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Re: [hockeydisk] Re: Face-Off Hockey?

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  • D. A. Atkinson
    ... Good point. Hockey is difficult to allow TOO much coach interaction without messing up gameplay. The Haffner game, for example, used to let you choose when
    Message 1 of 8 , Jun 19, 2000
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      Jean-Henri Duteau wrote:

      > >Face-Off has been making the claim about its statistical accuracy
      > >for a long time now. But the interface is awful, the game play itself
      > >is not very exciting, and there are some serious limitations to the
      > >game itself. A friend of mine tried the real thing, and said that in
      > >game play all he really gets to do is sit there and click the mouse
      > >every few seconds -- once the game starts, his input as to how
      > >the game flows is pretty much over, he told me.
      > >
      > And this differs from APBA or any other statistic-based hockey sim in which way?

      Good point. Hockey is difficult to allow TOO much coach interaction without
      messing up gameplay. The Haffner game, for example, used to let you choose
      when to shoot. You could get one player taking 25 shots per game if you tried.
      I've thought about adding some coaching options to the APBA game to give
      coaches more options, but not mess up game play. For example, I've really
      mulled over allowing the coach to choose a power play strategy (cycle
      down low for a good shot or fire from the point, hoping for tips). Each option
      would have plusses and minuses, so that there was no real big advantage to
      either unless you had the personnel to exploit it. I've had a few other ideas
      in that vein I've been considering.

      > As for a new, Windows-based interface: big fat hairy deal. I'd take
      > >a good DOS game over a bad Windows one any day of the week.
      > >The announcement of "a new Windows-based interface" does not
      > >impress me in the least.
      >
      > It's not a *new* interface. It's been around for two years now and will probably hit its third uplift in the next hockey season.
      >

      I could care less about a Windows interface also. The advantage that Windows gives
      at this point is better memory usage. The DOS kernal just doesn't cut it when
      trying to handle very large code segments. The memory limitations are the barrier
      behind expanding the APBA game with new features....and porting to Windows is
      just too much effort for the payback.


      > >If or when Face-Off ever gets to the level of flexibility, customization,
      > >player input/involvement, and ease of play that APBA already has,
      > >then I'll consider taking another look at the product.
      > Face-Off benefits by giving the customers the *EXACT* same player creation tools that the developers use. There are/were some decisions made that could have been made a little different, but all in all, it's a *much* easier game to use if you're actually playing the games instead of simming them.
      >

      True....BUT, the hockey stats, until very recently, have been horrible. So horrible, that making
      a player profile from the numbers is pretty much impossible. You can make some generalizations,
      as the APBA game F1 function does, but it won't do the fanatic fan much justice.

      > How do I know all this?
      >
      > I was the lead programmer for the original Windows team. I'm quite proud of what I managed to accomplish in a little under two months and with *very* minimal funding. But I'm also quite aware of the shortcomings, both of my UI design and of the game's sim engine itself.
      >

      I can vouch for his testimony here, funding for text based hockey sims is about as close to zero as it gets.
      I'll be Faceoff and APBA combined sales over their histories won't come within a month's sales of
      the EA NHL hockey joystick grabbing...er, game.

      > The main thing to remember is that the underlying engine of FACEOFF Hockey and APBA Hockey are two totally different engines. FACEOFF achieves its accuracy by sacrificing a little realism. Each "segment" in FACEOFF hockey is 24 seconds long. And a pass or a shot or a skating event is only a "representation" of the action that takes place in those 24 seconds.
      >

      Even the APBA game runs long play segments compared to the NHL. Remember, APBA shift
      times are about double the length of NHL shift time. By making the "play segments" longer, you
      make the game playable. If I were to half the APBA play segments, the game would take over
      twice as long to play, making it almost the length of a real NHL game. It would be extremely
      time consuming and make the game almost unenjoyable. Can anyone remember trying to
      finish a game with the old Strat-o-matic basketball game? 5 hour basketball games made us
      abandon the league the first day. Long play segments are a key to making the game playable.
      I prefer the APBA length segment over a 24 second segment, but that longer segment makes
      the game more managable.

      > I personally like a shorter segment akin to APBA Hockey. I believe that you can gain back some realism without sacrificing any accuracy. *BUT* if we're never going to see any upgrades over v4, then users are naturally going to start looking elsewhere.
      >

      V4 is probably not the end....an issue I need to get resolved.

      > Since this list is about the hockey disk, I once again raise the spectre of a new freely-available game that uses the products of the hockey disk people gathered here. If someone were to develop a game that used ratings very similar to APBA's ratings, the ability to use both last year's and this year's disks (and any future disks) would be a godsend for users everywhere. If you owned APBA's disks, you'd be able to use those because of their liberal licensing. But the disk project's license restricts you a bit. If the license were changed just an iota, then someone with the guts and desire to build a new game could give that back to this community.
      >

      The disk project license was developed for specific reasons. Limiting the use of the project
      ratings for a good cause is not one of them. If someone had a good project in
      mind that would be a benefit to the hockey community, an exemption could be granted
      from the license. I think Jeff K would agree with me here. The project team has the
      hockey gaming community in mind in a big way....the license was mainly to prevent
      exploitation of the work. The license holders would be glad to help a good intentioned
      hockey project.

      > BTW, I'd love that someone to be me, but I can't commit to it on my own.
      >

      Me too. I have the ideas and the experience, but not the time. My coding ability
      is too slow to allow me to do something like this myself. I would need to partner
      with a faster (and more elegant) code writer.

      > Jeff...you keep talking about buying APBA's hockey game from them. I would suggest that if you had the money to do that, it might be in your better interest to fund a small group of developers to develop a new game for you. With the talent that is on this list (you, me, Dave Atkinson, and a couple others), we've got the knowledge. And a couple of us have a sim engine that can be used. Just more wool-gathering. 8-)
      >

      I have discussed this matter with a number of different interested parties. What usually scares me away
      is the blatant lack of knowledge on how much effort it will take to build a good sim from
      scratch. There will be thousands of hours of coding and debugging, and more debugging,
      and more debugging....which is great if Microsoft is paying your salary, but is hard to justify
      as a sacrifice to the hockey community. And then there is support, upgrades, etc., that is
      very time consuming after the fact. I wrote alot of little APBA utilities a few years back,
      and the effort needed to answer just email questions on the utilities was sometimes overwhelming.
      Supporting a full game would be maddening without the $$$ and time to make it work.
      A team approach is OK, but writing and debugging code over the net rather than face
      to face greatly increases development time. I like to sit down with team members when
      writing code and draw lines on the paper.....where is this function going, how can this sort
      be more efficient, etc.

      Just my 2 cents.

      Dave
    • Jeff & Cheryl Kraus
      ... Jeff...you keep talking about buying APBA s hockey game from them. I would suggest that if you had the money to do that, it might be in your better
      Message 2 of 8 , Jun 20, 2000
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        >>
        Jeff...you keep talking about buying APBA's hockey game from
        them. I would suggest that if you had the money to do that,
        it might be in your better interest to fund a small group of
        developers to develop a new game for you. With the talent
        that is on this list (you, me, Dave Atkinson, and a couple
        others), we've got the knowledge. And a couple of us have a
        sim engine that can be used. Just more wool-gathering. 8-)
        <<

        I'm not sure I have the money to do anything <bg>. I just
        want them to tell me what it would take. $10? $1000?
        $100,000? I don't know if I have what it takes unless
        someone over at APBA would get real. My father-in-law (who
        DOES have the money) even went so far as to investigate
        buying the whole freakin' company. Got nowhere with them.

        The advantages of having APBA as opposed to a start-up are
        (a) obviously, you'll be starting out with a game engine;
        one that needs work, but you have to admit it's a great
        starting point; (b) the engine's the hardest part to come up
        with, adding an interface is easy; (c) APBA has name
        recognition. Don't discount that last point. If not for
        APBA's name recognition, that product would be dead and
        buried. Would anybody think the old APBA disks were worth
        $20 if they didn't have APBA's name on it? Doubtful. I
        fell into that trap, too.

        Starting relatively from scratch is just much too big a
        project to be a part-time project, and doesn't have the
        payback potential to be a full-time project. Not in my
        opinion, anyway.

        Jeff
      • fourjznnl@aol.com
        Jeff..Well put...... Joe Maestro
        Message 3 of 8 , Jun 20, 2000
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          Jeff..Well put......

          Joe Maestro
        • Jeff & Cheryl Kraus
          ... Hockey is difficult to allow TOO much coach interaction without messing up gameplay.
          Message 4 of 8 , Jun 20, 2000
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            >>
            Hockey is difficult to allow TOO much coach interaction
            without
            messing up gameplay.
            <<

            A point that is lost on many people. Realistically, the
            coach sends guys out on the ice and they execute a general
            strategy. It's a lot like basketball and soccer in that
            respect. The coach has much less influence on the play than
            in baseball or football, which is why those games lend
            themselves much better to interactive simulations. I
            suspect it's also why the new Black Ice Hockey that's been
            touted here before is more of a General Manager / team
            administration simulation than a traditional game
            simulation.

            If it were up to me, there would be no Dump/Skate/Change
            option. No coach yells "DUMP!" from the bench, and I hate
            that I say "Skate" not knowing whether a 5 Skate / 1 Pass
            guy will skate or pass. In the current version there would
            have to be a change/no change option because the keystrokes
            don't always get trapped immediately, but ideally you would
            want to be able to hit an F-key at any time to make an
            on-the-fly change and have the engine respond appropriately
            (keep a guy out if he's playing the puck, get him off when
            it makes sense, etc.).

            >>
            I could care less about a Windows interface also. The
            advantage that Windows gives
            at this point is better memory usage. The DOS kernal just
            doesn't cut it when
            trying to handle very large code segments. The memory
            limitations are the barrier
            behind expanding the APBA game with new features....and
            porting to Windows is
            just too much effort for the payback.
            <<

            Dave and I disagree on this. Windows gives you much more
            than better memory usage, it cuts the amount of code
            necessary to manipulate the user interface to next to
            nothing. Interface maintenance in DOS can be a nightmare.
            Windows isolates the programmer from much of that, while at
            the same time giving an incredible amount of flexibility
            that you don't get from DOS. For interface-driven
            applications, maintenance costs alone make porting to
            Windows worth the effort.

            >>
            Can anyone remember trying to finish a game with the old
            Strat-o-matic basketball game? 5 hour
            basketball games made us abandon the league the first day.
            Long play segments are a key to
            making the game playable. I prefer the APBA length segment
            over a 24 second segment, but that
            longer segment makes the game more managable.
            <<

            You FINISHED an APBA b-ball game??? Was that 5 hours or 5
            days? <lol> To me, the ideal would be the computer coach's
            AI would make the on-the-fly line changes and the human
            coach would be limited to play stoppage line changes. That
            would allow shorter shifts without compromising the flow of
            the game. Needless to say the game engine isn't ready to
            support that functionality.

            >>
            V4 is probably not the end....an issue I need to get
            resolved.
            <<

            Let me know when APBA's product people come back from dream
            land. Skeet Carr obviously isn't in touch with their
            accountants very often. Do they even have the building in
            Lancaster any more? I heard they'd sold it off, or were on
            the verge of it having moved most of their personnel to
            Jersey.

            >>
            The disk project license was developed for specific reasons.
            Limiting the use of the project
            ratings for a good cause is not one of them. If someone had
            a good project in
            mind that would be a benefit to the hockey community, an
            exemption could be granted
            from the license. I think Jeff K would agree with me here.
            The project team has the
            hockey gaming community in mind in a big way....the license
            was mainly to prevent
            exploitation of the work. The license holders would be glad
            to help a good intentioned
            hockey project.
            <<

            Yes, yes, yes. The purpose of the license is not to
            restrict use, but to restrict IMPROPER use. What is
            improper use? Improper use is when someone does stuff that
            we don't like. ;-) My take is the same as Dave's. We just
            don't want to put all that time and effort into something
            for the common good, and have some a-hole come along and
            reap rewards from it at our expense.

            >>
            > Jeff...you keep talking about buying APBA's hockey game
            from them. I would suggest that if you had the money to do
            that, it might be in your better interest to fund a small
            group of developers to develop a new game for you. With the
            talent that is on this list (you, me, Dave Atkinson, and a
            couple others), we've got the knowledge. And a couple of us
            have a sim engine that can be used. Just more
            wool-gathering. 8-)
            >

            I have discussed this matter with a number of different
            interested parties. What usually scares me away
            is the blatant lack of knowledge on how much effort it will
            take to build a good sim from
            scratch... I wrote alot of little APBA utilities a few
            years back,
            and the effort needed to answer just email questions on the
            utilities was sometimes overwhelming.
            Supporting a full game would be maddening without the $$$
            and time to make it work.
            <<

            That's why APHComm is freeware. I just don't have the time
            to give it professional-level support. I research every
            problem and try to answer every question that comes up and
            resolve every memory conflict or whatever, but once you
            start charging for it you enter into a contract, and then
            you lose that ability to say, "Oh well, sorry, can't figure
            this one out." Although IBM made a pretty good business of
            that in the early 90s, but I digress. It's great to be able
            to do stuff on the side without obligations, and I don't
            need the hassle of chasing down software pirates to recoup
            $10 or whatever. Don't think for a minute that software
            piracy (under the guise of "disk sharing") isn't a big part
            of what happened to APBA.

            Jeff
          • D. A. Atkinson
            ... Uh, isn t this why Microsoft is worth billions? :)
            Message 5 of 8 , Jun 20, 2000
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              Jeff & Cheryl Kraus wrote:

              > resolve every memory conflict or whatever, but once you

              > start charging for it you enter into a contract, and then
              > you lose that ability to say, "Oh well, sorry, can't figure
              > this one out."
              >

              Uh, isn't this why Microsoft is worth billions? :)
            • roaddog013@aol.com
              Message 6 of 8 , Jun 21, 2000
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              • Tim
                ... You mean a bunch of 500 millions... ... From: D. A. Atkinson To: Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2000 12:11 AM
                Message 7 of 8 , Jun 21, 2000
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                  > Uh, isn't this why Microsoft is worth billions? :)

                  You mean a bunch of 500 millions...

                  :)

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "D. A. Atkinson" <bigdog@...>
                  To: <hockeydisk@egroups.com>
                  Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2000 12:11 AM
                  Subject: Re: [hockeydisk] Re: Face-Off Hockey?


                  > Jeff & Cheryl Kraus wrote:
                  >
                  > > resolve every memory conflict or whatever, but once you
                  >
                  > > start charging for it you enter into a contract, and then
                  > > you lose that ability to say, "Oh well, sorry, can't figure
                  > > this one out."
                  > >
                  >
                  > Uh, isn't this why Microsoft is worth billions? :)
                  >
                  >
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