AAR Recordings

Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

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Hi all,

One of the new features in CO2, which you will see very shortly, is the ability to replay a recording of a game you have played.

Game Menu #2.jpg

At the moment it will allow you to run the game using all the actions, orders and events that occurred when you first played it. So in a way it provides the basis for an animated AAR.

You can even start changing things by entering new or modifying existing orders. So you can go back and explore what ifs.

To really make the AAR aspects of this feature shine though we need to allow the user to interact with the game via a passive map overlay in which the player can add text and graphics, such as arrows, shapes and pictures. They would need the ability to edit (remove, modify add ) these graphics and have those edits tagged to the game time. Then when it comes time to replay you could turn on or of this overlay to provide an animated annotation during the playback.

So to kick off the discussion, what I would like to know from you are your views on what draw functionality you would like to see for this map overlay feature. Take it as a given that it will have the ability to draw text, polygons and lines. But I would like more detailed requirements for these. Eg Ability to set Font type and size and attributes. Ability to add arrows to end of lines etc.

We probably will end up doing this in stages but it's good to aim high so we know where we will be heading to.
 

Joe98

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1. To be able to watch an AAR made by somebody else

2. If somebody else has a later version of the game engine that I can still watch the AAR using my version of the engine.

3. To type text and draw circles and arrows to highlight things to the audience.

4. To upload the file to Youtube.

PS: Your software says that Youtube is a spelling mistake!
 

Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

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1. To be able to watch an AAR made by somebody else
Yep can do that now. ( ie with CO2)

2. If somebody else has a later version of the game engine that I can still watch the AAR using my version of the engine.
Cannot guarantee that. In terms of software development you can usually, with effort, make a new version able to read an old one but going the other way is nigh on impossible. It would only work if the data format of the recording didn't change. But if you changed it in any way then odds on it won't work So for instance if you added a new capability to draw a new object type like animated gif then the old code won't know how to handle that it would fail. The new version however could readily load an older recording and run it.

3. To type text and draw circles and arrows to highlight things to the audience.
Yep

4. To upload the file to Youtube.
Mmm...interesting. At the moment it requires the game engine to make a recording and to replay it. The recording is not a movie but rather a set of instructions and events that the game engine knows how to interpret. This is a very efficient way data wise. To make a video recording would be extremely exe. The files could be very, very large indeed. So my gut feeling on this is to say no. But it needs more investigation.

PS: Your software says that Youtube is a spelling mistake!
Do you mean the forum test edit?
 

loyalcitizen

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I would like to see the in-game point-to-point movement/attack lines replaced during playback with more classical battle map arrows, like those seen on that loading screen above. And the larger the forces, the larger the arrow becomes. At present, a company and a division both use the same in-game thin move/attack line.

Units in Defense should show a bold defensive front line to show the area/direction in which they are covering. Taken with the above, you then have the classic "Arrows of Attack vs Walls of Defense" lines.
 

Daz

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I have not played around with this feature yet, but I would like to see the kind of graphics I use in my AAR's ;):D
 

Velkan

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To really make the AAR aspects of this feature shine though we need to allow the user to interact with the game via a passive map overlay in which the player can add text and graphics, such as arrows, shapes and pictures. They would need the ability to edit (remove, modify add ) these graphics and have those edits tagged to the game time. Then when it comes time to replay you could turn on or of this overlay to provide an animated annotation during the playback.

So to kick off the discussion, what I would like to know from you are your views on what draw functionality you would like to see for this map overlay feature. Take it as a given that it will have the ability to draw text, polygons and lines. But I would like more detailed requirements for these. Eg Ability to set Font type and size and attributes. Ability to add arrows to end of lines etc.

That would be awesome. Something like this?
I have tapped into several programs to do that in screenshots and I always end up using Paint for my planning, since I'd rather spend my limited free time playing the game other than learning a professional software.
 

Daz

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Hearts of Iron was my number one military game of choice for a number of years. I still play it now on occasions.
I think if you like Command Ops you should at least give Hearts of Iron 3 a try.
It has a steep learning curve, but once you get into it there is no turning back.

Hearts of Iron 4 is in the pipeline due for release early 2016.
They are taking a long time to develop it, but so long as they don't release it in the same state as HOI 3 was released in, they can take as long as they like as far as I am concerned.

https://www.paradoxplaza.com/hearts-of-iron-iv?___store=gb
 

Velkan

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Same here, spent many hours on HoI 2 and 3, they are excellent when is comes to grand strategy. I sang their praises high when they added that planning feature into the game. If something similar is, indeed, on the to-do list for Comannd Ops 2, that will be awesome.
Hearts of Iron 4 is in the pipeline due for release early 2016.
They are taking a long time to develop it, but so long as they don't release it in the same state as HOI 3 was released in, they can take as long as they like as far as I am concerned.
Completely agree with you on that one, they need to make it right the first time. I'm also surprised that their player base hasn't heard much about Command Ops, it has the potential to grow so much there.
 

Daz

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Imagine if you could incorporate Command Ops games into the regions inside HOI X, where your OOB, reinforcements and supplies are populated depending on your situation in HOI at that time, so you could fight out your HOI battles at Coy level in important regions or battles of your choice.
It might take a lifetime to play one HOI game, and probably a lifetime to develop it, but would be awesome!
 

Velkan

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Imagine if you could incorporate Command Ops games into the regions inside HOI X, where your OOB, reinforcements and supplies are populated depending on your situation in HOI at that time, so you could fight out your HOI battles at Coy level in important regions or battles of your choice.
It might take a lifetime to play one HOI game, and probably a lifetime to develop it, but would be awesome!
That would be awesome indeed.
 

Kurt

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Hmmm , looks like i will be getting HOI4 when it comes out .
 

kohlenklau

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This is great stuff!

If and when you can venture into some type of multiplayer enjoyment of a CO2 Operation....

1. Please strive to make it easier for a player to check-in to the LnL forum and post an AAR screenshot and status with a link to download the file you mention. Or for a "commander" to use an image to give instructions to other guys on his side?
2. Your program can't be expected to carry all the weight to make a perfect briefing image, another program would be needed I believe.
a. Basic Version: Augmented CO2 program might include red arrows for attacks/movements {dashed for intended, solid for actual}, blue arcs for defense, crossed swords or that small explosion symbol to indicate where a fight occurred, unit symbols with various font/sized text (like how you can add locations names to a CO2 map) and such to make a briefing diagram. Maybe exports as a bmp file?
You have that system where a commander's signature can be dropped in the post battle results. Perhaps a similar coding could allow a unit insiginia to be dropped on the AAR report?
b. advanced version: player takes the exported bmp and then adds further embellishment with paint.NET, PhotoShop, etc.
This might be other photos for flavor (T-34's cresting over the axis trenches, unit insignia, some Logo of his "team")
c. Some final BMP file could then be uploaded and posted to forum from route a or b.

Or just have a button which e-mails the entire AAR to Daz so he can produce a very beautiful AAR...! :D
 
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Hugo

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Honestly, being able to replay a game is all we I need. Editing the AAR will require some external tools, but I'm not sure it's worth the pain to try to integrate those tools (overlay, transparency text, drawing capabilities, animation) within the engine. IMO this will be a rabbit-hole that will suck your time for a marginal gain to the end-user.

If you really need a simple version, being able to associate (and display) an image to a timestamp and auto-pause the game at this very moment should be enough.
 
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kohlenklau

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Hey Hugo, I suppose that reminds me that each person should speak for just themselves. Each person should not say "we".
I will try to remember that when I rattle off my views/opinions. :D

The developer sees this as a shining feature that can help tell a story of how people enjoy the game.
In my opinion it is worth it. Of course for some folks it may need an external program for extra advanced AAR embellishments
but I think the internal overlay and features alone will be very useful while watching the playback.
 

Daz

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"I" agree with kohlenklau that an editable overlay will make a great addition to the game.
"We" both agree it would be worth the development time :playful:
 

kohlenklau

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In my humble opinion, this CO2 forum here at LnL represents an opportunity for Panther to showcase to visitors their level of customer service, the vin=brancy of the player community and to see how the scenarios play out and are enjoyed. Sometimes you have daz doing a great job with his graphics but also it is nice when the common folks like myself can create an AAR. I look forward to doing one someday.


I also thought a crazy thought, perhaps the "what if" replay can be a new type of scenario where you deliver it in progress.
I mean, the scenario is played from T1 to T2 by the scenario author and recorded of course with this new feature and then the replay can be saved and offered for upload to others and the replay overlays and graphics/text serve as briefing graphics at a certain time T2 where the NEW player takes over. Crazy talk. Maybe at T4 another overlay pops up with revised orders or whatever? Maybe too complex but kind of realistic.

Or maybe I am smoking too much wacky weed? :D
 

*budd*

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Any news on the overlay feature or recording function improvement? Multiple recordings, the getting out sync thing fixed?
 

Dave 'Arjuna' O'Connor

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I have done some testing of this. At first I thought the out of syncs were repeatable but they are not. This means that the problem is more than likely some random overwriting of memory. Dan Dennison who is helping me out with the programming found some memory leaks. I think we have a candidate as to why but I can't test this just yet because we are midway through converting over to Visual Studio 2013. This is our development environment. Once we get through with that I'll go back and see if we can nail the leaks and hopefully fix the out of sync.
 

GoodGuy

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Yep can do that now. ( ie with CO2)

Cannot guarantee that. In terms of software development you can usually, with effort, make a new version able to read an old one but going the other way is nigh on impossible. It would only work if the data format of the recording didn't change. But if you changed it in any way then odds on it won't work So for instance if you added a new capability to draw a new object type like animated gif then the old code won't know how to handle that it would fail. The new version however could readily load an older recording and run it.

You could revise the replay code in a way that it omits features that are unknown and where it then just proceeds playing the recording with all the "known" features. The replay procedure would just have to cull the "mysterious" new feature, so that the new addition would be "invisible", but the recording still be playable by an older version.
A msg window could also warn the user that an unknown feature had been detected, and that it would be best to upgrade the engine, for the best user experience (good way to advertize newer versions, too ;) ).
 
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