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 Post subject: MAN 2 Discussion
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 6:53 pm 
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I thought I'd start a thread here to discuss the MAN 2 Beta. What do you like, what do you think should be changed? (No bug reports - send those via email to the devs.) Here are a few of my own thoughts so far:

Stuff I like

(1) The new turn sequence. :-) The first turns are now made consistent with the way the rest of the game is played. While PL still has a very slight advantage by moving first, this new sequence is the most logical way to minimize the advantage and keep the game as fair as possible. Thanks very much for this! I consider this the biggest improvement in MAN 2.

(2) That there are going to be many maps to play.

(3) That there will be a reasonable price for a "lifetime" subscription. Good move.

(4) Watching opponents' moves if so inclined is an interesting bonus.

(5) The integrated mini-clan wars looks interesting. Any details here?

(6) Ability to change # of revenue turns and density of allies. :-)

Stuff I don't like

(1) The unique units for PL and FNU. I know a lot of players asked for unique units and may well enjoy this feature of Domination and MAN 2, but as I've explained elsewhere
I think that the PL unique units are significantly superior to the FNU unique units. (OK, some people may disagree - to those people, I say challenge me as FNU in all the games you want. ;-)) Anyway, I see this imbalance as a problem and would at least like some option of either (A) having all units (including the currently unique units) available for each side (this might require the creation of "counterparts" with a slightly different look I suppose) or (B) the choice to play "old MAN style" with only the older units available for each side. It seems that the latter option could be easily implemented, and, even though I like former option a bit more, I'd be happy with either. MAN 2 has balanced the turn sequence for fairness in a way far superior to MAN, but ironically I strongly believe that the disparity between the unique units in MAN 2 creates a PL/FNU gap all over again.

(2) Can an option be added that will keep the camera position in the same place from turn to turn? Often the replay of my opponent's moves jerks the camera around, which is a slight annoyance to re-adjust every time...

(3) The Domination-like engine still runs a good bit slower on my computer than MAN, especially on larger maps with lots of units. Maybe I just need a faster computer, but I have a low-end "gaming" machine about one year old so it shouldn't be slow as dirt yet...

(4) Some of the animations are still too slow. I'd like an option to make them instant, MAN-style, such as when loading/unload transports. Not as pretty, but more efficient.

Other Miscellaneous Questions/Comments/Suggestions

(1) What happens if I don't play my turn within the in-game time limit? (I noticed that the timer started beeping at me with about 10 seconds left.) If time expires, do I just have to redo the turn, or does it actually cause me to lose?!

I note that if I am running out of time, I can simply exit to menu, restart the turn, and the in-game timer starts all over! Maybe an "unlimited" in-game time limit could be added. For tough games, it may well take over an hour of thinking and moving...I'd hate to have to redo everything just because I need more time to think.

(2) Is there some way to exit to the menu if I am watching my opponent play his turn? (It seems that all menu buttons are taken away.)

(3) If my opponent is watching me play my turn live, and I start disclosing an ally - and then change my mind to disclose another ally - does he see my first potential disclosure, thus giving away its position? I'm guessing not, but just want to make sure...

(4) Is there a new ranking system in the works?

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Last edited by Placid on Fri Dec 02, 2005 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: MAN 2 Discussion
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 7:29 pm 
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Placid wrote:
Other Miscellaneous Questions/Comments/Suggestions

(1) What happens if I don't play my turn within the in-game time limit? (I noticed that the timer started beeping at me with about 10 seconds left.) If time expires, do I just have to redo the turn, or does it actually cause me to lose?!

I note that if I am running out of time, I can simply exit to menu, restart the turn, and the in-game timer starts all over! Maybe an "unlimited" in-game time limit could be added. For tough games, it may well take over an hour of thinking and moving...I'd hate to have to redo everything just because I need more time to think.

Your turn will be sent as it is at the end of your time for turn if you don't finish your turn early or you don't break your turn and press exit to menu before time-limit.


Placid wrote:
(2) Is there some way to exit to the menu if I am watching my opponent play his turn? (It seems that all menu buttons are taken away.)

You can press "Esc" and select exit in menu.

Placid wrote:
(3) If my opponent is watching me play my turn live, and I start disclosing an ally - and then change my mind to disclose another ally - does he see my first potential disclosure, thus giving away one of my SAs? I'm guessing not, but just want to make sure...

Yes, your opponent can see ALL your actions in on-line mode, including undo and all trying to disclose secret ally, so you should be careful.

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 Post subject: Re: MAN 2 Discussion
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 8:15 pm 
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Thanks for the response, Tiger. Very helpful info given things aren't what I assumed.

Tiger wrote:
Your turn will be sent as it is at the end of your time for turn if you don't finish your turn early or you don't break your turn and press exit to menu before time-limit.


Who would ever let time expire, then, unless by accident or they do not know how this works? Wouldn't it be better to just assume the player didn't get finished with the turn and force a full redo?

But ultimately...I just don't understand how the in-game time limit accomplishes anything as it is. I guess the idea behind it is to encourage people to play fast-paced games where they can watch each other, but it seems like the current system doesn't really meet this goal. It just makes it more annoying to players who want a longer time to think; they can still exit to menu and restart the turn with the full time limit as many times as they desire, they can have all the time they desire to play around with units and think, and ultimately the only issue is (once everything is decided) moving all units and completing all phases within the time limit - which could come down to a real test of fast-clicking skills in a large map late-game turn... :-(

I'd at least like the option to play with no in-game time limit. Part of the beauty of this great turn-based game it that it does allow careful thought about each move. Further, sometimes I like to leave a turn half-finished for several hours and then come back to it with MAN. That just isn't possible with a 60-minute maximum time limit. And without any "save turn" option, one is forced to do an entire turn at once.

Now, maybe there could be some sort of in-game timed mode that doesn't restart the time limit each time you exit to menu, thus really forcing people to play quickly for those who want that! But I suspect there are plenty of folks like myself who very much like having as much time as we want in-game to think about each move as well.

Other players, what do you think?

Tiger wrote:
Yes, your opponent can see ALL your actions in on-line mode, including undo and all trying to disclose secret ally, so you should be careful.


Ouch. Couldn't this be changed to non-real time for just the disclosure phase to protect players from revealing the one crucial random element of the game? I.e., real-time up until the disclosure phase, and then show the entire disclosure once everything is finalized and the turn sent.

What if I see that someone is watching me and I want to play around with different country disclosures? I guess I have to wait until later when they aren't watching! Again, this really doesn't change anything for a patient player who is willing to redo all the previous moves in the turn later, but does cause a possible annoyance.

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Last edited by Placid on Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:02 pm 
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Those people that quick a turn just as the time runs out is in essence just cheating. If you want to be known as a cheater then play that way, otherwise just get done before the timer runs out. But yes it would be nice to see the clock implemented in different ways like you mentioned.

I also agree about the discloser bit, you have to play with those disclosers in your head and not on the map as it is right now.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:23 pm 
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ChrisCraven wrote:
Those people that quick a turn just as the time runs out is in essence just cheating. If you want to be known as a cheater then play that way, otherwise just get done before the timer runs out. But yes it would be nice to see the clock implemented in different ways like you mentioned.


Well, I don't see any reason to consider this cheating; the current system allows for it. If it is something that should not be allowed (and I agree it shouldn't if the in-game time limit is going to be useful), then the answer is for the devs to change the system to make it impossible.

ChrisCraven wrote:
I also agree about the discloser bit, you have to play with those disclosers in your head and not on the map as it is right now.


Yes, I appreciate the way MA lets you play around with units, undo, rewind, etc.; these are nice features which aid thoughtful play.

How annoying would it be if you start to play around with a possible disclosure (with no one watching, thinking you're safe), then half way through the process that eye appears, and later you come to realize that it isn't the best disclosure to reveal? You're stuck with it, or you give up the info!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:51 pm 
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Hi,

I agree in everything you say Placid.
Had a game against IA and have to make so many moves ( sucks to be slow, put tanks in transports or copters) and because i had so many tanks ( i was near 98%) that the time, 10 minutes was short, so i couldn't get the revenue. In longer maps it would be very hard, even playing in 60 minutes.

And if nobody send/accept challenges of 60 minutes of turn?

And it would be nice, that when had 100% the game could continue if you wich.

And that difference in armies, sucks, i like a lot that transporter copter, but only in one side?

well, is this the raison for be Beta, maybe they listen to us. :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 10:17 am 
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Hello,

It's quite hard to release quility game without having beta-test launched. So your comments are welcomed and we are all reading through this.

Let me get you some feedback:
Placid wrote:
(1) The unique units for PL and FNU. I know a lot of players asked for unique units and may well enjoy this feature of Domination and MAN 2, but as I've explained elsewhere
I think that the PL unique units are significantly superior to the FNU unique units. (OK, some people may disagree - to those people, I say challenge me as FNU in all the games you want. ;-)) Anyway, I see this imbalance as a problem and would at least like some option of either (A) having all units (including the currently unique units) available for each side (this might require the creation of "counterparts" with a slightly different look I suppose) or (B) the choice to play "old MAN style" with only the older units available for each side. It seems that the latter option could be easily implemented, and, even though I like former option a bit more, I'd be happy with either. MAN 2 has balanced the turn sequence for fairness in a way far superior to MAN, but ironically I strongly believe that the disparity between the unique units in MAN 2 creates a PL/FNU gap all over again.


Someone likes unique units, someone not. That's the case. Therefore we're planning to let you play in release version with original Massive Assault units, Domination units or with equal units - both players have FNU or PL unit sets. It will be configured before each world war the same way as density of allies or number of revenue rounds.

Placid wrote:
(2) Can an option be added that will keep the camera position in the same place from turn to turn? Often the replay of my opponent's moves jerks the camera around, which is a slight annoyance to re-adjust every time...



It's already there: Click Options from Main Menu and switch to Gameplay Settings. To have camera positioning fixed during the game, uncheck the box "Free Camera in gameplay". To eleminate camera fly over eliminated units uncheck the box "Fancy Moments in gameplay".

Placid wrote:
(3) The Domination-like engine still runs a good bit slower on my computer than MAN, especially on larger maps with lots of units. Maybe I just need a faster computer, but I have a low-end "gaming" machine about one year old so it shouldn't be slow as dirt yet...


Usually, the main issue is in your graphic accelerator and amount of onboard memory. The game works fine on my PC with 512mb ram and geforce4 4200Ti 128 MB Vram - which is two years old system. So in most cases you can dramatically improve game performance just buy upgrading your video card (which is around $100). Having less then 512Mb ram is very poor solution since Windows itself consumes 256mb and running ANY game on low-mem PC will result in swapping data and numerous amount of slow HDD requests.

Placid wrote:
(1) What happens if I don't play my turn within the in-game time limit? (I noticed that the timer started beeping at me with about 10 seconds left.) If time expires, do I just have to redo the turn, or does it actually cause me to lose?!


Nothing special happens, - all remaining phases in this turn will get skipped automatically and turn will be passed to your opponent. It's not a real problem since you can set ANY time for turn - from 5 mins to 1 hour.
The short time is for fast-pased battles which causes each player to make mistakes and move fast.

Placid wrote:
I note that if I am running out of time, I can simply exit to menu, restart the turn, and the in-game timer starts all over!


It's a kind of cheating and this will be eliminated in release build. OK for Beta.

Placid wrote:
(4) Is there a new ranking system in the works?


Ironically, we have new scoring system in beta with old ranking ladder. Unfortunately, this new system (which not only rewards you with points but subtracts them as well) is even worse for newbies then one in original MAN. So the final version will have the original scoring system of MAN or may be a bit upgraded. We hope to get Glico rating for mini clan wars, which is yet in discussion.

Hope my feedback is informative.
Thank you,
Nick.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:04 am 
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Great. :D

What about the chess clock for the time limit. Will it be added?

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 1:49 pm 
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Thanks for the response, Nick - it was very helpful. A few follow-up thoughts:

Outstanding!

The option to play with old MAN units, Domination units, or equal Domination units sounds great! :-) With these choices I am convinced that MAN 2 will be the most balanced (PL/FNU) Massive Assault game yet.

I wonder if older MAN players who complained about the PL advantage might be interested in coming back in light of these equal unit options and the vastly improved turn sequence...

The Need For An Unlimited In-Game Time Limit

While I understand the point of having shorter time limits for fast games, I still insist that an "unlimited" in-game time limit is needed for several reasons:

(1) For tough games, a one hour restriction may be too short, especially for late-game turns on larger maps.

(2) Furthermore, what if, for some reason (power failure, emergency comes up, etc.), one is forced to quit playing a turn after using most of the time? If the "loophole" of getting all the time back by exiting to the menu is going to be fixed (as it should be), then only a little bit of time will remain...and the player is in a tough situation. I'd hate to lose an entire game because one turn just had to be interrupted, and too little time remained to play well.

(3) The convenience of not having to worry about in-game time is nice. As I mentioned earlier, I often like to leave a half-finished game on my computer for several hours and then come back to it. A "save turn" option would be nice, but even then I appreciate the ability to just forget about the game for a while as it runs in the background and then come back later.

(4) MA is my favorite strategy game because it concentrates on "think-based" strategy. While I understand the benefits of making this game more accessible to those who want to do a lot of fast clicking, I think it is important to at least retain the option for players to take as long as they desire to think about each turn. There is something especially enjoyable about studying a tough move, experimenting with it, and after much thought, coming up with final decisions in the turn.

The unlimited in-game time limit was a feature (and the only way) in MAN, and should not be eliminated simply because various levels (3-60 minute) in-game limits are introduced.

Watching Potential Disclosures

What about players currently being able to "spy" on incomplete decisions during the disclosure phase?

Slow Animations

What about an option to turn the transport loading/unloading animations off? This has been suggested before by several folks. I think a dev even kindly told us how to alter the code in the game to make it possible, which I might consider doing if no option is forthcoming (especially I ever got involved in a short in-game time limit game! The animations just lag too far behind.) But it would be really nice to have this as a standard option.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 10:27 pm 
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I have been quite enjoying MAN 2 thus far. A lot of this is new to me as I really never got into Domination online, and I find the extra work and features outstanding.

First impressions - What I like

In particular, I very much enjoy the cinematic changes to the game, the movements of the camera during replays, and the destruction cams on important units. They add life to an already enjoyable game.

2nd, I like the online play mode. It is exactly as I imagined it could be, that of making relatively fast games possible. You're watching your opponent and determining your next moves before you start your own, so it is near non-stop action.

3rd, the options for setting up games, with the quick play list to join an active online game. Wonderful. The secret allies and turn revenue options really allow you to customize the game to follow the pattern you wish, and with the added options of units Nick was talking about, its definately growing in customizability.

4th, the PL advantage has been handled quite nicely I believe. I'll have to play more games to be certain, but it definately feels like FNU can be more aggressive, without driving PL to be overly defensive (since they still get first move and a front-end income advantage).

Placid wrote:
The Need For An Unlimited In-Game Time Limit

While I understand the point of having shorter time limits for fast games, I still insist that an "unlimited" in-game time limit is needed...


I definately agree here. I do see the need for in-game time limits for games you intend both people to be online for, but if you have an epic battle on a large planet, I don't see how the turn limit helps. People aren't going to stick around and watch the whole time for the most part, so its the overall turn time limit that will be the limiting factor there IMO. Its nice to have the great options given to speed the game up and make you think on your feet somewhat, but deliberate gameplay at your leisure is a definate plus as well.

Placid wrote:
Watching Potential Disclosures

What about players currently being able to "spy" on incomplete decisions during the disclosure phase?


I'm kinda torn here... on the one hand I see it like Placid, that your SA placement is one of the most vital and only random part of the game, so should be handled with great care. But then again, I also see the benefit of being able to see the disclosure phase as it progresses as that is the last part of the turn, and it will smoothly lead you into the next turn as is, as you can already consider the placement of the enemy units as it occurs.

Perhaps the biggest part of this is making sure people don't make a mistake that costs them the game when they try MAN 2 for the first time after their used to one of the other MA series. A big old warning message box that appears if the opponent is online and watching would be good.

Placid wrote:
Slow Animations

What about an option to turn the transport loading/unloading animations off? This has been suggested before by several folks. I think a dev even kindly told us how to alter the code in the game to make it possible, which I might consider doing if no option is forthcoming (especially I ever got involved in a short in-game time limit game! The animations just lag too far behind.) But it would be really nice to have this as a standard option.


You are aware that the animation speeds have no affect on what you can do right? You don't need to wait for the load animation for a transport to be completed before moving it for example. Its kinda cool to see multiple units moving and firing at once, and definately adds to the fluid nature of a game that has its roots in a board game style TBS.

Additional comments
The problems I can see are few and far between. The MA series has always been a shining beacon, but only for a select hardcore strategy audience up til now. I think MAN2 can bring it more into the spotlight for a wider variety of players not used to the cumbersome pace of old school strategy.

Here are a couple suggestions however, seeing as this Is a beta and the MA team is seeking comments:

1) Get that chess clock in! I know its been discussed to death, but having the incrementing timer will definately clear up a lot of the inflexibility inherant in the day-based turn times. My definition of a chess clock system as described in other threads: How much time overall you get for the entire game (0 minutes to lets say 28 days) plus how much you get per turn (0 minutes to 7 days). Allows for a 8 week tournament or a 1 day per turn game, or everything else in between, with the added benefit of rewarding a player for playing quickly (their remaining time gets bigger the quicker they play).

2) In game timer - what about making it only apply if the opponent is online and watching the game? Isn't that what this timer is for, to make sure that you're not dilly dallying too much while your opponent is in there watching the game?

Welp, I'm out of time now... I'll play more and give more feedback as I go along.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:19 pm 
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Maelstrom,

The warning message box for the disclosure phase is a reasonable idea, but what if someone begins watching during disclosure phase? Will they be unable to start watching until the disclosing player confirms? At any rate, the disclosure phase typically doesn't take that long, so I'm not sure that having this one phase appear all at once (non-real time) at the end of the turn would be a big deal. This just seems like the easiest way to solve the problem.

I do understand that the animation speeds have no affect on where the units actually are. It just helps me a lot to have the animations keep up with my clicking in more complicated situations so that the locations of various units can be quickly evaluated and the next move made. Further, loading and unloading transports gets to be such a common activity that I'd really appreciate the option to make them *poof* instantly in and out as in MAN.

Also, I agree that the chess clock is a good idea. :-)

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2005 5:51 pm 
what I really really miss is a "skip" button when playing against the AI, I assume that the AI thinks all her movements at once and then queues them, there should be an option to skip the animation and answer her movements right away (when I play against the AI for a fast practice game or to know a new map, it's frustrating to take maybe a couple of hours to finish a game, as a working man I don't always have that kind of time to spend :)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 6:37 am 
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Open settings.ini file located in the folder save\dcalogue, find [misc] section in the file and write:
PlayAllAITurn = 1

Execute MAN2. Voila!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:28 pm 
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Where is the patch? I didn't get teh web address.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:38 pm 
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Also, I have all of the sounds turned off. I prefer to listem to MP3's while playing, but when I go online, I get the sound effects?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2005 6:34 pm 
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The patch is located here:
http://www.massiveassaultnetwork.com/download/man.2.0.175beta_patch.exe


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:20 am 
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Maelstrom wrote:
Placid wrote:
Slow Animations

What about an option to turn the transport loading/unloading animations off? This has been suggested before by several folks. I think a dev even kindly told us how to alter the code in the game to make it possible, which I might consider doing if no option is forthcoming (especially I ever got involved in a short in-game time limit game! The animations just lag too far behind.) But it would be really nice to have this as a standard option.


You are aware that the animation speeds have no affect on what you can do right? You don't need to wait for the load animation for a transport to be completed before moving it for example. Its kinda cool to see multiple units moving and firing at once, and definately adds to the fluid nature of a game that has its roots in a board game style TBS.


I really like the animations of the units moving in and out transport units.

I never played MAN before starting this beta test, but I downloaded MAN to know a bit about the units. I think the unit animation is a step forward.
But it may be optional, as long as it doesn't dissappear :)

When playing day based games, I don't like it that whole the phase of the enemy is displayed in my time. I know I can skip whole the phase, and just go to action, but I like to see what the enemy did.
Bit anoying in 15 minutes game that 5 minutes are gone by the animation of the enemy. Then I do use the "go back to menu" work around, restart the game and skip the animation since I just saw it.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 8:59 am 
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Good point on the animations at the beginning of a turn... the in game clock shouldn't start until you've finished watching the last turn replay

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 1:02 pm 
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sounds complicated BUT....if as it reads, that many things are OPTIONAL....that will be the saving grace....
Personally, I don't want any more pressure than necessary(time limits)....I don't look at these games as an ego boost or a job.....I want to have some fun....!....when I get too serious, I check it....Real life is serious enuff....only wish i could have gotten into the testing, but all of a sudden !....finally found the announcement hidden somewhere....
If i had received that message in play screens, that would have been considerate. Look forward to playing MAN 2.....
WHEN????..... :o


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2005 1:17 pm 
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Hu? Isn't the beta still open for everyone?

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