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Can we have some graphical gemütlichkeit, bitte?


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I bought SB when it was originally released for the PC many years ago. It was a complex program to learn, and I never did master it. I still find the concept intriguing, and it draws me back, again and again.

Now that I am retired, I have, once again, decided that I will try to learn to use the program, for I sorely miss M1TP2, and would like to explore some of the complexities of modern armor warfare. SB is my only real choice. So I am trying to get the demo to run on my latest PC.

Technically, it seems to be quite up-to-date with the realities of the modern armor warfare environment; I do not have any practical experience in this arena, so I trust that the tactical and technical representation is correct.

However, SB is 12 years old now. Even when it was first released, its graphics were not exactly state-of-the-art, but they have improved considerably since its inception. In its initial iteration, it had no 3D graphical acceleration at all. From its earliest days, however, users have asked for better visual represention; I was among those requesting such when the game first came out.

I see, and have seen, many people continue to ask for improvements in this area, and the general reply, most often from Nils Hinrichsen, seems to be fairly consistent: the company has too few resources to add what is often described as'eye-candy'. eSims prefers to use its resources to develop the technical aspects of the program, meaning the technical accuracy of the simulation itself, as contrasted to its graphical presentation.

I think that that decision is partly driven by the need to maintain the satisfaction of its military customers. I understand that the major clients of SB are government agencies who do not really need more than correct mechanical and tactical accuracy for their training purposes. It is obvious that this must be so, for the soldiers who practice their war skills on it later put their very lives at risk when they go into the real world with that training. I can quite easily reconcile myself to the notion that the military does not require graphical 'bells-and-whistles'.

I also reckon, without knowing, that the commercial, non-military subscriber base is considerably smaller, given the purchase price of the program, which I presume is designed to cover the cost of the PE version plus some profit margin. SB is unique in this regard; the price of SB is higher, by far, than any of its simulation gaming contemporaries.

I think it is a testament to the loyalty of the non-military users that the simulation is so well-supported at this price point. It remains a burden for eSims however, because such a high entry fee inhibits wider adoption of the simulation in its present form.

Given that 12 years have come and gone since the inception of SB, with users persistently asking for graphical updates and the slow progress of eSims toward developing the same, I think it is fair to surmise that the wait will continue for a while longer, given the stated priorities of its maker. After all, they run this show; it is their product.

It really does not have to be this way, however. With, for example, the DCS series of flight simulators, it is apparent that graphical fidelity and simulation realism can co-exist quite happily. However, the developers of that software have considerably more resources at hand than does eSims. So it is hard for SB to compete in the modern simulation category from that development point-of-view.

There is another solution of sorts that seems to be available, however.

I am also a great fan of the Falcon 4 series of simulations. It is a testament to the support of its fan base that its latest and best presentation, in both technical accuracy and graphical presentation, is clearly the equal of any modern flight simulator. One only needs to watch BMS 4.32 videos, particularly the one that shows the graphics 'evolution' over the life of the product, to see that the users are quite capable of producing realistic, and beautiful, work. Check this out to see what I mean:

. Recall that F4 is even older than SB.

So my modest suggestion to eSims is that they permit their devoted fans to help them put SB in the modern graphics era; I think they should find a way to allow their user base to help develop the graphical programming subsystem in the same fashion that the Falcon community did.

I am certain that the principals of Benchmark Sims, or FreeFalcon for that matter, would share their techniques (i.e. the "how" of the community development process) with eSims. There is no practical reason why, even for a commercial product like SB, that the Internet community of SB users couldn't be engaged to accomplish this development.

Perhaps eSims will be willing to find a way to take advantage of the willingness of their fans to help them create a truly modern simulation. I am sure that they are capable of far more than just re-skinning the SB models.

Otherwise, it will remain an expensive, technically superior, simulation.

Just saying...

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I also reckon, without knowing, that the commercial, non-military subscriber base is considerably smaller, given the purchase price of the program, which I presume is designed to cover the cost of the PE version plus some profit margin. SB is unique in this regard; the price of SB is higher, by far, than any of its simulation gaming contemporaries.

I beg to differ.

It may have been in the past but lets take a comparison.

SB Pro purchased for US $125 in what 2003 ish.

Updates 5 x US$25 = US$125.

Total US$250.

CMSF purchased in 2007: US$76 (incl. postage)

CMSF USMC: US$41 (incl. postage)

CMSF UK: US$41 (incl. postage)

CMSF NATO: U$41 (incl. postage)

Total US$199

CMSF prices as per 2007 - 2012

SB Pro PE entry price unchanged since 2003.

I know of very few products that haven't changed in price in 8 years (apart from discounted "discontinued" copies of software)

I don't see the difference being that large to be classified as "by far".

Then you have the other titles that are "cheap" to buy but extract cash via server "subscriptions".

This is all quite apart from "value for money" (e.g. SB Pro PE gives maps in excess of 20km x 20km maps, CM:SF maybe 3km x 3km, etc.).

I not saying CMSF is "bad", but price wise its on a par with SB Pro PE.

And what is the response if person X develops a graphic for say "bouncing roadwheels" (to cover a favourite) and its rubbish.

Will the end user blame "person X" or just lump the blame at eSim due to poor quality control or something? And if eSim responds by slowing down "core" development to devote resources to quality assurance to ensure that "person Y's" mod is up to scratch?

I guess it depends how much you rate "chrome" or "bling" or whatever you want to call it over the underlying quality and accuracy, personally I'd be happy with say 2.5x quality (Inf sprites, etc.) but I'm 90% of the time in the F5 map view and others no doubt have a different emphasis.

But I suspect SB Pro PE is never going to challenge some of the FPS titles for "photo realism".

Then again the upcoming revision to the graphics engine (as mentioned at SimHQ http://www.simhq.com/_land3/land_126d.html but having no doubt slipped a bit since written) might give you solace?

Edited by Gibsonm
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However, SB is 12 years old now. Even when it was first released, its graphics were not exactly state-of-the-art, but they have improved considerably since its inception.

...

I see, and have seen, many people continue to ask for improvements in this area, and the general reply, most often from Nils Hinrichsen, seems to be fairly consistent: the company has too few resources to add what is often described as'eye-candy'. eSims prefers to use its resources to develop the technical aspects of the program, meaning the technical accuracy of the simulation itself, as contrasted to its graphical presentation.

And we will stick to that principle.

That being said, we no longer have this almost crippling shortage in manpower, and therefore considerable effort is done right now (and that will continue for at least another year) to give the SB engine a visual facelift. This isn't done over night, but I think I can say that in the last twelve years since when we began to make public announcements, we made good of pretty much all of these promises - the playable T-72 being one of the oldest and most prominent, but finally here at last.

I think that that decision is partly driven by the need to maintain the satisfaction of its military customers.

My emphasis when describing cause and effect would be slightly different although by extension it might still be summarized as you wrote. For me, the "Professional" in the product name is what is the ultimate arbiter when we're forced to set priorities: Does a new feature or some change increase the actual training value of SB Pro, or does it not?

Pretty much everything that is being suggested by customers (sometimes we even have an idea of our own) is usually desirable and also technically feasible. I have never disputed that eye candy is nice, and yes, I'd like to have some if I can. But if I am forced to make a choice because there is no sufficient manpower, training value goes first and entertainment quality comes second.

As a principle, we want SB Pro to be entertaining as long as the entertainment doesn't stand in the way of training. If we were to develop an educational game, emphasis would be given to entertainment and education would be added where it wouldn't distract from the fun. That's what we wanted to do originally when we were young and dumb and didn't know better than to try to develop two titles with a single programmer and 3D artist. ;)

I also reckon, without knowing, that the commercial, non-military subscriber base is considerably smaller, given the purchase price of the program, which I presume is designed to cover the cost of the PE version plus some profit margin.

Your assumption is correct. I already wrote in forum threads of the past that the Personal Edition contributes about 5...10% of the annual turnover (but used to receive about 20% of the coding time, which was disproportional already; for the coming 12 months it will probably be about 30% with all the work on shader effects etc).

Given that 12 years have come and gone since the inception of SB, with users persistently asking for graphical updates and the slow progress of eSims toward developing the same, I think it is fair to surmise that the wait will continue for a while longer, given the stated priorities of its maker.

Your assumption rests on the assertion that the team structure hasn't changed in the last decade - when we have actually tripled the number of programmers and more than doubled the size of the 3D modeling team in 2011. :)

For the rest, see above.

With, for example, the DCS series of flight simulators, it is apparent that graphical fidelity and simulation realism can co-exist quite happily.

A lot could be said about this. I'm not sure what your metric for "simulation realism" is, and while I don't doubt that fighter jets are very complicated machines, I'm not sure if any of the DCS titles is actually used in full mission simulators (like SB Pro is).

Let's say for the sake of the argument that both provide in their field the same degree of training value and a similar degree of realism of procedure, realism of results, and that the major difference was visual fidelity. You realize however that e.g. in Black Shark or from what I can read in SimHQ AARs about the A-10 missions, the entire ground element is largely devoid of activity. Yes, there are your target columns of tanks rolling around, and your SAM sites and a few Shilkas here and there, but by and large the ground is empty. That doesn't make them a bad game or a bad simulation, I just want to draw your attention to the fact that a large portion of the threat spectrum has been cut away. There's no farmer with his Lee Enfield rifle taking pot shots at a low passing pilot, there are no infantry units with Stingers and Iglas and Strela missiles that approach you with almost no warning and from any direction at pretty much any time. Maybe it is good that this isn't the case. Being shot down for no apparent reason probably isn't very fun.

With SB Pro we try to not cut away significant parts of the threat spectrum. We're still not quite there yet, but we have up to a thousand combatant entities to handle - per side! - and we need to provide a level of detail down to centimeter accuracy. I dare to say that our combat space is infinitely more complex than what a jet or helicopter simulation typically handles.

At the same time there's almost infinitely more people buying flight and racing simulations than any other type of simulation game. That creates an entirely different business environment for a consumer branch. They make money from consumer sales to also finance military development --- we use military development to also provide a consumer version.

I am also a great fan of the Falcon 4 series of simulations. It is a testament to the support of its fan base that its latest and best presentation, in both technical accuracy and graphical presentation, is clearly the equal of any modern flight simulator.

You realize however that this is only because a disgruntled programmer leaked the source code to the internet after Microprose made an initial investment of more than 11 million dollars in development.

Show me an equivalent that was made as an open source project from the start.

Pitting the - admittedly impressive - work results of a mod team like BMS against a completely in-house developed solution doesn't strike me as particularly enlightening, simply because the fundamentals of both projects aren't comparable. If someone had given us today's SB Pro code for free (because it was stolen from a developer that is now insolvent, and the new owner doesn't really care about the code anyway because he makes his money in board games and plastic toys), I'm sure we could easily convert it into an eye candy wonderland if that was all that we had to worry about.

It is also easy to envy the owner of a garden for all his beautiful flowers while forgetting about all the work that he had to invest into that same garden. We look at BMSs latest achievements and say "Oooo! Pretty! And all done by the community!" while forgetting the fifteen years of a winded path through thorny thickets where nothing really worked in Falcon 4 with a buggy initial product and then dozens of competing and incompatible mods here, there, and everywhere, complicated patch sequences, until with Allied Force it was finally consolidated for the first time into something that resembled an actual product.

Is that what you want for the Steel Beasts community? Really?

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IMHO, even today SB graphics is not only up to date, but the best in some aspects. First of all, it has no competitors in the terrain quality. The terrain is as realistic, as beautiful. I like its colors, trees, bushes, curves. it is a real masterpiece.

I hope, it will never become something bright and violent, like some children's coloring or most of the modern games.

I think, that SB could be better in terms of some vehicles detalization, but I can't say that I'm not satisfied with the present condition.

If I were asked, I would choose to add new vehicles into the game (primary, Russian:biggrin:), instead of graphics changes.

Anyway, I'm very exited about upcoming "visual facelift":)

P.S. Ssnake, DCS ground can be filled with different types of ground units, including soldiers with Igla, Stinger, Ak-47, RPG etc.:)

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DCS ground can be filled with different types of ground units, including soldiers with Igla, Stinger, Ak-47, RPG etc.:)

Yeah, but it's been my experience that the ground units don't behave nearly as realistically as in SB. For example: if I start unloading AP rounds on an M1, it doesn't seek a hull or turret down position. It just sits there. And the troops don't seem to move at all. (And IIRC, you can't place them inside a building.)

Having said that I must admit I haven't played it as much since the last update b/c I need to get more RAM. I also didn't go too in depth with the mission designer so I'm not sure if better reactions can be scripted.

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I also think there are a relatively small number of simulators used by the world's militaries that are made available to the public. Nil's point about DCS being used for training is a valid one. There are many, many very good simulators out there, but how many derived from military products and available to the public?

Once you put that filter in play, the cost comparison changes dramatically. As an example, a private individual CAN buy a copy of Bohemia's Virtual Battlefield Simulator (VBS) at a cost of some $500 plus ongoing support subscriptions yearly. That makes SB Pro PE look like a bargain at $125 with free support. Personally, I don't know of any others available to the public.

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Yeah, but it's been my experience that the ground units don't behave nearly as realistically as in SB. For example: if I start unloading AP rounds on an M1, it doesn't seek a hull or turret down position. It just sits there. And the troops don't seem to move at all. (And IIRC, you can't place them inside a building.)

Having said that I must admit I haven't played it as much since the last update b/c I need to get more RAM. I also didn't go too in depth with the mission designer so I'm not sure if better reactions can be scripted.

They don't. They can and do shoot at your aircraft if you get close enough. There have been some changes though since last update. Tanks and AFVs do indeed react to a threat to themselves now, move into a defensive cone for example or pop smoke to cover themselves. You can now script amazing detail into the reactions of the ground units which when viewed from way up in the sky in your virtual cockpit look stunningly real.

The mission editor and the options a mission designer now has have been incredibily enhanced.

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As I recall, SB was first a PC game simulating the modern armor warfare environment. It did not have, at the time of its initial release, a military customer base. Nor did it have, on its initial release, such a price tag as it does today, either.

You might recall that I, personally, offered to Al to take up your case for using SB as a military simulator with people that I knew at Fort Hood back in the day.

So to describe SB as first-and-foremost a military training simulator is not really accurate. Its true roots are found in the PC game arena. It has, however, due to some remarkably successful marketing efforts, evolved to become a significant player in that niche market.

So I certainly acknowledge that the military's need is a large driving component of the present eSim success. The latter has become eSims bread-and-butter customer base, and for that I am glad. We are all grateful that the product still exists.

However, to bring clarity to this discussion, I think that two issues need to be separated: one is the commercial product of SB as a gaming simulator, where graphics are important, and the other where SB is a military training software, where graphics are less important.

There is no practical reason why the game cannot have both simulation accuracy and such graphics realism as is possible today. It is even possible to develop such variations in parallel if need be.

I have merely suggested that eSims engage the talents of its users to help develop the graphical component of the simulator, much in the way that Benchmark Sims did with Falcon 4. I sincerely believe that such is possible to do without compromising the ownership of the underlying simulation code; even BMS requires that the user of its product own a legitimate copy of Falcon 4 first.

So when you suggest, out-of-context, that I want SB to follow the same tortured path that F4 did, it is really not quite fair.

As for your remarks about my concept of 'simulation reality', I believe that F4 was the first to involve an entire campaign, indeed an entire war, in action behind, and affected by, the efforts of the individual player, so in that regard, F4 and SB have remarkably common, and similar, cores.

You ask, in a round-about way, what I would really like for SB: I would really like to see SB have state-of-the-art graphics along with state-of-the-art simulation reality.

The resources for doing that are available now. I am confident that eSim enjoys an equally devoted and talented user base that is just as competent as that community which brought F4 to a polished gleam!

So I suggest, again, that eSim contact the principals of those community-based development efforts to see just how they managed to accomplish such an amazing transformation with volunteer resources alone, all the while protecting the copyright interests of the original owner.

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Most military customers do appreciate good visuals! But not without the functionality that should come with it. Eye candy for the sake of good looks makes no difference. Survivability in ground combat is very much based on cover and concealment and all graphical glory should take this into account. Point me into one PC simulator where you can, for example, hide in the shadows, spot a vehicle by light reflecting off a surface, or where you really can disappear against the background - and the AI knows how to do this as well.

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it's a fairly simple equation. graphics sell. good graphics sell more.

would you rather go with the gorgeous girl with a peabrain, or the kind-hearted ogre?

90% would go for the peabrain.

people think the graphics are shit, therefore the sim can't be good, can it?

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it's a fairly simple equation. graphics sell. good graphics sell more.

would you rather go with the gorgeous girl with a peabrain, or the kind-hearted ogre?

90% would go for the peabrain.

people think the graphics are shit, therefore the sim can't be good, can it?

It depends, is the kind hearted ogre a good cook???

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As I recall, SB was first a PC game simulating the modern armor warfare environment. It did not have, at the time of its initial release, a military customer base. Nor did it have, on its initial release, such a price tag as it does today, either.

Yeah, and if we had kept things that way, we'd all be doing something else since about 2003.

So to describe SB as first-and-foremost a military training simulator is not really accurate.

It is, if we're talking about today's Steel Beasts Professional, and not about a game that was discontinued ten years ago. That's a long time in the lifetime of a computer software. Four Windows versions that supported SB1 are no longer available (95, 98, ME, NT), two more are no longer supported by Microsoft or on the verge of being phased out (2000, XP), a war was started (and ended) in Iraq.

There is no practical reason why the game cannot have both simulation accuracy and such graphics realism as is possible today. It is even possible to develop such variations in parallel if need be.

I think I gave a number of practical reasons. You may not agree with them, but asserting that they don't even exist isn't quite the truth.

I have merely suggested that eSims engage the talents of its users to help develop the graphical component of the simulator

And I have merely suggested to let us give it a try first, now that we have a lot more manpower than we used to have in the past. Shouldn't we first find out if our efforts actually yield something before diving headfirst into unknown waters?

Do you even HAVE a team of developers that could rip apart and reassemble the engine, assuming that we would actually be willing to give up this part of our intellectual property? (...and that's a big if, I might say)

much in the way that Benchmark Sims did with Falcon 4. I sincerely believe that such is possible to do without compromising the ownership of the underlying simulation code;

...and your belief is founded in what factual knowledge about our source code base?

I can't act on belief, I need facts. Fact is, you have no stake in this game: If it doesn't work out, you get to keep and play the SB Pro that you already paid for - while eSim Games faces all possible consequences of your little experiment, of which only one thing can be reliably predicted: A loss of a substantial part of our intellectual property.

even BMS requires that the user of its product own a legitimate copy of Falcon 4 first.

And who checks, and eventually enforces this? How do you know that this is more than just lip service? The entire code was released, and anyone with a suitable compiler can make his own "original" copy.

So when you suggest, out-of-context, that I want SB to follow the same tortured path that F4 did, it is really not quite fair.

I pointed out that for years, mods didn't really solve the fundamental problems that Falcon 4 had but that they arguably made the mess worse until a commercial team made an effort to bundle the most useful mods and integrate them all into one package (Allied Force). Only then there was a useful base from which BMS could start their work, which coincides nicely with the delay between the releases of F4AF and F4BMS.

And I pointed out that the copyright situation really is a mess, which only gets somewhat mitigated by the fact that the original copyright holders aren't even attempting (for a variety of reasons) to defend what's legally theirs.

Well, we're very much alive still, thanks for asking. All I'd like to see from you is an appreciation of our point of view, that it isn't quite as easy as it might look like at first glance.

We need to maintain reliable, interoperable code bases for both the classroom version and the Personal Edition - not the least because armies, too, use the Personal Edition in addition to the classroom version. We can't allow the two versions to drift apart. Having some open source project involved which by definition can inject just any code snippet (including spyware, trojan horses, a virus or worm function, ...) simply isn't acceptable for those of our customers who, by their very nature and profession.

There are things that we can do, and there are things that we can't.

We can't make our code, or at least certain core elements, public. But we can and already did hire more people to work on the visuals. You got 3D characters out of that, for starters, with the last update. And a lot more is coming your way. Why don't we just see what the next twelve to 18 months will bring?

There will still be plenty of time to trash us afterwards. ;)

I am confident that eSim enjoys an equally devoted and talented user base that is just as competent as that community which brought F4 to a polished gleam!

Hands up, please: Who of the readers of this forum is capable of working on this? If you're a programmer or a 3D artist, interested in tanks, can speak at least English and preferably one or more other languages, are a US or EU citizen and resident, and looking for a job (that you can do from home and which will get paid reasonably well) - please drop me a line by email. We might be interested in your services.

:)

There. I'm serious about it. I hope that the emails that I'll receive about it are equally serious.

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In the order of your reply, I offer the following:

I personally offered to help Al get in contact with people of the U.S. Army that I knew who worked at Fort Hood, Texas so that you might sell your services to them, just as you have with other governments. Of course, that did not happen.

I made that offer with no strings attached, as a member of the SB-using community. So I did, even ab initio, have an interest in helping SB grow.

As for SB Pro, I have repeatedly acknowledged its presence and customer base, but I think the various objections raised to implementing better graphics because this is first a military training tool simply fails to recognize that this was actually a PC game to begin with.

I've re-read your previous answers, but I truly do not see any that address why two versions could not co-exist, if your military customers insist on maintaining the present graphics subsystem. I truly doubt that this is a real issue; if you implemented better graphics, even your military customers would likely embrace them.

Perhaps now is a good time to drop the issue about the difficulties of developmental parallelism.

As for waiting, and letting eSim have a chance to try to do this on its own, in the next year or so, it would seem that 12 years is an adequate wait.

This concern, and customer-requested change about it, has been on eSim's table for that long. I know this to be true: I personally raised the issue when SB was new.

I sincerely believe that SB's original graphics engine was a substantial reason why it failed in the consumer market to begin with.

To be fair, Al was working alone at the time, and I think he did a marvelous job given his resources. The game itself was, and remains so today, a marvelous and intricate exposition of modern armor combat.

It reminds me of TacOps, another truly brilliant work in the same genre.

Of course, TacOps enjoys the U.S. Army as a customer, and it is considerably older than SB.

By my reckoning, both 'games' enjoy similar levels of authenticity and realism. It was obviously a strong competitor to SB. But it is another breed of cat altogether; no 3D immersion for it!

As for my assertion that eSim could ask for community help in a legally safe environment, all the while protecting its ownership of its code, well, that is a path that others have traveled before you quite safely. These are not 'unknown waters'.

eSim could control that process through NDAs and the like, releasing its code to the hands of community members willing to help in a controlled and safe fashion. As I have suggested, talk to those who have succeeded and see what options they suggest before you reject the notion outright.

If it makes you more comfortable, think of your community base as a subcontractor willing to work for free, or at least under fiscal circumstances that eSim might find acceptable. Just like I did, so many years ago.

eSim is no way threatened by the loss of its intellectual property by what I suggest; the only notion that I have brought to the table is the simple idea that SB community members, or others, for that matter, would be willing, under eSim-controlled circumstances, to help.

As for BMS requiring that the user of their 'mod' have a legitimate copy of F4 from Microprose first, before the user can use BMS 4.32, my assertion is rested on the foundation that you cannot install the 'mod' without it.

So Atari continues to enjoy their copyright even as people enjoy the latest modified iteration of F4. BMS is unique in this regard.

Perhaps you were not aware of this.

eSim could, among many other available methods, require the continued use of that bit of copyright protection offered by Codemaster. The price of SB certainly encourages the warez crowd. Google that, if you think not.

However, please try to be fair: no where have I suggested that Esim release its code as an open-source object. No where have I suggested that eSim risk loss of control of their intellectual property rights.

Furthermore, nothing that I am suggesting changes the business environment under which eSim would ordinarily sell this product.

Before you dismiss this notion out-of-hand, take a moment to talk to those who have successfully trod this path before you. I truly believe that they will suggest alternatives to you for gathering and employing community support that will address your concerns about maintaining control.

Maybe there is a way to do this which might be a bit more effective than your 'shout-out'. I certainly think so.

I do suggest this, however: a modern SB, in all of its graphical glory, would make an awesome consumer product!

You can thank me later, when you are rich and famous.

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...we no longer have this almost crippling shortage in manpower, and therefore considerable effort is done right now (and that will continue for at least another year) to give the SB engine a visual facelift. This isn't done over night.

I don't know about you, mpdugas, but I read the above as "We're already working on it." What more do you want?

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Indeed.

As per my earlier comment:

Then again the upcoming revision to the graphics engine (as mentioned at SimHQ http://www.simhq.com/_land3/land_126d.html but having no doubt slipped a bit since written) might give you solace?

But then again as this seems to have evolved from:

Just saying...

to

I personally offered to help Al get in contact with people of the U.S. Army that I knew who worked at Fort Hood, Texas so that you might sell your services to them, just as you have with other governments. Of course, that did not happen.

and

You can thank me later, when you are rich and famous.

Suggests this may not be a simple "suggestion" but more the latest episode is some long running disagreement.

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All this commentary based on a thorough 30 minute evaluation of the demo. I guess it doesn't take too long to see what it looks like. Everyone wants better graphics, its not a original idea at this point.

F4 is a unique story, I'll give you that. What you fail to acknowledge about WHY they have let the community develop it is that the cat is already out of the bag. The source code is out in the wild. They think its best to attempt to manage the mess instead of having competing groups of code hackers and modders and all the associated fun for end users.

So, now that example is out. Can you name any other sim developer that does what you have suggested? I venture to say you can't. Why would that be?

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This concern, and customer-requested change about it, has been on eSim's table for that long. I know this to be true: I personally raised the issue when SB was new.

You and many others since the beginning- you alone have not raised the issue. Newer players might come along and presume to be the first, but someone who has been around long enough surely could not be oblivious to this topic hashed out again and again and the replies.

What's ironic about this is that you have seen a graphics overhaul since the original Steel Beasts- there's no way you can refute that. So, it must be that you're not satisfied that the graphics aren't up to par with some other contemporary games, you certainly can't say however the graphics are fixed in the same state as back since the first demo for Steel Beasts.

Might I suggest eSim has committed to a path- and it's actually working, just not the way you would expect. Perhaps the company would have dissolved by now if followed the commercial path of other small developers by releasing a newer, more graphically enhanced version every other year. One of these releases doesn't sell so well for whatver reason- game audiences are fickle, they're tired of the formula with mere graphics upgrades, other games offer something similar or are easier to step into or have more explosisions and body counts per second, - that represents a major investment failure, and eSim has to fold up. As it is, they are in a pretty good position for what they do and they don't live or die on the whims of the commercial market.

I sincerely believe that SB's original graphics engine was a substantial reason why it failed in the consumer market to begin with.

I don't buy it. The subject matter isn't the most popular to begin with. It's for niche hobbyists, it's the office cubicle motion detector shooting soft foam darts at work mates of the consumer market; it's the military customization that has become it's raison d'etre. It would represent a serious risk to upend a formula that is keeping them in business, as been said, you'd be completely insulated from that risk if they tried what you're suggesting. Start ups fail all the time- the average shelf life is about 5 years before they fold up or sell out, for now, they have beaten the odds with what they've done. Seriously- this can't be emphasized enough.

... however: a modern SB, in all of its graphical glory, would make an awesome consumer product!

Because that's what every kid asks for under the Christmas tree- a tank simulator. Actually, I'm more inclined to think that consumers aren't all so much compelled unless the tanks have hit points, multiple cannons, flame throwers, hover in the air, can transform into robots, crush waves of zombies and pirates with their friends- for about 2 months until EA releases Call of Duty 9 or whatever. Then SB goes into the used bargain bin or shows up on every warez site there is. Comments all over the Internet like: "Teh graphix...suxxors like from 2011, dude." The attention span of the consumer market is so small- things change so quickly, that's why the biggest companies continue to release these same games with graphics enhancements. It's a risk even for their investors to deviate.

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Ssnake wrote:

Who of the readers of this forum is capable of working on this? If you're a programmer or a 3D artist, interested in tanks, can speak at least English and preferably one or more other languages, are a US or EU citizen and resident, and looking for a job

-NO

-Yes

-Yes

-Yes

-NO

Hmm, if the last one would be a Yes, Could you overlook the 1st No?

I mean, 4 out of 5 must be good for something ;-)

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