Questions for first time and repeat customers (Full Version)

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MarkShot -> Questions for first time and repeat customers (6/13/2006 11:26:54 PM)

For first time customers ...

quote:


If COTA is the first Panther Games product which you have purchased, then would you please be so kind as to respond to the following questions. (If you have yet to purchase COTA but are waiting for the boxed version or intend to purchase it soon, then feel free to respond.)

(1) How did you become aware of COTA?

(2) What led to your decision to purchase COTA?

(3) Why hadn't you previously purchased RDOA or HTTR?

(4) Prior to the purchase did you try the old RDOA demo that can still be found on the Net for download?

(5) How would you characterize your PC gaming interests?

(6) Prior to your purchase had you previously purchased other Matrix Games offerings?

Thank you for your time.


For first time customers and prior customers of RDOA and HTTR ...

quote:


I have gotten the impression over the years that the Mini-Guide AARs have helped to sell more than a few copies of these games. Of course, promoting the games was certainly one of the intentions of the Mini-Guides.

My question as I think about future games like BFTB is ...

Would a more polished AAR have been more effective at promoting the game? Some examples of more polished:
- 10-20 page downloadable PDF.
- Higher quality graphics; not just screen shots/MS paint.
- More structured, better written, less rambling and stream of conciousness.
- A more careful integration of game feature presentation alongside a walkthrough of a sample gaming session.
- A document that more reflected a professional marketting brochure than the musings of a beta tester.

Or would something such as the above had left you skeptical as to the true value of the game in the sense that it would have appeared too much like a creation of the publishers public relations department (focusing on hype as opposed to substance)? (For example, the COTA Mini-Guide included give and take discussion between community and the developer and acknowledgement and highlighting of bugs in the code base currently under development.)

Another thing we have discussed in terms of promoting products is the use of 3-5 minute multi-media tutorials illustrating some of the basic aspects of the game: giving orders, micro/macro-managing, following the action, ... What do you think of that idea?

I am asking these questions, because I see the biggest hurdle for this engine is getting more people interested in trying it. Over the years, it has been rare for customers to come back and say they were really dissappointed with what they had purchased. I suppose there are some who did purchase a game, but never really grasped the game play. (This was another thing that motivated the Mini-Guides.) For the most part, once purchased I think the engine gives a very good accounting of itself. The challenge is how to reach that point.

Thank you for your time.




AlexB -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/14/2006 12:13:35 AM)

(1) I met Sterckxke at a wargame fair where he gave a demo.
(2) Sterckxke and his demo.
(3) Didn't know they existed. Thought I would wait for COTA expecting HTTR to be dated with COTA having new features.
(4) No, did not try demo.
(5) I'm into first person shooters (CoD2, SoF2, looking forward to Ghost Recon: AW), an RPG like Guild Wars. I really got into COTA via my interest in board games...
(6) No, this is my first Matrix gme, I think.




Llyranor -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/14/2006 12:18:49 AM)

1) I only recently got into wargames after trying out the TC2M demo. I was checking out the Wargamer forums, and in one thread about AI, someone mentioned HTTR in the same breath as TC2M. Needless to say, curiosity piqued, I looked into it and found the RDOA demo.

2) Again, the RDOA demo. Had I not played the demo, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't bought either COTA or HTTR. Though, if I hadn't informed myself on the series beforehand and learnt about its features and how to play it, I might not have been hooked on the demo.

3) I never even knew they existed until the aforementioned. In hindsight, I should have purchased HTTR as soon as the RDOA demo convinced me to support PG. I guess I didn't want a '3-yr old game'.

4) As I said, this was the driving force behind my purchasing the game.

5) I'm not affiliated to any specific genres per say, only to quality games, eg. not dumbed down. I used to be big on RPG/TBS/FPS/RTS, though wargames are quickly becoming my favorite genre.

6) I still haven't purchased anything from Matrix outside of PG at this point.




06 Maestro -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/14/2006 4:51:10 AM)

1. The “Coming Soon” section at Matrix Forums.
2. The description and AAR for COTA in the forum.
3. I read reviews which painted an un-interesting /un-playable game for me.
4. No.
5. Strictly of military interest.
6. Yes.




wodin -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/14/2006 3:47:34 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: 06 Maestro

1. The “Coming Soon” section at Matrix Forums.
2. The description and AAR for COTA in the forum.
3. I read reviews which painted an un-interesting /un-playable game for me.
4. No.
5. Strictly of military interest.
6. Yes.



Blimey who the hell wrote that!





06 Maestro -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/14/2006 4:24:54 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

quote:

ORIGINAL: 06 Maestro

1. The “Coming Soon” section at Matrix Forums.
2. The description and AAR for COTA in the forum.
3. I read reviews which painted an un-interesting /un-playable game for me.
4. No.
5. Strictly of military interest.
6. Yes.



Blimey who the hell wrote that!

I read mutiple reviews on the game (HTTR) on different sites. Not all were unfavorable, but there were enough references to a "click fest" to keep me away.









JudgeDredd -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/14/2006 5:51:12 PM)

Well, each to his own...but I wouldn't say this game was a click fest. In fact with realistic and painfully realistic orders delay, it's anything but as orders have to be plabnned well in advance, meaning anticipating what the enemy (be them AI or human) is up to.

Anyway...sorry Mark...back on topic.




wodin -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/14/2006 5:54:54 PM)

"CLICK FEST". This game is so far removed from a click fest.




Agema -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/14/2006 6:31:59 PM)

'Click fest' is what you'd call a mass-market RTSs like C&C or Warcraft. That's a terrible review.

Finding reliable reviewers is very tricky: the world, and especially the net, is full of people who both have personal tastes that they spout ahead of objective criticism, and also insufficient knowledge of a subject to make an objective decision even if they were inclined.




Chelco -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/14/2006 7:07:14 PM)

Click fest? Hmmm. Do you remember who wrote the review, or where did you read it?

A complaint about the Panther engine I read more o less frequently from grogs is that they don't like to just sit and "watch the battle" as oppossed to give a command (BTW clicking on it) to every unit before unleashing a turn.





simovitch -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/14/2006 7:42:16 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Chelco

A complaint about the Panther engine I read more o less frequently from grogs is that they don't like to just sit and "watch the battle" as oppossed to give a command (BTW clicking on it) to every unit before unleashing a turn.


Exactly. The AA engine is the anticlickfest[sm=00000619.gif]




MarkShot -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/14/2006 10:52:02 PM)

So, are first time buyers lurking or are the majority here repeat customers. (I sure hoped that we were pulling in new customers.)




06 Maestro -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/14/2006 10:54:04 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Chelco

Click fest? Hmmm. Do you remember who wrote the review, or where did you read it?






I'm afraid not, but the reviews were the reason I never tried HTTR-to each his own. In any event, I'm very pleased with COTA; it's the most realistic ground combat game I've ever seen.




pvthudson01 -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/15/2006 12:28:37 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: MarkShot

If COTA is the first Panther Games product which you have purchased, then would you please be so kind as to respond to the following questions. (If you have yet to purchase COTA but are waiting for the boxed version or intend to purchase it soon, then feel free to respond.)

(1) How did you become aware of COTA?

I tried the Arnhem demo a looooong time ago but didn't like it too much. I skipped HTTR and saw that COTA was released on the front page of the matrix site when buying some other games. I like the look of the game now better than the older ones, and I thought at first it was battle for Crete only then i saw it covered all the other battles in Greece and Malta hypothetical

(2) What led to your decision to purchase COTA?

AAR's and the upgraded interface and content from the older versions. Also I was tired of Market Garden etc etc. i also like the company support in terms of questions being answered

(3) Why hadn't you previously purchased RDOA or HTTR?

Didn't like the way they played and didnt like the only demo you guys had. Need more demos! 99% of the games I try in demo I end up getting. Im going out on a limb here.

(4) Prior to the purchase did you try the old RDOA demo that can still be found on the Net for download?

yes I hated it

(5) How would you characterize your PC gaming interests?

Wargaming and MMORPG playing. If I am not refighting WW2 I am playing World of Warcraft

(6) Prior to your purchase had you previously purchased other Matrix Games offerings?

A ton of them. I own about 8-9 Matrix Games

Thank you.

---

For those of you who are repeat customers, I don't mean to make you feel ignored. However, I just assume that most of you were pleased with HTTR and were eager to get the next installment.





MarkShot -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/15/2006 4:01:56 AM)

Added some questions for you repeat customers as well. :)




Jensen76 -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/16/2006 12:33:40 PM)

(1) How did you become aware of COTA?

Reading the Matrix forums.

(2) What led to your decision to purchase COTA?

I liked the concept and got the impression that COTA would feature a nice campaign mode.

(3) Why hadn't you previously purchased RDOA or HTTR?

Hadn't really heard of them before and when I finally did COTA was already on the horizon...

(4) Prior to the purchase did you try the old RDOA demo that can still be found on the Net for download?

No.

(5) How would you characterize your PC gaming interests?

Wargames and simulations.

(6) Prior to your purchase had you previously purchased other Matrix Games offerings?

Crown of Glory, War in the Pacific.




hen5ri -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/20/2006 2:56:43 PM)

I read about COTA on forums here and on Usenet. I bought about 5 wargames in the past month (COTA, TOAW3, SC2, TFB, BII, BIN), the most recent being TOAW3 and I bought COTA yesterday. If a wargame is any good at all, I will buy it. My philosophy is that if I play a game for a week, I figure I have gotten my money's worth.[8D]

It was clear from the start that I would buy this game because of the quality of HTTR, so the producers should be encouraged. I hesitated for TOAW3 because although I bought 3 versions of TOAW, I was not too crazy about the complexity of the game.[X(]

I don't like clickfests and I don't like scenarios with too many units. I wish someone would make a computer wargame of "The Russian Campaign" which, according to a poll a couple of years ago, was the most popular wargame ever. This boardgame had fewer than 100 units, but I played it for years.[:'(]

I am encouraged by the COTA documentation mentioning maneuver warfare and the boyd cycle; it remains to be seen how well these concepts apply to this game, because so far no game has managed to simulate this well.[8|]

Henri




James Sterrett -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/20/2006 4:16:42 PM)

quote:

I am encouraged by the COTA documentation mentioning maneuver warfare and the boyd cycle; it remains to be seen how well these concepts apply to this game, because so far no game has managed to simulate this well.[8|]


Very well - if you turn on orders delays; and it works better the closer you get to "painfully realistic" orders delays.

Delays in execution of orders means that forces cannot react instantly.

As a result, if Side A's plan rocks side B off-balance, Side B's orders are out of touch with the situation - and if Side A's plan is good, Side A is giving orders that will exploit this situation further, putting B into a deteriorating spiral.

It's hard to make it happen effectively, though. It takes a good plan to pull it off, including a solid understanding of enemy reactions and the limitations of your own forces.


IMO, some of COTA's best scenarios pit the Germans, trying to break out across the map, against a much smaller force of Allied troops trying to delay them. (First Clean Break is a good small example.) The delaying forces have a difficult task - and when they do their job right, cause the attacking forces no end of trouble as small units hold up large columns only to run away before the hammer can be brought upon them. If the attack can generate momentum, however, the delaying force turns into a discombobulated mess of troops trying desperately to get back in front of the attack.... whomever is forced to be reactive will lose.




hen5ri -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/20/2006 8:25:18 PM)

It might be a nice idea to illustrate the Boyd cycle with a learning scenario where one side would have much faster responses than the other, for instance the Germans vs Russia at the start of the Blitzkrieg, when due to lack of communications and impossible orders, the Soviets found it mostly impossible to respond or worse, felt forced to attempt to follow impossible orders that had little to do with the real situation.

In this scenario,. the soviets would be given a much larger force with the slowest response time possible and bad orders to start, whereas the Germans would be given "no delay". The German objective would be to cut off the supplies of the soviets, pocket them and annihilate them. Because it takes a while in the game for lack of supplies to have a significant effect, the scenario would probably have to last a few days, and the unit count would have to be relatively small, given that it would be a learning scenariio.

At the present time, the orders delay seems mostly related to how well the original plan was conceived, which is OK, but it would be nice if it could be illustrated to also work in a dynamic manner as it does in the real world. Of course in such a case, one side has to have the advantage in orders delay unless the player ability is higher for one side.

Henri

The Boyd cycle in boxing: "I feinted to the left, feinted to the right, jabbed a couple of times with my left to raise his arms, then rammed him in the belly with a right, and the first thing that he knew, I was flat on my back!"[8|]




Banquet -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/20/2006 8:37:59 PM)

MarkShot,

With regards to you question to prior customers.  I find your AARs perfect as they are.  I don't think they need better graphics or labels.  Personally I prefer to read them on the forum.  I am less inclined to download a PDF document..  but others might appreciate that they can read it offline.

The two things I find are most likely to put people off the series is the fact that it's real time and that it isn't designed to micromanage units.  I think a multimedia presentation of some sort that demonstrated how well the AI handles things (Battalion HQ orders and such) and also how easy it is to take command of a company would help.  A voice track describing the various gameplay aspects would be good.  It would show non believers how well the system works.






Arjuna -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/21/2006 4:02:58 AM)

Banquet,

We are exploring options for just such an intro movie. Are you volunteering to help? [:)]




bugbear -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/21/2006 5:14:48 AM)

Hi, I've wrangled my way through several sesssions of HttR and now find myself learning CoTA. Your AARs are fine, but please consider forming your instructive lessons within the framework of common understanding. For example, the initial CoTA tutorial assumes knowledge of NATO symbology which may preclude Newbie-learning. Simply put, the novice player may be attemtping to learn the game system while using the "figurative" counters/icons which are NOT supported during the tutorial!?!

Moreover, when AARs are presented with the goal of generating new player interest and general player development, why use language that only experienced players will understand? Shorthand information and an assumed player-level of experience may short-circuit any public relations effort IF readers aren't familiar with the terminology used or simply don't yet have the experience with the style of gameplay on display in CoTA and HttR?

Both are great games with a strong community but to create more excitement might require making the game more accessible to the wider public with instructive training modules that also make the game experience more fun and educational.
It's ONE thing to be the commander; it's entirely another thing to know HOW to be the commander.




Arjuna -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/21/2006 6:52:57 AM)

bugbear,

Good points. [:)]




steed -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/21/2006 4:35:11 PM)

I tried my hand at an AAR to help proselityze.. i understand it s the only game in town to convert people.

Personally , and i m going to get blasted for this ... but i was "given" RDOA to try and had it sitting around for weeks before i got my head around the concept.

What i love most about the game is the realism , the confusion of the battlefield , the orders delay and the amazing command structure.




Chelco -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/21/2006 9:49:57 PM)

Third time costumer here (RDoA, HttR, CotA).

AAR-mini guide was awesome. I would filter out user feedback from before consolidating in a single document.





MengCiao -> RE: Questions for first time and repeat customers (6/23/2006 7:11:56 PM)


1) I eagerly followed COTA on the Matrix Boards
2) I've always wanted this game
3) I had HTTR (maybe I misunderstood the questionaire)
4) I did play the RDOA long ago
5) eclectic but mediterreanean
6) I've purchased a lot of Matrix Games

For marketting AARs: the more detail and good graphics the better. I find the stream-of-consciousness more convincing than precisely edited copy, though. Why not have both?
Or have one comment on the other?




MengCiao -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/23/2006 7:17:12 PM)


I finally got my brother to buy one of these and I gave a copy of HTTR to a friend.

So there are new peple coming in slowly.




Arjuna -> RE: Questions for first time customers (6/24/2006 2:52:47 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: MengCiao


I finally got my brother to buy one of these and I gave a copy of HTTR to a friend.

So there are new peple coming in slowly.


Great to hear. Thank you.[:)]




Joe 98 -> Promoting the game (6/28/2006 10:04:27 AM)

The game is mostly movement with pausing to give orders. As a result screen shots do not do the game justice.  Only a movie can give the correct flavour.
 
As to the current screen shots:   When the game is zoomed right out, or zoomed in 1 notch or 2 notches, the units look all bunched together.  This gives a bad impression to newbys. All screen shots should be zoomed in to medium or more.
 
Also, when units are moving, often the foot print of the unit is visible.  The foot prints are ugly. Screen shots used for promoting the game should never have the footprints visible.
 
There is a screen shot utility called Hyper-Snap.  They also have a “movie screen shot utility”.
 
I would suggest using this utility to make a movie. You can edit the movie and write text on the screen.
 
The movie should have no music and no voice over and no sounds because ultimately the file size would become too large.   I have written the outline of a script below.  Now we need a director and a producer
 
The characters would be 1 infantry battalion, 1 armoured battalion, 1 heavy MG unit and 1 artillery unit
 
And 1  “map boss” with 1 supply depot .
 
The first scene opens with the infantry deployed. The camera follows the mouse which clicks on the Inf Bn HQ and the blue and green command lines are shown. The map boss ought to be in the picture.
 
The subtitle would read “Infantry battalion with it’s 4 companies”
 
The camera pans to follow the curser which now clicks on the armour Btn HQ.  Command lines still visible.
 
The subtitle would read “Armoured battalion with it’s 4 companies”
 
Then the MG unit is attached to the infantry battalion and the arty is attached to the armoured battalion. Together with subtitles so the audience knows what is going on.
 
The camera follows the curser as “move” orders are given to the armour and then to the infantry.
 
They move only a short distance as this movie is not feature length.
 
The enemy is spotted and the cursor seen to click on the enemy unit and check the intel.
 
As the infantry move to the FUP, the armour puts fire onto the enemy from a flank. Then the infantry assault through.
 
Roll credits.
 
 




Greup -> RE: Questions for first time and repeat customers (6/28/2006 7:09:13 PM)

I assume that for the query purposes I fall into the "first time" category although I actually purchased Panther Game's Firebridgade for Mac back in 89.

(1) How did you become aware of COTA?
I always keep an eye open for military sims and onther intersting games on the net.

(2) What led to your decision to purchase COTA?
Reading Matrix' forums + Googling around the net + recently reading a book on the Mediterranean campaigns.

(3) Why hadn't you previously purchased RDOA or HTTR?
Good question. At the time the only place I had a Windows box was at work. I 'm a Mac+Unix user for reasons where Windows is not an option. Now I have and old Window box at home I'm eagerly awaiting a new Macbook Pro whcih will enable me to run my preferred Win games as well. After the release and purchase of COTA there seems contraproductive to buy HTTR (HTTR = RDOA+ rebranded under Matrix cover, right?)

(4) Prior to the purchase did you try the old RDOA demo that can still be found on the Net for download?
I think I breifly tried it out at work some years ago when I didn't have a private Windows box and was a bit fed up with Arnhem.

(5) How would you characterize your PC gaming interests?
Coming from a boardgaming background (AH (anyone old enough to guess where my nick comes from?), SPI, Victory Games etc) in the 80-ies, my preferred focus is military sims (preferrably WWI), WWx military flight sims, the occational FPS) but also management games like Civilization, Europa Universalis, Hearts of Iron etc

I bought Panther Games first (?) offering Fire Brigade for mac back in 1989 as my first "real" computer game (I was concurrently developing a basic HyperCard based WWII military sim that never got finished ;-))

As a general statement about the only games that have left a lasting positive impression are Civilization, TacOps, Close Combat series (I was a frustrated beta tester for CC3 on a mac running Virtual PC!) , the Combat Mission series (during the mac days), Operation Flashpoint, Red Orchestra (both as an Unreal Tournament mod and currently as Red Orchestra Ostfront) + some "normal games" (Myst etc)

Had I been a Windows guy I guess I'd added some others to the list.

(6) Prior to your purchase had you previously purchased other Matrix Games offerings?
I have considered other games but not actually purchased anything.
I believe Matrix' other games offerings up until now (the future might differ) with Panther Games as an exception are underachievements by people stuck in a board game state-of-mind which is a great turn-off for me; The ones I have seen from Matrix and others (HPPS) are just board games in a computer environment coupled with a make-shift AI.

I'm not interested in pushing virtual stacks of virtual die-cut cardboard markers around a virtual hex map turn by turn. That was great for board games in the 1960-80ies, but hey, we have computers now! Panther realized that as early as 1989 but almost nobody else in the operational mil sim industry seems to have had a clue yet - and nothing happened until the very same company finally made a modern release of the system in AA: RDOA - which surprises me.

Panther Games inventiveness rule and I'll be with you in the future. Just give me my eastfront games (all the way from Finland to Kaukasus and from Stalingrad to Berlin). Come to think of it I might even consider Western Europe as well... ;)

-- Greup (10-3)




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