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What developers want

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Anonymous
March 15, 2005 10:00:04 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Hi,

When interviewed wargame developers always say they made <insert game>
because they felt like making a game on <insert subject>, because they
like the subject, time period, scale, everything.

I fully believe this, there's no point in working long hours for
dubious payment on a game/system you're not passionate about.

With so many games released or announced this year it's pretty easy to
come up with a period/scale matrix to have a look at "what developers
like"

S = Strategic scale
O = Operational scale
T = Tactical scale

Older than Nappie : S=0, O=1, T=3
Napoleonic : S=1, O=3, T=2
ACW : S=2, O=1, T=1
WWI : S=1, O=0, T=0
WWII : S=6, O=13, T=6
Modern : S=0, O=2, T=5

Total : 47 games released or announced this year.

Not all games are going to be released this year, but it looks like
it's going to be pretty crowded in the WWII operational level market.

Is there a demand for it ? - who knows - sometimes I get the impression
that the wargaming market is not so much demand-driven as gamers may
buy a game in a period/scale combination because they want a new
game/challenge at that point in time and don't want to wait for a next
game in their preferred category to appear.

It's also good to have a look at the zeroes, the period/scale
combinations that are getting overlooked right now, if there's a demand
for that particular combination it might be a good moment to jump in as
you'll rule the market there :) 

hm, especially the "older than Nappie/strategic" combination seems
enticing, but then I always had a soft spot for strategic level games.
The 30-years war, European or Japanese medieval stuff ...

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

More about : developers

Anonymous
March 15, 2005 1:34:30 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Giftzwerg wrote:
> In article <1110906174.199788.104580@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
> eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...
>
> > > but it might
> > > explain a lot if we find that a single company - a single
*engine* -
> > > amounts to a recognizable percentage of your totals.
> >
> > Ok - new installment of my "what's up doc" coming up, so everyone
can
> > check my math :) 
>
> I'm not sure we can make any kind of mathematical judgements or come
to
> any valid conclusions using a list that incorporates some fairly
> speculative information on the part of the developers themselves.
The
> first thing I'd do is throw out all the "Available: ???" titles.

Shouldn't have called it math, but I just love my speculations to be
based on something, so even flimsy data is good enough for me - In the
absence of hard data you sometimes just have to wing it :) 

Anyway, both my conclusions (lot's of operational WWII games, no
strategic pre-Nap games in the pipeline) are pretty much on target
afaik.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
March 15, 2005 3:17:18 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

<eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1110898804.726621.297850@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> Hi,
>
> When interviewed wargame developers always say they made <insert game>
> because they felt like making a game on <insert subject>, because they
> like the subject, time period, scale, everything.
>
> I fully believe this, there's no point in working long hours for
> dubious payment on a game/system you're not passionate about.
>
> With so many games released or announced this year it's pretty easy to
> come up with a period/scale matrix to have a look at "what developers
> like"
>
> S = Strategic scale
> O = Operational scale
> T = Tactical scale
>
> Older than Nappie : S=0, O=1, T=3
> Napoleonic : S=1, O=3, T=2
> ACW : S=2, O=1, T=1
> WWI : S=1, O=0, T=0
> WWII : S=6, O=13, T=6
> Modern : S=0, O=2, T=5
>
> Total : 47 games released or announced this year.
>
> Not all games are going to be released this year, but it looks like
> it's going to be pretty crowded in the WWII operational level market.
>
> Is there a demand for it ? - who knows - sometimes I get the impression
> that the wargaming market is not so much demand-driven as gamers may
> buy a game in a period/scale combination because they want a new
> game/challenge at that point in time and don't want to wait for a next
> game in their preferred category to appear.
>
> It's also good to have a look at the zeroes, the period/scale
> combinations that are getting overlooked right now, if there's a demand
> for that particular combination it might be a good moment to jump in as
> you'll rule the market there :) 
>
> hm, especially the "older than Nappie/strategic" combination seems
> enticing, but then I always had a soft spot for strategic level games.
> The 30-years war, European or Japanese medieval stuff ...
>
> Greetz,
>
> Eddy Sterckx
>

I agree with this. The devil comes in when designers begin to depend on
their games for a living. At that point, they're forced to follow the
market to keep solvent. The designers I most respect, Tiller, Hamilton,
Dockal, Holdridge, have contracts and income from other than commercial
games. Most seem to use their skills for contracts where they can use their
gaming experience - DoD, etc. Those that lose their edge get caught up in
the corporate world where their passion takes a secondary position to the
bottom line.
Related resources
Anonymous
March 15, 2005 5:26:35 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Giftzwerg wrote:
> [I read the other day that Bill Gates is worth 49 billion dollars.
If
> that was my wallet, I'd call up the Panther developers and tell them,

> "I've got a cool billion dollars here. Cash. Big sacks of
Franklins.
> I want a fully generalized version of HTTR with every weapon and unit

> and formation from every nation from 1945 to 2005. I want 500
scenarios
> to ship with the game, and an editor and mapmaker.]

Sounds great! :) )

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
www.panthergames.com
Anonymous
March 15, 2005 7:46:31 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

"eddysterckx@hotmail.com" <eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote in
news:1110898804.726621.297850@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com:

> When interviewed wargame developers always say they made <insert game>
> because they felt like making a game on <insert subject>, because they
> like the subject, time period, scale, everything.
>
> I fully believe this, there's no point in working long hours for
> dubious payment on a game/system you're not passionate about.

My area is in internet systems. This sounds alot like a re-occurring
answer of mine whenever Im asked by people about creating a money-making
site on the net. I tell them that the chances are very slim that they can
create such a site. What they need to do is pick a subject they love,
particularly one where they have searched on the net and found the
results to be lacking. Then create the site because they love it. Build
content links. Add commission pages for things like books, magazines,
posters, tshirts, mugs, CD's, catalogs, anything as long as it fits in
with the subject. Add your own content and personally designed items of
the above list. Get it added to search engines. Once you get traffic then
get a professional web-site made for it and professionally hosted. Add
blogs or webforums.

IF it makes money, great. If they really love the subject then it has a
good chance of it. But the only way to do it is with a site that you
would do anyway even if it didnt. Because doing that much work just to
try and make money off of it is almost impossible to keep going on, and
make a decent site that doesnt just look like a sales hook.

Gandalf Parker
Anonymous
March 16, 2005 1:57:14 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Mike Kreuzer wrote:
> For those who haven't already seen it, there's another
list/discussion of
> potential new games at http://www.wargamer.com/articles/roadtowar_1/

Very good read - but he missed some :) 

> With Anglo-German War, Battles in Italy and (presumably scenarios in)
Combined
> Arms covering the oft overlooked Med,

Aren't you forgetting "Conquest of the Aegean" :) 

> As to the rest, well, there are 20 non WW2 games on your list, and 25
WW2 ones.
> It seems, to generalise from your point about ancient strategic
games, that
> anything non WW2 is open for exploitation by a canny developer, or
unsellable,
> depending on how you look at these things.

Depends on how it is presented - the original Cossacks (pre-Nap) sold 2
million units. The new Cossacks II (Napoleonic) sure is an AAA title
aimed at the RTS crowd, but it might just be a borderline wargame.
Looking at the already released in-game footage you might think
otherwise, but I'm also looking at what the developers claim it will
contain.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
March 16, 2005 2:37:14 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> I'm not sure we can make any kind of mathematical judgements or come to
> any valid conclusions using a list that incorporates some fairly
> speculative information on the part of the developers themselves. The
> first thing I'd do is throw out all the "Available: ???" titles.
>
> [I mean, I've been waiting for Norm Koger's latest game for ... how many
> years? Three? Four? The last time I directly posted on this, I
> believe I said, "Q2 2003?" Cripes, in Q2 2003, the NY Times was still
> patiently explaining why it was a neocon fantasy to imagine setting off
> a virtual tsunami of democracy across the Middle East just by deposing
> Saddam. Oh, how things change in two short years, eh? <g>]

Well, to be rather useful ;)  I will tell you a "secret" - Norm Koger is
active on one Yahoo based email group about Russo-Japanese War... I also
subscribed to that group. I guess that many will subscribe now as well :) 
I think that game will come out eventually but it takes time because I guess
that it's a lot work for a one or few people... (who knows who is making a
graphics, maybe he as well).


Mario
Anonymous
March 16, 2005 2:49:49 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

For those who haven't already seen it, there's another list/discussion of
potential new games at http://www.wargamer.com/articles/roadtowar_1/

It will be interesting to see how many of these appear this year. Fingers
crossed. :-)

Just looking at WW2, for the moment, it was good to see such a wide coverage, at
last battles without Americans are getting a look in (!). Grigsby said on his
site that he wasn't doing the Mediterranean because it'd mean 50% less sales.
With Anglo-German War, Battles in Italy and (presumably scenarios in) Combined
Arms covering the oft overlooked Med, the only theatre that I could see being
missing was Scandinavia. In fact Finland might make it into one of Grigsby or
Schwerpunkt's East Front games, so Norway 1940's missing and that seems to be
it.

If I have a gripe about the WW2 games at all it's that it's a pity that the only
two games about the Eastern Front at the operational/strategic scale, the two
just mentioned, are re releases/reworkings of older games. A fresh look would
always be nice, but getting these games up to modern specs will do for the
moment. :-)

As to the rest, well, there are 20 non WW2 games on your list, and 25 WW2 ones.
It seems, to generalise from your point about ancient strategic games, that
anything non WW2 is open for exploitation by a canny developer, or unsellable,
depending on how you look at these things.

Regards Mike Kreuzer
Anonymous
March 18, 2005 1:58:32 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Mike Kreuzer wrote:

> Perhaps the initial barrier to entry for
> making a computer game is just that much higher?

It is - essentially it's designing a game + making the software -
there's a nice thread about this where I proposed some solutions.

When we were kids, me and a buddy designed a boardgame Medieval Squad
Leader game. Rules/Map/Counter changes would be made on the fly, tested
and written down if they worked. Designing the same game now on the PC
would take an enormous amount of work. That's why I found it so
significant that WaW was first designed and played as a boardgame in a
very short amount of time, before being put on the pc - which took
almost 3 years.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 3:05:52 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Mike Kreuzer wrote:
> <eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:1111129112.813866.151760@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
> >
> > Mike Kreuzer wrote:
> >
> >> Perhaps the initial barrier to entry for
> >> making a computer game is just that much higher?
> >
> > It is - essentially it's designing a game + making the software -
> > there's a nice thread about this where I proposed some solutions.
> >
>
> The one that went "use someone else's boardgame design & then leave
out the
> AI" ... Yeah, I read it. I'm coming around to the opinion that there
just
> might not be a way around the serious amount of extra work needed to
make a
> computer game, above and beyond what's required to make a boardgame.


Well, I did try to come up with a minimalist approach, but there's no
hiding the fact that even that amounts to a lot of work.

> [snip]
> Medieval Squad Leader sounds kind of cool. ;-)

Hexagonal shaped boards each consisting of multiple hexes that could be
combined to make bigger boards (SL style) - loose rough, woods and
house hexes or an amalgam of hexes that would be placed at random on
top of the boards (Battle Cry style). Skirmish style rules - think
Vikings raiding a village, not a recreation of the battle of Crecy.
Essentially a step up from the game Cry Havoc. I still think it's a
nice idea for a boardgame and it still hasn't been done afaik.

> Nice to read reminiscences
> about childhood game designs, btw. Time to reharness some of that
early
> enthusiasm, for me anyway!

I still seem to have it - my wife says it's because I've stayed a kid
inside :) 

> Here's another potential new computer wargame for your list: ETO, a
direct
> boardgame port, which needless to say is about WW2, by
> http://www.neppagames.com/ and Shrapnel. Press release:
> http://www.shrapnelgames.com/News/pr_02.htm

??? - from the links you've provided it looks like it's a boardgame,
not a computer wargame. Got any more on this ? - getting curious now
.... :) 

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
March 19, 2005 1:02:00 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> Aren't you forgetting "Conquest of the Aegean" :) 
>

Oh, that old thing ... yes, of course, it and any other omissions were too
just to make sure you were paying attention. :-)

>> As to the rest, well, there are 20 non WW2 games on your list, and 25
> WW2 ones.
>> It seems, to generalise from your point about ancient strategic
> games, that
>> anything non WW2 is open for exploitation by a canny developer, or
> unsellable,
>> depending on how you look at these things.
>
> Depends on how it is presented - the original Cossacks (pre-Nap) sold 2
> million units. The new Cossacks II (Napoleonic) sure is an AAA title
> aimed at the RTS crowd, but it might just be a borderline wargame.
> Looking at the already released in-game footage you might think
> otherwise, but I'm also looking at what the developers claim it will
> contain.

I suppose I hadn't counted it as a wargame, and yeah, that's probably
snobbishness, but I have to draw the line somewhere otherwise the
categorisation becomes meaningless.

It's interesting to compare the situation to small boardgame producers, the
desktop publishers and so on. Their output is incredibly variegated and
interesting, it includes WW2 of course, but there're a lot of battles and
wars that have never (AFAIK) been done on computer that are readily
available as new boardgames. Perhaps the initial barrier to entry for
making a computer game is just that much higher?

Regards, Mike Kreuzer
Anonymous
March 20, 2005 1:32:18 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

<eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1111129112.813866.151760@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com...
>
> Mike Kreuzer wrote:
>
>> Perhaps the initial barrier to entry for
>> making a computer game is just that much higher?
>
> It is - essentially it's designing a game + making the software -
> there's a nice thread about this where I proposed some solutions.
>

The one that went "use someone else's boardgame design & then leave out the
AI" ... Yeah, I read it. I'm coming around to the opinion that there just
might not be a way around the serious amount of extra work needed to make a
computer game, above and beyond what's required to make a boardgame. It's a
pity there's such an obvious and seemingly immutable reason behind why
boardgames cover a wider range of topics and often get to be more innovative
to boot, but there it seems to be.

[snip]
Medieval Squad Leader sounds kind of cool. ;-) Nice to read reminiscences
about childhood game designs, btw. Time to reharness some of that early
enthusiasm, for me anyway!

Here's another potential new computer wargame for your list: ETO, a direct
boardgame port, which needless to say is about WW2, by
http://www.neppagames.com/ and Shrapnel. Press release:
http://www.shrapnelgames.com/News/pr_02.htm

Regards, Mike Kreuzer
Anonymous
March 21, 2005 10:16:28 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

>
>> Here's another potential new computer wargame for your list: ETO, a
> direct
>> boardgame port, which needless to say is about WW2, by
>> http://www.neppagames.com/ and Shrapnel. Press release:
>> http://www.shrapnelgames.com/News/pr_02.htm
>
> ??? - from the links you've provided it looks like it's a boardgame,
> not a computer wargame. Got any more on this ? - getting curious now
> ... :) 

Only know what I've read there. I'd assumed they were porting the
boardgame, but now that I re-read it, I think it means that Shrapnel's
branched out into selling boardgames. The line "Some of the changes found
in this version include ... additional counters" seems to say boardgame.
I've sent in an e mail asking, will let you know when I know.

Regards, Mike Kreuzer
!