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COTA - The 5 Minute Guide

 
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COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/9/2006 1:12:31 AM   
Arjuna


Posts: 17790
Joined: 3/31/2003
From: Canberra, Australia
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Hi all,

As mentioned in another thread - HERE - Eddy kindly knocked up a short movie as an example of what could be done to provide a series of introductory or tutorial guides.

It can be accessed via Matrix Games public ftp. The public FTP is found at:

ftp://ftp.matrixgames.com/

That will open it in your web-browser. Otherwise any ftp software can log into ftp.matrixgames.com using anonymous login.

The actual file is in ftp://ftp.matrixgames.com/pub/ConquestoftheAegean/Cota - The 5 minute Guide.zip

Please note that this is a straight forward avi file and should play in Windows Media Player/RealPlayer etc.

This is not a fully edited or finished product, just an example of the concept.

We would be interested to get your feedback on whether you think something like this would assist newcomers to better understand the game and hopefully convince them that it's worth trying. Please post your feddback here. Thanks,

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com
Post #: 1
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/9/2006 1:48:12 AM   
loyalcitizen


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Indeed a video like this would be a very good idea, to show that the game is not as complex to play as some might think. I would make sure that the final video features sounds of battle and a bit of color commentary when units clash, so the viewers can get a sense of why/how certain units are prevailing over others and what sort of forces are involved.
Comment on the "Unit Health" bars during the fight, so viewers can see the effects of fighting.

As mush as I hate to say it, the video should use the unit picture symbols instead of the NATO ones.

I would not bother with a reattach order, as that is over most people's heads. If you feel the need to, the way it was done in the video put the reattached unit in a real bad spot, so be careful!

A very small, simple battle like the one featured is best.

loyalcitizen

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 2
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/9/2006 3:10:25 AM   
Joe 98


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I find the "attach" and "re-attach" very very difficult. 

And so I give orders to individual units when needed.


(in reply to loyalcitizen)
Post #: 3
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/9/2006 3:11:24 AM   
Kabbers

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna
We would be interested to get your feedback


Wow that was fun, I was disappointed when it stopped. As a novice if more of these existed I would certain enjoy watching them, and I would have deliberated for less time before purchasing. To hear the planning level, or general intentions of the video-host, above the activity visible on the screen, is a very special opportunity in these imo. The vid also gave me itchy feet to fire up COTA - a good litmus test?

Helping sales happen is part of your query. Well these are the key messages that reached me just prior to my purchase of COTA: integrity of whole package and AI, its great UI/aesthetics (screenshots), quality of forum content, the prospect of strong tutorials, and that things move hehe. Videos like this bring two those together: tutorials and 'things move' factor. And in terms of tutorials, the most fun part of tutorials too: planning, and our real-time (non pausable!) human reactions. I know you need to address trad hex-gamers, but for a total novice (e.g. me) the fear-stopping-the-purchase for a while was whether it was going to be all-unit-shifting and no human fun. To hear in this video the human interest of the strategy at hand was part of the draw.

Help newcomers learn? This is different from helping people know they want to buy COTA perhaps - but I do not learn as fast as I want to, even with wonderful tutorials and AARs, because I often only have 30-60 minutes of _really_ good brain-energy left by the time I am free to explore COTA at night. So I find that the will is there but that the COTA learning curve has to travel a few steps at a time for me... such videos would not replace tutorial/AAR, but would offer perhaps a gentler slope for a bit of the path sometimes... :-) Whether there is enough ROI for your efforts in helping people learn faster through these, I am less sure ... unless it becomes another selling point.

COTA also has an exposition mode - AAR's prove this - and the depth of visual notation COTA offers on screen is awesome. So moving videos as exposition/narrative, as well as tutorial, is another possible draw to newcomers?

My 2p
xk

< Message edited by Kabbers -- 10/9/2006 3:17:22 AM >

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 4
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/9/2006 6:09:50 AM   
flintlock

 

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Wonderful concept. I believe videos similar to this would undoubtedly persuade some potential customers on taking that final step. Although the documentation for the AA series is quite impressive, such videos would augment existing tutorial material nicely. Although said videos would certainly be encouraging to prospective buyers, they could be yet another viable learning mediumn for existing customers too.

Personally, I'd love to see this concept fully implemented.

Oh, and by the way--congratulations on an absolutely wonderful game. CotA is the first title in the AA franchise I have tried, and my only regret thus far is that I didn't find the series a lot sooner!

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 5
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/9/2006 6:35:32 AM   
Arjuna


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From: Canberra, Australia
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flintlock,

Welcome.

I note that was your very first post on Matrix forums. As first posts go it is one of the best. Can I quote you in our marketing blurbs? - ie:

quote:

CotA is the first title in the AA franchise I have tried, and my only regret thus far is that I didn't find the series a lot sooner!


_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to flintlock)
Post #: 6
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/9/2006 6:57:28 AM   
flintlock

 

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Thanks for the welcome, Arjuna. And yes, absolutely. ;)

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 7
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/9/2006 10:33:25 PM   
JeF


Posts: 1170
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Frustrating. Extremely frustrating stuff.

Airborne Assault engine is all about movement, manoeuvre, and so on. Seriously. I mean, static screenshots (no matter the quality of words MarkShot or Yakstock can produce to go with them) do not give justice to the magnificience of the gameplay.
I'm not the only one, but I always wanted to do something like this. You know : animated movies. I have some Flash files on my PC that are too large, too clumsy or too shakey for me to dare post them. Ho, and they are silent too. I didn't find ways to add sound.
It sometimes makes me cry at night....
<Ironic and bitter sweet mode off>



@Eddy : this is one hell of good job ! Thumbs up here !! Love it.
And I mean it !

Now tell us more about the tools you use ...

JeF.

_____________________________

Rendez-vous at Loenen before 18:00.
Don't loose your wallet !
Conquest Of The Aegean Web Development Team
The Drop Zone

(in reply to flintlock)
Post #: 8
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/10/2006 8:21:32 AM   
dwinston

 

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I only get sound - no video??? Using Media Player Version 10

(in reply to JeF)
Post #: 9
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/10/2006 9:30:25 AM   
Arjuna


Posts: 17790
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From: Canberra, Australia
Status: online
You probably need to install the xVid Codec. Get it from http://www.xvidmovies.com/codec/

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to dwinston)
Post #: 10
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/10/2006 12:39:01 PM   
RedDevil


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Hello Sterkxe,

I really liked the idea of the demo, actually I liked it so much that I have been looking around trying to figure out how to do another one. My idea is to use the VNC with vnc2swf (the python version), then reduce the size of the video by cutting some frames, reducing the window size and converting the lot to .mpg so that further editing and overlaying is possible. Audio can be added later on as an mp3.
I am still making some tests, but I think we can squeeze 5 minutes of gameplay in 20-30Mb (which compared to some demos is still fairly small).

What I would like to have is a wish list of what you would like to see in the demo e.g. a battalion attack, a defend task, a bridge priming... any suggestion?

and btw... not everybody likes an heavy Italian accent , so if there is a volunteer for the commentary he/she would be most welcome!

Cheers,

RedDevil

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 11
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/12/2006 10:14:41 PM   
JeF


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quote:

ORIGINAL: RedDevil
My idea is to use the VNC with vnc2swf (the python version), then reduce the size of the video by cutting some frames, reducing the window size and converting the lot to .mpg so that further editing and overlaying is possible. Audio can be added later on as an mp3.
I am still making some tests, but I think we can squeeze 5 minutes of gameplay in 20-30Mb (which compared to some demos is still fairly small).


It was my first idea as well. I managed to get 36MB of Flash movie that I thought was too big. It was not easy to handle with the tools and the machine I had.
I just checked and with proper version of PyMedia, you could get an mpeg file as output. Worth a try maybe.

quote:


What I would like to have is a wish list of what you would like to see in the demo e.g. a battalion attack, a defend task, a bridge priming... any suggestion?


All of them !

quote:


and btw... not everybody likes an heavy Italian accent , so if there is a volunteer for the commentary he/she would be most welcome!


Strong French accent wouldn't be good either I guess.

BTW, I'm ready to host any of those movies at the Drop Zone, provided they are not too big...

Cheers,

JeF.

_____________________________

Rendez-vous at Loenen before 18:00.
Don't loose your wallet !
Conquest Of The Aegean Web Development Team
The Drop Zone

(in reply to RedDevil)
Post #: 12
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/13/2006 7:33:51 AM   
Llyranor


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From: Montreal, Canada
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I definitely support this idea.

Perhaps if one of the devs or beta testers recorded a longer session and explained step-by-step their thought process as in the AAR, it would give a very good impression of what the game plays like to people unfamiliar with the series - especially wargamers skeptical about the unconventional feel of the game.

I think something like a 30-min clip would really help wargamers see what the game is really like. And, budget-wise, it wouldn't be terribly expensive at all - after all, all you need is a video-capture program. No need for setting aside resources for a demo. This could work wonders.

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 13
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/13/2006 10:45:15 AM   
piotre


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From: Bologna, Italy
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quote:

Perhaps if one of the devs or beta testers recorded a longer session and explained step-by-step their thought process as in the AAR, it would give a very good impression of what the game plays like to people unfamiliar with the series


My point of view, exactly.

I remember when I was boardgaming and I subscribed to the Avalon Hill "General" (their in-house bimonthly magazine), one of the columns I was looking forward to was the "Series Replay". It was a step-by-step account of a particular game replayed by two expert players, with a neutral commentator.

There's an example on line in PDF format at wargamer.com (this is for a solitaire game, but you get the point): "Raid on St. Nazaire Series Replay".

I've lost count of the money I spent on AH games because of a good Series Replay.

Pietro.


< Message edited by piotre -- 10/13/2006 10:50:09 AM >

(in reply to Llyranor)
Post #: 14
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/19/2006 2:26:21 AM   
barbarossa2

 

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Yes! A series replay. That would be cool. But I don't know how I could get that to my friends. I have sold a lot of games to friends by recommending them. But a series replay... hmmmm...

I do like the demo...as a video, which I could tell my freinds about. I believe something like this was done for HTTR. It was "adequate," but not incredible. It sold me, but it failed to attract my non-grognard friends (although it aroused interest).

(in reply to piotre)
Post #: 15
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 11/3/2006 3:58:13 PM   
Temple

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

You probably need to install the xVid Codec. Get it from http://www.xvidmovies.com/codec/


Thanks for that info, I couldn't figure out why I was only getting sound.

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 16
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 11/3/2006 5:17:39 PM   
z1812


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From: Toronto Ontario
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Hi All,

This idea is a very good alternative to a demo. However a demo combined with a tutorial/introduction like this one would be an outstanding sales tool.

Regards John

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 17
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 11/4/2006 4:59:50 PM   
Canuck35


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From: Tokyo, Japan
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I wish you'd do the entire tutorial in the manual as a video like this. I can't stand having to go back and forth between my pdf reader and the game.

(in reply to z1812)
Post #: 18
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 11/23/2006 1:19:59 AM   
Arjuna


Posts: 17790
Joined: 3/31/2003
From: Canberra, Australia
Status: online
Eddy has finished revising his 5 Minute Guide. It's now more polished. Check it out HERE


_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to Canuck35)
Post #: 19
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 11/23/2006 4:57:01 AM   
Rooster


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Hi All - Please try the "view online" version and tell me if you can see it.  I've been told by Alex at Matrix that it won't show in Firefox.

Thx!

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 20
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 11/23/2006 6:44:46 AM   
Arjuna


Posts: 17790
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From: Canberra, Australia
Status: online
Dan,

I just tried it and it shows up and runs fine. One thing though it takes a little while before starting to play - as it buffers the movie into RAM. It would be nice to have a wait cursor during that time. Some may jump to the wrong conclusion and think it's broke.

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to Rooster)
Post #: 21
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 11/23/2006 10:06:48 AM   
sterckxe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna
... broke.


I already got the feedback that clicking on the "5-minute guide" title directs you to the trailer, not the 5-minute guide. A copy & paste accident from the item below that probably

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 22
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 11/23/2006 11:17:22 AM   
RayWolfe

 

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On the Arjuna principal that good can come from adversity, I've just seen the trailer for the fist time!
Ray

(in reply to sterckxe)
Post #: 23
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 11/23/2006 2:21:10 PM   
Arjuna


Posts: 17790
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From: Canberra, Australia
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Hey yeh, you're right Eddy.

Dan,

While the link to View the 5 Min Guide and to Download the zip file of it work correctly, the URL for the subheading ( 5-minute Guide ) links to the Trailer instead. Can you please fix. Thanks.

_____________________________

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com

(in reply to RayWolfe)
Post #: 24
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 11/24/2006 4:50:16 AM   
Rooster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: sterckxe
A copy & paste accident from the item below that probably


Bingo! Fixed.

Dave - Wait cursor?? I remember cursing as I waited for COTA to come out... is that what you mean?

Seriously, I'm mot sure how to do that... but I'll investigate.

(in reply to sterckxe)
Post #: 25
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 11/27/2006 12:21:41 AM   
Joe 98


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Suggestion:
 
To be zoomed right in, or one step out. Any more and it looks congested.
 
To use small counters for the whole of the movie.
 
Then at one moment  pause, switch to the large counters and run through some of the “F” keys to check a few things – but not everything.
 
Then switch back to small counters and continue.
 
At one moment, comment that it is a short movie and you need to switch to fast speed, do so and then switch back to slow speed again.

(in reply to Rooster)
Post #: 26
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 7/8/2007 2:37:32 AM   
Jeffrey H.


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Very helpful. I would like to know more about some of the hotkeys he was using for pause and FF. I'll look them up in the pdf manual. This was an excellent way to get people up to speed quickly. In fact, I think this concept spread over a few different series or "chapters" could almost replace any other form of manual. Very interesting and well done.

(in reply to Joe 98)
Post #: 27
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/17/2007 6:56:16 PM   
zhu_kov

 

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Just want to know , the link is broken ? when it will be fix ?

< Message edited by zhu_kov -- 10/17/2007 6:59:50 PM >

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Post #: 28
RE: COTA - The 5 Minute Guide - 10/17/2007 7:24:34 PM   
HansBolter


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From: St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
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quote:

ORIGINAL: zhu_kov

Just want to know , the link is broken ? when it will be fix ?



The direct link to the COTA folder is indeed not working, but the first link listed to the main public FTP folder does work. Use that one and follow the folders to the COTA one to get the guide. It is a ZIP file you will need to download.

(in reply to zhu_kov)
Post #: 29
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