Bad military leaders

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Post: #1
I am currently reading a book (I'll get the name for you in my next post) which is super interesting. The author looks at the worse decisions, follies, mistakes, and so on made by people in charge of armies. Some stories are so incrediable that make you think "What were they thinking!" No country is spared, as he highlights the worse from the US, Britian, Prussian, Russia, France, Sweden, and so on. It's not a book about morals (so don't go OT), but more of a book on what happened, when, and what was the effect. I'm at the part right now where it talks about a President in Paraguay in the 1800's. He decided to be a Napolean of South America and went to war against Brasil, Argentina and Uraguay. The country had a population of 1.3 million, and if I recall after the war, it only had around 9,000 men left!!! At the end of the war, this President wanted the whole country to commit suicide so they wouldn't be taken as prisioners.

The book shows how some decisions were made because of cowardness, sickness (ie in the head, etc), envy, not getting along with other commanders, megomaniacs, and so on.

If you have thought of making a RTS, or Wargame, it would be a good read. Often the AI in games tries to play as smart as it can. But I have never seen a game where the AI (unless the programming was so bad) made out right blunders like the humans mentioned in the book. Or displayed the emotions or rivalries that get in the way of clear thinking.

Good example:
You are in charge of an army. You decide to break your army into 3 parts. Each led by a general with some type of personality stats. After moving into position, you noticed that the far left part of your force moving to attack! That was due because the general of that force had some stats which basically said "Courageous, but reckless". Or perhaps one general didn't move his force out of simple cowardness.

Another example:
You are fighting against an army. The leader of the other side is a "win at all costs", so he throws wave after wave of foot soldiers at your positions, which is on higher ground. You take casualties, but no where near what he is taking. Does he retreat? No, he continues to sacrifice men until his army is thrown into chaos. You send your calvary down to mop up.

Any games like this available?

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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ClarustheDogCow
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Post: #2
Myth was similar, but I don't think its what you want.
I assume you mean non-fixed plots. I can't think of any RTS without a non fixed plot!
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Feanor
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Post: #3
See the links in this thread for the closest thing to non-fixed plot points that I have heard of lately.

Carlos, that book sounds fascinating, if disturbing. Then again, reality is constantly disturbing, if you pay attention. But I have no idea how to integrate that sort of stuff into a game.

Now, I know that I used to go on and on about simulations and virtual reality and more narrative in games all that, and I used to be of the opinion that that is where games are headed. I have re-organized my thoughts somewhat.

Games are supposed to be idealized, rule-based activities, where the player can (theoretically) know everything (or at least a lot) about the game environment, and learn to play "perfectly" -- or at least she can improve, limited only by personal ability.

What you are suggesting is more like simulation or VR, where crazy, inexplicable and basically unpredictable things can happen. It's like the emergency simulations that pilots and cops and, of course, soldiers train with. The only way the player can win such a "game" is by being ready for almost anything, or at least, anything within the bounds of human nature. And when you are talking armies, human nature knows few bounds.

I guess what I am saying is that, while I am interested in what you are proposing, I am no longer confident that it could be called a game, in the classical sense. Would it still be a game at all? And if so, how do we reconsider what qualifies as a game, or what the nature of a game entails?
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Post: #4
Quote:Originally posted by Feanor
What you are suggesting is more like simulation or VR, where crazy, inexplicable and basically unpredictable things can happen. It's like the emergency simulations that pilots and cops and, of course, soldiers train with. The only way the player can win such a "game" is by being ready for almost anything, or at least, anything within the bounds of human nature. And when you are talking armies, human nature knows few bounds.
I remember playing a game long ago called "Air Traffic Controller" or something like that. While a puzzle game at it's core, it definitely would be considered a reality simulation.

A little research turned up a completely different "Air Traffic Controller" involving UK airports. The one I'm remembering had a circular play field with a cartesian grid laid out on it, and 8 cardinal directions. Planes moved on the axes and diagonals, and you gave them turn and evelvate/descend commands.

"He who breaks a thing to find out what it is, has left the path of wisdom."
- Gandalf the Gray-Hat

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Luminary
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Post: #5
I remember that game too. I could never stop the planes crashing though Blush
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Post: #6
Quote:Originally posted by OneSadCookie
I remember that game too. I could never stop the planes crashing though Blush
Tracked it down!

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=air-tr...er-501.hqx

Well, tracked down the fact that it existed. Nobody has it any more Sad.

"He who breaks a thing to find out what it is, has left the path of wisdom."
- Gandalf the Gray-Hat

Bring Alistair Cooke's America to DVD!
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Joined: 2002.09
Post: #7
Probably the best book on the subject, from the historical and AI design viewpoints, is Norman Dixon's "On the Psychology of Military Incompetence", which analyses why these decisions are made. Dixon also has some signficant insights into the nature of hierachical organisations.

Visit http://www.theDailyGrind.net for your recommended daily intake of embittered satire.
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