and my old idea of units losing transports at river crossings.)
5) ability to focus
(A controversial thing that may be not very popular, but I believe OG2 should focus more narrowely than current OG, not trying to be universal war similator, but say "I'm about WW2" or "I'm about both world wars" - instead of trying to satisfy needs for anything from ancient rome to sci-fi battles. You can always use a game engine for something it was not designed for, you know - but the main focus should be stated, without unnecessary compromises.)
6) ability to set new file formats
(Although almost all of the existing stuff should be portable to OG2, so there will be enough content for it, the file formats should drop the chains of a 22 years old game and move to current times. Years ago I had the idea to double the sprite resolution (which makes even more sense now when the game have zoom option), and I would go even further - the efiles should be not fixed-length data, it should not be needed to manage generals or medals of whole 80+ nation efile in a single file, and similar...)
7) ability to use new/simplier technologies
(OG2 should definitely not care about such obsolete things like WinXP or resolutions like 800*600. If we limit how many things it should support, we can limit how many time it will take to implement and bugfix it.)

So for me personally the question is not "Is OG2 a good idea?" but "Is it realistically in our limits to create OG2?" and "What can be done for it to be possible?" or "If we will try to do it, how to do it properly so it will be worth the effort?".

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by lvjtn » 2019-10-12 17:15, Saturday

i missed you sooooooooooo much, David! :howdy

and this time i fully agree with you

as i imagine the timeline, the first would be releasing og 1.0, with frozen code and features, hunting & fixing the bugs. and discussing the 2.0

so besides everything what David suggested, these are the first things what i would definitely change:
- the victory conditions: clear rules, flexible logical combinations (but also maximized, e.g. no more than 3 of them)
- data format, like the a) crazy n*12 price sytem or b) the very rough movement point/cost system (so a move=5 tank should be able to move 3 or 4 hexes too, not only 1,2 or 5, like in pg2-style calculation) or expanding the target/attack/defens types (up to max. 6-8), etc.

things what MAY be changed:
- maybe we can use larger hexes like 120x75 (ok, it would mean breaking the compatibitily with all existing maps and icons and tilesets, so Juankar will definitely put me on his death list :sigh ), too many people report og is too small for their fancy new monitors (ok. people should use a decent resolution, not 1920x1024 for a <30" monitor, but larger hexes would allow better / more detailed icons like some pg-descendant games have recently)
- leaders! i mean let's keep them hardcoded, but let's add a few collections like pre-gun powder, pre-industrialism, post-ww2 fitting for more periods better
- maybe the whole gtp should be dropped and changed to a) cleaned hangar/container (like the acp vehicles in Gustlik' efile) or b) by the peg-style non-organic transports (that'd be somehow interesting to have LIMITED non-organic transport, so atp/ntp/htp cannot be reused in the same turn, just because the unit disembarked. you got 5 htp? then you should be able to embark only 5 units! in one turn, but you can pick up any 5 units having available htp match, etc.)

but as i said, now i'd focus on ai 3.0 and og 1.0 first, and keep this 2.0 thing in the brainstorming stage

edit: imagine the :2cents everywhere :lol
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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by randowe » 2019-10-12 18:40, Saturday

I mostly agree with what has been said before. Not with everything of course, but today is not the day to talk about certain features.
My question is: Is the community big enough for such a ambitious project? How many people would work on OG2? 10? or 5? Maybe people will leave in the process or dislike the new way at all and drop out.

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by Micha » 2019-10-13 16:47, Sunday

Hello Luis,
finally you are the programmer and you are the one who has to do the last decision. You cant make everyone happy.
If you do a OG 2 some people will love it and some will hate it.
I must confess i use an old og version because i play 90% of my free time Peg and dont have the time to learn to handle the new things in OG.
Thats also the reason why i play PEG, its in an final stage, no more new things to learn.
But you have people who wants to have always new things.
So where is the problem. Everyone who wants to keep playing old versions can do it. And everyone who wants to play newer campaigns which needs new og versions is forced to learn to handle the new versions. Nothing else matters !
Luis, you did an outstanding job, you made me and many others an happy person. Follow your heart ! :howdy

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by sympatyk » 2019-10-13 17:56, Sunday

:howdy

I will definitely sign what Micha wrote
Nice job Luis
It is thanks to you - I still make maps - different from the previous ones to PG2

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by LuisGuzman » 2019-10-14 17:55, Monday

Thank you for summarizing some of the areas to change if OG2 is eventually started, they are really interesting points :yes :clap :notworthy
Gixian wrote:So for me personally the question is not "Is OG2 a good idea?" but "Is it realistically in our limits to create OG2?" and "What can be done for it to be possible?" or "If we will try to do it, how to do it properly so it will be worth the effort?".
randowe wrote:
2019-10-12 18:40, Saturday
My question is: Is the community big enough for such a ambitious project? How many people would work on OG2? 10? or 5? Maybe people will leave in the process or dislike the new way at all and drop out.
And these are very important points to ponder, indeed... which makes me realize that, in any case, OG2 would be only possible if it includes an automatic conversion of PG2 and OG1 campaigns, which should be possible for file formats, but won't be easy to keep existing campaigns working as designed.
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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by Lupo » 2019-10-15 21:05, Tuesday

I believe the option to go for a OG2 is the best at moment and also believe most suggestions so far are very good, the only one I'd avoid is "focus" for a few reasons.
  • In my experience the more focused/ less versatile a game the more short live it is.
  • We've already many "eras" in OG2 with quite a lot of work behind them and personally I find the non WW2 ones more interesting if anything cause they offer way more innovation compared to 22 years of WW2 campaigns.
  • IF we manage to make the game seriously modular and manage to streamline each module maintainance will be much easier while not losing any openess, for instance just as an example of what I mean by modularity and not a game feature: a way to manage attachments could be to divide them into two big families "stat boosters" and "temoprary specials":
    • stat boosters should have these parameters :stat to improve (index/value/%/max/min); stat to penalize (index/value/%/max/min); cost (value/%).They are stored in their own file, add a line to add an attachment.
    • Temporary specials should only point to "unit special index" like "bridging index", "engineer index" etc etc.They are stored in their own file, add a line to add an attachment.
    • No attachment can create a new "unit special" (possibly another module), number of attachments is virtually inlumited, creating meaningfull attachments is up to Efile designers, their mod their responsibility.
  • I'm unsure if we can go as far as on some projects I worked on where the "user" may even implement it's own module as far as it respects engine standard, not that I want people to develop their very personal version, but it could be a way to get more people involved into the project and have them actually share the burden of writing the code, if Luis is willing to of course.
  • I'm afraid it won't take really much to otherwise start to fill the game with new exceptions even if the focus is strictily kept to 1939-1945 western front with just 3 countries.

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by REDrake » 2019-10-16 13:34, Wednesday

I agree with all the points Gixian made, however I would have 2 addendums.

First, I would like to see implemented if possible the leftovers from other games which are useful, but were never included. Like Day/Night shift from Peoples General and critical damages and critical misses from Pacific General.

Secondly, Prototypes. I do want to see them move away from the PG2 approach of giving them as a whole unit several months before they were officially used. Allow protos to be offered only as an one-shot upgrade, so that an elite unit could be upgraded to it. It would need to pull some strings (in other words to use some prestige), but they are better suited to test it. Peoples General had some sort of similar approach, by making protos show up as a whole unit, but one that had its experience rest at the end of the scenario (and it would grant 0 prestige if sold).

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by Gixian » 2019-10-16 16:34, Wednesday

REDrake wrote:Allow protos to be offered only as an one-shot upgrade, so that an elite unit could be upgraded to it. It would need to pull some strings (in other words to use some prestige), but they are better suited to test it.
Interesting idea with the prototypes - although we are probably not at proper place or time to discuss particular "change requests" for OG2 in detail, I must say I rather like the direction. :nods
For me the PG2/OG style prototypes were too random and too unbalancing, and even with the later added options (prototype lists and such), I never liked the result. Being given, instead of a whole new unit, just the opportunity to upgrade a SINGLE of your units to something a bit ahead of time (a year is quite a lot, I would rather offer something 3-6 months ahead of time of next scenario), would unbalance things a lot less (less or no messing with campaign's prestige management) and yet reward the player with something with this nice "I've got something unique" feeling... :scratch
REDrake wrote:First, I would like to see implemented if possible the leftovers from other games which are useful, but were never included. Like Day/Night shift from Peoples General and critical damages and critical misses from Pacific General.
Here I have a problem: For me, the one purpose of OG2 should be the so called "specialization" - I would aim to have the game options more consistent than is the case now with OG1, where there are ten options for everything (be it in scenario settings or $var or whatever). As it's probable that sooner or later even OG2 will get spoiled by this "too many choices", I believe that at least at the start we should aim for a less variable, more rigidly selected set of game rules.
(It is important to allow that OG2 will ever be finished, that AI will ever be able to play with some degree of intelligence, that the game will be more accessible to new players than OG1 where each campaign feels like a different game).

So I have no problem when the "product owner(s)" (be it Luis, some selected group of designers, majority of public opinion on forum, or whatever) will say "hey, the day/night turns are awesome, let's have it in OG2" as long as this will be DEFAULT BEHAVIOR of the game. But I would strongly oppose to bring such a complex features into the early versions of OG2 if they should be optional (so weeks or months of time will be spent on implementing something one efile and 2 campaigns will use).
Last edited by Gixian on 2019-10-16 16:43, Wednesday, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by Gixian » 2019-10-16 16:35, Wednesday

LuisGuzman wrote:which makes me realize that, in any case, OG2 would be only possible if it includes an automatic conversion of PG2 and OG1 campaigns, which should be possible for file formats, but won't be easy to keep existing campaigns working as designed.
:huh
Yes. All the hard data (be it maps, efiles, unit sprites, scenarios, etc.) should be convertable via an automated tool - either by simply putting the same data in different file format, or at occasions making completely new values via some basic rules (like in case there will be new attack/defense type added or something). In ideal case, I would convert everything EXCEPT game in progress (= scenario/campaign savegames).
But even with everything converted, the campaigns will of course play differently: There may be changes in leaders, class abilities, in AI, in victory conditions... It will be like when we played PG2 campaigns in OG - it worked, but details, feelings or difficulty may be very different at places. To get a proper results from OG1 campaign in OG2, a "human touch" will be definitely needed.

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by de Mont Tonnerre » 2019-10-18 14:29, Friday

i like the idea of a og2 (at least its of course luis' decision, he must code it)

the only important point in my opinion:
-it should be possible to copy all the actual stuff (from the "actual og") to a new og2. (maybe with a tool, that luis must code, too ?!)

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by bibiq » 2019-12-16 11:41, Monday

With the understanding that we're exchanging ideas, I'm not requesting anyone to implement anything, here you go:

1. I think currently OG is a bit schizofrenic, in the sense that there are multiple rulesets (PG/PG2/etc + OG invented stuff), and scenarios/campaigns combine them to various degrees, making this complicated for the AI & modders and confusing for the (new) player. The set of rules is not obvious and will change between scenarios/campaigns. So use the opportunity to define the OG2 rules, and make them mandatory (as in not customizable). Examples: spotting, blow, repair, build, etc.
I think this will be an enabling factor for new users to join the fun. It is a larger topic, but I think OG is minimizing the addressable market by having multiple, overlapping and changing rulesets. Different efiles are fine, it's the correct level of abstraction, but the ruleset should be the same.

3. Movement can be made a lot better from a game play perspective, currently it is very inflexible (in regards to terrain/cost).

4. Cost is awkward (due to the cost scaling factor).

5. Further improve the spotting rules; the OG ones are a great step forward, build on them by adding the "partial" spotting thing that others have mentioned.

I think graphical improvements are also going to be welcome, as currently everything is too small for average screen resolution, although it wouldn't need to be OG2 specific.

A few other pie-in-the-sky ideas:
-use octagons instead of hexes! It will allow movements in 8 directions; also, 6 is so last century, right?
-rework the campaigns to not have a core anymore; based on prestige amount and average experience points (per class?) allow the player to choose the units before each scenario.

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by Guille » 2019-12-17 15:21, Tuesday

Luis has the final word on this, but I'll do the following:
1) Freeze the program: no new features, just correcting bugs.
2) Clean the code and delete unused features: there are too many optional features that are rarely used or not used at all.
3) Release the final OG1 exe.
4) Start talking, brainstorming or whatever you like it called the new features of OG2; there is no use talking about how to implement the new release without first having a final, stable and clean program.
Just my :2cents

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by lvjtn » 2019-12-18 07:23, Wednesday

bibiq wrote:
2019-12-16 11:41, Monday
-use octagons instead of hexes! It will allow movements in 8 directions; also, 6 is so last century, right?
octagons don't tile :)

regarding cleaning the options in og2: i'd be happy if all scenario, campaign, efile options would be at the same place (though maybe separated into subsections like "interception rules", etc.), not separated into ini, cfg files and built-in xscn options :2cents i'm not sure there would be any unused options now, though some rarely used (like air zoc) may be dropped :dunno of course, as Guille wrote, we should discuss these things after releasing the "final" og1
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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by Bombast the Blue » 2019-12-18 11:09, Wednesday

REDrake wrote:
2019-10-16 13:34, Wednesday
I agree with all the points Gixian made, however I would have 2 addendums.

First, I would like to see implemented if possible the leftovers from other games which are useful, but were never included. Like Day/Night shift from Peoples General and critical damages and critical misses from Pacific General.
As to leftovers from other games, of course I'd feel tempted suggesting a look at PGX.
Only, from my impression, what features set PGX's "character" sets it "too much apart" from what's being done with OG...
(Diplomatic module is what jumps to mind immediately)

Night turns: also present in one or two early Pacific scenarios (think the "Chinese" scenarios in the Japanese campaign).
Given my interest in astronomy I'd like to remind you may wish to include moon phase in the night turn debate.
REDrake wrote:
2019-10-16 13:34, Wednesday
Secondly, Prototypes. I do want to see them move away from the PG2 approach of giving them as a whole unit several months before they were officially used. Allow protos to be offered only as an one-shot upgrade, so that an elite unit could be upgraded to it. It would need to pull some strings (in other words to use some prestige), but they are better suited to test it. Peoples General had some sort of similar approach, by making protos show up as a whole unit, but one that had its experience rest at the end of the scenario (and it would grant 0 prestige if sold).
Frequently, when I read about prototypes, my mind skips onto captured equipment.
Still a reward to the player but probably slightly less unbalancing.
(Not ahead of time for starters)

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by bibiq » 2019-12-20 08:15, Friday

lvjtn wrote:
2019-12-18 07:23, Wednesday
octagons don't tile :)
Interesting read, thank you for the link!
No octagons then...

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by Nashorn » 2020-01-04 12:24, Saturday

:howdy

Absolutely no to starting OG2 until OG is finished - its close to being perfect (still has a few minor bugs, is missing a few basic features for me and some A.i issues) why would anybody not want to finish this epic project after all the time spent on it.

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Re: Is it time to start OG2 ?

Post by Starbuck » 2020-01-28 15:21, Tuesday

I agree with Guille's December 17 post. A solid way to proceed.

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