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Microprose Reboots...


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This one passed me by, it changed hands last year, and is working with Bill Stealey on a warbirds reboot.

https://nichegamer.com/2019/02/20/microprose-returns-now-co-publishing-warbirds-2020-flight-simulator/

 

More interestingly, their website shows what may be an Apache, Abrams and B17 simulator.

 

http://www.microprose.com

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With all due respect and acknowledging that we're collectively a giant-sized tower of dwarfs, people these days can code as well. It's a different kind of coding, but a single developer these days can get done infinitely more than what was possible back then. And while I, too, have fond memories of the games of the late 1980s/early 1990s, when revisiting them these days very few have aged well. And it's not as if the games of early Microprose are going to come back. We're witnessing brand necromancy.

That's not to say that the Outerra/Titan engine is bad (it is actually very good), that's not to say that there couldn't be good games coming out, but we're talking about a Bill Stealy whose best attempt at assembling a new team after Microprose had to be sold after the Falcon 4.0 project management disaster was the early iMagic team where half of the people were still from Microprose, and even then iM1A2 and Warbirds were only okay-ish at their times. Sid Meier, Arnold Hendricks, Scott Elson - they all moved on. Maybe they can assemble a new team of great creatives but even then I just don't see that the military simulation games market can sustain more than the handful of companies that already occupy the niche. Microprose was struggling in the early 1990s already when it was still in the Clancy/Reagan era heydays while doing exclusively what Bill Stealy wanted - military simulations. Had Sid Meier not subverted the then ruling corporate directives with secretly working on Civilization and Railroad Tycoon, MPS would have been dead before 1995, without becoming the legend that it is today.

 

I wish them all the best but I'm not going to hold my breath. It may very well that my assessment of the market situation is wrong and I'm not seeing the great potential. But if not, they will have to provide more than pretty screenshots and a nice render engine, and the amount of investment required to make truly kick-ass simulations is likely to result in a negative ROI.

Edited by Ssnake
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I think wargaming in general has declined dramatically. In the 80s my local club would have six historical games running in parallel. My local club now might have one with another six or seven tables playing 40k, Magic the Gathering and assorted RPGs. I really dont think the PC gaming world is very different from that.

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Well, I keep hearing the simulation market is dying, and here is Microprose rebooting, DCS seems to go from strength to strength, and even Microsoft belatedly is trying to get back into the flight sim market for 2020. Even my mob seem to cling on by the skin of their teeth making trainsims of all things. I'm not convinced products like Thrustmaster or Occulous Rift would be doing as well as they were, if people were not interested in simulation games anymore. In fact, there was been such a dearth for things people want, there is a modding team that has kept Falcon 4 afloat with new mods. Thats what, 21 years after it first released?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJw7Nf91Ihc

 

I think perhaps the problem is that what people expect has gone up, and so has the cost of development. Which is why military/civilian cooperatives seem so popular these days. I noticed the other day Razbam who make the Mirage for DCS are now in a tie up with the French military to build more advanced examples

.https://www.facebook.com/316077818478863/posts/2377315105688447/?sfnsn=mo

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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Ahh, yes: Microprose. Civ I, Railroad Tycoon, ... Fond memories. And fiddling around with High Mem and Load High to get them to work. :closedeyes:

 

I bought Civ5 recently and, fun as it is, I cant help but think the original was still better. That was so stripped back and 'pure', it was a joy to build a civilization. Though I must admit I did enjoyed the Elvis advisor in a later addition.....

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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Well, I keep hearing the simulation market is dying,

 

Not from me. The problem is, it's largely stagnant while the rest of the games industry is growing at dizzying rates. That means, it can only support so many competitors. 90% of that stagnant market goes to flight sims - with military flight sims being the smaller subset, maybe 25% of it or so - the rest splits up for naval and land systems. Note, I'm not counting WoT and similar titles; maybe I should, but it seems to me that this is its own class of games that is dominated by a single juggernaut, its spin-offs, and a number of copycats; or it's "the one big exception" which however does not necessarily make the market as a whole grow, or maybe it does and it's just slow to catch on, or I'm clueless (which is very much possible).

All that _I_ can say is that the sales we're making from SB Pro PE could not possibly sustain more than a single programmer and his wife supporting him, if she had a second job, and a buddy subsidizing the whole venture by running the IT side of things on the weekends. If that's the reality and unless Microprose's coming success leads to all other competitors going out of the market (something that I don't see happening), I just don't see how they are going to turn a profit even if they can grab the Outerra/Titan engine for free since it's "already there" and it's "theirs" (at least for military simulations and games, if I understand the delineation correctly that Titan has as a spin-off from the company behind the Outerra engine). Either the games won't be living up to the Microprose fame, or if they do, they'll be financial sinkholes. That's at least my expectation. If it turns out that I'm wrong, I suppose that means good news for players, for "Microprose" (=Titan), maybe even for the simulation games market as a whole.

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  • 4 months later...

Fantastic. Gunship regulated as the equivalent of pornography in West Germany probably increased interest in and demand for it there among the computer gaming demographic young enough to be restricted.

 

The Las Vegas video game arcade origins of Microprose in 1982 might sound crazy now, but at the time, those arcades were packed, and not just with kids like me way too young to be on the casino floor.

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Gunship and M1 came when internet was sparse, so not only did you get excellent simulators, you also "learned" how helos and tanks worked and operated, via the 250-300 page manual. Immersion was complete. And similar games did basically not exist, at least that I played or heard of.

Today you watch a YT-video.

I tried Gunship 2000 (?), and was disappointed, it was prettier but brought nothing new.

 

I wonder what Microprose can bring today that does not already exist (SB).

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This discussion reminded me of those Microprose flight sims (I had F-19, F-16 I think, and some others), as well as LHX. Those were the days....

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I can't recall where but I found a copy of Gunship online and got it working with dosbox. The controls were a little iffy but I found the gameplay to be as good as I remembered it. Trying to autorotate in while taking hits!

One thing is for certain, I was a lot better at it in 1987 than now.

I even enjoyed the intro.

I had a boxed copy on floppy disk but don't know where it ended up. I don't think I have a working floppy drive anyway

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I think when it comes to old games it is more than just the nostalgia value that makes them appealing. The game play itself was/is actually fun. A lot of modern stuff gives too much effort into visual reality and then story and game play suffer accordingly...

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They have a lot of the early PC ports on Steam if its worth anything. B17II is still available, as is F14 Fleet Defender. God, I enjoyed that one.

Fleet defender was good, but I certainly put more hours in Aces over Europe.

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