My start to the new year

Happy New Year all; sorry for the extended absence. Last year was a tough one for me.  If you read this blog as some kind of “Statements from CRS” outlet and view me as a spokesperson for CRS; don’t read this post. Seriously, fuck off. I’m gonna write me an honest-to-god blog entry. It just happens to involve WWII Online by way of the fact I work on it. This one is for the folks who know me. If you don’t know why “Gyroscope” is funny, try reading Rafter’s blog instead.

2006 and I got off on the wrong foot: we had problems over Xmas 05-06, and Doc and I were on duty covering them. It literally took me months to recover from that.

Then we finally got onto TOEs – tying equipment to brigades rather than towns. This is something we both want and dread. For instance, shilling logged in over xmas and /reported this:

 I once had a hand in this games future but to log in and see the pitiful state it has come to. Nothing to Spawn, No more Formations of units be it ground or air. Lemming style attacks its a shame to see this. There once was a dream of WW2OL and this is not it. Youve lost your way and … Sad to see guys Im sorry but More and More im glad I dont play anymore

I’ve noticed a number of returning players air similar grievances. Those of us who’ve been around have forgotten how massively brigades changed the face of the game, and those of us who’ve survived thus far probably don’t realize the whole learning curve to figuring out where to spawn. When you know how the system works, its really obvious now. If you’re looking at the game with 2003 or 2001 eyes, you might well be even more confused than you were back then.

In honesty, we weren’t ready for TOEs. If we’d added TOEs as priority #1 for 1.25, the map would have collapsed worse than our christmas “frame rate” patch did. You do realize that it’s not a bug, Toto pointed out that its a cool new feature that whenever a plane is about to crash he enters bullet time; course we have to do it to everyone else in the area for it to work… Ok. You’re not buying that. Bah.

In the next few [working] days I’ll be decoupling the supply system and connecting the Brigade Supply system in its place, and we’ll be taking it into beta. I’m backtracking a little on the system we were going to try out and instead of hard-coding everything, I’m switching all the critical code paths to Lua script calls. This will massively improve the development time – allowing us to modify a script and reload it rather than requiring lots of server ups/downs/restarts/whatnots. It’ll allow me to combine development and tuning and give us a much greater flexibility when we deliver it.

If all that was chinese, the translation is “pressing on to get to open beta stat”. Two Weeks(TM). (Those who don’t have a 6+ year history with the CRS staff might need it explained that Two Weeks(TM) is not a literal measure of Real Time)

Our pre-xmas patch was atrocious and it needn’t have been. The last version we beta tested did not have the abysmal afflictions we subjected you to. Nor did the first 1.25 release. But we allowed ourselves to tie up some loose ends: spit & polish. We fixed some bugs and rolled out a hotfix.

Because we use Microsoft SourceSafe it can be real easy to get caught with your pants down. As I mentioned in my other post, branching requires creating a full-on copy of the project you are branching, including all the history, etc, etc. On a project of our size and longevity, that has come to be a real time consuming task, and frankly there are times where we’ve screwed the pooch just because some has decided there won’t be any harm in a checkin to something they’ve been working on when, with another source system, they might have checked their changes into a quick branch; or because they’ve checked in a change to the wrong repository.

Incidentally: I am always confused by the terminology we use here; when 1.23 went out, $/pn/ww2/ww2ol/ was ‘branched’ to become $/pn/ww2/ww2ol-1.23.0.255/. That’s our working snapshot of the source as of 1.23.0.255 release. It took me a long time to get my head around that just because I was used to the stable, release “head” of the development trunk being the baseline and the in-development not-yet-accepted work being the branch. IMCMUW  the baseline is what you know works.

Yesterday was my first day back after the misery that was this christmas. I’ve actively taken time out of the game over the vacation period because working on the game andplaying it would have left me dead in the water at the start of the year. But a little absence is good. When I came in yesterday I mentioned a couple of thoughts I’d had over Xmas about some “add on” content we could look at adding, features that require development work we want and need to do, but which take it a step further without imbalancing the game.

I really don’t want to go into any detail, we’re going to be refocusing on “Stable, Fast, Fun” again at the start of the year, I’m going to be squirreling away on finishing TOEs this next couple of weeks. I’ll be working out the details of the upcoming, and hopefully final, major host sweep which will include one or more of:

. merging map and chat so that all lobby functionality occurs through a single, persistent, chat connection;
. finalizing Netcode2 usage on the cellhosts – netcode1 will still be used for the map/chat stuff, but all the world data will be netcode2;
. removing the ‘redirector’ which transfers players between map<->cell hosts and is the blackhole of “waiting for mission results”;
. replacing the server-side implementation of the spawning process to make vehicle creation and player attachment fully independent

That right there does very little for you the player. Its somewhere between 2-6 weeks of work. You’ll see some connection stability improvements, maybe some reduction in warpiness, possibly an increase in visible infantry for players with higher bandwidth, possibly some improvements to multicrew. You might not notice things running slightly more smoothly on the host side, perhaps a few less sudden despawns.

But this is groundwork stuff. It opens the door for creating/changing missions from in-game, improved multicrew, it takes a serious chunk out of polycrew and vehicle entry/bailing development time, it will enable us to finally tackle scoring with a 21st century approach (and without the current flakiness).

But this isn’t even the stuff we were talking about; these are things we were planning last year. Rather it seems several of us, over Xmas, have been thinking about some of the same “down the line” elements of the project, and how we might structure our development schedule to make them happen sooner, and to introduce some value-added (edit) content based on that work to help cost the development.

For instance, if we released our next patch with an in-game card game, many of our players would resent the fact we’d diverted development time into that game-irrelevant project. But consider, instead, if the next patch contained bug fixes, fps improvements, in-game mission posting and creation AND for a one-time $19.99 add-on fee you can get an add-on pack which includes in-game ports of the 5 card games that Playnet owns source code for, in-game email, and a bunch of other features which don’t modify gameplay but they embelish the game playing experience, which are all spin-offs of the neccessary work done to the “standard” version of the game that were implemented by hired help (which is why it would have to cost a fee).

Yes, I know you’d much rather we hired help to fix bugs and improve FPS. But do you want to pay for WWII Online: The Bug Fix Pack? No, you don’t, so quit being a fucking retard. In the fictitious example outlined, people who want to play cards in WWIIOL would pay money for an add-on that includes it, and in doing so would have contributed to bringing in extra resources that went towards some of the stuff that you didn’t pay extra for. edit: This is a ficticious example which assumes that somehow introducing card games would double-up with some existing, essential fix/repair work in the game that we are otherwise finding it difficult to factor in to our development roadmap.

Consider our last patch: we added bouncing grenades. Lets say that cost us $10k to implement. Now lets say we had thought about it and decided to add a trivial “golf course” to 1.25 in such a way that we could just plug grenades in to it and have bouncing grenades “free” as a function of that work. And lets say we then sold that “golf” add-on for $25 a pop and 1000 people bought it. This is a ficticious example again, the content isn’t worth $25, but if you don’t get the idea by now, the close button is right up top :)

Anyway, the stuff we discussed, I have to say, I’m enthused about. Its stuff that we talked about on the beta forums 6-7 years ago and even on the WarBirds forums 8-9 years ago; other games have realized some of those ideas already so we won’t be breaking new ground, but I think it will actually surprize people by how much it adds to the game, and it has some really exciting possibilities.

Fear not those of you who read on despite me telling you not to: It is not in development now. It’s not even on the whiteboard yet. Time is not being diverted from TOEs to work on a card game or in-game mail or porno mags in trucks (although, IMHO, the latter probably warrants it). Look, didn’t I tell you to fuck off?

We’ve also cleared some of the last Chapter 11 (bankruptcy protection) stuff so cashflow is improved, as long as we didn’t destroy ourselves with the xmas patch. Gophur, Martini and Rick are working feverishly on a patch that fixes not just the 2fps disaster but it may fix some of the “randomly getting really low FPS some nights” issues too.

Netcode2 stats are looking pretty healthy. Very low connection loss rate, which I think is largely accounted for by people crashing. That’s a bad thing unless you’re wearing the host-coder-hates-CTHL hat.

Speaking of which, maybe I should open a blog-store with some CTHL hats and t-shirts to help covering the costs of my driving lessons :)

So 2007 starts out looking fairly positive.

69 Comments

Driving lessons:

Is that a requirement of some sort?

Me? I’m having a blast in game, but I get what shillings saying. My squad commanders felt like they got their hands tied when they could no longer initiate attacks (when HC’s were given AO commands). The thing is, my squad could field 70-90 people a night–but have no say as to where they would attack. Any AHC/GHC commander would die to have control of that kind of coordinated force. However, my squad commanders didn’t buy into the GHC/AO thing. So…they left. Some of us are still around. We play the game as much as possible. I want to get people to follow me again. I want to show up, light a fire and watch all the roaches run out.

Netcode 2:

Yes, I love it!

Have a great new year Oli! (don’t run over meh!)

Well now they could be OICs… The HCs seem to be fairly happy to give those out because theres some visuality of it so it’s not just people randomly, and without any cognition by other players, doing stuff or making shit happen. And the HC channel access means there is co-ordination between those individuals who are doing different things. Now all we need are more people playing to pump the player numbers back up again (we had the AO numbers too low initially I think).

Yeah, I’ve certainly kept up with how new players get overwhelmed and confused by how to actually get in and play the game. I found that I had to help people out so much in the forums that I made first a webpage which detailed finding battles, then an interactive flash guide, then a second version. All the time I spent on it saved me so much time of typing the same stuff to new players over and over. Now I gotta go back in and add right-click on the map as part of the guide. However, I forsee a day soon where I can delete all of that stuff on my site, and players won’t be too confused about getting to good battles that they have to log out and go ask on the forums.

Interesting read as always.

Happy New Year, and good luck with the driving lessons. Just remember they drive on the right over there! ;-)

Having 2 fps is a xmas disaster, as CRS must know intimately.

The problem with this game is still here: It was thrown onto the market. You have coded miraculously, and kept up…but the process creates patches of weeds, unclarity, a loss of direction.

GNASCHE has a great point – all the tools that help players require a lot of volunteer work, and new patches fixing old problems require changes in that work.

Markiting: This is a ballistics simulation. KILLER posted the screenshot of an 88 round going off in the face of a Panhard gunner. This is what this game involves. FPS is not God here, just a Titan. Ballistics and Armor penetration are un-markit’ed Gods.

TOE’s: Until the game has a recipe for full and partial break-outs, TOE’s are an issue (I suggest supply and brigade movement time/space). Players don’t like softcaps, High Commands do. Solve that riddle, and TOE’s can go in.

You are talking about coding now, for teh future, and finding ways to make *more* money doing the same thing. I love that, as I am a capitalist. I have begged CRS at 2 different conventions to release a patch that gives some players “more” and others who don’t wish to pay “more than they had, but less than the highest paying players”. Example – all players can play the highest units, buying the 19.99 release means you get 1 personal spawn armor vehicle / air / Naval per Game Day. I promise you that will be worth money, and no one who pays monthly gets hurt – or even knows if it was a personal spawn list item that was killed. Watch RTBs go up, too (promotes healthy game behavior).

Take your time to code in seriously money-making differences, and you will will grow. Stay with the patch to patch to patch method, and you remain a prisoner of the churn.

This game is like golf. Your grognards get mad, curse and leave the course – and then return. Sell them new clubs and/or balls every year.

Good luck – I am a fan of the “new” thinking, and willing to pay to watch the game grown.

One word: subversion.
Never lose bug fixes again.

The stuff we discussed and are going to investigate during the early part of this year (as a low-priority background task) largely has a big overlap with stuff already on the critical and todo lists. The stuff that might make an add-on pack is really the froth on the cappuccino. But to make cappuccino you need coffee, hot water and milk. We have coffee and hot water. If we organize accordingly we can tackle those “real” issues.

You already get that I think, but I suspect it’ll be hard to sell.

Yeah, they can be OIC’s now, but there’s one problem–they don’t play anymore. I’ve tried very hard to relaunch my former squad (800+ paying members in SG syndicate) in WW2OL, and I get a few that are all for coming back. They actually come back–but I don’t think they will every be happy. They find the next 5 things to bitch about….you guys know better than anyone; someone lights a little dissent/complaint fire and it spreads like the Santa Anna winds are fanning it.

But I’m here, cheering them on, trying to pull them back.

coffee was “all you can drink” for 35 cents. Starbucks was charging $3.50 for one cup. That’s a hard sell…unless you educate the consumer. Same thing – only more of what coffee really is: a social event.

Ben and Jerry’s famously tasty ice cream was allegedly caused by one of the two having a cocaine problem that made it hard for him to taste the flavors…so he added waaay more. Same thing – only more of what ice cream really is: the taste…and going out for ice cream as a ‘social event’.

WWIIOL needs to pump up the “taste” (grognard ballistics, i.e. real war-like outcomes) with the social event of playing MMOLGaming.

At mmpolg.com (something like that) EVE just won every possible major award. Why EVE? Because EVE ignores reality and hands consumers and *easy* 20-30 minutes of beauty online. Players can group up…or not. There is no hard work for the processor to do, and eleventy billion111!!!1 coders are on hand to draw art for the game. Its eye candy. WWIIOL is *never* going to be EVE, and it should market directly *away* from this gaming group, markiting directly to the player who wants – more. EVE is like the American drinking game of playing quarters – it doesn’t matter what the rules are because everybody gets to drink and be drunk. WWIIOL is like a fiendishly complicated game of “cricket 300” darts on steroids…with the players throwing darts at each other and trajectories painstakingly calculated down to the sub-meter level across kilometers of space.

This is golf – and needs lots of training, explanation, and expert help…and all should be sold to the willing players.

Ollie, can the next STO be golf balls? Hmmm…maybe we can just reskin the Grenade OF….

Fucking card games. You goddamn assholes. I hate you I hate you I hate you. I’m driving down to DFW next week and burning John’s new house to the ground. A couple other of you cocksuckers I’m going to punch repeatedly in the face, and a couple more are getting a 12 guage shoved up their asses. Motherfuckers. Of all the asshole fucking things to do with the game. Jeezus H. Christ on a crutch. See you in a few days, douchbags. (reminder: delete this section before hitting submit)

Oh hey guys? Card games? Wow that’s nice. Probably not too hard to get done :)Hope that works out for you :)

Everything’s looking good with the patch fixes. Great job there. My congratulations on fixing that so quickly.

Hope everyone had a nice holiday. Take care!

…@/

Good read. And I don’t even know why gyroscope is funny.

Roflamo, Snail :) Actually, I can say that the card thing is entirely hypothetical. We already own those 5 card games. Making them work in the game would be a major task, if you looked at it on its own. There is some other dev work somewhere down the line, relevant to actual gameplay that ought to be part of the standard game, but its time consuming and its be deprioritized because its not part of fast-stable-fun. However, if a certain approach is taken, it might make porting that IP we already own into the game relatively simple and saleable value-added content items for the game.

Now, that’s not what we talked about, and the only reason I even thought to use that as my example is that Jim did mention it in the context of “for example, those 5 card games we bought that we haven’t done anything with in 6 years”. But we didn’t sit getting excited over the idea that I might be able to pwn wdwm at spades the way I recently pwned him in email :)

Blues golf comment is absolutely golden :) That’s exactly what I mean. We added the ability to bounce stuff, we shoulda added a little golf-range or something where players can hang while not playing but not wanting to sit looking at our 2d map while they chill.

Think of if this way: you give one guy a free ming vase of est. value $1m by charging the second guy $2.5m for a twin vase with a daisy in it.

Oh, can I watch, Snail? Please? With our narrow hallways, I’ll get you an axe or exothermic lance and you can pretend its your old job.

Mmmm…”nuft-safel-bats”.

More fun to say than the completely ineffective slogan graffiti. I always read it backwards, when I’m actually aware of it. (NB: there is no such thing as effective slogan graffiti – though “putikcuftnod” might be more appropriate).

Regarding golf, I was just being an asshat in response to Joker007’s simile. I would have to join Snail’s Damage Control party if anyone actually did anything related to golf with the game, at least until the game was so polished and stuffed with so many players that we had nothing to do.

I realized you were, Bloo, but you missed my point. Golf is my hypothetical variation of the stuff we talked about in-person Wednesday: Cappuccino is – more or less – a stirred latte. Its not just coffe made with milk and hot water.

But bouncing grenades was done by Rick and meant taking him off the long-term projects he’s been on. So imagine if we’d contracted someone to do the physics etc stuff for bouncing grenades, and made that guys work 75-90% bouncing grenades capability, and 25-10% incorporating that functionality into a non-gameplay embellishment that our research indicated many of our players would pay for as a little add-on pack that would pay 150% of the contract cost.

Heck it might need to be 250%.

Remember, I’m trying not to discuss what we actually talked about, so golf is a great example.

And I know that the stuff we talked about, what I consider to be “Phase 1”, isn’t as completely irrelevant to the gameplay experience as the stuff we did talk about.

But that’s OK. I see a roadmap to a comfort zone income source. I suspect its unlikely we’ll get to employ the cappuccino model for phase 1, although I think there are some parts of it we might be able to with a well organized road map. Hard to discuss in abstract like this.

Incidentally, its worth pointing out that those 5 card games use our proprietary network API. So adding them to WWIIOL and porting them to some kind of in-game instance would be a valuable new-employee or intern training project.

We need you in good shape this year kfs. Don’t forget to gobble those eggs! Peace and a happy new year to you lad!

I know you guys ‘diverted’ and came back (sort of). I apologize for my some of my more lengthy emails (more apologies by inference to JWILLY), but I love and believe in what you are sweating over so much.

POINT: It is not what you *need* to add that is the major problem – but what you *have* already that is not being sold for the money that it could bring you.

Like the Treasure of Sierra Madre, all the gold is literally all around you…unacknowledged. Repackage creatively, and make $2.50 from your high volume consumers where you are charging everyone $1.00 now. Very socialistic money making model at the moment. Give value to those of us who would pay for the patches, designs, and signs all over your unsold real estate.

EXAMPLE: Players always ask about Easter Eggs, and you should add Easter Eggs…like card games – for 250% of the cost of doing it. Get a new noobie coder, put him on the assignment of building a hidden bunker where players play cards. Get a builder program of sorts to support it partially. Charge 2.5x what it cost in salary over the year for players to have this *cool* place to go hang out. THE PLAYERS will sell this item to their squads and friends. You have a one-time cost. That yearly extra $1.00 per player keeps coming in.

BUILDERS: You need to take this high value customers and sell them more things – they already want to give you money. Give them a reason to. They are your richest and most supportive customers.

PILOTS: They should have Easter Egg blimps, and the Blimps should be sponsored. Obviously only pilots at 25,000 feet will see the Zeppelin. Change these little STO’s every month or so, and have a squad or person sponsor it with whatever art they have. Their advertisement will only appear to those who visit the easter egg. No one gets mad if it says ‘Pepsi’.

NAVY: Give them a cool billboard (2D) easter egg of aircraft carriers and submarines that they can torpedo and have fall over like an old shooter game.

All for a dollar…all available for sale at the time of the first sale, online, and print their names somewhere. That dollar keeps coming year after year times a thousand per easter egg. A thousand per little advertisment on blown out walls that another player must walk up to and read. Put players names on road signs.

Stop selling flat fees. They are one time crack pipe hits.

Sell little items at $1.00 a pop per year above the game charge. Let people pick and choose. I have 3 daughters – I’d have to name three roads after them. Once you paint the roadsigns – I’m paying 3 more dollars per year, every year.

etc.

Point of fact…I’d pay $5.00 per year for road sign names per daughter. I bet others would – or $3.00.

/markitin’

You’d sell a ketchup popcicle to an Eskimo wearing white gloves. Heh..

No offense, Joker, but I think your Pilots and Navy ideas are complete non-starters.

And a point on hypothetical card game – there is no such thing as a one-time cost in programming on a live, continuing project like this. Sure, the bulk of implementation is upfront and non-repeating, but there will be maintenance programming requirements for the life of the project, including fixing it when something breaks it – or it breaks something else non-related.

That might be true, Bloo, but that’s why I relented to 250% (or as joker said afterwards 2.5x).

I’m not suggesting card games; I’m certainly not suggesting them as a destination or a goal. If we come up with a roadmap for achieving the Phase 1 we have discussed off-line, then the card games which, again, we already have a good codebase for, might actually make a really cool addition.

Those discussions – which are clearly nowhere beyond the preliminary analysis stage – have to include some risk analysis. The hypothetical, blog-only, golf idea could easily become bogged down, its complex; so it’s not going to come up in any serious discussion outside its use asn example in this post. But the card game concept…

We own 5, fully working, online, teulKit based, card games in our assets. 90% of the work of porting them is work we need done for the game but that work is a big enough project that it would mean most of a dev cycle, for no immediately tangible results, for one of our existing coders. Which means it won’t happen for a long time.

But say we brought in a second coder and she and our existing coder complete that current-game-only fundamental work in half a dev cycle. Now we have 50% of our existing coders time to deliver meaningful changes to our playerbase.

Use the remaining 50% of the new-guys time to port the card games, maybe add another new more meaningful feature (ingame mail?) and some usage of our existing technologies like, maybe, an add-on only patch.

Our playerbase at large benefits, but more importantly if you charge, say, $5 or $10 for the addon pack, even a lightweight one like that, you don’t need to send a zillion copies to be well in the blue for the main-game work that got done. Plus I think you underestimate the benefits of time-filler content like this. If adding cards doesn’t bring in more players but increases the number of players online by a few %age, I think that’s going to be good for the game:

When you log on finding a few squad mates online but playing cards is still way better than finding nobody online just now.

Again: Neither golf or cards are what I was getting excited about.

No offense taken BLOO.

I am spitballing, and all ideas are welcome, and I am merely hoping to start a spark that will catch fire, only remotely related to what I posted.

:)

Bang this drum, KFS.

Quoting Shilling seems to imply that you understand and accept the validity of what he is saying.

A lot is said following that, little to none of which seems to adress his grievances in any way.

Respectfully Oliver, why in god’s name do CRS do the same thing, over and over again, with expectations of a different result?

Plummerx, an executive summary of this post and discussion:

. Shilling no like,
. Shilling points valid,
. CRS discussing new approach,
. Oliver excited about new approach,
. Oliver citing ficticious examples only.

You don’t think its a new approach because, perhaps, you’re one of … those people … who thinks if we had dedicated a post-release year or two to nothing but fixing bugs we’d be in better shape? Sorry, but if you think that, your software-development clue quotient is negative. And I was known for saying that when I was known for decrying the Rats in the forums. I’m not talking about game development, just software development.

So what your question asks is “Why do CRS keep trying to deliver improvements and upgrades to their product without charging their users for it”?

You must mean that – because we’re the only MMO that doesn’t charge for new content on a periodic basis so as to support healthy live and development teams.

And that just happens to be exactly the point of my enthusiasm. We’re talking about, quote, “refocusing on “Stable, Fast, Fun” again at the start of the year” but this year looking at changing the way we add new content by selecting some new content that overlaps with the essentials list but for which we can charge a value-add fee. First priority, addresses issues in the baseline game, second priority, find a way to invest extra resources in that by adding froth to the beverage and charging $5, $10 or $25 for it.

I am not going to speculate on anything that I know to be actual candidate material, so any “option” I list here – like golf or cards – is probably not under consideration, no matter how much I have discussed or fleshed out those ideas in this discussion.

What makes this approach different is that we won’t be selecting this new content the same way we used to, which is trying to find the biggest possible stand-alone value-add content and then implement it with the least possible budget (i.e $0 or less).

Instead we’re going to look for purely value-add content – which the ficticious example of a golf course at Area 51 would be, it has no intrinsic gameplay value – but material for which 75% or more of the work is work that the baseline game sorely needs. In the case of the wholly imaginary golf concept, that work was adding the support for bouncing grenades. That is what makes the golf concept such a good example.

Again, for those of you not actually reading what I’m saying, I talked about the golf idea in the past tense, describing how it could have been used to pay for the integration of the bouncing ‘nade systems into the game, if it were a real content concept, which it absolutely is not. However, it does involve small objects being fired, seen by other people, travelling, bouncing and finally coming to rest. If we’d then sold 10,000 copies of this re-use of the bouncing physics engine at $25 a pop, a fraction of that would have covered the cost of the golf part itself and the rest would have helped bring in additional resources to bear on the rest of the development we did in 1.25, i.e. bug fixes and improvements.

That the software be fuctional and run correctly is pretty basic it would seem. Almost a pre-requisite.
If it does not, addons lose their value. Because the player battles with the bug.

Charge for new content? That you don’t is one thing, that the game itself doesn’t really allow for it is another.
Example.
You could “sell” me an ME-262.
No you can’t. You could sell me the priveledge of spawning one if there was one to spawn. Then I could spawn it, and maybe there would be something to shoot at air to air wise in a reasonable time period. Then again, maybe not.
Value of addon: Next to zero.

Put in personal spawn limits, where I am guaranteed a shot a spawing one (or however many per day) and the whole equation changes. Even if it does run afoul of TOE’s. Or Brigades or High commands. Who cares.

I wasn’t ridiculing the card game idea, facitious or not. I suggested it as a palliative for bunker duty years ago.

There is a reason the game world is de-populated. Lack of new content is probably not central, but that’s my guess.

I have my own ideas, the same ones as many. So I won’t restate them and start a fight.

But the people aren’t there in numbers that need to be. Why is it so hard to look at the dev timeline, the subscribership numbers, and make reasonable cause/effect conlusions? Is the game better? Really? For who?

Why make a call that tanks the numbers, then refuse to roll it back? And making similar changes that do the same thing?

Or is it like an art film that a clique has pronounced a masterpiece, that most wouldn’t watch if they got free popcorn?

Ocean boat racing minigame hydrodynamics, tactical weather, boat dynamics at speed, separable crews

Automobile/motorcycle road-racing/off road racing minigame two wheeled vehicles, vehicle dynamics on pavement at speed, vehicle dynamics offroad at speed, sub-tile terrain physical texturing, tactical weather, separable crews

Boxing minigame hand to hand combat, variable avatar physical characteristics and capabilities

What sort of readily realized, marketable minigame would best be founded on development of personal loadouts?

Grrr…there were separators in the first three paragraphs above after the word “minigame”, but I stupidly used a disallowed character.

Why make a call that tanks the numbers, then refuse to roll it back? And making similar changes that do the same thing?

a) Technical restraints. I haven’t seen the code or anything, but I’m 99% sure there isn’t a “Go to the old ways” switch in there that can be turned on and off. To revert to X point would literally undo every bit of work that’s gone into the game since then.
b) It probably wouldn’t do any good anyways. As wonderful as the game might have been back then, it’s a different game than what’s around now; if you drop people back into it at this point, even the people who talked about how glorious the old days would be complaining. This is because…
c) The problem with the game isn’t the game itself, but how we play it. This isn’t WoW – you can’t solo your way through; what other players do, how they do it, etc. affects the game. Changes have been made and players have failed to adapt to them; thus the changes have failed, not because they were flawed, but because the players didn’t work with them.
Some people say roll back, but the same thing would probably happen – people would complain about how long it takes to get to town and unsubscribe; the old-timers would find out that no, it isn’t as fun as it used to be because of other stuff (Are all the same people going to suddenly appear? It’s a different playerbase now you know) and likely unsubscribe; and CRS would have effectively committed suicide.

I think the idea of a “value-add fee” for certain bonus content is a good one. In fact, it goes way past good into “stupendous” IMO. Frankly I think it actually falls into the category of a self-evident truth – it’s such a good idea it seems hard to believe that this isn’t already happening.

And as someone who is almost 99% certain to purchase any value-added content that CRS releases (regardless of my actual login frequency) I say “bring it on”!

Yeah, for CRS getting more money is good. But with this extra content for current players, the game does not improve.

CRS need more money. We all can see this.

But I hope they do not focuse only if getting more from us.

Are youy guys thinking in new ways to improve new players? New players mean more money for CRS but also a better gaming experience for all us.

How’s going the 2 month free trial?

I dont understand why you guys havent busted up the server cluster, (with Ao’s more than half the map isnt used anyways), and built a second “instant Action” server, With Basicly 1.13. it not only would be a money maker and thus used to finance your main server, but would tell you alot about what your players want. a fully debuged
1.13 server and I could say as a fact the 100 squad members I lost would be back in a heartbeat.

How about renting out the training server?

How about having tournaments on the training server and charging a small fee for entrance? You could have so many different types:

– one-on-one air-to-air
– team air-to-air
– tank vs. tank
– team tank vs. tank
– straight-up 10 vs. 10 inf
– air-to-ground challenges (kill the most targets – would require the ability to place unmanned objects and maybe animate them as well)
– air races
– ground races
– squad vs. squad symmetrical battles (like realism events but squad only)
– marksmanship

Applicants could even spectate with restricted buzzard cams in some cases.

Development could assist in revamping the scoring system, STO system (for placing targets), the UI (for organizing), maybe even bailing/unbailing.

I suspect lots of people/squads would be willing to pay to put their money where their mouths are.

Thoughts?

But with this extra content for current players, the game does not improve.

It helps if you actually read what kfsone posts…

[talking about a hypothetical golf example]… it has no intrinsic gameplay value – but material for which 75% or more of the work is work that the baseline game sorely needs.

i.e. the work required to develop the “value-added” content will also benefit the main game.

In effect, by using revenue from the value-added content to pay for dev staff on contract to do the work, they get that 75% of development work that benefits the baseline game for free.

and built a second “instant Action” server

Great. Take the existing tiny WWIIOL player base and spread it over 2 servers instead of one, guaranteeing (best case scenario) HALF the current player population on each server.

As for this “version foo was the bestest ever” meme that regularly appears – just fuck right off.

I haven’t played much in the last few months, but I got some time in game over the holiday break and I was struck by how much the game has improved since I started playing, and how it keeps improving month by month.

Just a passing thought, but whatever happened to the Pay-Per Events? Just not enough attendence, or did other problems kill the program?

You guys got away from what set this game apart from the rest. it was the element of suprise and teamwork. Spending the time to organize things was half the fun of this game. Offensively triggering that “oh shit” factor on your enemy brought that enjoyment and feeling of all that hard work is going to pay off. Being on defense, seeing things coming over the horizon and that “oh shit” factor is what kept your long time subscribers around.

Now look what you got. Where is the teamwork? Where is the comradery and friendships you build working together toward a common goal? Whats your goal now? beat your head against that brick wall until it comes crumbling down? its a shame. Ive had days where i played 18-20 hours straight drinking beer and baked off my ass leading huge columns, organizing inf all over towns. Now its just “CHARGE”. wheres the fun, teamwork and sense of accomplishment in what you have now? i for the life of me havent been able to find it or bring that feeling back that gets me to login to this game i once played every night for 3-4 years……

Easy:
Game mechanics don’t generate teamwork.
People do.
And the less you force them to team up, the more they do it.

One silly thought on this extra chargeable content.

How would a ‘black box’ option for AARs go in the client to those who pay a premium?

The black box would keep damage logs during the sortie and use the software you already use in house to visually display the ballistic hits in the AAR UI after youve died.

Having read through the various comments since my last, it seems several of you just don’t get that I’m not talking about the old CRS habbit of choosing a brand new ground-up piece of content to add for free. This is usually done to soak up resources that would otherwise be idle during a dev cycle — if the coders are busy fixing code bugs, what are the artists supposed to do? Plus its a simple fact that we have to add content. Yes, it seems only sensible that the product should be fixed before you start adding stuff to it. But that’s not how it works when you release a product.

If you want CRS to stop and fix the bugs, the game has to go offline and be worked on in a vacuum. The fact that it was troubled when it was released doesn’t grant a stay of execution to spend time fixing. Once the clock is ticking, new content needs to be added.

What I’m talking about here is taking a different approach to finding that content. I’m talking about finding work that needs doing an a content-manifestation of that work that can be sold as value-add content.

Paratroopers could have been premium content. The Me-262 couldn’t. Freighters could have been premium content. The ability to mobile spawn couldn’t.

Listen carefully – I am not talking about just charging for new content. I am talking about choosing our new content in such a way that it doubles up with game-critical work and covers the cost of implenting work the game needs done.

That’s why the golf example in the context of the last version we did – if we’d brought someone in to do a project that was 75% adding bouncing objects and 25% manifesting it was a golf-range, and sold that for $25 a pop, bouncing grenades would have made us money rather than cost us money.

Go horse :)

The pay-per event server is a separate server cluster. That means that every code change we make has to be tested in the context of the event server. That we have the overhead of maintaining all of our tools in the context of the event server. And the events barely brought in enough money to cover the operation of the server never mind the programmer time.

Killu, I would say that it got lost because certain development tracks have just taken too damn long. And there’s nothing we can do about that unless we find ways to pay for some of our development so we can bring extra people in.

JC: Something like that is a good idea, but – offhand – I can’t think of anything it doubles up with that we have on our next 18-months todolist. My excitement here isn’t about us adding cards to the game, but to the fact we’re looking at important work that needs to be done with a view to “how can we pay for this?”

Again, for the rest of you, this is about finding value-add implementations of code work we need to do. Ficticious example: In-game squad forums to cover the cost of integrating a web-browser. Ficticious because the game doesn’t need an in-game browser.

That we have the overhead of maintaining all of our tools in the context of the event server. And the events barely brought in enough money to cover the operation of the server never mind the programmer time.

Read and understood. Shame though. Some of the funner times I had was taking part in the pay-per events, and only missed the last few due to schedule conflicts with real life. I would really like to see what sort of events could be managed with all the new tech that has been brought into the game over the past few years. I hate to hear that it proved to be unfeasible.

As to the pay for bonus content idea — I really have no input until I see said content, except that I am not automatically opposed to it. I will make the judgment on whether or not to buy when I see what it is.

Horse wrote:
“I haven’t played much in the last few months, but I got some time in game over the holiday break and I was struck by how much the game has improved since I started playing, and how it keeps improving month by month.”

Which no doubt explains why player numbers are higher than ever, right?

No, vector, Xmas explains that.

I think I hear KFSONE saying (to KILLUFOO) that TOE’s allowed the map to go without AO’s and allowed smaller groups to have that surprise and ‘oh sh1t’ feeling..but TOE’s are more complex and tied to many other items that must be done first and/or simultaneously.

Its coming back KILLUFOO, not today or tomorrow…but the game is headed back to that Brigade independence you miss.

Stay tuned and get on HC.

KFSONE – your economic model is the only one that makes sense for the size of your group and the customers you have.

I’ve been getting my butt handed to me in game. Morale is a bitch. But I heart ww2ol. Really. I could be at the titteh bar, snorting cola, or other really bad things. But this is a safe habit that won’t land me in divorce court (hopefully), or jail.

This game has had it’s ups and downs– but know I’m here until they unplug the servers.

New content, new direction–sounds cool. What I’m really looking forward to is all the work that was done with the SRTM data; hopefully rickb made some headway with OSG too.

Imagine you have an old Mustang. You get it appraised, its worth $5,000, and you decide to try and up the value. So you spend $3,000 on getting one of those fancy little in-car computers installed that’s capable of playing DVDs or auto-parking the car. You rewire the headlight controls on the wheel via the computer but don’t wire up any of its other capabilities.

Then you get it appraised again. The value is still $5,000 after an expense of $3025 by you.

If you had hooked the computer up to a display or added speakers so it could play music or wired it up to the drive-train so it could actually auto-park the value would have gone up by more than your investment, not stayed static.

KFS, I have an idea:

One of the things you guys have discussed recently is the need for automated naval convoys and the future hope for visible supply, right?

So that would require more advanced AI or the ability to follow a set path, right? (I am aware I’m making large assumptions)

The product I can think of for this to generate extra revenue is some kind of upgrade for target practice either offline or on the training server.

I really think people would pay for this.

I know I’d pay for the ability to make an AI tank/plane/boat target drone that I could use to practice air gunnery and dive bombing, etc.

Man, Imagine if you could have even just rudimentary AI inf that run around to practice leading targets, etc!!

So, to make this possible you’d need:

-more advanced AI
-the ability to have a functional unit ingame without a player operating it (rather than the UMS’s and hulks, which appear to be something quite different) Could also open the door to bailing/unbailing?
-the ability to set a route and have said AI follow it. For convoys, the OIC could set the path.

All of those things are features which could dramatically enhance the naval war, air war, and tactical/logistic facets of the game.

What do you think?

I think I’d said I only wanted to discuss ficticious ideas, so I’m not going to start the “see if he says he doesn’t like it or not” guessing game.

Sorry :)

So you are adding hot French whoors!?!!?

KFS1 said hookers in 1.13!

Oh, I thought you were welcoming ideas.

Or is it the expectation of feedback I am out-to-lunch about?

No, I’m not canvasing for ideas in this post, this was a me-talking-to-you post, and the potential of any idea is not based on how good it is, but what implementing it does for both the game and game development. I don’t doubt the ability of my audience to come up with good ideas, but the information you need to participate in that discussion isn’t available to you.

I think I spotted where the confusion is originating from, and I will edit the original post:

But this isn’t even the stuff we were talking about; these are things we were planning last year. Rather it seems several of us, over Xmas, have been thinking about some of the same “down the line” elements of the project, and how we might structure our development schedule to make them happen sooner, and to introduce some value-added features edit: based on them to help cost developing them.

My excitement is over this change of approach. That I happen to like some of the features we’ve discussed is wholly secondary. If it works, it will begin to make good things happen.

All in All and aside from the Lag issues, this was a good patch, bouncing grenades, The LMG deploy is cool:), I don’t know if it has the 3rd person view you guys wanted , but we don’t care.

KFSone: I’d say all your idea’s for these various financial improvement avenue’s you’ve mentioned are not necessary if what Shilling, Killufoo and Joker are speaking of is addressed.

Joker expressed his hope for the return of what they’ve missed for so long will come again via TOE’s. I hope it does too, and in my eyes it has to. For your sake lol. What they hope for is the core part of this sim that made this community such a dedicated bunch.

You do realize that you could add all of the toys and bells and whistle in the world and it would be for not. This game since we lost the “independence feature” has been updated in so many ways on other fronts and yet what is the communities consistent response? “cool” for about a month then its whats next?

That, “what have you done for me lately” attitude is so strong now because of the loss of that independence on the battlefield that made this community and game strong.

Shilling, Joker, and Killufoo are all leaders. Give them back the power to lead their squads in conjuction with a voluntary HC structure that was established soley as a way to unite squads on their respective sides and then you’ll have your money, cuz we’ll have back the ability to do as we please as players. No need for perplexing “bonus content” mumbojumbo.

We don’t need new planes, tanks, planes, boats, infantry weapons and guns. We need the game play back. Ya had it, just give it back lol.

I hope it comes with TOE’s, if it doesn’t well then good luck.

OMG. Even more “bogus WWIIOL myths that will not die:”

Give them back the power to lead their squads in conjuction with a voluntary HC structure that was established soley as a way to unite squads on their respective sides and then you’ll have your money, cuz we’ll have back the ability to do as we please as players.

Oh ffs. Spoken like someone who has never read[1] a single thing the Rats have posted about why this was all fine and dandy for the people already in squads but completely and utterly abysmal for the players that weren’t.

[1] Or read but completely failed to comprehend.

Nice horse. Personal attacks, whats that the 10,000 one you’ve made counting your PS valve popping? Funny seeing you defend crs statements after I’ve seen you just unload on them none stop.

I do know why the changes were made and the crs’ stance on it. It was necessary, the issues they were addressing were very valid, heck I had to deal with most of them not too much prior to that either since thats when I came into the game. That being said its clear they’re shooting for bringing back the things allow for that stronger squad format that was there. Which is why I said I hope like many others that TOE’s go very well, but just like those players I really enjoy the game and nice that they allow us to share are opinions so I did. A nice luxury and far from what you get from most developers. And I’ve followed KFSone’s blog for a long time, his insight into what they are doing is usually very informative and very interesting.

And none of this requires you flipping your lid for no reason, comprehend that?

Ahh, the all important history from the other side of the glass. Yes, the days of the voluntary HC structure were the best. That’s why CRS thought, “Great, numbers are up and climbing, let us do something drastic to stop it”.

The problem with those heady days of massive tank stockpiles and off-the-cuff spontaneous actions was those annoying “other people”. You know, the ones who didn’t get that *your* squad was operating out of Tienen tonight.

The game wasn’t great, it was anarchic, and things like AOs and the HC system were introduced because not having them was bleeding the game. We may not have fixed it yet, but we have stopped the bleeding.

People remember them being heady days of co-operation because it was easy to pretend we were co-operating.

Sorry dude, but the same way you abjectly missed the point of this thread – that instead of looking for new features, we’re looking for compliments to work we need to do that will help recoup the costs of doing that work – you’ve completely missed the reasons that the game is in the state it is today.

And infact, if you remembered the history of those days accurately, you’d realize the perversity of what you’re saying.

Sorry KFSone. I picked a very small part of what you’d said and rolled with it. I can see restating what I’d said about AO’s and why I have the opinion I have would just cause this to push along like any other AO arguement on PS. So I’ll drop that lol :)

Anyway I did re-read what you’d said. So the idea is to packup patch releases into marketable item’s offered to the playerbase. Is that like a we gotta pay it to continue playing or is it more like an option purchase to have access to use new features/equipment. And the income from this could more than cover the cost of developing what was in the patch and the rest goes possibly to hiring more staff which triggers a snowball effect of more content sooner followed by even more staff then more content, rinse repeat. That about right?

I just wonder, what is your opinion of how the playerbase would take it?

I don’t think it would work as new game features or equipment, and it appears that kfsone is not specifying that. It sounds more like optional content which is not required to be on equal footing with other players in the game who may have purchased the optional content.

Mako;

several of us, over Xmas, have been thinking about some of the same “down the line” elements of the project, and how we might structure our development schedule to make them happen sooner, and to introduce some value-added features edit: based on them to help cost developing them.

If we had decided to add a golf-range feature in 1.25.0 to provide a cost-center for bouncing grenades, you wouldn’t have had to buy the golf-range to get bouncing grenades. If we could expect to sell enough copies of the add-on, however, we might have been able to bring in extra resources. Which means 1.25 might have contained more free stuff.

Mako: if you think that’s “flipping my lid”, you really are clueless. HTH. HAND.

If you’re looking at the game with 2003 or 2001 eyes, you might well be even more confused than you were back then.

I wasn’t confused until this new system of spawining in was put in place. Now that it takes me 10-20 minutes to do what used to take me 2 minutes, I would say you are the one confused,by your repeated belief that your your current clumbsy system is better.

Ah shitty crap. Sorry mate. Happy new year to you.

Sorry, Burma, but all I can say is *ROFLAMO*. Not ROFL, But ROFLAMO. I hope you can get a certificate for your high rating in selective reading.

1. that you’re evidently not one of the people who’s completed the learning curve but think you have.
2. “repeated belief?” As Wiki likes to say: “Citations required”. Where did I first say it was better? Where did I say I no-longer thought it was? And where did I then state again that I thought it was better?
3. at your implication that I think a longer, harder learning curve is better.
4. so much wrongness AND you choosing to flap your lips (fingers?) in the “fuck off” thread. superb comedy.

A horrible thought just occured to me. Maybe you’re actually serious. That’d be scary. I mean, that’d be crazy. I cite an example, indicate I’ve seen numerous others say the same thing, make the argument that there is a huge gap between then and now (and unless you’re a readme-whore nothing to cover that gap or even make you aware of how things have changed). And then I admit an error on our part.

And somehow you read that as me asserting everything is hunky dory.

I don’t think the new system is better. I don’t think that in total its worse. I certainly think there are numerous parts of the whole that have become worse. For instance: If it takes you 20 minutes to do something that used to take 2 minutes, then you’ve failed to understand how the game has changed. But that is one area where the system is worse, because you don’t have to go out of your way to use it the “wrong way”.

But I fail to see where you get the opinions expressed in your post. My intuition tells me that its probably a very dark place that never sees sunlight.

KFS -says

“Sorry, Burma, but all I can say is *ROFLAMO*. Not ROFL, But ROFLAMO. I hope you can get a certificate for your high rating in selective reading.”

Laugh all you want dude, its your job that is on the line, who do you think they will cut next?

Sorry about the bold type in my post kfs, I suck at the interweb. But if I where you I would freshen my Resume. Bottom line is that the game has become a a lot less fun than it used to be, like others who have posted I used to play for 8 to 10 hours at a time years ago too. You guys are like Ford, they had a solid car with the mustang, but kept messing with it, till they turned it into an ugly Piece of crap. The new Mustang looks just like the old Mustang, They came to there senses, when will CRS?

I am not one of your fanboys that you guys are used to hearing from and that have helped you ruin the game. And if you don’t want to hear hard truths, then you will have to ban me.

KFS -says

“But I fail to see where you get the opinions expressed in your post. My intuition tells me that its probably a very dark place that never sees sunlight.”

Yes your right kfs, cause thats how CRS treats thier customers, like mushrooms… keep them in the dark and throw shit on them.

So now you’re telling me that my posts are uninformative and fecal in quality?

One of the characteristics of fanboys is that they have their own definition of “hard facts”, which they cling so tightly to that they are incapable of hearing or seeing someone else’s opinion expressed on the subject.

You give the apperance of having this afflictation so badly that you are incapable of seeing that I am actually expressing a not-dissimilar opinion to your own. Failing to match 100%, it becomes invisible to you. Perhaps you are a “hate boy”?

I would posit that if someone were to stick their head up their rectum and someone was then to attempt to pass them “hard facts”, they would conclude that those hard facts were all fecal in nature.

I actually think that the main reason this blog has maintained an active readership is that it isn’t populated by fanboys. If I were you, I’d quit making assumptions before you get too far behind.

I wish you could edit your post on this type of board, you make a post here and you can’t take it back. So, I appologize to you kfs. I went off on the wrong person. You are the only honest, and positve influence I have seen by a Rat in a long time.

“You give the apperance of having this afflictation so badly that you are incapable of seeing that I am actually expressing a not-dissimilar opinion to your own. Failing to match 100%, it becomes invisible to you. Perhaps you are a “hate boy”?”

You got me there.

I’m perfectly capable of being an asshat, and I’m perfectly capable of being wooed by the fans. I think I have a slight advantage, rather than an inate endowment or turn of character, that I was a player for a year, so I was on the other end of the fanboy stonewall myself for a time. Fishu and I almost came to blows (and I pick this example not to insult Fishu by calling him a fanboy, but in this case his stance happened to fit the fanboys worldview) over aircraft fires. You could light up aircraft and most of the time the fire would continue to burn without having any negative effect. This was most evident on the Ju87 because (a) most of what was firing at it lacked explosives or significant incendiaries, (b) because it is a tough little bird, (c) because the Ju87 is ground-target oriented so it would tend to stay in a particular area circling.

I made a film of a Ju87 in ordinary combat being strafed on takeoff producing four streams of fire coming off its wings. It then proceeded to Antwerp-Schilde FB, bombed various pieces of equipment, strafed infantry and trucks, and then RTBed. Sortie time: 47 minutes. Burn time: 46 minutes 20 seconds (or roughly that).

I didn’t document that blenheim doing the same thing *because* it tended to get shot down or explode, but it was a snap to document a Ju87 doing it.

Originally I had talked about it in terms of “aircraft” and “fires”. But the fanboys wouldn’t hear that, so I documented an example. But in doing so, I walked into the fanboy’s “OMG SIDE BIAS” trap. Over the course of 6 months every time I tried to resurrect it the same guys jumped in and pissed on it. Eventually, I was making some headway, and Fishu happened to step in and tackle the seeming side-bias (which I think was mostly “there” because others brought it up in that thread). And I just exploded, got myself banned from the closed beta briefly, but in the “wtf is wrong with you, we have to ban you” exchange with CRS, I finally got the point across to a Rat and it made it, finally, to the todo list.

(Which is why fire now burns, but it still doesn’t yet kill you; I’ve talked to Rickb about this – about the fact it should be possible to forward-predict the burn and detect ‘critical fire, award kill’ at the moment the fire is set)

Leave a Reply

Name and email address are required. Your email address will not be published.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <pre> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

%d bloggers like this: