From: Vermont, USA
Matrix Games World in Flames
State of the Game and Future Plans as of March, 2014
First, thank you for your interest in World in Flames and taking the time to read through this. The goal of this post is to give you an update on where we are.
As you are aware World in Flames released in November, 2013 after many years of development. In terms of computer wargames, it is the single most complex computer wargame we have ever released and it has the largest code base, which is saying something. We’ve been working on World in Flames for most of the history of Matrix Games, together with Steve Hokanson, the developer of World in Flames for the computer and one of the most dedicated individuals I’ve ever met. Steve also overcame great hardships during
development to bring the game to release, he and the beta testers deserve full credit for all they have done and it is a privilege to be able to work with them.
The decision to release the game in the first place had to be made months before the release as we had decided that we really wanted to get behind this truly enormous project and give the WIF audience a unique experience. So the decision to add the physical hardbound volumes and maps was taken. These represented the largest and most expensive physical package, by far, that we had ever done for a game. You have told us that these books and map are of the highest quality and this did not come cheaply. We felt that offering World in Flames in this kind of deluxe package was the right move for the World in Flames community and based on the reception, we know that you largely agreed. However, later we added a download only option, especially for the board games audience, as in the main they already owned much of the material, but we do still feel the physical Collector’s Edition is the best way to experience World in Flames.
From the outset we announced that the game did not yet have an AI but we were optimistic about the quality of the solitaire game and felt that it was pretty solid. Due to the nature of the WIF audience and the time it has taken to get to this point we decided to proceed. Simply put you had already waited far too long.
As you know testing a game of this complexity is a thankless job, but our testers did a great job over many years, yet despite that it can often be that even the most rigorous of testing does not pick everything up. The sheer enormity of this game and the number of games played has not unexpectedly revealed a number of fixes that do need attention and Steve is burning the Midnight oil to attend to these. A further and to some degree unexpected phenomena of this game is that individuals approach this game with their own particular playstyle and their own scenario and optional rule preferences. This unique influence has revealed a number of special cases which we have been dealing with.
It is particularly concerning for us that whilst many customers are playing and enjoying World in Flames, some are running into problems and I am confident that you know us well enough to understand that we will not walk away from these difficulties. We are working tirelessly with Steve to resolve these.
What I have been impressed with is the support and help from our customers and testers. This together with the efforts primarily by Steve and our test teams means that we have been steadily gaining ground and many issues which have been addressed are now working well. We are without doubt sorry that there have been a number of issues. Part of the problem has been trying to remain true to the board game experience and with hindsight the complexity of this game has been far greater than anyone anticipated. However we are confident that with our continuing team effort and some ongoing dedication and diligence, the game will continue to improve.
We will continue updating World in Flames until the game meets our customers’ expectations without work-arounds or replays, whether solitaire or via NetPlay.
Over the course of this last week, we’ve embarked on a full review of World in Flames from bottom to top and so that we can keep you up to date Steve will be posting regular updates regarding our development priorities as we move forwards so keep the feedback coming in.
We will also be testing each build through a public and private beta process before any new build goes “official”. Public participation in the beta process is optional, but of course welcome.
We will continue to make critical bugs a top priority regardless of where they exist and this will mean a change of approach where we focus on getting each functional area to completion before moving to the next one.
To help achieve this we will include the test team in that focus by setting more specific testing priorities and this should help thouroughly validate each build before it goes official.
Steve’s immediate priorities are a few Critical bugs that will be relatively quick to resolve, before looking at some issues relating to Supply, Production Planning and Naval movement/combat
Steve will also meet with our Technical Director next week for a review of the remaining Net Play issues as this remains high on our list of priorities and we will be giving you some feedback on that point after they have met. We hope that this update has been helpful and demonstrates our resolve in working through these current issues in order that we can improve the game play experience for everyone.
< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 3/14/2014 3:10:38 PM >