Another crack at a Squad Leader computer game

zgrose

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From wargamer.com:

Paradox Entertainment announced today new plans to develop computer games based on Avalon Hill's well-known Diplomacy and Squad Leader games. Although few details were announced, but expect Paradox to build on its experience with Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron, Crusader Kings and other historical grand strategy games to develop these classic board games into computer games. Diplomacy and Squad Leader were both made into loosely-translated computer games (albeit poor ones - see our reviews of Squad Leader and Diplomacy on the PC) by Microprose in 2000, but fans are no doubt hoping for better luck with these Paradox-developed titles.

Diplomacy was originally released in 1976, and features strategic level "international intrigue," played across old Europe where the rules of diplomacy are the primary game mechanics (the game's basic layout is actually quite similar to many of Paradox's titles). Squad Leader is the well regarded tactical-level game of World War II infantry battles, whose many modules for the Advanced edition have extended its life on tabletops for years beyond its 1977 debut.


“We will be working closely with Atari and Wizards of the Coast to make sure we maximize the potential these brands have. We feel that Paradox is the right partner to develop the PC Games these brands and their fans deserveâ€, says Theodore Bergquist, CEO of Paradox Entertainment.
 

Hubbs5

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Funny but I thought Rodney Kinney and some others had already developed ASL for the computer for playing against each other and Lars is developing the SASL version. :wink:
 

DLYoung70

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VASL isn't a computer game, it's an internet portal framework that allows human opponents to play each other using a computer. The distinction is very clear. VASL has no built in method for dealing with anything other than the visual... a player must know the rules, make the calculations when attacking, count the MP's when moving, etc. It's the greatest thing to ever happen to ASL, but it's still not a "game".

A true SL computer game will have all the workings of the board game internalized. Instead of having to decipher what all the FP and modifiers and all that are when making an attack, it will simply be a matter of "I want these guys over here to shoot at those guys over there" and the dirty work gets done by the computer.

More importantly, a computer game doesn't require an opponent. It has AI that competes AGAINST the player. Frankly, I can't see how this is even possible with a game like SL. There are simply too many variables in small unit action in this time period. It's hard enough with something like Napoloenic warfare (like the old Talonsoft games) where there are specific rules of how a battle is fought. But in WW2? At the battalion/platoon/squad level that SL uses? I can't imagine a viable AI can be created that will challenge more than the casual commander.

Someone posted over in the WarfareHQ forums that they're waiting for someone to buy VASL from Rodney and make it a full computer game. Or maybe the VASL guys will start making it "less an enabler, more a game" by coding into VASL as much of the calculations and rules as is possible, so that the only thing missing is the AI. I think that's the best thing that could happen, because AI at that level is fruitless.

Just for chuckles, here are some things I think that might be worked into VASL that would make it more "game":

1) LOS checks - click your unit, click another hex, presto the interface tells you if you can see it, shoot at it, and with what modifiers if any.

2) Blind combat - each player only sees on his screen his own units and any opposing units that are within his units LOS. If they are hiding (concealed, etc.) within LOS, he only see's the "?", no stack. When they go out of LOS of any of his units, they disappear from his screen.

3) Computer handles "tasks". Automatically checks all the various annoyances that the player usually has to do, at the appropriate time. Things like weather change, wind change, handles changes in smoke level, etc.

4) (This is kinda the big one, the one that would push VASL as close to being a "game" as I think it can be) Automatic attack calculation and execution. Select the units attacking, select the target... the game returns the FP, modifiers, maybe even the IFT (or TH chart if we're talking ordnance/armor) row for that attack with the roll #'s adjusted to compensate for the mods. The attacker simply presses "yes" to go thru with it, "no" to back off and try something else. If he presses "yes", the interface rolls the dice and shows the results, including all following effects (rolls for MC's, PTC's, random selection, rubble, burn, etc.). A "target list" on the side of the screen at all appropriate moments (pop ups for Def fire possibilities when an opponent moves thru LOS!) would be nice too, simply select a target off the list and then the units with which to attack it!

Anyway, that's just my $.02, or actually about $1.75... who knows what will come of a computer game, or where the next steps are for VASL.

Darrell
 

Bazounga

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Paradox makes very good games.
Europa Universalis is one of the very last games I still play on my computer.
I guess they could achieve a good game, though we can be quite sure that the AI will once again be completely stupid.
No game ever did a computer opponent which is able to correctly adapt to the human player.
Anyway, the main interrest of such a game would be the online multiplayer game.
 

larth

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Darrel,

DLYoung70 said:
A true SL computer game will have all the workings of the board game internalized. Instead of having to decipher what all the FP and modifiers and all that are when making an attack, it will simply be a matter of "I want these guys over here to shoot at those guys over there" and the dirty work gets done by the computer.

More importantly, a computer game doesn't require an opponent. It has AI that competes AGAINST the player.
Right! - (unashamed plug) you might want to have a look at JASL. URL is in the sig below. And yes, the AI is not challenging for more than casual play. :)

Anyway, the second and final beta of the next release is about to be posted on http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/jasluser "real soon now".

cheers,
Lars
 
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