Current events

In this forum, no one can hear you rant...

Current events

Postby JackS » Sat Jan 13, 2007 6:52 pm

For those of you that don't follow the Matrix games forums there has been a great debate lately over strike mission behavior of ANW 3.7.x. The issue is a legitimate point in that the new AI behavior had removed surgical strike ability from the scenario writer's hands. IN AI controlled strike missions given a specific unit to attack the new code would over ride the mission and allocate some of the weapons to other units it had decided was a high threat.

Ragnar Emsoy has been fighting with the Matrix/AGSI guys for a year on this, but that last couple months he has escallated his efforts. He has been posting on the Matrix site telling us how the Matrix dev team is incompetent, have no idea how the game is supposed to work etc on multiple threads. At his personal playground (Harpoon Headquarters) he has at least 3 threads running where he is making these same claims, plus telling readers to not buy ANW, and if they have ANW to ask Matrix for their money back. He also had posted links to full game installation files and the game exe and scenedit exe files without permission after he knew Matrix had taken those files down from their servers.

About 2 weeks ago while the flames were at their highest in HHQ a couple people actually disagreed with Ragnar's handling of the situation with the usual results, both were banned from the forum. Some things never change.

Dec 21 a HHQ member jpkoester1 made a post at HHQ saying that although he no longer worked for AGSI that he had put in a "feature request for a checkbox in the mission editor that will allow this 'self defense' to be turned off, but am not sure that it will make it into this release". Meanwhile Ragnar continues his tirade on both forums and finally gets himself banned from the Matrix forum for 60 days.

Now it has been posted at the Matrix forum by VCDH "We are going to place a check box to override the threat targeting...but not in this version. This is one of those changes adds sufficient complexity to the AI that it is not a good idea to put it in at this stage. So just to be clear, we are going to address this issue. Just not yet because to do so would cause more problems in the long run than if we do it later."

It seems that one well worded REQUEST by a rational member of the community that had suggested a possible solution to the problem has achieved more than months upon months of incessant ranting, whining, demands, and name calling by an irrational member of the community.

If you aren't part of the solution you are part of the problem.

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Re: Current events

Postby Vincenzo Beretta » Sat Jan 13, 2007 7:26 pm

JackS wrote:About 2 weeks ago while the flames were at their highest in HHQ a couple people actually disagreed with Ragnar's handling of the situation with the usual results, both were banned from the forum. Some things never change.


This is one of the reasons why this forum exists :wink:

JackS wrote:Dec 21 a HHQ member jpkoester1 made a post at HHQ saying that although he no longer worked for AGSI that he had put in a "feature request for a checkbox in the mission editor that will allow this 'self defense' to be turned off, but am not sure that it will make it into this release". Meanwhile Ragnar continues his tirade on both forums and finally gets himself banned from the Matrix forum for 60 days.


One interesting thing, even if at a first glance it may seem unrelated, is that last year there was a colossal episode of UNPLUGGED WHINING by some HHQ's members regarding an AAR posted by Herman. The laments basically sprout from what was deemed an "unrealistic tactic bordering on cheating": i.e. using human-controlled airplanes in dangerous ways to soak-up the enemy's AAA defences.

http://www.xtreme-gamer.com/forums/harp ... alert.html

Now, if it is a realistic tactic or a cheat is beyond the purpose of this discussion (it could be debated that, under certain cultural conditions, or regimes, this could be considered part of a pilot's duty). However, I'm now slightly amazed at seeing the request of basically denying the right to self-defence to AI pilots come by the same people.

My opinion is that the idea of the switch is, of course, the best one: no admiral has full control over the actions of his men, so one could either simulate situations were they are happy to go "beyond the call of duty" (ignoring self-preservation) and situations where they decide to smack a SAM in the face before considering the unarmed target. The problem (in a general sense) with Harpoon is that the game doesn't model "soft" factors like training and morale, so having tools that allow to scenario designers to make a call about them when needed are always welcomed.
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Postby Herman Hum » Sat Jan 13, 2007 7:39 pm

I hope that the Las Vegas Bookies are taking bets because I think that I can name the next person to be banned from hhq... :lol:
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Postby JackS » Sun Jan 14, 2007 2:07 am

Herman Hum wrote:I hope that the Las Vegas Bookies are taking bets because I think that I can name the next person to be banned from hhq... :lol:


You better hope the Vegas guys take the bets because I am not going to bet against you.
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Postby JackS » Sun Jan 14, 2007 5:07 am

Thanks for the link Vince. It was a long but interesting read. Nothing said by the HHQ guys really surprised me.

The only comment I will make on this now is about the length of the thread. If that thread was hosted at HHQ it would never have reached 40+ posts. After about 10 Ragnar and Dimitris would have made their closing shots before locking the thread thus declaring themselves the victors. If the other people involved tried to open a new thread to continue their case they would have been banned, or as they sometimes call it now "excused from the forum".

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Postby Herman Hum » Sun Jan 14, 2007 5:50 am

Have you seen them pull this stunt?

1) Change a message to something they would like to hear
2) Lock the thread
3) Then Ban the original writer

I've come across it more than a few times on HarPointless.

Somehow, the word "cowardice" comes to mind... :wink:

By the way, what did you think about the AAR? Did you find anything offensive with it? Could you even FOLLOW what was going on?
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Postby Taitennek » Sun Jan 14, 2007 11:48 am

1) Change a message to something they would like to hear
2) Lock the thread
3) Then Ban the original writer

It rather surprises me that there is not a #4.......

4) Then hang the original writer :lol:
Het gaat er niet om hoe je het doet, het gaat erom DAT je het doet
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Postby JackS » Sun Jan 14, 2007 7:03 pm

Herman Hum wrote:Have you seen them pull this stunt?

1) Change a message to something they would like to hear
2) Lock the thread
3) Then Ban the original writer

I've come across it more than a few times on HarPointless.

Somehow, the word "cowardice" comes to mind... :wink:

By the way, what did you think about the AAR? Did you find anything offensive with it? Could you even FOLLOW what was going on?


Yes I have seen the old 1-2-3 several times myself. There is also a variation where:
2) the thread is locked
3) the dissenter is warned in pm to stop and desist, but not banned
4) Ragnar waits a few days then begins a sniping campaign
5) dissenter responds to Ragnar's sniping tactics and ends up banned.

Two words spring to my mind, propaganda and censorship. Rag has mastered not only the former Soviet Union's military tactics and doctrine, but also their political ones.

In all honesty they have the right to run their web site any way they want. I do however feel they have no right to try to tell Xtreme-gamers how to run their site. That was the entire point of their rant, to coerce Xtreme-gamers into removing your AAR and no longer posting any of your AARs. I guess that is another comparison to the former Soviet Union. They are not content to just control their web site, they want to spread their control to all Harpoon oriented sites.

I saw nothing wrong with the AAR. It was entertaining, a good read. They said you "cheated", used "weird" tactics, unusual tactics, unrealistic tactics... I think the word they were searching for was unapproved tactics. That would be tactics not approved by them.

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Postby JackS » Sun Jan 14, 2007 7:33 pm

http://www.xtreme-gamer.com/forums/harp ... alert.html

The thread at that site is closed but I can still offer my opinions here.

1. Several of the earlier posts by Ragnar and Dimitris talked of how unfair it is for a scenario designer to have his/her work abused by such an AAR. As Dimitris pointed out it might even be enough to convince a scenario writer of 10 years experience to decide he had enough and quit making scenarios. Neither of these gentlemen wrote the scenario in question. The author is Paul Bridge. I saw no posts by Mr Bridge offering any oppinion on the subject at all, Unless Mr Bridge contacted you privately Herman, I can only assume he isn't offended by the AAR. I have to admit though... Dimitris does spin a good tale.*

2. On the cheating issue I am confused. How can you cheat? It is a computer game. The game code rules what is a legal activity. The player can't perform an activity that is prohibited by game code. Hacking the game code to alter the game play is cheating, but unusual or creative tactics is not.

3. On the issue of allowing that AAR on that site it is my oppinion that if the HHQ doesn't like the content of an ARR (or they dont like the person that wrote it) they can refuse to post it at their site. What other fan sites choose to put on their forums is their own business and not subject to approval by Ragnar Emsoy.

4. One of Ragnar's posts contained this... "Cheating in chess will ruin that game! How would you feel if the games played in Chess Championships contained nothing but cheats, weird moves and yet more cheats? Would you lose interest?" How can you possibly cheat in Chess championships :?:

5. Does Ragnar really build safeguards into all his scenarios to prevent cheating? Why doesn't he just set up the NATO side with complete orders and make that side unplayable by human players same as the Soviet side. Then he could make a new side for the human player. It could have a single ground unit and have it's posture set to friendly to NATO. That way the "player" could observe the NATO side exactly as it is supposed to be played. The player could admire Rag's work and Ragnar himself could sleep at night knowing there was no cheating during his watch. Everyone wins.

*Here is Dimitris' tale.

Somewhere, somewhen in Harpoonland.....

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hypothetical Harpoon Scenario Designer: Well, that's it folks. After 10 years of designing quality Harpoon scenarios, I'm calling it quits and moving to another game or genre.

Hypothetical Harpoon Player: Why, dear H.H.S.D.? Your scens have been among the best in the community. Each one of them is painstakingly researched, designed and implemented. You have put literally months of work in each of them, to make sure they simulate real-life force balances and operational procedures & tactics. Why are you pulling out?

H.H.S.D.: As you said, I put a lot of effort into them. Because I read, discuss and know a lot about the subject, and nothing pleases me more than reading AARs of people who managed to win them using real-life tactics and procedures. That's my crowd.

Then some lazy kiddo fires them (scens) up, uses gamey tactics or even outright cheats (e.g. opening the scenario in ScenEdit before playing, to see the enemy forces, their missions etc.) to win, then posts about it publicly. And of course suddenly everyone loses interest in playing the scenario the realistic way. Sure, the few die-hards will hang on, but Joe Admiral will use the shortcuts, beat it, and move on to something else, having learned very little (if at all) about real-life air & naval warfare in the process.

Now compare the effort it took me to build the scenario, to the effort it took this guy to effectively make it worthless. It's no good.

HHP: I guess you're right, H.H.S.D.. Damn those lazy ignorant fools who throttle our hobby & passion. They keep this up, and nobody outside the few faithfuls will reap the educational benefits of this excellent wargame. Bastards.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The above dialogue is of course purely fictional....


Pretty good stuff there. He is no Larry Bond, but he could probably make a good living writing comic books. Or propaganda pamphlets.

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Postby Herman Hum » Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:09 pm

JackS wrote:I saw nothing wrong with the AAR. It was entertaining, a good read. They said you "cheated", used "weird" tactics, unusual tactics, unrealistic tactics... I think the word they were searching for was unapproved tactics. That would be tactics not approved by them.

Emphasis added by HH

Bingo! Give that man a cigar. 8)

JackS wrote: 2. On the cheating issue I am confused. How can you cheat? It is a computer game. The game code rules what is a legal activity. The player can't perform an activity that is prohibited by game code. Hacking the game code to alter the game play is cheating, but unusual or creative tactics is not.

5. Does Ragnar really build safeguards into all his scenarios to prevent cheating? Why doesn't he just set up the NATO side with complete orders and make that side unplayable by human players same as the Soviet side. Then he could make a new side for the human player. It could have a single ground unit and have it's posture set to friendly to NATO. That way the "player" could observe the NATO side exactly as it is supposed to be played. The player could admire Rag's work and Ragnar himself could sleep at night knowing there was no cheating during his watch. Everyone wins.


You are far closer to the truth than you can imagine. He likes to label them as ‘safeguards’. Other folks have different terms for them. “Sheer idiocy” comes to mind…

Here’s what happens. In many of his scenarios, it doesn’t really matter if the player does anything or not. The writer has ALREADY decided which units will be destroyed before the game ever starts. So, if you just sit there and do NOTHING, you will end up with the same level of destruction as if you actually played the game. If you shoot down all the enemy planes, the mysterious (and invisible) Weather Balloons magically show up to blow up your surviving units. This is not a joke.

Image

Ragnar likes to ‘play’ scenarios within the Scenario Editor instead of the Game Engine. This way, if he sees the game acting ‘unrealistically’ (in his esteemed opinion), he can “help” the AI by changing things; moving units around, deleting others, changing their orders, etc.

Other folks have had the same idea as you. Ragnar’s perfect game/scenario would be where someone shows up to turn on the power and watch in awe as the scenario unfolds before him. Participation would neither be necessary nor desired. We could all marvel in the designer’s glow of perfection.

JackS wrote:Pretty good stuff there. He is no Larry Bond, but he could probably make a good living writing comic books. Or propaganda pamphlets.

Hey, that’s not fair. Vincenzo is an accomplished comic book writer. They are Not as easy as you might think. To elevate Dimitri to Vincenzo’s level of professionalism is a disservice to writers, everywhere. (not to mention tabloids, hacks, and other pulp fiction writers) :lol:
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Postby JackS » Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:36 pm

My appologies to Vincenzo and to Stan Lee as well.

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Postby Vincenzo Beretta » Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:27 pm

JackS wrote:My appologies to Vincenzo and to Stan Lee as well.

JackS


Actually to create something is not that difficult. Is to create something and stay coherent until the end of the tale, sustaining your story through, that is difficult. This is why HHQ, at the end of the day, flops with such regularity :wink:
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Postby Herman Hum » Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:52 pm

Vincenzo Beretta wrote:Actually to create something is not that difficult. Is to create something and stay coherent until the end of the tale, sustaining your story through, that is difficult. This is why HHQ, at the end of the day, flops with such regularity :wink:

No, to be fair to hhq, they do cover all the angles. For example, in the great 'plagiarism' Rant, the "logic" goes something like this:

1) Any data in the PlayersDB that matches data in the Y2kDB must have been stolen from the Y2kDB.

2) Any data in the PlayersDB that is similar to data in the Y2kDB must have been altered to disguise the fact that it must have been stolen from the Y2kDB.

3) Any data in the PlayersDB that is wholly different from data in the Y2kDB is simply WRONG.

That covers all the angles. :lol:
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