In reponse to Tamper. Sorry I didn't use the Quote function. Too long.
First thought: Good thing you're doing this here...some other "forums" are about as objective, where RoF is concerned, as a clothier commenting on a nudist colony.
I personally don’t understand this SimHQ vs. CombatAce mentality. It’s really sad for the community in general. People can post what they want where they want. There are plenty of ROF detractors at SimHQ and elsewhere.
Other thoughts: I have grown into a love/hate relationship with RoF. Up from initially hating it (pre-release) to beginning to appreciate some of it's better points, but then down from realising how far it still is from being complete and/or what it is hyped by it's publisher to be. It does feature a lot of impressive eye-candy (the planes are truly gorgeous), but it starts to become really shallow not too long after that - kind of like that really pretty (yet horribly shallow) girl you probably wanted to hook up with in high school.
I’m glad you enjoy it more now as we have been working hard to make it better. I’m not sure what you think we hype it to be. I don’t see anything in our descriptions of ROF that are inaccurate. Could you point me to some? If our fans like it, I can’t stop them from singing its praises any more than I can stop you from saying negative things about it.
The damage model is OK, but far from all it's claimed to be. About on par, I would say, with other fare out there today - certainly nothing ground-breaking. Which would be OK, if it weren't heralded as the second coming in their marketing hype.<BR style="mso-special-character: line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character: line-break">
What have we said that is not what we claimed it to be? It is a progressive damage system where damage is applied to each part which is affected by the environment and stress on the aircraft causing engine stoppage, structural failures and fires to spread or be put out. As far as we know that is the first sim to do that, therefore it is ground-breaking is it not? Are we not allowed to tout what features we think are good?
Flight model, I think is fairly impressive, but then who can really say when we're talking about airplanes from almost 100 years ago? Plenty of folks with issues in this area.
This is true for every sim so I agree with you there, but our flight model is different than most others because it is the sum of all parts that make up the aircraft and affect how it flies. Similar to what X-Plane does which I think we can all agree does a very good job of modeling flight. So our FMs are pretty good as real life pilots have told us.
Campaign mode - almost entirely lacking (though it's supposedly coming soon).
Our new Career mode is being worked on and will be pretty great from what I see and this was a direct decision made after listening to the community. So to say we don’t head their advice is not accurate. This was also a feature that was rushed due to the previous owner and not the team’s decision. Sometimes you have to do what the boss wants. That person is no longer the boss. So a new Career mode was begun and will be made available to all who own ROF. Although, the current Career system, in our opinion and others that write us say that it isn’t that bad. Is it as cool as it could be? No, will it be much better? Yes.
Connection requirement - still there, toned down a bit but still too restrictive. Still requires a connection for almost everything.<BR style="mso-special-character: line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character: line-break">
'Almost everything' is not an accurate statement in my opinion and for most pilots they do not need to connect for what they do most with ROF. However, we understand some don’t like this, but most don't know the whole story of why it exists in the first place and why it's not easy to remove. ROF was originally designed as a persistent MMO type product and the initial design as required by the owner was to treat ROF as an MMO where an online connection was part and parcel to the experience. There are certain advantages to that, DRM being only a part of the overall reasoning. Other considerations for such a system were micro-transactions, community building, real-time stat tracking, instant updating, large online battles and unlimited installs on multiple computers. At some point when the development cost for an MMO style product rose to an unacceptable level for the original owner, the decision was made to make it in the standard SP/MP style like other products. Unfortunately, the die had been cast and the underlying fundamental design choice had been made and it was too late to change. Too much time and money had already been spent. The team, seeing the resistance to this system, again which was decided by the original owner, stopped work on other features and found a way to disengage the online connection for 3 of the 5 modes of gameplay without breaking the product. Unfortunately, unhooking the rest of the sim would send the team back to square one developmentally and no one could afford that, especially after the original owner wanted to drop the sim completely. Instead of giving up though, the team decided to carry on with 777 and try to make the best of the situation by keeping their promises and improving the product the best they can with the resources they have. The bottomline is that the online connection is not simply a DRM system meant to frustrate pirates and you.
Multi-player - here's a game that claimed from the start to be all about online. Used this point, in fact, to justify much of what is really more about DRM. Yet, to this day, they don't have a dedicated "console" server (like CoD, for example) that doesn't require a separate license and another stout machine to run. Does that sound like it's encouraging online/MP to you? (Me, neither). Plus, the number of servers is genreally pathetic (really), and many of those are locked/private, or run by some of the fanboys at the aforementioned "other" forums. Don't want to be too honest with any of that lot, I can tell you. Lots of cheaters online, too I've noticed (not really the game's fault, in fairness...but disconnecting right before you crash after I shoot you down, so it doesn't count...really?)
So with multiplayer I will say see my previous comment above which explains why it works the way it does at the moment and it is not simply a front for a DRM system. However, our MP is pretty good and those that fly MP seem to enjoy it. We also have an in-game browser system so it is easy to find a server to play on. Is our dedicated server system the best yet? No it’s not. Will we give anyone who asks for a separate Server code so they can host a server? Yes. Sorry it's not up to your standards, maybe in the future it will be.
Also, when the MMO concept was dropped, it was believed based on their personal experience with other sims that the hard-core simmers out there preferred serious Co-Ops. So the MP design was based around a serious Co-Op mode. Well, the community quickly told them that that was an incorrect judgment, so the team went back and created two other modes of Multiplayer. Of which, both allow you to add AI elements, triggers and special functions to the missions just like in SP. Again, this work being done at the communities’ request.
As with any MP server the stronger the host the better the online experience will be. Due to the complexity of our physics, flight models, ballistics and even pilot models a lot of data is transferred between computers, so a decent connection is recommended.
As far as cheaters go, a lot of sims with an online component had cheaters including IL-2. Remember the old PrintScreen cheat? If someone wants to leave the server to not be killed we can’t really help that at the moment.
Also, only a few servers are locked and that’s their right, but the most popular ones are not and function very well and are a lot of fun.
"Forced" updates - totally suck in my opinion. Even Windows lets me decide, for God's sake.
This is a difficult item because of the underlying design as I mentioned above. At least with the offline mode you don’t have to update. Also, once it was clear that we needed to have a long series of updates we felt that the hosting of many, many patches by other websites would be confusing to the customer so it actually worked to our advantage to have our easy update system in place. Plus we didn't want folks to wait a year or more for a patch. We also have a Recovery function that will help reset your install in case it somehow got porked without having to re-install the entire product. There are two sides to this coin in our opinion.
The fact that the producers have gone well out of their way to prevent purchasers from (legitimately) reselling their copy - nearly criminal, in my opinion, and completely unnecessary to treat customers like that. Won't offer a refund, and still generally deny that it's all about making sure no one can by a copy from a private party (it is, let's be honest). Which means they pretty much have your money, too bad if you decide you don't like it once you actually paid for it.
I’m sorry, but this is not true. As we have always said, you can sell your copy to someone else as long as you give them the login and if that customer has your login info and they contact us we can update the email address so they don’t use the original owners. Just because our system allows for only one retail key-code per copy does not mean we’re not rational about this topic. A fallacy propagated online for no good reason. As far as refunds go, that is between you and the retailer you bought it from. If you bought it from us and it absolutely does not work on your system we will refund your money. If someone is duped into buying a used copy without securing the login info before handing over the money that is not cool, but not our fault and we're not obligated to help that person, but in some cases we already have. Shame on the scam artists! Our system of licensing is really no different than other systems such as Steam. There is no conspiracy here.
Publisher - in my opinion, treats customers poorly and doesn't accept criticism well at all - even constructive criticism. I dislike the fact that so many give them credit for 'listening to the customer' when they do very little of it, in reality. What they actually do is contort things to make it seem as if they're doing everything the customer wants, when it's actually what they knew they'd do anyway.
So, I do participate in the forums and 777 Studios is no longer just the publisher, but the owner and developer as well. It’s funny how you can go from a simple member of the community who ran a squadron in IL-2 to the business end of the genre and all of a sudden you are a villain because you rebut comments which you don’t think are fair or people who personally insult you time and time again. Also, I don’t think being a customer gives you the right to distort the truth about our product or insult me personally. I will speak and exercise my right to free speech just as you do. However, I have learned that there are those in the online community that prefer the developer be anonymous and not interact with the community and just sit back and let the negative comments fly no matter how inaccurate or inflammatory they may be. Before I was involved in development and sales I always thought the opposite was true because waiting around for the all mighty developer to take a few moments to talk the community really sucked. I think maybe the community has changed over time.
I also don’t see an attempt to twist things to look as if we are doing things for the community where we really aren’t. Can you give me an example? We’re not disingenuous like that. We have a wish list a mile long of items long that the community would like to have. Some items we built, we indeed planned and we said so, some items were planned, but due to community response we upped it in priority or built from scratch. The community does have an effect on what we do and when, even if we can’t get to every single request when he or she wants us to. Prioritizing features and scheduling time to make features and eventually discarding features due to time restraints, budget shortfalls, personnel skills and even design decisions is part of the PC game development process. We’re no different. See Ilya Shevchenko’s comments about feature freezing CoD due to release schedules. Are they going to get hammered like we did and be accused of not giving the community everything they want and deserve at launch? Are they going to be accused of not listening and then accused of faking listening when features were already planned ahead of time? Launching a sim is a perilous business turns out and you can’t please everyone.
As I said, love/hate. Is it worth it? Everyone has to decide for themselves. I still play the game (and why not? I can't sell it...) and I've actually bought extra planes (Of course I did; wouldn't you know - you have to pay extra for any of the planes that 95% of people are going to want to fly).
I’m glad you still play ROF as I think it’s worth yours and others’ time. And if we had millions of dollars we could just give everything away, but unfortunately we can’t as we all have families to feed. No one is getting rich off of ROF. It would be nice, but not happening. Everyone involved really is a group dedicated to the hobby. We’ve said no to organizations that wanted to work with us who only to make money and strip out the soul of what we have worked so hard on in the name of the all-mighty dollar or euro.
When RoF was new, I gave it a 6 of 10 (being generous)...now I'd give it a 7 maybe. Still too unfinished to rate an 8, and too many negative parts about it to ever be a 9 (unless there are some major changes, which let's be honest, isn't happening). Some people insisted it was a 10 when first released (in *that* state - you're kidding, right?)...some others say it's a 10 now (so why would the producers need to keep adding anything?). I like to think I'm a lot more objective than that.
Then we’re making progress. We have never said ROF is a 10 or the greatest of all time. Other fans may say that, but we don’t. We really like what we have accomplished in some departments and acknowledge other parts are not perfect. I think our track record of frequent and regular updates proves that.
And before you tell me to buzz off, I want to say that I respond to posts like this because I think some of your comments were unfair and inaccurate. You will obviously disagree, but I make posts like this for the others who may read your post and decide they should not be open to owning ROF. I feel that when some things are put in proper context they might be a little less harsh on these forums when they see something they might not like and consider owning ROF. We feel this in turn leads to a healthier discussion overall. We don’t mind honest critiques and we get plenty of it on this site, SimHQ and the official ROF forum. I just want them to be fair and not laced with a vitriolic or sarcastic tone and include charged language. And that goes for me too, which I am not always perfect at. This genre doesn’t need it.
We’ll keep trying to make ROF better for you.