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"How in the hell could Interplay release a game with such major, glaring, near-fatal flaws? Didn't anybody know? Didn't anybody care?" - PC Gamer Nov 98

"Running a close second in the shovelware market is Interplay, which also takes second place (after Sierra) as The Company Who Hates Its Customers The Most" - PC Gamer Feb 99

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April 2 Chat Log

Highlights from the IRC meeting 4/2/98 (excludes debates / discussions at the very end)

MAX2Chris> First things first, Paul is not here tonight. I may not be able to answer some of your questions, but I will do my best. Next, and here is the big news: We broke down. We listened to you. We reached deep into our hearts. (pauses for effect) We added power back into the game. Power generators are back again. Thanks to you guys. I'll explain the power rules in a moment. I first just wanted to let you know that it was you beta-testers and your online polls that finally convinced us. We've been talking about this for weeks, and finally came to the realization that we needed power back in the game. So, we added a power generator to each side. It's a little different than MAX1, but much more in line with the original game. Connectors -- don't talk about connectors -- be nice to me. :) Okay, this is how they work. I'd like your opinions after I'm done.

1) there is one building for each side (the name isn't fully determined -- power station or generator)

2) It will cost so much material to build, but doesn't require any power (obviously) --- ("so much" is in X amount of material, where X is undefined at this time.)

3) Power stations (call it that for now) generator 80 points of power and consume 8 points of material every turn

4) They do not have to be built over material locations, they can be built anywhere

5) These buildings also consume no power to build: mining station, blocks, roads, bridges, water platforms, power station

6) All other buildings and units use and require some amount of power.

7) If you do not have enough power, you cannot build a unit or building, but it has no other effect on your units or buildings.

8) Power stations will turn themselves off and on as necessary. If you need 81 points of power, and you have a built power station, it will automatically turn itself on. (A power station will require a mining station to provide the material. They cannot themselves mine.)

MAX2Chris> Umm. I think that's it. Any comments or questions?

Sir_Adam> I donut like material for fuel

MAX2Chris> We like the material for fuel, and it was the one thing that we finally all compromised on. Material still acts as a limiter, but it's a lot easy to understand as power.

CHynes> I looked at the brush page yesterday, and it said that the concord attack plane could attack both ground and air units. have you put that feature back in, or something?

MAX2Chris> CHynes, that info is old. Ignore the brush page. I'll have Paul fix it. There are some other changes that will be made to the descriptions.

Precur> This question concerns Internet multiplayer mode. I currently access the Internet at home through MSProxy 2.0 via a cable modem. Will I be able to play Max2 on the Internet?

MAX2Chris> Precur, unfortunately, I have no idea. I would like to think so, but that is technically beyond my grasp. Sorry.

Meghan> Chris, is the internet play using TCP/IP only or UDP?

MAX2Chris> I think it is TCP/IP. Hold on one sec.

Meghan> Okay.. Precur, if it is straight TCP/IP, try using Sygate at http://www.sygate.com

MAX2Chris> Oops! Our internet play is UDP only.

MAX2Chris> Defensive structures, like missile turrets, require power only to build, not operate. Radar, too.

Dakamgi> do mines still require power?

MAX2Chris> Dakamgi, no. Mines do not require power anymore.

Reliant> When will should we get the next ver?

MAX2Chris> We'll probably put out the next beta when we have the new power rules in. We have to add some art and text descriptions, in addition to the programming changes.

Precur> Chris could you address this with the developers? and lets us know what UDP ports need to be opened on the proxy...thanks

MAX2Chris> Precur, okay, I'll ask. The programmer doesn't know what UDP ports have to be opened off the top of his head. Please e-mail me or, better yet, drop a question on the webboard.

MAX2Chris> The network beta is still planned on being one of the last betas. My guess is that it is a month off. Guessing.

MAX2Chris> We are working on changing the building look so it is easier to understand.

The power stations should not add an appreciable amount of time to the schedule, the way we worked it out. The artwork half exists. The programming needed to be touched anyway. Maybe a day or two for additional testing, but we have a small buffer zone. We just came to this conclusion this morning, so we haven't added the new power rules yet in the game, but we've been playing them on paper and they seem to work much better.,

Sir_Adam> Chris, what was the problem with "longer range fire from higher ground"?

MAX2Chris> We found that it was unbalancing the game. In MAX, any range superiority is major. Even +1 or +2 was too much.

Sir_Adam> yes, I agree

Max2Chris> I think LoF is going in. Only missile weapons are supposed to be able to shoot at a target if the firer doesn't have personal LOS.

Dakamgi> is there a way to be able to "see" you blind spots on the big map?

MAX2Chris> The Fog of War should give you that effect. I don't know if Fog of War has been fully implemented in your version of the beta. It will definitely be in the next version.

Precur> Next version like when for us beta testers?

MAX2Chris> I don't know when the next version will be available. That's a Paul question, and unfortunately, he could not be here tonight.

Loudman> in your pen and paper tests did you run the simulation with weapon platforms using power?

MAX2Chris> Loudman, yes. We didn't like it.

VicNice> hey Chris have you guys taken notice of the bug that will not let you finish your turn

MAX2Chris> VicNice, turn-based and simultaneous are getting some major work this week.

Loudman> can I get your viewpoint on that subject?

MAX2Chris> Loudman, I didn't like the fact that it was random when a building would not function if there wasn't enough power. I'm much happier to remove it than try to make it work and fail.

Loudman> I see..so the problem lay in power management rather than the concept itself..OK..thanks..

Sir_Adam> yeah, there is also a "power/material paradox" in the game

MAX2Chris> Sir_Adam, well, material is still required for your power stations. So it should still limit super base. But, yes, it is something we have to watch.

MAX2Chris> Power is only a factor when you build something.

Dakamgi> Chris, will a user preference list be put in to prioritize which factories/builds/constructors/engineers get power first when there is a power shortage?

MAX2Chris> It checks at that moment whether or not there is enough power. Much simpler and easy to understand. There is no power shortage anymore.

Loudman> simply just no power..no building

MAX2Chris> Right!

Sir_Adam> BZ has it so you can pop in on a multiplayer game at any time...

MAX2Chris> It's extraordinarily difficult to balance a game when the players don't start at the same time and have access to the same resources.

LionDog> Speaking about the multiplayer functionality, will the save game feature work for a multiplayer internet game?

MAX2Chris> LionDog, you betcha.

CaptComal> Chris ... can you save a multiplayer game ... then restart it and swap sides, play the side the computer used to be playing?

MAX2Chris> CaptComal -- no, sorry. All that information is saved in the savegame file.

MAX2Chris> To restore a multiplayer game, you need the exact same setup and number of human/computer players as when you first saved the game.

Sir_Adam> same players too?

MAX2Chris> I think so. It might be possible to have different players, but I'm not really sure. That's a good question...

LionDog> Chris, will the multiplayer internet mode have AutoSave as well?

MAX2Chris> LionDog, yes.

VicNice> Chris ..... when we play the multiplayer version will there be some way that you can get back to the game if by any chance your connection happens to get cut

MAX2Chris> VicNice, Yes, I think it will allow you to try and reenter the game immediately.

VicNice> o.k because I hate it when you are having a good game and then your connection dies

MAX2Chris> I know we are taking steps to prevent loss of signal and all.

VicNice> tell me about it

MAX2Chris> The internet and multiplayer code is being completely rewritten from MAX1. Much better this time around.

Loudman> theHow extensive was your paper test..

MAX2Chris> We ran it through two hours of test. Different conditions. Different numbers in the equation. Lots of "what ifs".

Loudman> were you playing with any of the unit stats?

MAX2Chris> Not really. This was more strictly just dealing with power. We have an excel file for handling all the unit stats. We still need to bang on: Concord units and alien lifeforms. All the other units are pretty dialed in. There are some exceptions. We need to deal with Ground Attack Planes vs. Infantry, for example.

Loudman> considering anti-air ability?

MAX2Chris> Loudman, exactly.

VicNice> by the way Chris how did the focus group meeting go

MAX2Chris> VicNice, it went well. MAX2 scored very high. The problem areas were: 1) Power, 2) Spycam, 3) hmmm. Nothing really. People liked: the graphics, the units and the maps.

Precur> Will Max2 have a ladder system like Starcraft?

MAX2Chris> We will have MAX2.net, which will have a rating system for every player. The top players will be listed. Our rating system is similar to the chess ratings.. All players start with 1500 points. Beat a player with a rating higher than you, and you get more points than if you beat a player with a rating lower than yours. These types of ratings are very common. Because they work. :)

drglenn> Will there be a handicapping system based on ratings?

MAX2Chris> drglenn, none set by the system. Players will be able to handicap themselves.

MAX2Chris> We really want to add another unit, but don't know if we have the time or money to model a new character. The best thing to do would be to have a separate AA infantry. We may have to add a small AA ability to all infantry, but we don't want to upset game balance. It may be that infantry get one attack value vs. ground units and another vs. air units. That would help balancing, but may not be enough.

LeJohn> maybe have the Infantry aa e an upgrade

MAX2Chris> LeJohn, that's not a bad idea. I'm trying to think how it would work with our upgrade system.

LeJohn> same way the concord units get experience

MAX2Chris> Probably couldn't work.

Precur> mustn't be too powerful otherwise it makes the mobile aa units useless .

MAX2Chris> Precur, yep, that's the problem. We have to be really careful about balancing...

Dakamgi> I'll wait to see the power generators before giving my opinion. But they sound good. Any thoughts on a power storage building?

MAX2Chris> Dakamgi, brief thoughts. We have sort of dismissed it to keep the complexity down. It seems that our power interface is causing the most problems with the most number of people.

Dakamgi> the research system is very confusing {yes I read the message board}. are there any plans to simplify it?

MAX2Chris> Dakamgi, yes, there is a plan to simplify upgrades and still have the ability to set everything.

LionDog> Chris, Are there any other ideas around that you are considering for infantry instead of aa ability?

MAX2Chris> LionDog, not really. Infantry can already spot invisible units, move where other units cannot go. Infantry are not the best unit in MAX. The armored battlefield is just too deadly... :) What we are looking for is that a single ground attack plane should not be able to take out 10 infantry or so. We would like to fix it that 10 infantry would survive an attack from a single ground attack plane. Infantry are not very good units, and that is intentional... :)

Chris , can you elaborate on unit movement abilities. i.e. Patrol, Escort, etc...

MAX2Chris> We are doing an Escort command, which basically means "attach yourself to the following unit or building and follow it around and protect it."

Patrol is a possibility. Still working on it. We're trying to incorporate it into everything, and still give player control over things...

LionDog> Chris, in the balance testing how do the artillery and gun turrets rate(or are they overshadowed by the missile turrets?)

MAX2Chris> Gun turrets are balanced because they are cheap to build. They are early defensive units, or the thing to build when you are being pounded on.

Precur> seems to me that missiles should have a slower firing rate.

MAX2Chris> Artillery is the weak child right now. We are probably going to give it an area of effect attack to help balance it better.

Max2Chris> For fixed defenses, missiles are the best.


If you find any errors please report them to
CaptComal@hotmail.com so they can be corrected. Thanks.
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