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RE: COTA to be split into two data packs

 
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RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/25/2013 6:25:58 PM   
Tophat1812

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1

I am not sure I understand how to give feedback then? Is the only feedback that is acceptable a positive vote of yes please do it.



You have totally lost me now. Thought you had gotten your point across well and clear in this thread. People may agree,people may not. But in no way is only "yes your way is best oh great developer" a mantra that is followed on matrix forums. The customer ultimately votes with currency in buying or not buying a product.

Hey if none of us liked the game we wouldn't be here and it would not matter to us right?

(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 61
RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/25/2013 6:36:26 PM   
thewood1

 

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I am asking the people that interpreted my messages as bellyaching and not needed.

Also, you can like the game and still completely disagree with its go to market strategy. Continuing to sell only to people that agree with you is a very good way to continuously shrink your available market. I would like to think, and Dave has confirmed, he would like some reasoned discussion.

Saying yes I like it or no I don't is only marginally helpful. Providing some feedback, one would think, wold be good.

The other point is to help a small developer before people vote with their money. Wouldn't you think Dave would like that kind of feedback before he actually pulls the trigger on it. What's the point of feedback after the fact. Then its an announcement.

< Message edited by thewood1 -- 4/25/2013 6:40:54 PM >

(in reply to Tophat1812)
Post #: 62
RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/25/2013 8:26:12 PM   
phoenix

 

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I think, in here, we should all chat to each other imagining we were all friends with similar interests (perhaps at a BFTB convention) and were having a drink at the bar (pace, non-drinkers). It's important, face to face, to try not to say things that irritate or offend. Be great if there was more of that in here. (This suggestion is to me also, of course...)

< Message edited by phoenix -- 4/25/2013 8:38:29 PM >

(in reply to thewood1)
Post #: 63
RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/25/2013 10:47:50 PM   
navwarcol

 

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Good point above, Phoenix..
I think I have seen on here where you have said that the forum here sometimes causes misunderstandings due to there not being the body language that accompanies normal conversations. I 100% agree.
Not to wander away from the topic of the post... I would like to say this:
Here in the USA, people gladly throw away $hundreds$ every weekend, at ball games, bars, concerts, etc. In every one of these cases, the money, and the event it was spent on, is gone a few hours later. Here... we have a game that can be played obviously years later. So even in the current market, there IS room to spend money. For the most part, if people can perceive a benefit, they still will spend. I think as well that there are plenty of people who would still spend even in this "niche" market. What has to be done however, is some sort of advertising. My nephew loves this game. He had never even heard of it a few weeks ago, and it is 3 years old. I know advertising is expensive, but my point is just that I hope that decisions are not made merely based on price, being "low enough to get people in" or, conversely, being "high enough to make money". I think the fact that in this country there are still 10s of millions of people who drop $150 for a single night at a ballgame means the entertainment money is still in the budget. You do have a great product, and support it better than most companies I have seen. Just need to find a way to tell people about it.

(in reply to phoenix)
Post #: 64
RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 12:08:48 AM   
thewood1

 

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Also, please keep in mind that the main point is to keep Panther in business. My feedback is about trying to change the business model to be more creative than just increasing the cost to get into the game. I use myself as a good model for what panther needs to do to grow. And grow is what they need to do. I like wargames, but I can't drop $150 on every game I like. It has to have a special attraction and be relatively low risk. No demo for $70 is high risk to me and people like me. The core here will buy anything Panther puts out. And the forum itself can be somewhat unwelcoming to people just asking questions. So there needs to be a way to draw people in, get them started quickly and lower their risk of feeling like they got burned. If the barrier to entry is low enough in $ and time, there is a chance to capture a percentage of them to buy more content.

So I would ask that instead of just say that you would spend any amount, think of some ways to help panther draw some new people in. I don't mean people who play Angry Birds, but people on the edge of the market who aren't sure and the price of entry turns them off.

(in reply to navwarcol)
Post #: 65
RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 1:01:16 AM   
Bletchley_Geek


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quote:

ORIGINAL: thewood1

Also, please keep in mind that the main point is to keep Panther in business. My feedback is about trying to change the business model to be more creative than just increasing the cost to get into the game. I use myself as a good model for what panther needs to do to grow. And grow is what they need to do. I like wargames, but I can't drop $150 on every game I like. It has to have a special attraction and be relatively low risk. No demo for $70 is high risk to me and people like me. The core here will buy anything Panther puts out. And the forum itself can be somewhat unwelcoming to people just asking questions. So there needs to be a way to draw people in, get them started quickly and lower their risk of feeling like they got burned. If the barrier to entry is low enough in $ and time, there is a chance to capture a percentage of them to buy more content.

So I would ask that instead of just say that you would spend any amount, think of some ways to help panther draw some new people in. I don't mean people who play Angry Birds, but people on the edge of the market who aren't sure and the price of entry turns them off.


thewood, at the very least you will have to admit that it's quite uncommon to get a public apology from a developer who thinks he hasn't been polite enough. This might be a small club, but it's so close knit for a good reason. And that's Dave (and the rest of Panther) unflinching support of this title. Just check the threads in this forums, and you'll see that here feedback is taking into consideration and it produces immediate and tangible results in form of bug fixing. Compare that process with other examples I know you're perfectly aware of.

I'd like you to consider these points:

  • There's a demo of Command Ops. The problem is that it hasn't yet been updated to bring it forward with the latest engine revision. There should be an updated demo available soon. You can find it in the Downloads section, along with tutorial videos and some other documentation:

    http://www.matrixgames.com/products/377/downloads/Battles.In.Normandy

  • If you have limited resources, you'll have to choose. The idea behind breaking Command Ops stuff into smaller packages is indeed the way to go - and in this I think we agree. However, I sort of read in your posts - correct me here if I'm wrong - that smaller should be cheaper. That assumption flies in the face of simple economic facts such as that of inflation, just to put forward a little example. 60$ in 1999 isn't the same as 60$ in 2013. Or actual programming costs: you can run the math if I tell you that an experienced C++ programmer getting less than 30$ per hour means is really cheap. So cheap that if he doesn't live in a really cheap place, like Thailand, he would probably be doing better working at Woolworth's (that's Safeway in Australia) part-time or serving drinks in a pub.

    So the strategy here is about being able to lower the entry price point, without lowering the actual value and keeping up with the natural tendency of prices of everything to go up. If you can't afford to get *everything* on Day 1, you'll need to buy what you can afford and save money to get the rest.

    On the other hand, having discounts for "loyal" customers is something that nobody has proposed and would make a lot of sense.

    (in reply to thewood1)
  • Post #: 66
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 1:59:33 AM   
    thewood1

     

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    All of that does nothing to change economics. The market is shrinking for games like this for a number of reasons. If the solution is just to increase how much you have to pay, it will disappear completely. As that market shrinks, Dae will have to charge more and more to sustain his efforts. How many of you are willing to pay $1000 for the next update? A smaller and smaller market circling the wagon is really only circling the drain eventually.

    I have worked at many SW companies as engineer to sr exec. Every one of them thought they were in a unique market, only to find the basics of economics are the same. I see all the same signs in the wargaming market. Dave is at least asking the right questions and and not sticking his head in the sand. Everyone thinks this is about being cheaper...its about charging for the right things at the right time. That is basic marketing and product management.

    Take a look at the Graviteam website. It was somewhat active a few years ago. But since APOS went on sale at a bunch of sites, DLC activity has gone kind of crazy. If those sales never happened, they most likely would still be struggling along. Now they have released 3-4 add-ons that are being bought at full price. It's those people and their buying pattern Panther needs to get at.

    Just look at this forum. Are there more than 20 different people posting here? Even when betas are released...you get a short amount of activity and then its the usual crowd again. Everyone seems to trying to protect Panther from the uncaring public, but I think that circling of the wagons is doing more harm than good.

    (in reply to Bletchley_Geek)
    Post #: 67
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 2:02:02 AM   
    thewood1

     

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    Also, I never knew CO had a demo...that says a lot right there when it comes to real marketing. I have been all over the Matrix site before I bought CO, but never knew there was a demo.

    How would anyone not in the cool crowd at Matrix ever even know?

    (in reply to thewood1)
    Post #: 68
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 2:20:34 AM   
    Bletchley_Geek


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    quote:

    ORIGINAL: thewood1
    All of that does nothing to change economics. The market is shrinking for games like this for a number of reasons. If the solution is just to increase how much you have to pay, it will disappear completely. As that market shrinks, Dae will have to charge more and more to sustain his efforts. How many of you are willing to pay $1000 for the next update? A smaller and smaller market circling the wagon is really only circling the drain eventually.

    I have worked at many SW companies as engineer to sr exec. Every one of them thought they were in a unique market, only to find the basics of economics are the same. I see all the same signs in the wargaming market. Dave is at least asking the right questions and and not sticking his head in the sand. Everyone thinks this is about being cheaper...its about charging for the right things at the right time. That is basic marketing and product management.


    You're not really answering to what I said, but anyways.

    Inflation is an economical fact as real as market shrinking due to the fact that major World Wars are every year a more distant memory of the general public. Any workable solution needs to cater for both issues. As an engineer and senior exec, I'm pretty sure you've overseen what has been the "solution" to keep prices while maintaining benefit margins: to move development off-shore. Indeed is a simple way of solving the problem of balancing both, but sincerely, I think it's not the best thing for those whose asset is their labor.

    Do you agree with that?

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: thewood
    Take a look at the Graviteam website. It was somewhat active a few years ago. But since APOS went on sale at a bunch of sites, DLC activity has gone kind of crazy. If those sales never happened, they most likely would still be struggling along. Now they have released 3-4 add-ons that are being bought at full price. It's those people and their buying pattern Panther needs to get at.


    One thing is to do deep discounts for short periods of time, and another thing are long term deep discounts. The former is a marketing tactic which Steam seems to show to work quite well to increase market reach. The latter is a way to capitalize the back catalog. Digital distribution platforms allow to do both things.

    After checking a number of sources - there isn't much hard data available, since these kind of market practices tend to be covered by a NDA between distribution and development companies - I do indeed agree with this assessment: short-term discounts are good to increase reach, and seem to be free from the downward-spiralling trend in pricing one sees in mobile platforms, and long-term discounts are good to capitalize the back-catalog.

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: thewood
    Just look at this forum. Are there more than 20 different people posting here? Even when betas are released...you get a short amount of activity and then its the usual crowd again. Everyone seems to trying to protect Panther from the uncaring public, but I think that circling of the wagons is doing more harm than good.


    Man, you're a bit talking around the points I made regarding the community here, and you seem to me to be just wanting to see the things that reinforce your point. I don't see here as much laagering as I see elsewhere, but that's my own personal assessment.

    (in reply to thewood1)
    Post #: 69
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 3:11:43 AM   
    thewood1

     

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    Inflation has actually not been bad over the last 10 years. In fact, any SW company exec will tell you if inflation is driving margins down, something is wrong with your business model. SW company issues are competitive cost structure (impacted more by the cost of development tools), product innovation, changing market, and efficient business processes. Check out Aberdeen.com and download one of their reports to see that.

    What is driving wargame costs is the complexity and number of features being put into games and the demand for ever more features, along with development tool costs as platforms change. Spreading those costs over fewer and fewer people means prices will keep going up and that drives the loss of more buyers...rinse and repeat. You can see it here and at companies like BFC.

    So let me ask you...at what point would you pass on a game like CO...from a price standpoint. Are you one of those guys who would pay anything. Would you fund the development yourself. I don't understand how some can't see where this is going...it is the most basic of financial analysis. All Dave's proposed plan is doing is staving off the exact same situation a year down the road. I see no way that plan, with keeping the initial entry cost of buying games and upgrades, is bringing in new people. It will the same 20 people here to buy the new stuff. Is that enough to let Dave make a living. I am doubtful.

    (in reply to Bletchley_Geek)
    Post #: 70
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 3:19:35 AM   
    thewood1

     

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    One thing I can tell you, having run product management at a large software company, discount is a constant tool and battle. But is an incredibly useful tool and one of the best to use when a market is tight. But discounting is changing. Now discounting is happening to hook someone and then use that to get them in your grasp. That is a change that has happened over the last 5 years. At an ERP company I worked for, we sold an inexpensive bundle of products that had all been leveraged to death. We were then able to sell extensions at almost list by severely discounting that first sale. We did a lot of analysis on those first sales and found that the people that never bought any extensions, but bought the first bundle, would never have bought it if not for the discounting. We lost very little in those sales, but gained a huge amount in new logo business.

    Because of that, that type of bundling/discounting, combined with a modular approach is very common. The cloud/SaaS has driven some of that.

    (in reply to thewood1)
    Post #: 71
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 3:48:25 AM   
    Bletchley_Geek


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    quote:

    ORIGINAL: thewood1
    Inflation has actually not been bad over the last 10 years. In fact, any SW company exec will tell you if inflation is driving margins down, something is wrong with your business model. SW company issues are competitive cost structure (impacted more by the cost of development tools), product innovation, changing market, and efficient business processes. Check out Aberdeen.com and download one of their reports to see that.


    Yet it's there. My 1999 60$ would be something like 90$ today. And "inflation not being bad" is an assessment which might be true in Germany, and simply not true elsewhere.

    It's interesting to see how the cost of labor is out of the equation. For Pete's sake, we're talking about mostly self-employed individuals here, who need a salary.

    But we're digressing.

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: thewood1
    What is driving wargame costs is the complexity and number of features being put into games and the demand for ever more features, along with development tool costs as platforms change. Spreading those costs over fewer and fewer people means prices will keep going up and that drives the loss of more buyers...rinse and repeat. You can see it here and at companies like BFC.

    So let me ask you...at what point would you pass on a game like CO...from a price standpoint. Are you one of those guys who would pay anything. Would you fund the development yourself. I don't understand how some can't see where this is going...it is the most basic of financial analysis. All Dave's proposed plan is doing is staving off the exact same situation a year down the road. I see no way that plan, with keeping the initial entry cost of buying games and upgrades, is bringing in new people. It will the same 20 people here to buy the new stuff. Is that enough to let Dave make a living. I am doubtful.


    Dave's strategy draft revolves having the engine at a lower price entry point for the base engine, at about 30$. I don't really get what you're talking now about, and why it's "staving off the exact situation a year down the road".

    Quoting Dave:

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Arjuna
    By way of clarification let me add the following points:

  • Each upgrade, including the initial CO2 stage 1, will sell for $29.99.

  • All previous data packs will be converted at no cost to existing owners with each upgrade. So with the release of CO2 stage 1 we will also release upgraded data packs for HTTR, Greek, Med and BFTB. So your investment in these will endure. We will probably split the BFTB scenarios into two packs. Existing owners of BFTB will get these at no cost. The only expense you will be up for is the cost of the CO2 upgrade - ie $29.99.

  • Whenever a person buys the CO2 engine they will get the latest version incorporating all previous updates. So existing users can skip say updates 2 and 3 and then buy 4, in which case they will get 2 and 3 as well at that time. The aim here is to facilitate two things. First to enable newcomers to buy in at any time at a $30 price tag for the engine and then buy whatever data packs they choose. Second to enable existing users the option to skip a data pack they are not interested in without a penalty in terms of the engine features.

    Please bear this in mind though that certain data packs will require certain features that will require you to update the engine - eg The east front pack will require Soviet doctrine.


  • See the part I highlighted. Indeed, this plan has been subjected to criticism because it amounts to be "paying for patches". People in some quarters seem to have trouble with that concept, and suggest alternatives, as having the base engine to a "loss leader" and factor further development costs into data packs. So this plan is under revision - it was never meant to be just a one-way communiqué stating some fait accompli.

    Now, where's the drama, man? Dave has disclosed their thoughts with the public, receiving all kinds of feedback. For one moment, consider 1) the kind of operation Panther Games is and 2) the context (i.e. distribution arrangements) it works in. So, what are you suggesting? To change 1), change 2), or what?

    < Message edited by Bletchley_Geek -- 4/26/2013 4:10:56 AM >

    (in reply to thewood1)
    Post #: 72
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 3:49:56 AM   
    loyalcitizen


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    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Arjuna

    You will need a valid serial number.


    So where can I look that up?
    I don't have my docs anymore and the Matrix Members Area doesn't have that information, as COTA predates those days if I recall correctly.

    Does Panther have a database where that information can be accessed?



    (in reply to Arjuna)
    Post #: 73
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 3:54:07 AM   
    Bletchley_Geek


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    quote:

    ORIGINAL: thewood1
    One thing I can tell you, having run product management at a large software company, discount is a constant tool and battle. But is an incredibly useful tool and one of the best to use when a market is tight. But discounting is changing. Now discounting is happening to hook someone and then use that to get them in your grasp. That is a change that has happened over the last 5 years. At an ERP company I worked for, we sold an inexpensive bundle of products that had all been leveraged to death. We were then able to sell extensions at almost list by severely discounting that first sale. We did a lot of analysis on those first sales and found that the people that never bought any extensions, but bought the first bundle, would never have bought it if not for the discounting. We lost very little in those sales, but gained a huge amount in new logo business.

    Because of that, that type of bundling/discounting, combined with a modular approach is very common. The cloud/SaaS has driven some of that.


    Okay, so it seems to me we can say we're in agreement about the way discounts work for digital entertainment sofware, haven't we?

    As per my previous post, you can see that Dave has indeed thought about moving towards a modular approach inspired by "Software as a (Paid) Service". About the former (bundling/discounting), I can't comment.

    (in reply to thewood1)
    Post #: 74
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 4:11:30 AM   
    Bletchley_Geek


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    quote:

    ORIGINAL: loyalcitizen


    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Arjuna

    You will need a valid serial number.


    So where can I look that up?
    I don't have my docs anymore and the Matrix Members Area doesn't have that information, as COTA predates those days if I recall correctly.

    Does Panther have a database where that information can be accessed?


    Did you get a digital download Matt? If so, do you still have access to the e-mail account?

    < Message edited by Bletchley_Geek -- 4/26/2013 4:12:07 AM >

    (in reply to loyalcitizen)
    Post #: 75
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 8:31:59 AM   
    loyalcitizen


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    I did not get the digital download. I bought the hardcopy and had it shipped. My discs and code have been lost during one of my 3 moves since then.

    I have only my 31 posts that I found using the search feature of the COTA forum on Matrix. Some of those have screenshots I took of my games in progress.
    Hopefully that proves that I bought the game, but I'm still hoping that Panther has a record of my purchase and can help out a loyal customer since RDOA.

    (in reply to Bletchley_Geek)
    Post #: 76
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 8:43:24 AM   
    phoenix

     

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    How would anyone not in the cool crowd at Matrix ever even know?

    Your points will be all be put more effectively, I think, the wood1, if you don't drop in the sarcasm - 'cool' in the above quote, is sarcastic, in the light of your previous comments. I realise people had a go at you after your first post, which I though was perfectly reasonable. Maybe you're not bothered about how you're projecting - but, in case you are.....

    Dave's not stupid (we have to assume.....), so I guess I'm always a bit puzzled at the heated tone of the pricing discusssions designed to save Dave's life. Surely, you make your point, reasonably (as you did, thewood1), Dave takes it on board, others say, 'Maybe not', some say 'maybe' - but why does it then always have to seem like someone gets angry about it?

    I'm not sure Graviteam are doing so well, by the way. I think to release a pack that adds hi-res textures to tanks and charge (!!) then you would need to have a cash-flow prob.

    (in reply to loyalcitizen)
    Post #: 77
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 1:06:02 PM   
    thewood1

     

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    Graviteam obviously is at least putting out content fairly frequently...and that is the point...cash flow. Its about keeping a steady stream of cash coming in. Panther's biggest issue to me is that it takes a year or two to release an add on. That is a cash flow killer. The ultimate is a very low cost engine, then immediately have 6 add-ons every month. Then do an engine upgrade for cost. Then 3-4 more releases. Engine for $10, add ons start at $30 and get progressively cheaper until a major upgrade. You can sprinkle in some big packs and bundles as you build content. After a year to 18 months, you release a complete engine overhaul for another charge. The key here is distribution and marketing. Panther needs an outlet that will get them out there.

    btw, I think BFC has the model down. They are just charging too much at the beginning and taking way too long to deliver large pieces of content. If you are going to have this model, barrier to entry has to low and content velocity is king.

    And I will reiterate that most SW ewec do not see inflation in NA and EMEA as a serious issue. 1.5 to 2.5 % is a very manageable rate. Its platform and technology changes that drive most HR costs in SW. If tech stayed the same, most companies could deal with it.

    $30 for an engine and then another $30 for scenarios might be OK in the short term. The main issue is still that that is a pretty high barrier to people on the edge. Its better, but that engine is three years old. It should have paid for itself already. And that is how real product management works. The products have to be looked at as to how much of the ROI have you attained. After that, trying to milk a dying market is a losing proposition.

    And the sarcasm comes from putting together a couple reasonable discussion points at the beginning and being somewhat attacked for asking a basic question, I was a little astonished at that. Phoenix, I noted you defended me with a pretty reasonable post, and the deleted it 10 minutes later. Why did you delete it?

    < Message edited by thewood1 -- 4/26/2013 1:08:30 PM >

    (in reply to phoenix)
    Post #: 78
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 1:57:44 PM   
    phoenix

     

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    Deleted it, though have still defended you a couple of times (whilst being branded part of a clique), because I thought it might give offence to others, not to you. Like I said, nice to try not to irritate people, and the sarcasm just does that, gets in the way. Irritated me, for example. Why should anyone here wish to have a conversation of any sort with someone who is taking a snide swipe at them? Ditto that point to those who have had a snide or not so snide swipe at you for posting perfectly reasonable remarks. I don't know why people do this on line - say things they wouldn't dream of saying face to face - except I like to assume they do it by accident, and don't know that the words used will surely give offence (in which case they might, of course say such things face to face!). I think when it happens you should point out to them - as you did, partly, very clearly, and I think that's great - that they have given offence (doing that is always interesting, I've found [and not necessarilly talking about this forum] because you really do find out if they intended the offence - but you should have also taken it up with the original poster, in fact - who hasn't been required to respond at all as yet - it was someone called Raywolfe, in fact - who wrote - Here we go again!
    Dave, I don't know why you bother.
    and thus started the antagonism quite needlessly). But there's no need thereafter for sarcasm etc, right? Take the high ground.

    < Message edited by phoenix -- 4/26/2013 2:04:27 PM >

    (in reply to thewood1)
    Post #: 79
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 2:26:47 PM   
    Fishbreath

     

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    Joined: 2/2/2012
    Status: offline
    Maybe I'm just being optimistic here, but I think that Command Ops has the potential to succeed in the more mainstream wargame market. It may be more complicated in terms of what goes on behind the scenes, but I wouldn't say it's harder to get into from a player's perspective than, say, Hearts of Iron 3. It's got a couple of things going for it that the standard 'niche' wargame doesn't:

    1. A good UI. It's not perfect, but it's well-designed—there are clear delineations between sections of the UI concerning things you should know and things you can do, and barring a few minor things (like unit-centered LoS tools, and maybe a LoS tool that disregards daylight, terrain cover, and weather, and merely asks if there's a direct line of sight between two points, as might be determined with a raw contour map; also, seeing supply routes and knowing where supply columns came under fire might be nice), I don't have any real complaints about it.
    2. Replayability and content. I own more Command Ops scenarios than I'm ever going to have time to play, I could play all of them on both sides, and they're not likely to play out the same two times in a row anyway.
    3. Easy difficulty tweaking. Between orders delay, weather, reinforcement schedules, and supply, it's simple to make a scenario easier or harder.
    4. Real-time. This one's a little stranger, but turn-based games bring out the optimizer in everyone, and in wargames of this kind of complexity, the penalty for forgetting a unit for a turn is much greater than the penalty for forgetting a unit for, say, half an hour or an hour.
    5. A unique concept. There are lots of hexes-and-counters wargames out there. There are no other footprints-and-terrain-and-real-time-with-orders-delays-and-intel-failures-etc wargames out there worth mentioning.

    With all that taken into account, I think Command Ops is more than capable of bigger things—not mainstream success, but definitely mainstream wargame success. I would submit it's priced appropriately for the market it's in now (games available only through Matrix), but I would also say that priced in the $40-$50 range for BftB and the HttR scenarios and marketed at a wider audience, it would be more successful than it is now.

    I've run Command Ops AARs at a couple of semi-mainstream gaming forums, and the most frequent comment I get on the game is, "That's awesome, but I wish it wasn't so expensive." That's not coming from random people, either; it's coming from serious- or semi-serious wargamers, people who don't blink at Arsenal of Democracy or The Operational Art of War III. That's a market in which Command Ops is more than capable of succeeding, but it's not a market open to Command Ops given its current pricing and the current retailers through whom one can get it.

    Obviously, that's just my opinion, and I don't have anything besides a gut feeling to back it up.

    (in reply to thewood1)
    Post #: 80
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 3:47:33 PM   
    RayWolfe

     

    Posts: 1548
    Joined: 2/5/2003
    From: Kent in the UK
    Status: offline
    "Does anyone think it odd that it comes down to about $2US per scenario, about the same as HTTR? I mean, I have bought BFTB and the HTTR expansion, but $60US for 35 scenarios seems kind of steep. Is there anything else in these packs..."

    YES phoenix, this Ray Wolfe character intended antagonism after this comment.
    Does the senior executive and software product manager have any idea what it takes to produce a scenario?
    Any idea at all?
    I do!
    If he's short of $2, we fans (excuse the derogatory language) will have a whip-round to buy him one.

    (in reply to Fishbreath)
    Post #: 81
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/26/2013 4:33:39 PM   
    altipueri

     

    Posts: 166
    Joined: 11/14/2009
    Status: offline
    Well I would give away the game engine with the tutorial and one full scenario included - say Hofen Ho Down.

    Then sell scenario packs at about 10 for 20 dollars/euros.

    But then I run a small venture capital company, Equity Ventures www.equityventures.co.uk - so I tend to want to see companies like Panther and AGEOD stay in business by generating cash.




    (in reply to RayWolfe)
    Post #: 82
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/27/2013 6:58:33 AM   
    Bletchley_Geek


    Posts: 3064
    Joined: 11/26/2009
    From: Living in the fair city of Melbourne, Australia
    Status: offline
    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Fishbreath
    Maybe I'm just being optimistic here, but I think that Command Ops has the potential to succeed in the more mainstream wargame market. It may be more complicated in terms of what goes on behind the scenes, but I wouldn't say it's harder to get into from a player's perspective than, say, Hearts of Iron 3. It's got a couple of things going for it that the standard 'niche' wargame doesn't:

    1. A good UI. It's not perfect, but it's well-designed—there are clear delineations between sections of the UI concerning things you should know and things you can do, and barring a few minor things (like unit-centered LoS tools, and maybe a LoS tool that disregards daylight, terrain cover, and weather, and merely asks if there's a direct line of sight between two points, as might be determined with a raw contour map; also, seeing supply routes and knowing where supply columns came under fire might be nice), I don't have any real complaints about it.
    2. Replayability and content. I own more Command Ops scenarios than I'm ever going to have time to play, I could play all of them on both sides, and they're not likely to play out the same two times in a row anyway.
    3. Easy difficulty tweaking. Between orders delay, weather, reinforcement schedules, and supply, it's simple to make a scenario easier or harder.
    4. Real-time. This one's a little stranger, but turn-based games bring out the optimizer in everyone, and in wargames of this kind of complexity, the penalty for forgetting a unit for a turn is much greater than the penalty for forgetting a unit for, say, half an hour or an hour.
    5. A unique concept. There are lots of hexes-and-counters wargames out there. There are no other footprints-and-terrain-and-real-time-with-orders-delays-and-intel-failures-etc wargames out there worth mentioning.


    Excellent post, Fishbreath, really.

    I do personally think that one of the problems, besides "pricing" are points 4 and 5. There are quite a few tropes from board-based game design, which have become very deeply ingrained at a psychological level. I can see how an experienced TOAW/Panzer Campaigns wargamer can feel very disoriented when confronted with Command Ops, since the skills learnt to process information and "do things" in a traditional hex-and-counter design translated into a computer, are frankly, quite useless. I mean, back when I was first exposed to RDOA I had to go over that.

    What we really need - I think - is someone doing a in-depth AAR of a Command Ops scenario and the same scenario as modeled in say TOAW 3. If you're up for the playing and discussing, I think I can find a map for the Arracourt 44 scenario in Classic TOAW, adapt the OOB there to the HttR estab and get it done for Command Ops. Or if anybody else volunteers for that - so I can devote my time to further help Dave with the development - please, come forward. I promise unflinching support

    What do you reckon?

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Fishbreath
    With all that taken into account, I think Command Ops is more than capable of bigger things—not mainstream success, but definitely mainstream wargame success. I would submit it's priced appropriately for the market it's in now (games available only through Matrix), but I would also say that priced in the $40-$50 range for BftB and the HttR scenarios and marketed at a wider audience, it would be more successful than it is now.

    I've run Command Ops AARs at a couple of semi-mainstream gaming forums, and the most frequent comment I get on the game is, "That's awesome, but I wish it wasn't so expensive." That's not coming from random people, either; it's coming from serious- or semi-serious wargamers, people who don't blink at Arsenal of Democracy or The Operational Art of War III. That's a market in which Command Ops is more than capable of succeeding, but it's not a market open to Command Ops given its current pricing and the current retailers through whom one can get it.

    Obviously, that's just my opinion, and I don't have anything besides a gut feeling to back it up.


    So you think that Dave's outlined plans make sense to breakthrough those barriers?

    < Message edited by Bletchley_Geek -- 4/27/2013 6:59:45 AM >

    (in reply to Fishbreath)
    Post #: 83
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/27/2013 7:26:04 AM   
    Bletchley_Geek


    Posts: 3064
    Joined: 11/26/2009
    From: Living in the fair city of Melbourne, Australia
    Status: offline
    quote:

    ORIGINAL: thewood1
    And I will reiterate that most SW ewec do not see inflation in NA and EMEA as a serious issue. 1.5 to 2.5 % is a very manageable rate. Its platform and technology changes that drive most HR costs in SW. If tech stayed the same, most companies could deal with it.


    They don't see it as a serious issue because of one simple fact and fundamental difference. Here the company is the developers themselves who put their own assets in the line. There are no "execs"/"devs" separation, and of course, laying off peeps to outsource development to a cheaper place - thus negating the effect of inflation on labor, indeed - isn't possible.

    So the products need to cover salaries and running expenses (i.e. hardware and updates to development tools). One can be frugal with "development" tools. For instance, you don't need to upgrade to VS 2012 if it isn't affecting your business in a way that leaves VS 2010 sad and crying in the dust, or upgrade to Windows 8, if most of your users haven't adopted that platform and Microsoft has done a quite good job to keep backwards compatibility. Being frugal with your own salary is something one can do, but I find it - coming from a exec-background individual - a bit rich to tell devs "be frugal", while one is used to fly on business class accumulating air miles and have six-figure salaries.

    When it's worth to keep working in something like developing computer war games? Basically when you can cover your running expenses and have a salary that can support a family (a quite frugal salary in Australia would be about 50-60,000$ per annum). I think I don't need to argue how directly inflation, taxes or exchange rates, affects the "benefit", i.e. "the salary", of those involved in development.

    Now that's 101 economics of the self-employed individuals which aren't in to sell their show to the highest bidder in five years, man. So come off from the Learjet, and get into the coach and smell the farts and take-away hamburgers.

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: thewood1
    $30 for an engine and then another $30 for scenarios might be OK in the short term. The main issue is still that that is a pretty high barrier to people on the edge. Its better, but that engine is three years old. It should have paid for itself already. And that is how real product management works. The products have to be looked at as to how much of the ROI have you attained. After that, trying to milk a dying market is a losing proposition.


    I've highlighted the bit where you're wrong. It's not the "same engine" as three years ago: in 2013 is more capable, stable and ready to be further expanded. Here the bet is on one single horse. Maybe one day in the future Dave will have the resources to devote himself to design a different game, while keeping this show going on, but that's not possible at the moment, I think (although maybe Dave feels like he's had enough of us guys).

    In any case, I'm glad to see you here exposing your views, thewood


    < Message edited by Bletchley_Geek -- 4/27/2013 7:28:28 AM >

    (in reply to thewood1)
    Post #: 84
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/27/2013 11:41:36 AM   
    phoenix

     

    Posts: 1922
    Joined: 9/28/2010
    Status: online
    Raywolfe wrote YES phoenix, this Ray Wolfe character intended antagonism after this comment.

    Well, what's the point of that, Ray? We're all fans in here - thewood1 included - he's spent the money to buy the game and play it, same as you and I. No point in being antagonistic, unless you actually enjoy that.

    (in reply to Bletchley_Geek)
    Post #: 85
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/27/2013 2:00:27 PM   
    Ron

     

    Posts: 488
    Joined: 6/6/2002
    Status: offline

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Fishbreath

    Maybe I'm just being optimistic here, but I think that Command Ops has the potential to succeed in the more mainstream wargame market. It may be more complicated in terms of what goes on behind the scenes, but I wouldn't say it's harder to get into from a player's perspective than, say, Hearts of Iron 3. It's got a couple of things going for it that the standard 'niche' wargame doesn't:

    1. A good UI. It's not perfect, but it's well-designed—there are clear delineations between sections of the UI concerning things you should know and things you can do, and barring a few minor things (like unit-centered LoS tools, and maybe a LoS tool that disregards daylight, terrain cover, and weather, and merely asks if there's a direct line of sight between two points, as might be determined with a raw contour map; also, seeing supply routes and knowing where supply columns came under fire might be nice), I don't have any real complaints about it.
    2. Replayability and content. I own more Command Ops scenarios than I'm ever going to have time to play, I could play all of them on both sides, and they're not likely to play out the same two times in a row anyway.
    3. Easy difficulty tweaking. Between orders delay, weather, reinforcement schedules, and supply, it's simple to make a scenario easier or harder.
    4. Real-time. This one's a little stranger, but turn-based games bring out the optimizer in everyone, and in wargames of this kind of complexity, the penalty for forgetting a unit for a turn is much greater than the penalty for forgetting a unit for, say, half an hour or an hour.
    5. A unique concept. There are lots of hexes-and-counters wargames out there. There are no other footprints-and-terrain-and-real-time-with-orders-delays-and-intel-failures-etc wargames out there worth mentioning.

    With all that taken into account, I think Command Ops is more than capable of bigger things—not mainstream success, but definitely mainstream wargame success. I would submit it's priced appropriately for the market it's in now (games available only through Matrix), but I would also say that priced in the $40-$50 range for BftB and the HttR scenarios and marketed at a wider audience, it would be more successful than it is now.

    I've run Command Ops AARs at a couple of semi-mainstream gaming forums, and the most frequent comment I get on the game is, "That's awesome, but I wish it wasn't so expensive." That's not coming from random people, either; it's coming from serious- or semi-serious wargamers, people who don't blink at Arsenal of Democracy or The Operational Art of War III. That's a market in which Command Ops is more than capable of succeeding, but it's not a market open to Command Ops given its current pricing and the current retailers through whom one can get it.

    Obviously, that's just my opinion, and I don't have anything besides a gut feeling to back it up.



    Yes, the 'expensive' part mirrors my own feelings as well as from some others when Command Ops has been brought up. I am not a fan boy but I do like the engine since first released by Battlefront. The same 'problems' plagued the game back then though as I recall Dave insisted it was the releasing of a demo which hampered sales - I didn't agree then and don't now.

    Say what you want, but I know when BftB was first released I choked at the price point and didn't buy. I only did recently after the latest sale which brought it within the realm of reasonable value for the dollar imo. I also bought the HttR reissue which I am definitely more meh about; I got the impression these scenarios were not playtested much through with the new engine and I actually enjoyed the original much more. I will likely feel the same about the reissue of the CotA scenarios if I bought them; however, at $60 for the 'data' packs that will never happen :) - I will have to be content with the original. I'm also very surprised dismounting of mounted troops still has not been incorporated into the engine - one of my main beef's with CotA and seems a major deficiency.

    I disagree with some of your other points. I do think the pauseable real-time is a positive in today's market and has the potential to grab a larger audience. I think where the game needs some 'love' is in the presentation, something more than plain, flat counters on a plain, flat map. It needs to be jazzed up to be more appealing. How? I am not an artist or designer, but better animations, sounds, map graphics etc. would be a start. We are human and eye candy never hurts as long as there is real meat underneath which CommandOps has plenty.

    This plan to move forward will definitely push me off to the side in some areas, in others I will definitely be 'waiting'. Obviously, there are those who will buy regardless and it will remain to be seen if this new entry point idea will make up for and exceed cases like me. Anyways good luck, just one man's opinion, take it for what it is worth - no need to bring out the pitchforks. :)

    (in reply to Fishbreath)
    Post #: 86
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/27/2013 2:37:16 PM   
    Arjuna


    Posts: 17787
    Joined: 3/31/2003
    From: Canberra, Australia
    Status: offline
    Ron,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    What price would you recommend for the engine and for the data packs.

    _____________________________

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

    (in reply to Ron)
    Post #: 87
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/27/2013 4:05:26 PM   
    Ron

     

    Posts: 488
    Joined: 6/6/2002
    Status: offline
    I think that has already been answered by myself and others in this thread. You don't operate in a vacuum. There are many other wargame developers going through the same process. Halfing content, doubling down on the price only drives you closer and closer towards the elitist model, the label already garnered for some time now. What's also been said by others is CommandOps has the potential for a much wider audience, just needs to pretty up the presentation to make it more appealing. My opinion, from a consumer point of view, is this needs to be the focus.

    (in reply to Arjuna)
    Post #: 88
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/27/2013 11:45:59 PM   
    jimcarravallah

     

    Posts: 570
    Joined: 1/4/2006
    Status: offline

    quote:

    ORIGINAL: loyalcitizen

    I did not get the digital download. I bought the hardcopy and had it shipped. My discs and code have been lost during one of my 3 moves since then.

    I have only my 31 posts that I found using the search feature of the COTA forum on Matrix. Some of those have screenshots I took of my games in progress.
    Hopefully that proves that I bought the game, but I'm still hoping that Panther has a record of my purchase and can help out a loyal customer since RDOA.


    So long as you purchased the game through Matrix, here's what the Matrix "find my orders" page under the members' club says:

    "The Find My Order page allows you look up and find orders you placed with us over the years and to be able to re-download it. To start the search you first need to know when about you purchased your games.

    If you purchased your product prior to November 2010, and you have your order Number & password or your email address and the last 4 digits of your credit card, please use the following..."

    If that doesn't work, I've written Matrix support in the past regarding an issue with a title Matrix began marketing a couple of years after I purchased it off the shelf from a software distributor local to me. They were responsive to my request since I had a title they marketed.

    Hope this helps.

    _____________________________

    Take care,

    jim

    (in reply to loyalcitizen)
    Post #: 89
    RE: COTA to be split into two data packs - 4/28/2013 2:59:05 AM   
    Happy Hedonist

     

    Posts: 26
    Joined: 6/16/2010
    Status: offline
    quote:

    ORIGINAL: Ron

    Yes, the 'expensive' part mirrors my own feelings as well as from some others when Command Ops has been brought up. I am not a fan boy but I do like the engine since first released by Battlefront. The same 'problems' plagued the game back then though as I recall Dave insisted it was the releasing of a demo which hampered sales - I didn't agree then and don't now.


    Is this true? I'm a bit confused considering the fact the only reason I spent $80 on the game is because I couldn't quit playing the demo. I also know of 2 other individuals who did the same thing. It'd be a shame if future games did not include demos. That would be a huge mistake IMO.

    Also, how could releasing a demo hamper sales? If the demo is good, people will buy the game. I guess I missed this argument.

    < Message edited by Happy Hedonist -- 4/28/2013 3:01:50 AM >

    (in reply to Ron)
    Post #: 90
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