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Randall C. Reed

Ultimate General Focus Tester
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About Randall C. Reed

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    Landsmen
  • Birthday 02/23/1949

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  1. Oh, thorisgodpoo, you are an eager bunny, aren't you! If they get the system tuned and re-organized the way some of us want, they can produce re-creations of every battle of significance in the ACW. You raise an interesting question to which I have insufficient knowledge to respond. On the one hand, most soldiers, since time immemorial, have had strong survival tendencies to engage the closest threat at the moment. Thus, it is possible that infantry on one end of a battle line could engage different threats than those at the opposite end. But from a C&C perspective, how many separate targets could an infantry regiment engage in the heat and confusion of battle? Remember, the over-arching issue would be the ability to give commands and change those commands and responding to those commands at will during the din and carnage of battle. I would love to hear opinions from some of our more erudite ACW experts in the forum about this.
  2. Actually, that is very good news. I heard comments and rumors to the effect that, given the incompressibility of solids and liquids, all of the "room" in the engine had been devoted to making a super sophisticated AI and compromises were made that removed the modularity of UGG scenario packages and induced other unanticipated distortions. I think as long as the hardcore customers are assured that, in time, a development path that includes the kind of historical accuracy that hardcore gamers expect and realistic scenarios that allow us to "do" the whole battle, they will wait for a considerable period of time. Remember, when done right, the features that will make the hardcore go wild will not distort the pleasure that the more casual "competitive" gamer can get from the game action. A good game can be both playable, competitive, and historically defensible. They are not mutually exclusive states. Another reason to be satisfied with patience is the opportunity that it provides the hardcore gamers who become so intimately familiar with the system to influence the developers to always consider the long-ranged potential of perfecting a high-powered game engine as the stable foundation to which an historical game designer can work with a code developer to produce a series of games in the same genre (or historical time period) that build off a common, proven, dependable game engine. As a designer of games and instructional products, I have always been attracted to the concept of spiral development, which, in this case, means that all the work that went into the first iteration of a product is carried forward and then refined and perfected in the second iteration, and further refined and perfected in the third, etc. Theoretically, any incremental improvement in an earlier product release is still paying dividends in all subsequent products derived from the spiral development strategy. I always hated reinventing the wheel over and over.
  3. People have niggling complaints and the development boys seem to be able to patch many of them. The problem is a lack of a campaign game and the fact that there is poor scenario-to-scenario articulation. You need to play more for that to become obvious. Solutions are problematic since the scenarios have been deeply entwined in the game engine. I think we will have to live with that in UGG and look for the next major iteration of the game engine, which has some amazing AI capabilities that are still being perfected, in the next major release. Lots of potential there. I will be curious as to your impressions of the system after you have played it a bit more. Periodic updates of your perceptions would be interesting. (It is always interesting to see how easily we forget what our initial experiences were like after we have gotten experience in a game or technology. Microsoft is famous for writing their help files that invariably start at the SECOND thing we need to know and skip the first thing we need, thus rendering everything that follows irrelevant. "User Interface Analysis and Optimization" is a hot new field that a friend's husband is deeply engaged in. Its application to gaming and the gaming interface experience is unavoidable.) Keep us informed as you gain experience and discover new nuances in the game. Should be interesting.
  4. I confess, I had a bit of trouble understanding everything you said. Obviously, I did not understand everything you were saying. But, if I interpret you correctly, you are fine with the idea of people being free to express their ideas and if I say it, you are totally free to respond with what I have said whether you agree with me or not. I am very comfortable with that. I think it is imbalanced to act like I understand only part of your message and then ignore the rest of a reasoned argument. I try not to do that. I tend to respond to the things that strike a chord with me on first reading. I am not sure that I agree with the idea that it is useful to tell someone to stop complaining. They usually complain because they care. If someone becomes a pain (who, me?) the cure is to simply not read what he or she says. My problem is, when I get emotionally invested in something, I really get invested. I am invested in UGG and I see the full potential and from that, I sometimes go high and tight. It is kind of like a breakfast of ham and eggs: the chicken is involved, but the pig is REALLY invested! I am the gaming pig. I am old school: I believe that ANY feedback, positive, negative or something in between, is useful and helpful, whether the person providing the feedback is yelling or whispering. It is really all good and can be fodder for improving the product. I also agree that is is a bit annoying to read points that have been made repeatedly time after time six months ago. I really have made an effort to read as many relevant posts as I could. Obviously, I may have missed a few here and there... Being a former executive in a small niche game publisher, I know first-hand the importance of feeding and pampering the hardcore, loyal, followers who buy the products. Keeping them happy is not always easy (and you can never satisfy all of them and, occasionally, you don't satisfy any of them). But they deserve the respect of maintaining a dialog and engaging in debate, for which this forum is a great tool. And I probably please even fewer yet. I am old and have experienced more than I care to think about. Sometimes that experience come bubbling up and I am compelled to testify. I try not to be pedantic, but sometimes I err. But my comments are fair game for anyone who can critique incisively and logically. I am still learning and I learn from anyone with valuable ideas. If you make a grand point, I am pleased to acknowledge that. If you say something silly, I usually can't resist jumping on that, too! So, I am here because I like UGG very much, I have ideas, and I wish to debate them. Questioning, challenging, probing, and debunking assertions and challenging assumptions is good for the mind of those so engaged and always produces a better product, IMHO. Enjoy.
  5. I have received a Steam CD key to access the Beta test version with a quick note of instructions. Being old and slow, I really do not know how to use the Steam CD key to get to the Beta test version. Any assistance would be appreciated. Thank you!
  6. No, I don't think so. A forum is a free exchange of ideas. When arguments and posts are made that attempt to distort or inhibit or suppress the free of expression of unpopular ideas, that IMMEDIATELY becomes the top topic of concern, because if that issue is not resolved, what on-topic posts that follows have been pre-censored, intimidated, or scared into silence. Free exchange of good ideas grounds to a halt. That is boring and bad. Currently, the tangential issue be discussed is the need to understand FORUM ground rules in the context of American ideals of Freedom of Expression. Once that has been re-established, the debate can push on unfettered. Once this bit of "housekeeping" is resolved, a full-throated debate can continue. I indulge your patience, GShock; the topic and the forum as still substantially on the rails and functioning as it should. Remember, my wonderful gaming friends of a hundred different backgrounds, interested, education levels, political systems, and languages, it is this variety that injects so much meaning and relevance into a truly highly charged forum debate and maintains any forum or topic thread with its vitality and meaning. Enjoy.
  7. Thing is a good game does not only apply to hardcore Gamers but to all. The General Feedback for this game is great and i like it very much because of what it is. I feel like you make it look like your opinion is the only truth. Also id like to add that you should stpp that ' youre a customer bla bla bla'. We all know we are customers but please dont try to represent People represent yourself im totally fine with that. If youre presenting yourself people can agree with you or disagree with you but you shouldnt say to people but you are a customer why this that etc. We are all grown man here i suppose that can make their own decisions, have their own opinions. But please dont try to 'represent' the community because your opinion does not represent mine. Thx _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ __ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ __ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ __ _ __ _ _ That's why is is called a FORUM. Goes back to that Greek and Roman thing. (Google it.) I will say what I want to say and mean precisely what I say when I say it. Who are you to tell me what I should and should not say? If you don't like what I say, please disagree; rebut my assertions; counter my argument; destroy me with my own logic and make me out to be the fool; offer up your own considered opinion; assert your own solutions to problems as you see them: Share your thoughts and your metacognitive renderings. Share your experience and your accumulated wisdom. Expose your gaming philosophies for all the world to see. But please do not attempt to merely silence a dissenting voice. But, whatever you do, don't simply tell me I shouldn't do this and I shouldn't say that. Don't tell me I am being unfair to the boys in the back office. They are grownups. They know how to take reasoned criticism like men. If it makes them uncomfortable, ask yourself why one old man in South Carolina should make these Lions of Computer Gaming feel foolish or inadequate? And, for heaven's sake, if you are going to try to tell me that, when I talk about the power of being the consumer and the fact that the customer has a stake in the game he or she pays good money for, is a terrible assertion to make, then GIVE ME A COUNTER argument. Destroy my assertions with reasoned point and counterpoint. Put your brainpower on the line. Serve up your absolute truths for all to see. But, why in the world do you think that I am obligated to submit to your will simply because you say, "Stop that, I don't like it?" I never said or implied that I spoke for any community. My thoughts and ideas are entirely my own and I speak solely for myself. And I take full responsibility for what I said. To the extent that I got overly engaged and imprudent and my comments upset anyone or hurt anyone's feelings, I sincerely apologize to them. It was unnecessary and distracting. But, FraGG, do you see how absolutely unhelpful it is to the discussion to make demands without offering up anything in return? If I raise your blood pressure and motivate you to respond, then the discussion is advanced. If your response is just blind commands to cease and desist because what I say makes you uncomfortable or angry, it advances nothing and grossly misses the mark. Love me or hate me, but never accuse me of failing to offer reasoned arguments for discussion, debate, and rebuttal. In the USA, we are fond of saying, "I may totally dislike and disagree with what you say, but I will fight to death to defend your right to say it." Socrates would be very disappointed if it were any other way. I know of what I speak.
  8. It might be hard to believe, but some of the most frequent critics actually like what is going on in the game very much. Probably because of its promise, I get fired up about its shortcomings. They are patching like crazy, so make sure you are updated. They give no indication, but I desperately hope that they come through with a comprehensive fix to the scenario situation before it is too late. Stay tuned: Film at 11!
  9. Sorry, I just got the game six weeks ago. Tried to look at all of the forum topics that were relevant to my concerns, but I must have missed a few. My apologies.
  10. You are entitled to your opinions. But if you are delusional enough to think that anything that David and I write on OUR forum (not theirs--we gamers provide 96% of the content and generate free publicity and "buzz" for their product; the cheapest form of advertising on the planet) really is going to affect their publication and release schedule, you are incredibly naive. And we are under not one whit of obligation to avoid insulting them or hurting their tender egos. Frankly, I was insulted by the activity in their postings and the way they avoid honest responses to sincere concerns from their buying public. Finally, if you think that anything we say or do would dissuade them from their pursuit of money, you are bat crap crazy in the head. What, are you a 13-year-old? But, IF they delay a patch (a quick and dirty fix to a problem that eventually requires a serious, thorough fix) because of some insight that was gleaned from something in our critique and commentary, I would be very pleased to note a developer responded to thoughtful, sincere suggestions from their buying public (me!). And, how dare you apologize for me, you presumptuous pinhead. If there is any apologizing to be done for my actions, I am certainly man enough to do my own talking. You take care of your side of the street. Rest assured, I will take care of my own messes and faux pas. God bless you!
  11. Now personal attacks on Players/Posters when, and if they say things that just doesn't agree with yours. There's a big difference with showing respect, and brown nosing, where mine is the former. Seems like you have agenda since you showed up here. Find problems with and not limited to (Game / Game Play / Developers, and their decisions going forward. / People that like n enjoy the game(regardless of its short comings.) Verbal hissing / insulting me(trying to make me look like a 0.10 cent fool) because I enjoy this game n have respect for the Developers. We? who is this we? Search Party for a Backbone? Trying to add weight to you post by adding the 'We'? Randall you are 65 yrs old, a man that that has a impressive resume, working in the Gaming World(producing/publishing). I would expect from your colorful past, that you would conduct yourself in a more professional manner here. I have paid a lot more $ for a game, that was just crap, I felt that I was ripped off n Got pissed off. I seen their glaring mistakes in game. Sure I posted my dislikes. But what I didn't do was, go to the game's/Developers forum's than post in a way with veiled / disrespectful comments like some do, so when read were basically rude / attacking / insulting, and Belittling. If you have more to say to me take it to the PM,I will not get into a shit slinging contest here in the public forum. This way you can air you dislike for me because, basically I show a optimistic favorable view towards, people / Products I like(car, pc,etc), State my likes / Dislikes for Game's / Developers etc.in a respectable manner. I sent you a PM earlier before I read that post^ I went as far as to complement you in that PM. Did I make a mistake wording that PM Randall? I fear I have.... This thread has evolved into something resembling, a Dog chasing his tail,,, Going nowhere, not accomplishing anything, but just hurting others, raising peoples ire / birse to a degree........ Good Character is best Kept, Than trying to Recover........ Lock or Delete thread would be my choice... - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Wow, who has the thin skin? Do you not recognize a bit of levity when you read it? I was teasing you; apparently I should not have done that with your online temperament. I was expecting a clever repartee comeback, not someone going mad dog with scatological references. I must have made you really angry, didn't I? Please, do not take me or my comments so seriously. I did not mean in any way to upset you and ruin your day. My tease was based on the fact that, yes, after decades of experience in the game biz, I do have an idea of what the inside of game companies are like. I know when they are being disingenuous and trying to blow smoke up the orifices of their customers. But, you are correct; my opinion is that your post was cloyingly deferential to a company that has a good product but has shown a lot of arrogance and disregard for all their customers in their communications. Criticism of their most recent product release is like finding money on the street; good feedback is hard to find and is worth a lot to the organization that knows how to use it to improve a good product. It is not the customer's job to lard them up and endlessly tell them the good they have done: Silence implies consent in most venues. The plain fact is, these guys are in it to make money and they need customers more than the customers need them. Now, come on folks, that is simple Business 101 common sense. We risk nothing by expressing our viewpoint and sharing our ideas, even when that expression is harsh. In my experience in the industry, I have had game reviewers and game customers chew me up one side and down the other and to pick at every single thing I did in any of my game designs and hoist me on a pole for my abject incompetence and stupidity. But if they had good, useful, insightful feedback after playing the game in a true customer setting, I would steal their ideas willingly and quickly and not be bothered by their fanatical venom over what I had wrought. It simply goes with the territory. See, their feedback, no matter how vociferous, was invaluable to the perfection of my design and the sharpening of my design skills. I needed their feedback more than they needed to vent their emotions to me. Mr. Fair has told me that he enjoys the game, is in awe of its potential and frustrated by its inadequacies. It is a very uneven design. Whether you like it or not, some things have been brilliantly executed but other equally important have been amateurishly presented. I personally think that, given the depth of his professional interest in things military and things analytical, he has been reasonably controlled in his writings. He knows what he is talking about when he puts pen to paper. There is no rule that I know of that states that only civil, genteel, comments, sweetly framed, are proper. Now, we may be received better if we are civil and respectful, but there is clearly room for indignant play outrage at something as trivial as a game if we are so disposed. But, look folks, David's rather benign comments (by most standards) actually got those swell heads ANGRY. And once angry, they vented their spleen through the device of emotional torture (Admin's words, not mine) and verbal banishment. That is magnitudes more egregious than anything perpetrated by Mr. Fair. That is more upsetting than anything i have written, if you have your head on straight. One of the most amazing things that he has critiqued my commentary for was repeating the criticisms that the playtesters had voiced on numerous occasions in the closed, closely held, playtester's forum. The G-L folks knew about these flaws, apparently appreciated them at face value, yet chose not to act on that knowledge. As a game developer of long standing, I consider that to be a serious breach of publisher-customer ethical standards. I do not care whether you have never been a game designer and do not appreciate my statement. Your lack of experience in the business is not my fault. I know what I have experienced; I know what the standards of ethical behavior have been in an industry I have devoted a big chunk of my life to. Most of the UGG players don't care about any of this. OK, don't waste your time reading my crap. But for those who may be higher order thinkers and ethical philosophers of any standing, I offer a broader perspective on game design than anyone else reading this, unless some of the Old Guard (like B.C Milligan) are mildly amused by this entire thread and are following it. I know what I know and I don't believe that you know what you don't know. Unless you have walked half a century in my gaming moccasins, you may not be aware of tried and tested themes and ideas that have permeated the industry for many years. Trust me, the G-L boys are not going anywhere just because a few "bullies" like Fair and me talk mean to them. You don't agree with me and I certainly think your ideas are bat crap excessive. So the best solution is to agree not to read the other person's post. If my posting upset you, it was unfortunate. The solution is to simply not bother your pretty little head with my addled ramblings. Good night and God bless you!
  12. Mr. Watkins, you are the paying customer, for pity sake. You act like the publishers are doing you the favor of taking your money and your duty is to say only nice things and give them even more money next time. It doesn't work that way. Customers have paid their money for a stake in this debate. They have an investment to protect. BTW, we are organizing a search party to help you find your backbone. We start searching a the break of dawn. Do not lose hope!
  13. This is an extremely disturbing post from a group of people who rely on the goodwill of their customers for their success. David Fair was speaking out of intellectual and emotional frustration, not disrespect. Apparently, you have been trying the patience of your most erudite and knowledgeable customers for some time. Banning David Fair is not wise or productive. You are banning one of your customers. Remember them? They are the folks who buy your products, shower you with money, give you valuable feedback and information to improve your products, and expect to be spoken to respectfully, openly, and honestly with minimal smoke and obfuscation. You are marketing your game to western Europe and the US, comrade, not the old Soviet Union. We believe in freedom of expression and the right to state an opinion openly and honestly without fear of Gulag-like repercussions from misguided egoists. You act like democracy and basic liberties are still foreign concepts in Kiev, Ukraine. I certainly hope not. You have been less than truthful with your customers. After intensive play for the last two months, it is abundantly clear to me that the AI in UGG does NOT operate as you describe it in you blogs, forum responses, or advertising. You have published a battle of Gettysburg in which a player is literally unable to play the three-day battle of Gettysburg, as if the customer is making impossible demands. Other games and companies have been able to do this for years. It is not that difficult. But it is that important for a game that purports to be a realistic replay of the actual historical battle. You have ignored valid criticism and responded with self-serving marketing propaganda that neither sheds light on issues or acknowledges customer concerns. This disrespect towards your customer base also demonstrates a horrible Not Invented Here syndrome that reveals a real lack of maturity and judgment and an overabundance of youthful pride and ego. Why shouldn't your customers be allowed to critique your mental acuity, capacity, clarity, judgment, vision, and creativity when it is precisely those capabilities that are going to be reflected in the games you design and publish? Your analytical capabilities are open for evaluation and comment when they reflect the products that your customers give you money for. When you accept their money, you cease riding your high horse and should prudently listen to your paying customers. Apparently, however, you do not listen very well. It is abundantly clear that the major criticisms of this very promising game were made apparent to you all during the playtesting of this design. Apparently, you were unwilling or unable to resolve the critiques of the game scenarios discovered during testing. Now, I will share a piece of wisdom with you about publishing a game that I gleaned from years of experience as a historical game publishing company executive (and regardless of what less-than-insightful commenters may say, a game design is a game design, regardless of how it is mediated and delivered to the customer): There is a certain element of risk that one must assume whenever one attempts to design something as complicated as a simulation game. There is always a small possibility that the design will not be successful. That is why for half a century, we have playtested games before releasing them. The second element of this risk is that a playtest program may reveal a deeply flawed design that requires considerable time and effort to repair and rescue. Why engage in a playtest program if you are not willing to expend the resources to fix those issues that may be revealed? What does this say about the amount of respect the developers have for their playtesters and their paying customers? Loud volumes, let me assure you. So, now we get a mea culpa (sort of) from the Voices in the Back Offices saying that we should lay off trying to make this potentially great design (but not yet great by any measure) better so it has a long and bright future. How should it make me feel about investing more of my hard earned money for future products from this very new and very green company? It may make me think twice about how dedicated to their customers they really are and how much they just want to take the money and dash off to the next cash flow project. Sorry, folks, at some point you have to reward your loyal customers for their loyalty. You do this by showing your ability to evolve and perfect your design for the sake of making it a better design and ensuring it has a long and glorious future. Game-Labs, demonstrate your respect and loyalty towards your loyal customers by (1) Fixing the acknowledged flaws in the current design and/or game engine; and (2) Stop acting like you are the Thought and Morality Police for your customer base due to some ascendent morality you think you possess as publishers. Take it from me, you do not own that moral high ground. Your customers do; they give you money, the sincerest form of flattery. Do they vent their opinions out of malice and a desire to hurt or out of frustration and high expectations for your design? I'll leave it to you to make that analytical coda. No man is an island; we are an interdependent community. Let Mr. Fair escape the Gulag to which you have exiled him. Your customers will respect you more for that than for the poor judgment you demonstrate by banning his erudite opinions and observations. God bless you!
  14. I remain somewhat surprised that the fact that scenarios are based on "Victory Points" of various THOUSANDS of points for physical occupation of terrain objectives doesn't bother more players. This is a major concern on two counts: First, these "victory points" are purely backward-looking assessments based on what was critical in the historical campaign. Little Round Top is assigned a four-place point value based on the fact that in the real campaign, it anchored the Union left flank. Had the flank rested on Big Round Top, instead, the points would have been viewed by designers quite differently. If the players create a different tactical situation, the value of specific terrain would be perceived very differently. There is nothing intrinsically valuable about Little Round Top to the national strategic goals of either the Union or Confederate causes. It was just a hill. Yet, its occupation is a major driver in the game in determining victory or defeat regardless of what happens to the fighting forces of either side. Second, the strategic goal of both sides was the incapacitation of the other side's army. Gettysburg was a serendipitous accident of geography, with little strategic value to the North. Why, then, create a victory assessment system weighed so heavily on occupation of points on a map that would have no sense of value a week later? I maintain that, once again, the designers have over-thought the scenarios and added a totally unnecessary element to what should be a more elegant design. Destroying enemy units tactically appears to be quite sufficient to determine "victory" for these mid-point mini-battles. (Not every scenario has the tactical capacity to result in anything approaching a "decisive" margin of victory.) It should be simpler than that; basically the Last Man Standing concept should be able to indicate a winner to the extent that one has to be so designated. And by the way, think about it, really, why 1,200 VPs in stead of 12? Is it just a sign of verbosity or vanity on the part of the designers? Or, did they really not understand, fully, the implications of their own victory system?
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