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After Vietnam - 2/27/2020 7:30:30 PM   
Hoplite1963

 

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There has been some discussion recently about the time it is taking to get the planned Campaign Series core games and their associated DLC out the door. With nobody wanting to sacrifice quality is their any way to get more releases quicker ?

I think that the short answer to this is yes but that only if your prepared to go with less content in each core game and DLC installment but have more installments to cover the same amount of content in the end. Lets face it so far we have been somewhat spoiled for content.

For Campaign Series Middle East (CSME) we got 12 1948 to 1985 factions built from Scratch while for Vietnam (CSVN) we are due to get another 8 new ones with updates to 3 more, (France and the Pro East & Pro West sets) ported over from CSME. Currently with East Front III we are due to get the first 6 of the World War II Factions, all be it with each one only covering from Jan 1939 to Dec 1941.

I think we might get more content quicker if both for base games (starting with East Front III) and all DLC packs a maximum of 4 factions built from scratch are included, with no more than 6 factions in each release (including factions ported over) from other games.

For the modern games that cover a longer time scale the amount of content per title should perhaps be even less although we do have the advantage here that a number of the larger factions (US UK China, France etc.) will have already been built for existing games.

If you were prepared to go for this approach a match up of content to title release could perhaps be as follows for the first 21 releases.

East Front III core game = 4 factions built from scratch; Germany, Poland, Finland & USSR. Yes this means putting off getting the Hungarians and Romanians that we have already been promised, but it would get us to 1942 quicker.

West Front II core game = 4 factions built from scratch; UK, France, Norway & Italy. 2 factions, Germany & Poland ported over from East Front III.

Rising Sun II core game = 4 factions built from scratch; USA, Japan, Australia & Philippine Commonwealth.

Cold War core game = 2 factions built from scratch; USSR & West Germany. 2 factions UK & USA ported over from the CSME & CSVN games respectively.

1st East Front III DLC = 3 factions built from scratch; Hungry, Romania & Slovakia. 1 faction Italy ported over from West Front II.

1st West Front II DLC = 4 factions built from scratch; Belgium, Netherlands, New Zealand & Greece. 1 faction, Australia ported over from Rising Sun II.

1st Rising Sun II DLC = 2 factions Thailand & Nationalist China built from scratch. 3 factions, France, UK & Netherlands ported over from West Front II.

1st Cold War DLC = 4 factions built from scratch; Canada, Austria, East Germany & Czechoslovakia. 1 faction, France ported over from CSME / CSVN.

2nd East Front III DLC = 4 factions built from scratch;, Spain, Polish LWP, and 2 generic factions, Pro Axis and Pro Allied to represent minor players such as Ukrainian nationalist groups, forces of the Baltic states, Slovak rebels, Osttruppen and Russian Liberation Army etc.

2nd West Front II DLC = 4 factions built from scratch; Kingdom of Yugoslavia, South Africa, Free French & Bulgaria. 2 factions Hungry & Romania ported over from East Front III.

2nd Rising Sun II DLC = 3 factions, Communist China, Manchuria, Mongolian Peoples Republic built from scratch. 1 faction, USSR ported over from East Front III.

2st Cold War DLC = 4 factions built from scratch = Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark & Poland.

3rd East Front III DLC = 3 factions, Yugoslav Partisans, Yugoslav Chetniks & Croatia built from Scratch. 1 faction, Bulgaria ported over from West Front II.

3rd West Front II DLC = 3 factions built from scratch; Canada, Allied Italy & Italian Social Republic. 3 ported over factions 1 USA from Rising Sun II and 2 generic factions, Pro Axis and Pro Allied ported over from East Front III for use in representing various partisan groups and minor Axis forces such as . Osttruppen and Cossack units deployed in Italy and the Balkans.

3rd Rising Sun II DLC = 1 faction Indian National Army, built from scratch. 4 factions, Canada, New Zealand, , Pro Axis and Pro Allied ported over from West Front II. These being used for representing various minor players such as the Burma National Army, and the various warlord and pro Axis puppet Chinese Factions.

3rd Cold War DLC = 4 factions built from scratch, Italy, Hungary, Yugoslavia & Norway.

1st CSME DLC = (the Iran Iraq war) 1 faction, Iran built from scratch. 5 factions Iraq, Libya, France, Pro East & Pro West extended through to the end of the 1980’s to cover down to the end of the Iran Iraq war and the Toyota Wars in Chad. Its worth noting that the Pro East & Pro West factions in CSME already have had quite a bit of work done on this in the order of battle department.

4th West Front II DLC 4 factions, Iran Iraq, Turkey & Brazil from scratch. 2 Factions Spain & the USSR ported over from East Front III.

4th Cold War DLC = 4 factions built from scratch Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria & Romania. 2 generic Factions Pro East & Pro West ported over from CSME / CSVN. These being used for various smaller forces such as the Hungarian Revolutionaries of 1956 and the Greek Communist forces in the Greek Civil War.

5th West Front II DLC = 4 Factions built from scratch Ethiopia. Republican Spain, Nationalist Spain and Denmark.

5th Cold War DLC = 4 Factions built from scratch, Sweden Finland, Switzerland & Albania.

Also don’t go back and upgrade every existing title after the release of each new one, but rather do this at the end of each full title cycle i.e. at the time that you bring out a Cold War core or DLC module.

To be fair I don’t think taking this approach will complete the Campaign series project any quicker but it should mean that there are shorter intervals between us getting installments of it.

Kind regards
Ian

Post #: 1
RE: After Vietnam - 2/27/2020 7:44:58 PM   
Jason Petho


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Yes, I agree, Ian.

We need to figure out a way to reduce the time between releases and doing so would involve releasing smaller packages instead of the complete version of games, as we are doing with Vietnam. It's an insane amount of work, as you understand.

Your ideas above are great, you're missing the 1942-1943 and 1944-1945 DLC timeframe additions.


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RE: After Vietnam - 2/27/2020 8:14:32 PM   
Hoplite1963

 

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Hi Jason
Thanks for that yes I was aware of the timeframe issue but thought my post was already long enough without going into that as well. I would suggest with more modules each of the DLC could add to the upgrade of the previous content by a small time increment I was thinking in terms of 1st EFII DLC just covering 1942 the 2nd 1943 and the 3rd 1944-1945. Likewise for West Font have the core game cover 1939-1940 and each of the next 4 covering a year with the 5th perhaps extending into 1946 for those who want the field that late war kit that never made it to the battlefield.

Kind regards
Ian

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Post #: 3
RE: After Vietnam - 2/27/2020 8:18:15 PM   
Jason Petho


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The biggest question is how does one deal with... "You're following that model because you're greedy" issues that will most certainly be noted.

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RE: After Vietnam - 2/28/2020 8:45:10 AM   
Andrea G


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I would prefer a faster pace of releases, even if it will mean paying a little more.

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RE: After Vietnam - 2/28/2020 2:41:42 PM   
hubertkj

 

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Jason, I understand your concerns about being labeled as greedy by your customer base. However, you have a fantastic product and a core group of devoted Campaign Series fans. I for one would be willing to pay more for the content.

With regard to the CS MiddleEast game, I probably would have selected a different release model than you and your team.

Main release: Six-Day War and the Suez Conflict ($39.00) We'd get all of the primary maps, and OOB's from 1956 and 1967.
DLC # 1: Yom Kippur War ($15.95). Lots of maps, oob, and scenarios for the 1973 war
DLC # 2: War of Attrition and the Lebanon War ($9.95)
DLC # 3: 1948 War, Yemen conflict, Aden Insurgency, and other minor conflicts ($9.95)
DLC # 4: Iran-Iraq War, I can only assume this is a huge build. Lots of research on OOBs and battles. Tons of maps for mountainous and marshy terrain. ($29.95 It's a full game)

I definitely understand that customers have a budget and don't want to overpay for content. However, we have to be willing to pay for the extensive research and effort that goes into these games. Your team should be rewarded for the work they do.

This type of release schedule would enable you to release content more frequently and your team would get paid for their work.

One last thought: I absolutely love playing CS MiddleEast. I really look forward to Vietnam.

Thank you to you and your team for all of your dedicated efforts in keeping these games alive!


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RE: After Vietnam - 2/28/2020 3:22:00 PM   
Jason Petho


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Thank you, I appreciate your feedback!

One could do something similar with Vietnam, but then we've been promising the full gambit for the last 5 years.

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RE: After Vietnam - 2/28/2020 3:43:35 PM   
hubertkj

 

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I definitely understand your reticence to modify the Vietnam release schedule. However, you're tackling a thirty-five year period of time in one game release. That's a ton of content.

I wonder how your sales would do if your initial release for Vietnam was just the French-Indochina War? That was a long conflict with many battles and complex terrain. I'm not sure you are doing your business model justice by trying to pack so many conflicts in one game. Yes, your customers are getting a ton of content but we have to wait five years to get that content. A lot of us just want to pay you guys money for a great game

Compare that to JTS and HPS content Squad Battles games. They released Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam, and Tour of Duty as separate releases. They also have the Falkland War and the Modern Wars Iraq as individual releases. Each game initially was priced at $39.95. I purchased all five games for about $200.00 over a period of about two years.

Please don't perceive my feedback as me trying to step on your toes. You guys have an absolute right to run your business and your release schedules the way that you believe best works for you.

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RE: After Vietnam - 2/28/2020 4:05:52 PM   
Jason Petho


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From: Terrace, BC, Canada
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One could release an initial core package of 1948-1965. (~60 scenarios, covering some French, Civil War and first US ground forces, plus some fighting in Laos) ($39.95)

Followed by 1966-1970 ~80 scenarios (includes a lot of US operations, Tet, Australian actions and South Korean actions) ($39.95)

Followed by 1971-1979 ~70 scenarios (last of the US operations, Lam Son 719, ARVN vs NVA 1973-1975, Sino-Vietnamese War, Vietnam in Cambodia) ($39.95)

Following that with a Korean War DLC (content TBD) (24.99)



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RE: After Vietnam - 2/28/2020 5:24:41 PM   
Hoplite1963

 

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I would be happy with this approach particularly if it means you can get the first installment out the door sooner than would be the case if you were releasing the complete package.

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RE: After Vietnam - 2/28/2020 5:32:56 PM   
hubertkj

 

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I would be willing to pay $39.95 for the Initial Core package described above. I won't pretend to speak for anyone else. I just believe you have to be honest with yourselves. Dev work is hard. Project management is challenging work. I'm a Program Manager for a Global Company. We obviously have a shipload of advantages a small dev team like yours doesn't have. It's still difficult to deliver major projects on time and within budget that meet our customers' expectations of quality.

It sounds like you've upgraded the A/I, and made a number of other major changes to the game. On top of that, you're going to backport these improvements to CS MiddleEast. I wouldn't be ashamed of passing that cost on to your customers. I believe we're getting good value for our dollars.

Obviously, you'll know when you are charging too much for the game. We'll tell you

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RE: After Vietnam - 2/28/2020 5:47:40 PM   
Jason Petho


Posts: 13920
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From: Terrace, BC, Canada
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quote:

It sounds like you've upgraded the A/I, and made a number of other major changes to the game.


Seriously, this is the understatement of the year.

For Vietnam we've had to change everything, upgrading wouldn't cut it. While we revealed the Scripted AI capabilities with the last Middle East UPDATE, it was woefully short for what we needed it to do for Vietnam. This has been the bane of the delays, but holy crap, it's a whole new world in gaming. With Vietnam, the AI finally plays how I have always dreamed that it could.

Due to the complexity of the Vietnam war, yes, a large number of changes had to come to the code; primarily how units operate on the ground, above the ground and under the ground. Let alone Riverine operations.

Then, there is always the research, mapping, scenario design, playtesting, organizations... it never ends.

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RE: After Vietnam - 3/5/2020 4:38:56 PM   
carll11


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quote:

it never ends.


But it has too.

There comes a time where in no more ideas no matter how great or 'revolutionary' will be entertained, even be given time for thought.
The product has to get made and shipped, based on a closed plan.....engineers will improve/work on something till our star burns out if they are allowed...;)

What is the new, 'expected' ship date for VCS?

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RE: After Vietnam - 3/5/2020 5:08:41 PM   
Jason Petho


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It's not a matter of new ideas (new features were frozen 6 months ago), it is a matter of ensuring the ideas that have been decided upon to include with 1.00 Vietnam are performing the best they can.

It is the scripted AI that is taking the longest to sort and ensure it working as intended. This literally takes thousands of hours of testing. During this testing, things are exposed that require revisions, which starts the clock again.

Of course, as the scenarios become more complicated (ie, when the Americans arrive with all their toys), the scripting becomes more complicated and the effort required continues to grow to make sure it is all good.



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RE: After Vietnam - 3/5/2020 5:12:05 PM   
Jason Petho


Posts: 13920
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From: Terrace, BC, Canada
Status: online
On a side note, the work being done with the SAI (and improvements to the LAI) are game changers.

We're taking the game out of the dark ages and giving a whole new experience for what to expect when playing against the computer (according to our polls, 97% of our user base will play against the computer), but the cost of that is that it takes time to get right.

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RE: After Vietnam - 3/6/2020 4:14:33 PM   
benpark

 

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Quality stuff.

I'm really happy to hear about the AI work, as an AI only player (I deal with enough humanity on a daily basis). Ready to buy any and all, whenever ready.

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RE: After Vietnam - 3/6/2020 4:45:10 PM   
dox44

 

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+1

"ready to buy any and all"

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RE: After Vietnam - 3/6/2020 5:26:54 PM   
Jason Petho


Posts: 13920
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From: Terrace, BC, Canada
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Thank you for your support, guys, it's really appreciated.

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RE: After Vietnam - 3/7/2020 7:58:57 AM   
tucsonbandit

 

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I won't pretend to speak for everyone, but I think this is generally a known thing what I am about to say. Wargamers are mostly older than 'regular' computer gamers (or board gamers) and they generally are more established, have more money and are willing and happy to spend it and support developers making games they like. Especially because there are not many developers that make these type of complicated, in depth games any longer.

So I don't think you will have any issues having people pay for the games in smaller chunks at $40 or $50 dollars as long as the games are of good quality and as innovative as they appear to be. I think most of us would be more than happy to be supporting such an endeavor and would buy the product over and over again as long as it continued to be of high quality. I think its true that Wargamers will pay a premium and be mostly happy to do so. I know you will hear some griping on price every so often, but in general I think what I am saying holds true.

For instance if they could actually get a real working and running AI to play that World in Flames game, I think people might pay $500 dollars for it. As it is they pay almost $100 for it and it does not even have an AI (and likely never will, its way too complicated... especially for that one poor guy working on it by himself for like 30 years...but I am getting off topic...)

Anyway I think your idea of releasing smaller games more often is a good one and would be a boost to both you and your customers. Also it might help to get the word out about the game a bit more. I would imagine having such long periods inbetween games would make it hard to keep up momentum from a sales and commercial standpoint, so perhaps this could help in this regard.

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