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While We Wait: Writer's Block & Other Lame Excuses

Discussion in 'Never Ending Stories' started by Nylan, Dec 24, 2011.

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  1. Lord of Elves

    Lord of Elves Suede-Denim Secret Police

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    I am not particularly convinced of the utopian virtues of this brave new world of... Paradoxified NESing which Symphony evidently proposes.

    It's a noble goal or whatever but I'm not sure I endorse or am interested in the hobby evolving in that fashion or that direction. That's my prerogative and stuff, and it's Symphony's prerogative to disagree, but as a purely practical matter within the community I feel like more prosaic and immediate innovation and achievement (read: people creating and running NESes operating on "traditional" rules) is stifled by the increasing emphasis on the need to somehow change or improve the basic way we do things coming from nearly all quarters.

    Either the forum is too restrictive or too open, too simulationist or too story-based. IOT isn't having this crisis of the faith. They're horrible and they know it and own it.
     
  2. North King

    North King blech

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    Well the kind of NES Symph is advocating doesn't require you to know how to use a spreadsheet, just the mod.
     
  3. Amon Savag

    Amon Savag The Great

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    If modding wasn't enough of a job already, let's add spreadsheets.
     
  4. Symphony D.

    Symphony D. Chieftain

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    Since I don't get paid for my time, you get the first terrible take:

    Code:
    Manpower Available for Military Service: <Number>
    Manpower Fit for Military Service: <Number>
    Military Expenditure: <%> (<IC or [i]whatever[/i]>)
    
    <Service>
    Total Personnel: <Number> (<Active>/<Guard>/<Reserve>/<Whatever>)
    Combat/Combat Support Personnel: <Number>
    Major Units: <whatever> (<quality number>)
    So here's an example for whose accuracy I bear no responsibility:
    Code:
    [b]UNITED STATES[/b]
    Manpower Available for Military Service: 144 million
    Manpower Fit for Military Service: 119 million
    Military Expenditure: 4.3% of GDP (78 IC)
    
    [b]United States Army[/b]
    Total Personnel: 1,105,301 (546,047 Active / 559,224 Reserve & Guard)
    Combat/Combat Support Personnel: 276,325
    Major Units: 11 Divisions/Regiments (1 Armored [9], 2 Cavalry [9], 5 Infantry [9], 1 Mountain [10], 2 Airborne [10])
    Special Forces: 2 Regiments, 4 Brigades
    
    [b]United States Air Force[/b]
    Total Personnel: 510,954 [696,476] (332,854 Active, 71,400 Reserve, 106,700 Guard) [185,522 Civilian]
    Combat/Combat Support Personnel: 127,738
    Major Units: 119 Squadrons (3 Aggressor [8], 8 Airborne Air Control [9], 3 Airborne C&C [10], 1 Airlift [9], 13 Bomber [10], 72 Fighter [9], 1 Flight Test [10], 4 Reconnaissance [10], 8 Testing [8], 2 Weapons [9])
    Special Forces: 4 Special Operations Squadrons [9]
    Nuclear Forces: 450 ICBMs [500 Warheads], [300 Bombs]
    
    [b]United States Navy[/b]
    Total Personnel: 432,678 (323,561 Active, 109,117 Reserve)
    Combat/Combat Support Personnel: 108,169
    Major Units: 290 Ships; 212 Major (10 Aircraft Carriers [9], 9 Amphibious Assault Ships [7], 10 Amphibious Transport Docks [7], 12 Dock Landing Ships [6], 22 Cruisers [8], 62 Destroyers [7], 11 Frigates [8], 4 Littoral Combat Ships [9], 18 Ballistic Missile Submarines [8], 54 Attack Submarines [9]
    Special Forces: Equivalent to 1 Division [10]
    Nuclear Forces: 239 SLBMs [1,100 Warheads]
    I'm leaving off the USMC and USCG because I can't be bothered. Anyway, some problems, by no means exhaustive:
    • Quality is some kind of weird aggregate of equipment, experience, and training, and needs to be pegged to some kind of standard, which will be tricky since it's some kind of weird aggregate
    • Realistically you're going to have to give some indication of what kind of things are in these units for the reasons I pointed out here because that "quality" stat isn't terribly useful...
    • ... or you're going to have to break quality out into individual numbers for equipment, experience, and training, and define those scales somewhere...
    • ... and if you decide different entries in the unit list should have different quality levels (which you probably should) then this whole thing gets a lot more complicated
    • These units can't be easily broken up into their subcomponents without losing the very thing that makes them attractive (relatively small quantities) in some cases, most notably the Army. If I was redoing this, I'd break the Army up into Brigades instead
    • There's no way of determining how large these are relative to one another or what's in them, and since every military is organized differently, you'd just have to arbitrarily pick a system to apply to everyone
    • I haven't listed aircraft or vehicle totals outside of the Navy to avoid people just throwing planes and tanks at problems but realistically you'd probably want to do that but the really tricky question is what vehicles do you count and which do you not and how do you distinguish among them?
    • Some of these units don't do things players would care about so technically they could be eliminated but really things like airlift, sealift, tankers, and reconnaissance are literally the core foundations of say, American power projection, so unsexy stuff actually matters and does need to be accounted for
    In my view, this is a kludge. It's an inelegant solution to a complex problem. But it is marginally better than players throwing numbers at one another, since it does suggest the military is more than just a pool of numbers. But again, it's this very generic and not very informative look at things. So maybe you're just better off having them throw 5349 tanks and 4583 planes versus 4182 tanks and 4892 planes or 42 air wings and 67 divisions versus 77 air wings and 32 divisions after all.

    This conversation has been occurring for literally all of one day. One. Day. Is it possible to be more hyperbolic?
     
  5. North King

    North King blech

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    My bad, I don't know much about modding.
     
  6. m.t.cicero

    m.t.cicero Good Kid

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    I think the NES forum should implement mandatory spreadsheets. Any mods who fail to prove that they are producing at least 50 pages of spreadsheets per update should be summarily executed banned. It's not like this is something people could just choose to use if they want to or something.
     
  7. Lord of Elves

    Lord of Elves Suede-Denim Secret Police

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    I think you are underestimating your own degree of influence, or at least, the extent to which you rehash your desire for more sophistication in NESing on a regular basis. It's been my perception since I started NESing in 2010 -- when, admittedly, I was in eighth grade -- that this conversation has been a cornerstone of the community's self-perception for some time. If you go back far enough I'm reasonably confident Daftpanzer created a thread dedicated to a graph and axis on which NESers could plot their position as "simulationists, storyists," et al.

    "This conversation" has been going on for years.
     
  8. ChiefDesigner

    ChiefDesigner Sunset Emperor

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    Here's the problem.

    Take SysNES or CNES. Those who care will optimize extensively, gaining significant in-game advantage and making spreadsheet use mandatory.
     
  9. Amon Savag

    Amon Savag The Great

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    Sarcasm op. Symphony, why would the actual numbers of personnel make any difference at all in a NES? in the end the effectiveness of your "units" would determine winners and losers and all that extra garbage is static noise in the background that really nobody cares about.

    Noone is really going to care about support air force or navy personnel, and I really doubt anyone other than number crunchers in the pentagon do either (This is not a job I would not wish upon our mods either). The number of planes in the air and ships in the water, their combat effectiveness, the effectiveness of the C&C, and the availability of supply are the only things that really matter.

    EDIT- All these things can be determined using scales from 1-10
     
  10. Symphony D.

    Symphony D. Chieftain

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    Chandrasekhar, whom I asked to post it because I knew if I had done it instead it would've been received far more poorly than it was.

    It hasn't really been a conversation, it has been me advocating that this activity can be so much more than people just sort of Googling for some answers and nodding their heads for five minutes before arbitrarily deciding "No, this is what happened," to the scorn of people who think I'm out to smash their priceless Ming vase. You're not the first, but if I have any sense you will be the last.

    Do you know what NES is? Really? At its very deepest core? It's Cowboys & Indians. One side goes "Pew pew, I gotcha!" and the other goes "Nuh UH!" The difference is you've appointed a referee, and he gets to say "Yes he did!" or "No he didn't!" and really the ultimate justification behind that his calls in most cases is really just "Because I said so."

    Well, I say Alien Space Bats fly into the room and poop miniscule nuclear unicorns over the proceedings and blow it to kingdom come. And guess what, that's just as reasonable and plausible. Things either make sense or they don't. And I don't wanna play games where they don't. You can claim I'm Hitler for wanting a game ostensibly about geopolitics to actually resemble geopolitics in some way, but that's what I want.
     
  11. Lord of Elves

    Lord of Elves Suede-Denim Secret Police

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    "Stop having fun, your games are stupid and for children, this is my forum now!"
     
  12. Symphony D.

    Symphony D. Chieftain

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    Because I trust a well-programmed spreadsheet to make better decisions than the people who think they're really good at imagining how things will turn out. Turns out the people who think they're really good... usually aren't.

    "Conflicts, be they battles or wars, have never been determined by the efficacy of non-combat personnel whatsoever." - Amon Savag, 2014

    So is 1 the Stone Age and 10 the Singularity? Explain to me how the technical sophistication of say, a tank, can be plotted on a 10 point scale. I'll give you that 1 is a Mk. IV or something. What's 10? How do you rank the things in between? What's an M4? How experienced is a level 10 soldier? How trained is a level 8 soldier? What do those things mean? Break it out for me.

    Are you going to address the argument or are you going to continue trolling? Do you think you're scoring points with the audience right now? What do you suppose your Nielsen rating is?
     
  13. Lord of Elves

    Lord of Elves Suede-Denim Secret Police

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    I'm arguing in good faith from the position that I believe you are applying moral imperatives of what is more intellectual or more involved and desirable versus what is simply childish Internet "Cowboys and Indians." So in other words, I think I'm holding up about the same level of civility as you are, though I'm advised by other people that I am taking your position too literally and reading too much invective into your writing than is necessary or appropriate.

    Even so, I resent the implication that anything less than best-possible-fidelity is somehow undesirable or on the whole childish and intellectually wasteful. Perhaps it wasn't your intent to imply this, but it's certainly the overall attitude I perceive.
     
  14. Symphony D.

    Symphony D. Chieftain

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    No, you're not. You have consistently misrepresented what I've said and attacked it as being a personal affront to you and everyone else on the forum as if I have posted threats of physical harm against you. You have done everything but argue in good faith or with an open mind, and I frankly find it insulting that you dare claim that you're being reasonable.

    Has it occurred to you that I might be treating you with some hostility because you have held a hostile position toward me for the entire duration of this present conversation? Has it even once crossed your mind that you are being treated as you treat others?

    "Everybody gets free speech except Symphony D. because I mean really the hell with that guy! He doesn't get to express his opinion because I disagree with it even though it's about a teenagers' internet forum game and not anything of actual substance!"
     
  15. Amon Savag

    Amon Savag The Great

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    Way to misrepresent my words. I'm saying that there's nothing wrong with having a quality rating on the non-combat personnel for a branch of the armed forces rather than having a meaningless quantity number. So what there are 200k non-combat support personnel. Are they effective? Is that the only thing that matters? I would argue that it is.


    Different tanks can be represented, and their stats can be determined however the mod would like, but you yourself have a quality stat on your units, so what are you arguing?


    Not sure what this is about, but some people like to type more than required?
     
  16. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    I guess now is as good a time as any to give a glimpse of what I've been working on:

    Spoiler :


    In fact it's all much easier than you'd think. If anyone here remembers Superpowers, that's better than a lot of NESes that actually attempted to be more realistic because combat arms were represented as discrete units on the map that actually had to like move around and stuff. And then as long as you have the patience to enter stuff in a spreadsheet, you can keep records... records that players don't even have to worry about, really!

    Spoiler Disclaimer :
    Yeah I am aware that the scale is completely off for divisions and a host of other things but whatever dude I made my point. Those problems are with me, not the system.
     
  17. Symphony D.

    Symphony D. Chieftain

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    Considering you can do things like, oh, I don't know, impress non-combat personnel into combat roles as the situation requires, and that you are inherently paying for non-combat personnel as part of your military defense spending, it might be useful to note how many of them you have, because if you don't, then for all you know it could be 42, or &#960;, or &#8730;34. See, when people don't have information, they assume, and you know what happens when people assume?

    You could list a tooth-to-tail ratio instead, but you're saving like maybe 1 or 2 line entries and probably about 40 characters at most, so realistically, not a lot saved. Leaving 3/4 of the military unlisted in any fashion either way strikes me as unwise.

    Yeah, then I said it was dumb and didn't convey any actual useful information. You'll find that in the big bulletpoint list under the example. So: how many Level 3 infantrymen is a Level 10 infantryman worth?
     
  18. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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    Another way to look at it is... okay, so suppose a bunch of generals are going to do some war games. Do you think they're going to represent the friendly and opposing forces as block-numbers of fighting men and assign a 1-10 quality to them? No? Then you shouldn't, either.
     
  19. Symphony D.

    Symphony D. Chieftain

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    This is a legitimate concern. In my ideal fantasy universe version of NES, players would navigate to some website where they would login and be presented with a globe. They could move their units around and study various actions (if we're being truly outrageous, they would have imperfect intelligence about their opponents (!) somehow based on their intelligence gathering apparatuses and could "test" moves against what they their intelligence suggests (!!)) before committing their actions, locking them in, and submitting them. They would never once see anything other than a readout of munitions, and then only if they dug into the unit info subscreen. [This globe would also display all kinds of other information graphically to try and get over the supreme focus on the visual creep of power in the form of territory.]

    We will probably never see this in practice. In the spreadsheet case, I would permit people to look at unit sheets but really, why should they have access to the entire system? The question at the end of the day is to commit the units or not, and nothing within the unit's spreadsheet will really change that because one is (or should be) forced to work with the units one has in the immediate present.

    Technically speaking, you could try and game hardware acquisition or funding priorities on the basis of knowledge of the simulator (let's say you used QJM wholesale), sure. But real countries actually do that because they use QJM's successor, TNDM, as a way of improving defense acquisitions. There are ways of putting up firewalls between the players and the system. There's no reason to believe it couldn't be blackboxed, or made arduous enough that to be unlikely.
     
  20. Crezth

    Crezth 話說天下大勢分久必合合久必分

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