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Is going FOW to be a feature of Back in Action? Yes or No?


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#1 Bletchley_Geek

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 03:56 PM

Hi everyone,

I just found out this game to be available on GamersGate for pre-order and I'm doing some research before doing so. I've read all the previews you linked on the main forum and one bit on the PC Gamer (http://www.pcgamer.c...back-in-action/) preview caught my eye:

This worry is not remotely allayed by my second major concern: Back in Action does not feature fog of war. You can see every enemy soldier on every map, so you don’t need to worry about blundering into ambushes or getting outmaneuvered. Night combat, one of the deadliest and most intense parts of JA2, now seems more like a cosmetic difference than a tactical one.


The date for the preview was December 15th 2011. This is clearly at odds with this post here


After the strong community response (and the good points the community made about it being importand for the overall gameplay) Fog of War was implemented into the game again.

I am sorry this information has not been communicated more agressively.

Please note that FoW doesnot look particularly impressive on promotion pictures, so there might be screenshots coming up without it.
But nevertheless, the game WILL feature fog of war!


On the comments of the PC Gamer preview, Rob is asked by one reader on this topic and he answers:

I specifically asked PR about fog of war and was told that it would not be in the final game. Disappointing, but it looks like it is definitely not going to be available.


So, is Back In Action going to be released without Fog Of War mechanics? Not even as an optional setting? Is this a communication breakdown between devs and PR?

Looking forward to your answer and good luck with the release,

BG.

#2 zero

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:18 PM

no fog of war.

#3 bitComposer_Michael

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:45 PM

See, I've already explained this in the german part of the forum. But i'll try my best to answer it here in full detail again.

There won't be a fog of war.
The post from Jochen was from may and back in these days the fog of war was still integrated. Even in times of the gamescom in August it was integrated. And back in these days the fog of war was still part of the gameplay. But it was cut. Not because it wasn't working (It actually worked. Not like some sites may claim that the engine wasn't capable of doing so) but it was not fun at all. Features can change during developement and in this case it happened. It may have been communicated to early.

However let me explain why it wasn't fun: The fog of war lead to dozens of trial and error situations which were not very funny. not knowing where an enemy is was kinda frustrating and the game paused all the way cause you're facing yet another enemy. You couldn't really use tactics but just move along and try to survive. It had nothing to do with deeper tactics and tricking out the AI but just fighting with some luck. In several testrounds with a lot of people it was decided to cut the fog of war.

Dunno if my explanation makes sense in english. It's late here and I'm kinda tired right now. Guess I'll have to read this post tomorrow again. However this doesn't mean there won't be a fog of war forever. We're thinking about some kind of hardcorepatch for the JA-Geeks who want give it a try. But that'd be after release. And it's not carved in stone yet. Just wanted to let you know that we're thinking about it.
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#4 R@S

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:05 PM

You couldn't really use tactics but just move along and try to survive. It had nothing to do with deeper tactics and tricking out the AI but just fighting with some luck.


So, tactics involving spotters, covering multiple directions with some mercs while other mercs move, and many other tactics I can't think of right now, has been sacrificed because some testers didn't like or knew about those tactics? They felt interrupted in their goal to get somewhere, ignoring the fact that how you get there is the important part. And did you actually decide this before you had a proper AI? Sorry, I'm also a bit tired and don't mean to sound rude, but saying that you can't use deeper tactics because you don't know where the enemy is, really, really gets me flustered. But since I wasn't one of the testers I guess I don't know the whole story.

But the JA-Geek patch sounds very good to me, even if I think it should be an option you could turn on/off in the settings menu. Maybe you could get the communication with the hard core fans going by opening a thread about possible functions in such a patch?
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#5 zero

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:17 PM

yay for geek patch :D

#6 Coyote

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:07 AM

This sounds ...strange, for the lack of better word.
Once upon a time, there was developer's decision that JA BIA won't have FOW.
After hearing the feedback from fans, FOW was implented.
Then it was removed again, because it could hamper gameplay dynamics.
And finally now, FOW will be patched in again...in the future...maybe..LOL
Why not make it optional in the first place and let people choose how they want to play?

Yay as well for geek patch
Prepare to be attack!

#7 bitComposer_Michael

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 08:23 AM

Don't nail me down on the patch by the way. Just said it's an option we're thinking about.

@Ras: The thing is, all those tactics are - on the paper - nice to have but didn't work out in the game. And no, we didn't decide this before we had a proper AI. The thing is: The tactics worked as long as no other enemy joined the filed. But since they are wandering around all the time situations got unpredictable and the game itself got way to hard. With the fog of war being removed you may can see every enemy from the beginning but believe me when I say the game's difficulty is still very high. Our QA Studio for example needed two weeks (8 hours a day) to complete the game (They killed Deidranna after about one week or so but to free whole Arulco and see every possible ending of the game it took them way longer). The person working here next to me has in his steamccount a playtime of more than 40 hours and still hasn't freed Arulco 100%.

No fog of war doesn't mean you don't need tactics. You just need different tactics.
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#8 EthanBloody

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:10 AM

Don't nail me down on the patch by the way. Just said it's an option we're thinking about.

@Ras: The thing is, all those tactics are - on the paper - nice to have but didn't work out in the game. And no, we didn't decide this before we had a proper AI. The thing is: The tactics worked as long as no other enemy joined the filed. But since they are wandering around all the time situations got unpredictable and the game itself got way to hard. With the fog of war being removed you may can see every enemy from the beginning but believe me when I say the game's difficulty is still very high. Our QA Studio for example needed two weeks (8 hours a day) to complete the game (They killed Deidranna after about one week or so but to free whole Arulco and see every possible ending of the game it took them way longer). The person working here next to me has in his steamccount a playtime of more than 40 hours and still hasn't freed Arulco 100%.

No fog of war doesn't mean you don't need tactics. You just need different tactics.


Can I keep going on free Arulco if i kill Deidranna ? destroy the Rest of the Army etc ?

#9 R@S

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:15 AM

@Ras: The thing is, all those tactics are - on the paper - nice to have but didn't work out in the game.


That's too bad, 'casue I really love using "realistic" tactics. But if those tactics works in other games, and on paper, maybe you have missed something in your development that would make them possible. And since one of the reasons for only having 1 weapon attachment slot is to give the mercs different specialties, is there even a spotter in the game yet? One that uses stealth, camouflage, silenced weapons and most importantly, binoculars(please tell me that binoculars are available in the game).

The thing is: The tactics worked as long as no other enemy joined the filed. But since they are wandering around all the time situations got unpredictable and the game itself got way to hard.


To me, unpredictability is a good thing in a game, it prevents it from becoming tedious and repetitive. It also makes battles more unique, even if you're playing the same map the 10th time, you can't use the same tactics over and over. You shouldn't be able to plan your assault from the beginning to the end, you should be forced to adapt and overcome every situation, and you should need to use a general plan that would allow changes. This is what I mean by deeper tactics, and maybe the reason I got flustered about your definition last night. ;)

And for the record, I want my games to be hard, bordering on frustrating, it makes playing them much more rewarding. Realism is good too, as long as it doesn't add too much micro-management.

I won't blame you if there isn't a JA-Geek patch, but also want you to know what a good idea it is. :)
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#10 RavenCZ

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 12:10 PM

I was going to preorder on Steam...but i had idea look at forum before preorder. I had luck. In moment i saw there in not going to be FoW, my decision was clear. No FoW, No money from me. I am sorry.

#11 Bletchley_Geek

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:22 PM

I sort of echo the mixed reactions of other posters here about this issue. Language barrier or not - I'm Spanish by the way - the point doesn't come across very clear. Because if FOW was implemented and working, a feature known to be requested by the fanbase - or at least part of it, not some QA people - sincerely, it is hard why the QA people have the "power" to kill off that feature.

I don't know if I qualify as a JA-geek or not: I just burnt hours and hours over the years on JA, JA2 and JA2 1.13. I've played all games that have tried to live up to the series: Alfa Antiterror, 7.62 (with the Black Sun Mod of course) and Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge. All of them departed to some extent from the original JA2 gameplay in way or another, but I could see that the changes were mostly for the better. And in some of them FOW was optional.

I certainly do understand that FOW can be "frustrating" as in "I went into that area with my über-mercenaries loaded with my über-high-tech automatic weapons and my favorite merc got killed by a headshot of a random guy sniping with a World War 2 semi-automatic rifle". That obviously frustrates me, and sometimes makes me to want pull my hair out of my head. But that doesn't makes me want to throw the game into the dustbin: I'm intelligent enough to figure out that shit happens all the time to even the best and that one can always try to do something different. If I figure out that the situation is unsolvable, I file for a bug report wondering if that's meant to be a "Kobayashi Maru" kind of mission.

What you seem to have in mind is more of a "classical" puzzle... but Commandos - the archtypical puzzle tactical "light" game - was a lot puzzle-like and you could turn on or off Fog of War. Just leave FOW off by default, for heavens' sake. The "geeks" will figure out how to turn it on in their mysterious "geeky" ways.

No lovingly gesture for the "geeks" means no money from the "geeks".

Anyways good luck with the release, as I said before.

#12 unfinished business

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:27 PM

I was going to preorder on Steam...but i had idea look at forum before preorder. I had luck. In moment i saw there in not going to be FoW, my decision was clear. No FoW, No money from me. I am sorry.


Same thing here.. Saw it on steam, got really excited, wanted to get some special edition, and then i discovered unimaginable horrors thanks to this forum.. No turns, damn, not even FOW, maybe it would be best to have enemies unarmed?
Back in action? No thanks. It was too good to be truth :( Watch it flop, like all other JA ripoffs...
Back to the good old ja2 1.13..

#13 Smoerble

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:30 PM

I was confused about the FoW yes or no thing. I could live with the decission "no FoW" if there is a good reason. But what you describe sounds like:
"we know that the players want it, but our CEO wants the game to be more casual. So they took a target group who want to finish a level in 3 minutes and they didn't like to sneak around".

A tactical game lives from moving careful from the beginning to the end. That made me play JA (1) several times, because the same levels were totally different battles each time.

I play games long enough that I have to say: you ruined half of the fun of JA with taking FoW out. I don't understand why you didn't make it optional.

So I will definately not buy before I get my hands on a demo first :(.

#14 bitComposer_Michael

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:49 PM

The word "geek" patch was maybe the wrong one. Let's call it an alternative hardcore-mode.

We know that removing the fog of war in late august would cause some very harsh reactions. It's a critical thing of course. It weren't just "some QA" people but a lot qualified people who also played JA2 before. Since then the game has evolved pretty much and the code has changed. That is why there won't be fog of war from the beginning. But as I said: We might include it after release - it's an option.

However it was cut in favor of gameplay and fun. You can also create tension if you make every enemy visible. The game might get faster but it adds a bunch of new tactic-possibilities. It's more like a battlefield from above with conquering a whole section step by step and coordinating your actions better. You'll have to use different tactics than in JA2 of course but I can promise that even without the fog of war there's still enough tension in it.
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#15 bitComposer_Michael

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:51 PM

"we know that the players want it, but our CEO wants the game to be more casual. So they took a target group who want to finish a level in 3 minutes and they didn't like to sneak around".

Already said that I want to see the person who completes a level in 3 minutes...

A tactical game lives from moving careful from the beginning to the end.

Oh, you still have to do that.
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#16 unfinished business

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:26 PM

The word "geek" patch was maybe the wrong one. Let's call it an alternative hardcore-mode.

We know that removing the fog of war in late august would cause some very harsh reactions. It's a critical thing of course. It weren't just "some QA" people but a lot qualified people who also played JA2 before. Since then the game has evolved pretty much and the code has changed. That is why there won't be fog of war from the beginning. But as I said: We might include it after release - it's an option.

However it was cut in favor of gameplay and fun. You can also create tension if you make every enemy visible. The game might get faster but it adds a bunch of new tactic-possibilities. It's more like a battlefield from above with conquering a whole section step by step and coordinating your actions better. You'll have to use different tactics than in JA2 of course but I can promise that even without the fog of war there's still enough tension in it.


Could you be so kind and present new tactic-possibilities that emerge from having each and every enemy on the map visible from battle start in comparison to what, i suppose limited tactic possibilities with fog of war? You haven't played ja2, have You?
Sadly, i suspect only reason there won't be fow from beginning is engine can't handle it. If it was all about "new tactic possibilities" there would be fow on/off button. Don't get me wrong mate, i wish You all the best with upcoming release, but from what i learned about game so far, it doesn't look like success from my point of view. Maybe new system in stead of turns is good, but no fow sure isn't, and it looks like deal breaker for me.
edit: will there be a demo?

#17 bitComposer_Michael

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:37 PM

As said before: Since the Fog of War had been integrated already the engine is able to deal with it. Believe me or not.

An example for the tactic: you can now better coordinate ambushs if you adjust an enemie walking around without involving his friends.
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#18 Smoerble

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:01 PM

An example for the tactic: you can now better coordinate ambushs if you adjust an enemie walking around without involving his friends.


I hope, you don't think, we attack you, please forgive, if I sound rude too.

Your statement above explains exactly the problem we have with the missing of the FoW: it makes it MORE EASY to make an ambush. We WANT to be surprised by enemies we didn't see before. It's part of the thrill, to have a plan and then recognize, we didn't recon carefully enough.

Taking out FoW takes out a major part of the surprises. I see when an enemy reacts. In the original JA we never knew, if enemies are coming to help each other or not. This is now not possible anymore.

At least a significant part of the community wanted a difficult game. The company decided to take out a feature that we, the buying clients wanted. So far that's our problem and we can decide, if we want to buy the game or not.

But it get's annyoing if the comapny takes out a feature we want and still says "but hey, the game is more easy now."

#19 bitComposer_Michael

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:08 PM

But it get's annyoing if the comapny takes out a feature we want and still says "but hey, the game is more easy now."

As said before: Back in Action is a lot - but not easy. Even without Fog of War.
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#20 Smoerble

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:40 PM

As said before: Back in Action is a lot - but not easy. Even without Fog of War.


It seems, you always pick out one word/sentence and don't answer to the context:
It doesn't matter if it takes hours to complete a map. If I know, where every enemy is, it still can be hard to kill them... but the enemy is not able to sneak behind me. It's not surprising. The game is not as surprising for a gamer as it would be with a FoW.

JA was hard AND surprising, now JA is only hard.




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