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#1391916 - 07/26/04 01:52 AM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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Wing Chaps Offline
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I sent my letter to press@ that site, so far so good.

They're working on a combat tactical FPS!?!

How original! How many of THOSE will they be competing with? They'd better be good, real good, or Brothers In Arms will eat their lunch!


I like cheese too!
Inline advert (2nd and 3rd post)

#1391917 - 07/26/04 03:20 AM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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You've got that right Chappy!!!

I had a feeling Brothers In Arms was going to be a benchmarker for the next crop of shooters, still do, but I've got one question for ya............who are we talking about anyway?

See, I've forgotten anything their doin' or apt to be doing already! ;\)

Glad you e-mailed btw!

#1391918 - 07/26/04 01:55 PM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  

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Quote:
Originally posted by Gromit:
What a bummer. \:\(

*sigh*

I'll guess I'll break down and purchase the Promised Land's upgrade to RB3D.

It's better than nothing.
Good to see you Gromit! Tried e-mailing you last month but didn't get a response. How are things going?

Droops

#1391919 - 07/26/04 01:59 PM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  

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Quote:
Originally posted by Xeidos2:
If we could harness the energy of FlyXwire's passion we could have KOE ready for beta testing in 30 days. And there is also the problem of having to rebuild the team. Of all the members I'm the only one collecting unemployment. All the others have found new jobs.

Xeidos,

Thanks for the update and the explanation. I appreciate the time and effort to do so, even though I know it wasn't pleasant.

I'm glad that the other developers have jobs, and hope that you find a new one soon. Can you tell me, is there one person who has the rights to what's been developed so far, or is it spread out amongst a lot of you?

Droops

#1391920 - 07/26/04 02:42 PM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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Xeidos2 wrote:
Quote:

We were a small team to begin with
On the Aspect team page I see only two coders? How long has it been in development?

Quote:

when we lost only a few people we quickly got to a point where finishing KOE as it was originally announced became almost impossible.
Loosing people is always a problem, since you can not just have another one in your team take responsibility for the module the missing person did. But in a small team it is of course even worse. I worked on only one commercial sim and IMHO the road downwards towards the sim being cancelled as well was started when one person out of about 20 we had went. He fell in love with a woman that had her own company, so he decided to be with her all day. We did not manage to find someone that was able to replace him. In (sim) development, you not only need to be good, you also need luck.

A crazy idea about the financing through the community / users:
IMHO the problem with this is that people do not like to spend money when they do not know whether they will receive something and when some people might even think it was a hoax or that people are just saying it progresses when it does not, to make money. Yelling destructive things on a forum is very, very easy \:\( . While I do not believe in these things, i DO believe that even when you would start travelling such a road, there is a definite chance it dies and will never be finished. Even of projects in good shape, half die.

So, how about using the mantra normally used for open source - "Release often release early". You say you can already fly around and shoot things. I am sure there are 1000 missing things and 1000 bugs. But the idea would be to be honest and to simply always give out the latest version to the people that pay. So, in effect you would not say "pay now and maybe you get a great sim later (and maybe nothing)", you say "pay now and you DO get something, it is just completely unfinished right now". You would pay say 5 or 10$ a month and get a new version each month. Oleg publishes a dev update each week showing screenies of the 3D models. But with this idea, there would be a look behind the scenes of all development (3D models, sound, GUI, coding etc etc) and you would get to interactively try the newest version.

Ok, I admit I have no idea on financial stuff and should go back to coding.

Quote:

We made the first milestone on time. The second milestone was a week late. (The Handley Page O/400 proved to be very problematic) The third milestone was complete
Wow - that is seldom!

Quote:

About the influence of forums on development. The perception amongst developers and publishers that I've been told over the last nine years is more in line with what JonPO1 has written. Whether this is right or not is another debate, but most developers regard the forums as a hostile environment.
I am not surprised at all. Just look at the people on some Il2 forums (worse on the non-SimHQ forums) that say they are sw developers, and then come up with some completely ridiculous (sp?) argument showing Oleg and co are idiots. Probably they feel better afterwards, after all they do not consider themselves idiots. Also, you have the purely destructive behaviour that has shut down several of the big MSFS/CFS modding groups. TK (developer of SF:P1) has completely left the fora.

However, you see positive fora members as well. Not only the people that directly contribute with a mod, but also those that motivate or that help out with an idea or historical tidbit.

#1391921 - 07/26/04 03:17 PM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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Mahoney Offline
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Quote:
So, how about using the mantra normally used for open source - "Release often release early". You say you can already fly around and shoot things. I am sure there are 1000 missing things and 1000 bugs. But the idea would be to be honest and to simply always give out the latest version to the people that pay. So, in effect you would not say "pay now and maybe you get a great sim later (and maybe nothing)", you say "pay now and you DO get something, it is just completely unfinished right now". You would pay say 5 or 10$ a month and get a new version each month. Oleg publishes a dev update each week showing screenies of the 3D models. But with this idea, there would be a look behind the scenes of all development (3D models, sound, GUI, coding etc etc) and you would get to interactively try the newest version.
Excellent way to do testing, too - nobody tests like users.

#1391922 - 07/27/04 02:55 AM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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It was about two months between the time Destineer stopped paying for KOE and the remaining people from Aspect (me and the president of Aspect, Gary Stottlemyer) started to excute the plan we came up with to rescue our efforts. We discussed many of the ideas that people have shared on this forum and I'm impressed with how insightful some of the comments have been. You would think these people had been in the meeting room with us, their thoughts were so similar to ours. But there were many ideas that came up that had to be left on the table simply because there was no way to know what the market really would support.

So I'm going to write to the moderators of this forum and see if they can help us do a couple of more polls.

I'd like to find out how many people would be willing to pre-pay for a flight sim like KOE.

Would they be willing to subscribe to an internet newsletter that covered the development of the sim? The proceeds from the newsletter would help raise the capital to pay for the completion of the sim. Subscribers to the newsletter would get a big discount on the costs of the sim once it was ready for sale. They would get exclusive screen shots during development and they would get a chance to help in the beta testing.

Are people willing to buy a sim over the internet or do they want to get it in a store, where they can take it back if they don't like it?

How would we make ourselves credible to the community? Is there someone from these forums whom people trust? If we flew that person to Denver and gave them some stick time with KOE, or whatever we decide to re-name it, and they said it was the real deal and that it was good, would that be enough to get people to invest money in us?

Would people be willing to have their name's and e-mails put on a list so that we could contact them when there was some positive news about the rescue of KOE?

We'll never know until somebody starts asking questions. The more we know, the better decisions we'll make. I believe it's possible to be successful at something that's not been tried before. I suspect there's a lot more support from the community than developers or publishers ever realized. I believe the key is being open and honest and accountable. I also believe in not being stupid and setting unrealistic goals. I also believe no matter what we do, some will be critical of our efforts. I also believe this is not the end of the KOE story.

#1391923 - 07/27/04 03:07 AM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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A quick answer to Droops questions. The rights to the assets that were deveolped for KOE still belong to Aspect Simulations, LLC.

#1391924 - 07/27/04 04:43 AM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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The short answer is YESSSSSSSSSSS!!! \:\)

Come on Xeidos2, most of what we play nowadays as "WWI Flight Sims" are mods in one form or another now.

Red Baron is probably not played by many people anymore without one form of mod applied (afterall FCJ is really a commercial super-mod in my mind.....albeit a most excellent one), FS-WWI obviously is a mod, Targetware's Richthofen's Skies is even termed a mod by the TW designers, and there's add-ons to CFS 2/3/and FS 2004! The point I'm trying to make is that out of the necessity to survive in this retail desert that's been WWI flight sim aviation in the past 7 years, us enthusiasts have had to learn how to connect with one another, and have gone forth to join up with this fan group and that mod squad, or this sqaudron or that development team, just to get what we can to secure something that come close to resembling a "modern" WWI flight sim package. To a certain degree (whether we realize it or not), the WWI flight sim community has gotten allot tighter and interconnected over these past years, and we're getting more and more use to communicating across the lines of our favorite sim platforms out of the necessity to share and network our resources and developments!

With these points in mind, I think it is reasonable to assume that the internet plays a vital role in keeping the WWI flight sim community alive and kicking, because afterall we haven't been able to expect the marketplace to be there to satisfy our appetites for new product offerings...........we've been doing the updating, and improving, and modding OURSELVES!!! ;\) So it sounds like the ideas you and others have been presenting here about using the internet to market a revived KOE, or having a newsletter site that could also serve as a preview venue, and perhaps a module download location eventually, and/or where forumites could congregate to brain-storm on new feature ideas, or theaters, or exchange missions, and team up on making new aircraft models, or just discuss last night's online missions for that matter..........well these are very much tried and true activites already, and the WWI flight fan community have been doing these things for years!!!

So I hope what all this forum activity and the sentiments expressed here in these past few days indicates is that there IS a strong demand for some savy marketer to fill this void for a new WWI flight simming product!!! That there is a great need and opportunity for someone to assume the commercial leadership position of the WWI flight simming genre, like what Oleg has done for WW2, and that there is money to be made by a creative entity that realizes it's just right there at the finger tips!

Would we prepay for KOE...........where do I send my money!!! \:D

Would a newsletter/forum/product-oriented fan website get a few hits if it offers to become the new home of modern WWI flight simming...........it's almost a fore-gone conclusion!

Great War avaition fans have been searching and yearning for years for someone to offer to take the reins of this deserving and expectant community.

Build it, AND THEY WILL COME!!!

#1391925 - 07/27/04 04:49 AM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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Yes to all the questions you asked Xeidos. FlyXwire has captured the sentiments of many I'm sure. I'd pay for a newsletter in order to get info, or I'd pre order the sim as long as there was a reasonable chance that it would at least reach flyable beta status!

We all desperatly want a new WWI flight sim, anything I can do to help that process, I'll be more then glad to do! \:D


-Blacksheep
The Sheeps Pen
#1391926 - 07/27/04 05:05 AM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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I paid for FCJ several months before it was released and that was a mod, so at this point I'd pay for a WWI flight sim prior to release. Its not like there are "other" games I'm buying these days. \:D

Except for the fact that I won't be able to pick it up for $9.99 at Gamestop, I'd actually rather buy over the internet and keep the profit in the hands of the guys bringing me a WWI flight sim.

I'd pay for the newsletter in this brave new world, especially with that discount.

ArgonV, Kess, Pat Wilson, Flyxwire, Otto Von Stachel, Flybert, anybody in Swwisa, Tailgunner. I trust all the WWI mod making guys.

#1391927 - 07/27/04 06:00 AM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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A newsletter is a GREAT idea. I'll lend my help when and where it's needed for free - if I have much to offer.

Maybe we can have the option of people receiving the newsletter via PDF format?

I can see this newsletter gaining popularity as it might grow to encompass WWI flight sims in general!

I know there are definitely 250+ people who pre-ordered FCV when it came out - at least in the first couple of months. Maybe I'm mistaken, but that is a good base, especially since there are more who bought it and keep buying FCV.

A conservative estimate: 250(people)*5($US per issue)=$1250.

100000(estimated $ to complete project)/1250(VERY conservative guess as to revenue per issue)=80(issues).

Eeek, it doesn't fulfill all of the costs obviously - unless you increase time. But even at one issue per month that is six-and-a-half years! Eeek. Of course, speculation was always daft - it couldn't hurt to test it out as one of the multiple sources of income.

Personally, I would definitely subscribe to a newsletter - and you see how much we crave news (check these boards over the last couple of months). I think it's a perfect opportunity to keep our interest as well as invite the interest of others - in other words, it doubles as a marketing campaign!

-FranksValli

#1391928 - 07/27/04 11:36 AM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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The realities are that WWI flight sims are such a niche market that they will likely never get a large enough fan base to warrant a big publisher and large development budget.

It's a pity that some big rich benefactor with a passion for WWI aviation wouldn't just throw money towards the completion of this project. But, as Daddy Warbucks hasn't posted yet ;\) we all are left with scratching our heads looking for viable solutions. The problem is, lot's of guys have the necessary passion, but that same passion often clouds their judgement.

Look at this thread for an example. What have we here...a dozen guys posting about this? Maybe 20? Is that what some guys are using as their benchmark for support of this, or any WWI project?

I know the above sounds negative, and it's not meant to be. I want a WWI flight sim, almost as much as the next guy, but (IMO) what we need is a dose of realism.

For such a small market as it is, it's much to fragmented. If the guys who so passionately support RB, Richthofen's Skies, and SDOE's WWI project, and other more marginal offerings would get behind an effort to complete just ONE project, it might get done. I'm hopeful, but a little dubious.

Maybe what WWI sim fans need is one unified home to discuss projects, not the current dozen or so different places where they currently hang out.

My hopes are that KOE finds a publisher to continue their work. I hope it's carried through to completion, and is everything we all want it will be. If it's not meant to be, I'm crossing my fingers that Oleg Maddox can be convinced to do to WWI what he is currently doing for the Pacific, that being make it an add-on to one of his future sims (likely Battle of Britain). Beyond that...

Just my .02

PVT.Roger


#1391929 - 07/27/04 12:12 PM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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Mindful words Pvt., but I would like to see a SimHQ News page poll nonetheless, to see how many flight sim fans in general (across the sim-spectrum) would sincerely entertain the idea of buying, or pre-paying for KOE.

Even though I love WWI, and spend most of my time with it, I've got CFS-3 over on that PC, and IL-2 FB on all four here, and FS 2004 installed on another...........we're flight sim FANS, and I truely believe that there's a sizeable segment of the flight sim community at large that were/are looking for a new WWI flight sim replacement to buy (and this isn't all smoke and mirrors, and steamy passion, but what I feel the market would bear)! ;\)

#1391930 - 07/27/04 03:17 PM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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Xeidos2,

A lot of people paid $70 for an internet download of War in the Pacific from Matrix games. For another $10 they mailed a CD to you as well. So yeah, I'd pay money for a downloadable game via the net. I think you ought to include the option of getting a CD mailed to the customer as well, for an extra fee.

Would I pre-pay for a game? Yes, if I am guaranteed a game *or* if the game falls through then all the people who paid for the game gets access to the source-code so they could continue on with the development...*or* our money back. Something like that would make me feel better about putting my money out there in good faith.

If I had to pick someone to fly out to Denver I trust any of Droops, Flybert (if he has showed up here), Flyxwire, AragornV or Swampfox. These guys have been around for a while so I don't think they would decieve us.

You know a website isn't expensive to make and update. Interviews in game magazines probably don't cost much either, if at all. At least it would keep those people interested in following the progress informed. The silence really bothered people as you could tell.

Good luck!

Chef

P.S. If my post sounded incoherent its because my newborn kept me up all friggin night long.


The road less traveled is filled with fewer needy people.
#1391931 - 07/27/04 03:46 PM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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It's great to see there's still fighting spirit left in the developers and in the board members!

I'd also like to stick my nose out and think that given the opportunity, there are memebers here who would like to contribute in anyway they can with time and talent. Just to give one example, we have a quite a few artists here who would probably be thilled to design a box-cover (which the downloading buyers would then print out and put in a DVD or jewel case).

I'd trust any of the mod's here at SimHQ, as well as the distinguished members of the forum that have already been mentioned.

However...
OSRAM's suggestion of getting something out, to make the coming product real, to take it out of vapourware land and into the consciousness of potential buyers has merits, and it would be ideal to get a limited beta or demo out as fast as you could possibly manage.

You could ask an amount of money for that, or make it available only, when the customer pre-buys the full sim.

A first release would not necessarily be the full product either, Perhaps get the planes and objects that are nearest completion in there, and then add new objects in patches. If we're thinking long term for a short moment here, larger updates, say a different section of the front or an expansion of the timeframe covered by the sim, could be sold as add-on packages.

I'd have no problem with such a scheme as I'd rather pay more for a sim and it's updates, as long as the product is supported by its developers, than I'd pay a smaller amount for a retail product, which is then forgotten by the developer/publisher the moment it hits the streets.

Personally I'm not so sure about taking money for a newsletter, but that's just me. I think it will primarily attract us "nutters" here and as such only offer a limited amount of capital.

A potential web-site for communicating with the community and sharing deveolpmental info/screenshots etc. sounds like a good idea. Perhaps with a pay-to-view section including the info for memebers only, so subsribers to those pages would actively help financing the project?

I'd keep a forum on the site pretty small,if I'd have one at all.

The reason why is this (and here's another true story from the wacky world of racing sims):

Almost exactly 2 years ago this site was found on the net: http://www.racing-legends.com/news.htm.

To cut a long story short, the racing sim community has now been waiting in total for something like 5 years for even a pre-alpha demo, anything tangible.

The mood on the forum there has cycled between extatic and downright depressing several times.

We can all see the up-sides in having a forum in terms of keeping in touch with the community, but very quickly it can become quite a burden: With potential customers *demanding* regular updates, a new screenshot, preferably news once a week. And there is also the potential for the forum-owners for spending a lot of time moderating and to answer questions, explaining how this and that part of the sim is going to work, will there be this or that functionality, and why don't you include this plane or that model, or cover that particular period in the war etc. etc.

It takes a lot of discipline and understanding from the users, yes us, to let you have your freedom of designing *your* sim and not to bug you with interminable requests and suggestions for improvement, however well-meaning these suggestions are.

Perhaps this KoE forum at SimHQ is the better option, as it will be your choice entirely when and what to post?

Regarding downloading; Even though I'm on ISDN, I could arrange download through a faster connection for myself. But there are bound to be people on dial-up, and a postal delivery option should not be discounted I feel. The disc & the boxart, perhaps the manual printed out against a small fee as an option? I'm sure if users want a jewel case or DVD box they'll be able to supply one themselves.


Jens C. Lindblad


Sent from my Desktop
#1391932 - 07/27/04 04:11 PM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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Excellent points Jens, and very inciteful words from those participating in this discussion!

Please continue.

#1391933 - 07/28/04 02:22 AM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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I read something that put me off buying this game if it becomes true.


"We have come to bring you Liberty and Equality, but don't lose your head about it. The first one of you moves without my permission will be shot." Marshal of the Empire Francois Lefebyre
#1391934 - 07/28/04 06:37 PM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  

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Hello

FlyXwire asked us for support over at The Aerodrome forum, and I am here to give support for KOE. So whatever I can do, time, money? Just ask.

#1391935 - 07/28/04 08:51 PM Re: An open letter from a former KOE developer  
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Germany!
Don't forget the other countries. RB is still played by a large number of Europeans (more than in the States I'd be willing to wager.)
I know my German friends are following what is going on here.
Need to reach out and tap that market...and also for polling purposes.

Hautz

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