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SherlockHolmes

Virtual Reality support?

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On 1/7/2018 at 11:55 PM, Los said:

As an avid VR DCS flyer I can attest to almost everyone who is flying in vr is not going back to TiR. It amuses me to see all the non vr gamers  with little or no time in vr telling everyone else how much vr sucks for gaming. However as I said before I don't think vr would add much to the SB experience at this point. 

 

BTW down at Benning we have a nice the infantry simulators running through vr. Very cool.  Its basically putting a whole squad through vbs/vr. 

 

Just go DOOM for vr a few weeks ago. Holy crap very excellent.

 

Los

I bought a Oculus Rift and used it for DCS as well. Makes the A10C playable and a joy to fly instantly but.............boy o boy wath a rubbish quality lenses this device has. First resolution is sub par and makes almost every gauge in the cockpit unreadable. Second, your eyes try to focus all the time to get a sharp image causing headache and strained eyes. It is a nice try to introduce VR but for now it really sucks. Luckely a could return it at Coolblue and collect my money. I will wait a few more years till some company comes with a descent quality VR set.

Im happy with my g-sync 144 Hz monitor like never before :-) 

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Virtual Reality, wherever it is enabled, has transformed the experience for me.  Those who throw up a wall of objections about its use most likely have not experienced it themselves.  It does not have to have crystal-clear resolution for such a low resolution game as SBPro; what it offers, whether in Rift or Vive (or even higher resolution HMDs) is adequate for this game.  And game it is, starting out many years ago as nothing more than a DOS simulation with some rather high fidelity aspects regarding tank warfare, but not so much better than, say, M1 Tank Platoon II.  Looking at videos of that title, you can see, even in 1998, Microprose's graphics were better, and so was the game-play in realism.  At least it didn't require a $125 dongle to play.

 

See:

 

Compare this video to one made of Steel Beasts, from 2000:

Looks familiar, right?

 

 

Steel Beasts is rather a winner in this arena by default, since Microprose lost grip on some very valuable franchises when they struggled against the economic headwinds of the early 2000s.  SBPro has devolved into a training-focused property since the small, military customers who use it do not care for spending hardware money necessary to use higher graphics resolutions.  Ab initio, it was a game, albeit it a good one, in the pre-3D acceleration DOS days.  In other words, its management has "flipped the script" about the genesis and SBPro's intended audience to rationalize where it wound up.

 

Lest people hold out hope for the implementation of the VR capability in SBPro, you need only refer to the locked thread from 2016, set out below, to see that VR is never going to happen until management changes:

 

VR requires DX11 at a minimum, and I think that SBPro may be a DX9 game at best.  So, according to the fiat of 2016, there will likely be no VR in SBPro until a wholly new render engine is rented, bought or developed.

 

In the interim, however, you can play a nice-but-simple tank simulator in VR, which demonstrates that neither high resolution HMDs or frame-rates above 90 fps are really necessary at all for lots of tank simulation enjoyment, with the added bonus that there is also a strong aerial warfare component to that tank simulation.

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2 hours ago, mpdugas said:

Virtual Reality, wherever it is enabled, has transformed the experience for me.  Those who throw up a wall of objections about its use most likely have not experienced it themselves.  It does not have to have crystal-clear resolution for such a low resolution game as SBPro; what it offers, whether in Rift or Vive (or even higher resolution HMDs) is adequate for this game.  And game it is, starting out many years ago as nothing more than a DOS simulation with some rather high fidelity aspects regarding tank warfare, but not so much better than, say, M1 Tank Platoon II.  Looking at videos of that title, you can see, even in 1998, Microprose's graphics were better, and so was the game-play in realism.  At least it didn't require a $125 dongle to play.

Oh boy, where do I start...

  1. Nice one to declare anyone who doesn't share your opinion as being an ignorant. I for one have experienced it, I'm just not convinced that it can be applied to any game and any situation. I'm not even fundamentally against applying it to Steel Beasts, but unlike you I do know how much would would be involved, and the balance of effort vs gain tilts heavily against VR, at least for the next two years.
  2. SB Pro is not a "low resolution game", you are referring to the original Steel Beasts (and continue to mix the two titles indiscriminately throughout the rest of your post)
  3. Steel Beasts never was a DOS title. Even the first prototype used DirectX 7 under Windows 95
  4. Steel Beasts never required a CodeMeter stick. SB Pro does.

 

Quote

Microprose lost grip on some very valuable franchises when they struggled against the economic headwinds of the early 2000s.

It wasn't the economy that killed Microprose. Their mismanagement of the Falcon 4 development broke their back. They bet the whole farm on this title with an (at the time) unheard of investment of $11M (by developing five engines for it in the process), a cash drain that they never had a chance to win back with a combat jet simulation. And while Falcon 4 was the best selling combat jet simulation ever (and still is, as far as I know), its original release was buggy as hell and they never got to fix it. Only when the source code was leaked to the public, the public eventually fixed it, but then Microprose was already long gone.
 

Quote

SBPro has devolved into a training-focused property since the small, military customers who use it do not care for spending hardware money necessary to use higher graphics resolutions.  Ab initio, it was a game, albeit it a good one, in the pre-3D acceleration DOS days.  In other words, its management has "flipped the script" about the genesis and SBPro's intended audience to rationalize where it wound up.

 

Again, you're mixing SB Pro with the original Steel Beasts.

Final release of Steel Beasts 1.226: 2003

First release of SB Pro PE: 2006

While SB Pro certainly shared its code base with Steel Beasts, it was designed as a training application from day 1, hence the "Pro" in the name. The idea that this was retroactively rationalized is baseless.

 

Calling the change in product policy a "devolution" is, of course, a matter of personal value judgment - but one that I do not share. Partly because I think that the switch over to the training market was actually for the good of the overall product, partly because I vividly remember how much work was involved, and partly because I understand the parts about how to finance this whole show. If you think that we'd still be here for you to complain about the lack of VR support, you'd be seriously mistaken. 2003 would have been the end of Steel Beasts as a simulation game, there would never have been a chance to release a high quality "Steel Beasts 2" as a game, let alone one that would still be supported in 2018.

You have the privilege to criticize us precisely because we moved into the training market. 92% of what SB Pro is today you enjoy because non-consumers paid for its development. Steel Beasts still is pretty much the only title on the market that not only covers a handful of MBTs, but approaches study sim levels with a number of infantry fighting vehicles.

 

 

I'm not saying that you can't have fun with other tank games (particularly when using VR headsets) - and if that's what makes you happy, good for you. But the lack of VR support in SB Pro is a valid design decision and not a conspiracy to rob you personally of VR fun. You may disagree with our product design priorities, but in that case I suggest that SB Pro simply isn't the title for you. Criticizing what we do because you want it to be something entirely different is like criticizing a Ferrari for not being an airplane. It's an apples and iPhones comparison.

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Posted (edited)

Hmm, I don't know about this VR thing, I've seen how pushy the fans of it can get:

 

 

And you know what the worst part was? He linked to a terrible video of the original Steel Beasts, full of chroma subsampling artifacts and bad game play from someone obviously unfamiliar with SB. Here's a slightly nicer one:

 

 

Edited by Rotareneg

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12 hours ago, mpdugas said:

Virtual Reality,... <snip>...

 

 

 

While your preference for VR support is understandable, sticking for facts/truth when highlighting your points, would go along way. It would indeed enable others to take your arguments serious.

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Posted (edited)

I did not choose the term "ignorant", nor were my comments personal in nature.  I have spoken only in probabilities and possibilities.

 

I do not use the two forms of SB indiscriminately; in every instance, the reference is to the version that I am addressing.  Please feel free to correct me by a specific example, and I will acknowledge my fault.  "At least it didn't require a $125 dongle to play."  I was referring to M1Tank Platoon II, and the paragraph in which that appears, the reference is clear.  Before that mention, I had spoken of both versions of SB.


When first I played SB, upon its original issue, 3D graphics acceleration was in its infancy, and I used the 3DFx Voodoo to play the game, but since  it was not 3D accelerated, it did not matter back in 2000.  SB was not a DX7 game.  It did not use 3D acceleration.  It was a VGA DOS game.  There were plenty of DOS games running under W95 back in 2000.  In fact, one of W95 first claims to fame among gamers was its facility for handling the memory requirements of DOS titles without having to create custom autoexec.bat and config.sys, files just to manipulate the original IBM PC 1MB of system memory.  Steel Beasts was one of those.  Just because W95 used various versions of DirectX doesn't mean that games also used it, just because they ran in that OS.  I am mildly surprised that you do not know your own product.

 

I am not a VR proselytizer, I like it, and I enjoy the many titles which support it.  However, Al's creation was never intended to be a military simulation trainer.  I know that, because I offered to help him present Steel Beasts to Fort Hood officers whom I knew at the time, with the goal of using it like that.  He did not pursue that very real opportunity.  The change into becoming a primarily-training simulation came during your tenure.  Under your leadership, SBPro has drifted toward the government market because, in my opinion, they are accustomed to, and accepting of, using low quality training aids.  You only need watch videos of modern cockpit simulators that the U.S. government runs to see that:

 

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=modern+united+states+flight+simulators&t=ffnt&atb=v108-7&iax=videos&ia=videos&iai=wpcmb-8mEMM

 

The smaller countries who use your product probably do not have a budget to support hardware necessary to use higher quality graphics.  It is a comfortable, undemanding marriage.  I can see why you have no desire to change the rendering engine; it makes good economic sense.

 

The videos I linked show the high degree of similarity between the DOS versions of Steel Beasts and M1 Tank Platoon II.  The game-play, graphics and visuals are uncannily similar.  There was nothing simplistic or easy about the Microprose product.  As for poor them, they died in large part due to the fiasco with F4, true, but that was combined with the parallel demands of also developing M1 Tank Platoon II and Gunship!, which were all supposed to participate in a singular combat environment, much like the DCSW series.


You mentioned that Falcon 4.0 is still, today, one of the greatest flight simulators around.  It didn't reach that present standard of excellence from luck or government contracts.  You, too, could wear that mantle for tank simulations, if it weren't so far outside of your comfort zone to attempt. We've already covered that ground and your many objections, ad nauseam.  I only mention it because you acknowledged 1998's Falcon's present excellence.  Truthfully, I believe that a small developer called 1C/777 will wear that crown before eSim Games (sic) does.

 

You clearly miss the point of my post: it was intended to speak to those who hold out the hope that the present iteration of SBPro will ever support VR; I point out your 2016 message as an acknowledgement that is it too severe of a task to perform.  There is utterly minimal likelihood that SBPro's rendering engine will ever be moved to DX11, as a minimum, to support VR.  No, the intent of my post was to show the connection between your post of 2016 and the high improbability of SBPro, in its present incarnation, ever moving to a DX11 platform.

 

That cannot be construed as promoting VR.  That's just more script-flipping.  Please, just try not to be so antagonistic, and try not to react so personally, to my polite commentary.

Edited by mpdugas

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26 minutes ago, mpdugas said:

You mentioned that Falcon 4.0 is still, today, one of the greatest flight simulators around.  It didn't reach that present standard of excellence from luck or government contracts.  You, too, could wear that mantle for tank simulations, if it weren't so far outside of your comfort zone to attempt. We've already covered that ground and your many objections, ad nauseam.  I only mention it because you acknowledged 1998's Falcon's present excellence.  Truthfully, I believe that a small developer called 1C/777 will wear that crown before eSim Games (sic) does.

 

So where is the company that made Falcon 4 now??

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29 minutes ago, mpdugas said:

The smaller countries who use your product probably do not have a budget to support hardware necessary to use higher quality graphics.  It is a comfortable, undemanding marriage.  I can see why you have no desire to change the rendering engine; it makes good economic sense.

 

Comfortable and undemanding? You don't know the custromers then.

Point is, none of them see any benefit in implementing VR for vehicle crew or tactical training. Can you name one?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, mpdugas said:

 There was nothing simplistic or easy about the Microprose product. 

and i just fell off the onion wagon. deep fried starfish ice cream is really catching on with consumers, and it's easy to see why, it's delightfully refreshing.

 

since you are just making up crap, i can too. m1tp2 was more of an arcade shooter than some fans want to admit, but if you're going to think you can brainwash anyone with a statement like that, you have as much chance as i did with my statement above.

 

the only thing difficult i found with m1tp2 was because of flaws in the gameplay, not because the game was well crafted in its challenges it gave the player.

 

- poor pathfinding of the vehicles, this wasn't as much of a problem in the desert scenarios, but in the europe scenarios, friendly ai vehicles would often turn around in circles and get stuck in mires and bogs. still, even in desert scenarios, it was often the case that any change in movement would cause friendly tanks in the platoon to turn in circles, bump into each other and present their side or rear profiles to enemy fire

- a very simplistic fcs system for the m1 abrams, gunnery was artificially difficult unless the targets were stationary, a moving target meant the player was adding his own lead and even this still didn't seem to be accurate in its representation

- enemy air threats could be shot down easily, literally enemy jets would come in very slow on low lever runs walking cannon fire into you and you could knock them out with the ma deuce as quick as they come- you'd be an ace at the end of every campaign shooting down airplanes

- the representation of forest blocks and tree 'fences'- which the ai would treat as transparent and could shoot missiles through them and track the player as if homing onto his brainwaves or something. conversely, they were useless for enemy infantry to hide or take cover or fortify, and enemy infantry in general were more of a nuisance more than a threat

- way way too much artillery available to the enemy, this probably was to compensate for the generally poor computer tactics

-last but not least, every mission was more or less the same: like the game doom but on tracks. the irony is the game shipped with a 73 easting scenario as if to give the player the unique experience of wiping out a large enemy unit with a small friendly unit- because every scenario played out like a 73 easting battle, all sessions were the equivalent of that, the 73 easting scenario was redundant and representative of how all the missions played out. every. single. time.

 

 

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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1 hour ago, mpdugas said:

I do not use the two forms of SB indiscriminately; in every instance, the reference is to the version that I am addressing.  Please feel free to correct me by a specific example, and I will acknowledge my fault.

Well, I have addressed every point where you confused the two versions. Maybe it's pure coincidence that in every case of a mismatch, it supports your preconceived opinion while reality actually took a turn in the opposite direction.

 

1 hour ago, mpdugas said:

SB was not a DX7 game.  It did not use 3D acceleration.  It was a VGA DOS game.

Fortunately we have your expertise and do not have rely on the word of one of the developers who were there. O.o

(Or the one who provided tech support since 1999.)

 

1 hour ago, mpdugas said:

However, Al's creation was never intended to be a military simulation trainer.  I know that, because I offered to help him present Steel Beasts to Fort Hood officers whom I knew at the time, with the goal of using it like that.  He did not pursue that very real opportunity.  The change into becoming a primarily-training simulation came during your tenure.

Fortunately we have an expert here to clear up my messy recollection of what I thought in 1997...2003. The reality is, I did not, indeed, think of the military market right away. That only changed after West Point adopted it in 2002, Textron asked us to help them out, and the Danish Army commissioned us to develop a Leopard 1 simulation in 2003. I can assure you, Al was in charge.

Did I recommend entering that market?  Absolutely - yes, I did.

Nevertheless, up until 2012 when Al decided to retire, all major decisions were made by him. I certainly influenced those decisions, and I don't regret moving into the training market because, as Al recognized, unlike game publishers armies pay their bills, and pay on time. We had no regrets walking away from the games industry, which at the time was still remarkably unprofessional.

 

1 hour ago, mpdugas said:

Under your leadership, SBPro has drifted toward the government market because, in my opinion, they are accustomed to, and accepting of, using low quality training aids.  You only need watch videos of modern cockpit simulators that the U.S. government runs to see that:

Ah. The fallacy of equating graphics quality with training value.

Let me just say that there's more to simulators than just looks. Like, realism of procedures, realism of outcomes.

Then there's issues like utility value, which in part depends on factors like ease of setting up an exercise, span of control, ease of training content creation. But hey, what do I know. I've just been an armor officer, an army instructor, and keeping this company financially afloat for the past twenty years.

 

1 hour ago, mpdugas said:

The smaller countries who use your product probably do not have a budget to support hardware necessary to use higher quality graphics.

Yeah. That must be it.

All our customers are so broke, they can't afford anything better than Steel Beasts.

 

Let me quote a project manager talking to his general:

"So, that other [multi-national, multi-billion Inc.'s] simulator, will it be any better?"

             "Sir, all I can guarantee is that it will be ten times more expensive."

 

(His words, not mine.)

 

1 hour ago, mpdugas said:

The videos I linked show the high degree of similarity between Steel Beasts and M1 Tank Platoon II.  The game-play, graphics and visuals are uncannily similar.

Except for the fact that the M1's fire control system in M1TP2 wasn't anything like the M1, sure.

Or that M1TP2, unlike Steel Beasts, had a pretty decent high level AI for doctrinally accurate behavior of formations (credit where it's due). M1TP2 had air support, mortar fires, attack helicopters (SB did not). Steel Beasts used a 12.5m terrain grid and a software renderer, M1TP2 used a 100m grid, and Voodoo acceleration. SB offered a replication of the Leopard 2's fire control system in addition to the M1's.

Other than that, they were basically identical, sure.

 

1 hour ago, mpdugas said:

You mentioned that Falcon 4.0 is still, today, one of the greatest flight simulators around.  It didn't reach that present standard of excellence from luck or government contracts.  You, too, could wear that mantle for tank simulations, if it weren't so far outside of your comfort zone to attempt.

Sure. If only eSim Games went broke, and one of the developers leaked the source code for the public to pick it up.

Your arguments are so detached from reality, it isn't even funny anymore. I don't know what your beef is, really. You're not happy with SB Pro PE and some of the decisions that we made in order to survive as a company, I get it. It's just that I can't help it.

You can choose to ignore everything that I say. Or you can accept what I'm saying instead of digging a deeper hole, but the price is cognitive dissonance. All I can offer is my recollection of the history of eSim Games, and knowledge about the cold, hard truth of our business figures. But maybe you actually do know better. I guess we'll never find out.

 

 

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something else which might often be overlooked precisely with good reason: steel beasts' control scheme is probably the best i've ever seen- this may get overlooked because it so so well engineered that one

doesn't notice oneself fighting with the user interface. conversely, panzer elite is probably the worst example; while i don't want to bash games per se, the convoluted control scheme (especially playing with it around the same generation

of tank games- steel beasts, m1tp2, panzer commander), was probably the clearest standout reason why i always uninstalled it after coming back to give it another chance. m1tp2 was actually nicely done in this regard, but steel beasts as it exists today

simulates so many more systems and procedures yet still somehow manages to convince me that i'm not overwhelmed with too many key combinations and switches to get the core running.  it's remarkable that such an important

part of game design by its very nature goes 'unnoticed'

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To articulate a thought,

 

"There is nothing more dangerous than an opinion based on ignorance"

 

and yes,unfortunately, I am also often guilty.

 

 

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everyone is ignorant to some degree or another- otherwise everyone is omniscient.

 

the problem here is whether this person is trolling or not- i can't quite place my finger on it, but it looks like a form of trolling but trying to look engaging enough so that it's not. under the banner

of 'hey i'm trying to help with my opinion' there 's enough in there to look more like a personal vendetta, ulterior motive, and what have you- especially when some of these repeated claims are asserting

things like steel beasts and/or m1tp2 were dos applications and he doubles down on them

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Ssnake:

 

1) You have not addressed any particular error of my having confused the two game versions , so I will not ask for more.  I recognize that English is probably not your first language, and I will just accept that your nebulous reply is likely based on your probable failure to understand my request for specificity due to subtleties of language when reduced to writing.

 

2)   SB was a VGA (640x480) non-3D accelerated game.  You just noted that M1Tank Platoon II was Voodoo accelerated.  That was the Glide API.   It was in stiff competition with OpenGL and DirectX back in 1999.

 

I offer the following contemporary reviews of SB, written at the time, comments from the original SB development team and my personal experience playing it, all sources agree:

 

Gamespot, by Bruce Grey on Oct 4, 2000 14:20 PM "Steel Beasts is practically a textbook example of the strengths and weaknesses of independently developed and published games: Specifically, the graphics are not 3D accelerated, and they may seem rather drab and uninspired for those accustomed to the latest in hardware-pushing technology."

 

Reviewed on PC / 26 Jan 2001 :"Nor is there is support for 3D acceleration cards or EAX audio either. In fact, sole programmer, Al Delaney, began the entire project as a post-graduate lark back in 1996."
 
Fandom: "Reviewers were initially put off by the substandard 640x480 graphics, then highly impressed by the gameplay, immersion and the intelligent-seeming behaviors exhibited by the computerized units."
 
Tanksim:  "It's okay to lament the lack of 3D accelerated graphics, it doesn't hold the sim back much."
 

In August of 2000, during an an interview in SimHQ with someone name Ssnake, he said " Nobody was willing to invest the comparatively tiny sum that was necessary to convert the game into a 3D accelerator supporting polygon engine.  Al prepared the existing code for a swift engine migration which never came.  This rendered all existing scenarios useless."  In the same interview, Michael McConnell said "The lack of 3D accelerated graphics will turn some people off, but truth be told, the graphics of SB are more than adequate for the task, and many  aspects of the graphics are very well done."

 

You contradict yourself.

 
3)   When I offered Al an opportunity to meet with armor officers at Fort Hood, he declined to do so.  Perhaps that was a seminal moment for him, and he later decided to do that.  I can only speak to the moment when he was struggling so hard to find customers, and I personally tried to help him with that.  Ab initio, SB was not intended for that market.  It was some sort of solo engineering thesis, as I recall.  He also remarked that "Certain publishers might want to fund an upgrade to the graphics engine to support 3D hardware acceleration as well as a major art upgrade, so that would set back the release by another three or four months or more."
 

 

In December, he interviews with SimHQ, as the only coder working on the game, and he said then that his four goals for SB were:
  • Finish multiplayer in a big way.
  • Upgrade the graphics engine /art.
  • Implement our campaign system.
  • Add more secondary vehicles and buildings.
  • Add air support.

 

 

Looks like, even then, he wanted to do more with graphics, campaigns and aerial support, goals which have never been addressed to this day.  And this in 1999.  It was never written first to be a military training simulator.  It was kind of a a challenge by his professor to use an idea he had developed .  He said, in the same interview, "I created a terrain rendering engine and my wife and I decided that I should try to work for myself and make a game out of it."
 
4)   This thread was about whether SBPro 4.0 would ever use VR; the low quality of SB graphics, in its original, or Pro form, are its weakest attribute.  They remain that to this moment.   I have never suggested that the other aspects of SB or SBPro are lacking, so you need not pivot that discussion, either.  This is just your "red herring", another figure of speech.
 
5)   uncannily similar is not "identical", but I will, as a courtesy to you, demure on the basis of the apparent language differences.
 
6)   Benchmark Sims operates its process to modify Falcon 4.0 with the express consent of the copyright holders of the original Falcon 4.0 code; again, you do not seem to know your subject.
 
7)   You create straw dogs from thin air, and then beat them down.  I repeat: " You clearly miss the point of my post: it was intended to speak to those who hold out the hope that the present iteration of SBPro will ever support VR; I point(ed) out your 2016 message as an acknowledgement that is it too severe of a task to perform.  There is utterly minimal likelihood that SBPro's rendering engine will ever be moved to DX11, as a minimum, to support VR.  No, the intent of my post was to show the connection between your post of 2016 and the high improbability of SBPro, in its present incarnation, ever moving to a DX11 platform. "
 
In passing, I might mention that, in all of your "sturm und drang", you have never addressed that point.  Instead, you've spun my post into a whole new direction of your own making.  Why is the 3D engine of SBPro such a poor performer?
 
I really do think the subtlety of the meaning of my post has escaped you, and you deride me for words you put in my mouth, which is another figure of speech.

 

I will not reply to your fanbois except to say that you fan anger where there is no antipathy, you resist where there is no conflict, and you attribute to me much of what motivates you.  My comment about VR was mild beyond reproach, yet here you are, berating me for a simple effort to connect one dot to another.

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5 hours ago, Captain_Colossus said:

everyone is ignorant to some degree or another- otherwise everyone is omniscient.

 

the problem here is whether this person is trolling or not- i can't quite place my finger on it, but it looks like a form of trolling but trying to look engaging enough so that it's not. under the banner

of 'hey i'm trying to help with my opinion' there 's enough in there to look more like a personal vendetta, ulterior motive, and what have you- especially when some of these repeated claims are asserting

things like steel beasts and/or m1tp2 were dos applications and he doubles down on them

This person is not trolling; just take the words as written for their face value.  No need to look for motives or hidden meanings.  My writing is clear, as is my meaning.

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10 hours ago, Grenny said:

Comfortable and undemanding? You don't know the custromers then.

Point is, none of them see any benefit in implementing VR for vehicle crew or tactical training. Can you name one?

I politely (more so than you) suggest you take up the discussion on the "Dogs Of War" forum, where all of your remarks have already been addressed.

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, mpdugas said:

I politely (more so than you) suggest you take up the discussion on the "Dogs Of War" forum, where all of your remarks have already been addressed.

A simple and direct question, and your answer is "look it up somewhere"? That's your understanding of beeing polite?

Edited by Grenny

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1 hour ago, mpdugas said:

SB was a VGA (640x480) non-3D accelerated game.

I never claimed it was. It was you who was adamant in his claim that the original Steel Beasts was a DOS application, and that it wasn't using the DirectX 7 API function calls.

 

1 hour ago, mpdugas said:

In December, [Al Delaney] interviews with SimHQ, as the only coder working on the game, and he said then that his four goals for SB were:

  • Finish multiplayer in a big way.
  • Upgrade the graphics engine /art.
  • Implement our campaign system.
  • Add more secondary vehicles and buildings.
  • Add air support.
Looks like, even then, he wanted to do more with graphics, campaigns and aerial support, goals which have never been addressed to this day.

...and we did add 3D accelerator support after 2002. Unless you're claiming that we still haven't?

We did add air support (rotary wing). We have implemented, if severely limited, a system to string individual scenarios to a mission tree with logistics continuity (aka "a campaign" system, we call it (small) Operations). Would we like to do more? Yes, but many of these things are really hard to do right, and we can afford to work on them only if there are no other, more pressing issues. Our priorities are

  1. Fixing high profile bugs
  2. Meeting contractual obligations
  3. Performing code maintenance to assure that we can still work on the product in five, or ten years down the road while fixing medium profile bugs
  4. Completing partially implemented features, or addressing deficits in the validity of our simulation results
  5. Adding "orthogonal features" that add a new tactical dimension (e.g. engineers)
  6. Fixing low profile bugs
  7. Adding "more of the same features" (e.g. another playable tank)

 

1 hour ago, mpdugas said:

Benchmark Sims operates its process to modify Falcon 4.0 with the express consent of the copyright holders of the original Falcon 4.0 code; again, you do not seem to know your subject.

Funny that you should mention them. The founder of Benchmark sims is working on the Steel Beasts render engine since 2012, three more of our developers started game programming with the leaked Falcon source code. The copyright issues have been solved now, but my point was that the original Falcon 4 as released by Microprose was so bug ridden that they never managed to fix their mess (no doubt they were forced to release what they had as they were running out of cash, and from then it was a struggle for survival that they ultimately lost). Microprose sold itself to Hasbro which soon declared that it actually didn't intend to continue the line of military themed simulations; then a programmer of the original team (illegally) uploaded the Falcon source to a web server. Then the community of Falcon 4 playing programmers started to fix a gazillion bugs, always skirting the legal edge in that you were allowed to install their updates only if you had an original copy/license of Falcon. This went on for a few years until the ownership issues of the work were solved when Lead Pursuit basically wrapped all community patches into a "new Falcon 4". Eventually they passed on the license to Benchmark Sims/Miro Torrielli.

My knowledge of the subject certainly isn't as deep as Miro's, but sure as hell I tried to learn from the fate of Microprose and Falcon 4.

 

1 hour ago, mpdugas said:

You clearly miss the point of my post: it was intended to speak to those who hold out the hope that the present iteration of SBPro will ever support VR; I point(ed) out your 2016 message as an acknowledgement that is it too severe of a task to perform.

Fine, lets focus on that topic.

When I wrote about the performance limitations of the Steel Beasts render engine - both back in 2016, but also on a number of other occasions (not the least in this very thread) - I was of course referring to the state of the code and the engine back in 2016. What I can say is that we know why our engine isn't performing as well as everybody would hope for, we know what needs to be done, and we are taking steps in that direction. Our intent is to address all these issues, it's one of our top priorities at the moment.

Unfortunately, knowing what must be done and having a rough idea how to do it is not 50% of the effort. It's equivalent to being Asa Whitney looking at the map of the USA in 1842 saying, "Gee, we have the technology now, we have huge distances in this country, and millions of settlers moving westward. Wouldn't it be a super-practical thing to build a transcontinental railroad? I guess it should run from New York through the midwest to San Francisco."

Prophetic as it has been, actually building it was the actual effort. Not saying that a code redesign is a task similar in scale, but it's definitely a really, really big one. But if I learned one thing over the past 20 years, it's that tenaciously following your plan with continuous effort will eventually move mountains. So, that's our new mountain, right there. One day Steel Beasts won't be a DirectX 9 application anymore. I'm talking years, but not a decade, and I am quite confident that we will get there.

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4 hours ago, mpdugas said:

  My writing is clear, as is my meaning.

has nothing to do with whether you're trolling or not. i think i see what you're doing

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7 hours ago, Grenny said:

A simple and direct question, and your answer is "look it up somewhere"? That's your understanding of beeing polite?

It's more than you afforded me.  I don't need to duplicate answers that other folks have already taken the time to lay out for you.  Nothing rude in a referral.

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2 hours ago, mpdugas said:

It's more than you afforded me.  I don't need to duplicate answers that other folks have already taken the time to lay out for you.  Nothing rude in a referral.

I just gave you a friendly advice.

Well, I guess you just don't have an answer after all...so you switch to strawman posts.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Ssnake said:

I never claimed it was. It was you who was adamant in his claim that the original Steel Beasts was a DOS application, and that it wasn't using the DirectX 7 API function calls.

"I never claimed it was."  <<I have no idea what you are saying here, and this is most likely your language difference hindering your writing, but you HAVE been insisting that SB was a 3D accelerated game, which, in my answer above, I directly quote you and McConnell as saying it was not.  I think the off-hand remark of DX7 API function calls, as you obliquely refer to, has nothing to do with 3D acceleration at all.  So, after all your cries that SB was 3D accelerated, you just slip quietly away into the night, never admitting that it was not.  Stur.

Quote

...and we did add 3D accelerator support after 2002. Unless you're claiming that we still haven't?

A wonderfully indirect answer that SB was not 3D accelerated until  at least 5 years after you claimed you first stated working on it.  So exactly when, and in what version of SB, did 3D acceleration get added?

Quote

We did add air support (rotary wing). We have implemented, if severely limited, a system to string individual scenarios to a mission tree with logistics continuity (aka "a campaign" system, we call it (small) Operations). Would we like to do more? Yes, but many of these things are really hard to do right, and we can afford to work on them only if there are no other, more pressing issues. Our priorities are

  1. Fixing high profile bugs
  2. Meeting contractual obligations
  3. Performing code maintenance to assure that we can still work on the product in five, or ten years down the road while fixing medium profile bugs
  4. Completing partially implemented features, or addressing deficits in the validity of our simulation results
  5. Adding "orthogonal features" that add a new tactical dimension (e.g. engineers)
  6. Fixing low profile bugs
  7. Adding "more of the same features" (e.g. another playable tank)

I do believe that you have number 7, above, down to a fine art.  The rest of the list, while interesting, is a departure from Al's list of goals, but it is a distinction without a difference.  Nineteen years and a whole bunch of items number 7 on your goals list.  It is amazing that nothing on your list of present priorities, which you set out above, talks about any graphics changes or improvements.  Tenaciously following a plan that has no goal for graphical changes is an assurance that it will never happen.  No mention of it as a task to be addressed "...in five, or ten years down the road...".

 

Which just goes further to show that, no, there will be no VR in SBP, not now, not in the future, because no foundation is going to be laid to achieve what it takes to do that, despite all obfuscations to the contrary.  No graphics code redesign is on that list.  It's a dead issue.

Quote

 

Funny that you should mention them. The founder of Benchmark sims is working on the Steel Beasts render engine since 2012, three more of our developers started game programming with the leaked Falcon source code. The copyright issues have been solved now, but my point was that the original Falcon 4 as released by Microprose was so bug ridden that they never managed to fix their mess (no doubt they were forced to release what they had as they were running out of cash, and from then it was a struggle for survival that they ultimately lost). Microprose sold itself to Hasbro which soon declared that it actually didn't intend to continue the line of military themed simulations; then a programmer of the original team (illegally) uploaded the Falcon source to a web server. Then the community of Falcon 4 playing programmers started to fix a gazillion bugs, always skirting the legal edge in that you were allowed to install their updates only if you had an original copy/license of Falcon. This went on for a few years until the ownership issues of the work were solved when Lead Pursuit basically wrapped all community patches into a "new Falcon 4". Eventually they passed on the license to Benchmark Sims/Miro Torrielli.

My knowledge of the subject certainly isn't as deep as Miro's, but sure as hell I tried to learn from the fate of Microprose and Falcon 4.

This part of the thread is a complete hijacking of the original topic, but you raised the point first, and I am responding to you.  Eventually, it will return to the topic of VR, but this diversion is yours.  But here are the dark and scary parts of the woods, which I did not choose to enter originally.

 

You once again spin the topic; I know the history of F4 well enough, but the point I made here, and in previous postings that I "discussed" with you, is that you could leverage the same resources that they did to make F4 the sterling simulation that it is.  In this case, you have even more of an advantage than they did, since you ARE the repository of the code, and could easily leverage this communities' assistance, through NDA agreements and the like, to do the same thing they did.  No, it is absurd to think that dumping the code "into the wild" is how eSims should do this.  You said that "Eventually they (Lead Pursuit) passed on the license to Benchmark Sims/Miro Torrielli", but I sincerely doubt that that ever happened; BMS does not hold the license to anything Falcon other than what the present copyright holders permit them to do.  Your subject knowledge is lacking again; prove me wrong, please.

 

You could easily solve the problem of limited resources by delegating tasks to those who would discretely assist eSIM, likely without pay, so loyal are your users.  Really, I don't know why I try to illustrate how easy this would be for eSim to do; I know I am wasting my breath, because this is a subject that I have laid out for consideration before, back in July of 2016, in fact.  No, I don't expect you to just jump at my suggestions, but it would be prudent of you to avoid saying that you don't have the resources to do these things.  Perhaps you did learn some lessons from Microprose's fate, but the lesson of distributed work, which you could have mastered, and still can learn from the BMS team, is one that escaped you.

 

It would take imagination, courage, trust and tolerance to do so.

 

For instance, lets say you enter into an NDA with one of your avid users who is conversant with 3D creation and animation software.  You allow them to modify the object model for one of the many vehicles in the game, and under limits that eSim sets, like polygon count, and ask them to create a refined version of that vehicle.  Perhaps you task them to show, e.g. a full 3D version of the interior, or by way of another example, an animated exterior that shows antennas wiggling, bedrolls jumbling about, machine gun barrel bouncing about, all the sort of small, randomly moving accessories encrusted to a real tank that give it the appearance of life. To avoid impact on your gaming system, you give them the design parameters and limitations that they must conform to.  Give this a try, it can't hurt.

 

As is, your 3D vehicles move as one, monolithic lump, and nothing that should move on their exterior does.  An APFSDS round glances off of a tank, and the antenna, boxes, bedrolls, extra track, etc. just sit there.

 

Before you scream "computing resources", let's just say that there are methods for aggregating and dis-aggregating model and 3D data, in space, to simplify the burden of displaying the local tasks.  Take a page from F4 and note how they handle the problem of thousands of objects in play at one time.  If they can do it, from older code than you are burdened with, then why can't you, I wonder?  Like wing flex, and bomb oscillations after dropping, or using TrackIR to replicate player head movement, (Oh, that's right, there are no player body objects in the game) all of which are animations that BMS has incorporated into their ancient code.

 

After 19 years of production, SB looks strikingly similar to its original incarnation, and the various user videos released over the years, based off of the so many intervening versions, are so much the same that they come to the point of being indistinguishable.  Nothing substantial has changed in 19 years from the rendering quality and efficiency point-of-view, and I suspect that this coding immobility is what has SBPro pinned up against a technological wall.  The longer eSim waits, the harder will be the effort.  The harder the effort, the less likely it will be that eSim will attempt it; thus is born the vicious cycle of procrastination and sloth.

 

Nothing anywhere says that the consumer version has to match the commercial one.  Make SB more approachable but not less authentic, make it emotional, and untold riches will be yours.

Quote

 

Fine, lets focus on that topic.

When I wrote about the performance limitations of the Steel Beasts render engine - both back in 2016, but also on a number of other occasions (not the least in this very thread) - I was of course referring to the state of the code and the engine back in 2016. What I can say is that we know why our engine isn't performing as well as everybody would hope for, we know what needs to be done, and we are taking steps in that direction. Our intent is to address all these issues, it's one of our top priorities at the moment.

Unfortunately, knowing what must be done and having a rough idea how to do it is not 50% of the effort. It's equivalent to being Asa Whitney looking at the map of the USA in 1842 saying, "Gee, we have the technology now, we have huge distances in this country, and millions of settlers moving westward. Wouldn't it be a super-practical thing to build a transcontinental railroad? I guess it should run from New York through the midwest to San Francisco."

Prophetic as it has been, actually building it was the actual effort. Not saying that a code redesign is a task similar in scale, but it's definitely a really, really big one. But if I learned one thing over the past 20 years, it's that tenaciously following your plan with continuous effort will eventually move mountains. So, that's our new mountain, right there. One day Steel Beasts won't be a DirectX 9 application anymore. I'm talking years, but not a decade, and I am quite confident that we will get there.

That's all well and good, but it's just talk.  I do not, for example, give any credence to your "One day Steel Beasts won't be a DirectX 9 application anymore. I'm talking years, but not a decade, and I am quite confident that we will get there.", because you do not have a priority to do that.  Why should you?  Your client Government agencies don't use it.  Government agencies don't want it, and you are disinclined to sell it, because you are a person who steadfastly rejections the reality of the appeal of the emotional side of warfare.  Why should you try to be a commercial success too?  You have monopoly on tank simulations, for the moment, but competition is knocking on your door.  Yes, indeed, they are knocking and knocking.

 

It is oft said that a warrior fights as they train.  War is not an analytical affair; it is brusque, brutal, noisy, dirty and shocking.  It takes place mostly outdoors, in all sorts of different kinds of weather and lighting.  People need to be able to apply training through muscle memory in the heat and the confusion of war.  Take a look at some of the games, the FPS, that exist today; they understand "shock-and-awe" substantially better than you do.  The PC is very well adapted to creating fear and confusion in a user, particularly in VR.  Try the VR game called A Chair in a Room if you doubt me.  That is, if you own a VR system.    I am not alone in propounding the idea that simulations should include as many emotional components as possible in combat simulations.  If SBP engaged the limbic system of its users, too, it would be awesome.

 

I know you are ex-military, but have you ever been in combat?  Your training, as evinced by the way SBP presently plays, is substantially about the clinical application of procedural solutions.  It utterly avoids and minimizes the animal nature of killing.  People don't fight like SBP trains them to.  Those that train with your product will have to discard those lessons if they hope to live on the battlefield.

 

SBP has such an enormous potential for success.  It has languished, and it's sad to see it performing so underwhelmingly.  You are the boss and have been for many, many years.  The present state of SBP is your responsibility, and yours alone.  You could have been more than a name on a door, or so says Joni Mitchell.

 

p.s. I have a dongle with (who uses these anymore, I mean, really?) two licenses for SBP 3.0, easy to be upgraded.

Edited by mpdugas
spelling correction

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1 hour ago, Grenny said:

I just gave you a friendly advice.

Well, I guess you just don't have an answer after all...so you switch to strawman posts.

I missed the part about "friendly" and about also "advice".  Strawman?

 

Your posts appear to me to be very antagonistic, do you intend to be that way?

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Posted (edited)

Sooo... Can anybody explain to me, what is the point(read- real benefits) of VR support in AFV-centric simulation, not necessary Steel Beasts? Especially if things like optics and map views(actually primary views for armor simulation gameplay) and current VR technology limitations are taken in to consideration.

Edited by Jartsev

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51 minutes ago, Jartsev said:

Sooo... Can anybody explain to me, what is the point(read- real benefits) of VR support in AFV-centric simulation, not necessary Steel Beasts? Especially if things like optics and map views(actually primary views for armor simulation gameplay) and current VR technology limitations are taken in to consideration.

 

Well, generally it would certainly boost immersion (letting you forget/ignore the fact that you're, actually, not inside a tank). So, if you're using the simulation/game for entertainment, immersion alone is a very good argument in favor of VR support.

 

In training, factors other than immersion are usually treated with priority.

 

Arguments in favor of VR that I can see: VR allows a more natural way to look around, which is particularly important for the (unbuttoned) vehicle commander's position. It might also offer tangible benefits to the driver of a vehicle if he's supposed to adhere to traffic regulations, trying to avoid collisions with oncoming traffic at crossroads. Also, it might make navigation easier in situations where a roll-over of a vehicle could occor, or in particularly narrow passages (e.g. in a minefield, on a narrow bridge, etc.).

Using VR, particularly if there was a way to interact with virtual control elements, might largely eliminate "dead training time" where you first have to provide some training to the simulation software itself before you move on with the actual lessons that the simulation is supposed to help teaching. One would then need to analyze a bit more in detail where this interaction with the virtual 3D environment yields a net benefit, considering the danger of negative training (e.g. the tactile element is completely missing in VR), also you need to look at things that you want to manipulate, even if you have some sort of a data glove for interaction.

 

In a dogfight simulation VR offers tremendous boost in realism because you need to fly the plane with stick, rudder, and throttle while you track the opponent's flight maneuvers (be it to evade his attack, or to line up your own plane to shoot him down). It's similar with a car racing game (even though the "attack" is the meneuver of overtaking the other). This unique combination of activity is however absent in an armored vehicle because you're operating as a crew of three or more, so the training aspect is more about crew communication than about a specific skillset that the commander or the driver would need to rehearse. For the gunner that's a bit different, but he can exclusively focus on keeping the target in his sight during the engagement and doesn't need to drive the tank at the same time.

 

 

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