Thank you Marshall. I certainly appreciate your respectulf reply. The thing is, I simply am looking at things from the Matrix perspective. I want EiA to succeed. I want it to get popular and more people to come back to the game. And of course, from a business standpoint, you want to do that as well so you sell more copies. The problem with tackling the PBEM market is that you are concentrating all your efforts on a very small niche. That nniche is the market share who play PBEM games, like EiA, and are willing to pay money for a more managable streamlined interface. In that regard I believe you have somewhat succeeded. Except for teh lack of original EiA rules as an option (which you said is coming), this is superior to cyberboard play for the most part. That said, I think you are targeting the wrong market. With a strong AI, you cuold bring in new players who would get a challenge from the computer, and thus a level of competence that the rest of us attained from getting our teeth smashed in for 1-2 full campaign games in someones basement for 2 hours a week. I think the true potential in this game is that you can severely reduce the time input for the learning curve. I can get through a whole Grand Campaign game in a weekend against the AI. If you put 2 or 3 of these under your belt, against competent AI, you re reayd to jump ni the pool with the big boys. As is stands, beating the AI right now doesn't mean much. Most of my PP and thus VP is attained from careless AI moves or inactivity and indifference. I think if you had a truly worthy AI that could teach new players the nuances of the game, then the natural progression would be IP play which could potentially create a whole new community of EiA players. As it stands now, you are mostly limiting yourself to getting current PBEM players, and a few nostalgic ones to try your game and realize it only offers a little more over traditional PBEM play.
Sadly though, I fear it may be too late to change the course. I believe you are hunkered in for the fight. You have committed so much time and resources already to making PBEM the ebst it can be, that I don't know when you will be able to truly point your efforts elsewhere. I just think there are bigger prizes out there, but it would require a shift in strategic thinking at Matrix as far as how and where to apply the limited reources available.
And although thats a lot to say and comes off more negative than I intend it, I really do applaud your hard work. You are always courteous and professional on here. You work diligently to resolve issues and bugs submitted through the Mantis tracker. I don't doubt your efforts for one second. I just fear that every day that goes by fixing problems on an area that should, in my opinion, not be your focus is jsut another day wasted. But we shall see what the future holds.
P.S. - Sorry for the business jargon in the first paragraph. That was the MIS degree coming out of me.
Appreciate the input! Good stuff indeed. EiANW will succeed because my measure of success will not come from how much it sold but from my personal satisfaction of adding to this thing (Funny thing is that I don't even know how many have sold already LOL). It's an extremely configurable engine that will be around for a long time and it will only get better and better. I'll be with this thing for a long time (Actually, I already have :-))
I'm intrigued by your assessment of the niche market of the PBEM players??? I think this situation is a little different. I believe that PBEM is a small niche of computer gaming BUT in my exploration of the EiA community, I still in fact believe that PBEM has a larger user number than IP (EiA seems to have a huge PBEM community in comparison to other games). Keep in mind that this is not a vote from me in favor of or against IP but simply an observation that I have seen myself for several years. Much of this comes from the fact that most players in the PBEM community are from around the world and would rarely be in front of the keyboard at the same time thus making IP a little tricky. I actually believe that eventually we will arrive at IP at some point. I'm not opposed or dug in for the fight on this and in fact some of the code is already in the current engine and I would love the challenge.
< Message edited by Marshall Ellis -- 7/30/2008 12:18:22 AM >