Author Topic: BP: War in Heaven discussion  (Read 611380 times)

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Offline -Sara-

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
If it wasn't for using original FS models, it could probably release stand-alone as a game. :P
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Offline crizza

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
This mod is the only reason why I've digged out my retail CDs and finally installed FSO^^
And now...I fred a little bit but most of the time I replay the campaigns^^
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Offline NFSRacer

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Hey, I got my copy downloaded again just so I can have it!  I've always loved this game and its series!  DESCENT ROCKS!!!
"Said 'It was up to us.  Up to us, to decide.  You've become a virus that eating up it host.  We've been watching you with all our eye, and what you seem to value most.  'So much potential'.  Or so we used to say.  Your greed, self-importance, and your arrogance, you p*** it all away.'" - NIN from Year Zero

 

Offline CommanderDJ

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Hey guys,

I just played WiH Part 1. I know I'm a latecomer, but my original plan was to wait until VA had been done. But I decided to treat myself yesterday. Determined to finish it all in one sitting (as I had with AoA), I went to bed at 5AM, lol. Here's my review:

Overall, the mood was a lot darker and grittier than AoA's, which I felt was fitting. It was really made clear that the war had taken it's toll on everyone involved. Noemi Laporte's character was no exception to this, which added a great deal of immersion. It made me see the hostiles as actual pilots as opposed to objects in FRED. No campaign has been able to tear me away from the FREDified thinking for a long time, so for that I applaud you.

As always, character development was excellent. Whilst I didn't get as "attached" to Noemi as to Samuel Bei (meaning I could more easily place myself in Bei's shoes and pretend I was Bei), my curiosity about her thoughts and mindset was piqued right throughout the campaign. The psych evaluation mission in particular had me on the edge of my seat. The F.E.A.R.-esque sounds and flashes really got my adrenaline pumping. I can't wait to hear that mission with voice acting.
However, I'm not only talking about the player character here. Characters like Kassim and Simms were also well fleshed out, and in the case of Admiral Steele, whilst we only encounter him once in-game, his reputation is cemented in Command Briefings and the like as the BP equivalent of Chuck Norris, which I think is awesome. I look forward to his demise.
I think the character development and immersion in general will be greatly enhanced by VA when it comes along.

I have to complement extremely the use of audio. From the subtle change of the commit sound to the new music tracks, it all helped to make me feel a lot more... in the future, I guess. The music IMO is a highlight of this campaign. It greatly contributed to establishing the mood for each mission. I did notice a little pause as the game switched tracks, but that's the game's fault.

The intro cutscene was awesome. Enough said.

The gameplay remained true to the classic FS style, but the new ships and weapons, whilst being limited in their selection, served to freshen the gameplay and also add immersion. I especially liked the tactic of having GTVA weapons available after the capture of the Agincourt, but not compatible with UEF fighters. Brilliant way to highlight the differences between GTVA and UEF technology. It's little details like this that make me really enjoy campaigns as I know the designers have been very thorough and have applied thought to more than just their missions and briefings.
Some of the gameplay ideas implemented here are amazing. Things like checkpoints, calling in the strike package, the amazingly multi-pronged conversation with Lorna Simms, and of course The Blade Itself really got my attention not only as a player, but as a FREDder. I'm definitely going to check out these missions in FRED to see how you guys did these things. Can't wait to learn from your expertise.

Now, when downloading, I had qualms about whether or not to download the advanced visuals. I had read on the forums that ships like the Karuna had raped people's computers. In the end, I decided to go for it and test it out. I was not disappointed. Not only did my computer handle everything perfectly, these ships are beautiful. They contain enough new stuff to make a flashy and surprising ally to escort or enemy to fight, but they hearken back to the FS core that we all know and love. And don't even get me started on the backgrounds. The lunar city... I will definitely be checking that mission out to find out how it works. Amazing. The Saturn background in particular... WOW. When I saw it, I completely ignored the battle and the dialogue for the first few minutes just to stare at it. And let's not forget the falling-into-the-sun background. Whilst I felt that it could have been improved (ie not been mostly just a white circle), it served as a great immersion tool and added to the holy****we'regonnadie factor.

Now, I have to say that I liked AoA's story better (I like fighting aliens), and that AoA got me more immersed and hyped up in general while playing, but I attribute a lot of that immersion to voice acting, so I will not render final judgment onto this campaign until VA is done. Here's hoping for Vishnans in Part 2 or future releases as well.

All in all, a very, very well-crafted campaign. I can see why so many people love it (I do too). However it ranks slightly below AoA in my book, because the deciding factor in my view that differentiates the good from the great is how emotionally involved it gets me. Whilst WiH tried a lot harder to expand on the player character's feelings, this had the opposite effect in terms of how attached I felt to that character. I felt a bit like my feelings were being forced. Not that the PC's feeling expansion was bad, it just detracted from my ability to relate to the character and put myself in her shoes (probably also not helped by the fact I'm male), which I was able to do without much problem with Samuel Bei, as I was given freedom to assign my own feelings to him. Once again, this is not a criticism of the campaign in itself. It simply has a different approach to treatment and expansion of the PC compared to AoA.

As a concluding statement let me say that regardless of what I've said above, I loved playing WiH Part 1. Can't wait for Part 2, and the best of luck to the BP team. You've done a brilliant job so far. I know you won't disappoint in the future.
[16:57] <CommanderDJ> What prompted the decision to split WiH into acts?
[16:58] <battuta> it was long, we wanted to release something
[16:58] <battuta> it felt good to have a target to hit
[17:00] <RangerKarl> not sure if talking about strike mission, or jerking off
[17:00] <CommanderDJ> WUT
[17:00] <CommanderDJ> hahahahaha
[17:00] <battuta> hahahaha
[17:00] <RangerKarl> same thing really, if you think about it

 

Offline Ypoknons

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
No criticism meant, but I always think it's difficult for us to imagine that we're on the battlefield unless we've experienced similar... experiances. Or trauma, really. Not that Laporte is traumaized per se, well maybe she is now, but I think it might be easier to sympathize with Bei at the personal level.
Long time ago, you see, there was this thing called the VBB and... oh, nevermind.

 

Offline Dilmah G

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Good review CommanderDJ, I basically agree with all of that. :yes:

No criticism meant, but I always think it's difficult for us to imagine that we're on the battlefield unless we've experienced similar... experiances. Or trauma, really. Not that Laporte is traumaized per se, well maybe she is now, but I think it might be easier to sympathize with Bei at the personal level.
Yeah, well historically pilots don't really experience the same kind of trauma that infantrymen experience anyway; rarely in fighter squadrons is it something reminiscent of 'All Quiet On The Western Front' kind of stuff. If you read books like 'The Big Show', 'Fighter Pilot' and that, a lot of the trauma was through friends dying, and undoubtedly in the lives of pilots like Clive Caldwell, this kind of stuff had a large effect on them. Reading stuff like Bob Doe's autobiography, it was things like tiredness (something touched on in AQOTWF) and the operational tempo that really worked them over as well (he also mentioned that they used to lose 2-3 pilots per scrap they got in, during the BoB). Characters like Lorna Simms are quite reminiscent of someone who may have been a Squadron OC during the BoB.

Although WiH is a little different than that in its presentation.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Quote
Yeah, well historically pilots don't really experience the same kind of trauma that infantrymen experience anyway

Yeah, well, historically, they really do. Check out the memoirs of Quentin C. Aanenson. Read the stories of pilots listening - and watching - their friends burning alive. Read Catch-22; think of what it was like for strategic bomber crews.

I think your argument insults their memory.

Quote
rarely in fighter squadrons is it something reminiscent of 'All Quiet On The Western Front' kind of stuff. If you read books like 'The Big Show', 'Fighter Pilot' and that, a lot of the trauma was through friends dying, and undoubtedly in the lives of pilots like Clive Caldwell, this kind of stuff had a large effect on them. Reading stuff like Bob Doe's autobiography, it was things like tiredness (something touched on in AQOTWF) and the operational tempo that really worked them over as well (he also mentioned that they used to lose 2-3 pilots per scrap they got in, during the BoB). Characters like Lorna Simms are quite reminiscent of someone who may have been a Squadron OC during the BoB.

So now you're saying they did suffer the very psychological stresses presented here. Great.

Quote
Although WiH is a little different than that in its presentation.

Don't see how. Seems like it presents exactly what you're talking about: concern over the loss of friends, fatigue due to operational tempo, stress caused by the enormous responsibilities placed on them. Or are you going to argue that watching ten thousand people die in half a second, ten thousand people explicitly placed under your care, isn't stressful?

There are the Federation's cultural factors as well. But you of all people should appreciate the extraordinary psychological resilience required to serve as a combat pilot.

Here. A jacket quote from a memoir.

Quote
Before war’s end, he would fight in every major air battle on the Western front. He would be forced to watch his friends’ planes streak across the sky after being hit by German flak, blazing like comets as their pilots tried desperately to eject and found themselves stuck inside, burning alive. He would be forced to make decisions about when to let enemies go and when to end their lives. He would be forced to accept the fact that the bombs he dropped over the German front were killing men just like him who only wanted to fight this war and go home as soon as possible. He would be forced to see fellow pilots walking around disfigured after a fire in their planes ignited by enemy fire burned half their faces off, looking like the living dead (and often acting like it, too).

Boy, any of that sound familiar? Seems like a few of those issues popped up here in BP2! Friends dying in screaming agony? Check. Questions about the humanity of enemy pilots? Check. Questions about the ethical nature of the war? Check. Disfigured friendly pilots? Well...I guess we've only got one psychologically disfigured.

I honestly don't get where you're coming from here.GRUMP GRUMP GRUMP

okay i had some coffee now
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 04:24:08 pm by Jeff Vader »

 

Offline Dilmah G

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
I think you didn't actually read what I wrote. I said fighter pilots for that very reason. Bombers are different environments to fighters.

Your entire argument is based around the fact that by 'trauma infantrymen experience anyway', I'm referring to friends dying. I'm not. That's why I spent an entire paragraph on it. :P
Quote
No criticism meant, but I always think it's difficult for us to imagine that we're on the battlefield unless we've experienced similar... experiances. Or trauma, really. Not that Laporte is traumaized per se, well maybe she is now, but I think it might be easier to sympathize with Bei at the personal level.
I read 'on the battlefield'->'infantry specific trauma' as implying howls of artillery barrages, grit in the trenches, ringing ears, and fumbling with ammunition. Did the fact I read AQOTWF beforehand have something to do with it? Probably. But Ypoknons hasn't come out and said that's not what he was getting at, so it's fair game.

Quote
Although WiH is a little different than that in its presentation.
This I'll admit was a statement that wasn't well thought out.

Quote
I think your argument insults their memory.
Their memory? What memory do you have of them, Battuta? Books, movies, videogames? Were any of your family combat pilots? Were any of your family killed in action as combat pilots?

What ****ing memory of combat pilots do you have to ****ing tell me, that I, am insulting them?

You know what I'm talking about here. Tread carefully.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2010, 08:41:14 am by Dilmah G »

 

Offline The E

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Take your fight to IRC.
Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
--Devin Townsend, Genesis

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Quote
I think you didn't actually read what I wrote. I said fighter pilots for that very reason. Bombers are different environments to fighters.

There was one whole sentence in my post about bombers, and a great many about fighters, so I'll discard the above as irrelevant.

You're making statements about combat stress vs. exposure. We both know someone, right now, coming home with PTSD after having not fired a shot. I assume you know what I'm talking about.

When you read 'on the battlefield' to mean something other than what it actually means - out there in the war, at its broadest - you're cheapening the suffering of, and sacrifices made by, those who didn't serve in the commonly fetishized role of infantrymen, pilot, or surface combatant crew. We recently had a thread in which recent veterans made it clear this was unwise.

I have experience with loss to combat, directly and, almost more tragically, indirectly. I'm not interested in using those experiences, or the people involved in them, as totems in a pissing match on the Internet.

On the broader level, if you were trying to make the macro point that War in Heaven oversells the stress of combat for military pilots, you're now floundering. The specific congruence between War in Heaven's subject matter and the primary source recollections of combat pilots establish adequate veracity.

 

Offline Dilmah G

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Quote
When you read 'on the battlefield' to mean something other than what it actually means - out there in the war, at its broadest - you're cheapening the suffering of, and sacrifices made by, those who didn't serve in the commonly fetishized role of infantrymen, pilot, or surface combatant crew. We recently had a thread in which recent veterans made it clear this was unwise.
Fair enough. I have no intention of insulting anyone.

Quote
On the broader level, if you were trying to make the macro point that War in Heaven oversells the stress of combat for military pilots, you're now floundering. The specific congruence between War in Heaven's subject matter and the primary source recollections of combat pilots establish adequate veracity.
I'm not posting with the intention of making any point of the sort. In fact, now that I read what I wrote, it has little relevance to what Ypoknons was actually saying, let alone it being made with the intention of an argument. You also take 'Although WiH is a little different than that in its presentation.' to mean that WiH didn't present those things, or at least, that's how I'm reading it based on what you've posted. That's not what I was getting at. I was getting at the fact that for Laporte, killing, the stress about her feelings for it and the fact she ends up with a penchant for it, is also a major point of her being in those circumstances, rather than it just being what I'd mentioned earlier. Perhaps I wasn't specific? Sure. But was I meaning 'WIH IS SO ****ING INACCURATE COMPARED TO THE EXAMPLES I GAVE MAN?' No, I was not.

I'm too tired for this, but I'm not posting with the intention of proposing some argument against why WiH does x, y, or z incorrectly. If you'd like to play smart ass and quote parts of my posts that say otherwise, you can go ahead and feel validated, but I'm not going to bother.

 

Offline General Battuta

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
That's a fair response. My angle was coming off your agreement with DJ's review and then quoting Ykonopon's statement here:

Quote
No criticism meant, but I always think it's difficult for us to imagine that we're on the battlefield unless we've experienced similar... experiances. Or trauma, really. Not that Laporte is traumaized per se, well maybe she is now, but I think it might be easier to sympathize with Bei at the personal level.

I read it as disagreement with the notion that Laporte, in particular, is rendered inaccessible by the fact that few of us have experienced combat stress. As per the above citations, I think the life of a combat fighter pilot is extraordinarily stressful and traumatic, and I would be surprised to hear you disagree given all you know.

Thus the rest.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2010, 09:14:58 am by General Battuta »

 

Offline Dilmah G

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Ah right, fair enough.

As per the above citations, I think the life of a combat fighter pilot is extraordinarily stressful and traumatic, and I would be surprised to hear you disagree given all you know.
Oh, did I say I disagreed?

Well, my bad. :D I'm too tired to go and look right now, but I don't have the intention of putting that across.

Wait, I think I misread your post. :\ Well, whatever. :P

 

Offline NFSRacer

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Way I see it, if we want to have that feel that we're on the battlefield, just enable the cockpit views.  There you go.  Now, you feel as if you're in a real fighter with real baddies hammering down on you.  I mean, come on.  That's as close to a feeling that you're out on a real battlefield as you're going to get.
"Said 'It was up to us.  Up to us, to decide.  You've become a virus that eating up it host.  We've been watching you with all our eye, and what you seem to value most.  'So much potential'.  Or so we used to say.  Your greed, self-importance, and your arrogance, you p*** it all away.'" - NIN from Year Zero

 

Offline Ypoknons

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
I tend to be a bit more general and vague about my positions, mostly because I'm quite occupied with career and school, I attend an accelerated post-graduate program, so I don't anyways have to time to research, check and defend my positions.

Regarding the military in particular, while I have done enough reading to get a basic idea of solider psychology, enough to appreciate what's going in WiH, there's only so much depth I feel comfortable discussing. Especially, where I am living current , Hong Kong, is one of the most demilitarized cultures around as defense has always been handled by the controlling power (formerly Great Britain, now the PRC), meaning we really have little contact with military affairs (unlike our close cultural cousin Singapore). So that might factor a bit into my original post as well, some of the distance I feel because I'm reaching out quite far from where I am.

Whereas with father issues and striving towards... I don't know what with Bei really wants, I really do need to replay AoA, but it seems easier to get, closer, more everyday.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2010, 11:21:54 am by Ypoknons »
Long time ago, you see, there was this thing called the VBB and... oh, nevermind.

 

Offline -Sara-

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
@NFSRacer: The worst mistake one can make with any principle of game design is to use polishing as the only solution and means to make a game more immersive. A good example is MMO's which keep adding monthly minigames and funky effects to 'entertain' the player until an expansion pack is for sale: a recent MMO which updated it's graphics and world will find half of it's playerbase miraculously disappearing in a period of 18-24 months, you watch. :) But yea, cockpits don't cut it. Immersion is when you stare at the screen, living the story while aftewards you say "well ****, I'm staring at a monitor, I totally forgot!". BUT, for me Delenda Est for example IS very immersive and does give a feel of loss and grief over the pilots who go down. So I think the way BP is going, it is doing just great.
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Offline Androgeos Exeunt

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
@NFSRacer: The worst mistake one can make with any principle of game design is to use polishing as the only solution and means to make a game more immersive. A good example is MMO's which keep adding monthly minigames and funky effects to 'entertain' the player until an expansion pack is for sale: a recent MMO which updated it's graphics and world will find half of it's playerbase miraculously disappearing in a period of 18-24 months, you watch. :)

Wait, so adding stuff is better than updating existing stuff? Am I getting that correctly? :confused:


But yea, cockpits don't cut it.

Cockpits break my copy of FS2. I'm too lazy to troubleshoot, so I can live without them.


Immersion is when you stare at the screen, living the story while aftewards you say "well ****, I'm staring at a monitor, I totally forgot!". BUT, for me Delenda Est for example IS very immersive and does give a feel of loss and grief over the pilots who go down. So I think the way BP is going, it is doing just great.

Funnily enough, immersion for me is when I panic and start asking myself a million times what my assigned controls are. I get that in WiH and, surprisingly, multiplayer. I don't usually get that in single-player because I tend to cheat. Being a beta tester for WiH, however, means that I try not to cheat while playing so as to give the most accurate feedback as I can to the devs. That helps to immerse me into the game as well. The immersion in WiH is so strong that, despite playing what has been released a number of times already, I still cannot remember precisely what happens and where or when it happens.

And yes, I still panic in the opening seconds of The Cost of War. :p
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Offline -Sara-

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
@NFSRacer: The worst mistake one can make with any principle of game design is to use polishing as the only solution and means to make a game more immersive. A good example is MMO's which keep adding monthly minigames and funky effects to 'entertain' the player until an expansion pack is for sale: a recent MMO which updated it's graphics and world will find half of it's playerbase miraculously disappearing in a period of 18-24 months, you watch. :)

Wait, so adding stuff is better than updating existing stuff? Am I getting that correctly? :confused:

No, I meant to say that adding small details such as cockpits as enhancements alone do not miraculously fix problems as NFSRacer thinks. If BP would have had problems with immersion (it does not, the story is VERY immersive already as is the building of tension in the missions with it's unexpected events) NSFRacer's suggestion of adding cockpits isn't a magic solution. I used the example that many games on the market try to implement gimmicks to their repertoire with the hopes of making a game great, something common in the less succesful MMORPG's out there. Some very young MMO's, barely 2-3 years on the market have shut down for that reason. Those games added 'metaphorical cockpits' thinking their problem was solved. As far as I'm concerned BP doesn't have problems though and is far more solid story-wise to me than the retail campaign (I'm never much of a nostalgic anyway). I could have worded that all far better though.


But yea, cockpits don't cut it.

Cockpits break my copy of FS2. I'm too lazy to troubleshoot, so I can live without them.

As can I, live without them that is. Compared to the rest of the game cockpits aren't quite as high quality as the fighters and ships are. I don't miss them either.


Immersion is when you stare at the screen, living the story while aftewards you say "well ****, I'm staring at a monitor, I totally forgot!". BUT, for me Delenda Est for example IS very immersive and does give a feel of loss and grief over the pilots who go down. So I think the way BP is going, it is doing just great.

Funnily enough, immersion for me is when I panic and start asking myself a million times what my assigned controls are. I get that in WiH and, surprisingly, multiplayer. I don't usually get that in single-player because I tend to cheat. Being a beta tester for WiH, however, means that I try not to cheat while playing so as to give the most accurate feedback as I can to the devs. That helps to immerse me into the game as well. The immersion in WiH is so strong that, despite playing what has been released a number of times already, I still cannot remember precisely what happens and where or when it happens.

And yes, I still panic in the opening seconds of The Cost of War. :p

And are you thinking "oh yea, what does it matter, I can start again"? I think not. ;) So yep, you're very immersed, glad to hear you're having as much fun as I do! :D
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Offline NFSRacer

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
I'm not saying it fixes it!  I'm just saying that it'll enhance the feeling.  You've got the wrong idea, dude.
"Said 'It was up to us.  Up to us, to decide.  You've become a virus that eating up it host.  We've been watching you with all our eye, and what you seem to value most.  'So much potential'.  Or so we used to say.  Your greed, self-importance, and your arrogance, you p*** it all away.'" - NIN from Year Zero

 

Offline Commander Zane

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Re: BP: War in Heaven discussion
Dude? :P