Quoting tanafres, reply 88
Just because it was done before doesn't automatically make it any easier now. I'm pretty sure that Stardock started from square 1. Also, while it may be fun to make fun of Basic, it was... adequate enough. C++ isn't going to magically make it easy or quick to code. That said, they still need to get it done; the tactical AI really needs to be at least decent for FE to ever be considered a good game.
I disagree. QuickBasic had absolutely zero graphical manipulation commands. The game had to use far too much inefficient code to accomplish what it did, and actually ran fairly slowly on the hardware of the day (8088?). On the other hand, C++ has commands and vast classes for graphic manipulation already developed and available that can be optimized for speed and visual effects.
But I do agree that Stardock probably has to start from square one if they are irrevocably tied to their game engine, and that engine simply does (as I suspect) not lend itself easily to a tactical battlefield with elevations and LOS issues. (for some reason?). I'm simply saying that the algorithms to handle LOS issues for both the game engine and the AI behaviour with it should be vastly easier to code than having to incorporate all the intricacies of siege warfare into a game. The Paxton quote above seems to reverse this claim, and I don't see how that is possible.
As Tridus mentioned, we were talking about AI, not the graphics. My point was that while similar logic has been written before, since the AI is very engine-specific in what it has to deal with, my impression is that you still start more or less from scratch each time with a new engine (or your first game on a licensed engine). So to duplicate the AI of that game, would take about as much time from a standing start, since they probably only had 1 AI coder, and FE seems to have 1 also. The developments that have advanced other areas seem not to apply well to the AI.
As for why he brought up line of sight and such for siege warfare, it seems like for walls and sieges to be meaningful you'd likely want those sorts of features. Personally I was OK without (MoM), but I can see why adding it would create a deeper experience. It does worry me though, as it implies that the actual battlefield in FE will have little or no effect on tactics, only strategy (neat-o unit producing buildings, for example).