Heavily Engaged: Ignorance Is Bliss

By Tim Stone on June 20th, 2011 at 3:38 pm.

While those who don’t read history are, allegedly, doomed to repeat it, they can at least sleep easy knowing they’ll never find themselves on wargame forums grumbling about infantry AI, ballistics modelling, and uniform accuracy. There have been occasions during my long career as a bedroom battle orchestrator, when I’ve wondered whether I wouldn’t have been a much happier player had I steered well clear of history books, documentaries and message-boards.

The trouble is, once you’ve gulped – or even sipped – from the cool well of knowledge, there’s no going back. No un-sipping. Once you know that an M5 didn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of killing a Tiger tank from the front, any game that suggests otherwise, becomes tainted. Once you learn that the Napoleonic infantry battalion’s best defence against a cavalry charge was to form a hollow square, any game in which the AI appears not to know this, loses some of its magic. An informed player tends to be a harder to please player.

True, the fact-furnished grog also tends to be more involved and more appreciative. As Professor Alvis Saracen’s 2002 seminal study ‘Are Educated Wargamers Happy Wargamers?” indicates, the potentially alienating effects of background knowledge only kick in at a certain point.

Without some historical knowledge, you’re going to miss out on all that delicious resonance. Moments when a dev’s smart design decisions and painstaking attention to detail conspire to produce uncannily credible events, will slip past unnoticed. The uninformed are denied those surges of satisfaction that come from applying authentic tactics and getting authentic results.

Things only start getting dangerous at the higher echelons of learning. When the average WW2 buff sees a Combat Mission: Battle For Normandy AP shell slice straight through three halftracks then kill a Sherman tank, he thinks “Blimey, Battlefront’s ballistics are amazing!”. When a gamer whose bookshelves bow with weighty armoured warfare studies, sees the same thing, his thoughts may be different. “Hmm. I wonder if Battlefront’s ballistics take into consideration the HE bursting charge in German AP shells“.

He starts questioning. If he doesn’t get reassuring answers he may lose confidence. Worst-case scenario, he finds his relationship with the game souring. “If I can’t trust you on this question,  where can I trust you?”

Peruse any wargame forum and you’ll spot knowledgeable grogs pricked into posting by perceived discrepancies between game and history. Sometimes the debates revolve around the absurdly trivial  (CMx1′s failure to model Bren Gun tripods is a running joke/sore over at the Battlefront message-boards). Sometimes they go right to the heart of what makes a wargame a wargame.

I never did get round to playing Matrix’s mammoth Ost Front opus War In The East. I wonder if I had, whether I’d have noticed that the game’s treatment of fortifications can lead to unrealistically static 1942 frontlines. Heliodorus04 might be a happier bunny if he knew less about Fall Blau and Operation Uranus.

Of course, asking a wargamer to be less interested in military history is a bit like asking a dog fox to be less interested in chickens, monocles, or velvet waistcoats. Maybe it’s up to the devs to tweak their ways…

Gentlemen, Gentleladies, I present to you my ‘Five-Step Guide To Grog Contentedness’ or ‘What Wargame Developers Can Do To Keep Their Most Demanding Customers Happy.’

1. Maintain radio contact
Having participated in a few “Tiger turret traverse rate too fast?”-type forum threads in my time, I know the soothing power of a simple ‘”Yes, we’re looking into this” or “Fixed in coming patch” reply. Even a brutally honest “We didn’t have time to implement this” Or “This was low down on our list of priorities because…” is better than silence or evasion.

While a lot of wargame makers are actually pretty good at communicating with their fans, most could learn something from masters like Veitikka. Every time I stop by the Armored Brigade forum to see what’s new in the world of this regularly updated, free tactics gem, I’m impressed by the patience and honesty of the game’s Finnish creator.

The Veitikka Way: Facing blunt AI criticism? Take criticism on chin, possibly even use it as the basis for an improvement. Complimented on your AI? Downplay your achievements, and make no bones about the challenges ahead.

2. Keep things malleable
Sometimes no amount of explanation is going to placate the righteous petitioner. In such circumstances, the perfect safety-valve is a suite of editors and mod tools. If Swastickler79 refuses to accept that SS troops weren’t danger-dismissing über-warriors, remind him he can always massage their morale levels and combat abilities by hand.

3. Keep things abstract
The more explicit the wargame, the more chance there is the learned wargamer will spot something that looks awry. Consider Combat Mission’s new attitude towards timber. In the old CMx1 days woodland was an abstracted terrain type. You edged troops into it knowing that it would provide cover and concealment. CMBFN gives us individually modelled trunks and with them some brand-new realism headaches. Just how many 20mm cannon shells should it take to fell a mature Normandy poplar?

4. Lighten the mood
While the reaction to the Brothers In Arms 4 announcement proves you’ve got to be careful mixing whimsy with military history, I suspect wargames wouldn’t attract so much earnest criticism if they weren’t themselves so suffocatingly earnest, so determinedly po-faced. Matrix’s fairly recent Battlefield Academy had a jaunty comic-book style that made questions of mortar ranges and armour angles seem pretty unimportant.

5. Mine minor wars
Perhaps the best defence the makers of historical strategy have against the nitpickers and rivet counters, is obscurity. While thousands of us know – or think we know – something about how Shermans should fare against Panthers, or how a Napoleonic general might use cavalry, most of us are largely clueless when it comes to, say, the WWI Gebirgskrieg, the New Zealand Land Wars, or tribal clashes in Iron Age Briton. I suspect one of the many reasons I enjoyed Shogun 2 more than Napoleon: Total War, was not that its depiction of warfare is more realistic, it’s simply because I was less aware of the discrepancies.

http://monstersinthesky.com/

I’d love to see some of my favourite wargame developers de-starch their collars/under-garments in the way that some of their tabletop and board wargame peers have done in recent years. Colonial warfare with a little dash of pulp adventure! Twenties aerial combat with a few flying Ironclads and cloud-dwarfing dirigibles! Underpinned by the same armatures of truth that underpin good grog fodder, such mash-ups could be just the crossover crowd-pleasers the genre needs. The day I spot an “AT rifles too strong vs Stegosaurs?” thread over at Battlefront.com or a “Carden Loyd tankette tactics against Martian tripods?” post at MatrixGames.com, will be a fine one indeed.

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60 Comments »

  1. Novotny says:

    Tim Stone rocks. I would read his grocery lists.

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      Man Raised by Puffins says:

      Hear, Hear. Long live HMS Tim Stone and all who sail in her.

  2. Stranglove says:

    Those captions make me so mad.

    I totally agree with this article, and I’m a real sucker for historical realism. The games I enjoy the most are (usually) the ones that take real world statistics into consideration.

    Also, now I’m desperate to know more of the WWI Gebirgskrieg.

  3. President Weasel says:

    I’m sorry, but two of those captions are wrong.
    Lemon curd is the messiest of the preserves, due to its sheer stickiosity quotient. Also that’s clearly not a dinotherium, as it doesn’t have downwards curving tusks (and the deinotherium had only two propellors). Is it an indricothere?

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      AndrewC says:

      Lemon Curd has a +2 camoflage modifier advantage over Marmalde on white paper, increasing over time if delpoyed in ‘thin spread’ formation. And it smells nicer.

    • westyfield says:

      The reason the notes claim it is the messiest preserve is because the note-taker has made no attempt to clean it off. Not even a cursory wipe!
      Only when your entire page is covered with a veneer of dried marmalade can you make such a claim!

  4. Premium User Badge

    MonkeyMonster says:

    Yet another lovely bit of work from the bringers of “Is the Cake a lie? We ask the other door if the first thinks it’s real” “Comic books: what one would you put in a time capsule?” and “Healing, how not keep your friends alive and make enemies stronger”

  5. Bhazor says:

    “I’d love to see some of my favourite wargame developers de-starch their collars/under-garments in the way that some of their tabletop and board wargame peers have done in recent years. Colonial warfare with a little dash of pulp adventure! Twenties aerial combat with a few flying Ironclads and cloud-dwarfing dirigibles! Underpinned by the same armatures of truth that underpin good grog fodder, such mash-ups could be just the crossover crowd-pleasers the genre needs.”

    Gosh yes. I would adore a space trading/big mech game with the same grounded painstaking research as the best tank sim. It’s one reason I like Mech Warrior so much is it has at least the taste of a proper sim. It’s still a long way short of this though.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzpUVtVUBTI
    Fascinatingly bleak video that.

    • Torgen says:

      Parsing penetration logs in WWII Online beta was actually quite fun at times. One time in a mission I wrote an AAR on for the company, my panzer driver suddenly was obliterated. The screen went black without warning, and his body slumped against the controls. The bad part was, I was at the top of a long, steep slope that led to the Meuse river, and the tank started rolling forward, slowly picking up speed as the rest of the crew (read: me) screamed and the river got closer and closer, until the horrible end. Since whomever had shot me was now protected by the crest of the hill, I spun the turret around and shelled the church tower in impotent rage as I hurtled to my doom.

      Reading the penetration logs later, a French tank had been hiding behind a building in the village, and popped out behind me, planting a 3mm round into my backside. It slammed through the rear armor, the engine, the transmission, the driver’s seatback, the driver’s HEAD and lodge into the driver’s viewport from the inside.

      Because the transmission was wiped out, the tank started free-rolling down the hill.

    • jamesgecko says:

      @Torgen No mention of the realism of WWII Online can be complete without the IRC transcript of Lum The Mad attempting to fly a plane for the first time.

      http://wiki.onlinegamers.org/index.php?title=TAXI_TO_VICTORY!

    • Dozer says:

      http://wiki.onlinegamers.org/index.php?title=TAXI_TO_VICTORY!
      Trailing exclamation mark. I think it got cropped off your post.
      TAXI_TO_VICTORY! not TAXI_TO_VICTORY

      edit: it crops me too. Wow, that IRC log is from ten years ago. TEN YEARS AGO.

  6. Jumwa says:

    Now I REALLY want to see that game with ironclads and metal dirigibles going at it. That’s too exciting a premise to just brush off like this.

  7. Curry the Great says:

    Sadly, I know the name of the equipment shown on every picture, because I’ve played so many WW2 games with a realism focus. I think however there’s a fine line between gameplay and realism that’s too often crossed for the sake of realism. I have a problem with this, even though I know a relative lot about WW2 equipment and how they should behave.

    For example, the latest patch for Red Orchestra’s mod Darkest Hour, added mortars to the game. It’s a lovely new gameplay element but I think realism got in the way of proper implementation. The Germans get the 80mm short-barrelled mortar, with a lower range but a much more powerful round. While the Allies get the 60mm, a mortar that firest faster and has much higher range, but it’s round is quite light. Now in theory one could appreciate the difference in the gameplay, the Germans having to get closer to the lines to use their big short-ranged mortars, firing slowly but very damaging, while the Allied mortars would be able to fire from far away and fast, though with less effect on target.
    The problem, however, is that most maps are quite small and the view distance is rather low compared to what you would have in real life. This causes the allied mortar’s much longer range to actually be a drawback, because it has a much higher minimum range too, nearly outside the view distance on some maps. The German mortar is a million times better, because it’s shorter range never matters, in fact, the low minimum range allows for effective direct fire. On the forums there’s a discussion about this, and it appears the developers gave both sides the mortars according to their real-life weight. The Allies díd have an 80mm in real life too, but it was much heavier, and wouldn’t have been able to be carried by a single man.

    Were I the developer I think it would be perfectly acceptable to put the 80mm mortar in for both sides, and I think my approach to the design would be more gameplay oriented while still trying to keep it realistic.
    The average player that tries to discuss this on the forums is rather harshly shoo’d away by saying the implementation is realistic, and this is a realistic game, so he shouldn’t complain.

    Darkest Hour seems to have this tendency in more ways than this, and I don’t think it’s good for the game. I think this is something that’s quite a problem for realistic games that still rely on a decently-sized audience to be a proper multiplayer game.

    • Dana says:

      So you are saying that on smaller maps, german mortar is better then american one ? And ?

    • Curry the Great says:

      I’m saying that there should be a focus on gameplay over realism, even in realistic games.

    • Lukasz says:

      In most games you are probably right.

      not in RO. it supposed to be as realistic as it is possible for multiplayer FPS. Giving equipment which wouldn’t be used by a side at the time is not a proper thing to do in game such as RO.

    • Torgen says:

      Lukasz, then the maps need to be modified that the weapons can actually be used. The map dimensions themselves are chosen for gameplay purposes (as is everything else in the game.)

  8. Dozer says:

    Tim what you say is relevant for wargames but also for any kind of simulation or modelling of any kind of history. Once you know how many rivets the real thing had, you can’t help but count the number on the model and be annoyed by any discrepancy.

    • President Weasel says:

      Perhaps my knowing considerably more (or being less abysmally ignorant) of the tactics and abilities of Napoleonic era units in comparison to Shogunate era Japan or mediaeval Europe is one of the reasons I was so dissatisfied by Napoleon Total War.

  9. skinlo says:

    I’m not really a history fan, so don’t notice any of this. I prefer playing games set in the future than going back in time.

  10. Nighthood says:

    For me, it was playing ArmA2 that spoiled everything. I remember a while ago I could play any military shooter and enjoy it fine, and would have probably sort of enjoyed the Call of Duty games. Now, I can’t play a military shooter if it doesn’t have bullet drop, one shot kills, getting shot from miles away, heavy teamwork basis, and so on. That said, it’s probably made me a more tactical and forward thinking person, so I guess it’s been a success really.

    Also, more if this sort of thing.

    • HeavyHarris says:

      Men of War spoiled RTS’s for me. I just cant watch a group of twenty tanks go up against another group of twenty tanks and just kinda sit there until one side wipes the other out anymore. Company of Heroes is unplayable now.

  11. wilsonam says:

    Now, as someone repeatedly on the receiving end of debates, complaints and general furore about armor penetration, turret traverse weights and the ability of a 7.92×57 Patrone sS to penetrate 3 inches of red brick… I have to say “great article”. With RO being a realism-based game, it gets very hard to get “balance”. There are times that systems have to be abstracted. For example – original design for RO2 had the game taking account of what ammo was stored in what bin for each tank; it would then keep track of which bin the loader grabbed his UBR-354B from (bad example, the T-34 only had bins under the floor, I’m just using it as an example. Badly. Live with it.); it would account for any ready-racks and allow the player to restock the ready-racks from less accessible bins in quieter moments on the battlefield. But then we realized it was a complete pain to code – and 99.9% of players probably wouldn’t give a rat’s bum. So we abstracted to “average” reload times. And now I’ll get told off on the RO forums… bolt-counters – we DO love you really – just go easy on us!

    • HeavyHarris says:

      That feature sounds so appealing to me but if it was a pain to code then I’d rather have my slightly less (very slightly) realistic game than ask devs to program something that is ultimately superfluous. Cheers.

  12. Vinraith says:

    Brilliant piece, this kind of thing is why I read RPS.

    On a faintly related note, are you aware of the upcoming 2.0 versions of Matrix’s revised Close Combat games, Tim? I know you’d mentioned having an interest in them awhile back. Since then I’ve picked up Wacht am Rhein and am quite enjoying it, and planning to get the others (hopefully as bday gifts) in the near future. Apparently a huge set of (free) improvements are being released soon for the entire suite, at which point it might be an ideal time for you to take a look at them. I’m particularly excited about the redone version of CC2, always my favorite of the series, which appears to have a markedly more dynamic campaign.

  13. President Weasel says:

    can you link the thing?

  14. Ginger Yellow says:

    By analogy to the Chick Parabola, I think the graph should be called the Stone Curve. Or possibly the Geryk Curve, given that he is the primary exemplar of it in action.

  15. Temple says:

    I… I don’t want that modded in.
    I find it hard enough to follow orders as it is.
    (and can you imagine the modding tools necessary)
    ((and the dev that thought it was necessary))

    • Nalano says:

      In reply to the post you’re replying to but that got deleted… yeah.

      Reminds me of how easy E:TW or Civ5 is, when it comes to total domination, and most of that’s because you’re ONE leader, unquestioned, and you stay in power through time immemorial.

      How would one simulate capricious leadership, high-handed political dictums and otherwise contradictory orders (not to mention the difficulty of getting orders to the troops, which is where training and tactical commanders come in)?

      You don’t even need to talk about the commissariat for that – you can look at our own Civil War for what it means to have politicians in generals’ clothing.

  16. Turin Turambar says:

    “5. Mine minor wars”

    Bad hint if you actually want to sell the game! :P

  17. man-eater chimp says:

    Fantastic Mr Stone, and very true. But I always feel a bit pretentious getting annoyed at historical inaccuracies in games for some reason… I don’t know.

    The unfortunate thing about playing something new like Shogun is that I inevitably become interested in that period of history and then look it up myself.

  18. mrwout says:

    While this is a great article that has some great points about games and gameplay etc., it pains me to see that yet again people so to equal history to a list of stats and facts about military equipment and military tactics. While you may call this historical accuracy, it aint history. To quote Dozer a few posts up “Tim what you say is relevant for wargames but also for any kind of simulation or modelling of any kind of history. Once you know how many rivets the real thing had, you can’t help but count the number on the model and be annoyed by any discrepancy.” (my emphasis). How many rivets an armored vehicle had, is not and will probably never be of any real historical importance.
    Sorry for venting my frustrations here, just couldn’t help myself…

    • Michael Dorosh says:

      Historical accuracy has never been about rivet-counting, but replicating trees – not the trees Mr. Stone talks about, but decision trees. A game is only as good as the decisions a player is forced to make during the game. It doesn’t matter if a tank is modelled as having two “armour factors”, or if it is modelled in 3-D with 10,000 polygons and all fire is tracked with an actual real-world physics ballistics model that computes wind, velocity, kinetic energy, gravity, and the rotation of the earth. What matters more is what decisions both the AI controlling the in-game components, and the players, made to put the vehicles and weapons in the various juxtapositions to each other. If complete and total accuracy is impossible – and I think this is a given for any “historical” game given that all the factors are not quantifiable and even if so, about 99% of the pertinent data has never been collected – it shouldn’t matter how much fidelity you try and put into the other 1%, calling it “historically accurate” is still going to be an exercise in fiction.

    • kongming says:

      Real, meaningful historical knowledge is the product of years of study, lots of time spent with primary sources (and thus probably fluency in two or more languages), evaluation by accredited experts, hundreds of pages of writing in which historical ideas and concepts are subject to critical thinking and rigorous analysis…

      You can see why a certain type of person would find meaningless WWII (it always seems to be WWII, doesn’t it?) armament statistics more appealing. It’s a whole lot less work. It’s the same mentality that encourages people to memorize all kinds of useless trivia about, say, their favorite sports teams.

    • alh_p says:

      ah but if the rivets, or the plates they join, were a key advantage or weakness exploited by the hardware’s users’, then isn’t it a crucial detail? As Michael says, it’s about replicating some element of what contempories felt or went through.

  19. Frank says:

    The f***’s a grog?

  20. Arglebargle says:

    Good article, What fun to read!

    You know, I have played a number of brigade/division level simulations with the US Army’s tank training crew, and they used free kreigspiel, with a single d6 determining all questions and events.

    Take that, armor penetration argument!

  21. timmyvos says:

    After playing games like Theatre of War and Men of War I really can’t enjoy Company of Heroes anymore (Sherman surviving a direct hit to the side from a King Tiger?) but fortunately the Blitzkrieg mod solves most of the problems

  22. pepper says:

    Its a bloody 2 pounder and a boys rifle you fool!

    Hehe….

  23. Tim James says:

    Tim, you can’t do two wargaming introspectives in a row. You need to mix it up with some games.

    I’m still getting into this genre. I’m excited about the games. At first I was interested in the analysis of the genre and its fans. But for some reason that interest level fell off a cliff. I’m already tired of people writing about stodgy, creepy wargamers.

    Maybe it’s still interesting for people that have been at this for 30 years. Just don’t forget to make new fans in between picking at the old ones.

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      Daiv says:

      But the grog in his natural habitat is a fascinating creature. Look, I’ll call one over and you can admire his threat/bluff posture display.

      *ahem*: “The World of Tanks VK3601H medium tank has an accurate rate of turret traverse!”

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Actually, the VK601H was a prototype. Only one was built, and it never had a turret installed. Thus, there is no known ‘accurate’ rate of turret traverse for that machine.

      :)

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    Carra says:

    From that forum:
    “Given the M3 has .25″ armor on the sides except the .50″ windshield cover, I could see it theoretically happening if you caught 4 of them lined up, and assuming the round could penetrate over 2″ of armor overall. Still, pretty freaky event. I’ve read of a few double penetrations in WW2 AFV combat, but never more than that.”

    Nonsense. Everyone knows you need two panthers to double penetrate an M3.

    • Fumarole says:

      Now I have in my mind the image of two Panthers performing an Eiffel Tower on the poor Lee. Thanks for that.

  25. Walsh says:

    It’s a TRAP!

  26. Michael Dorosh says:

    The first three are well stated; the last two aren’t supported by the examples you yourself give. Battlefront has not been well served by “minor” wars – T-72, CM: Afghanistan, or CM: Shock Force. Mining the desert for unique tactical situations, or obscure wars with third generation equipment, doesn’t seem like a recipe for success. BFC doesn’t release sales figures, but note that CM:SF was an experiment in retail – and hit the bargain bin at a time that CM:BB, also available via retail, was still selling at a price point double that, despite being years older. There’s simply very little to mine in the obscure conflicts that can be profitable, unless as add-ons for fully featured base games. And I don’t think we’ve seen that yet for their current game engine. And as they struggle to keep fans of the old and new happy – I think the less they try and be funny – or “light”, as you say – the better they are served as well. They keep gibbering about “Space Lobsters of Doom” over there, but it’s reached the point where it’s simply trite, and if they ever actually release it, we will know desperation has finally set in. It was bad enough when they pitched out a World War II version of Drop Team as a serious idea.

  27. asehujiko says:

    i don’t think AT rifles can be realistically “too strong” against Stegosaurs, by all accounts they should be able reliably oneshot them.

    And the best solution to the invulnerably tree problem is Men of War/Hat: 152mm HE explodes against tree, enemy infantry is pulverized by 4 tons of spruce flying in their direction at near supersonic speed.

  28. JFS says:

    Awww… Monsters in the Sky. I have the link bookmarked somewhere. Did something finally come of it? Has it been released?

  29. Dreamhacker says:

    There is a thin red line between ultra-realism and stupidity in war games.

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    Chaz says:

    Well I read plenty of military history books and I can’t say that this sort of thing has ever bothered me, but then the kind of books I read don’t tend to go into details such as the bullet drop range on a Baker rifle etc, and frankly I’ve never felt I needed to know this and many other mind numbing specifications. Because the best history books of course focus on the most important aspects of war, which is of course the people that hold the guns and drive the tanks etc. Anyway games are games, I don’t expect them to be real but I do expect them to be fun.

  31. Panzeh says:

    There’s a point in wargaming where even the most grognardiest of grognards don’t really understand. It’s easy to look up penetration tables and armor values to see how tanks stack up, but very few look at the actual combat records, which are actually interesting.

    For example, in Tank vs Tank combat between the US and German armor, the most important determinant of the victor wasn’t armor or armament, but who acquired a target and fired first, and generally this had to do with the tactical offense or defense. Any hit on a tank could potentially cause damage, even penetration, even when it “shouldn’t” due to things like shot traps. Basically, each side took a lot more casualties in tanks on the offensive than on the defensive, so as the US and UK attacked to break out of Normandy, they took more tank casualties, and when the Germans attempted to counterattack, lo and behold, they took more tank losses.

    Wargames tend to emphasize the easily-looked up parts of war, and ignore other things, though, so you get games that basically make the Sherman impotent. There’s too much visibility, too much “easy” tank-infantry cooperation in games like CM. These are problems that remain to this day, and to see them not really simulated kind of cheapens the realism argument.

  32. scharmers says:

    Griping about rivet counters, and attempting to find ways to placate them is a lost cause, Tim.

    Thanks,

    Scharmers, who knows all about this from the flight sim angle :)

  33. malkav11 says:

    One thing I’ve never really gotten about the whole affair (and a big part of why I’ve never really gotten into wargaming despite a passing interest) is the grognardy focus on replicating what actually happened. For me, what actually happened is something to read about in books. What I want from a videogame is to create alternate histories. And I grant you that there is something to be said from starting with a decently accurate picture of how things were at the starting point, from which then one can diverge in a way that is at least conceivable. But I feel like that should only be the starting point.

  34. Gadriel says:

    I love the idea of wargames. I love reading AARs. I love watching people play them. I love looking at them. I just can’t play them. The really accurate, good ones are just not fun to me. They’re always many times more complex than what’s really necessary, with obtuse UIs and manuals thicker than most textbooks.

    However, I love games that blend fun gameplay and historical accuracy. The TW games are a fine example (when sufficiently modded). I’m fine with all of that complex accurate modelling of real-world historical stuff and whatnot, but I want it behind the scenes. I want to make the big, meaningful decisions and not stress about the details. Abstract it for me. Make use of my CPU cycles and model logistics down to every slice of bread if you want but present it to me as something simple.

    To be honest sometimes they go too far with what you have to worry about. A big part of leadership is delegation after all.

  35. nootron says:

    I’m a firm believer that realism has absolutely no place in war-themed video games.

    Of course, real war lacks the slightest hint of fun.

    How can one demand the physics of a shell be realistic, but be content with no smell of burning flesh filling your nostrils? Why must a war game ship with painstaking attention to the machinery of war, yet not induce survivor’s guilt and frequent nightmares of the death rattles of your fallen comrades?

    Realism is the antithesis of fun. If this weren’t completely true, none of us would ever play Minecraft. Instead, we’d go mining. None of us would play Dirt 3, we would instead go driving. And none of us would play a war game, we’d just head on down to the local recruiter’s office and sign up.

    Here’s one gamer who prefers the unreal, the absurd and the inauthenticity that surround us in every great game that’s ever been made.

    :P

  36. Caveat53 says:

    One thing that always terribly pissed me off about WW2 games, that I have never once seen one get right: The Germans used SMOKLESS FLASHLESS powder meaning no muzzle flashes. That was a serious thread the Allies because during night encounters they couldn’t see where the hell the shooting was coming from.

  37. aircool says:

    The day I spot an “AT rifles too strong vs Stegosaurs?” thread over at Battlefront.com or a “Carden Loyd tankette tactics against Martian tripods?” post at MatrixGames.com, will be a fine one indeed.

    This ^^

  38. Paddington says:

    I approve of this article, and look forward to more marmalade-themed writings on RPS in the future.

  39. Navagon says:

    Indestructible trees… it’s lucky they barely move or we’d all be screwed.

    Many wise words here. Especially in that chart. Even the non-marmalade bit.