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  #1  
Old April 28th, 2022, 11:29 PM

lansoar lansoar is offline
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Default 4K and large monitors

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!
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  #2  
Old April 29th, 2022, 01:01 AM
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Default 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.
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Old April 29th, 2022, 09:05 AM
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Default Re: 4K and large monitors

Quote:
Originally Posted by lansoar View Post
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.
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Old April 29th, 2022, 08:47 PM

lansoar lansoar is offline
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Default 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.
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Old April 30th, 2022, 06:51 AM
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Default 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
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Old April 30th, 2022, 10:38 AM
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Default Re: 4K and large monitors

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRG View Post
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.
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Old April 30th, 2022, 11:42 AM
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Default 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.
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Old April 30th, 2022, 11:49 AM
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Default 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.
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Old April 30th, 2022, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: 4K and large monitors

[quote=Wdll;852417]
Quote:
Originally Posted by DRG View Post

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
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Old April 30th, 2022, 05:30 PM

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Default Re: 4K and large monitors

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRG View Post
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.
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