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Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy

 
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Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 6/16/2010 2:48:27 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy


There has been a great deal of discussion, debate and argument over the past, present and future path of the Harpoon simulations on the computer. Here at AGSI and Matrix, we've listened to what has been said. Thought long and hard about the issues raised, and made some decisions regarding Harpoon's future that will hopefully make all fans of the series happy, both those who have played it in the past and those who still play it. We hope that explaining the philosophy behind our decisions will help clear the air and remove some of the confusion and misinformation that has been part of the complex history of these games. The new "Harpoon: Ultimate Edition" which is due to be released this summer will be the realization of these decisions and this philosophy and we hope that it will serve the existing community well, and continue to attract new naval warfare fans to Harpoon.


We will be releasing a great deal more information on Harpoon: Ultimate Edition over the next month, but here are the highlights. Harpoon: Ultimate Edition will include both a new version of Harpoon 3 Advanced Naval Warfare and a new version of Harpoon: Commander's Edition. These will be together in one package at a price below the current combined price of both games. In addition, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Harpoon and to give fans who still enjoy playing the older versions a great archival edition, we will be including every previous version of Harpoon that we have access to in this package. That means over 20 classic versions of Harpoon, including Harpoon 3 (v3.6.3) and many previous versions of Harpoon Commander's Edition / Harpoon Classic. This will allow players who have databases or scenarios tied to these older versions to continue to enjoy them for years to come, and it will also allow new players who purchase the Ultimate Edition access to this rich older content. We believe this comprehensive bundle, unlike any that has previously been released for Harpoon on the computer, represents a digital history and "Collector's Edition" of Harpoon that every Harpoon gamer will want to have on their shelf for years to come.



As far as our philosophy, AGSI's and Matrix's position on the Harpoon simulations is simple. They are computer implementations of the Bond/Carlson Harpoon system models (aka the Admiralty Trilogy models). Bond and Carlson also have tabletop miniatures implementations of their models. When Harpoon was first coded in 1987-1989 AGSI tried to follow the 3rd Edition of those rules as faithfully as 8088 CPU's and 640k of RAM would allow. Many of the missing pieces have been added over the twenty years since then and the Harpoon Commander's Edition actually includes elements of the 4th edition models.


Harpoon 3 was born of Harpoon II written in 1994-1995 by a previous team of very skilled programmers. However, they didn't have a lot of former Naval Officers on their team and they didn't ask Bond or Carlson a whole lot of questions. Since regaining control of the property in 2000, AGSI has been steadily correcting course and bringing the Harpoon 3 product closer and closer to the 4th and now 5th edition of models. We believe that we are uniquely positioned among all naval simulations in this regard by having official access to the Bond/Carlson modeling concepts and experience, which means that we are able to bring you the state of the art in naval warfare simulations at the unclassified level.


There are some people in the Harpoon community who don't like change; they are content with what they have and they want to hold onto their contributions. That's their privilege and in fact by releasing the Ultimate Edition, we are making it easier than ever to play the version of Harpoon that you prefer. But, we want to make it clear that we aren't going to sit still when the state of the art is advancing. Harpoon 3's primacy is in the modeling and that is only true because it is the Bond/Carlson models. This is why military professionals around the world have used the product for training, education and analysis.


We believe that continuing to improve the fidelity of the simulation and continuing to advance the state of the art for computer Harpoon is the best way to serve our customers. Harpoon on the computer should always look forward and continue to improve along with the latest improvements and updates from the system models, rather than look back. We give credit to Harpoon's past on the computer, but its future is not in backwards compatibility, but rather in continuing to improve along with the authoritative state of the art models from Bond and Carlson that are simply not available anywhere else.


Given this philosophy, we will still place a high value on feedback, and we always appreciate valid defect reports (aka bugs). However, because of Harpoon's complex history there are many issues that are specific to older databases or scenarios not of AGSI’s or Matrix’s making that haven't kept up with the modeling changes. We are responsible for the official databases and scenarios, and for informing the public regarding what changes each update entails. Third party designers are responsible for their own scenarios in this regard. If we have to choose between improving the simulation or maintaining backwards compatibility with third party data and scenarios, we will choose the former. We realize some fans of Harpoon may prefer to stay with older versions for whatever personal reasons, which is part of why we decided with the Ultimate Edition to include as many of the older Harpoon versions as we could fit into a single release. This allows us to meet the needs of both parts of the community - those that want the simulation to advance and those that want compatibility with older databases and scenarios.


It's also worth noting that in the past, we have heard a great deal from people who have never been to sea, who have never been trained as naval (or air) professionals, have never programmed or created a full database, with strongly worded opinions on how our simulation is supposed to behave. While constructive feedback from our customers is always welcome, we believe that the work by Bond and Carlson should be our guide in terms of how the simulation should work. As many Harpoon fans are aware, this community has seen some very unfortunate events in its history that have given rise to online flame wars, personal attacks and questions of intellectual property; both between community members and in terms of some copyrighted materials. We hope to see the end of this with the steps we are taking for the Ultimate Edition release and for the future of Harpoon. We want to make it clear that we will not accept non-constructive feedback on our official forums in the future. However well intended or misguided, this has caused harm to the game and the community and we will not allow that to continue.


As far as the User Interface goes and overall game functionality - we really do want useful feedback and ideas. We want databases, scenarios, and artwork. Our new encryption feature will help protect an author’s investment in their database work, so that there should be no future concerns about data being stolen or "borrowed". We can also add scenario encryption if need be (ditto for original artwork).



Now as far as defects are concerned, there is a right way and a wrong way to report these. First, due to our limited resources and the seemingly endless permutations of data and game engines once third party databases and scenarios are added to the mix, we will automatically reject any claimed defects on our sites if they are not reproduced in the ANWDB or the HUD3 databases. We will take responsibility for correcting those defects that can be reproduced in one of the two aforementioned databases with the latest official release. We reserve the right to reclassify defects into bugs (something we'll prioritize for fixing), feature requests (stuff that folks want but the game doesn't currently have), user knowledge (i.e. user doesn't understand how the model works) and unsupported functionality (a user who does something with the game or scenario editor that we hadn't thought of and thus hadn't tested).


Secondly, to report a defect, we kindly request that you use this template. If you are consistent in the quality of your reporting we will set you up with direct access to our web based bug tracker "Mantis".


1. Database name and version
2. Scenario name
3. Screen shot(s)
4. Expected behavior
5. Witnessed behavior
6. Desired behavior
7. Notes
8. Any saved games, scenario files, and logs zipped up and emailed to us can only help.


Generally speaking, the operating system or computer configuration has nothing to do with how the simulation runs, so these are not crucial details for our purposes.


Allow us to explain how this works. First, we have very limited resources due to the very small audience of bright people who really understand modern air/naval warfare and buy a Harpoon product every few years. As a consequence, our underpaid programmer(s) really don't enjoy hunting through 15-year-old C++ code originally written by a previous development team on a death march without a clear report to guide them. They would rather be adding new features and functionality. So, the clearer the report, the easier it is to reproduce the defect, the more likely it is that it will be found and fixed. At the end of the day we only have so much time.


This also goes for our forums. As we explained above, we will no longer be accepting lists of bugs related to third party unofficial databases or scenarios. If you find an issue, please duplicate it with an official database and scenario before reporting it and please report it as noted above. Otherwise, you’ll have to seek out the owner of that third party product for assistance.



We want to provide the best possible simulation given the resource limitations. If you want to help, work with us, not against us. We have a long history of volunteers making a positive difference, politely and professionally. Our volunteers have received written credit, some swag, bragging rights, and a few even made some beer money for their efforts. We need scenario authors, database editors/authors, artists, testers and maybe some day, investors. Part of our philosophy and the policy stated above is to give credit to, and work with the members of our community who have put in their time to support Harpoon and who are willing to work with us as we continue to improve.


Thank you for reading this long post and we hope that you at least understand the basis for our decisions. And for those who agree that we are on the right track, there is still plenty of work to do. We believe the new features and content in the upcoming Harpoon: Ultimate Edition, which we will be providing much more detail on in the next few weeks, will open up new avenues in your air/naval simulation experience.


- Matrix Games / AGSI

< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 6/16/2010 3:16:07 PM >


_____________________________

Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development


For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

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Post #: 1
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 6/17/2010 6:15:04 PM   
evaamo2

 

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Hello Erik and thanks for communicating the news. I have questions tho':

I own HC97, H3 3.6 and H3:ANW since it was launched.

I am one of your customers who has been less than happy regarding the way AGSI has handled H3:ANW in multiple ways: (code quality,PR,etc...) . Nevertheless I still have hopes they will get it right, eventually.

Considering your announcement, it is not clear to me whether original H3:ANW owners will get this updated version of H3:ANW for free. Would appreciate if you could clarify this issue.

I must say at this point I'm be very reluctant to buy anything from Matrix related to the Harpoon line of products, since I already own both H3 3.6 and an underachieving (from my expectations, that is) H3:ANW (3.9.4). As much as I'd like to continue supporting the efforts, it doesn't make much sense to me to re-purchase these versions which, in the case of 3.6, I already own and in the case of H3:ANW it never provided much joy.

I'm really hoping Matrix releases 3.10 as a free upgrade and that AGSI proves this time that they can get ANW right for once, otherwise others will perhaps feel the way I do and decide to hold.

On the other hand, congratulations on this new Ultimate Edition idea, I'm sure new players will enjoy the bundle. Hopefully they won't end up playing only 3.6.3 instead of ANW.

regards
-E

(in reply to Erik Rutins)
Post #: 2
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 6/17/2010 6:36:50 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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From: Vermont, USA
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Hi evaamo2,

A lot more details on this will be forthcoming. However, I can confirm these points:

1. There will be free updates for HCE and H3ANW customers to get them to the Ultimate Edition level code-wise, though the updates will not include the classic versions or additional content.
2. These will be the final free updates for HCE and H3ANW, future updates will be based on the Ultimate Edition releases only.
3. There will be a very significant discount for existing owners of HCE and/or H3ANW who wish to purchase the Ultimate Edition release. As noted above the base price for the Ultimate Edition will already be less than the two games combined as well.

Thanks for your support in the past and I hope that this will address your concerns. We also feel that Harpoon has gone through some rough times, but we hope to reverse that with the Ultimate Edition.

Regards,

- Erik

< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 6/17/2010 6:39:02 PM >


_____________________________

Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development


For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.

(in reply to evaamo2)
Post #: 3
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 6/17/2010 6:39:34 PM   
evaamo2

 

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Sounds fair to me Erik, thank you very much for responding.

Looking forward to your next announcements.

regards
-E

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Post #: 4
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 6/17/2010 9:12:33 PM   
FreekS


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Erik

Thanks for the announcement,

As one of the designers I welcome the essence of the announcement. I understand that backwards compatibility cannot be maintained forwever and I think it is clever to therefore release old versions (3.6.3) so older scens can continue to be played.

I understand there is limited resource and that you wish to receive feedback in a certain way.
I do hope that the official databases will have a level of support by their authors to help scenario designers achieve the same with their limited time as your programmers, namely to be able to focus on new work and not on maintenance of older scenarios. It is that database maintenance philosophy and the level of support given to me as a designer that has made me not select the official databases for new scens.

Regards

Freek



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Post #: 5
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 6/18/2010 4:44:37 AM   
hermanhum


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Erik Rutins

2. These will be the final free updates for HCE and H3ANW, future updates will be based on the Ultimate Edition releases only.

To me, this is only salient point for it tells current paying customers that the impending 3.10 patch will not correct existing deficiencies (because there is already talk of future releases -- to which they will have no access).

< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 6/18/2010 4:18:19 PM >

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Post #: 6
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 6/18/2010 4:21:26 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

Posts: 32949
Joined: 3/28/2000
From: Vermont, USA
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What it tells existing customers is that they will get a free update to the level of the Ultimate Edition, even if they don't purchase the new game. When combined with the new lower combined price, the classic versions and the discount for existing owners I think this is a very good offer compared to how most new releases are presented. The free update has not yet been released, therefore statements regarding what it does or doesn't fix are speculation and non-constructive.

Changing the subject of the post as you did was also unnecessary, we'd prefer that folks see from the top view that there is a new thread with an announcement about the upcoming release. Changed it back for you.

Regards,

- Erik


< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 6/18/2010 4:23:19 PM >


_____________________________

Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development


For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.

(in reply to hermanhum)
Post #: 7
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 6/18/2010 6:04:30 PM   
Nebogipfel


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Hi Erik,

reading the first lines of your announcement was a positive surprise.

" Oha, a new kind of harpoon collection "......very fine, didn´t know anything about it.

At this point I should have stopped reading, because reading the whole article made me feel like I need some lawyers to play harpoon.

I don´t know, if this is a good marketing strategy, because to noobies like me that sounds rather off-putting.

Above all, I just want to play a game. I don´t want to think about paying a lawyer to write a forum post.

As I wrote in one of my first posts here, my knowledge of naval-warfare and the Harpoon-series is somewhere near zero. I don´t have the time, knowledge and the ambition to go to the whole bug-tracker process, anyhow I don´t understand it. I don´t want to get my bottom kicked, only because I´m posting problems I have with the game. I´m asking myself, who (with my state of knowledge) will post at all in such a poisoned athmosphere.

It must be about half a year ago I bought ANW, having in mind, that this product seemed to be broken. Nevertheless I had lots of fun with it and haven´t complained about things, which doesn´t work. I was confident (and patient), that AGSI will patch it up until it´s going to be a really playable game. I recommended it to other newbies being confident, that the developers will do their job. Now, there will be one patch/update (3.10), I have to lay all my hopes (and my standing) on this one, because it will be the last chance for (new) ANW owners to get a full working product.

I appreciate your efforts to publish a harpoon collection (including HCE and 3.6, which I don´t own).

But I´m a grown up man with grown up children. I will never think about signing up dubious contracts, which will forbid the freedom of speech.

For myself I would never dare to treat my own customers in such a way.

I hope that this poisoned atmosphere here some day will become better.
I hope that people, who helped me a lot to master the first obstacles of naval warfare, furthermore will be allowed to act like free men.
I hope I don´t have to read such kind of announcements again.
I hope that the final product will be so satisfying, that we all can leave this battlefield here.


Its just a game.

Nebogipfel







(in reply to Erik Rutins)
Post #: 8
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 6/24/2010 8:00:13 PM   
Laramie

 

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From: Wyoming
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Count me in. The large collection of previous editions (notably including 3.63), and a reduced price for those of us who already own both HCE and ANW combine to make an attractive package for current owners. The option to update to Ultimate standard for free is also a decent gesture although I understand the financial reasoning to only update the Ultimate edition, going forward.

For those new to one or both of the sims, the base price set lower than if purchased separately will hopefully expand the combined community of computer Harpoon users.

Here's hoping that the release date is not delayed past summer, and that the primary sims debut with few issues (fewer than at present) and so are not pummeled by the existing community. Wishing you luck and success.

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Post #: 9
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 7/1/2010 1:35:56 PM   
Brazouck

 

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Have you a release date ?
Post #: 10
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 7/1/2010 5:30:07 PM   
sprior


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From: Nottingham, UK
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Will it still run on my Amiga? If I send the floppies back can I get a discount? (Just in case)

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Post #: 11
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 7/1/2010 11:03:36 PM   
TonyE


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From: MN, USA
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quote:

ORIGINAL: sprior

Will it still run on my Amiga? If I send the floppies back can I get a discount? (Just in case)


I really really want to post a screenshot in reply to this but Erik wouldn't appreciate that


_____________________________

Sincerely,
Tony Eischens
Harpoon (HC, HCE, HUCE, Classic) programmer
HarpGamer.com Co-Owner

(in reply to sprior)
Post #: 12
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 7/2/2010 3:01:03 PM   
sprior


Posts: 8192
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I won't tell.

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"History started badly and hav been geting steadily worse."
- Nigel Molesworth.



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Post #: 13
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 7/9/2010 7:04:33 PM   
MachineDr

 

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Hi Erik,

I was wondering if you could provide a "ballpark" date as to when the Ultimate Edition will be released?

It was my understanding it was originally scheduled for March of 2010 but was delayed. Of course we are all aware that things happened during development which is why I'm not slamming you for the March delay. But I'm sure I'm not alone when it comes to having a clue as to when it will be available.

Even if you see it being released far in the future it would be nice to have at least some kind of idea of when it will be available. Please give us something to hopefully look forward to.

One last question, will it run under Windows 7?

Regards,

MachineDr

Post #: 14
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 7/10/2010 12:04:10 PM   
invernomuto


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Are there any improvements in UI for H3ANW in this edition?




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Post #: 15
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 7/25/2010 4:29:06 PM   
Emilio


Posts: 122
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From: Valencia (Spain)
Status: offline
Hello,

I own Harpoon 3.6.3 (actually from 3.6.1), Harpoon 3 ANW, and Harpoon Commander's Edition. Currently I have to play using a Windows XP virtual machine under Mac. It is possible to include also Harpoon 3.6.3 for Mac in the bundle?

Sometimes I'm too lazy to start the virtual machine

Thanks,

Emilio

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Emilio
Post #: 16
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 8/1/2010 1:11:45 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

Posts: 32949
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From: Vermont, USA
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Hi guys,

We are aiming to release the Ultimate Edition before the end of September, hopefully sooner than that!

Regards,

- Erik

_____________________________

Erik Rutins
Director of Product Development


For official support, please use our Help Desk: http://www.matrixgames.com/helpdesk/

Freedom is not Free.

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Post #: 17
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 8/6/2010 10:29:21 PM   
rich12545

 

Posts: 1702
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From: Palouse, WA
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Ok.  I own HCE and HANW.  So if I buy Ultimate, and have zero interest in previous versions (I played them all the way back to the original but why would I play them now when there are better?), what I'm paying for is updates that will happen off into the future.  It will have to be a huge discount to get me to buy.

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Post #: 18
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 8/19/2010 3:40:01 AM   
TimOusley

 

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So, if we use Herman's (ugh) and others' posts as being representative of the Harpoon community, then all that will be acceptable is a PERFECT set of games, for free. Lots of them. All of them, in fact. And all possible databases, too. Sweet!
Stay the course guys, you're doing fine. Ignore the knuckleheads...we all know who they are.
Tim

(in reply to rich12545)
Post #: 19
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 8/19/2010 4:20:11 PM   
TonyE


Posts: 1509
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Cheers Mr. Ouseley!

_____________________________

Sincerely,
Tony Eischens
Harpoon (HC, HCE, HUCE, Classic) programmer
HarpGamer.com Co-Owner

(in reply to TimOusley)
Post #: 20
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 8/19/2010 7:51:17 PM   
Vincenzo Beretta


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From: Milan, Italy
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quote:

ORIGINAL: TimOusley

So, if we use Herman's (ugh) and others' posts as being representative of the Harpoon community, then all that will be acceptable is a PERFECT set of games, for free.


Personally I would be happy with a bugless game for a price. I think it would be a great way to make "knuckleheads" shut up - along with the rest of us

(in reply to TimOusley)
Post #: 21
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 8/19/2010 8:00:33 PM   
Vincenzo Beretta


Posts: 577
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From: Milan, Italy
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It's a phenomenom caused in the water by an high-speed turn by a submarine. The water forms a vortex (the "knuckle") whose higher end (the "head") starts to whine. The "knuckehead" is the whining sound. It's very high-pitched, they tell me, because it usually goes unheard...

< Message edited by Vincenzo Beretta -- 8/19/2010 8:01:07 PM >
Post #: 22
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 8/22/2010 4:24:15 AM   
Kip


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"Knucklehead" is also English slang for a stupid person.

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Post #: 23
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 9/10/2010 5:06:50 PM   
stlzc

 

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Hi Erik, when the Ultimate Editon comes to us, where can I  buy it?
And is downloadable version available?Because I am in Asia. I dont want to wait for the plastic box including a CD sending to me, I just want to experience it as soon as I can. Thanks.

< Message edited by stlzc -- 9/10/2010 5:08:56 PM >

(in reply to Kip)
Post #: 24
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 10/2/2010 4:16:52 AM   
iriyak


Posts: 67
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From: Tokyo, Japan
Status: offline
So, the final countdown?

(in reply to stlzc)
Post #: 25
RE: Harpoon: Ultimate Edition and Our Philosophy - 10/3/2010 7:28:24 PM   
uncleharpoon


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That was an interesting movie with the Nimitz going back in time wasn't it?

Really, we are about to receive the typeset manuals to proof and test final distribution builds.  We believe the games are good to go.  Just have to assemble the final installers!

Don


_____________________________

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AGSI
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http://www.h3milsim.com

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Post #: 26
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