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SF2 - what has been taken away?

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We're sorry you feel that way, but what exactly do you think we have "taken away" form you in the last year? Nothing is removed from the game in the last year, as far as we're aware of. If you feel somehow we've taken your game away, for whatever reason, please feel free to ask for a refund, and we would be happy to send you 100% refund, no questions asked.

When we do the updates, they're to resolve issues brought up by our users (and occasionally, to provide additional contents). They're never to remove any existing content. We do understand that sometimes, small changes in the code may expose problems in the mods and break them. But when this happens, we feel it's up to the modders to fix their mods and update them to work with the new version of the game. What's why the updates are always optional and not forced, so if you can keep playing the game exactly as it was when you first bought it if you want. No one is taking anything away from you.

As a "merchandise provider and paying customer", if we sold you a car, and we upgrade to a newer and improved model 1 year later, but you don't like the changes, would you feel we're taking your car away too? Even though you still have the original car that you bought? And if we offered the new model for free to everyone who bought the last model, would you resent that too, just because you don't like the new model? Even if you don't have to get the new model and you can keep the original?

We believe we're going way above and beyond what's normally expected from a "merchandise provider" by also providing you with years of free services, all at our expense. You're currently only paying for the cost of "merchandise" (the development cost), and often, not even that (many games don't even make that back). We currently do not charge you anything for the post-purchase services we provide for free. Posts like this cause us to ask why we do this, but ultimately, it's because we do care about our customers. You say you "do not care about the opinions of others", but we certainly do, that’s why we provide these updates for free, often at great personal cost here. We believe majority of our customers here benefit from them, but if you do not want us to update your games and want your games left alone the way they are, then just don't apply the updates. This way, those people who wants their games updated can still get them while you get to keep yours they are.

 

http://bbs.thirdwire.com/phpBB3w/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=9562

 

TW are 100% right in the statement IMO - but is there a list of things that have been removed (apart from multiplayer obviously) and have they actually been removed fully?

 

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the TW statement is not fully correct , if i´m going to buy a DLC aircraft i´m forced to update my game or the DLC will not be installed !!!

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Actually I would say TW are for the most part right, the part I find too be A BIT on the side of misunderstanding is this:

 

"We do understand that sometimes, small changes in the code may expose problems in the mods and break them. 

But when this happens, we feel it's up to the modders to fix their mods and update them to work with the new version of the game."

 

Now this is also true but why then did they spent so much effort to lock things out? We WILL gladly fix the mods(because F'it, it's an addiction and we can't stop) but then give us the access man...

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Isn't it for the OP (on the original thread at Third Wire) to reply to TK's question as to what exactly has been taken away from him during the course of the past year (the OP's timeframe btw)?

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Oh where are thou you Coding Masters? Anybody who knows well how to code in C++  and with a bit of experience in reverse engineering games - SF community NEEDS YOU!

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Isn't it for the OP (on the original thread at Third Wire) to reply to TK's question as to what exactly has been taken away from him during the course of the past year (the OP's timeframe btw)?

 

His answer is probably going to be different to everyone else's - I thought there was a ton of things

 

 

1. Multiplayer

2. Access to LODs

3. Access to Terrain files

4. Removal of negative fuel flow

 

 

what else

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5. Limited the height and puffiness of clouds

6. Disabled the arrester hook for non navy planes (though it can be brought back with data.ini edits)

7. Limited the max terrain render distance  to 62km from 75km (though it can be brought back back  with flightengine.ini edits)

8. Limited the max TOD detail range to 4 (down from 6, can be remedied by editing flightengine.ini)

9. Some fudging around with clipping - aircrafts on the ground (parked and on the runway) "dissapear/sink-in" when you zoom out the view

Edited by SFP1Ace

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9) FAC planes

10) Ability to edit the FlightEngine ini to expand terrain borders to less than 80km (ie: kick back The Wall)

Edited by Wrench
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11. Removed the C-130A Hercules AI plane

12. Removed F-104G and A-6A 'pits (didn't want/couldn't afford to update them to SF2 standard?)

Edited by SFP1Ace
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Complete modability ??

 

Really we would only have had that by having the source code.

Any more for the list then - I think things that can still be changed via ini are fair enough 

the TW statement is not fully correct , if i´m going to buy a DLC aircraft i´m forced to update my game or the DLC will not be installed !!!

 

Good point

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His answer is probably going to be different to everyone else's - I thought there was a ton of things

 

 

1. Multiplayer

2. Access to LODs

3. Access to Terrain files

4. Removal of negative fuel flow

 

 

what else

During the course of the last year? I don't think so. I repeat, that's the timescale posed by the OP.

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I haven't fired up the game in a good while, soooo, if all these things have been taken away what was added or fixed to cause TK to release the patches in the first place?

Was it a fair swap?

 

Just asking before the winter nights arrive & I get back into it....or not as the case may be.

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As I said before, we should try to ask TK for the source code maybe signing a confidentiality agreement, OR try to mod the games ourselves. I doubt he will ever release that EXP.3 I can be wrong of course, but If we want the series to evolve a bit more we should start moving forward.

 

I'm pretty sure we can do it.

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Yup, all we need is some coders. For frakk's sake, if such ancient titles like F22:TAW have some folks cracking them wide open why can't Strike Fighters get some  "in the code" action???

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Over the time frame from Expansion Pack 1 to SF2:NA's final patch were a lot of "little" changes per those listed above.

The trend trend for the past few years has been to resolve complaints by making a change that causes worse problems than the original complaint.

TK's forums have been a "Monkey's Paw".

You wish for something, but get unintended consequences.

 

For years people had complaints about the terrain engine:

1) The way ground objects popped into view.

2) Sorting issues with clouds and terrain.

3) The 1998 dated look of the terrain mesh height resolution and textures.
 
TKs solution to these problems:
1) Make objects fade into view rather than pop-up. The new effect looked great, except that you couldn't even see the runways until just before landing. Of course the fade-in distance had been locked down. So, TK provided an ini key to disable the new system. But disabling it might cripple future changes and still didn't give you control over the view ranges.

For me, the biggest problem associated with this change was the limits on view distance to aircraft.

The "fix" that allows people to turn off the new system does not solve my problem: aircraft used to be visible as soon as they rendered as a single pixel AND met the ini file specified visibility range.

Now, they appear at a hard-coded range per the horizon distance settings with no regard for the ini setting or 1-pixel rendering range.

Even at the farthest horizon settings, B-52 size aircraft go from invisible to quite large, which makes fighting using visual spotting look as bad as the old system's terrain popping into view.

 

2) Since low level clouds and objects have sorting issues and many people using mods complained very heavily about these problems, TK hard-coded the clould altitude limits to a much higher level.

This didn't fix the problem, it just hid the problem.

Now you won't see as many sorting issues because the clouds can't be at historical low altitudes.

I like to create and fly historical missions.

A key component to getting historical results are the visibility conditions imposed by the historical weather.

In Vietnam, the clouds were low, usually about 3,000 feet, but you can't make clouds any lower than about 10,000 feet.

 

3) Aside from much improved support for naval actions, SF2NA brought the new terrain.

This new terrain cost TK a lot of time and money to develop.

But, it comes at a high performance cost, doesn't look that good in its stock release, is partially locked down, and modders get no support in the form of tools or even answers to basic questions about how to make new terrains using the new system.

There was also another little itty, bitty problem: the increased resolution came at the expense of the overall map size.

If you want maps that look as good as first person shooters, then the maps have to be the size of first person shooters.

Of course, the original terrain system was already limited in map size.

It was a flat square rather than based on the real shape of the globe.

But now it is a much smaller square.

Now, you can still use the old terrain engine... but the way the game handles getting close to the edge of the terrain was changed which broke many modders' terrains.

The Monkey's paw never fails to aggravate those wishing for improvements to the SF game engine.

 

Call me selfish, but I never cared that much about the terrain.

All I care about is the air-to-air fight.

So, aside from the dramatic change to visibility ranges for aircraft and cloud ceilings, none of the above got under my skin too much.

But, when people started complaining about missile reliability and how hard it was to win, the Monkey's Paw clubbed me over the head.

Rather than suggesting that these players use less than hard settings, TK just changed the weapons to be dramatically more reliable for the player.

As "lite" as the SF series was supposed to be, it was actually a pretty good simulation for the effectiveness of early air-to-air missiles.

Now, later missiles are almost a sure thing and even some of the earlier missiles will hit very consistently.

 

From the very beginning of SFP1, each major patch brought new things at the expense of new bugs.

When WoV was released, the flight models and AI got hosed.

The flight models were mostly fixed by WoE, but the AI didn't really improve until WoI was released many years later.

SF2 brought DX10, which greatly enhanced the look and performance of the game, but that came at the cost of multiplayer.

 

So, maybe the post on the Third Wire forums wasn't stated correctly in terms of describing the time frame, but I more than understand the frustration of the poster.

As is mentioned above, you can't go back to earlier versions if you want to use later content.

 

SF2 remains the best survey sim available that leverage current hardware capabilities.

The stock flyable and AI aircraft library is simply amazing in scope and quality.

Throw in the free user mods, and you still have an incredible range of options to fly anything in any time frame.

But if TK could have addressed problems without limiting the modders or creating new problems, it could have been so much more.

Now, his focus is mobile games.

I look forward to any new SF2 content that may pop up, but I dread what problems are going to be caused by installing them.

Of course, it is entirely possible that there will not be any more significant releases for SF2.

I am not holding my breath waiting for Expansion Pack 3.

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Oh where are thou you Coding Masters? Anybody who knows well how to code in C++  and with a bit of experience in reverse engineering games - SF community NEEDS YOU!

There was one guy that disapeared, maybe the NSA got him, he modded alot out of SF2

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The point is that TK has made life harder for the modders, but not for the players. Not only does SF2 merged now offer more than SF2 did on release, I'd say it works better.

 

The flipside is mods are becoming harder and harder to update for patches, so you have two choices: one, make separate installs for mods and new stock content like DLCs...but if you want your low clouds and your latest DLC planes in one install you're SOL.

Or two, just give it up.

 

Now personally, I don't know that TK's efforts at curbing people ripping off his stuff has had any real effect. For every theoretical loss prevention he accomplished, I think he alienated more users dedicated to using mods to the point where they stopped buying his stuff. Gaining one new customer at the expense of 5 existing ones is not a good plan, but I think that's the unintended consequence of his actions.

 

I would say I think some people here are overly wedded to certain mods, so that when a patch comes along that breaks or disables it from working they take it very personally. I've never been THAT into it, all I've ever done is add planes and other objects and terrains. If they work and look good, I keep them, if something breaks them, I try and .ini edit but if that fails I dump them. Being more laid back about it has meant I've never felt "betrayed" by TK. I HAVE felt disappointed that SF2:NA wasn't more than it was after the long delays, and that since then we've had just a bunch of DLCs, about 1/2 of which was actually really good and the rest was unnecessary.

 

I was certain when NA came out that now, 18 months later, we'd have Exp 3 already and he'd have been talking about his next full title after NA. Whether a Korean War title or something else like possibly embracing farther into the 80s, I can't say, but something.

 

I'm truly sorry TK has had all these financial difficulties with his stuff, especially as it seems he's right back where he started a decade ago...but I honestly think it's partly his fault. Programming and products aside, his business model/sense has at times seemed to sabotage him more than help him...and while you can argue the technical stuff with him and he'll listen if you have a valid point, there's no convincing him his business acumen isn't as good as it needs to be.

 

One final note, that I won't bother posting over at TW's site because I feel it wouldn't matter anyway: it's time for SF to go on Steam. I don't care if you like Steam or not, it has exposure. Even if Valve takes half, his stuff is now getting pretty old and if he could pick up a bunch of new customers buying titles for $10 each that previously would never have seen his stuff, what does he have to lose? Many devs have posted their results of being on Steam especially during Steam sales revealing that at a 50% discount their sales would jump several HUNDRED percent. Wouldn't it be better to sell 100,000 copies of his SF2 titles at $10-15 each than 10,000 at $30? Even 50,000 would be a massive improvement, and how many Steam users have no idea TW exists?

 

Just IMO.

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I am not holding my breath waiting for Expansion Pack 3.

 

 

Neither am I.

But...

 

I WILL be pleasantly surprised IF and WHEN it does materialize

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There was one guy that disapeared, maybe the NSA got him, he modded alot out of SF2

Wondering If you're talking about mlracing. He left SimHq and I cannot contact him, AFAIK he made his work using a hex editor pver the SF exe.

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the TW statement is not fully correct , if i´m going to buy a DLC aircraft i´m forced to update my game or the DLC will not be installed !!!

 

 

  Actually, this isn't true. See this post: http://combatace.com/topic/78792-having-your-cake-and-eating-it-too/ . It sounds harder than it is; it's well worth it, I have the DLC F-104 with the corrected nozzle animation in July 2012. Read this and do it. :blind:

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