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The proces.

 
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The proces. - 8/30/2007 11:41:07 PM   
lp24

 

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Being a programmer and project leader myself, I feel that I pretty much know how to get something like this done.

It looks to me as though Marshal made a basic first time mistake on this project. Whenever you start something like this, clearly define what it is you want to create. I think Marshal did that to begin with, but then the dropped his plans completely as things unfolded. Which is why we didn't get this game 2 years ago. Once you make the starter plan, stick to it. Update it as needed, but don't throw it away as you go..

My suggestion is that you (Marshal) make a list of things that NEED to go into the game, and what COULD go into the game. Do the need things first, wrap up the game nicely in a bundle and ship it off. The could do things can then be added in a patch. If you don't, you risk working on this project for another 5 years, which it really doesn't need to be a great game.

Do not add content, just for the sake of "well that would be nice to do". Do it if it is required, if not, don't waste time on it until you start doing the upgrades. Europa Universalis 2 is on patch..ehm, 16? Version 1.0 was great, fully playable, and it just improved from then on. If they had waited with the release until version 16, they would not be selling EU3 right now.

Best regards,
LP24
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RE: The proces. - 8/31/2007 9:34:26 AM   
gazfun


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Well thats half the problem with a lot of games that are made that way, they are half baked heaps of patches etc

This is not, a package, that you wish to impose to others that you dont know much about.
The game in this case has been already designed in the past, and was already made out for us before we started.
Conforming to and already set of rules, is the hardest thing to do, in my book, than to start with your own concepts of a game & with out restrictions.
The original rules covers something like 80 pages plus, which can be daunting enough to follow at time let alone anything else.
However EU2 is a mega micro management game, where the complexity of that game requires a bit of leraning, but at least in this case there where not any old rules, that a programmer has to comform to, to make the game suitable for PC gaming

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RE: The proces. - 8/31/2007 4:30:51 PM   
speedo

 

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@lp24
couldn't say it better...

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RE: The proces. - 9/1/2007 9:41:07 AM   
timewalker03

 

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You know what's funny. About one third of all the posters must be programmers. Over the 4+ years I have been following these boards I can't tell you how many people have said "they are programmers" and know what's going on with the programming aspect of the game. Some say things to defend Marshall and others say things to diminish. I don't expect this game ever to be published now that it has taken this long and knowing that Marshall is only working part time on a game that could potentially make Matrix some money. When a company (not saying Marshall) like Matrix only puts in a small effort or better yet Hal Asses its production then the game in the end will be Half Ass. This game could have been done long ago if Matrix wanted it to be completed and it would have been a good product. I am sure Matrix has made money off this game already by having us following a carrot on a stick and maybe buying another game while we waited for this game to be completed.

As the next 4 years go more games will be made and sold by Matrix and some on this board will buy them. Either way Matrix gets what it wants. I am no longer sure if they even want this game published. We'll see.

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RE: The proces. - 9/1/2007 4:46:52 PM   
gazfun


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quote:

ORIGINAL: timewalker03

You know what's funny. About one third of all the posters must be programmers. Over the 4+ years I have been following these boards I can't tell you how many people have said "they are programmers" and know what's going on with the programming aspect of the game. Some say things to defend Marshall and others say things to diminish. I don't expect this game ever to be published now that it has taken this long and knowing that Marshall is only working part time on a game that could potentially make Matrix some money. When a company (not saying Marshall) like Matrix only puts in a small effort or better yet Hal Asses its production then the game in the end will be Half Ass. This game could have been done long ago if Matrix wanted it to be completed and it would have been a good product. I am sure Matrix has made money off this game already by having us following a carrot on a stick and maybe buying another game while we waited for this game to be completed.

As the next 4 years go more games will be made and sold by Matrix and some on this board will buy them. Either way Matrix gets what it wants. I am no longer sure if they even want this game published. We'll see.

But you of course wont mind then, when we have the last laugh


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RE: The proces. - 9/1/2007 10:06:57 PM   
timewalker03

 

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Last laugh at what. Every time the game gets pushed back, do you laugh then? Do you get mad? Do you curl up into a ball and cry like a baby? or do you stand back and take the slap in the face and say "Oh Matrix will come through for me"?

This game has a set of rules that have been diluted with the made up rules of Empire in Harm. If they would have taken away the opinion of the people who lobbied for harm rules, this game would have been done by now and many many patches could have added all the crap in at that time.

Hopefully you get mad and demand something from Matrix and from Marshall soon. The attitude that oh we'll wait for a great product or allowing Matrix to half ass this project with the hope of the game getting done has done nothing for production. We still wait over 4+ years from announcement date. It's too bad that the consumer is being left in the cold and the company doesn't care about that. Yes programming a game is tough. Yes it can be time consuming. Oh and yes if two programmers are better than one, and three better than two etc. Also having only 1 or 2 play test groups testing this game has slowed it down immensely. Anyway your optimism should be turned turned into some pressure. If your argument is you want great product so let's not hurry them, then you must realize that after 5 years a great product should have been produced in that time. Now we must say as consumers, " Matrix get off your duff and complete this game no matter what it takes.

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RE: The proces. - 9/2/2007 11:03:09 PM   
gazfun


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RE: The proces. - 9/4/2007 4:31:55 PM   
Thresh

 

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In some respects I agree with Timewalker, Matrix needs to decide what to do and how to do it.

The fact of the matter is if they wanted this game out three years ago, it could have been out three years ago. It would have been a buggy mess, but hey, it would have been released.

But another fact is that this game will be niche at best, and will never be among Matrix's best sellers. If it were, I would bet that a higher priority would have been given to it.

But I will say at this point I think they have come to far to not release it. And if they don't want to release it for profit, they could at least put out what they have as freeware, or even shareware.

YMMV,
Thresh

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RE: The proces. - 9/6/2007 12:29:23 AM   
gazfun


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Niche game at best?!?

Think you have to do some research actually

< Message edited by gazfun -- 9/6/2007 4:28:47 AM >


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RE: The proces. - 9/7/2007 6:00:22 AM   
Thresh

 

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Gazfan,

This game isn't Cossacks II.  At this point it might not even be Battle of Napoleon.  I'd love for EiA to be a commercial and critical success, nothing would please me more to see a game I like to play become more popular and appeal to a segement of players that never would have looked at it before.

Niche isn;t a derogatory terms, but as I said in my other thread, this game is appealing to a certain segement of gamer/player, and it's impact/influence beyond that core group is going to be what...

Thresh

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RE: The proces. - 9/8/2007 2:44:24 AM   
gazfun


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Ok what about the fact that the game has been going since 1980's and the main reason that if its been a niche game as you call it, is because the written rules are too much to bother most people, so what happens when that aspect of a game or any other for that matter disapears, it would and does become more popular, as have done all the old paperback games of the past.

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RE: The proces. - 9/8/2007 7:11:48 AM   
Thresh

 

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Gazfan,

So in your opinion a player new to the game will just load it up and start playing without bothering to read the rulebook? The original EiA rulebook was 48 pages. Want to put an over under on how big the rulebook for this game will be?

As I mentioned before, niche is not a derogatory term. This game is going to appeal to a certain core group of players. For it to appeal beyond that group of players, it's going to have to something which it does not appear to be. I could be wrong there, but at the moment, this game appears to break no new ground in terms of graphics, AI, playability, modability, etc etc etc.

Yes, the game has been going since the 1980's. I remember playing the old ADG rules for the first time and being somewhat impressed by it, but I like the AH Rules better.

But the fact of the matter is the EiA community is small, slowly growing, and a game like this isn't going to suddenly increase that membership by leaps and bounds. I don't recall 1830 or and of the "Fleet" series of games picking up after their respective computer versions were released. Chances are the vast majority of buyers are going to be players who either own the game or have played it, right? If I have 6 local friends I want to get into the game, why should they all shell out the money to pay for it when I have a copy on the shelf to use?

Currently, Cossacks II is the best selling Napoleonic era game out there, with something like 2,5 million copies sold IIRC. What do you think EiA will move?

Thresh

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RE: The proces. - 9/8/2007 1:41:47 PM   
PDiFolco

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: gazfun

Well thats half the problem with a lot of games that are made that way, they are half baked heaps of patches etc

This is not, a package, that you wish to impose to others that you dont know much about.
The game in this case has been already designed in the past, and was already made out for us before we started.
Conforming to and already set of rules, is the hardest thing to do, in my book, than to start with your own concepts of a game & with out restrictions.
The original rules covers something like 80 pages plus, which can be daunting enough to follow at time let alone anything else.
However EU2 is a mega micro management game, where the complexity of that game requires a bit of leraning, but at least in this case there where not any old rules, that a programmer has to comform to, to make the game suitable for PC gaming


Not true, EU was a boardgame before it went to computer ! And the board game designer - Phil Thibaut, now head of AGEOD- was in the EU-PC team (the first version).
Then they were able to sort out what mechanisms had to be kept or changed to better suit computer "abilities" and capacities.
IMHO sticking to the letter of boargame rules when porting to computer is nearly always a mistake. It makes for unwieldy, rigid games, that aren't adapted to computer. Look at what AH did when they made PC wargames, they were not good PC games even if they came from good boardgames.


< Message edited by PDiFolco -- 9/8/2007 1:58:04 PM >

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RE: The proces. - 9/9/2007 3:43:12 AM   
gazfun


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Thresh

Gazfan,

So in your opinion a player new to the game will just load it up and start playing without bothering to read the rulebook? The original EiA rulebook was 48 pages. Want to put an over under on how big the rulebook for this game will be?

As I mentioned before, niche is not a derogatory term. This game is going to appeal to a certain core group of players. For it to appeal beyond that group of players, it's going to have to something which it does not appear to be. I could be wrong there, but at the moment, this game appears to break no new ground in terms of graphics, AI, playability, modability, etc etc etc.

Yes, the game has been going since the 1980's. I remember playing the old ADG rules for the first time and being somewhat impressed by it, but I like the AH Rules better.

But the fact of the matter is the EiA community is small, slowly growing, and a game like this isn't going to suddenly increase that membership by leaps and bounds. I don't recall 1830 or and of the "Fleet" series of games picking up after their respective computer versions were released. Chances are the vast majority of buyers are going to be players who either own the game or have played it, right? If I have 6 local friends I want to get into the game, why should they all shell out the money to pay for it when I have a copy on the shelf to use?

Currently, Cossacks II is the best selling Napoleonic era game out there, with something like 2,5 million copies sold IIRC. What do you think EiA will move?

Thresh

Yes I do believe that is what they will do, load the game and start playing against the AI to learn the game, they will only look at the rules if they dont undestand something about the game, and that will make it more popular as it has done EU which was something that came out from oblivion.
BTW Cossacks II is a nice game, but ITS NOT A WARGAME, its a skirmish game just like RED ALERT, that has been adapted to do a bit of Campaign stuff and some multiplayer, there is no command and control, thats what the program does is really place you in charge of Regiment where you tell what each unit is suppose to do, Fire, March, Formation Changes, thats a job for at best a Colonel, you have to micromanage everything.
True wargaming is where you command units from a Division or Corps or Army level, and where the regiments just do what has been doctrinised by the GENERAL Ranking officers, there was no telethapy, no radios.


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RE: The proces. - 9/9/2007 5:24:10 AM   
Titi

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: PDiFolco


Not true, EU was a boardgame before it went to computer ! And the board game designer - Phil Thibaut, now head of AGEOD- was in the EU-PC team (the first version).
Then they were able to sort out what mechanisms had to be kept or changed to better suit computer "abilities" and capacities.
IMHO sticking to the letter of boargame rules when porting to computer is nearly always a mistake. It makes for unwieldy, rigid games, that aren't adapted to computer. Look at what AH did when they made PC wargames, they were not good PC games even if they came from good boardgames.



Not really true. EU was a board game that had a first French edition with a lot of bug. My feeling is that this first version was never playtested. A list of around 350 errata and correction was then done. Then an English version was published that still made other change. But both Fr and English version had still so much holes, bug and mistake that they were mostly unplayable. I knew that cause i tried a game and was playing with the two set of rules, just to try to fill the holes.

We stopped around 1530 when whole North America was belonging to England that had already more possession in the new world than Sp and more wealth that Fr or Sp.

So to conclude, EU had a draw of a rule but nothing good enough to allow a strict translation to a computer language where any hole will lead to a crash.
EiA, even if there a shadows in the rule, have around 5% of the amount of holes of EU.

EU was a game with a lot of different but still simple mechanisms/phase. EiA is mainly a single but very complex mechanism : a military one. I doubt it could be quickly learned by a tutorial like EiA.

EU was a great idea that was poorly translated in a board game. The computer version was a great improvement with an interface adapted and with the micromanagement being done by the computer. I don't think that nobody finished a board game of EU without rewriting the game with a lot of homerules.

EiA in the opposite had already a strong set of rule (even if there is still some place for improvement) and consistent game mechanism were all micromanagement had already be removed by abstraction. A lot of us haf played the game and finished some games. Nobody want or await change cause the board game is mostly working and playable.

I think that what we are awaiting is a computer game that will allow to remove the difficulty to find 6 others player ready to be involved for a very long game time and a room to hold the game. So we need the same EiA mechanism with a PBEM or TCP/IP add-on.

Problem is - for a lot of reason - that the programmer and Matrix seams to have missed that goal. That added a lot of lost time, misleading and that the result is probably not what some if not most of us are awaiting.
I won't buy this game to win against a feeble AI. i don't think an AI will be good enough to be a challenge in that kind of game... just look the time it took to program a computer chest opponent. Chest having simple rule regarding EiA ones.
I probably won't buy this game to play PBEM. I'm already playing PBEM with a player do the job with cyberboard. Maybe for a small cost, i will change my mind if the computer game is a real success...what i doubt.
I would buy it for TCP/IP but it's not in it.

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RE: The proces. - 9/13/2007 9:46:59 AM   
gazfun


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In reply to TITi
The PBEM vs TCP/IP is another issue of which I have already stated my opinion, which should'nt be talked about here in this forum with this title

< Message edited by gazfun -- 9/13/2007 9:48:51 AM >


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RE: The proces. - 9/15/2007 1:35:34 AM   
Murat


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Titi
Not really true. EU was a board game that had a first French edition with a lot of bug. My feeling is that this first version was never playtested. A list of around 350 errata and correction was then done. Then an English version was published that still made other change. But both Fr and English version had still so much holes, bug and mistake that they were mostly unplayable. I knew that cause i tried a game and was playing with the two set of rules, just to try to fill the holes.


Maybe your 1st mistake.

quote:

We stopped around 1530 when whole North America was belonging to England that had already more possession in the new world than Sp and more wealth that Fr or Sp.


How? I played as France both times I played the board game (to the end I might add) and I kept England down for self survival and had more wealth than any other player. It went fairly historical for Spain in the New World due to their superiority in explorers.

quote:

So to conclude, EU had a draw of a rule but nothing good enough to allow a strict translation to a computer language where any hole will lead to a crash.
EiA, even if there a shadows in the rule, have around 5% of the amount of holes of EU.

EU was a game with a lot of different but still simple mechanisms/phase. EiA is mainly a single but very complex mechanism : a military one. I doubt it could be quickly learned by a tutorial like EiA.

EU was a great idea that was poorly translated in a board game. The computer version was a great improvement with an interface adapted and with the micromanagement being done by the computer. I don't think that nobody finished a board game of EU without rewriting the game with a lot of homerules.

EiA in the opposite had already a strong set of rule (even if there is still some place for improvement) and consistent game mechanism were all micromanagement had already be removed by abstraction. A lot of us haf played the game and finished some games. Nobody want or await change cause the board game is mostly working and playable.

I think that what we are awaiting is a computer game that will allow to remove the difficulty to find 6 others player ready to be involved for a very long game time and a room to hold the game. So we need the same EiA mechanism with a PBEM or TCP/IP add-on.

Problem is - for a lot of reason - that the programmer and Matrix seams to have missed that goal. That added a lot of lost time, misleading and that the result is probably not what some if not most of us are awaiting.
I won't buy this game to win against a feeble AI. i don't think an AI will be good enough to be a challenge in that kind of game... just look the time it took to program a computer chest opponent. Chest having simple rule regarding EiA ones.
I probably won't buy this game to play PBEM. I'm already playing PBEM with a player do the job with cyberboard. Maybe for a small cost, i will change my mind if the computer game is a real success...what i doubt.
I would buy it for TCP/IP but it's not in it.


Well if you are not buying anyway.....

AI is the hardest part to get in any computer game. NW (this game) has changed some rules for ease of programming and play testers seem to have positive comments. They are not getting paid to have them as far as I know so it seems to be a good game already and is going through improvements. I am still in the market for it but I hope I do not die before release. 2080 is unlikely for me to be buying, 2008 is possible.

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RE: The proces. - 9/15/2007 6:31:07 AM   
Titi

 

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1) The first mistake was playing (not to said testing) the first french edition during an evening. We don't do a turn. Played less than half an hour and spend 4 hours in the rules looking for solutions to the numerous problems arising while crawling in the sequence of play. Of six or seven only two wanted to continue to play. The friend that had bought the game and me. So we went to the shop that was kind enough to let us copy the english rule while at the same time we found a ton of errata to the french rule.

2) How. Some luck. A good part of hindsight. And a lot of badly written rules and mechanism. I explain : first turn saw a new queen in England rated 9/8/6 while a gold mine was discovered in the North of Anglia. If you remember the state of England in 1492, those even made a lot of difference for GB. The 3/4 next turns while Fr and Sp where fighting each other to the last man following the preprogrammed victory table; saw England "build" a lot of merchants ship in trade zone to gain some full controlled TZ, all+1 allowed manufactures and do some ship reseachs. The army was just a strong garrison and fortress in Calais, stronger looking for the Fr than the Hasburg's one. At the same time build ships to have a navy looking mighty like the one of the 19 century. No other expense, no war, no costly diplomaty except to keep England at peace, only administration and building. Then during one or two turn, sending small 2 or 4 ships squadrons at the same time to discover the northern atlantic in wave of contiguous sea zones. Trade some of those discoveries with SP as Sp hasn't yet interest in North America. Then when Canada coast are discovered, US coast traded and next naval technology is discovered, i send a huge fleet with a huge army on board in an impulse to Canada coast then split it in two ships fleets and armies aboard and let the armies disembarks in the coast lands and discovers those. Then reimbark the surviving armies aboard the ships and regroup. Came back across the atlantic with a couple of ships and men but more than half the territories where the landing took place discovered. Redo the same next turn while starting to build trading post and colony to let the modifiers dissapears before the true attempts. That's it.
During this time, EU had a set of VP tables than are follwing history line while GB had totally moved out of history table. So, nobody had interest to DOW to GB at that time. Same still happens in the computer version but to a less extend due to bad boy factor.

Now about CEiA AI, do you really think that someone would be able to program an AI that will be more a challenge (without cheating) to someone older than a 10 years old kid? In all group i played, we used the week between to game encounter planning the next quarter's stategy... looking to it
- strategically : diplomatic, VP, balance of forces, alliance, naval move, forced peace, minors state, what if i surrender now (thinking forward to peace condition) ...
and
- tactically : position of others corps, city and depot garissons cutting or hampering supply, supply line with a 4 corps per depot limit, french double move, terrain effect, enemy goals (conquer, destroy, capital occupation...), own goals, tactical advantage (morale, cavalry superiority), country perticularity (cossack, Austria light infantry, feudals, insurrection corps...), time to go to peace, PP combat's effect, extended or regrouped formation, leaders effect ...
In all games i played the first turn of an evening is always twice or thrice more well thinked and resolved that the last one when you are tired and doing less planed thinking (only spend a quarter of an hour rather than a full week). And you really want a AI to be well enough programmed aka all the previous translated complex formulas resulting in simple binaries solutions aka yes/no instructions to balances all those parameters and translate those in coherent moves? I really think you're dreaming. I never yet found a computer game that offered a challenging AI without cheating others than Chess and other game with simple rules and AI that are programmed since the start of computer history. Huge planned computer hit like warcraft have poor AI with full team of programmers. What are you really expecting from a single programmer that doesn't know the board game when starting?
It's possible to program an AI for a linear wargame like one on the battle of Stalingrad. Defend to X turn or until a konw X/X battle factor ratio; attack starting on X turn looking for X:1 local superiority before that on XL1 ratio, going to hex XX/XX direction and planning X hexes surrounding. Otherwise, don't buy a computer wargame or diplo game to play against the AI.

And now to finish about rule change. Why change rules that were tested on the boardgame and mostly working and that all the first buyers (and last of the first ones doesn't do a good critic) of the computer game have already played and enjoyed. I'm pretty sure that all of us that are chearing/bashing good/bad news from Marchall and the playtesters are vet's from the boardgame. Ok nearly all cause someone will post claiming he is the exception.
At the start of the forum, someone...think it was Michel was a complete newbie and posted a lot of interesting ideas that were different from the board game. I remember one idea being hidden geography and corp location on the map reflecting the lack of communication of the time. Was a very good and interesting idea but got completely trashed by the ones (and was mostly one of those) than wanted an orthodox translation of the EiA boardgame.

To finish, the goal is not to bash Marshall. I'm sure he has a lot of goodwill and endurance. The problem is that he started something without a clear and fianl plan of what this project will be with a cost/benefict, targeted market, programming time needed and planned line to reduce the difficult step in programming ... I think that ADG and Matrix are more to blame than Marshall on this.

Now what's the use of this if we don't learn from the mistake done :
What is the estimated time (for programmer) to finish the AI?
What is considered a decent AI?
What is the ET to remove the bugs?
What is the ET to add more scenarios?
What is the ET to add TCP/IP?
What is the ET to add more chrome (optional rules)?
What is the ET to add an editor (letting players created mod and other scenarios) and attracting more consumers... (let's continue if you have other ideas)
What price are you ready to spend for those parts?

ET may be replaced by actual % progress and time already spend.

I really would like Marshall and David reply to this. And some polls or forums help like WiF may then be launched.


< Message edited by Titi -- 9/15/2007 6:34:25 AM >

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