Day of Infamy shows where EA/DICE went wrong. As well as cloaking of “bot” and “Single Player” terms.

A rather violent moment at Battlefield-Classic as I fight off legions of raging internet trolls ranting inanities about “bots! bots!” (Day of Infamy).

I’ve been a huge proponent of Bots in games ever since Perfect Dark just like the article writer. However what I’ve found as I’ve spent the years lobbying in game forums on the subject is that people tend to get offended when I would ask the developers to include a Bot option.  I think devs realize this and therefore try to find ways to put Bots in a game but without calling them Bots.

Commenter PAD242 on Why I Still Love Bots in Games article.

So, here we are again. You may wonder why my next article is about yet another game that is not Battlefield 2. Well, as I’ve found out, Day of Infamy epitomises the problems surrounding bad game design decisions post Battlefield 2. But it’s not all the game developers fault. We were overcome by legions of fun hating internet trolls ! Paroxysms of hate and rage about games almost clogged the channels to choking point (the famous Hitler rage video about Infinity Ward cancelling dedicated servers comes to mind).

In a (brilliant really if you think about it) move to out manoeuvre these tantrum ridden trolls, games began to drop the terms “bot“, “AI“, “SP” (and/or “Single Player“). No wonder solo players have not been able to find these games. Even their Steam pages do not list the fact that they have a de facto single player mode.

Rising Storm 2/Rising Storm does not mention anywhere on it’s page that the game can be played entirely with bots, alone, complete with bot commands and other features. Similarly Day of Infamy does not mention that it’s possible to play as a solo player entirely against and with bots in a way that basically emulates a single player campaign (but without any cut scenes). I know, I just played about 4 maps in succession. They were long games with highly talented bots who pause at corners of buildings to take cover, flank you and generally act like you’d expect a trained enemy soldier to act. “Commando” mode is much more difficult, emulating, I can only surmise, how online play is with human players with fast reactions (I don’t play online so can only guess).

Those are all Rising Storm (the expansion for Red Orchestra 2) … wait for it (block you ears now, rude word) … BOTS ! They are split into squads and can all be commanded as long as you are the commander class.

But in the places you would check first, such the Day of Infamy Steam page, no where is this mentioned. “Coop” is, but that does not specify if you can play solo, as many games often force you to wait for at least one more player.

So what are we to make of this mysterious situation ? Well Tripwire removed the dreaded bot support in the their latest release Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, I suspect because of the same raging insanity aimed at any mention of the dreaded term “bot” (for example see here, and here). Meanwhile New World Interactive have produced their extremely focused product Day of Infamy. The dreaded words “bots“, “sp” and “ai” have been changed to “Practice Mode” with bots clearly coded to actually teach people to play better online with human players.

Internet flaming anti-flame weapon.

Meanwhile over in EA/DICE land, the developers have been fighting a losing battle trying to shoe horn single player campaigns (yes, the dread term) into Battlefield 3 then 4. The campaigns were widely hated by the same ignorant raging insanity that has been sweeping round the internet. There was room for improvement, but the 3 and 4 campaigns were very good. So EA/DICE then cave (rather then getting SMART like New World Interactive have) and start paring down the campaign into “War Stories” (there’s a hint here that they have picked up that the naming of these things is the problem). Each War Story is a pitifully short tech demo (basically) that once you get into them are over far too quickly. While in Day of Infamy I was playing for hours in Practice Mode with only me in the local server … and a lot of the dreaded, much feared, bots of course.

Yes, those are all bots (dread term). Apart from one, which is me, Res1s7.

So what’s going to happen ? Well considering the ratings for New World Interactive games on Steam (all with, AFAIK a fully fledged Practice Mode) EA/DICE would be fools not to see the writing on the wall. All they need to do is out smart the haters and just rename a few things (believe me trolls are really this stupid and only attack words that are triggers to them). That way us folk who like a good solo game, for one reason or another, get what we want. The online and coop players get what they want, and EA/DICE get what they want as well, high ratings and sales. Everything will return to normality again and everyone will live happily ever after (well, you know). I for one need my games to keep me sane and I don’t need a mass of internet insanity spoiling it for everyone, solo players and online players.

Recommended: Company of Heroes: Modern Combat Mod

Any mod that can make Company of Hero’s do soldiers sliding down ropes deserves a bit a of love in my book.

This site’s focus is Battlefield 2 but I felt compelled to make a post about the mod Modern Combat (it’s Steam page is here). For a start its made by Black Sand Studio’s who have been involved in many BF2 projects over the years. Modern Combat seems to be inspired by BF2 in many ways, showing what an amazing game the original BF2 is.

The Warthog is indeed a furious thing.

The sound is especially note worthy. Weapons sound violent and brutal. The AI is also top notch. Altogether this is a highly recommended mod for the Battlefield Classic fan.

Why $55 BILLION knocked off the game market will mean BF2 will return

I think we have over generalised music, games, art, tv, movies, and everything uploadable and postable as “content”,which has become a disservice to our culture.

A comment by Tawny Graf on the “Video Game Industry Stalls, Stocks Plunge. What’s Going On?” article.

Battlefield 2 was last on sale on Steam and Origin in 2014. Then it was mysteriously removed. The inability to obtain a legal copy is hurting various mods and communities. Yes, there are “stand alone” versions of some mods but legally its a grey area. Some projects have tried to restore BF2 servers but have been shut down by Electronic Arts. This is entirely within EA’s legal rights. They are just protecting their “IP” (Intellectual Property), however the criticisms of them are justified. In fact we’re talking “$55 billion knocked off the market” justified. Yes you read that correctly …


Source: Video Game Industry Stalls, Stocks Plunge. What’s Going On?

As the article describes, (also see here, and here1 and here) the video game industry is paying dearly for business practices that spectacularly missed the point of what exactly games mean to people. They are part of peoples life and culture. Think of your local baker, garage, cafe or pub. Is the business all about “selling product”. Of course not. People interact. The businesses are part of the community. Events happen. Culture happens. Yet the game industry has lamely been calling all of this “content”.

With Battlefield 2 the game was taken off the market as EA decided to pursue developing Battlefield Heroes and Battlefield Play4Free business models with micropayments systems and other approaches that are part of the reason for the enormous stock market losses. Ironically EA already had a “pay for free” system setup with Battlefield 2, before they took it off the market, with its modding system that has produced so much quality releases by the likes of AIX2 (and AIX2 Minimod), Forgotten Hope, Project Reality and countless other “mods” (and EA did not even have to make any of it themselves apart from the original modding tools !). Members and communities are still active even if they have dwindled a little due to the non-availability of BF2.

So this is where I can see things heading. Both EA’s Battlefield Heroes and Play4Free failed. Along with this spectacular failure of the video games industry approach, everything is coming back down to earth again with a big bump. EA executives and advisers will realise they they were being silly taking BF2 off the market. They had already created a successful business model, as well as a service to the communities of model makers, artists and texture artists, that was driving sales of BF2. This is why Relic re-released Company of Heroes 1 with Steam Workshop support. We have seen a succession of quality mods for COH1, that were languishing in obscurity, released on Steam. This is a good service for the community and our culture, as well as being a way to drive sales of classic/retro games. People see the enormous amount of free, quality creativity and innovation by mod teams and are drawn into buying the game.

It will also make Modern Combat accessible to the entire Steam community (and hopefully give the mod’s dwindling playerbase a shot in the arm).

An example of this approach.

After all is that not what EA/DICE intended to do in the first place ? Encourage development of mods and then market the game on the basis of free mods being available ?

So I predict that EA will release BF2 again on Origin, Steam or both. If they really get it they will provide mod support either though Steam Workshop or some system of their own on Origin. This is what their market research will tell them. That products they own that are now at the “classic” and/or “retro” end of the market make money by leveraging the huge ecosystems such as Steam. The realisation that the blind pursuit of “top $$$” just alienates gamer’s will also sink in. There’s a lot of talent out there that expresses itself through the modding scene and I’l like to see Forgotten Hope or Project Reality (or whatever mod) on Steam where people who would otherwise probably never discover it will find it. Plus the ability to actually purchase the base game brings more people into modding communities that that have been established for years and have a lot of history behind them.

1. ^ That article covers the wider tech market. I’d suggest the fall there is for similar reasons such as politicising an approach to social media content as well as being dishonest about discriminating against certain viewpoints as exposed by Project Veritas.