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lansoar April 28th, 2022 11:29 PM

4K and large monitors
 
1 Attachment(s)
hi,

Question on my mind regarding the future of WinSPMBT and WinSPWW2. I know the engine is based off of the original SP2 model in terms of graphic display during the combat phase. The SP3 engine (used by MatrixGames for SP:WAW), changed the interface in a fundamental way by introducing windowed messages during the combat phase that were centered on the monitor.

The SP2 engine, split combat info into two areas, the top of the screen for information on the firing weapon and it's combat calculations. The bottom of the screen for hits and the results of said hits.

(see attached image)

with the deployment of 4K (even 8K) monitors of sizes such as the 43" monitor I own, its become almost impossible to follow the information during the combat phase. Even with pause settings lengthened, its extremely difficult to read the information presented during the combat resolution phase on a large monitor with a 4K or higher resolution. Your literally flicking your eyes from the top of the screen to the bottom to try to digest what's going on. Often its just too fast to register. Even if one could slow it down sufficiently, the pause would make turn resolution take way too long.

My question for the developers is: Can the way information during the combat phase is displayed be modified or is that too fundamental a change to the Game Engine and thus impractical? I'm hoping its not impossible, but I get it that there's only so much the team can do with a game going on 30 years old.

Thx!

Felix Nephthys April 29th, 2022 01:01 AM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
If I may, I'm not one of the developers of this game but I believe I can answer this. Since WinSPMBT and WinSPWW2 are built from the SP2 code I think logically a change to a SP3/SP:WAW format would be impossible. Also, as I think DRG or Mobhack said, this recent update will probably be the last for both MBT and WW2.

Wdll April 29th, 2022 09:05 AM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by lansoar (Post 852406)
hi,

Question on my mind regarding the future of WinSPMBT and WinSPWW2. I know the engine is based off of the original SP2 model in terms of graphic display during the combat phase. The SP3 engine (used by MatrixGames for SP:WAW), changed the interface in a fundamental way by introducing windowed messages during the combat phase that were centered on the monitor.

The SP2 engine, split combat info into two areas, the top of the screen for information on the firing weapon and it's combat calculations. The bottom of the screen for hits and the results of said hits.

(see attached image)

with the deployment of 4K (even 8K) monitors of sizes such as the 43" monitor I own, its become almost impossible to follow the information during the combat phase. Even with pause settings lengthened, its extremely difficult to read the information presented during the combat resolution phase on a large monitor with a 4K or higher resolution. Your literally flicking your eyes from the top of the screen to the bottom to try to digest what's going on. Often its just too fast to register. Even if one could slow it down sufficiently, the pause would make turn resolution take way too long.

My question for the developers is: Can the way information during the combat phase is displayed be modified or is that too fundamental a change to the Game Engine and thus impractical? I'm hoping its not impossible, but I get it that there's only so much the team can do with a game going on 30 years old.

Thx!

Not the dev. Basically what the other user replied to you. Plus, I suggest you do what I do, play in windowed mode. Yes I know it's far from perfect, but we are talking about a very old game engine and...well, such is life.

lansoar April 29th, 2022 08:47 PM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
I agree with you both. There's only so much that can be done. Never hurts to ask though. :)

It doesn't make the game unplayable, but with recent computer builds and higher resolutions available, most of which can be supported by the latest versions of WinSP......its a question that has been on my mind. The Dev team supporting WinSP has done wonders to keep this old series relevant in a world filled with 3D arcade style "historical" war-games that are anything but and have produced more than one "hat trick" improvement.

Actually I do play in windowed mode by default, but at the higher resolution rates offered by the paid version of the games, the issue remains. (small text at the top of the screen and small text at the bottom of the screen during the combat phase)

lower resolution modes are an option. But I do love the detail artwork improvements in recent WinSP versions at higher resolutions. Anyway, if its impossible its impossible. I participated in the SP:WAW project and it had its own set of pros and cons. one of the pros was the SP3 engine central windowed messages. Maybe a future product can merge these pros.

DRG April 30th, 2022 06:51 AM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
I will touch on a number of issues raised

One thing both Andy and I disliked about the SP3 game engine was those annoying pop-up message boxes and that's why they are not in our versions of the game. To remind myself what it was like I just ran a quick game and it all came back to me immediately why I didn't like it ( didn't like it A LOT )

Another thing we both agree on is during game play we both focus on what is happening on the screen. We don't need a message to tell us our infantry unit is taking casualties we can see it as the game centres the screen on the relevant action. And as a result, I hardly ever look at the messages on the screen except when I am picking a target to check which one has the best hit chance.

That said it *might* ( maybe) be possible to code in message display option that lets players choose either the SP2 type message display or the SP3 type message display (maybe) but right at this moment in time we both have many other Real life/ non game development things we both want and need to do and MAYBE this idea MIGHT be explored some time in the future ( MAYBE)

EDIT....... Andy just emailed me that this is definately NOT going to happen as "every instance of where we put a message on the bottom of the screen would need finding and an if/else clause wrapped round it also messages at the top line, and likely elsewhere - plus on the sub screens like the encyclopaedia"

I just checked the code and there would be thousands of places this would need code added in both games so not going to happen especially for something we never liked. I only mentioned it to him on the hopes the option to display that way could be handled with a specific bit of code

Finally the comment from Wdll

Quote:

play in windowed mode. Yes I know it's far from perfect, but we are talking about a very old game engine
Considering there was no windowed mode option for SP until Andy wrote the code to make it happen the "very old game engine" comment is a BIT odd but as I have said many times and the information is included right at the start of both Game guides........ if the Taskbar at the bottom of the screen is somehow ruining your gaming experience, run the games with "Borderless Gaming"

https://github.com/Codeusa/Borderless-Gaming/releases

It is simple and it gives you the game running in windowed mode which is how it was designed to be run but it will look exactly like a game running full screen and if anyone finds as I do that the Changes MS has made to windows show a couple of pixels width of the desktop on the left and right of the game in windowed mode ........"Borderless Gaming" eliminates that for free and for very little effort.

For me personally, the taskbar exposed and available while the game is running is one of the best features of SPMBT or SPWW2 but that's primarily because during game development I might need to have 4 or 5 programs running AND the game. Really....... neither Andy or I see the taskbar showing as the "issue" that some players do but Borderless Gaming has the solution..... for free

Wdll April 30th, 2022 10:38 AM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DRG (Post 852414)
I will touch on a number of issues raised

One thing both Andy and I disliked about the SP3 game engine was those annoying pop-up message boxes and that's why they are not in our versions of the game. To remind myself what it was like I just ran a quick game and it all came back to me immediately why I didn't like it ( didn't like it A LOT )

Another thing we both agree on is during game play we both focus on what is happening on the screen. We don't need a message to tell us our infantry unit is taking casualties we can see it as the game centres the screen on the relevant action. And as a result, I hardly ever look at the messages on the screen except when I am picking a target to check which one has the best hit chance.

That said it *might* ( maybe) be possible to code in message display option that lets players choose either the SP2 type message display or the SP3 type message display (maybe) but right at this moment in time we both have many other Real life/ non game development things we both want and need to do and MAYBE this idea MIGHT be explored some time in the future ( MAYBE)

EDIT....... Andy just emailed me that this is definately NOT going to happen as "every instance of where we put a message on the bottom of the screen would need finding and an if/else clause wrapped round it also messages at the top line, and likely elsewhere - plus on the sub screens like the encyclopaedia"

I just checked the code and there would be thousands of places this would need code added in both games so not going to happen especially for something we never liked. I only mentioned it to him on the hopes the option to display that way could be handled with a specific bit of code

Finally the comment from Wdll

Quote:

play in windowed mode. Yes I know it's far from perfect, but we are talking about a very old game engine
Considering there was no windowed mode option for SP until Andy wrote the code to make it happen the "very old game engine" comment is a BIT odd but as I have said many times and the information is included right at the start of both Game guides........ if the Taskbar at the bottom of the screen is somehow ruining your gaming experience, run the games with "Borderless Gaming"

https://github.com/Codeusa/Borderless-Gaming/releases

It is simple and it gives you the game running in windowed mode which is how it was designed to be run but it will look exactly like a game running full screen and if anyone finds as I do that the Changes MS has made to windows show a couple of pixels width of the desktop on the left and right of the game in windowed mode ........"Borderless Gaming" eliminates that for free and for very little effort.

For me personally, the taskbar exposed and available while the game is running is one of the best features of SPMBT or SPWW2 but that's primarily because during game development I might need to have 4 or 5 programs running AND the game. Really....... neither Andy or I see the taskbar showing as the "issue" that some players do but Borderless Gaming has the solution..... for free


Just to clarify something that perhaps need clarification.

My point about the game engine being old was exactly that. The game is old and the fact that we have so many things added to it (one of my fav is the mini map additions) should be considered lucky. Adding new things is not easy if possible at all. Also, how many games which have as long history as this one keep having active support, updates? A handful not including another handful of MMOs which are their own thing?
I too, as I have mentioned it in the past here in the forum, would like something more done regarding messages/text in the game. Few years ago larger text option was added as we all know, but unfortunately for me, I still find the text too small for my taste. But I have come to peace with it and I completely get it why we are most likely never going to see something more done about it. I get it.

Now, I don't know about the specific of the pop up windows mentioned, last time I played other Steel Panthers games was about 20 years ago. I don't remember the details of the GUI of those games, so I can't comment on this specific suggested solution.
Not that it would matter for reasons explained and make sense.

Mobhack April 30th, 2022 11:42 AM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
SP3 had really annoying dialogue box type messages that popped up smack in the screen centre and got in the way since they were huge. We made a decision to go with the SP2 code base mainly as this behaviour was baked-in to the SP3 code base. The dialogues were really nasty and Don and I hated them!

It also put numbers of men on infantry formations, so you instantly knew which ones were the company commanders. Rule #1 was to insta-kill the little tiddlers...

It had single icons representing tank platoons, so it handled "disabled" hits by simply counting those as killed. So using lots of mortars (60mm would do the trick) onto armour would quickly whittle them down whereas in SP2 & 1 - you would have had stuck (track hit) tanks left behind and still able to contribute (maybe).

SP3 was not a very good engine - I know, I was a playetester for SSI on that.

Mobhack April 30th, 2022 11:49 AM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
Regarding monitors being too big - as and when I get a new 4K one I will be keeping the current 1080p one as a backup, and swapping it out for the humongous one, not just for our games but other ones that dont play well on humongous monitors.

One thing people might think of doing perhaps is to get an old 19 inch monitor (perhaps from a pawn shop say, not as new, but they are quite cheap even new). Use that for SP and swap out for the huge one for the tasks the huge one is suited for?.

I havent tried multi-monitor setups as yet, but if the game can be "cast" to use the smaller monitor and not the huge one that may work?. Interested to hear from any multi-monitor users what thier setup may be, e.g. having a smaller one alongside of a huge one.

DRG April 30th, 2022 11:58 AM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
[quote=Wdll;852417]
Quote:

Originally Posted by DRG (Post 852414)

Just to clarify something that perhaps need clarification.

My point about the game engine being old was exactly that. .


And my point was if you or anyone else has issues with windowed mode and long for a return to full-screen mode you can get that using the borderless gaming app

lansoar April 30th, 2022 05:30 PM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DRG (Post 852414)
I will touch on a number of issues raised

One thing both Andy and I disliked about the SP3 game engine was those annoying pop-up message boxes and that's why they are not in our versions of the game. To remind myself what it was like I just ran a quick game and it all came back to me immediately why I didn't like it ( didn't like it A LOT )

Another thing we both agree on is during game play we both focus on what is happening on the screen. We don't need a message to tell us our infantry unit is taking casualties we can see it as the game centres the screen on the relevant action. And as a result, I hardly ever look at the messages on the screen except when I am picking a target to check which one has the best hit chance.

Hi,

The messages did occasionally block parts of the action but I don't recall that being a major issue in WAW. I agree the SP3 game itself was "not good" for the very reasons mentioned. I only played it briefly before sticking with SP-1 and SP-2. As a player, I love observing the how and why's of the weapons and vehicles performance as much as exploring tactics and "fighting the battle" so for me, the messages are very relevant. If I lose a tank to an enemy weapon, I like seeing the what, how and why. its part of the fun of the game.

on the con side for the SP-3 engine, the aspect I hated the most, and one that carried into SP:WAW was how vulnerable soft targets (Inf, manned AT guns, arty, MG's etc) became vs. the SP-2 engine.

Despite the code modifications of later WAW versions, and despite my setting Infantry Toughness to max (250%), even *entrenched* INF units in favorable terrain, could still be hosed out by MG and cannon fire within several turns. It was so bad it overshadowed the positive features for me.....(easy read messages and having armor factors replaced with actual thickness and slope angles)

Anyway, I was much happier with Shrapnel's use of the SP-2 engine as the base for WinSP and I eventually moved completely to these games. The end of development with WAW just put a "!" on the changeover, despite the work I'd put into it during development. Once in a while I'll revisit it for the memories.

Quote:


EDIT....... Andy just emailed me that this is definately NOT going to happen as "every instance of where we put a message on the bottom of the screen would need finding and an if/else clause wrapped round it also messages at the top line, and likely elsewhere - plus on the sub screens like the encyclopaedia"

I just checked the code and there would be thousands of places this would need code added in both games so not going to happen especially for something we never liked. I only mentioned it to him on the hopes the option to display that way could be handled with a specific bit of code

That's that then. I kind of figured that would be the case. Thanks for looking into it. And thanks to you and your team for the continual support and improvements of the series.

Wdll April 30th, 2022 05:35 PM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
[quote=DRG;852422]
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wdll (Post 852417)
Quote:

Originally Posted by DRG (Post 852414)

Just to clarify something that perhaps need clarification.

My point about the game engine being old was exactly that. .


And my point was if you or anyone else has issues with windowed mode and long for a return to full-screen mode you can get that using the borderless gaming app


I never had problem with windowed mode, at least as far as I remember right now, but ok.

lansoar April 30th, 2022 06:27 PM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mobhack (Post 852420)

SP3 was not a very good engine - I know, I was a playetester for SSI on that.

Did you playtest for SP2 by chance?

Mobhack May 1st, 2022 03:20 AM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by lansoar (Post 852426)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mobhack (Post 852420)

SP3 was not a very good engine - I know, I was a playetester for SSI on that.

Did you playtest for SP2 by chance?

No, not for that game

lansoar May 1st, 2022 08:25 PM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
[quote=Mobhack;852429][quote=lansoar;852426]
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mobhack (Post 852420)


No, not for that game

ah. Officially me neither. Cut my teeth on SP2 though. I bugged the historical consultant big time thus establishing my PitA credentials. Think his name was Jim Worth....might be wrong. I remember complaining about SAM ineffectiveness and how I'd double ACC to get something decent.....like Stingers with AC 110 in my mod. Also commented on how the singular weapons of SP2 had bad effects when going back in time.....classic example was the 105mm NATO L7. SP2 to WinSBT is a long evolution. amazing game. Used to play it night and day. Wish I still had that much free time!

In defense of WAW, a lot of good ideas were attempted, some more successful than others. Had development continued, it might be a contender to this day.....though I have doubts, mainly due to the seemingly inherent vulnerability of soft units in the SP3 engine of which WAW was based on.

Ultimately I think the game suffered from over-focus on armored vehicle combat.....the Hollywood stars of the show in other words. Thus more humble but vital elements, mainly INF were left with little to no modification from the SP3 engine. Europe and North African scenarios were the most popular so the Pacific scenarios where INF battles and limited armor support in unfriendly tank terrain suffered as a result.

Mobhack May 3rd, 2022 10:56 AM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
Quote:

Jim Worth
I sent him a few OOB requests back in the day when SP2 came out.

SSI had decided that every British AFV had to have the "FV" numbers as part of thier name. presumably because they were used to the USA using M113, M60 etc. Whereas we Brits never, ever used the FV numbers barring the FV432, because our American allies sniggered at its given name of "Trojan", I believe, why IDK!:o Also for the M109 and other USA supplied SP-arty. But for vehicles the "proper" name was always used. "Chieftain", "Fox" etc.

As one of the Permanent Staff Instructors told us back when I was in the TA, "Them numbers are for shiny-trousered stores clerks, train spotters and sad anoracks. This is called an SLR, not a f~~g L1A1". Followed by me doing three laps running round the drill hall with weapon held over my head shouting out "This is my rifle, This is my SLR!" or some such pithy phrase the PSI desired to get the point across.

So I requested a change from Jim Worth - but that never happened. I think SP2 got 1 or maybe 2 bug fixes. (One allowed PBEM replay if you had 1 MB(?) of memory, a huge amount then!). OOB data was not part of that IIRC.

Someone - forget who - had done an OOB editor for SP1, I contacted him to see if he was planning on making an SP2 one, but he wasn't interested. However he did pass onto me the offsets to the various data fields, and I used that for Kobhack, my SP2 OOB editor. Now I had UK OOBs with "Chieftain Mk 1" and no silly FV-numbers and "SLR" instead of "L1A1"!

My work on the editor got me an invite to be on the playtest team for SP3. I thinks I made an OOB editor for that game, but cannot recall. SP3 was not very good, I knew that from playtesting, and it seemed not to sell very well. Didn't stay on my HDD long after the release.

DRG May 3rd, 2022 02:39 PM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
Just to interject this little trip down Geezer Memory lane.

"KOBHack" was your SP3 editor since SP3 used KOBxx format OOB's. MOBHack was the SP2 editor and used MOBxx format hence why both of these games still use "MOBHack" even though our OOB's use spobxxx and Obatxxx


You can find a copy here.. Post #5

https://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?p=834919

DRG May 3rd, 2022 05:36 PM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mobhack (Post 852458)
Someone - forget who - had done an OOB editor for SP1

Jim Bello

Wdll May 3rd, 2022 06:13 PM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
So basically I was the only one on the planet who had fun playing SP3. Interesting.

lansoar May 3rd, 2022 07:20 PM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mobhack (Post 852458)
Quote:

Jim Worth
I sent him a few OOB requests back in the day when SP2 came out.

I didn't get much traction on the SAM thing either...though I note that WinSP has much much higher ACC values now and they are generally much more dangerous. (which I am thankful for....that and better Helicopter staying power....so annoying to have my birds go into retreat mode after a few bullets shot in their direction)

The Singular weapon issue that might equip tanks going from "modern" 1990s all the way back to the 70s did in fact get a responding email from Jim, acknowledging the problem. Because of the way the code works of course, the solution was and remains.....to create many different versions of the same weapon (like the 105mm NATO gun) with different sub designations and different PEN and other values. Made playing Warsaw Pact a lot more fun and less frustrating. I remember some players seeing even the strongest Soviet tanks of the 70s/80s eras being destroyed with ease at near max range by 105 armed tanks (using 1990s desert storm ammo values) as "proof" that Soviet equipment was junk....regardless of era.

Quote:

SSI had decided that every British AFV had to have the "FV" numbers as part of thier name. presumably because they were used to the USA using M113, M60 etc. Whereas we Brits never, ever used the FV numbers barring the FV432, because our American allies sniggered at its given name of "Trojan", I believe, why IDK!:o Also for the M109 and other USA supplied SP-arty. But for vehicles the "proper" name was always used. "Chieftain", "Fox" etc.
lol. Have to admit, I struggle at times with the historical German language designations for units and groups in WinSPWW2. I tend to get lost after "Panzer". :p

anyway long story short....I moved into play testing for Matrix starting with WAW....then Uncommon Valor...then developer/tester/historical consultant for War in the Pacific and WitP Admiral's edition. Fun times for a period when I had far more time and energy for such passion projects. Now I just sit in my rocking chair and play WinSP along with a return to air Simms.

lansoar May 3rd, 2022 07:25 PM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wdll (Post 852471)
So basically I was the only one on the planet who had fun playing SP3. Interesting.

I did play it a little back in the 90s. It was interesting to play for larger campaigns but to be honest, it was stretching the game engine to the breaking point. Battles often just ended up being slaughterfests as firing exchanges of mass destruction as you watched tank units with big sets of numbers over them go from 12 down to 0 in a matter of seconds. Then there was the previous mentioned Firehose effect on soft targets with any weapon handy. The humanity!

Had some fun with large scale Arab-Israel engagements for a brief period but that was about it.

Dion May 8th, 2022 03:48 PM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wdll (Post 852471)
So basically I was the only one on the planet who had fun playing SP3. Interesting.

I played it. It was one of the greatest wargames I ever played. I thought it was great because operations played at the platoon/company level are more realistic than operations played at the tactical level. It would take you for ever to play some of the more famous campaigns in history at the tactical level, moving every tank and squad that took part in it would take way to long.

whdonnelly May 9th, 2022 12:15 PM

Re: 4K and large monitors
 
I also really liked it. Punching through the main line and rampaging the enemy rear areas was a joy at that scale.


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