Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

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proline
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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by proline » Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:11 am

IainMcNeil wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:08 am
What happened 20 years ago has no bearing on the current market conditions. The game you refer to was just badly done 3D. Good 2D is better than bad 3D but neither are commercially viable.

As I said there is nothing you can do to stop 'progress'. No amount of wistful thinking can turn back the clock.
To take this in a less adversarial direction, let me ask you this- in what ways was PG3 "badly done 3D" and how does PzC2 address them? Do you say that it was bad just because the art is low-res by modern standards, or do you feel PG3's problems went beyond that?

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Kerensky » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:31 pm

proline wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:05 am
If you read my original post, my critique has nothing to do with whether the particular 3D art in question is to your taste or not.
The units are most distinct, and most beautiful when seen from this angle.
Sounds like particular tastes to me.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by ptje63 » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:25 pm

I guess the only way gamers will all be happy if two PC2 versions will be released - in 2- and 3D with both versions incorporating the new changes as presented already by the devs.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by huckc » Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:04 pm

They're well past the point-of-no-return so it's best to focus on helping them make it work.

Do some research, find strategy games you like that use Unreal Engine 4.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by proline » Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:02 pm

Kerensky wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:31 pm
proline wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:05 am
If you read my original post, my critique has nothing to do with whether the particular 3D art in question is to your taste or not.
The units are most distinct, and most beautiful when seen from this angle.
Sounds like particular tastes to me.
Units are more distinct when seen at an angle that allows you appreciate both differences in their profile and planform. That's a fact. As for their beauty, how many of the framed pictures in your house are of the top of your loved ones heads? Even if you have an aerial picture of your house up, it was most certainly shot from an angle that allows you to see some of the walls and windows, not just the roof. Saying that looking at things from directly above is unflattering is a view shared by pretty much 100% of the human population and not an issue of taste.
huckc wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:04 pm
They're well past the point-of-no-return so it's best to focus on helping them make it work.
No actually, they are not. The devs could relent and model the units from the side as they did in PzC while still using their Unreal assets. They aren't going to, because they insist on making another Panzer General 3D for marketing reasons, but that's a choice. That overt emphasis on marketing actually sets Slitherine apart from other studios. Blizzard entertainment or Apple would never say "Yeah, we know this product won't please our current fans and isn't really all that great, but marketing said its a good idea!". Both companies do of course do tons of market research, but both focus their public message on why their decisions are going to create the funnest / best products. Slitherine will never tell you why playing a board game in 3D is fun, because it isn't and we all know that.
Last edited by proline on Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by edahl1980 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:53 pm

So PzC2 isnt about gameplay. Its about 3D, how a game will bomb and repeating Panzer General 3D all over.

How about core fans wait for it to be off 50% on steam, and then buy it?
Obviously we are already taken for granted and this game isnt for us. This is for those who hasnt playing the game yet.
Personally i wont buy it without reading reviews from, because if this is a scaled down version of PzC with 3D graphics, i may just skip the whole thing.

I just recently played Jurassic world game. Beautiful graphics, must say. And it took me 10 minutes to notice that the animation for a T-rex attacking a person is the same animation repeating over and over. And about 10 mins after that you get tired of watching a person tremble, and then get chomped by rex.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by pipfromslitherine » Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:45 pm

proline wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 2:02 pm
Kerensky wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:31 pm
proline wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:05 am
If you read my original post, my critique has nothing to do with whether the particular 3D art in question is to your taste or not.
The units are most distinct, and most beautiful when seen from this angle.
Sounds like particular tastes to me.
Units are more distinct when seen at an angle that allows you appreciate both differences in their profile and planform. That's a fact. As for their beauty, how many of the framed pictures in your house are of the top of your loved ones heads? Even if you have an aerial picture of your house up, it was most certainly shot from an angle that allows you to see some of the walls and windows, not just the roof. Saying that looking at things from directly above is unflattering is a view shared by pretty much 100% of the human population and not an issue of taste.
huckc wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:04 pm
They're well past the point-of-no-return so it's best to focus on helping them make it work.
No actually, they are not. The devs could relent and model the units from the side as they did in PzC while still using their Unreal assets. They aren't going to, because they insist on making another Panzer General 3D for marketing reasons, but that's a choice. That overt emphasis on marketing actually sets Slitherine apart from other studios. Blizzard entertainment or Apple would never say "Yeah, we know this product won't please our current fans and isn't really all that great, but marketing said its a good idea!". Both companies do of course do tons of market research, but both focus their public message on why their decisions are going to create the funnest / best products. Slitherine will never tell you why playing a board game in 3D is fun, because it isn't and we all know that.
Your argument is pure tosh. The choice isn't just for 'marketing reasons'. From just a technical point of view 3D is better in terms of memory, asset creation, animation, supporting high resolution screens, leveraging the hardware, skinning, and damage states, to name just a few off the top of my head. The list goes on. It will also allow the game to look more modern and appeal to a wider audience, which is a "good thing"(tm). We get it - you want it to be 2D. But rambling nonsense like this just undercuts your argument.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Nerenei » Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:56 pm

It is possible to make 3D models appear like 2D sprites. Had it been a switch from 2D to 3D it would have been far harder.
The advantage in this case is that 3D models can be rotated quite easily unlike sprites.

Create an option to disable all animations and set the model to be viewed from the side in relation to the camera should be entirely possible. Rotating the camera should not be too hard either assuming that is desired. It might be as simple as editing an ini file.

If it is good enough for official support is another issue but assuming modding is open enough modders might be able to do it.

With such an option you can probably also load the old sprites into the game quite easily simply by applying them as a texture to a simple plane rotated to face the camera. That might also be an option for modders as it is quite simple to do (making the models that is).


As for the problems with Panzer General 3D Assault compared to earlier versions I would say it is in part about maturity of technology. Panzer General 2 largely tried to fake being 3D with spritesheets. The 3rd iteration vent all the way (and personally I would say it failed to do so but that is probably due a personal dislike for late 90's 3D).

I assume some compromises where made during this transition due to limitations on technology that would not be an issue today. Unit numbers is probably one of them.

Today it should be a far more even playing field. If the models are well made creating a scene like OP's first screenshot definitely should be possible in 3D. I doubt Panzer General 3D assault would have handled that well.
Also while 2D or 3D is a matter of taste I do agree that 3D definitely has advantages from a technical perspective as pointed out by pip.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by hugh2711 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 5:06 pm

huckc wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:04 pm
They're well past the point-of-no-return so it's best to focus on helping them make it work.

Do some research, find strategy games you like that use Unreal Engine 4.
Huckc: that is a very good suggestion!.

Anyone know any strategy games using the unreal 4 engine?

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by TSPC37730 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:58 pm

huckc wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:04 pm
They're well past the point-of-no-return so it's best to focus on helping them make it work.
For better or for worse Huckc, you are probably right.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by proline » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:22 pm

pipfromslitherine wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:45 pm
Your argument is pure tosh. The choice isn't just for 'marketing reasons'. From just a technical point of view 3D is better in terms of memory, asset creation, animation, supporting high resolution screens, leveraging the hardware, skinning, and damage states, to name just a few off the top of my head. The list goes on. It will also allow the game to look more modern and appeal to a wider audience, which is a "good thing"(tm). We get it - you want it to be 2D. But rambling nonsense like this just undercuts your argument.
I stand corrected. You're doing what you're doing for marketing reasons AND it seems cool to you from a technical perspective. That's debatable- many people would be totally happy if you didn't drive up system resource usage. But you've never said you're doing it to make the game more playable or more fun.

Great products start with creating a design that's fun and delightful to use first. You don't need any tech to do that, you can do it right on a piece of paper. Then you go find the right technologies to implement it as imagined. You've literally inverted the process of good design by putting the machinery before the experience. And still, as defensive as you've gotten, you've never tried to claim PzC2 will be funner for being 3D, just that it will be modern, cool, hip, really work my graphics card, or whatever.

I'll leave you with this gorgeous, technically sophisticated easy to market screenshot of PG3.

Image

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by pipfromslitherine » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:01 pm

proline wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:22 pm
pipfromslitherine wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 3:45 pm
Your argument is pure tosh. The choice isn't just for 'marketing reasons'. From just a technical point of view 3D is better in terms of memory, asset creation, animation, supporting high resolution screens, leveraging the hardware, skinning, and damage states, to name just a few off the top of my head. The list goes on. It will also allow the game to look more modern and appeal to a wider audience, which is a "good thing"(tm). We get it - you want it to be 2D. But rambling nonsense like this just undercuts your argument.
I stand corrected. You're doing what you're doing for marketing reasons AND it seems cool to you from a technical perspective. That's debatable- many people would be totally happy if you didn't drive up system resource usage. But you've never said you're doing it to make the game more playable or more fun.

Great products start with creating a design that's fun and delightful to use first. You don't need any tech to do that, you can do it right on a piece of paper. Then you go find the right technologies to implement it as imagined. You've literally inverted the process of good design by putting the machinery before the experience. And still, as defensive as you've gotten, you've never tried to claim PzC2 will be funner for being 3D, just that it will be modern, cool, hip, really work my graphics card, or whatever.

I'll leave you with this gorgeous, technically sophisticated easy to market screenshot of PG3.

Image
We will be making it more playable, fun, etc etc AS WELL as making it look more modern, perform better, be simpler to create assets for, etc. You can try and pretend that people don't care how games look, but the forums here and on Steam are packed with comments on games' looks. Your assertions on how we have made our design decisions are interesting too - have you been bugging our offices? You are correct we have never claimed it will be funner because it's in 3D - because we are trying to point out that how we visualize the game will make no difference to the great play experience. Thanks for agreeing with us.

If you entire argument rests on "Look how poor the 3D in this one game made nearly 2 decades ago is!" then I guess we're done here?

Cheers

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Rudankort » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:28 pm

Hi proline, thanks for sharing your thoughts. What makes the graphics in a wargame "tick" is surely an important and interesting question. But I'm afraid that this question is far more complex than you seem to believe, and I'm not convinced by your arguments. If anything, what you say looks like a subjective opinion, which you are trying to present as some ultimate truth.

First of all, you are saying that profile view is somehow very important. But we all remember that Panzer General used profile views, and Panzer General 2 abandoned this approach in favour of preudo-3D units in 8 orientations. If anything, profile view was LESS common in that game, because it did not match any direction between adjacent hexes. Despite this, the game was successful and is considered by many as a pinnacle of the series.

Don't get me wrong. I'm also a fan of profile view. This is exactly the reason why hex orientation in Panzer Corps 2 was changed. This is something which neither Panzer General 2 and 3 nor Order of Battle did. But I thought this was important, because this gives the units three natural orientations: perfect profile and two semi-profiles. So yeah, I totally understand where you are coming from, but I think that the importance of profile view is vastly exaggerated in your post.

Second, you seem to believe that "distorted" hexes are somehow evil. But my own playing experience does not confirm this. Ages ago, I enjoyed playing a hex-based game called Grandest Fleet. That 2D game used hexes which were "wider than they are tall". I was not bothered by this in the slightest.

Image

If you think about it, this approach has certain advantages. For example, it allows you to fit more hexes vertically on a screen which is more wide than tall. In any event, you cannot seriously argue that this will make or break the game.

Third. You can argue that "god mode" means all units are confined to their respective hexes, which avoids confusion and makes the battlefield more clear. This is useful, but many 2D games which became golden classics did not follow this either. Heroes 3 did not follow this in its hex-based battlefield.

Image

Other examples are isometric games: Civ 2 and 3, the old X-Com series, Master of Magic. Civ even did this on its global map, not in the smaller battle screen.

Fourth. You argue that in 3D moving the camera down creates strong perspective. But it is well known that the strength of perspective depends on the distance from the camera to the scene, and by changing this distance you can get any perspective you like. In fact, you can configure 3D engine to eliminate perspective altogether, but in practice you usually don't need to go this far.

Fifth. I don't think your evaluation of Panzer Corps graphics is correct. Units are not "20-30˚above horizontal", this is a very shallow angle. I think, this is what Panzer General used:

Image

Now, in Panzer General angle was not consistent, but KV-1 and some others are probably 20-30˚. This is what shallow angle gives you. In Panzer Corps, the angle is closer to 45 degrees. On the other hand, the buildings are not "perhaps 20˚ off from above". If you look at the buildings which are close to perfect cubes in shape, you will notice that we see similar amount of their top and side surfaces. Although I no longer remember details, I'm pretty sure that units and buildings have the same angle in Panzer Corps (around 45 degrees).

The bottom line is that creating picture similar to Panzer Corps is 3D is definitely possible, although it is unnecessary to duplicate it directly (in particular, slight perspective is not a problem and most people expect to see some perspective in a 3d game). In fact, Order of Battle is pretty close, although Lucas chose slightly higher camera position in that game.

---

With this out of the way, a few more comments.

- It is perfectly fine if you guys don't like how the new game looks, but please stop saying rubbish about "marketing said its a good idea". The decision to go 3D was made by me, and if I wanted to do a 2D game instead, I would. You keep saying that Panzer Corps could use a much needed 2D upgrade, in higher resolution etc. But the thing is, I have already made a game with such more advanced 2D graphics - Armageddon. And in that project I started hitting the limitations of 2D technology pretty hard. With all tiles and units 2x more res, all assets grew in size 4 times. 6 unit orientations meant 3x more space, and this was also true for each frame of our combat animations. We wanted animations on the map, but we quickly abandoned this idea. It was enough to multiply the number of river tiles (64) by the number of animation frames and by the number of river types to realize this was too huge a task to bother.

3D technology gives me tools to implement more "advanced" graphics which I want. No more and no less. Nobody is saying that other aspects of the game will miraculously improve themselves because of using 3D. We'll still need to do our job there. We are working on it.

- Personally, I'm not bothered by that fact that our screenshots draw so much negativity. The reason why they are included in the dev diary is, we wanted to give our readers something more substantial than just words. Words are cheap these days. We wanted to show that the game is not vaporware which exists only on paper, but that it is already in a pretty advanced state. You guys see the game as it stands now. We are aware of the problems, and will keep improving things until we, and the community, are happy. As I already said, 3D is not an obstacle here.

- I find it surprising that hardcore Panzer Corps community is so opposed to the idea of us trying to reach wider audience with the sequel. Bigger audience means bigger community, more active multiplayer, more user created content, tools and modes. This can only be good for everyone.

- Although there are many good 2D games out there, the idea that a 3D game is somehow "doomed" to fail is ridiculous, no matter what arguments you use to prove the point. Most strategy games are 3D these days. Big developers like Firaxis and Paradox do them. Smaller developers like Amplitude and Stardock do them. Most of Slitherine's own games are 3D these days. Even the smallest indie devs go 3D - look at the sequels to Unity of Command and Xenonauts. And of course, many many of these games are, or will be, successful.

- Regarding Panzer General 3D, personally I believe that this is a complex issue. The developer of the game, SSI, was obviously in turmoil at the moment, and their inability to develop the sqeries properly might be one reason. Gameplay was too different to its prequels and this pushed away a lot of players, although new rules were not necessarily bad per se. The approach to user interface in PG3D was too extreme to my taste - just look at their Shop implemented as a 3D scene. We are definitely not doing the same mistake. As for graphics, it was not even "proper" 3D, because most of the terrain was still painted. The fact that it did not look as good as Panzer General 2 shows that PG3D got much less attention than it could. However, I believe that terrain in Panzer Corps 2 does not suffer from this problem.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by McGuba » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:44 pm

OK, so finally I have decided to have a word here as I do not think it is fair that proline has to bear brunt of this debate when he is obviously not alone with his opinion. There have been several other guys who have also made similar claims regarding the look and especially the 3D nature of PzC 2 and I must confess that I share this opinion.

This should not be proline vs. Slitherine. And I am pretty sure that we all love Panzer Corps and we all wish the best for the next installment and this supposed criticism is a constructive one which is aimed at making the best out of it.

Therefore I would also like to suggest to at least consider making a 2D option in which the new 3D units would appear over the terrain in pretty much the same way (view angle, zoom level etc.) as they do in PzC1 to make everyone happy. I am not into technical stuff too much and I am not sure if it is possible or not, but I do not really see why it would not be.

Nerenei wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:56 pm
Create an option to disable all animations and set the model to be viewed from the side in relation to the camera should be entirely possible. Rotating the camera should not be too hard either assuming that is desired. It might be as simple as editing an ini file.

If it is good enough for official support is another issue but assuming modding is open enough modders might be able to do it.

With such an option you can probably also load the old sprites into the game quite easily simply by applying them as a texture to a simple plane rotated to face the camera. That might also be an option for modders as it is quite simple to do (making the models that is).


It would certainly take more time and expenses but it might still be better to go safe than possibly risk ruining this franchise. If PzC2 comes out like this, and together with the proposed gameplay improvements, I will be among the first ones to buy it. If not, well, sorry, but I just cannot promise.

It looks like a large portion of the hard core players of PzC are mature people and many of us share a dislike of 3D graphics in a wargame like this for the reasons described the previous posts. And it is a question if the new players will stay with it long enough to purchase the potential DLCs as this genre might just not appeal to todays' younger generation who seemingly prefer instant action and easy victories to thorough thinking and potential failures. Which might mean a risk from the profitability side as well.

And of course there is one more thing which was pointed out by Nerenei: modding. By now, modders have added thousands of new units to PzC, in many cases complete with new sounds and animations, which sometimes reach or even surpass the quality of the official ones. And of course all of these had been released for free to the public. The mods made for PzC1 have significantly increased the lifespan of the game and the work on them still continues to this day and will surely continue for quite a while, long after the release of the last official DLC.

I have seen videos on youtube posted by players who are playing my mod and read comments by other people who expressed an interest in buying the base game so that they can try my mod, which is of course free for anyone who has an interest in it, but requires a clean install of PzC.

If PzC2 goes full 3D most of this will be in question. Although we do not know much about modding, I guess it will still be possible to make custom scenarios, but adding custom units in 3D requires special skills which not many modders have. In the end I predict there will be much less mods being made for PzC2 "3D" which will shorten its lifespan and again reduce the revenues. Does it really worth the risk?

EDIT:
Rudankort wrote: But the thing is, I have already made a game with such more advanced 2D graphics - Armageddon. And in that project I started hitting the limitations of 2D technology pretty hard. With all tiles and units 2x more res, all assets grew in size 4 times. 6 unit orientations meant 3x more space, and this was also true for each frame of our combat animations. We wanted animations on the map, but we quickly abandoned this idea. It was enough to multiply the number of river tiles (64) by the number of animation frames and by the number of river types to realize this was too huge a task to bother.
OK, so this one came just after I sent my post. I understand the 2D technical limitations like resolution and stuff. But then maybe it is possible to use just 2 unit orientations as in PzC1 and similar limited animations (tank, infantry, etc.), if any. Just an idea.
ImageImage
slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=147&t=47985
slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=147&t=36969

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by guille1434 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:45 am

Hey, hehe, it's me again here after a long time...

After having read what is being posted in this thread, I cannot help saying something...
What was written by McGuba could as well have been written by myself. I agree 101% with what he said... On the other hand, Rudankort arguments are valid ones, maybe the game results in a sales success, which of course I want it to be because I want Rudankort and his team to keep making games...

But, I don´t really thing than today's young people will be very attracted to "thinking" games... In my opinion, they just like to blow everything in a screen and see a lot of fancy graphics and fireworks while doing so. Thinking? Going to bed and cannot fall asleep because of thinking about a way to defeat the last scenario you tried in the game but got mauled? (It happened to a younger me, when playing Panzer General) Forget it, they are all used to instant, easy pleasure, for good or bad (I would say for bad, but this is my personal opinion). May be by using good 3D graphics you can target a not so young target audience, that for sure it will be larger that the current PzCorps fan base.

Also, I remember having bought Panzer General, and then PG2, PG3D, People's General, Star General... I still have all the series, but in the end I was playing good old Panzer General long after I uninstalled all the other games (I still have PG Forever installed in my PC, hehe!!). The same happened with X-Com series (I am still playing and making some limited modding on Open X-Com, which is a "perfect remake" of the original game, but made almost totally moddable!) and M.A.X.1... The "more advanced" graphics of the sequels did not made them better games than the great original ones. I cannot help thinking about game developers of the past just trying to replicate a sales success by just slapping 3D or pseudo 3D graphics on any succesful game they had previously released.

I need to say, I am a very "conservative" and "ancient school" (even older than "old school"!) pc gamer born in 1970... :-)

Bottom line: I have faith in that this game developers team will be able to surprise us with a good product. True, I don't like very much the game screenshots published at present (but I think this will improve), but if the "content" of the game is good enough I would buy it, as a means of expressing my support to this company and trying the game. But what I would like to ask to the developers is that, if possible, AFTER the first release, and some expansions, patches, whatever is needed to reach the "breaking point" in revenues and you have collected enough money to go on some other projects (a really well made, fully moddable, with enormous maps remake of M.A.X. may I ask??) to release a patch, a new exe. or whatever necessary to be able to use the graphics (maps and icons mainly, no need to remake all the units graphics again, you can re-use the ones of the present day PzCorps "vanilla" game) of PzCorps 1 with the new game engine. I spent a lifetime making new units to try to improve PzCorps, and I will be doing so for the time being, so it would very sad not to be able to use it in a new good game released by the same company. I'm sure I will not start over again, and I am almost sure I will not be able to make 3D graphics... So, goodbye unit modding for this new game, which is, for me a lot of fun :-(

I will gladly pay the cost of a new game for a patch or .exe like the one I described earlier. So, from me, you will get twice the money from PzCorps 2 if you manage to do that.

Keep up the good work, Rudankort and guys!

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Buffalohump » Thu Jul 26, 2018 1:31 am

guille1434 wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:45 am
Hey, hehe, it's me again here after a long time...

After having read what is being posted in this thread, I cannot help saying something...
What was written by McGuba could as well have been written by myself. I agree 101% with what he said... On the other hand, Rudankort arguments are valid ones, maybe the game results in a sales success, which of course I want it to be because I want Rudankort and his team to keep making games...

But, I don´t really thing than today's young people will be very attracted to "thinking" games... In my opinion, they just like to blow everything in a screen and see a lot of fancy graphics and fireworks while doing so. Thinking? Going to bed and cannot fall asleep because of thinking about a way to defeat the last scenario you tried in the game but got mauled? (It happened to a younger me, when playing Panzer General) Forget it, they are all used to instant, easy pleasure, for good or bad (I would say for bad, but this is my personal opinion). May be by using good 3D graphics you can target a not so young target audience, that for sure it will be larger that the current PzCorps fan base.

Also, I remember having bought Panzer General, and then PG2, PG3D, People's General, Star General... I still have all the series, but in the end I was playing good old Panzer General long after I uninstalled all the other games (I still have PG Forever installed in my PC, hehe!!). The same happened with X-Com series (I am still playing and making some limited modding on Open X-Com, which is a "perfect remake" of the original game, but made almost totally moddable!) and M.A.X.1... The "more advanced" graphics of the sequels did not made them better games than the great original ones. I cannot help thinking about game developers of the past just trying to replicate a sales success by just slapping 3D or pseudo 3D graphics on any succesful game they had previously released.

I need to say, I am a very "conservative" and "ancient school" (even older than "old school"!) pc gamer born in 1970... :-)

Bottom line: I have faith in that this game developers team will be able to surprise us with a good product. True, I don't like very much the game screenshots published at present (but I think this will improve), but if the "content" of the game is good enough I would buy it, as a means of expressing my support to this company and trying the game. But what I would like to ask to the developers is that, if possible, AFTER the first release, and some expansions, patches, whatever is needed to reach the "breaking point" in revenues and you have collected enough money to go on some other projects (a really well made, fully moddable, with enormous maps remake of M.A.X. may I ask??) to release a patch, a new exe. or whatever necessary to be able to use the graphics (maps and icons mainly, no need to remake all the units graphics again, you can re-use the ones of the present day PzCorps "vanilla" game) of PzCorps 1 with the new game engine. I spent a lifetime making new units to try to improve PzCorps, and I will be doing so for the time being, so it would very sad not to be able to use it in a new good game released by the same company. I'm sure I will not start over again, and I am almost sure I will not be able to make 3D graphics... So, goodbye unit modding for this new game, which is, for me a lot of fun :-(

I will gladly pay the cost of a new game for a patch or .exe like the one I described earlier. So, from me, you will get twice the money from PzCorps 2 if you manage to do that.

Keep up the good work, Rudankort and guys!
Well said and amen. I am not quite as old(1974) and not nearly as well rounded game wise but I do remember the disappointment in PG 3D. I spent the years between Panzer General and my discovery of Panzer Corps lamenting the death of the genre. As I said previously I will be purchasing the new game and I understand the need to progress but to me the attempt to attract a wider audience risks alienating a core group that I do not believe you will be successful without. My fear is that if this is not a success I will loose my only pastime between fly fishing outings and work. I can not speak for all younger people but try as I may, I have no success getting either of my teenagers interested in this type of game. If it does not move fast with massive explosions they have 0 interest. Their games bore me to tears after about 20 minutes. Incidentally another of my favorite games from my youth could definitely use an update and I believe would be beautiful in 3D, Pacific Theater of Operations II.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by Patrick Ward » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:08 am

guille1434 wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:45 am

I need to say, I am a very "conservative" and "ancient school" (even older than "old school"!) pc gamer born in 1970... :-)
Which makes you considerably younger than many of us developing the game.
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Pat a Pixel Pusher

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by guille1434 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 3:16 am

Ok, Patrick! I'm glad to know, so please don't forget about our "oldie" likings!! :-)

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by proline » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:03 am

Thank you for the thoughtful and detailed reply. I appreciate very much that you've responded to the points I've made, unlike certain others who lump all criticism together as "hates 3D" or "thinks its ugly".
Rudankort wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:28 pm
First of all, you are saying that profile view is somehow very important. But we all remember that Panzer General used profile views, and Panzer General 2 abandoned this approach in favour of preudo-3D units in 8 orientations. If anything, profile view was LESS common in that game, because it did not match any direction between adjacent hexes. Despite this, the game was successful and is considered by many as a pinnacle of the series.
You refer to PzC as a war-game, but first and foremost it's a board game. Here's how the timeless and enduring board game chess is depicted:

Image

The units are in profile, and the board is a perfect grid. Period. No messing around. Now there's 10,000 other implementations of chess. Some have made money, most have not. Some are 3D. Some tilt the board to steep angles to simulate how a midget might feel sitting on too short a chair in front of a physical chess board. Some make the units ultra-detailed. Some focus on combat animations. Some add in six unit orientations. Some show just the tops of the units. But the picture above is by far the most enduring. It's what any book on chess would do. It's how any grandmaster of the game would study it. To the people who enjoy chess the most, the people who make it last through the ages, profile view with a non-distorted grid is critically important. A lot of PzC's success is that it imitated Panzer General in this one regard, not PG2, PG3, or any later entry.
Rudankort wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:28 pm
But the thing is, I have already made a game with such more advanced 2D graphics - Armageddon. And in that project I started hitting the limitations of 2D technology pretty hard. With all tiles and units 2x more res, all assets grew in size 4 times.
Then use vector art so that the assets can be rendered at a suitable size for the display on which they are displayed.
Rudankort wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:28 pm
6 unit orientations meant 3x more space
Nobody asked for unit orientations. They add little to the game and left/right is fine.
Rudankort wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:28 pm
and this was also true for each frame of our combat animations.
I shudder to think how much time you spend on combat animations. Yeah, they'll look kind of cool in the demo video but 5 minutes later who cares? That's exactly what I mean by marketing driven stuff.
Rudankort wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:28 pm
I find it surprising that hardcore Panzer Corps community is so opposed to the idea of us trying to reach wider audience with the sequel. Bigger audience means bigger community, more active multiplayer, more user created content, tools and modes. This can only be good for everyone.
Of course we want you to expand your audience. I want you to be able to afford to continue developing the game. But expanding the audience isn't guaranteed. Your core audience is quite happy with PzC and isn't guaranteed to go along with anything you do- we can just stick to PzC. Meanwhile nobody knows for sure that some graphics tweaks will accomplish much to bring in new blood. PG2 and PG3 didn't expand SSI's audience, they ushered in a long dark age for this game that people who enjoy the game don't want to repeat. Some of your previous attempts to expand your audience have failed and sullied your reputation. For example, the deplorable macOS version that was abandoned after just one minor update remains a buggy mess. It won't bring any new people to the game even though it might with a week or two's work. The macOS version demonstrates that Slitherine is willing to release a game in a state of crap and then not fix it. That kind of behavior doesn't engender trust, nor should it.

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Re: Why "3D" Graphics Will Never be Good for PzC

Post by ptje63 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:21 am

I agree with prolines argument that pg, pc etc are boardgames not wargames - and these games all go back to the checkers and chess (and several more ancient 1000s year old strategy games) - like I mentioned before in other posts. Now- some things in life must change and progress, and will change dramatically. Other things just must stay the same - just fundamental reasoning. Going 3d WILL find you a new audience - but will lose you the same amount (but I guess more).
What I mean, is the strength of a boardgame lies in its simplicity. I still play The Grandest Fleet!!! Despite all ita shortcomings I still love it.
If you feel 3D is the way to go, then make sure none of the graphics are distracting or disturbing from that basic gameplay joy. And make sure it is moddable: it is the time and effort of all modders that will extend the game's lifespan for many many years after which the original game would have been "dead".

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