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(TFT) ? test

Okay, Im not sure that everybody will get just why Im sharing/inflicting this on the list as it refers to an old DOS computer game.
What the heck does that have to do with TFT come the cries.
Ahhh, but there are a NUMBER of shared issues here.
Ill point out a couple to keep an eye on in scanning the stuff below.

1 - TFT and Panzer General DOS are both effectively dead systems.
Therefore many of this guys comments mirror my own feelings about writing for such a system.

2  Pay close attention to his comments about computer assisted boardgaming.
Ive got an awfully cobbled together system that lets clicks in a game like Civilization translate into x turns in other games, i.e. a Build Road order in Civ opens Transport Tycoon for a year, or sending out a Caravan unit opens up a open source version of Space Trader with the terms and goods modified for the proper genera, etc.
This allows for all out war w/o a TON of bookkeeping for the poor GM.
That S.O.B. Sherman can walk to the ocean and I can give a playable model of the effects on many Scales, as well as from an infrastructure standpoint, or economic, etc.
This is what brought me to the 5star stuff, its abandon-ware, and its SMALL.
I can draw my square-hexes over the Civ grid, then bring up PG with each hex mapped to a custom scenario. 
Anyway, thats how I found this.

3  As one can tell from the text, this was written during the late 90s.
Some of it is spookie-prophetic IMO.
Of course some of it is outta date.
Like me!
(I wonder how much it is to get in bed with Carmac on Quake these days?)
(Has anybody been keeping an eye on  the Public Domain lately? Some intresting stuff oughta be coming outta copyright these days)


     My reluctance to "replace" Panzer General (DOS) with either Panzer General (Windows '95) or Allied General (Windows '95) as my main object of play, study, research and development mainly stems from the fact that I consider SSI's PG/AG (Windows '95) engine to be an insignificant game system variation on the original that is rather poorly documented and which definitely exhibits the infamous PBEM"backwards looping prestige bug". However, why is it that I am resisting to take a closer look at, say, SSI's Pacific General what with all these reputed improvements and added flexibilities ? This IS an important issue and I intend to deal with it thoroughly !! 

     In my humble opinion, "instant/gratification" is threatening quality wargaming. The world of computers, electronic communications and modern life, in general, is simply not conducive to the keeping of long term  commitments......There are NO ENDURING CLASSICS, period !!! Yesterday it was   DOS/WINDOWS, today it is WINDOWS '95 and tomorrow it will be something else.  '
Similarly, yesterday it was Panzer General, today it is Panzer General II and  tomorrow, well, who knows ? 
Now that SSI's Panzer General II has arrived on the scene, Panzer General (DOS) will become obsolete and forgotten about, right ?
     Hence, what is the use of trying to MASTER ANYTHING be that a computer operating system, a piece of software or, even, a computer wargaming title ? 

     Here is the "curse" bedeviling my hobby. Namely, for some time now, SSI has been  engaging in shameless "release creep" rendering the object of my study slippery at   best, virtually undefinable and chaotic at worst !! Basically, what is one too do when confronted with successive and frequent SSI releases of computer strategy game titles that are SO similar to one another (but NOT identical) ? Is it worth studying them all ? 
If not, how does one pick THE ONE to study ? Shall it be PG (DOS), or, perhaps, PG II ? And what does one do a few months from now when/if SSI floods the market with PG III (well, they HAVE released Steel Panthers III, haven't they ?).
     When does one start playing and studying the UNDERLYING BOARDGAMES ? 

(ed note; PREACH Brother!)

     The reason why I am focussed on PG (DOS) is that PG (DOS) is a "classic"  and..........came first. Personally, I would not touch any of the other SSI 5 Star  General game titles that have been published to date because I consider ALL OF  THEM to be INSIGNIFICANT VARIATIONS of the PG (DOS) game engine !! 
To this effect, Windows '95 plays no role whatsoever in this regard......It is just my BOARDGAMER'S preferences that are at play here (i.e., just give me ONE GREAT computer-assisted boardgame that I can UNDERSTAND and MASTER, that is ALL_I_ASK) ! If I am going to MASTER a 5 Star General game title, it may as well be the original PG (DOS) !! From where I stand, I see no reason to master (as opposed to merely toying with) Allied General, Pacific General or, even, Panzer General II. 

     For some time now, I have been spearheading an effort to produce NON-PERISHABLE DOCUMENTATION for those PG (DOS) enthusiasts who desire to master the game and play it in various innovative ways. In fact, it is the availability of adequate documentation that transforms a run of the mill computer  wargaming title into a computer assisted boardgame.....For example, those of us who have never bothered with Prima Publishing's Official PG Strategy Guide have very little chance at mastering the game within a reasonable time period..... 
You see, some of us, oldtimers, who have been playing the reasonably well documented boardgames of yesteryear, have a hard time looking at strategy computer wargaming titles as "black boxes" inviting empirical simulation and not much else....... However, younger enthusiasts appear to like these games just fine and do not appear to be bothered at all by the relative lack of documentation !! 

     Let me start off by commenting on PG (DOS-Floppy Disk) in the context of SSI's 5 Star General game title series. Perhaps the greatest blow dealt to PG as a classic game framework/universe was the release of the CD-ROM version of the game by  SSI and the attendant, gradual phasing out of the floppy disk version !! The CD-ROM version did two things: first, it effectively stopped meaningful PG customization dead in its tracks and, second, it moved the focus of interest away from the underlying boardgame itself by highlighting and advertising a bevy of special effects capabilities that had nothing to do with hobbyist playing skills......
As  it turned out, SSI was right in the sense that the CD-ROM version proved to be a  hot seller ! To capitalize on Windows '95 as well, SSI quickly (and "dirtily")
     repackaged the PG (DOS) engine and made it available as PG (Win '95).
     Moreover, they released what, in effect, was a scenario add-on to PG (Win '95) and
     called it.....Allied General (Win '95), a game title in its own right !! It is interesting to
     note that, in certain european countries, Allied General was released under the
     name Panzer General II.......In many respects, PG (DOS) is not even a "legitimate"
     part of SSI's 5 Star General game title series !! This is because the series
     PRIMARILY concerns itself with CD-ROM wargame titles that are NATIVE to
     Windows '95. 

     OK, then, PG (DOS-Floppy Disk) is distant....history, no question about it !!
     HOWEVER, is PG (DOS-Floppy Disk) a classic game framework/universe ? In the
     mind of this author it definitely is ! BUT, there is NO evidence to suggest that more
     than a handful of enthusiasts would ever be willing to read (or write) anything about
     this game title let alone customize and organize things under the
     hood......Interestingly enough, more recent wargame title releases like Pacific
     General and Panzer General II do not seem to have generated much enthusiasm
     either.....I am guessing that SSI's 5 Star General game title series just CANNOT
     attract ANY enthusiasts with STRONG, LASTING interests !!! 

     Now, let me talk a bit more about PG (DOS). 

     A) PG (DOS) was released in late 1994. After two updates (versions 1.1 and 1.2)
     and when SSI started beating the drum in support of Allied General, I bought the
     game being reasonably sure that I was buying a FINAL product and not some
     "crypto-beta" version !!:)) That was in late 1995 (even back THEN, finding the
     floppy disk version was not exactly easy). 

     B) I spent A YEAR playing (on and off) against the PG (DOS) AI module and
     researching the game with the INVALUABLE help of Prima Publishing's Official PG
     Strategy Guide. In late 1996, I made my Internet PBEM debut at some club....... 

     C) It took me ANOTHER YEAR of experience with PBEM PG (DOS) hobbyists to
     embark upon the venture of the Panzer General (DOS) PBEM Research Center.
     YES, the Research Center was launched 3 FULL YEARS after the game title's
     initial release...!!!!!! 

     Let us now look at Pacific General. 

     1) This game title is hardly 6 months old......The original release was, without a
     doubt, "crypto-beta". Update version 1.1 fully discharged SSI's "responsibilities"
     towards its customers. It is more or less a safe bet to assume that SSI is basically
     FINISHED with this title, which, in my books, is a VERY GOOD thing (i.e., no more
     SSI tinkering) !! At least one has a FINAL product to play with while those who have
     RUSHED to buy PG II, well.... 

     2) To my knowledge, there is no such thing as a Pacific General Strategy Guide
     ("official" or "unofficial"). In other words, there is a BIG problem with advanced
     mechanics documentation ! Moreover, 6 months is not a very long time for
     enthusiasts to REALLY try this kind of game out. You may recall that it took a
     LONG TIME for such nasty little "details" like the infamous PG/AG (Windows '95)
     "backward looping PBEM prestige bug" to.........come out in the open (and, unlike
     the present soporific times, 18 months ago somewhat SUBSTANTIVE discussions
     were STILL taking place throughout the Internet regarding 5 Star General game

     3) To my knowledge, there is little or no experience with PBEM Pacific General !! I
     have NEVER come across a SINGLE reference on the Internet regarding this. For
     all practical purposes, the "public" is treating this game title as non-PBEM

     Bottom line is this: Will anyone be playing Pacific General in the year 2000 ?

if this works I gotta figure why the list hates outlook...

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