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RE: Nearly 3 years since release

 
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RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/12/2013 8:01:09 PM   
altipueri

 

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Er, do I understand this correctly? We've now got a perfect (well as near as)game engine.

So, instead of just cranking out scenario/data packs for a couple of years of revenue generation and giving us some teasers about content, an announcement is made about developing a CO2.

Hitler to Churchill - "Don't waste time and money trying to master the V1 because in a while you'll have the V2 to figure out."


Scenarios - NOW


PS - I'm about 2/3 rds through Churchill's History of the Second World War and he's getting a bit pissed off by Stalin's "SECOND FRONT - NOW"




(in reply to Jafele)
Post #: 31
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/12/2013 8:35:41 PM   
phoenix

 

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Scenarios - NOW (Altipueri)

???? What on earth do you mean, Alti? Do you realise that you're addressing, more or less, a couple of people who do this part time, and probably make very little money out of it?

There's a COTA pack coming, of course.

< Message edited by phoenix -- 4/12/2013 8:36:46 PM >

(in reply to altipueri)
Post #: 32
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/12/2013 9:52:22 PM   
dazkaz15


Posts: 1272
Joined: 12/14/2012
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Well I think we are there now phoenix. Tomorrow morning, barring any last minute showstoppers, I plan to do the next build. This will be the final patch #4. We will then switch to getting the COTA Ex Patch ready for release. Hopefully by the end of next week I can sign off on that too.

With all the spare time we have had of late we have been discussing the way forward on the Panther Dev Forum. It's still in a state of flux but my thinking at the moment is that once the COTA Ex Pack is out I would like to focus on developing Command Ops 2 (CO2). The aim would be to give the engine a new look and feel especially in regard to the UI. There are some items we need to include in order to support the next KOAD Ex Pack and then the East Front title.

I would like to make CO2 a low cost of entry product, say around $30. It would only include the apps, tutorial, maybe two other smaller scenarios, a short manual and the tutorial videos. We would continue to enhance this product with a series of upgrades. Each upgrade would include new features. We would provide a means to convert any existing data pack so that it can run with the latest engine upgrade.

In conjunction with the engine development we would aim to release a series of Data Packs. Each pack would have around a dozen scenarios and sell for say $30. By keeping the packs to this size we can do two things - keep the price down and hopefully release more packs more regularly. We need to do this to improve our cash flow.

By segregating the engine from the data content we enable users to buy just what data they need. If they are not interested in BFTB then they can pass on that and instead buy the engine plus say HTTR. It also helps us make minor patches more regularly. These will be for free but they will not include enhancements.

As to what features will be included in the first rendition of CO2 well we are discussing that now. We have a plethora of features on the table. The trick will be to break these up into digestible chunks and then schedule these in conjunction with the data packs.

Once we get a bit further down the track I'll post our provisional thoughts up here for you all to comment. But I won't go into that in any detail right now.

One other thing I would like to say is that I was a bit sceptical of making public beta releases. But I have been encouraged by the outcomes and the spirit by which you all have embraced it. Thank you very much.


Sounds great

Is this going to be a windows type build with the multi monitor support, and all that kind of stuff? Do you have the ability to support multiple cores as well?
(ok you guessed right....I have no idea what I am talking about lol)
The guy who sold me my computer told me it had lots of cores, so I guess that's a good thing right?

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 33
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/12/2013 10:43:05 PM   
altipueri

 

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Yes, really looking forward to the COTA pack.

I realise they are a small team which is why (at risk of repetition) I think proliferation of scenarios - TOAW has some 700 uploaded - is the way to get new customers. And getting the customers to make the scenarios is probably the cheapest way to do it.

I do also admit that I tend to bang on at small game companies like Panther and AGEOD about generating sales and profits rather than producing the world's best historical game. The overall strategic objective of a business is to stay in business. Anything else is just a hobby.



(in reply to phoenix)
Post #: 34
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/12/2013 10:47:57 PM   
phoenix

 

Posts: 1931
Joined: 9/28/2010
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The overall strategic objective of a business is to stay in business. Anything else is just a hobby.

That's one (very recent, historically speaking) take on human productivity and creativity.

But they might opt out of that definition and consider themselves to be producing something more akin to art (in that the ultimate point might not be 'to stay in business' but something else entirely - like 'to produce a great game', for instance....). Business/hobby are not the only options in the world, right?

< Message edited by phoenix -- 4/12/2013 10:49:55 PM >

(in reply to altipueri)
Post #: 35
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/13/2013 12:08:06 AM   
Happy Hedonist

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Well I think we are there now phoenix. Tomorrow morning, barring any last minute showstoppers, I plan to do the next build. This will be the final patch #4. We will then switch to getting the COTA Ex Patch ready for release. Hopefully by the end of next week I can sign off on that too.

With all the spare time we have had of late we have been discussing the way forward on the Panther Dev Forum. It's still in a state of flux but my thinking at the moment is that once the COTA Ex Pack is out I would like to focus on developing Command Ops 2 (CO2). The aim would be to give the engine a new look and feel especially in regard to the UI. There are some items we need to include in order to support the next KOAD Ex Pack and then the East Front title.

I would like to make CO2 a low cost of entry product, say around $30. It would only include the apps, tutorial, maybe two other smaller scenarios, a short manual and the tutorial videos. We would continue to enhance this product with a series of upgrades. Each upgrade would include new features. We would provide a means to convert any existing data pack so that it can run with the latest engine upgrade.

In conjunction with the engine development we would aim to release a series of Data Packs. Each pack would have around a dozen scenarios and sell for say $30. By keeping the packs to this size we can do two things - keep the price down and hopefully release more packs more regularly. We need to do this to improve our cash flow.

By segregating the engine from the data content we enable users to buy just what data they need. If they are not interested in BFTB then they can pass on that and instead buy the engine plus say HTTR. It also helps us make minor patches more regularly. These will be for free but they will not include enhancements.

As to what features will be included in the first rendition of CO2 well we are discussing that now. We have a plethora of features on the table. The trick will be to break these up into digestible chunks and then schedule these in conjunction with the data packs.

Once we get a bit further down the track I'll post our provisional thoughts up here for you all to comment. But I won't go into that in any detail right now.

One other thing I would like to say is that I was a bit sceptical of making public beta releases. But I have been encouraged by the outcomes and the spirit by which you all have embraced it. Thank you very much.


Excellent news all around! I hope this new model works out, I'd gobble up scenario packs for years to come if this level of support continues. You guys really are kicking ass right now.

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 36
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/13/2013 12:52:25 AM   
Arjuna


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From: Canberra, Australia
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Cranking out scenario packs sounds simple but it isn't that straight forward. The engine we have now is pretty good but it has some significant shortcomings that limit the type of scenarios you can do. For instance, we don't have the capability yet to model cross river assaults nor tank riders or soviet style fire plans. These are required for East Front scenarios. We don't have the capability to model minefields which are a pretty essential aspect of the North African desert battles.

We have the Knock on Doors scenario pack almost done but it requires more performance to run these large scenarios. Hence why we need to support multiple AI threads. We have a number of East Front scenarios just waiting for the above soviet doctrine features. And Bil's Legends of the Blitzkreig game is waiting for the mounted ops feature.

If it's just down to me full time with some part time support from Paul and Miquel then it's going to take a long time to get through these features. What we need is a way forward where we can produce product in increments and maintain cashflow. Hopefully in the process making it more attractive to new users and hopefully leading to the situation where we can have at least two full time programmers working on it. Miquel's part time addition to the programming team has made a real positive impact. It has allowed us to make faster progress.

In making it more attractive to new users one consistent criticism that has been levelled at us is that our graphics are looking pretty tired. Many will say that the graphics are not important to them but I believe that if we are to improve our long term viability we do need to address this. Many of the UI changes we are considering don't require huge investments of time to develop. AI features like mounted ops on the other hand are HUGE in comparison. So we can address many of the UI features that users have requested here and do so in stages bringing in some cash with each upgrade while improving the look and feel and hopefully the appeal of the game to new users.

I'm thinking of at least two upgrades each year and two data packs. More would be nice but it's probably unlikely.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to Happy Hedonist)
Post #: 37
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/13/2013 6:00:33 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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Joined: 11/26/2009
From: Living in the fair city of Melbourne, Australia
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna
If it's just down to me full time with some part time support from Paul and Miquel then it's going to take a long time to get through these features. What we need is a way forward where we can produce product in increments and maintain cashflow. Hopefully in the process making it more attractive to new users and hopefully leading to the situation where we can have at least two full time programmers working on it. Miquel's part time addition to the programming team has made a real positive impact. It has allowed us to make faster progress.


I must say that without the incredibly good work done over the years in the engine by Dave, Paul and quite a few other people, my quite extensive experience in C++ programming wouldn't have helped much. Very much like a jazz musician, when I got into this ensemble I found myself surrounded by the works of brilliant people, which had set a really solid foundation. So I've found really easy - most of the time - to follow the tune and pick up where others had left.

Command Ops is indeed an "engine for the ages".

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 38
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/15/2013 7:45:52 AM   
wodin


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From: England
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Just read the new look forward..hmm.so will CO2 not be the East front then and not have dismounted ops? Just be some core game awaiting the extra features?

Sounds fine if you can garuntee data packs and upgrades consistently..however seeing how long it takes juts to get a patch sorted I have serious doubts this will work..two scenarios in the core game maybe cheap but it's hardly much to get your teeth into and then what a possible 6 month wait for a decent set of scenarios. I presume COS will be the current engine with UI changes and what two east front scenarios and no big extra feature. Damn those who have moaned about the graphics then is all I can say..I'd rather have had a fully featured new engine game than having to cross my fingers that we actually get some bigger features made.

I can see the issue though. EF with the features you originally planned (dismounted ops)is most likely two years away at least and you need to make some money so your going to do it in stages...think I will wait until the EF game whenever that will be is fully featured and has a decent amount of scenarios before I'd bother buying..and if others follow what I intend to do your not going to be making as much regularly. Same with CMx2 games I never bothered buying CMFI but now Gustav is coming out I will buy a bundle. I resume those who buy bundle packs here will get a discount than if they bought it all separately..otherwise I can for see the game with the scenarios and the upgrades and the core costing way more than what it would be if you held off and did it all together

A UI spruce up and two scenarios for $30?. You are aware that that probably isn't going to go down to well...not much money I know but I can forsee the same issues you had with the BFTB release. UI change and two scenarios with no actual new features..you need to be looking at most $20..

Anyway to say I'm slight disappointed is an understatement, new features taking a backseat for fancy graphics (you do know those who want new graphics want 3D maps and silly Icons instead of counters otherwise your just doing it for those who are already happy with them).

Jason

< Message edited by wodin -- 4/15/2013 8:00:31 AM >


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(in reply to Bletchley_Geek)
Post #: 39
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/15/2013 8:12:00 AM   
phoenix

 

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I wonder if there's any info on what Dave et al have in mind for the graphics? I assume we're not going to have sprites and crap like that - so what would an update consist of? I'm not sure. Google earth type photo maps? That would be ok. Not needed, but ok.

Maybe someone can confirm we're not having sprites etc. Be nice to have some info as to what Dave meant about the graphics, especially since (UI improvements aside) the graphics are presently perfect. Well, almost. I do need to look at google earth to get an immediate and clear sense of elevation and such like. I suppose the maps can be confusing in terms of contours. So, some 3d thing? That would be ok too, I think.

You wouldn't object to that kind of thing, Wodin, right? You just don't want the sprites, yeah?

< Message edited by phoenix -- 4/15/2013 8:14:01 AM >

(in reply to wodin)
Post #: 40
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/15/2013 8:15:59 AM   
Ramses


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From: the Netherlands
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The business model mentioned is used by many publishers in the gaming industry. Release a game with basic features and some maps/missions and release the rest of the content as dlc. Call of Duty has done it for years, Battlefield 3 does it as well.

Long gone are the days that pc gaming ruled supreme and all extra's came at no extra cost. Back then there was shelf after shelf filled with tanksims, flightsims, subsims and whatever. And all of them came with telephonebook-sized paper manuals. (M1 tank platoon, Command Aces of the deep, Total Air War, F4Fighting Falcon, Panzer Elite, European Air war, M24 Hind and many more)

Anyway I can't blame Panther Games for trying to generate some cash flow in order to keep operations going. There are some features that I would love to see in Command Ops, but accept the fact that it is probably never going to happen because resources are scarce.

(in reply to wodin)
Post #: 41
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/15/2013 9:04:21 AM   
Arjuna


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Let me clarify one aspect here. When Co2 comes out we will re-release data packs for HTTR, BFTB and COTA. Existing owners will get these for free. All existing customers will have to do is pay for the upgraded engine to play all their existing scenarios with the new features.

New customers will be able to buy the game engine itself plus at least three data packs. For $60 they will get the engine plus one data pack. In other words that's equivalent to buying a full priced title.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to Ramses)
Post #: 42
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/15/2013 9:41:03 AM   
Jafele


Posts: 430
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From: Seville (Spain)
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

When Co2 comes out we will re-release data packs for HTTR, BFTB and COTA. Existing owners will get these for free. All existing customers will have to do is pay for the upgraded engine to play all their existing scenarios with the new features.



+1

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 43
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/15/2013 1:33:36 PM   
pekische

 

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I am looking forward to CO2. It sounds well what Arjuna says about his plans...

(in reply to Jafele)
Post #: 44
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/15/2013 1:38:37 PM   
redwolf

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Let me clarify one aspect here. When Co2 comes out we will re-release data packs for HTTR, BFTB and COTA. Existing owners will get these for free. All existing customers will have to do is pay for the upgraded engine to play all their existing scenarios with the new features.

New customers will be able to buy the game engine itself plus at least three data packs. For $60 they will get the engine plus one data pack. In other words that's equivalent to buying a full priced title.


But didn't I just have to pay for the Arnheim scenarios, on top of the engine cost, although I'm both a httr and rdoa owner?

< Message edited by redwolf -- 4/15/2013 1:39:45 PM >

(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 45
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/15/2013 2:16:09 PM   
Arjuna


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From: Canberra, Australia
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Yes you did redwolf. Sorry I should have been more specific. . I should have said "Existing owners of the current BFTB game, HTTR Ex Packs and the upcoming COTA Ex Pack will get the re-released packs for free."

_____________________________

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

(in reply to redwolf)
Post #: 46
RE: Nearly 3 years since release - 4/15/2013 2:35:32 PM   
wodin


Posts: 8014
Joined: 4/20/2003
From: England
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Sounds good Dave.

I've posted a Sorry thread as some have seen..need to think before I type at times.



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(in reply to Arjuna)
Post #: 47
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