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Steel Beasts Complexity

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17 minutes ago, Graycap said:

T

 

Manageable radio networks, different voices with a little of characterization (Red 6 at etc...)  => Needs voice Actors and lots of them for a dozend languages....people are expensive

orders given at low level (e.g. change formation - if mission designer has so designed; retreat or advance to xy - if a condition is met; which kind of menace the platoon commander or another tank of my platoon has discovered, fall back in formation - if in wrong position.....).  => many of the things you can already do with the scenario editor or in the game planning phase

 

T

 

 

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Posted (edited)

i would not interpret public videos of players not using dynamic lead or laser range finders or first and last return as meaning much- you will probably always see the use and abuse of the program even if the system were even more automated than those things already are; that is just the way it will be, much in the same way bad information is asserted on the internet; when it comes to the public it is futile to try and quality control everyone, wasted effort. rather, I take the question of what is too complex to generally fit in the bucket of too many hot keys, keystrokes and behavior options to the point that I simply ignore them and the experience is none the worse even if they seem like a good idea. even in steel beasts version one I am fairly certain there were key combinations I never used or never bothered to commit to rote, and by now i am sure a few more have been added. if anyone has ever played panzer  elite, that is a good example of overly  squirrely user interface, at least the default key assignment at any rate. there are sume functions I've never used, for example, i never used the option to turn off delta d while using the t-72 range finding equipment, I never found that sort of control and precision necessary, but I don't see the point in removing it either, it doesn't interfere with anything even if not used, and other users might appreciate it. generally though I think I reached the limits of how many key assignments I reliably and comfortably use, notwithstanding the inclusion of new vehicles or vehicles I haven't bothered to learn yet

Edited by Captain_Colossus

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, tungstenfall said:

Yes, as I surmised SBPPE is more of a classroom tool, which is no wonder considering what the main product is. And to fully utilize its worth it's best to actually have a classroom or at least several computers bound by LAN, preferably with TCs and gunners occupying the same rooms.

 

I explicitly said:

4 hours ago, tungstenfall said:

FWIW in our classrooms anyway its rarely used as a 1 person, one vehicle product. Often a person control and Troop / Platoon, usually they control a Combat Team (3 - 4 Platoons).

 

Please note the situation you refer to I've described as "rarely". Indeed using it for multi-crewing (in game parlance) or Crew Procedural Trainer for us = almost never. *

 

* Because the company who provides say the "tank" also provides the "Tank Crew Procedural Trainer" with a 1:1 representation of the vehicle crew station for muscle memory (you feel / reach for the relevant switch, not remove your eye from the sight to look).

 

Edited by Gibsonm

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2 hours ago, Graycap said:

Manageable radio networks, different voices with a little of characterization (Red 6 at etc...) orders given at low level (e.g. change formation - if mission designer has so designed; retreat or advance to xy - if a condition is met; which kind of menace the platoon commander or another tank of my platoon has discovered, fall back in formation - if in wrong position.....).

 

 

But again here we need to encounter the diversity of the users.

 

"Red 6" is used by what one country (who don't even contribute to the professional / classroom version).

 

Other nations who do would use say "39" or "30" or ....

 

So the initial bill of X voices goes up exponentially for each nationality ...

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18 minutes ago, Gibsonm said:

Please note the situation you refer to I've described as "rarely". Indeed using it for multi-crewing (in game parlance) or Crew Procedural Trainer for us = almost never. *

 

* Because the company who provides say the "tank" also provides the "Tank Crew Procedural Trainer" with a 1:1 representation of the vehicle crew station for muscle memory (you feel / reach for the relevant switch, not remove your eye from the sight to look).

 

Indeed, there is no point in using Steel Beasts Pro for that when special tools are available. But my point was mostly that in order to get the best out of it you still need to have a company of players, even if every single one of them will be handling a platoon or possibly a whole company, better yet with someone capable assigned a brigade level command. And it would be even better if more of capable people will have the control over the OPFOR, since the AI can only do this much.

 

By the way, speaking of challenges, I have found something I'm currently having quite a problem with. And that's Spike LR. More precisely, Spike LR in LOAL mode. Slewing the seeker with either the keys or the joystick hat is an exercise in frustration already, but having the seeker locked to such a narrow field of view requires you to have almost the exact idea of the target's immediate whereabouts. If this wasn't enough of a problem, I can't seem to activate the said "lock on after launch" and have to steer the missile all the way to the target, which is again, a major pain. That said, I managed to hit a moving T-90 in the ATGM Tutorial in this tricky mode, but that was mostly luck. Oh, and the joystick doesn't seem to be doing a thing after the launch. Does the real deal also have buttons for seeker controls? And if there is a joystick after all, why not allow me to use the joystick to slew the seeker head?

Or possibly I'm missing something and I would really appreciate it if somebody shared a hint on how to employ the weapon in the LOAL mode more efficiently.

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2 hours ago, Captain_Colossus said:

i would not interpret public videos of players not using dynamic lead or laser range finders or first and last return as meaning much... when it comes to the public it is futile to try and quality control everyone, wasted effort.

Not my point. To me, it's a symptom of our software exceeding the level of detail that at least the average Youtuber with a subscriber base outside of the Steel Beasts universe is willing to fully study before going public.

I'm guilty of it, too, let's be honest here. The "DTED is dead" video that I published in 2017 exhibits Marder gunnery practices that would have a Marder master gunner pull his hair out; Grenny is just too polite to say this in public. So even I can no longer claim to fully understand every aspect of the software that I helped to design over the past two decades. So, how could I possibly expect the average user to do better?

 

Of course, simulation is all about replicating procedures properly, and delivering high fidelity simulation outcomes. If that's the sole yardstick we can just chug on and stay the course. But this is precisely the process by which the flight simulation game developers have painted themselves into a corner where flight sims are largely inaccessible to anyone who doesn't want to make flight sims their hobby. Strike Commander was about the level of simulation detail I was willing to invest some thirty years ago. Pretty much everything that came after it was too complicated for my taste. Of course, with tanks it's different ( ;) ); but that's because I have a suitable professional background, and because the software is being used explicitly for training and education and we don't market it as a game.

 

But I feel compelled to perform a reality check now and then.

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well I daresay your expectations, that is, what you are expecting players to do and how they should behave are "too high", yes, unrealistic. this is not only natural given the difference between you and the public but unavoidable. you are expert in the subject matter. most of the public is not. naturally you will observe the public doing things contrary to instinct. it may be frustrating to you, but as long,as you sell to the public, it ain't going away. an ex t-72 crew member may think that the fact that I never turn off delta d is against procedure. in this particular case i will argue the procedure is nearly irrelevant, given the short engagement distances t-72 should fight in or get killed anyway, I would rather eyeball distances and get the first shot off (which are usually accurate anyway with sabot in the breech anyway, delta d on or off), than mess with one extra input that might let an opponent get the first shot off: turning off delta d, which sounds in principle like a necessary procedure in practice never really solved any problems since leaving it in never was the cause of any disruptions. in your case though I repeat, herding cats is what you can expect if you want the general public to behave like in training, or in field manuals or in regulations that they were never exposed to, i'm sorry...

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43 minutes ago, tungstenfall said:

Indeed, there is no point in using Steel Beasts Pro for that when special tools are available. But my point was mostly that in order to get the best out of it you still need to have a company of players, even if every single one of them will be handling a platoon or possibly a whole company, better yet with someone capable assigned a brigade level command. And it would be even better if more of capable people will have the control over the OPFOR, since the AI can only do this much.

 

 

Well "company" to me = 100+ soldiers. :)

 

Yes you need a "group" but for us the group is maybe no more than 10 to run a Battlegroup (including the Instructor and the OPFOR), saving a whole bunch of time, money etc. instead of the idea of a bunch of "TCs and gunners occupying the same rooms".

 

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@Ssnake, please, no reality checks for SBPPE :) Who wants better accessibility will play either ArmA 3 with mods or will outright go the Squad way. And let's be honest here, Steel Beasts can't compete with ArmA in terms of overall presentation (and what's even more sad, probably not in terms of performance either), so the only way to win against more game-y things is going full on sim. That said, I also enjoyed Strike Commander back in the day :) But these days I wouldn't touch it with a 10 feet pole, unless it was reenacted with DCS (or Falcon BMS for that matter). Challenge for the brain is always a good thing. The moment we stop learning new things, our brain starts to rot. And simulations (military ones even more so) are probably one of the most entertaining ways of keeping your brain busy. Especially if while engaging in multi-simming with an addition of things like ProSIM titles and a la Harpoon games like CMANO.

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8 minutes ago, Gibsonm said:

 

Well "company" to me = 100+ soldiers. :)

 

Yes you need a "group" but for us the group is maybe no more than 10 to run a Battlegroup (including the Instructor and the OPFOR), saving a whole bunch of time, money etc. instead of the idea of a bunch of "TCs and gunners occupying the same rooms".

 

While 100+ soldiers definitely sounds more like a proper session recipe, having around a dozen guys is still much better than going solo or with someone who barely ever tried a sim in their life. As for the "TCs and gunners occupying the same rooms", I mostly meant scenarios played over Internet :) It's more or less possible to have at least some of the participants share a room and play a role of a separate tank crew making up an ad hoc "Tank Crew Procedural Trainer", which we can't exactly have at home :) And over Internet I guess it's also fairly easy to have more than just ten or so participants in a session. Though I would prefer a classroom over that.

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Posted (edited)

I think rather than adding or subtracting anything or worrying about complexity, your priority is to make sure that whats in the sim works as it should. You have too many things to fix the way it sits as of the last patch. Right now SB is as simple or complex as any player needs it to be IMO(we have lots of options). However with that said I'd take a fuller  playable Soviet OPFOR, better graphics engine, and a side order of 'better organised" control UI. Path finding needs a look at as well...been some complaints about AI during missions this last couple weeks. Ballistics and damage modeling are in question as well(by those that would know). But in all fairness that may well be fixed in the upcoming patch this week.

Edited by Raven434th

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Posted (edited)

My other drugs are DCS and CMANO so increased complexity is ok with me. That said there are some vehicles that I have not mastered the FCS of as a gunner (M-60A3TTS) but I tend to avoid those if possible. I will say that I've always tried to treat SB as a 3D version of Close Combat, this was true when I first got SB1 in 2002 or so.

Edited by TankHunter

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3 hours ago, Raven434th said:

But in all fairness that may well be fixed in the upcoming patch this week.

 

??????

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So if I may give my opinion on streamers and YouTubers: the average "popular" YouTuber/Streamer generally does not devote the time to become even proficient at the basics of Steel Beasts. I have watched plenty of videos of guys (or gals) who have clearly never played even one tutorial mission, yet they are trying to "teach" their audience all about the intricacies of the fire control system of whatever vehicle (almost always a tank) they happen to be demonstrating. Generally, this is very cringy to anyone who has even a basic knowledge of tank gunnery ("Ya put this here circle on the thing your shooting at, and then ya fire, and then ya just adjust based on where the round lands!"), and is generally followed by the person in question firing multiple SABOT rounds into the dirt. 

 

Sure, there is the "excuse" that they are just getting started and don't know a lot about it, but I propose that it is more based on laziness. Not playing the tutorials is lazy. Not at least skimming the manual is lazy. I'm not saying you have to be a modern day incarnation of Mars, the God of War to showcase Steel Beasts properly, but at least have a clue about what you are doing. Playing through the complete set of tutorials for a single vehicle, hitting the tank range, and playing an instant action game or two is generally enough to where I would consider a brand new player to be "familiarized" with fighting their tank. 

 

Ok, rant complete.

 

To address the original questions asked by Ssnake:

 

1. Who of you can claim with confidence to having mastered more than three different fire control system families? How long did it take you?

 

A - I think that "mastered" needs to be defined before I can give an accurate assessment. If "mastered" means that you are able to effectively fight a vehicle while both fully mission capable, and in various degraded modes, then I can definitely say that I have "mastered" at least three different fire control system families. As far as the time, I trained using a gunnery scenario where your vehicle is gradually degraded as the time passes in the scenario (losing your LRF, losing stability, etc before having to end with engaging targets with hand-cranks and the "master blaster".) This took me about a week per FCS of solid practice (running the scenario four times each day to help get muscle memory.) 

 

2. Do you know the difference between a Retreat route and a Retreat condition?

 

A - Yes. Both are covered very well in the manual. Which everyone should read. :) 

 

3.  Is Steel Beasts a computer game among many for you, or is it a hobby of its own?

 

A - For me, Steel Beasts itself is a video game; it is the community that make this a hobby. I wouldn't be as active if it weren't for Multiplayer. Having to organize and control actual humans is significantly more difficult (and fun) than simply giving the AI a bunch of route tactics. 

 

4. What are the things that you personally are struggling with?

 

A - This'll be a more atypical answer, but honestly getting the right balance between detail with operational graphics, while leaving enough space for subordinates to draw their own. I would personally love to see an option added to the planning phase to create multiple overlays, and to allow other plays to enable/disable them as required. The enemy SITTEMP is vital for an effective plan, but probably doesn't belong on the map during the execution phase as it can cause confusion between templated and actual enemy positions. 

 

5. - I would like you to observe yourself for a while playing Steel Beasts, trying to identify the "blind spots" you have developed over time towards things that you don't know exactly how to make work, so you "fudge around" them, and to report them here.

 

A - I will admit that occasionally I will be in control of a random vehicle that has an FCS that I am not comfortable with. Rather than devoting the sufficient time to train on it, I'll just let the AI manage the gunnery portion. I think that the fact that this is an option at all is a credit to Steel Beasts in not making it ridiculously hard for people to start playing. 

 

Steel Beasts does not follow the trend of "hand-holding" that seems to be prevalent in many modern games. The fact is that some gamers are used to that; they have legitimately played games that held their hands their entire lives. I remember growing up and being considered a nerd because I played video games. Now, it is so mainstream that NOT playing video games is a social oddity. Many people want a game that is stupidly easy to learn, and that gives an immediate feeling of accomplishment. Steel Beasts isn't that, and it isn't going to appeal to the "average" gamer. Simulations have always been more of a niche market in the wider video-game industry, and they draw people to them based on the complexity offered. Don't dumb-down Steel Beasts to cater to the wrong audience. 

 

Finally, here is a humorous video showcasing what Doom would be like if it was "made today." While quite ridiculous, it does seem eerily familiar to many FPS games on the market...

 

 

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I´m reluctant to participate in this kind of posts but here I go:

I fully agree with the opinion of many of us: SB is not too complex and it could be more complex. The why is easy to explain: as we already have simpler tank games in the market and they are generally better than SB in many "game" aspects. The power of SB is to be able to SIMULATE the employment of a tank in it´s environment. This is a niche game, but the good news is that in that niche it has to compete with none. It´s the same with the already mentioned hardcore simulators or wargames, like DCS or CMANO.

Secondly, it is good that SB does not force the user to use it´s máximum complexity or realism, as it opens a bit the spectrum of potential users in one hand and in the other, even hardcore users can have a lazy day and just fancy some shooting.

Third, I don´t see a problem in not being able to properly use more than one or two vehicles. Crewable vehicles are just options. The more crewable vehicles, the more people can be atracted to SB because they love this or that model or the vehicles of a certain army. Again, DCS has many modules and each one is way too complex to master in a few session. Most people are able to play seriously one or two modules, and it´s ok.

 

to summarize, if you substitute the word complexity by the word depth or realism, the more the better. I say this because it can be more realistic in some aspects, many of them already stated, but it could also use some easyness in IU, etc... specially when you are dealing with thasks that in reality´d be done by more than one person.

 

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13 hours ago, Gibsonm said:

 

But again here we need to encounter the diversity of the users.

 

"Red 6" is used by what one country (who don't even contribute to the professional / classroom version).

 

Other nations who do would use say "39" or "30" or ....

 

So the initial bill of X voices goes up exponentially for each nationality ...

Please don't consider me annoying...

 

Even vehicle camouflage is different for different users. But the community has demonstrated that is more than able and willing to create fantastic mods.

The same for sounds and other peculiar aspects.

 

It could be done with text speech moddable that could be read by synthetic voices. It's just an idea.

 

On the other hand we use standard NATO symbols even in Warsaw Pact scenarios. The translations in actual voices of command stemming from conditions could be simply an optional feature that could be disabled. The result I'm referring to is something similar at the ATC in Falcon4 BMS 4.34. You could check and evaluate it in a lot of youtube videos.

In other words : when dowloading a scenario in order to play it singleplayer the player discovers that the mission designer has introduced sometimes a lot of conditions that is difficult to fathom at low level. Receiving by your virtual commander an actual order ("change position to.." etc.. ) it could be easier.

 

But I am perfectly aware that ATC is quite a fixed and somewhat predictable sequence of instructions while a tactical simulation is far more complex and unpredictable. Mirzayev has written about "hand-holding" and I think that maybe he could be right. Even if I'm still convinced that the need to impersonate the entire line of command of a scenario is really a daunting task.

One of the simulation result that I always look for is the feeling of "being there". Time constraints, decision processes, factors evaluations, technical  possibilities. A window over real life. But in real life I never jump from captain to tank driver and back, changing all the parameters. If I would decide to play a single player scenario at TC level I  should never feel a loser if the victory condition af my company has not been met. I would be glad only to have fought and survived in a tactically sound and realistic manner following the manouver and performing the task assigned at my unit by the mission designer.

 

Let me be clear: I'm more than happy (and busy in studying) with what SB Pro already give. I'm not interested in graphics or in new vehicles. There is more than I could ever study.

My personal military background is quite simple (I have been an artillery officer cadet commanding an FH70 section and I'm an engineer by profession ) and I 've found SBPro challenging at tactical level not at the technical one. The terrain usage, the evaluation of threat with reference to distance, the speed of manouver and how to relate with it. These are the reasons why I felt the need for a "commander". The best solution would have been multiplayer. That's for sure.
I started doing multiplay at the 56k modem era and I know that's the way for learning ...

But my real life made it almost impossible.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, marques said:

Secondly, it is good that SB does not force the user to use it´s máximum complexity or realism, as it opens a bit the spectrum of potential users in one hand and in the other, even hardcore users can have a lazy day and just fancy some shooting.

 

What? Disappointed. ;)

 

I thought you'd be into:

 

1. Zero and boresight

2. Turret master switch ON

3. Activate circuit breakers X through ....

4. Wait for the stab to settle.

5. Listen to the Range Safety brief

6. Sign for and Load the relevant ammunition.

7. Ensure you have comms.

8. Move to the firing point.

9. Ensure the loader's safety switch is "made safe"

.....

 

All before it goes "bang". :)

 

Edited by Gibsonm

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1 hour ago, Gibsonm said:

 

What? Disappointed. ;)

 

I thought you'd be into:

 

1. Zero and boresight

2. Turret master switch ON

3. Activate circuit breakers X through ....

4. Wiat for the stab to settle.

5. Listen to the Range Safety brief

6. Sign for and Load the relevant ammunition.

7. Ensure you have comms.

8. Move to the firing point.

9. Ensure the loader's safety switch is "made safe"

.....

 

All before it goes "bang". :)

 

of course! I´m not talking about myself…. but I´ve been told that could be that someone (not me) sometimes (did I say that never I?) could seek for an easy and fast duel..

:D 

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Ok.. didn't read all the posts, but the first and some of them.

For me SB is a simulator-Game. All simulators I got, even hardcore ones are games for me, as I don't and won't never train to make me better in real life in that sim area, as I don't do in real life what the sim offers me. For me each simulator is a way of answering questions I have of how things works (more or less).

So no, I don't want to be better in real life armor strategic techniques, or how to manage propertly an specific tank. But I am as valid costumer as a real army man that is training here in this simulator because I pay the same money (in term of economy).

 

What happens in my opinion with SB PE? Noone want to call it a game. I think, most of the people in this community are real part of army, so they don't want to change anything of it. So when you see a PLAYER user your sim, then "you" suffer, because "he" (me) won't do it right. Ok two solutions:

 

1. You don't sell anymore the PE, so only to army trained people can be sold, and then the sim will become the tool that is expected.

2. You just don't care too much.

 

I would suggest you the second point, as people like me like to have sims like this one. But I would suggest you also make future updates of a new version of SB. SB-Game for 40$ as much and sell in Steam with great graphics. You still would be continue selling the PE edition at normal price and the pro one, but that new one would bring lots of people to the game, that some of them would be interested in the army and would join it. That is what is done by Xplane or FSX in civil flight simulation, and DCS world; where some people join real life flight careers after using them. 

Of course you will find people doing stupid things and upset because of their behaviour in the game, but that is life.

 

Some DCS modules are so great and much complex than Steel Beast tanks, but people buy them. Some just "fly below bridges" with them and forget them, but other are really masters in the way of flying them.. and you can find real great youtube videos to make other people learn.

 

What happens with SB? As there are not so many people playing, then not so many will make great videos in youtube teaching others. I try my best, but I make lots of mistakes (no problem with that. Sure I know more than others don't know anything... and spread the simulator around). Mostly people are English ones. I find rarelly people from other countries (of course they are there).. so multiplayer sessions are at really bad timetables for european people. No multiplayer, no possible better learning.

And yes, SB is not user friendly at all. It is a tool, where people that already knows real armors train themselves. If someone like me comes first time, we can do the tutorials, that are good for manage one vehicle, but we won't find tutorials how to manage hundreds of them. 

I don't see too much complexity on the way to manage the vehicles compared with a PMDG plane or DCS F14. BUT I see the complexity in the strategy part. The map. That is the reason I asked to make things easier in future updates. Make groups, better way of managing multiple units (click and drag), more as an rst game.

 

Now you will say that the team is not so big, and the scope of the simulator is different. Ok, no problem, but then, you will continue seeing those little youtubers (me included) making the same mistakes you mentioned in the first post. 

I am a gamer, and sometimes I have felt here like an idiot with some replies of some users. Of course not all are like that, and also found great people, but maybe if we all respect more the game industry as an adult and not children only stuff, then we all gain much more good things. At the end if you ask our wifes, for them ours sims are just games and we still are not mature guys. 

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Posted (edited)

I want to add something. I think SB as it is it has a great potential as a (adult) video game. But it needs to "carry" new players better (tutorials, mission ladder skills from easy to hard, etc...), and offer missions and DYNAMIC campaigns, preserving the good of multiplayer (adding more players to the matchs)

 

Thanks.

 

Edited by Japo32

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On 8/28/2019 at 8:15 AM, Gibsonm said:

 

Are you aware that it generates a "report" file?

 

By way of an example, here is the report file from last week's TGIF:

 

Domfessel 2013-4159.sce_16_08-24-19_12_23_15.htm 743.65 kB · 2 downloads

 

If you scroll down you'll see it tracks ammunition usage, damage, etc.

 

Might save you some of that record keeping.

 

So I have been playing around with this a little.  The report is a great AAR filler.  But it isn't created until the end of the scenario.  And thats why I have the spreadsheet.  I find myself having to keep track of units during the game.  I also track triggers and routes too.

 

btw, the report requires you to leave SB to read it.  My systems have always had issues alt-tabbing out of SB and back.  So I tend to avoid it.

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43 minutes ago, thewood said:

btw, the report requires you to leave SB to read it.  My systems have always had issues alt-tabbing out of SB and back.  So I tend to avoid it.

????

 

Its a HTML file.

 

It should open in any browser and not launch Steel Beasts.

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WHere did I say it launched SB?  I have to leave SB to view it.  Thus it takes me out of SB to a browser.  Hence my comment.

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